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Search tags: 20-books-of-summer
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review 2018-07-16 18:37
Garden Spells - - Magical Realism Done Very Well
Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

Funny, I love this book, but honestly don't remember the last time I read it. After finishing "Garden Spells" I went and read book two in the Waverley family again so that was a nice and and two punch. Allen does magical realism very well. This book deals with a lot of serious issues, rape, abuse, bullying, and the eccentricities of a small but unusual southern town in North Carolina.

 

"Garden Spells" reunites estranged sisters, Claire and Sydney Waverley. Claire is single and alone making a go of her special catering business in Bascom, North Carolina. She has her whole world turned upside down when she meets a man, Tyler Hughes, who despite her best efforts is interested in her.

 

Sydney has left her abusive partner and taken her daughter Bay back home to Bascom. She has hated Bascom since she left it and never wanted to be one of the strange Waverley's. All she wanted to do was fit in. Still nursing heartbreak over the first boy she ever loved (and lost) Sydney starts to finally embrace being a Waverley.

 

The book focuses not just on Claire and Sydney though. We also have Allen including other characters as well, we follow Claire and Sydney's cousin Evanelle, Sydney's daughter Bay, an old friend (not really friend) of Sydney's, and even Tyler and a potential love interest for Sydney. Allen manages to juggle everyone and keep the plot moving forward. I didn't feel lost about who people were and how they were connected. We also got delicious little comments about which each family is famous for in this book and that was pretty cute. 

 

The writing is magical realism at it's best. Allen makes you feel, smell, and even taste things. If you do things right, you can make the magical elements seem totally natural and Allen does. We hear about the Waverley family home, apple tree, and even how Claire's emotions affect things like having fog in the neighborhood.

 

The flow was very good and the setting of Bascom felt very real.

 

Great first book in the series. 

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text 2018-07-13 13:34
Reading progress update: I've read 44%.
Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

So far a very good book. Estranged sisters Claire and Sydney are doing what they can to be closer after Sydney returns home with her 5 year old daughter Bay. Sydney is on the run from an abusive marriage and returning to her hometown where she was made to feel strange is the only place she can go that she feels safe.


Claire is dealing with the man next door becoming interested in her and she wants him to stay away. She's doing what she can to help him along with that by cooking him food that should turn him away.

 

Sydney is dealing with old ghosts (old friends and a boyfriend). 

 

I love their aunt who apparently has a Waverly gift of giving people things for hidden reasons. 

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text 2018-07-12 21:50
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

I had good intentions (cringes). Going to try again when I get home. 

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text 2018-07-12 15:08
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

The first book in Allen's Wavery family series. A very good book that showcases magical realism. Trying very hard to dip my toe back into things on Goodreads and Booklikes. I barely feel present anymore. I have posted some reviews here and there, but haven't had a chance to get back into the groove of things. Hope today gets me there a bit. 

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review 2018-07-10 20:03
Not Really Chick Lit
Bookends - Jane Green

I finished my re-read of this a few days ago, just didn't have the energy to post a review. I think the main issue I had was that the re-read was a bit of a bust. Probably because this wasn't as chick-lit as I was hoping. There are some serious issues here (discussion of HIV and AIDS) but also there is some mean-girling crap that goes on that just didn't fit the characters who were supposed to be adults in their 30s. The main character of Cath just reads as a doormat throughout this book and I just wanted her to be stronger and push back on people more. The ending was okayish, just not great.

 

"Bookends" has Cath and her best friend Si dealing with being unlucky in love. Living in London they seem to be going through the motions of things. Cath refuses to try her hand at love again after having her heart broken and Si is desperate to meet Mr. Right even though the men he is usually with are terrible.

 

Cath and Si have boring, but familiar get togethers with their college friends Josh and Lucy and things seem to be carrying along fine until a woman (Portia) from their college days pops up again.

 

Most of the book is Cath thinking about Portia and how Portia supposedly held them all together until she broke up their friend group. What gets me though is that when we readers finally get a glimpse of Portia, she's not all that Cath (or Green) makes her out to be. There is no there there, and I wanted there to be better development of her.

 

Cath stumbles upon a love interest that wasn't that interesting and Si ends up with a shocking new way of life after a betrayal. The book just ends up taking too many things on and not doing them well.

 

If the above isn't enough, we also have Cath trying to open a bookstore.

 

The writing is typical older Green (when she wrote her chick lit books taking place in London). This just doesn't read or feel like chick lit. The flow is okay, though going back to past and present was a bit much.

 

I guess I was just put out by the whole lesson to be learned about real friends that people who should be old enough should already know at this point.

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