Series Review: Waverley Family by Sarah Addison Allen

Series Review: Waverley Family by Sarah Addison AllenGarden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Series: Waverley Family #1
Published by Bantam on April 29, 2008
Genres: Magical Realism, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it....
The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants--from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys--except for Claire's rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.

When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire's quiet life is turned upside down--along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy--if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom--or with each other.

Enchanting and heartfelt, this captivating novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own....

I originally read Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen’s debut, back in what must have been 2007 or 2008, since I don’t think I was a senior in college at the time. I adored it, and I fell in love with romantic magical realism. I’ve read several other Allen novels since, and I’ve enjoyed them all to varying degrees. I wanted to revisit Garden Spells, which had been my favorite of them, and read the sequel that came out in 2015. Garden Spells has all the charm, magic, and passion that I remembered.


Cover Snark (224): A Snark in the Dark

Welcome to Cover Snark, where the people are snarky and the covers quiver in fear. Since I don’t write many snarky book reviews here on A Reader of Fictions, Cover Snark is my outlet. If you click on the title of the book, where possible, I’ve linked to Goodreads. Clicking on the cover itself will show you the cover in a larger size, in most cases. Feel free to love covers I hate and vice versa. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Please note that you should by no means contact the author if you do not like their cover; they likely have ZERO control. Feel free to express opinions of the covers in the comments, but please do not @ an author on Twitter because of anything you’ve seen here.

Today there is guest snark by Gillian, the ever fabulous hilarious magical Writer of Wrongs!

Shiny and New:

1. Nightfall (Keeper of the Lost Cities #6) – Shannon Messenger

G: LOOK AT MY BEAUTIFUL SHIIIIIIIP and all of their glorious MG hair. Like seriously, girls on MG covers always have the most sublime windblown locks.


Series Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Series Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani ChokshiThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 24, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Romance
Pages: 342
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

The Star-Touched Queen has been on high on my list of wants for a long time; I picked up the sequel at ALA as an excuse to finally dive into this book I hadn’t had time to read yet. In some ways, Chokshi’s debut was massively impressive, but in others it failed utterly.


Size Doesn’t Matter (139): Well, That Was Awkward; Honestly Ben

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (139): Well, That Was Awkward; Honestly BenWell, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail
Narrator: Simone Policano
Length: 6 hrs, 15 mins
Published by Listening Library on February 28, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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Gracie has never felt like this before. One day, she suddenly can't breathe, can't walk, can't anything--and the reason is standing right there in front of her, all tall and weirdly good-looking: A.J.

But it turns out A.J. likes not Gracie but Gracie's beautiful best friend, Sienna. Obviously Gracie is happy for Sienna. Super happy! She helps Sienna compose the best texts, responding to A.J.'s surprisingly funny and appealing texts, just as if she were Sienna. Because Gracie is fine. Always! She's had lots of practice being the sidekick, second-best.

It's all good. Well, almost all. She's trying.

Funny and tender, Well, That Was Awkward goes deep into the heart of middle school, and finds that even with all the heartbreak, there can be explosions of hope and moments of perfect happiness.

I read the If We Kiss books a couple of years ago, and they were fairly cute, but I didn’t love them. My expectations were pretty low when I embarked on the audiobook of Well, That Was Awkward, but I have a complete inability to resist potentially shippy books. Well, That Was Awkward turned out to be the cutest little shippy middle grade comedy of errors.


Series Review: Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter

Series Review: Gallagher Girls by Ally CarterI'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on March 20, 2007
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 284
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a fairly typical all-girls school, that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE, the latest in chemical warfare in science; and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes computer class. So in truth, Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but its really a school for spies. Cammie Morgan is a second generation Gallagher Girl, and by her sophomore year she's already fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways (three of which involve a piece of uncooked spaghetti.) But the one thing the Gallagher Academy hasn't prepared her for is what to do when she falls for an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, and track him through a mall without his ever being the wiser, but can she have a regular relationship with a regular boy who can never know the truth about her? Cammie may be an elite spy in training, but in her sophomore year, shes beginning her most dangerous mission; she's falling in love.

The Gallagher Girls series came highly recommended, and it really, so far at least, was not what I was expecting. There’s some promise inherent in the ending that the following books will be better than this one, but I was not in love with I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You.