Top 5 Wednesday: Authors I Want to Read More From

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday (visit the Good Reads group here) is: Authors You Want to Read More From –Talk about some authors that you’ve only read one or a few books from, and you NEED to read more!

Lisa Jewell

1. Lisa Jewell. I’ve read The Girls in the Garden and I Found You and really liked both of them. I love Jewell’s writing and I really need to read more from her.

Lisa Scottoline

2. Lisa Scottoline. I recently read One Perfect Lie and I really want to go back and read some of her others.

Michelle Richmond

3. Michelle Richmond. I’ve only read The Marriage Pact by her so far and I really want to see what else she’s done.

Amy Harmon

4. Amy Harmon. I’ve read Making Faces, The Law of Moses, The Song of David, and A Different Blue. Making Faces was by far my favorite and the other ones didn’t quite live up to that one for me, but I do really enjoy her writing and need to read the rest of her books.
Sarah Addison Allen
5. Sarah Addison Allen. I’ve read Garden Spells and First Frost and they were both 4 star reads for me. I really need to get to some of her other titles.

What authors do you want to read more from?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015

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Well we are half way through the year and in accordance this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015. (In converse, I posted my most disappointing booksnof 2015 so far yesterday.) In no particular order, my favorite books I’ve read so far are:

Big Little Lies

1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Ok, so this one is in particular order, as I gave this book 4.5 stars and it’s probably my favorite book of the year so far.

The Singles

2. The Singles by Meredith Goldstein. This has been on my TBR forever and I was so excited when I found it for $1 at a library sale.

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace, #1)

3. Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge. A great thriller/mystery.

Missing You

4. Missing You by Harlan Coben. My first Harlan Coben and it won’t be my last!

The Fill-In Boyfriend

5. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. Another adorable book that reminds me why Kasie West is my favorite YA Contemporary author.

First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)

6. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. Garden Spells was one of my favorite books last year and it’s sequel did not disappoint.

The Start of Me and You

7. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord. Another cute contemporary.

Unbecoming

8. Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm. A very well done character-driven novel.

The Beautiful Daughters

9. The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart. Beautifully written, another character-driven piece.

Black-Eyed Susans

10. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. This one isn’t out yet, but is easily one of my favorites. A great suspense story.

Law of Attraction  Discretion  Speak of the Devil (Anna Curtis, #3)  A Good Killing (Anna Curtis, #4)

11. Ok, so I’m adding another one and making it a series because these books are amazing and is my favorite new series of the year – The Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta – Law of Attraction, Discretion, Speak of the Devil, A Good Killing

What are your favorite books so far this year? Do you agree with any of my choices?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Love To See As Movies/TV Shows

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books I’d Love To See As Movies/TV Shows. I’ve already done this topic twice (here and here) so I’ll try to come up with new answers.

BOOKS AS MOVIES

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Dangerous Girls by Abigal Haas

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace, #1)

Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

The Great Zoo of China

The Great Zoo of China by MatthewReilly

Illusions of Fate

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

BOOKS AS TV SHOWS

Garden Spells (Waverley Family, #1)   First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)

Garden Spells and First Frost (Waverly Family series) by Sarah Addison Allen

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)  Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)   Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)

Unspoken, Untold, Unmade (Lynburn Legacy) by Sarah Rees Brennan

WHAT BOOKS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MADE INTO A MOVIE OR TV SHOW? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY CHOICES?

Stephanie's Book Reviews

Review: First Frost (Waverly Family #2) by Sarah Addison Allen

First Frost (Waverley Family #2)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

It’s October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree… and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections—rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds—are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby— a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.

Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to…if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.

Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen’s enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins.

I received a copy of this title from Good Reads. It does not impact my review.

I didn’t think it would be possible to like this book as much as I did Garden Spells, but I was once again pleasantly surprised. Allen effortlessly weaves together multiple perspectives and storylines into one heartwarming tale of magic and family.

First Frost picks up ten years after Garden Spells ends. While Claire and Tyler and Sydney and Henry are still all happily married, they are not without their problems – mostly brought on by the magical craziness that always accompanies the wait for the first frost of the season that brings the temperamental apple tree into bloom. Claire has ditched her catering business in favor of candy making, which is a national success. However, she doesn’t find the growing success as gratifying as she thought she would and she begins to question to her magical Waverly ability. Sydney is obsessed with getting pregnant so she can give Henry a son, but things are not going according to plan. Bay is now a teenager and has found the boy that she belongs with, who happens to be the son of Sydney’s old high school boyfriend, but he – and the rest of the school – is not quite convinced.

I love Allen’s writing style. We get the perspective of many different characters which could become overwhelming, but here it’s balanced very well. There was never a time I felt was spent too long with one character and one perspective was never left in a cliffhanger. My only complaint is that I would’ve liked to have seen more from Tyler and Henry’s POV, but at it’s heart, the story is about the Waverly women, so I was ok with it.

Overall, I really enjoyed First Frost. It’s a very character driven novel, which I always appreciate. Even though I was skeptical of seeing these characters ten years later from the first book, I loved them just as much and enjoyed seeing their growth. There were plenty of sweet moments and a few surprising twists. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has read Garden Spells, and if you haven’t read Garden Spells, you should do that now!

Overall Rating (out of 5)

4 stars

Review: Garden Spells (Waverly Family #1) by Sarah Addison Allen

Garden Spells

Synopsis from Good Reads:

The women of the Waverley family — whether they like it or not — are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother’s unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town’s constraints. Using her grandmother’s mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business — and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life — upon the family’s peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire’s routine existence upside down. With Sydney’s homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire’s own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney’s child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.

I got an e-mail telling me I won my first ever giveaway from Good Reads for the second book in this series, First Frost, so I thought I’d read the first book before it got here. I had never heard of the Waverly Family series before and based on the synopsis I wasn’t really expecting much. I’m happy to report that Garden Spells very pleasantly surprised me!

The town of Bascom is full of magical superstitions. The Waverly family owns an apple tree that has a mind of it’s own and if you eat one of it’s apples, it will show you the most important moment of your life, whether it’s good or bad. Claire Waverly uses edible flowers from her garden that can influence the eater’s emotions in a specific way. Sydney Waverly gives haircuts that can change lives. Her daughter Bay knows the perfect place for everything. Their cousin Evanelle gives random gifts to random people that they will need, without ever knowing why. The Hopkins men always marry older women. The Clark women are exceptionally good in bed. While this all sounds  a little silly, it worked.

This is my first book by Allen and I really liked her writing style. Her description was very beautifully done and she has a perfect mix of heart and humor. This is definitely a character driven novel and it was very well done. All of the characters, even the minor ones, were very well developed. Often times I don’t like when the focus shifts off the main characters, but I still really enjoyed all the passages with Emma Clark and her family, Henry and his grandfather, and Evanelle and Fred.

I really liked Claire Waverly and her relationship with new next door neighbor, Tyler. I felt like both her character and the relationship really grew throughout the story in a natural, relatable way.

Overall, I really enjoyed Garden Spells. It was a fast, easy read with well written, likable characters and multiple, interwoven sweet storylines. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next in First Frost.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 4
Characters: 4
Readability: 4
Enjoyability: 4
Overall Rating: 4 Stars