Review & Excerpt | Pumpkin Spice Secrets | Hillary Homzie

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Pumpkin Spice Secrets

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Just as Maddie picks up her favorite pumpkin spice drink from the coffee shop counter, she spills it all over the cute guy standing behind her! Luckily, her embarrassment evaporates into a crush when she starts chatting with him — his name is Jacob, and he’s just starting in her grade at her middle school.

But before Maddie can tell her best friend Jana about him at lunch the next day, Jana announces her huge new crush — on the same guy! Maddie doesn’t want to cause trouble, so she keeps her feelings hidden. Jana will get over her crush soon, right?

Add major school stress to Maddie’s secret, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Can she keep her cool and work things out with both Jacob and Jana before it all turns into a total mess?


I received this ARC through Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review. Continue reading for an excerpt from Peppermint Cocoa Crushes, Swirl #2, and my favourite hot drink recipe!

This is such a cute MG novel! I had to get into the headspace of a middle grade girl in order to properly enjoy it, but once I did I was less judgemental of the girls’ actions and was able to be entertained by this sweet story of loyalty and friendship between young girls discovering first crushes.

The novel lost a star because very little action occurs, I thought that certain parts of the novel were over-dramatic given what actually happens, and I had hoped that cafes/coffee shops would feature more heavily in the story but aside from the opening scene and Maddie’s introduction to Jacob, the “pumpkin spice” theme sort of drops off, and this was disappointing. However, after reading the excerpt (below) from Peppermint Cocoa Crushes, I know the rest of the series, which features different characters, will be super cute!

Here’s my favourite hot drink recipe:

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Exclusive excerpt from Peppermint Cocoa Crushes:

“I stood center stage, facing the rows of empty seats. I took off my coat, pulled out my phone and earbuds, and scrolled through my music until I found the song I wanted.

As the music flowed into my ears, I pliéed deeply. Keeping my shoulders back and my stomach tight, I turned . . . one, two, three pirouettes. I opened my arms and bent forward. Rising up, I turned my head stage right and then leapt across the stage.

I didn’t think about what I was going to do next. I just danced. Free from worries and fears and what-ifs. Feeling the music, my body moved fast and slow, high and low through the space.

Then the song ended. I pulled out my earbuds and sat down on the stage, breathing deeply. In thirty days, I will be here, I thought. Right here. With Kevin and Karly and a packed audience. The lights will shine on us. The music will play. We will perform. And somewhere out there, the director of the Summer Academy will be deciding who will be given a scholarship.

When I stood up, I felt dizzy, like I’d done a turn without spotting. But I knew it wasn’t from dancing. It was excitement. The Holidaze Spectacular would be the start of my dreams coming true.

But first I needed to survive Thanksgiving.”

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Thank you to Sky Pony Press for the excerpt!


Buy Links for Pumpkin Spice Secrets

Indigo.ca     Amazon.ca     B&N


Check it out on Goodreads

*Giveaway Alert*

Reminder that I am hosting a giveaway–follow me on Instagram before Dec. 1 to be entered! International entires allowed!

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Bookish Giveaway!

Candle Giveaway

That’s right! I’m hosting a bookish candle giveaway to celebrate the holiday season! I have to reach 200 Instagram followers for the giveaway to occur, so make sure to follow me @victoria.loder to make sure the giveaway happens AND to be entered to win! (And yes, the giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!)

Comment below if you’re excited for this giveaway! I’d love to do more in future. 🙂

The Fall Book Tag | Bionic Book Worm

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A big thank you to Flavia the Bibliophile for tagging me in this! I haven’t done a book tag in a long time so I’m excited to be back in the game.

THE RULES

1. Please link back to Bionic Book Worm, the creator of this tag!

2. Use the graphics (if you want) created by Bionic Book Worm.

3. Have fun!

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I’m going to talk only about books I’ve read this year for this tag, and of course I’m going to choose All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater for this one. You can check out my review of the book here to find out why I think it fits in the “fresh and new” category, and I definitely recommend it for everyone!

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After giving it some thoughts, I’m sad to say that I haven’t yet read a book this year whose ending blew me away! But the closest is probably Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Yes, it ends on a cliffhanger of sorts because it’s the first of a loooong series, but there are a few other, ah, twists that make it a wee bit surprising. 😉

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I for sure didn’t feel this way during the first half of the book, but the last half had me feeling super warm and happy! Me Before You by JoJo Moyes takes the cake on this one, so if you’re like me and struggled to get into it, hang on for the ride because it’s worth it! (Review to come.)

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I’m super lucky that I work for one of Canada’s oldest book distribution companies, so I got to read the ARC of this sweet MG novel and the cover is just so adorable! I’ll be posting a review and other fun things for this title soon, so just wait. 😉

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This was a super easy choice for me, and I highly recommend Rogue One by Alexander Freed if you are into the Star Wars universe at all. If you liked the movie, the dialogue in the book is almost word-for-word what you hear in the movie (except for what wasn’t included in the movie), which made it a really fun reading experience for me. You can read my review here!

