Book Tag: The Flower Book Tag

Many of you will be aware of the fact that I live in Australia. This means that while all you Northern Hemisphere babies are currently enjoying my favourite season, Autumn/Fall (can you feel my jealously from here?), in the Southern Hemisphere we’re in the last month of Spring. Lately I’ve been feeling somewhat put out by all the Autumn themed tags that have been popping up on my feed so I decided, why not do something spring-y instead? And what screams spring more than FLOWERS?

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Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Anyway, this lovely tag is courtesy of Veronika & Sabrina over at Wordy and Whimsical. Let’s get to it.


ROSES: Traditionally Given as an Expression of Love

Favourite Romance In A Book

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Josh + Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating – Christina Lauren: Gosh, what is it about tags wanting me to pick favourites? Don’t you know that’s IMPOSSIBLE? How dare you! One of my favourites will just have to do and that’s Josh & Hazel. I love these two and all their opposites attract, friends to lovers wonderfulness. They just interact together so smoothly, flitting back and forth between funny and sweet with ease. Sure, I wish their ending had been a little different (and it’s the only reason this book didn’t get 5 stars), but I would gladly reread this over and over just to see them fall in love again.


Stargazer Lilies: Named for Their blooms that Face Skyward

Favourite Ambitious Character

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Stevie Bell (Truly Devious – Maureen Johnson): Again with the favourites. STOP. Because I seem to mention Mia, Spensa and Jude constantly, today we’re using Stevie Bell. Stevie’s dream is to become a famous detective just like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot and she believes solving the decades old mystery of Ellingham Academy is what’s going to get her there. However, there’s also the recent death of one of her classmates to keep her busy. Stevie is enthusiastic, intelligent, determined, and willing to do whatever she has to to find answers (even if it means putting herself at risk or nosing into other people’s business). She’s quirky, but it only makes her more endearing.


Peace Lilies: Known as Being One of the Easier Houseplants to Care For

A Book You Think Anyone Could Love

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Simon v the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli: I really, really wish I had something under the radar to use for questions like this but I don’t and honestly, I can’t think of a better answer than Simon (well, provided you aren’t homophobic, of course). There’s so much to love about this book and considering how popular it was when it came out, a heap of people agree with me. It’s just so darn sweet and uplifting. It’s also diverse, funny, and romantic without being sappy. I challenge anyone to finish this without a big smile on their face. I’m thinking 2021 might be the year for a re-read…


Chrysanthemums: Given on Mother’s Day in Australia

Favourite Fictional Mother

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Miss Honey (Matilda – Roald Dahl): Okay, so Miss Honey isn’t Matilda’s biological mother but she certainly acts like an amazing mum long before the adoption makes it official. Despite growing up in an abusive home with her terrible aunt, Miss Honey is kind, caring, smart, and loves her students. Most importantly, she recognises just how special Matilda is and constantly encourages her education, even if she has to press Matilda’s parents to ensure she gets the opportunities she deserves. If only we all had parents and teachers as wonderful as Miss Honey.


Spider Plants: Easy to Propagate

A Hyped-Up Book You Love

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The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss: There are A LOT of options for this one because I am a massive sheep when it comes to my book choices. I’ll go with TNotW for this prompt because when I order my GR Read shelf by average rating, this one is pretty close to the top and I gave it 5 stars. The immense degree of hype surrounding this book had me super worried I would end up massively disappointed but as you can see, I wasn’t. It may be chunky, but it’s worth it. The journey! World building! Witty protagonist! Despite the couple of problems I had, there’s just something about it. Plus, there’s a magic academy so…sold.


