Confessions of a Book Addict

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Exploring Five of Toronto’s Best Bookshops!

Be Warned: This post is long, but contains lots of pictures about bookstores in Toronto! 

I had a very fun and memorable adventure yesterday. If you know anything about me, then you know that I am absolutely in love with the idea of adventure (especially when said adventure has me encountering many book stores!) 

Along with my good friend and co-worker, Yasmine (who runs yasminereads), I explored a handful of book stores that promised us a wonderful day. We decided to check out both used and indie shops with a goal in mind of buying at least one book from each shop. 

A lot of photos were taken and a pretty nicely sized haul was our prize!

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1. Mabel’s Fables

Where is it? 662 Mt. Pleasant Road

What is it? Independent Children’s Book Shop 

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Mabel’s Fables is a gorgeous little book store slightly hidden near a suburban and old-school neighbourhood in Toronto. Unlike downtown, this was a very quiet zone that allowed for readers to escape into a world of books. 

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This was a store with heart and though we hadn’t even entered yet, this cute little robot statue greeted us. We knew this would be something special. 

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Mabel’s Fables is a store that caters mainly to younger readers (New Borns-teens), and this is pretty evident when you step into the shop. There are colourful displays of toys, books, and intriguing posters on the walls. (In the picture: yasminereads)

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Each section (age group) was marked by lamps like the one in the picture with the age written in marker on the lampshade. 

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The atmosphere was so calm and quiet that it allowed for us to search through the shelves in peace. Above, you can see that just about anyone could come into the store and browse, despite the age groups featured. 

But the above pictures only showcase the first floor. This place was surprisingly large! The second floor catered to the older readers (middle grade-young adult). This was where Yasmine and I got really excited. 

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These were only a few of the posters on the walls as we climb the stairs to the second floor. 

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The view from above was just as impressive. This alcove showcased the only general fiction/nonfiction in the store, remaining true to its theme of being a mainly children’s bookstore. 

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The upper level of the store had enough books to make you curious and want to see everything, but not so much that you would feel overwhelmed. They carried books at the exact same price you would find at a corporate store, so the myth of overpriced indie stores didn’t work with this Independent bookstore. 

I ended up only getting one book because I knew I’d be visiting other stores during my visit to Toronto, but this was definitely the most memorable Indie store of the day!

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I got one book, a free bookmark/map, a Mabel’s Fables bookmark, two buttons, and a Mabel’s Fables tote!

BONUS PIC: Check out this house we spotted by Mabel’s Fables! 

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2. Eliot’s Bookshop

Where is it? Near Yonge & Wellesley

What is it? Secondhand Bookshop

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Eliot’s Bookshop was one of those bookstores that Yasmine and I had to look for closely, simply because it was hidden between two other buildings. But don’t let the facade trick you: this place is huge! 

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Though the building isn’t wide, it is very long, giving the aisles in this picture the appearance of being near-endless. The effect in person was amazing. 

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The stairs leading up to the second floor (of THREE LEVELS!) were decorated with books, recreating a popular visual expectation that readers often have when they enter a used bookstore. 

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The second floor was another large space with shelves full of books, and even one of those rolling ladders that Beauty had in her library. If this was our one and only destination in our day trip, then Yasmine and I could have easily stayed here for hours. 

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The store was beautiful because it was full of old books, it was quiet, and it had that particular smell that only older books could ever really have. Overall, this was a pretty good place to check out. By the way, this picture was taken on the third floor, which was mainly non-fiction books. 

Other than the fact that we had to leave our totes at the cash desk (so as to avoid thefts, the owner asks all customers to leave bags at the cash), this was a pretty awesome store.

I almost left with empty hands, but I found one book and three comics from 1988 just before calling it quits. 

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3. Glad Day Bookshop

Where is it? 598A Yonge Street

What is it? Independent LGBTQ Bookshop

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Glad Day Bookshop is the first LGBTQ bookstore I’ve ever been to and I have to say, it was a great experience! It is also a bit hidden, so we almost walked right past it—so, if you want to check it out, remember to keep an eye out!

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Glad Day is located on a second floor, giving it a slight air of mystery and privacy. 

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This was actually the smallest of the bookstores we visited. The effect was very cozy, especially since the employee on shift was pretty easy to find in case we had any questions.

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Despite its size, the selection was surprisingly large! We had a great time exploring something new and different. 

I bought a book that I’ve been wanting for a long time and got one bookmark from the employee on shift!

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4. BMV Books

Where is it? Yonge Street

What is it? Secondhand Book/Comic/DVD/Music/Magazine Shop

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BMV Books is a Toronto classic. I didn’t take pictures of the store inside because I feel like I’ve taken so many pictures before. To be honest, however, I was a bit too distracted by everything inside…sorry! 

There are a ton of graphic novels, used books, and so much more inside of this big store. 

