The Bakka-Phoenix Frequent Buyer Discount has rocketed into the, erm, present.

March 15th, 2018
The discount bookmarks: We’ve filled them, lost them, stuck them in books for years, gleefully found enough of them to buy all new books when we’re supposed to be moving house, watched them explode all over our desk, and shared them with friends and family.

Now, as is the inevitable destiny of all fleshly things, their consciousness has been uploaded.

That’s right: We’re going digital.


What you need to know:
Going forward, we’ll track your purchases in-store–so no more losing bookmarks–and you’ll get the exact same discount as you always have with the frequent buyer card. The only thing that changes is how you redeem it and the amount of work going in for everyone.

How does that work, Bakka staff?
In short, it’s a digital points system tied into our register. For every $10 you spend, you’ll get a dollar of credit points (so, our traditional frequent buyer’s 10%). Once you’ve earned $50 worth of points, they become spendable as credit.

What if my credit purchase is less than $50?
The unused credit will turn back into points and stay in your account, getting you ahead of the game for your next credit.

Do I have to redeem at $50?
Nope! If you have your eye on something really big, bide your time.

Do the points ever expire?
As long as you make one (1) purchase in a 12-month period–so it’s not been more than a full year since your last purchase–the points will keep accumulating. If you don’t, they expire, but will start up again with your next purchase.

Can I redeem the points in the same transaction that takes me to $50?
Nope. We subscribe to a linear timestream. If you want to hit us up with them five minutes later, though, go for it.

This sounds suspiciously like cryptocurrency.
But it’s not. We are automating for your laziness and ours.

What if I already have a card, in-store or with me?
We’ll still honour any and all full bookmarks, and if your card isn’t full, we’ll translate your previous purchases into points and keep counting from there. If you have your card on you, please just bring it in and we’ll get you set up–and there’s no limit date on that. Find one five years from now? We’ll do it.

What information do you need to set up the account?
Just your name; we aren’t collecting a whole lot of information. We just want to make sure we know your points go with you.

Any questions?
Call us or drop in with as many bookmarks as you can find. We will happily explain it with many large hand gestures and set you up with a frequent buyer account.

First New Releases of March

March 6th, 2018

New books for a wet and snowy Tuesday!

GOOD GUYS, Steven Brust
SHAPE OF WATER, Guillermo Del Toro
BURN BRIGHT, Patricia Briggs
BLOOD OF THE FOUR, Christopher Golden
RESTORE ME, Tahereh Mafi

Trade Paperback
BEAST IS AN ANIMAL, Peternelle Van Arsdale
NEW YORK 2140, Kim Stanley Robinson
RAVEN KING, Maggie Stiefvater
STRANGE BIRD, Jeff Vandermeer
COLD EYE, Laura Anne Gilman
STAR DESTROYERS, Christopher Ruocchio
CROWN OF WISHES, Roshani Chokshi
SONG RISING, Samantha Shannon
WARRIOR WITHIN, Angus Mcintyre
SHADOW RUN, Michael Miller
QUIETUS, Tristan Palmgren
FIREBRAND, Kristen Britain
THE SILVER GATE, Kristin Bailey

Mass Market

Swords, history, and fantasy with Sebastien de Castell, Miles Cameron, and Nicholas Eames!

January 27th, 2018

It’s the shortest, slushiest month of the year. Which is why we are attacking it with swords.

Join us for a panel of literally sword-wielding authors — Sebastien de Castell, Miles Cameron, and Nicholas Eames — at 3:00 pm on Saturday, February 3, to discuss history, fantasy writing, and pointy things with sharp edges.

Sebastien de Castell has worked as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor, and product strategist, and is the author of the acclaimed swashbuckling fantasy series The Greatcoats. His debut novel, Traitor’s Blade, was shortlisted for both the 2014 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Fantasy and the Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Debut. He lives in Vancouver, Canada with his lovely wife and two belligerent cats.

Nicholas Eames was born to parents of infinite patience and unstinting support in Wingham, Ontario. Though he attended college for theatre arts, he gave up acting to pursue the infinitely more attainable profession of “epic fantasy novelist.” Kings of the Wyld is his first novel. Nicholas loves black coffee, neat whiskey, the month of October, and video games. He currently lives in Ontario, Canada, and is very probably writing at this moment.

Miles Cameron was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice and works as a full-time historical novelist, and it is the best job in the world.

Wherein we co-present Annalee Newitz at ChiSeries!

January 13th, 2018

We’ve shaken off our New Year’s fuzz and it’s back to the social whirl–with our first author appearance of the year!

We’ll be co-presenting California author and journalist Annalee Newitz–interviewed by Canada Reads finalist Madeline Ashby–at the January edition of the Chiaroscuro Reading Series! Join us on January 17th at 8:00 pm at the Round Venue, 152A Augusta Avenue, to hear excerpts and insights from Newitz, Kari Maaren (late of our 2017 Christmas party!), and local dark fantasy author Christian Adrian Brown.

