Finally Fall Book Tag

My first ever tag! This really is a momentous occasion.

Autumn and winter are definitely my favourite seasons. The colours, the warm drinks, the extra reading time from being inside that just is already a thing because of coronavirus. Small victories? Anyway, this tag was created by Tall Tales over on YouTube.

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

5 out of 5 stars

Ok, so I also read the original Grisha Trilogy around the same time I read Crooked Kingdom, which was like a month ago (yes, I am the last one to the party) but I found Kerch a lot more interesting than Ravka. I loved the aspect of literally worshipping money and commerce and how it fit in with Kaz being obsessed with his kruge (the Kerch currency). Also probably my favourite fantasy book so far so this needed to be on the list.

*****

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

4 out of 5 stars

Can I just preface this by saying… this book was definitely worth the hype. Anyway, this book was beautifully written. Though I do think the main reason it got 4 stars and not 5 was because I found quite a jarring shift in the complexity and beauty of the writing between Monique’s perspective and Evelyn’s story. It might just have been to distinguish their voices but I didn’t enjoy the writing style used for Monique as much. Besides that, the ending especially dealt a lot with grief, letting go and morality surrounding death which was honestly so amazing to read.

*****

3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it. 

4.5 out of 5 stars

I rarely read memoirs, but Educated makes me want to read more. I’d heard so much about this book and it’s been sitting on my shelf for ages so I picked it up for a break from my fantasy heavy TBR. Am I mentally kicking myself for not reading this earlier and loving it for longer? Maybe. Am I also glad that I got to read it for the first time? Maybe. Anyway, this book taught me a lot about the Mormon, ‘survivalist’ community which I’d honestly never heard of and (this is super cheesy) also kind of reminded me of the value of the amazing education that I’m getting. I don’t know if this last part makes a lot of sense, but it was a super hopeful book. It wasn’t incredibly happy, but it ended with a note of hope.

*****

4. In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

5 out of 5 stars

Ok, yes. I already added Crooked Kingdom. But (and this is a big but), this is the first book and I would be remiss if I used anything other than the Crows for my answer. This is literally my biggest book dream, to somehow be a part of the Crows. I just want to scheme with Kaz and learn to climb roofs with Inej and eat waffles with Nina and grumble under my breath with Matthias and play cards with Jesper (and let him win) and makes bombs with Wylan. OK? OK.

*****

5. The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-colored spines!

To me, fall colours are red, orange, gold and yellow. The books I chose are Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin, Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (read), Circe by Madeline Miller (read), King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo, Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks (read), Illuminae by Jay Kritoff and Amy Kaufman (read) and Stormbird and Bloodline by Conn Iggulden from the War of the Roses series. I haven’t technically read all of them… (I should save Almost Autumn for when it’s Almost Autumn which means I can hold out till next year. Right? Right?) But I hope to get to King of Scars soon after I finish Ruin and Rising, the last book in the Grishaverse trilogy.

*****

6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.

“Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are.”

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.

In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves – and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.

Now ninety-five years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life – and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. “At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time,” she muses. “After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.” Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.

5 out of 5 stars

City of Girls is an old favourite that I’m currently *ahem, ahem* rereading (my TBR is not happy with me and the ever-growing pile of books is eyeing my very unhappily). I cannot recommend this enough. The characters! The setting! The relationships! This honestly reminds me a lot of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo so if you enjoyed that, I would give this a go. There was also a character who low key reminded me of Evelyn Hugo, but maybe that’s just me.

*****

7. The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read.

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

5 out of 5 stars

Yes, this is the third Leigh Bardugo book I’ve used and yes, it’s another five star read, but hopefully you’ll excuse my current obsession with the fantasy queen. As I said before, I’m late to the aforementioned party. Anyway, this was dark, this was creepy, this gave me all the dark academia and occult secret society vibes I need in life. Also! This wasn’t a super huge part of the book but I enjoyed the discussion that kind of started about ‘white’ feminism and intersectional feminism though I do wish it had been a little better developed.

*****

8. The days are getting colder: name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.

A book of hope for uncertain times.

Enter the world of Charlie’s four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons.

The conversations of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared thousands of times online, recreated in school art classes, hung on hospital walls and turned into tattoos. In Charlie’s first book, you will find his most-loved illustrations and some new ones too.

no rating

I’m not going to say too much about this because I mentioned it in my wrap up, but this was cute, fun and wholesome and it genuinely surprised my because of how much I enjoyed it. It was a mostly picture book and super, super short so I couldn’t exactly rate it, but a fun time and it definitely warmed my heart. Also, it has Chris Evans’ stamp of approval. What more do you need to read it.

*****

9. Fall (luckily, it’s my favourite season) returns every year: name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon.

IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. 

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

Ok, so this is an old favourite that I used to literally gush over and there are a bunch of reasons that make me want to reread it. Mainly, the sequel is coming out in November (which I am nervous about because I think it’s kind of a money grab and completely unnecessary). Besides that, I kind of miss it and I want to reach for a comfort read where the plot ties up (a little too) neatly at the end and I know exactly what happens. Also, I’ve read a lot of horrible dystopian fiction recently and I need to remind myself that I don’t completely hate the genre. I don’t think this is an objectively amazing book but it has a lot of nostalgia for me.

*****

10. Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: share your favourite cozy reading “accessories”!

I don’t have a lot of reading accessories but recently I’ve enjoyed listening to Folkore while reading (listening to music while reading is a controversial topic but I enjoy it) so I guess that kind of counts? Also, I suppose my blanket is a cozy reading accessory.

*****

Let me know if you enjoyed this book tag, I sure as heck did, and want to see more tags from me! I’d love to do another one and leave some recommendations in the comments if you want any specifically. Thanks for reading!

3 thoughts on “Finally Fall Book Tag

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