The Stranger Things Book Tag | Biblio Nyan

Hi everyone! One of the things that I love just as much as reading is binge-watching my favourite shows, and right now Stranger Things is in the #1 spot on my list of all-time favourites! I’ve been getting back into book tags and when I saw that the Stranger Things book tag existed, I knew I had to do it. I saw it on Biblio Nyan’s Youtube channel, so check out the video and let’s get started!

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1. Epic Intro

The opening sequence of Stranger Things is amazing and really grabs your attention. Name a book that grabbed your attention from the first page.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter on audiobook did just that for me. Amy Shiels is an amazing narrator and I love her Irish accent! (Review to come!)

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2. Dungeons & Dragons

Name a (literary) fantasy world you would like to experience yourself.

I’m going to go for the non-obvious and say The Night Circus! I’d love to experience that world just for one night…

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3. Squad Goals

When Eleven met Mike, Dustin and Lucas it was a *mostly* perfect team. Name your favourite bookish group of friends.

Aargh, why is this tag so hard!? I’m going to have to say Rory, Stephen, Callum, and Jazz from Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London series.

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4. ABC’s & Christmas Lights

Joyce Byers goes mad with grief after Will goes missing. Name your favourite mentally unhinged character.

(I don’t think Joyce Byers goes crazy at all and she’s awesome but whatever.) Hmm. I’d probably have to say Sloane from This Is Not a Test by Courteney Summers. But can you blame her, really?

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5. The Upside Down

Name a book that was the opposite of what you expected.

Appropriately, The Snow Rose by Lulu Taylor which I just reviewed here.

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6. Mad Scientists

Dr. Brenner likes to get freaky with humanity. Name the freakiest dystopian government you can think of.

For sure the government that ends up getting created by the Governor in The Walking Dead, as seen in The Walking Dead: Road to Woodbury. (Yes I know Negan is worse but he killed off my favourite character so I stopped watching it and won’t talk about it k bye.)

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7. Demogorgon

Name a scary bookish creature that you would not want to come through your walls.

It would be great if the zombies from the previously mentioned series never become a thing.

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8. Cliffhanger Ending

Name a book that left you wanting more.

Definitely The Sin Eater’s Daughter! (Check back Sunday for this review!!)


Thanks for joining me for this book tag, everyone! I hope you enjoyed it and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments! 🙂

I tag…

My friend Ambur @ Burning.x.Impossibly.x.Bright

Sarena @ The Writing Duo

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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!

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. 🙂

Top 5 Books That Changed My Life

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Since finishing The Book Thief last winter, I’ve struggled to find a book that gave me the same feeling of wholeness. The other morning I reflected on that feeling and thought back to the books that marked a special place in my heart. I want to share that list with you, and hopefully these titles can give you the same happiness I had when I read them!

book thiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This book struck such a chord with me that I have never found the words to review it. For me, it’s perfect. I can’t believe there was once a time where I picked it up in the bookstore, read the first page and thought, “Nah, this isn’t for me.” I suppose certain books find me at the right time in my life, and this is one of them.

Read it in the winter. Especially if you live somewhere where it gets cold and grey–this story really encapsulates that atmosphere. A sad story, yes, but one full of hope and promise that I couldn’t help walking away from it feeling glad and inspired.

 

moth diariesThe Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein

This book was an important part of growing up and branching out in terms of my reading selections. It’s a very dark story, and one that I wouldn’t introduce to someone at too young an age (I was 13 when I read it), but it taught me important lessons about sex, consent, mental illness, and LGBT+ relationships. I was engrossed with this book when I read it, despite how disturbing it could be, and I will always remember being sucked into these pages like falling through the door to Narnia.

 

 

 

bamboozledBamboozled by David Legge

It was while my grandparents read us Bamboozled that I fell in love with storytelling and the wild adventures that fiction can take us on. If you’ve never read it, or have kids of your own, I highly recommend adding it to your collection.

 

 

mockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The first classic I ever read, in the eighth grade I didn’t understand a lot of what was being said in this story about race but I identified with Scout and Jem’s adventures, their fear of their neighbour Boo Radley, and the admiration they had for their father. I was enraptured by the legal issues woven throughout the story despite not quite understanding them and remember the duration of reading as yet another time when I was oblivious to the world around me and instead existed in a haze of To Kill a Mockingbird‘s words.

