The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh | Book Review

Some of my recent reads have been all about flowers and I kind of love it. It’s perfect to fight winter woes and dream of Spring. The Language of Flowers was a book club pick and kinda made me want to memorize all the meanings of flowers too :)

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

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I thought the book started out strong. I enjoyed the plot and the way Diffenbaugh was weaving the story. She created secondary characters you were a fan of, like Renata and Mama Ruby.

But halfway through the book, some of the decisions Victoria made were too hard for me to handle. I want to say more, but that’ll give away major plot pieces, but there’s just some things I cringed at and it was hard to get past (if you’ve read the book, then let’s chat in the comments).

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but things wrapped up rather neatly as well. Or maybe rather too quickly. Sometimes when it’s as deep as what happened with the characters, it needs something more realistic.

I liked the idea of the book and was a big fan of all the flower knowledge and appreciated the look into the lives of older foster children, but the last half just wasn’t as strong as the first.

(Heads up: minor language)

Have any of y’all read this? I’d love to know what you thought of it!

Where to buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

…only one place in the world where these four hungers converge…

“But we live with more than pain and suffering. We also live with deep hungers within the human heart…The hunger for truth, as lies proliferate. The hunger for love, as we see hate ruling the day. The hunger for justice, as we see injustice mocking the law. The hunger for forgiveness, when we ourselves fail and stumble. The four stirrings grip the soul. As I see it, there is only one place in the world where these four hungers converge. That is at the cross.”
The Radical Cross by A.W. Tozer (from the forward by Ravi Zacharias)

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What can I say? This is one of those quotes I love and truly stirs my soul.

Fun Finds for the Booknerd #23

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It’s 2015 internet!!! And now that I’ve gotten used to writing 2015 on documents, we’re already creeping on February. I will say 2015 has started out rather nicely and I’m looking forward to what the following 11 months have in store!

P.S. Can you believe it’s almost two years since I’ve been posting Fun Finds?! So fun!

1. City Vignette Mug. Anthropologie is such a lovely store. They have such cute things, from wallets to mugs to clothes to vintage books. My favorite part of the store is the clearance section (because that is definitely more my price range), but surprisingly some of their regular priced items aren’t too insanely priced. Like these mugs! I love them and they make me want to go to England, sip some tea and read British books. :) $12.00

2. Penguin Classics Set. This is a very dangerous book shop. Crazy priced? Yes. But for collector of books, I’m drooling. At least they don’t have any of my boys – I don’t know how much I could resist. I really need to start hitting up used book shops and library sales. $225.00

3. Book corners. Has anyone ever had a bookmark that managed to escape from the book and the spot it was holding? I’m asking for a friend. Plus these little guys are all about speaking truth. $10.00

4. Word Nerd Canvas Book Bag. I don’t know why I love bags, but I do. Maybe because they’re a fun form of expression, but I have far too many than I need. Although I went through a “spring” cleaning/donation run, so I can buy more now right??? $14.95

5. Working out T-shirt. This shirt knows how to speak truth into my life. And proves I value a healthy lifestyle.

What are some fun things you’ve found? Do you have a favorite from this list?

#HedlundChallenge2015 January Discussion is Live!

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So it begins!! This month, Cassie over at Bookshelves and Windows is hosting so don’t miss out!! We’re discussing Unending Devotion (and after re-reading it I was reminded of how fantastic it is!).

—> Check out the post here! <—

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The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year!

4 Questions with Award Winning Author Siri Mitchell | Author Interview + Giveaway

Happy Monday everyone! Another week and another awesome 4 Questions for y’all! I have another lovely author for y’all to meet, so please enjoy getting to know more about award winning author Siri Mitchell! Also, if you haven’t read her latest, check out the giveaway at the end!

Siri Mitchell is the author of nearly a dozen novels, among them the critically acclaimed Christy Award finalists Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door. A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in business, she has worked in many different levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived in places as varied as Tokyo and Paris. Siri currently lives in the DC-metro area. Visit www.sirimitchell.com

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I included a couple questions about her latest release, Like A Flower in Bloom, because I loved it, so enjoy!

1. Where did your inspiration come from for this novel? Your write novels covering such different and interesting time periods or topics, they’re always so fascinating!
I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed them! The inspiration for this novel came from my library’s used book sale. I try to pay attention to my intuition as I browse because it always seem to know what I’m going to write before I do. On one of my visits, I picked up ‘Women of Flowers’ by Jack Kramer. It’s a collected biography of female Victorian botanical illustrators. There were dozens of them and they created such beautiful work, but in order to be published, most of them had to assume a man’s name or sell their work to a male editor so it could be published within his collections. It seemed so unjust and it made me so angry! The anger simmered for a couple years in my subconscious until it popped out in a story synopsis that I subsequently sold to my publisher.

2. What’s something you hope readers take away from this novel?
The best way to honor God is to be who he made you to be. His approval is so much more important than society’s.

And now 4 Questions!

1. What is something about your life right now that you would have never imagined 5 years ago?
I really didn’t expect that I would still be living in the same house that I was back then. As a child, my father’s jobs had us moving quite often and then after graduating from university, I married an Air Force officer and moved around some more. This will probably jinx it, but in July, it will be the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
I would have studied history in college. I got my degree in human resources management, but I’ve always loved history. Back then I didn’t quite understand that it was ok to do things that were easy and enjoyable. I had a sort of Puritan-ethic that encouraged me to take the hard road. Doing difficult things = ‘good for you’. Kind of like eating kale I suppose. Blech. In any case, taking the hard road led, in my case, straight to accounting and Introduction to Bonds(!) which I dropped before I could flunk it. They still don’t make any sense to me.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Outside of family milestones, I’d say it has to be when I went back to visit Paris after having moved away. I came up out of the metro, stepped onto the sidewalk and without even thinking said, “It’s so good to be home!” Not ‘good to be back’, but ‘good to be home.’ I hadn’t known that I’d missed it so much until then.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Beyond anything you do or say, beyond everything you don’t do or don’t say, you have worth. You have worth simply because you are.

Thank you so so much Siri! An inspiring and encouraging interview to read :). Hope y’all enjoyed it too! Be sure to connect with Siri around the internets if you haven’t already!

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Siri was awesome enough to giveaway a copy of her latest (plus signed bookmarks!), so be sure to enter!!

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