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Search tags: ya-magical-realism
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review 2018-07-16 18:53
Not Terribly Cohesive, But Still Interesting Book
The Secrets of Ghosts - Sarah Painter

Well I got on a mini-magical realism kick and finished this book too. I read the first book in this series back in 2015. I gave that one (The Language of Spells) 3 stars, and the sequel to that is a strong three stars too. I think the main issue is that nothing really grabbed me in this one. I thought following both Gwen and Katie didn't really work this time. Gwen is dealing with trying to get pregnant and Katie is hell-bent on figuring out her Harper power. Katie is naive as anything for most of the book and I thought the ending was just so-so.

 

It's been 7 years since the events in the last book. Katie is now 21 years old and trying to still learn from Gwen so she can come into her Harper powers. Katie is a waitress at a private home turned hotel and is hoping that eventually she will be able to be like Gwen (wise woman that everyone seeks out in the village). When Katie finds a dead body her whole world gets turned upside down and she starts to have birds and ghosts talk to her. Gwen is troubled and hopes that there is someway to shut off Katie's powers since talking to ghosts is not a power anyone wants.

 

Katie is naive. She ends up liking a bad boy (with honestly no redeeming qualities) and does joint investigations with him as well as trying to figure out things solo. Even though Katie is warned her powers could be dangerous she doesn't care because she doesn't want to be seen as a kid and wants to be special and not ordinary like her mother. There was a lot going on there that I wish I had felt was resolved. I don't see what the big deal would be if Katie didn't have magical powers. And I have to say her "practicing" with Gwen didn't seem to be much of anything. I recall in book number one it didn't make much sense how the magic in this world works and it still doesn't.


We unfortunately don't get too spend much time with Gwen. Gwen is dealing with not being able to get pregnant and no spells or potions are helping. She is feeling lost and vulnerable. Her and her now husband Cam barely feel present in this one. Merely there to prop up Gwen.

 

The secondary characters are okay, just needed more developing. I was interested when I heard there were more witch families and how they try not to settle near each other cause things would happen. I wish that Painter had explored that more. 

 

The writing was okay, but the flow was off. I found myself getting bored and wanting the story to hurry up and finish already since it was a lot of Katie investigating, the guy she liked being "charming" and then her being mad that things were not working out how she wanted them.


The ending was interesting, we get to know a bit more about Katie's powers. But everything seemed a little too pat when we found out how much it could be costing Katie to use magic. 

 

I haven't seen a third book in this series appears, so am assuming that this is the final book. 

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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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