Lily of the Valley: Pretty but Poisonous

A Book with a Beautiful Cover that was Disappointing

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Wilder Girls – Rory Power: The cover for Wilder Girls is gorgeous. I fell in love the first moment I saw it. Unfortunately, the book itself just didn’t reach the amazing highs I’d hoped for. See, this is the problem with having expectations! While 3.5 stars is not a bad rating, don’t get me wrong, I can’t deny that I was disappointed with several elements. I enjoyed the atmosphere, body horror and variations in writing style at certain points, but wasn’t so keen on the open ending, mass of questions I was left with, and underdevelopment of both the characters and romantic subplot. I still think I’d read another book from the author though.


Orchids: One of the Oldest Flower Types Known to Man

FavoUrite Classic Novel

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The Secret History – Donna Tartt: I don’t read many books classified as classics and of those I have, there are a limited number that I like. To avoid using Pride & Prejudice again, I’m going with a modern classic – The Secret History. I read this a few months back and was super surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The narrator is unreliable, the pacing is slow, none of the characters are particularly good people and there’s an air of pretentiousness about it all. And yet, I really liked it. In fact, I would probably reread it in a few years just to see if I can pick up more of the details and foreshadowing I missed the first time around.


Peonies: Require Lots of Care

A Bookish Friendship that was Caring and Supportive

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House of Earth and Blood – Sarah J. Maas: I love a book with a great friendship. As I only just read it in September, HoEaB is still fresh in my memory. I had some issues with this book but I really liked the friendship between Bryce and her werewolf bestie Danika. This relationship is the heart of the novel and the driving force for the story. While the nature of it is a little complicated as Danika is dead for most of the book, that doesn’t diminish the novel’s ability to showcase the strength of their connection and the immense, sisterly love they have for one another. I can’t say too much more without delving into spoiler territory but honestly, the loyalty, faith and trust between these two is unwavering and wonderful.


Hyacinths: Have a Sweet & Lingering Fragrance

The Sweetest Novel You’ve Read

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10 Blind Dates – Ashley Elston: I’ve read quite a few books that I’d say are sweet and heartwarming. Most of them are YA contemporaries. To avoid using the same picks again, I’m using 10 Blind Dates. This book is definitely sweet and fluffy, plus it’s set at Christmas time which gives it some extra sweet points. The book revolves around the MC, Sophie, being set up on a bunch of fun and interesting dates by her relatives to help get her over her breakup. It’s a pretty innocent and enjoyable premise but what I liked most about this one was the family dynamics. Sophie’s big, crazy, Sicilian family is just so warm, quirky and supportive that you can’t help but love them.


Tulips: Bright, Popular & Showy

FavoUrite Larger Than Life Character

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Sevro Au Barca (Red Rising Series – Pierce Brown): While he’s not exactly “bright”, Sevro is certainly larger than life with his own sense of…er, flair. He’s one of those extremely memorable fictional characters with a highly defined appearance, voice and personality which makes him so easy to visualise in your head. He’s cunning, scrappy, vulgar, quick witted and never fails to go against society’s expectations. Basically, you’ll be hard pressed to forget he’s present in any scene he happens to be in (in the best way). However, deep down he’s also extremely loyal and has a sensitive side.


Water Lilies: Can be Difficult to Eradicate

A Novel that has Stood the Test of Time & Remained Your Favorite Through the Years

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The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger: I can’t even remember how old I was when I first read The Time Traveler’s Wife. Twelve, maybe thirteen? It feels like such a long time ago now. The book was a gift from my mum who, based on a recommendation from someone at the bookstore, thought I’d enjoy it. I loved this novel and it’s one of the few that has ever made me cry. I’ve re-read it a few times over the years (not recently though) but it still gives me the same feelings every read through. I appreciate the characters and enjoy following them through their lives, adore the love story, and my heart breaks at the ending.


Lavender: Has Many Uses – Landscaping, Food, Cosmetics & Essential Oils

A Book You Love That Fits in More than One Genre

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This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab: I really enjoyed this duology. I’m also still majorly impressed by how good the concept is: Monsters which manifest as a result of humans’ dark deeds and a city split in half based on the different approaches to dealing with them. The plot moves along at a decent pace and there’s a few twists thrown in here and there. The main characters are likeable, too, and their friendship is very well done. It’s fantasy, horror, and dystopia all wrapped up in one great little package that very easily keeps you turning pages until the end.