2017 Bestsellers

January 3rd, 2018

We had lots of events here in 2017. We helped a lot of terrific customers find new things to read. And we sold a LOT of books. Here’s a list of our top ten sellers in each format.

(* = Canadian author)

1) WALKAWAY, Cory Doctorow*
5) TO GUARD AGAINST THE DARK, Julie E. Czerneda*
6) PROVENANCE, Ann Leckie
8) OATHBRINGER, Brandon Sanderson
9) LAST YEAR, Robert Charles Wilson*
10) RISE AND FALL OF D.O.D.O, Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland

Trade Paperback
1) LILITH’S BROOD, Octavia Butler
2) QUANTUM NIGHT, Robert J. Sawyer*
3) HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, Shirley Jackson
4) FIFTH SEASON, N.K. Jemisin
6) RECIPEARIUM, Costi Gurgu*
8) WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, Ursula K. Le Guin
9) DISPOSSESSED, Ursula K. Le Guin
10) OBELISK GATE, N.K. Jemisin

Mass Market
1) NEUROMANCER, William Gibson*
3) 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson
4) GOBLIN EMPEROR, Katherine Addison
5) HANGING TREE, Ben Aaronovitch
7) NAME OF THE WIND, Patrick Rothfuss
8) WAY OF KINGS, Brandon Sanderson
9) GOOD OMENS, Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
10) WISE MAN’S FEAR, Patrick Rothfuss

We also want to give a special shout-out to HAIL TO THE CHIN by Bruce Campbell, of which we sold more in a single afternoon than any other title… pretty much ever.

The Last New Books of 2017!

December 28th, 2017

We are in the late December, and the last new releases of the year have arrived!


KILL ALL ANGELS, Robert Brockway
NEMO RISING, C. Courtney Joyner

Trade Paperback

CARVE THE MARK, Veronica Roth
FEVER CODE, James Dashner

Boxing Week!

December 27th, 2017

It’s Boxing Week, and we’re back in store with something a little different this year!

We’ll have our usual 10% off everything in the store, with 25% off selected titles, which include 2017 hardcovers, new picture books, graphic novels, and more. The sale table will change up through the week, so check in to see if your favourite author’s there!

The Bakka-Phoenix Books 2017 Staff Picks, Part 3: Non-Fiction!

December 23rd, 2017

We’re running out of 2017, which means it’s time for the Bakka-Phoenix annual staff picks: a shoutout to some of the books we loved this year. Between the award-winners, bestsellers, and marquee series, we found a double handful of reads that made us laugh, think, and go what if…

We’re finishing off our staff’s favourite 2017 reads today with Part 3: Our Nonfiction Picks!



Our fiction picks of the year!



Ben’s pick: Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction, Grady Hendrix

A look into the boom and bust of the paperback horror market of the later 20th century. It’s both funny, as it skewers the ludicrous storylines and even more ridiculous covers, and insightful, as it looks into the social, economic, and political climates that made them relevant.

Worth checking out if you remember the glory days of pulp schlock, or want to see what old people were afraid of last century.

Chris’s picks: Everyone’s a Aliebn When ur a Aliebn Too: A Book, Jomny Sun

Sweet, poignant, funny: Everyone’s a Aliebn is part fable, part comic, with a dash of philosophical treatise on the side. No matter who you are, humabn, aliebn, or other, you’ll recognize yourself in this delightful adventure.

The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben

No, it’s not SFF. Trust us, though, it’s really interesting. The author, a forester with decades of experience, will convince you that trees are the original social network. A thoughtful, compelling read.

Leah’s picks: Sleeping With Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Liz Bourke

A collection of Bourke’s Sleeping With Monsters column, essays, and reviews, this is a slice of one of the most interesting critical perspectives in the genre today: intersectional, historically-informed, and reading across everything from queer pulps to core epic fantasy to video games. Sleeping With Monsters ends up more than the sum of its parts: putting together a picture of genre tropes in this moment, and how they’re enduring–and changing.

The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults, Cheryl B. Klein

From former Scholastic and current Lee & Low editor Cheryl Klein, The Magic Words is one of the most balanced how-to books out there. Addressing craft, business, the publication process, and full of exemplars and exercises, this is a nose-to-tail view of writing and publishing fiction for young readers.

Kristen’s picks: The Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson

The first translation of Homer’s epic by a woman scholar, and well worth the read.

Soonish, Kelly and Zach Weinersmith

It’s a non-fiction book by the creators of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, investigating ten emerging discoveries that will save and/or doom us all. Mwa ha ha! No, seriously, it’s eye-opening.