 

 

 

rose for the crownA Rose for the Crown by Anne Easter Smith

This book was, by far, one of the biggest literary undertakings I’ve ever faced. There are no chapters–instead the reader faces straight prose for 700 pages. But that prose! I was in love with this book in the way you fall in love and get lost in a painting or sunset. In changed my opinion on King Richard III and inspired me to get a B.A. in history.

I have since tried to read more by this author, but all of her prose is the same lengthy endeavour and I haven’t had the time necessary to commit to her stories properly. If you do, though, I’m telling you that it is so worth it!

 

 

What books changed your life? Tell me in the comments below! 🙂

CONVERSATIONS FOR TWO by Jacqueline Markowitz

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5 out of 5

Conversations for Two beautifully presents the fragmented memory of one woman after a life of loss and love. Inspired by the loss of Markowitz’s brother and the rediscovery of his personal writings years later, Markowitz uses these pieces of him to ask what about memory is tangible and what is imagined; how “real” are the written words that Markowitz can hold in her hand? What of the images they inspire? The use of metaphor and lyrical prose unearths the beauty in tragedy in a pure and gorgeous way.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jacqueline at Toronto’s 2016 Word on the Street festival, and interviewed her over the phone two days later. She is a wonderfully kind and interesting woman. I could have talked with her all day, but that would have been selfish of me. I wanted to specifically probe her for more details about the Beatles concert she attended when she was ten years old, but alas. She also started her own publishing company, The Jam Press, under which she published Conversations for Two. The company’s logo—a little strawberry—reminds me of the movie Across the Universe based on the Beatles’ music and the song “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

Jacqueline Markowitz writes as if from a dream. I feel as if I’m seeing her thoughts from underwater in the most dazzling way. Some of my favourite descriptions of hers are about the woman’s mother. Here is an excerpt that has stayed with me for over a week now:

“I squeeze my eyes and see her. She is ethereal in the green water, scented with lavender. She would never see the beauty that I saw. One shoulder is lower than the other, and her hips are out of line. Her body is lopsided, the shape of a woman who carried children on one hip while dealing with the meat and potatoes of life on the other. There are the scar slashes where a breast used to be. Her body has been ransacked of its treasures. The outline of the pacemaker is sheltered within her beautiful collarbones, from which her skin is neatly folded and hung.

“I can see her. She had the skin of sonnets, creamy, even as life seeped in those feathery lines than fanned from the edges of her eyes, especially when she smiled. She would say it’s because she drank a cup of hot water with lemon every morning. And, I can see her face as she looked in her bedroom mirror at night, her little finger bent with arthritis smoothing cream across the contours of her face, and sometimes she could catch a glimpse of the woman who lived inside of her. Her eyes once brown, now laced with blue and green. Green like mine.”

-Jacqueline Markowitz, Conversations for Two

I honestly haven’t read anything so good in months, perhaps even a year. This is a book that stays with you in your heart as you live your life, quietly staying shadowed in the background. It’ll ease back out every now and then with a good quote or a simple word or two pertaining to my life’s goings-on. If I had to describe it simply, I would say it is a sigh on the wind. Quiet and peaceful, and now a part of me as the wind is part of the earth.

WE THAT ARE LEFT by Clare Clark

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4 out of 5

This story about how the haunting nature of World War One permeated all generations after it and the everlasting scars that the war left behind follows Jessica Melville and Oscar Greenwood (née Grunewald) as they navigate the pseudo-purgatory that encased Europe immediately following 1918. Being the same age as the boys who fought, Jessica and Oscar are surrounded by the ghosts of war. Jessica finds solace in the London nightlife, but reminders of the dead eventually seep into even those dingy underground rooms. Oscar, always the intellect, feels it to be his duty to continue the work that the dead were robbed of before an intense love affair distracts him from his studies. Clark writes dialectic turns of phrase that are at times captivating, at others awkward, replicating actual speech well. In her surprising word choices that create a rich and melodious prose, Clark expresses a depth of understanding for the youth of this period who were left behind as the war raged on the continent that is rarely matched. Though the beginning did not metamorphose well into the ending—Oscar, in particular, seamlessly transformed from an incredibly frail, perhaps even obsessive, child into a largely faultless Prince Charming in his adulthood—the experience of reading We That Are Left was quite pleasant in its entirety. Fans of Downton Abbey should not hesitate to pick this up as a balm for their withdrawal, as Clark offers another look into the worlds of upper- and middling-class England during the war years that is perhaps more realistic and definitely juicier.