What’s your favourite flower? Mine is sunflowers! They’re just so bright and happy. While I was travelling in Italy over ten years ago, we drove past an entire field of them and it was such a beautiful sight.

I hope you’re all staying well and that you’ve got some great books to keep you company.

And That’s A Wrap: Jan and Feb 2020 Edition

Just like that, the first two months of 2020 are over. It feels as though it’s gone fairly quickly even though I’ve done basically nothing except work, read, blog and watch TV. Exciting stuff, I know. So far I’m really enjoying this more laid back approach to my yearly reading goal. There’s been a lot less stress and I’ve managed to tackle a few bigger books. There are also so many books that I’m super excited to read and re-read in the coming months which is such a great feeling. But let’s get to recap, shall we?

JANUARY

The Whisper Man – Alex North ★★★.5 | Review

A solid start to the year. The Whisper Man was an enjoyable read and well written. The characters were developed and realistic, and despite a few lulls in momentum, the story was engaging. As far as crime or thriller novels go, it was a decent book but where the novel really excels is its focus on grief and father-son relationships. The potential paranormal element was also a nice surprise.

Skyward – Brandon Sanderson ★★★★★ | Review

A re-read before tackling Starsight. Skyward was my favourite read of 2019 and after a second go around, I’m still 100% sure it was the right decision. I love this book – the characters, story, action, world building, humour and writing. It’s just fantastic all around.

Starsight – Brandon Sanderson ★★★★.5 | Review

I was nervous going into this but, in the end, I shouldn’t have been because Starsight was a great sequel. It was certainly different to Skyward in terms of its approach to plot, sense of momentum and themes, but still good different. I did miss some of the characters from book one but I loved seeing Sanderson’s universe expand in an exciting way and seeing our lead, Spensa, continue to grow.

Loveboat, Taipei – Abigail Hin Wen ★★★.5 | Review

Summer camp in Taipei! I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. While it’s pretty predictable, has too many side characters and tries to cover more heavier themes than it should, it’s still a good read. Loveboat does well where it looks at ideas of belonging, family and identity, and I really sympathised with the MC, Ever, and her classmates’ difficulties. The setting is a lot of fun and I picked up quite a few new bits of info about Taiwan. Also, yes, there is a love triangle but as both sides of it were likeable, it didn’t bother me much.

FEBRUARY

Becoming – Michelle Obama ★★★★★

I went with the audiobook on this one and I’m so glad I did. Listening to Michelle tell her own story, all the way from childhood through to leaving The White House, was both engaging and inspiring. I learnt a lot from this autobiography and in it Michelle discusses a wide range of things including politics, family, parenting, relationships, growing up working class, and the experiences of African Americans. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara ★★★★★ | Review

I did not see this book coming. I decided to read it on a whim and it ended up being the most surprising and emotional reading experience I’ve had in a long time. The writing was gorgeous and the characters just felt so real to me. It’s a long read and deals with some extremely tough subject matters (e.g. child sexual abuse, suicide, domestic violence, etc.) but despite the few issues I had, I honestly loved this book. It broke my heart and I cried. Hard.

10 Blind dates – Ashley Elston ★★★

This was a sweet, rom-com-esque holiday read. It’s nothing particularly memorable and unlikely to bump your favourite YA romance reads off their thrones, but it’s fun. 10 Blind Dates is exactly what it claims to be – a girl being set up on a bunch of blind dates with different guys to help get her mind off a break up. Plus, there’s a happy ending. I liked Sophie as a heroine and really loved her crazy, enormous, Sicilian family, which is really the heart of this book. If you’re after something light and cute (which I needed after A Little Life), this is a good choice.