Rebecca’s pick: Ask an Astronaut: My Guide to Life in Outer Space, Tim Peake

A fun and in-depth look into the life of an astronaut, from training to be one, adjusting to and living in space, what-if situtations, and favourite buttons aboard the ISS.

The Bakka-Phoenix Books 2017 Staff Picks, Part 2: YA and Kids’ Fiction

December 22nd, 2017

We’re running out of 2017, which means it’s time for the Bakka-Phoenix annual staff picks: a shoutout to some of the books we loved this year. Between the award-winners, bestsellers, and marquee series, we found a double handful of reads that made us laugh, think, and go what if…

We’ll be posting our staff’s favourite 2017 reads over the next few days, and today is Part 2: Our YA and Kids’ picks.



Chris’s picks: The Wolf The Duck & The Mouse, Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

When a mouse is swallowed by a hungry wolf, it despairs. But deep inside the wolf’s belly, the mouse meets a duck. Together, they learn how to really live their lives, even given the… unusual circumstance. Funny, subversive, and appealing.

Thread War, Ian Donald Keeling

Johnny and Shabaz have returned to the Skidsphere from the Thread, and life will never be the same. Together, they try to improve the system from within, but not every Skid wants to change. Even worse, the cracks in the Skidsphere are growing. Facing enemies on all sides, it’ll take everything they have to keep the Skids safe – and that might not be enough.

Fast, fun, and moving. Thread War is an excellent follow-up to last year’s The Skids, winner of the Copper Cylinder Award.

Leah’s picks: The Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black

Blue’s sister Cass promised to always call home on the anniversary of their folk-singer mother’s death. This year, she didn’t: so, armed with her mother’s guitar and the premonition that Cass is in trouble, Blue goes to the crossroads at midnight and deals with the devil to find her big sister. While the devil enchants her plain brown boots to always point to where Cass is, she takes Blue’s voice in return—and that is how Blue sets off across America to bring her sister home.

The Devil and the Bluebird is one of the most stunning, heart-breaking, heart-making books I’ve read this year. I read it until 4am, and then I hugged it and laughed and cried. Rife with grief, love, discovery, unexpected kindnesses, subtle magic, and ghosts both literal and metaphorical—Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie included—it is one of those special books that is both heart-poundingly compelling and quietly wise about what makes people be both the best and worst of themselves.

Change Places With Me, Lois Metzger

Change Places With Me is the only YA novel I have ever seen blurbed by Kim Stanley Robinson. And it doesn’t take long to realize why.

Rose wakes up one morning happy: happy enough to change her hairstyle, make friends with the classmates she’s never spoken with before, and pet the neighbour dogs who used to terrify her. And there is something absolutely off about her contentment with the world.

I have rarely seen YA-oriented science fiction written with such skill and subtext as this: a speculative element that seeps up like groundwater into a revelation that’s all the more impactful because of how quiet it is. Change Places With Me is magnificent: a soft, deliberate, oblique novel about coming to terms with oneself, absolutely entwined with how a standard science-fiction technology impacts the life of one girl.

And I Darken, Kiersten White

And I Darken is a straight historical political thriller—with one twist: Instead of following a young Vlad Dracul’s youth as a hostage to the Turkish Empire, Vlad becomes Lada—and adds a new dimension to the political triangle that follows.

This is not the book I thought I’d like: genderflipped historicals are not usually my wheelhouse. But White deploys an utterly absorbing mix of political maneuvering and character work, intrigue and menace, topped off with evocative prose you can’t help but fall into, and I found myself up at 4am going just one more chapter before bed.

Eliza and Her Monsters, Francesca Zappia

Eliza and Her Monsters is a Book About Fandom—but it’s also so much -more-. Eliza floats through life as a weird, friendless small-town high school senior, devoting all her time to her secret life as LadyConstellation, creator of wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Until the most popular fic writer in Monstrous Sea fandom transfers to her high school, and Eliza starts cautiously navigating a life outside her creation—and what drives her relationship to art and life in the first place.

There is an incredibly astute kindness to Eliza and Her Monsters: both for the fans who love fantasy worlds and the needs of the people who create them. I’ve rarely seen a more nuanced look at what making or loving a fantasy world -is-, embedded in a story that’s fun and funny and sincerely gripping.

Tangled Planet, Kate Blair

After a 400-year journey, generation ship Venture–seventeen-year-old Ursa’s home–has finally reached its destination. But instead of the untouched paradise Beta Earth is supposed to be, Ursa’s first night there features a discovered corpse–and the glint of sharp teeth in the woods. Part mystery, part core science fiction, and part a compassionate look at change, anxiety, and what opportunity does to our hearts, Tangled Planet balances adventure, danger, safety, and the places we end up–good and bad both–in trying to keep our loved ones safe.

