I’m Back! (With Pictures!)

For those of you who didn’t know, I just went on a pretty awesome vacation with my husband and son, my parents, and my brother and his wife.  We went on a Mediterranean cruise, which started in Barcelona, Spain, and had stops in France, Monaco, and Italy.  It was an amazing trip and although I’m glad to be home, I was really sad to leave!

I didn’t get hardly any reading done on my vacation, but I was pretty busy doing other things!  So here are some photos for anyone who is interested in seeing them!  (Warning:  there are lots of photos here!)

Our ship, Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.  Photo from royal-caribbean1.blogspot.com.

From left to right, my sister-in-law, my son, me, my husband, and my brother. This is on the ship in front of the H2Ozone, a water park for kids.

My favorite photo from the trip.  My husband took this on his iPhone!  Doesn’t it look professional?

We would come back from dinner and a folded towel animal would be waiting for us!  My son automatically posed with this elephant!

My husband and me after one of the formal dinner nights on the ship.

There was an ice-skating rink on the ship!  My son had fun even though he didn’t really figure the whole thing out…

On the beach in Barcelona.  My son’s first time at the beach!  I love the shadow in this picture!

The beach in Barcelona.

Villefranche, France.

Villefranche, with our ship in the background.

Nice, France.

Nice, France.


Florence, Italy.

The Duomo in Florence, Italy.

The copy of the Statue of David in Florence, Italy.  It’s exactly the same as the original, but still a copy.  The original is in a museum in Florence but we didn’t go there.

Florence, Italy.

Florence, Italy.

The Vatican in Rome, Italy.

To get to the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo’s famous frescoes, you have to go through the Vatican Museum, which is pretty cool itself.  These ceilings were painted to look like they were 3-dimensional, but it’s actually just paint!

Seriously, it’s just paint!

The Colosseum in Rome.

Inside the Colosseum.

My favorite place in Rome:  The Trevi Fountain.

Pompeii, Italy.





Now that you’ve gotten through all those photos, I have a request for you all.  In July I’ll be participating in the Vacation Reads Giveaway Hop, and I’ve decided that I’ll be giving away the winner’s choice of a book set in Spain, France, Monaco, or Italy.  I know of a few books that are set in these countries, or at least the characters visit there, but I’d love to know of a few more to list for the winner to choose from.  (BTW, this giveaway will be international!)  I’d like to stick with YA books if possible, but I know there are some great adult books set in these areas as well, so I think I should probably include them.  Here are the books I have thought of so far:  Heist Society by Ally Carter; Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins; Die for Me and Until I Die by Amy Plum; 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson; Are We There Yet? by David Levithan; Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert; Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.  Please let me know if you know of any other novels (preferably YA) that are set in (or the characters visit) Spain, France, Monaco, or Italy.  I really appreciate all your help!

Also, thanks to everyone who continued to visit The Overstuffed Bookcase while I was away.  If you commented and I haven’t returned the favor yet, just know that I’ll be getting to it as soon as possible!  Also, I looked at my Google reader Tuesday morning, and I had 1,872 unread items.  I’m sure they were all really awesome posts and I wish I had the time to read them all, but there’s no way I’d ever get caught up with my Google reader.  So I had to mark all of them as read and start off on a clean slate.  I’ll be stopping by my “read every day” blogs as soon as possible to get caught up, and if anyone else has a post that they’d like me to check out, leave a link in the comments and I’ll stop by!


  1. Jessie Marie

    June 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    You went on the vacation of my dreams! One of these days, I'm gonna have to do exactly what you did but maybe take a little extra time in Rome and Spain. Loved the pictures, your family is adorable and your son is extra super cute. I'm glad you had a good time. : )

    As far as books are concerned, I think Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson is set in Italy, go figure. Anything by Kate Quinn is set in Rome. And that's all I can think of without consorting with GoodReads Listopia. ; )

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks, we did have a great time! And I definitely recommend spending lots of time in Rome – I spent 3 or 4 days there in 2005 and it was great, especially because I stayed in a little apartment right on a typical street, above a restaurant. If I could, I'd do the same thing but for like 2 weeks.

      Thanks for the suggestions! I completely forgot about Flirting in Italian!

  2. Mackenzie @ Oh, For the Love of Books!

    June 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Yay!!!!! I'm so glad you had an awesome time! I've been to Spain, Italy and France, just different areas than you :P The pictures were fantastic and your son is just so darn adorable XD

    Hm….Arcadia Awakens and The River of Time series both take place in Italy. Those are really the only two I can think of at the moment :)

    Glad you had an awesome vacation and welcome back XD

    All the best ♥
    Mackenzie @ Oh, For the Love of Books!

