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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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text 2018-02-01 05:11
January is over already! Reading summary.
The Diary of a Bookseller - Shaun Bythell
The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford
The Peach Keeper - Sarah Addison Allen
The Mayor's Wife - Anna Katharine Green
A Short History of Drunkenness - Mark Forsyth
Pomfret Towers - Angela Thirkell
The One-Cent Magenta - James Barron
The Bee Friendly Garden: Easy Ways to Help the Bees and Make Your Garden Grow - Doug Purdie
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E.L. Konigsburg

I don't want to go back to work!

 

I read 33 books in January.  It's always by far my biggest reading month.  I work in schools, which means I get the summer holidays off.  December is crazy with holidays and MT being off work, but January I'm on my own all day and can read and read and read.

 

Of the 33 books, only 1 wasn't on my TBR pile when the month started.  I had 2 five-star reads, and 7 four-and-a-half star reads, so on average an excellent month.  My least favourite was a 2 star read; a collection of essays about libraries that I found repetitive.

 

Since the woman-author reading challenge is taking place this year, here are my "gender" stats:

Women authors:  15

Male authors: 17

Mixed: 1

 

A whopping 23 were non-fiction, compared to 10 fiction.

 

As for my TBR Challenge of only allowing myself to buy half as many books as I've read, I actually did o.k.  I did have a small cheat, because on New Year's Day, my neighbour came over and offered me 6 boxes of books she was getting rid of.  Karma was rigging the system for failure!!  After going through the boxes I chose 6, but didn't count them against my book budget; I categorised them as 'gifts' and I'd said from the start gifts didn't count.

 

So:

January's book buying budget: 12 books.

Bought:  9

Balance: 3 

Total TBR: 322

 

For February, my book budget is 16 books (January's 33 rounded down and divided by 2).

 

Go me!  ;)

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