Michelle’s picks: Mighty Jack And The Goblin King, Ben Hatke

Jack’s sister Molly has been kidnapped by an ogre. He and his friend Lilly set out after her, but the rescue is more difficult than they could have imagined. Injured, alone, afraid, they must face monster within and without in order to survive. Like everything Hatke does, it’s both charming to look at and deeply moving.

Harriet the Invincible, Ursula Vernon

Harriet is an usual princess, and not just because she’s a hamster. She likes math, and fighting with swords. And she’s fated to fall under a curse when she’s twelve, but that news fills her with excitement instead of dread. Because Harriet realizes that until the curse lands, she’s invincible! So it’s time for this princess to set out to right some wrongs, hero-style. Truly charming.

The Bakka-Phoenix Books 2017 Staff Picks, Part 1: Adult Fiction

December 21st, 2017

We’re running out of 2017, which means it’s time for the Bakka-Phoenix annual staff picks: a shoutout to some of the books we loved this year. Between the award-winners, bestsellers, and marquee series, we found a double handful of reads that made us laugh, think, and go what if…

We’ll be posting our staff’s favourite 2017 reads over the next few days, starting with Part 1: Our adult fiction faves.


Our fiction picks of the year!


Ben’s pick: Valiant Dust, Richard Baker

Like most modern military SF, Valiant Dust owes a debt to David Weber, but quickly establishes its own identity. Featuring a diverse cast living in a truly multicultural galaxy—Sikh officers serving in a Roman republic, on a moderate Muslim planet!–this is military SF that grasps the nuances of living in a truly cosmopolitan culture, plus intrigue, investigations, ground support, and the obligatory space battle. Also: space Montreal. Space Montreal!

Chris’s pick: Winter of Ice and Iron, Rachel Neumeier

The gods may be unknowable but the Immanent spirits interact with provincial rulers, influencing and being influenced by the families they bond with. Kehera’s family’s Immanent is known for its patience and fecundity. The Immanent that suffuses Innisth, the infamous Wolf Duke of Eanete is cold, ambitious, and even cruel. But when the dragons of midwinter force Kehera and Innisth to work together, they both discover truths about themselves they could never have imagined. This is not the book you’re thinking it will be from that description… It’s so much more. The magic is dense and complicated, and unwinds slowly: so do the characters. As always, Neumeier delivers an original and compelling story, full of gorgeous language and complex emotions.

Leah’s pick: All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault, James Alan Gardner

With that title, it was basically impossible for All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault to be anything but slyly, goofily, exuberantly fun. Gardner writes a diverse group of undergrads who find themselves superpowered after a very Canadian sort of lab accident with humour, humanity, and flair, and provides real stakes–both in Kim’s relationships and the fate of the world–without ever losing that sense of buoyancy.

Michelle’s pick: The Stone in the Skull, Elizabeth Bear

Set in the universe of Range of Ghosts, this features new characters; knowledge of previous books not required. Put a man who swore an oath to protect a ruler who no longer exists beside a man who agreed to become a beating heart in a brass body in order to live long enough to take his revenge—which he’s done. Set adrift by the absence of purpose, they take the usual odd jobs as guards or messengers, and one of those jobs sends them into kingdoms almost at war. There, caught up in the hostilities, they might find the purpose that their lives have lacked: a lord to serve until death; a person to possibly love.

Rebecca’s pick: The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland

Sci-fi meets fantasy in this story of time travel and witches. Told through a series of reports, letters, interoffice communications, and memos, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. tells of a secret government entity working to restore magic that starts out as two individuals in a cramped office translating shreds of old documents that rises to a fully functional time traveling bureaucratic entity. Perhaps due to Galland’s influence, this novel isn’t as sciency, info-dumpy and technical as you might expect from a Neil Stephenson novel. Don’t go into this expecting a hard sci-fi novel. A lot of the science works with a bit of hand-waving Schrodinger’s cat explanations and the occasional deeper foray into many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. D.O.D.O. is a funny and ludicrous novel involving everything from the fall of Constantinople, Elizabethan England, and Viking epic poems about raiding Walmart.

Kristen’s pick: River of Teeth, Sarah Gailey

The Unforgiven. With hippos, not horses. Wait–hear me out.

In the early twentieth century, some bright spark had the idea of farming hippos for meat in the Louisiana bayous. Saner heads prevailed, but Sarah Gailey has taken this idea, pushed it back 50 years, and given us a story of hippo-riding cowboys, questionable loyalties, revenge, riverboats, and a vast lake full of what is, pound for pound, the most terrifying of invasive species–feral, man-eating hippos. Short, punchy, and adrenaline-charged.

Bonus multi-staff favourite: Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee

Although this was a 2016 title, we’re loving Lee’s Machineries of Empire novels. Sharply written, absolutely involving, and deeply innovative in its exploration of consensus reality, history, culture, war, and regret, they’re readable, moving, and brilliant at the same time. Start with Ninefox Gambit.