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This changes all the time for me, so as of this very second, my most anticipated TBR is The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara, which my company will be distributing so I’ll probably be able to snag an ARC of this! I’m so excited!

I TAG…

Macy @ Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Books

Daniella @ Reading with Daniella

Kim @ By Hook Or By Book

And anyone else who wants to join!

Review | Me Before You | JoJo Moyes

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Me Before You

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They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?


This is my kind of romance: love and sappy feelings without the tendency to poor writing and editing. I recently tried to read a romance that was so cheesy and so poorly edited that I couldn’t even get fifty pages in. I had to put it down and call it a day. It seriously irked me.

Anyways, while JoJo Moyes is an excellent writer, it did take me a very long time to get into this book (about five months). The first half of the book really drags on, and there’s a hint of the romance that you know is going to happen, but nothing to heavily suggest or solidify it. Then, once you get to the middle, everything picks up. It took me five months to get through the first half, and four days to get through the last half. And boy was that last half good. It’s heavy and deep, and also very high stakes. I knew that somebody was going to get their heart broken and so it was hard to watch that unfold, but it also kept me on the edge of my seat. Needless to say, I was not at all disappointed with this novel overall and just wish it had hooked me sooner.

I loved the cast of characters. Lou’s family is complicated but also really loving and tight-knit. At the end of the novel, dynamics with her mother shift and I’m eager to read the next one to see how that plays out; this was to be expected given the moral questions that arise from assisted suicide! I also ended up really liking Will’s parents even though they are at first presented as icy and cold from Lou’s perspective. I came to see that his mom was super fragile, and his dad was sort of lost. They were also two very brave individuals, putting up with what they were. Lou and Will are complete opposites that, to be honest, I don’t think would have ever ended up together had Will not been confined to a wheelchair. They even point that out in the book. But these two characters who started out as two blocks of wood grinding uncomfortably against each other soon became complimentary. However, we don’t actually learn a lot about Will’s past except that he was ambitious and adventurous. I wonder if we’ll learn more in the sequel(s)? We do learn about something dark that happened to Lou which I absolutely did not see coming and which is one of my favourite aspects of the book; I loved how it was written into the story, how Lou came to terms with it, and how Will reacted. I think this is a really great talking piece for any book club because it shows that both Lou and Will are damaged, in arguably equal but different ways, but the effects are totally opposite; Lou shines brighter because of her experience while Will’s life has lost meaning.

I would recommend reading this and bear in mind that you have to get to the middle! It might help if you watch the movie first; I don’t know, as I haven’t seen it. But I will be now for sure!


Buy Links

Indigo.ca     Amazon.ca     B&N

Review | There’s Someone Inside Your House | Stephanie Perkins

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There’s Someone Inside Your House

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Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.


There’s Someone Inside Your House is the perfect book to read in the week leading up to Halloween, but don’t expect to get too scared by this book. Until the final quarter, TSIYH is more love story than it is horror story. You’ll be more grossed out than anything, with really gruesome and gory murders serving as the backdrop for the romance that blooms between Makani and Ollie.

I love Stephanie Perkins, but she does try too hard to point out the diversity in her books. She writes diversity in such a way that it’s like she’s inserted a flashing neon sign pointing it out, which bugs me. It’s great that we have such a diverse cast, and not so great that Perkins underlines it five times with a red pen.

It seemed to me that this book was marketed as a horror story and I found that misleading. Thriller is a more appropriate word. Romantic thriller is a more accurate genre for it to fit into. I expected to be put on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it, and I definitely was not. I was also disappointed that the killer is revealed halfway through the book. It takes part of the surprise out of it. However, I was very pleased with the motives Perkins created and thought that the reasoning behind the killings was very realistic. Given that this is a story about a teenage killing rampage, it fits that the motivation the killer had was simplistic and maybe a little attuned to someone who hadn’t experienced very much of the world, or of life, yet.

Loved—the setting. What is it about the countryside that is so creepy? And the backdrop of the seasons being on the verge of shifting from fall to winter made the stark setting feel even more bleak and hopeless. I also loved Stephanie Perkins’ ability to make you care about characters that only get a few pages before they’re murdered; in a limited number of words she has created a fully realized character with a history and a future, both of which are erased in seconds, and that really got to me towards the end. Especially with KK’s death (initials to try to avoid spoilers)—that one really got to me. Also, please see the image below for my biggest love in this book: the fact that Perkins wrote about a girl peeing and having to change her tampon. #Godbless

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Dislikedthe abrupt ending. Holy crud, it feels like the last part of the book is missing. Are we getting a sequel? Was there an editing error? I mean, WHAT? It really irritated me to turn that final page and suddenly be faced with the word “Acknowledgements”. Exqueeze me? No, ma’am. We deserve more resolution than that.


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Purchase Links

Indigo.ca     Amazon.ca    B&N

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a review copy.