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm

      Thanks! Europe is beautiful, isn't it?

      Thanks so much for the suggestions! I have the first books for both those series on my TBR list but I had no idea they were set in Italy!

  3. fakesteph

    June 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    It looks like you had fun (I'm a little jealous) and your son is so freaking cute!

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Yep, we had a blast! And thanks, he is a cutie! ;)

  4. Bittner

    June 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I think the shadow picture of Jonathan is probably my favorite and I think it is adorable that he keeps trying to pose by things now! Reading through your comments makes me start to wonder if Jeremy is going to get a big head or anything since so many people like to say how adorable and cute Jonathan is and yet he looks just like his daddy!

    You already know my suggestions for the book giveaway. I do think that Are We There Yet is a great pick but I can't think of any others.

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 4, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Yeah, I think the hubs might get a big head since we have the cutest son ever who happens to look just like him! But we'll keep him in line! ;)

  5. Jen Ryland/YA Romantics

    June 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your pictures! That trip looked awesome!
    I'm going on an overseas trip in August where I don't think I'll have much internet access and I'm trying to decide whether to schedule posts or just take the week off. I keep going back and forth.

    As for your question, I just read Small Damages by Beth Kephart, which is excellent and comes out in a couple weeks and is set in Spain.

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      I really didn't even think about taking time off until after I already had all my posts scheduled, and then I was like, "People totally would understand if I just took this time off!" And I kind of wish I had, because it's taking me forever to respond to all the comments, plus I didn't get much reading done on my trip and it would have been nice to save those reviews for now and then I'd have a nice cushion. But I also think I would have gone a bit nutso if my blog had been stagnant for almost 2 weeks! So really, it's up to you – either way is fine and your followers will still be there whether you schedule posts or not!

    2. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Whoops, I forgot to say thanks for the suggestion of Small Damages! I don't have any books set in Spain on my list yet, and now I do! Thanks!

  6. Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books

    June 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Lovely pictures. Your son is such a cutie! It looks like you had a great time.

    The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson takes place in England. :)

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks! We had a blast!

      I thought about including The Name of the Star but if I did then I'd have to open it up to all books set in Europe and that would be way too many! So I think I'm going to stick with books that are set in (or the characters at least visit) Spain, France, Italy, and/or Monaco. But thanks for the suggestion!

  7. Krista

    July 1, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Wow that looks like an amazing trip! My goal in life has to be to visit Italy before I die. I'm Italian after all :) Your pictures are so beautiful! It looks like a trip of a lifetime. I wish I could help with more books from those countries but all I can think of is Anna and the French Kiss (which you've already stated). I hear you with the Google Reader. When I get behind I just have to mark all as read…or else I would spend hours going through it. Most days I'm stuck on the thing anyway :)

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      You should definitely visit Italy! It's so beautiful, and Rome is my favorite city in the world!

      And yeah, it seems like I never get caught up with my Google reader, so I knew there was NO way I'd get caught up after that trip! ;)

  8. Kate@Midnight Book Girl

    July 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Wow. Just wow. Excuse me while I go why the jealous drool off my chin…


    A Discovery of Witches takes place in England and France (and New England)… and that's all I've got at the moment!

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm


      Thanks for the suggestion! I have A Discovery of Witches on my TBR list but I didn't know it took place in England and France. Thanks!

  9. Ashley R

    July 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    What a fantastic vacation! I am loving all these photos, especially the one with the elephant towel and your son – adorable! That shadow on the beach shot is incredible too, I didn't even notice it until you pointed it out! What was your favourite city you visited? I absolutely love Nice, I didn't get to spend much time there but it was gorgeous. And Firenze is my favourite city in Northern Italy, the architecture and art were phenomenal. I'm glad you had such a great vacation – and while normally I'd say that sucks you couldn't get in too much reading, I'm glad it was for a wonderful reason!

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      Nice was great, and I loved Florence as well, but Rome is my favorite city in the world! I've been there twice now and I just love it! London is probably a close second. But I really did love everywhere we went on this trip, including VilleFranche and Nice and Monaco and Pompeii. It was a fantastic trip!

  10. LHughes

    July 13, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Your pictures are breathtaking! The architecture and the landscapes! And you look like you're having fun ;)

    Thank you so much for sharing! I've never been overseas so it's fun to live vicariously through you :)

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      July 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      Thanks! We had a blast! And I definitely recommend going overseas when you get a chance!

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