Bookstore Blog Tour #6: The Story Shop

The Story Shop Monroe, GA

I have heard of and followed The Story Shop for some time, and I have wanted to visit for years! Located in the heart of Monroe, GA (about an hour and a half from where I live), this dedicated kidlit wonderland did not disappoint! The eyecatching window displays are beautiful and inviting as you walk in the doors. But this door is one of the main attractions…

As you enter, taking in all of the colorful book shelves and seasonal displays, your eye is naturally drawn to this huge wardrobe directly across from the front doors. Yes! It is! THE wardrobe from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. It is HUGE and completely impossible to ignore. My kids came with me on this visit because we had just finished the book for our family-read-aloud and I promised them I would take them to The Story Shop after we completed it. Of course we opened it…

And it was magical! Fur coats hung on either side and the back opened up into a dreamy wonderland with snow like lights hanging from the ceiling, a plush red rug to sit and hear a story, and a green velvet chair for the storyteller. We were in luck to have arrived just before storytime and my kids and their cousins were excited to hear 3 picture books read by a very expressive employee. I snuck out to snap some more pictures of this bookish heaven.

The creativity behind this reading wonderland is simply amazing! There are themed book nooks around every corner, a hobbit hole, a reading teepee, Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard for the little ones (complete with A Very Hungry Caterpillar chair), a hanging swing, and even a yellow brick road to follow through the store! And then I saw the party room…

How beautiful is that? They were setting up for a 6 year-old birthday party and I suddenly came down with birthday party envy. This room is perfect!! It’s no wonder they offer photo shoots at The Story Shop because the creative design is beyond belief. You really need to come experience it for yourself.

Of course I had to take advantage of a little product placement and get this picture of my daughter reading Taste Your Words to my adorable niece and nephew!

Ok. Back to the bookstore…

My 4th and 5th grader felt right at home in this curated section of middle grade and young adult books. There was a potions wall and comfy chair with a platform 9 3/4 pillow. The color palette of this room was dark and cozy. And my child, who should not be named (but was the best behaved) scored a book of his or her own before we left. 🙂

Permission to photograph the adorable blonde children was given by this beautiful blonde…my sister Amy. 🙂

I was beyond impressed with imagination and joy of The Story Shop (not to mention the helpful and happy employees!) Every crafted nook and character theme was full of well-intentioned sparks of wonder. They even had a huge book opened to The End at the literal end of the hallway!

My visit to The Story Shop was even better than I imagined, and I hope I get to come back through the wardrobe REAL soon as a guest author!

If you haven’t visited The Story Shop, don’t wait as long as I did! Road trip it out to Monroe and experience the magic for yourself. And go ahead and buy a book or two for your best behaved children.

TASTE YOUR WORDS available April 7, 2020!

Bookstore Blog Tour Episode 4: Underground Books

Our latest Bookstore adventure was one we have been looking forward to for a while! After visiting Hills and Hamlets Books Shop in Serenbe, GA and hearing about their sister store Underground Books in Carollton, GA, my book buddy Steen Jones and I couldn’t wait to check out this quaint book shop with a very romantic story…just in time for Valentines!

Just as the name implies, you literally have to step down into the entrance to explore the bookish treasures in the Underground. We were met by a smiling employee, Miranda, who was excited and clearly to proud to show us around. They boast of Rare, Used and Anitiquarian which we got a taste of at Hills and Hamlets, but this is Underground’s specialty. They have a curated offering of popular titles in all genres, but they also have a highly satisfying quirky collection of used and vintage books that you didn’t even know you wanted.

You could tell every space and shelf was well thought out. I wanted to look at everything, but of course I was most interested in the children’s section. I walked through a tunnel of books into another area of the store and…bingo. Mixed between the fan favorites were adorable children’s classics and even fun oversized books like this  gem by the Queen Bee herself, Jane Yolen. I felt like a kid holding this huge book and watching the feet of passerbys outside the half window. The atmosphere was cozy and full of imagination and artistic flair.

Right smack in the middle of the store is the “signature piece” of the Underground, the famous Book Arch that was actually made for owners Megan Bell and Josh Niesse for their wedding! How romantic is that? I had to get a picture and file it away because suddenly I had book arch envy. Underground Books has a very unique personality in every corner and shelf. The glowing lamps and Edison bulbs mixed with the comfy chairs and even the music made you feel like you were in another bookish world.

Underground has another “signature” practice, and that is Megan’s “book face” photos that she frequently posts on social media. Forgive me Megan because you are way better at this than me, but here is my attempt…also known as Poe Face:

Miranda was quick to make sure we didn’t miss Megan’s favorite addition to the store, the Call Me Ishmael phone near the front desk. You could pick up the receiver of this vintage phone, dial a corresponding number for a displayed book, and someone on the other end would give you a review or recommendation of the book you are interested in. There are clever things like this throughout the store from buttons and journals made in-house as well as other fun gift ideas. There is definitely something for everyone

We could have definitely hung out all afternoon with Miranda, but we were hungry, so she recommended the Charleston-esque Brown Dog Restaurant just around the corner of the historic downtown square. Super good food and super fast service. We didn’t realize until we noticed the decor inside that we were visiting on Fat Tuesday so that was a bonus. If you are ever in Carollton enjoying the fun and unique shops downtown, you have to stop by Underground Books and say Hi to Megan and the gang. You’ll find all manner of comforts and curiosities in a book lovers heaven.