Okay, fun story time! Yasmine and I recently saw a trailer for Horns, which stars Daniel Radcliffe and was written by Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son, a few years ago. You can find the trailer here and the teaser (my favourite of the two) here. Anyway, we wanted to get the book and had been looking all day for it. Then when we were in BMV Books, I found the book and nearly scared the crap out of an older man who was standing in front of the books because of how excited I was. I had found two copies. TWO, NOT ONE. It was like a sign that we were meant to own and read this book! So, yeah, we bought it…for $3.99! 

Anywho, I also ended up finding lots of other cool things! Here’s my haul: 

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5. Silver Snail 

Where is it? Yonge Street

What is it? A Specialty Independent Comic Shop image

Whereas Mabel’s Fables was awesome in its dedication to young reader books, the Silver Snail was an awesome ode to comics. The entrance itself hints at what you’re bound to find inside. 

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One of the first things visitors might see is the life-size Spiderman hanging from the ceiling over the stairs leading up to the shop. It’s hung in such a way that if you don’t look up, you just might miss it. 

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In fact, there are hidden figures everywhere. I apologize for the less than great picture, but if you look carefully on the left hand side (near the corner of the above picture) you can see a very shadowy Gollum, which Yasmine noticed before we left. Also, there’s a coffee shop with superhero lattes!

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The store was very busy, so I couldn’t get a lot of pictures, but if you’re a huge fan of comics and super heroes (among other fandoms), then I recommend that you stop by this gem while you’re in Toronto. There are so many selections and a lot of collector’s items.

I ended up walking away with a new graphic novel that I’ve been searching for, and two Archie comics. I would have purchased more, but by that time my funds were already seriously depleted.

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After a great late lunch at Korean BBQ, Yasmine and I bid adieu to Toronto and returned home. Overall, it was a great day and though it started with some rain, the day quickly turned sunny. 

I hope to do something like this again soon and hopefully in the future, I will one day explore bookshops from around the world!

Happy reading!

Review: A Lamb in Wolfe’s Clothing (now titled Waking Wolfe) by S.L. Shelton (5/5 Stars)

Release Date: November 19, 2013 

Author Info: S.L. Shelton

Series: Scott Wolfe

Age Group: Adult (Maybe even New Adult) 

Genres: Suspense, Thriller, Romance, Adventure, Travel

Format: Finished Copy

Publisher: CreateSpace

Source: Author

ISBN-13:   9781494388836

Goodreads: A Lamb in Wolfe’s Clothing

Buy: Amazon | Chapters | Barnes & Noble 

Rating: 

Scott Wolfe is a talented computer and electronics security specialist and an avid rock climber. He’s a pretty typical twenty-something; he likes to party, he’s bad at relationships, and he is a bit more adventurous than common sense would dictate.

He does have one trait that makes him atypical, though. That gift is the secret to his professional success—and it comes in quite handy when a rash decision turns his life upside down.

How much responsibility does a man have for the life of an ex-girlfriend? That’s the question Scott had to ask himself when Barb Whitney, her father (a State Department Attorney)and twenty eight other diplomats and their families, were supposedly killed in a terrorist attack in Amsterdam.

When Scott gets a text message from Barb’s phone after the explosion, he is propelled into an adrenaline charged operation, worthy of the intelligence agencies he is trying to avoid.

Dodging killers, organized crime, mercenaries and the CIA, he struggles against a clock that even he doesn’t know is ticking.”

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A Lamb in Wolfe’s Clothing (now titled Waking Wolfe) by S.L. Shelton was one of those books where you jump in hoping for, at the very least, a semi-entertaining read, but instead end up craving more after turning the last page. Shelton’s debut took me by surprise and I have to say, it was awesome. I’m one of those readers who are always interested in the action genre but never actually get around to reading it—yeah, well, this is a book that definitely fed that craving. Never lacking in the action department, impressive twists and turns, and an intelligent storyline made this one a thrilling read.

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Review: After the End by Amy Plum (4/5 Stars)

Release Date: May 6, 2014

Author Info: Amy Plum

Series: After the End

Age Group: Young Adult 

Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Mystery, Thriller, Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher: HarperTeen

Source: Edelweiss

ISBN-13:   9780062225627

Goodreads: After the End

Buy: Amazon | Chapters | Barnes & Noble 

Rating: 

She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They’ve survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she’s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.”

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After the End is the first book I’ve read by Amy Plum and I have to admit that I’m not at all disappointed. Though I was skeptical going in, I was genuinely surprised to see how quickly I fell in love with this story. The blending of genres in this one acts as a great reminder of society’s near-obsession with the idea of a dystopian world. Unconventional and surprisingly addictive, After the End is a fantastic contemporary read.

Before I get too into this review, let’s set the record straight. This is NOT a dystopian or a post-apocalyptic novel. This is a contemporary novel with a hint of the paranormal, thanks to the protagonist’s unique abilities. Yes, the story is introduced as a possible dystopian or post-apocalyptic setting, but it is not. 

