***** Recommended Reading*****

Garden Spells

Published in 2007
290 Pages

This is one of the most pleasant reading experiences I have had lately. Sarah Addison Allen weaves such a beautiful story of two sisters who possess unique abilities passed down through the Waverley generations. The main character, Claire, has a gift that enables her to cook and bake using ingredients from her magical garden to make those eating her dishes feel or act a certain way. Her sister, Sydney, has another gift that she discovers about halfway through the book. We are also introduced to ...more This is one of the most pleasant reading experiences I have had lately. Sarah Addison Allen weaves such a beautiful story of two sisters who possess unique abilities passed down through the Waverley generations. The main character, Claire, has a gift that enables her to cook and bake using ingredients from her magical garden to make those eating her dishes feel or act a certain way. Her sister, Sydney, has another gift that she discovers about halfway through the book, which I will not reveal here. We are also introduced to a bevvy of other interesting characters, many of whom we get to know more through flashbacks. These include the neighbor next door, an old childhood friend, a rival family, a cousin who has an uncanny knack for providing people with gifts they are going to need but don't know for what at the time of receiving them, and an apple tree with a mind of its own. Magical and fun, this story reminded me a little bit of "Practical Magic" but carried a more whimsical tone.

The Sugar Queen

Published in 2008
276 Pages

Not as magical and fun as Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen still tells a good interlocking stories of an overbearing mother, a delicious mail carrier, a gorgeous man who appears to have been drawn with charcoal, a cheating boyfriend, a woman hanging out in a closet, two gals with trendy names, and box upon box of Swiss Cake Rolls mixed with other assorted sweets. Some people will really enjoy the twist ending; others like me (patting myself on the back here) will figure it out long before turning ...more Not as magical and fun as Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen still tells good interlocking stories of an overbearing mother, a delicious mail carrier, a gorgeous man who appears to have been drawn with charcoal, a cheating boyfriend, a woman hanging out in a closet, two gals with trendy names, and box upon box of Swiss Cake Rolls mixed with other assorted sweets. Some people will really enjoy the twist ending; others like me (patting myself on the back here) will figure it out long before turning the final pages.

If you're new to the author, try Garden Spells first.


The Girl Who Chased the Moon
Published in 2010
269 Pages

Addison Allen weaves together yet another wonderful story with magical elements in this tale about "coming home" to Mullaby. You can read the summary on Goodreads, but I would hate to give away any more than that as far as plot, characters, and the magic. Addison Allen has hit a nice stride with the types of books she is writing, and people are certainly responding.

If you liked Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen, this is a sure bet, although Garden Spells is still my favori...more
Addison Allen weaves together yet another wonderful story with magical elements in this tale about "coming home" to Mullaby. You can read the summary on Goodreads, but I would hate to give away any more than that as far as plot, characters, and the magic. Addison Allen has hit a nice stride with the types of books she is writing, and people are certainly responding.

If you liked Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen, this is a sure bet, although Garden Spells is still my favorite!

 
 
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This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
2009
General Fiction
339 Pages

*** Recommended Reading ***

I loved the smart, witty writing style that depicted the Foxman family in this fantastic story about a family sitting shiva following the death of the father. They are delightfully dysfunctional, sweet, and real and I found myself dreaming about an independent film and who I would cast while reading the book.

THEN, I read the author information and saw that it is already in the works with Warner Bros. Mr. Tropper, if you read reviews on Goodreads, be very careful on who is cast to pl...more
I loved the smart, witty writing style that depicted the Foxman family in this fantastic story about a family sitting shiva following the death of the father. They are delightfully dysfunctional, sweet, and real. I found myself dreaming about an independent film and who I would cast while reading the book and later discovered that some critics saw the screenplay in the plot and writing style and published negative reviews because of that. Was Tropper writing for a movie? Maybe, maybe not. Probably. Don't most authors want movies?

Anyways, I then I read the author information and saw that it is already in the works with Warner Bros. Mr. Tropper, if you read my blog (which you probably don't, but just to cover my bases) be very careful on who is cast to play these important roles. It truly is going to make or break the movie. The actors selected will be solely responsible for making this an incredible film or a huge flop. If Warner Bros. tries to go too big, I think it is going to turn into a mess.

Regardless, read and love This is Where I Leave You before Hollywood turns it into trash or treasure.
The cake scene alone will have you laughing, in spite of the situation.

You're probably reading this and thinking, "Stephanie isn't really telling me about the book. She's just ranting about how worried she is about the film version." Well, you're right. This was nothing even resembling a review (which is why I call them book NOTES) and I just want my opinion heard. I have recommended this book to MANY people, all of whom loved it with the exception of one, who didn't see the dark humor.

Just go read it.