The Family Upstairs – Lisa Jewell ★★ | Review to Come

For the majority of its run, I found The Family Upstairs a decent read. Even with the cult, child abuse, and mysterious deaths, it somehow gives off this weirdly laid back vibe which makes it very readable. I think it may be the writing. I liked the concurrent past and present timelines and although the twists in the story aren’t particularly shocking, I was okay with them. This would have been a 3 star read if not for the ending, which felt flat, weird and lazy, and my realisation that almost an entire plotline could have been removed without damaging the story at all.

To avoid you guys having to see the same book covers over and over again, I’m only going to include the books that I bought over the last two months and still have yet to read. Plus, it makes me look so much better spending wise. Also, although Crescent City was purchased this month, because it’s a pre-order, I won’t get it till after release day on March 3rd.

Just in case you missed them and there was something that would have interested you, here are my posts from Jan & Feb (excluding the book reviews which are linked above).

Life

As I mentioned earlier, life for me has been largely uneventful for the last two months. However, as I’m sure you’ve heard, I can’t say the same for my country. This summer has brought absolutely terrible bushfires, devastating floods, an extension of our longest and worst drought in history, and now a cyclone. Australia has always been a land of extreme weather, but this year’s has been far more extreme than ever before. I am extremely lucky to live in a city area where the impacts of things like this aren’t as prevalent but so many others haven’t been so fortunate. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to watch the news everyday for months on end and see images of people crying over the ruins of burned down homes, wildlife injured, killed or without habitats, and farmers desperately praying for rain in regions that look like dusty wastelands with the remaining livestock almost skeletal in appearance. The photos below come from near my grandpa’s farm in an area of regional NSW where fire destroyed more than 21,500 hectares of forest in just one day. I hope that things will get better soon because honestly, anything has to be better than this.

TV & Movies

On to something less serious. Here are some of the TV and Movies that have been occupying my time over the last few months. There’s a weird mix. There was the amazing (Sex Education S2, Unbelievable), good (Ready or Not, The Little Drummer Girl, Little Women), terrible yet addictive (The Circle), disappointing (P.S. I Still Love You, Titans S2) and just not my thing (Midsommar, Marriage Story). And yes, I may have fallen in love with Florence Pugh just a little bit.


And that’s a wrap on January and February 2020! I hope you’ve had a good start to the year and that there are plenty of fabulous books on the horizon for you.

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Hope to Find Under my Christmas Tree (Or Will Just Buy Anyway)

It’s pretty much a guarantee that any time I’m ever asked to write a Christmas list, it’ll include books. A bunch of books. Let’s face it, I definitely won’t get everything on this list but that won’t stop me going out to buy a stack for myself on Boxing day.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Illustrated Edition – J. K. Rowling & Jim Kay

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Goblet of Fire is my favourite book in the Harry Potter series so I am beyond excited that the illustrated edition releases have finally reached this point. Normally I race out and buy these editions myself but this time around I’ve exercised some self control and added it to my Christmas list instead. Hopefully come x-mas I’ll be happily flicking through and looking at all of Jim Kay’s gorgeous illustrations and seriously considering a Harry Potter re-read.


The Toll (Arc of a Scythe 3#) – Neal Shusterman

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I’ve been eagerly awaiting the final book in the Arc of a Scythe series for a little while now, especially after the cliffhanger that was the ending to Thunderhead. Ordinarily I would have gone out and bought this on release week (I almost did, in fact!) but I thought holding off and requesting it as a Christmas present might give me enough time to do a re-read of books 1 & 2. As you can probably guess, it hasn’t exactly worked out that way but fingers crossed I still find a copy under the tree come December 25th. If so, 2020 will 100% feature a full series read.