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Review: Renegade (MILA 2.0, #2) by Debra Driza (5/5 Stars)

Release Date: May 13, 2014

Author Info: Debra Driza

Series: MILA 2.0

Age Group: Young Adult 

Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Source: Edelweiss

ISBN-13:   9780062090393

Goodreads: MILA 2.0 Renegade

Buy: Amazon | Chapters | Barnes & Noble 

Rating: image

BE WARNED: This is a sequel—the review will be hidden from this point in order to avoid any unwanted spoilers.

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Review: Rebel (Reboot, #2) by Amy Tintera (5/5 Stars)

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Release Date: May 13, 2014

Author Info: Amy Tintera

Series: Reboot

Age Group: Young Adult 

Genres: Dystopian, Adventure, Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher: HarperTeen

Source: Edelweiss

ISBN-13:   9780062217103

Goodreads: Reboot Rebel

Buy: Amazon | Chapters | Barnes & Noble 

Rating: image

BE WARNED: This is a sequel—the review will be hidden from this point in order to avoid any unwanted spoilers.

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Today I had the awesome opportunity of heading down to one of Burlington’s oldest used bookstores, The Book Nook, with a friend. After one or two wrong turns (because it is very small on the outside and hidden beside a Starbucks), I finally found myself surrounded by used books. 

It was pretty amazing. 

After asking the gentleman working behind the counter if I could take pictures for a blog post, I set out on my own to explore the stacks while waiting for my friend.

As you can probably see, the selection was extensive. The shelves were overflowing with books, making the shopping experience truly unique and exciting, since one could never know what s/he might stumble upon. 

Established approximately 25 or so years ago, The Book Nook is a small oasis for old books and gently used texts. The man running the store was polite and made for a unique experience, especially with the lilting tunes of oldies over a radio. 

Earlier in the morning, I’d decided not to purchase any books—but to hell with that. I ended up buying three old books (think 1940s-1970s) that are in great condition, and one newer book that I’ve been eyeing for some time at work. The Jane Austen title featured above was one of the beautiful finds that I didn’t purchase, but it was still a gorgeous discovery.

The prices were reasonable for such old texts, since it’s not like Value Village and Goodwill, where books are just something for a customer to glance over. Keeping that in mind though, they were cheaper than used books in Toronto bookstores.

The beauty of so many books, the many selections, and a great environment makes The Book Nook a must visit for anyone in the area!

Happy reading!

Review: My Date From Hell by Tellulah Darling (5/5 Stars)

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Release Date: October 31, 2013

Author Info: Website

Series: The Blooming Goddess Trilogy

Publisher: Te Da Media

Age Group: Young Adult

Pages: 288

Format: E-GALLEY

Source: Author

ISBN: 098805406X 

Goodreads: My Date From Hell

Review of First Book: My Ex From Hell

Buy: Amazon | Chapters 

Rating: image

Sophie Bloom’s junior year has been a bit of a train wreck. After the world’s greatest kiss re-awakened Sophie’s true identity as Persephone (Goddess of Spring and Savior of Humanity), she fought her dragon-lady guidance counselor to the death, navigated mean girl Bethany’s bitchy troublemaking, and dealt with the betrayal of her backstabbing ex, Kai (sexy Prince of Darkness). You’d think a girl could catch a break.

Yeah, right.

With Zeus stepping things up, it’s vital that Sophie retrieve Persephone’s memories and discover the location of the ritual to stop Zeus and Hades. So when Aphrodite strikes a deal that can unlock Sophie’s pre-mortal past, what choice does the teen goddess have but to accept?

The mission: stop media mogul Hermes from turning Bethany into a global mega-celebrity. The catch? Aphrodite partners Sophie and Kai to work together … and treat this suicide mission as a date. Which could work out for Sophie’s plan to force Kai to admit his feelings for her–if she doesn’t kill him first.

Add to that the fact that BFF Theo’s love life and other BFF Hannah’s actual life are in Sophie’s hands, and suddenly being a teenager—even a godlike one—seems a bit like … well, hell. Whatever happened to dinner and a movie?

The YA romantic comedy/Greek mythology fireworks continue to fly in My Date From Hell. Love meets comedy with a whole lot of sass in book two of this teen fantasy romance series. Breaking up is easy; dating is deadly.”

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Tellulah Darling is back with another awesome installment in her young adult series, The Blooming Goddess Trilogy. In My Date from Hell, the sequel to My Ex From Hell, Sophie, the protagonist, is back for more butt kicking adventures full of quirky characters, witty and quick dialogue, and of course, the inevitable romance that we have been anticipating since the first book made its debut. With great pacing and unforgettable characters, Darling’s sequel continues to be an original take on a classic tale.

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