Starsight (Skyward 2#) – Brandon Sanderson

Skyward was one of my favourite reads of this year, so you can bet I had this sequel added to my to-read shelf before you could blink. I actually planned to buy this on the last day of November and even added it to my purchased books in the wrap up for that month. However, schedules changed and I didn’t have time. So, what’s a girl to do? Well, add it to her Christmas list, of course! This is a book I’ll be guaranteed to go out & buy right away if it doesn’t show up under my tree. Then I’ll have to deal with the agony of waiting until 2022 for book three! Ugh!


A Court of Thorns & Roses Collector’s Edition – Sarah J. Maas

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I have no idea what it is about special editions, but whenever they’re released I’m suddenly overcome with the desperate need to own them. The first book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series wasn’t my favourite, but there’s no way I can resist that beautiful, gold embossed hardback designed by Charlie Bowater. Clearly I was a magpie in another life – I’m just hopelessly attracted to shiny things. At least it’s a good excuse to re-read the series.


Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

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I’ve been thinking about reading Little Fires for a while now and have yet to get around to buying and reading it. Knowing that the adaptation will be coming out next year has certainly given me a push to get my butt in gear. I’ve heard amazing things about this novel, it even took home the 2017 Goodreads choice award for fiction. Here’s hoping for something dramatic and enjoyable (and also that it’s currently wrapped up in paper with a bow somewhere!)


Know My Name – Chanel Miller

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This year I’ve read several books both fiction and non-fiction which have dealt with sexual assault. It’s an issue I’m very passionate about and one that breaks my heart. I remember following the Brock Turner case back in 2016 and I also remember being disgusted by how it played out. The fact that Chanel Miller was willing to not only sit down and write a memoir about her experiences but put it out into the world under her own name is incredibly brave. I know it’s likely to be a tough read but it’s one that I want to do to support her.


The Whisper Man – Alex North

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Keeping with my ‘try to read more widely’ vibe in the wake of my book burn out woes, I’m really interested in giving The Whisper Man a go. This is a crime/thriller read, something I’ve started to take more of an interest in of late. The book has a heap of great reviews and the word on the street is that it’s gripping and a teensy bit scary. I’m really craving something creepy that’ll keep me hooked until the end. It’s been a while since I read something unputdownable. Pretty please, with a cherry on top.


10 Blind Dates – Ashley Elston

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It’s summer time, so I couldn’t write out a Christmas book list without asking for at least one YA contemporary! This book looks both super cute and fun, and the reviews I’ve seen so far have been really positive. I even love the cover with the title done up in gold balloons. The fact that it’s set at Christmas time also makes it a perfect read for this time of the year. It’s only a bit over 300 pages long so if I do happen to find it under my tree come Christmas day, maybe I’ll be able to squeeze it in before new years?


Sword of Destiny – Andrzej Sapkowski

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Adaptations. They always get me scurrying for the book/s. I read the first collection of The Witcher short stories, The Last Wish, back in 2018. I’ve always planned to continue with the series but haven’t gotten around to it. At the time I wrote my x-mas list, the Netflix series was only a few weeks away from release and my keenness to read Sword of Destiny was in full force. Now that I’ve watched all 8 episodes, it’s even more so. I’ve heard some of the stories in this collection aren’t as good as others but as it features Ciri’s introduction and her meeting with Geralt, it’s pretty important. Plus, one of my favourite episodes in the series is drawn from a short story in this collection.


Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan Matson

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Okay, so I haven’t read the last Morgan Matson book I bought yet (The Unexpected Everything) but that hasn’t stopped me from adding Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour to my Christmas list anyway. A road trip story with diners, cheap motels, meeting interesting people, Graceland, and two characters getting to know one another. From the sounds of it, it’s a solid summer read with some emotional baggage involved as well. I really loved Since You’ve Been Gone so I hope that Morgan’s debut is just as enjoyable.


Christmas is just one sleep away! I’m definitely looking forward to stuffing my face with amazing food, playing board games, and seeing my family open their gifts. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and that a couple of great books end up coming your in your direction.

**Top 10 Tuesday originated at The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl.