Tag: magic

Apr 02

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Audio Books, Supernatural 12

Howdy Bookworms!

I have been having such great fun with my library’s audio book selection lately. I’ve been dabbling in a lot of backlist books and it has been a blast. Sarah Addison Allen never fails to enchant me, the woman is made of moonbeams and fairy dust. Needless to say, I did a little happy dance when The Girl Who Chased the Moon popped up as available. I downloaded that faster than you can say “cake rules.” (Though, cake really does rule. I love cake.)

thegirlwhochasedthemoonWhen Emily Benedict arrives in Mullaby, North Carolina, she has no idea what to expect. Her recently deceased mother told her absolutely nothing about her hometown, let alone that Emily had a living grandfather (who happens to be both a giant and a BBQ enthusiast.) Mullaby is an odd town full of quirky characters and odd happenings. Julia Winterson is another reluctant Mullaby resident, having returned to town after her father’s death in order to run his restaurant. She bakes some amazing cakes, and nobody is more appreciative of that particular talent than dreamboat Sawyer.  Unfortunately IT’S COMPLICATED. Emily and Julia strike up an unlikely friendship and help each other navigate the strangeness and wonder of Mullaby. Family secrets and history and magic and love and moonlight and CAKE collide in this scrumptious novel, and the result is utterly charming.

Well, it’s official. I need to read ALL THE THINGS Sarah Addison Allen has ever written. These books just make me so darn happy. I can’t help but smile, sigh, and daydream a little every time I read one. If you need a break from reality that will warm your heart and make you desperately want to taste Hummingbird Cake (cream cheese frosting? I am so in!) pick up The Girl Who Chased the Moon and enjoy!

My dearest Bookworms, tell me something. Do any of you have an author that you read when you need a pick-me-up?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jan 19

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Contemporary Fiction, Supernatural 16

Greetings Bookworms!

Sometimes I need a little magic in my life. I was really excited when I saw that Sarah Addison Allen had a new book on the horizon. I navigated straight to NetGalley where I requested (and was granted) a complimentary review copy of First Frost. This in no way affects the integrity of the following review. My integrity is questionable regardless of free books.

firstfrostThe Waverley women are a bit different. They live in a small southern town where they are renowned for their unique and magical gifts. Claire has a way with food and flowers- she can infuse her concoctions with feeling. Her sister Sydney has the ability to make good hair days happen (a magical gift anyone can appreciate when they wake up faced with mad bedhead.) Sydney’s teenage daughter Bay knows exactly where everything and everyone belongs. The Waverley homestead has a personality all its own, and the apple tree in the back yard is fond of passive-aggressively flinging apples in the direction of people it doesn’t like. (It’s rather Oz-ian that way.)

Things never run smoothly when you’ve got magic to contend with, do they? A mysterious stranger shows up in town intent on disrupting the delicate Waverley balance and things go a bit wonky. Teenage heartache? Pining for a family? Desperate attempts to help the self destructive? This book has ALL THE THINGS. Plus, you know, MAGIC. This book was the perfect read for me at the perfect time. I’ve got a soft spot for this sort of Southern charm, and I really needed this bit of magic to brighten up my winter blahs. Sarah Addison Allen is often compared to Alice Hoffman, which is apt, but where Hoffman goes dark, Allen goes light. That, my friends, is pure magic. Get thee a copy of First Frost post haste!

Talk to me, Bookworms. How do you feel about magic in books? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Oct 09

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Contemporary Fiction, Friendship 20

Hi ho, Bookworms!

If you’re anything like me, you accumulate books faster than you can read them. I don’t suppose it helps that I enter giveaways on other blogs, but I have a severe weakness for free books. A few months ago I won a copy of Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen from Bookalicious Mama and it taunted me from my bedside table with its pretty cover mercilessly. I finally got around to reading it, and I’m SO GLAD I did!

lost lakeOur heroine Kate recently “woke up” from mourning the loss of her husband. She’s been going through the motions for a solid year and has only just managed to muster the will to participate in life again. While clearing out some detritus to prepare for a move, Kate and her daughter Devin (a budding fashionista, with an eccentric sense of style) find an old post card reminding Kate of the summer she spent at her great aunt’s cabin resort, Lost Lake.

Kate’s re-awakening came with a healthy dose of “carpe diem” so she loads Devin into the car and sets off for rural Georgia to seek out some R&R in the serene environment. Kate’s Aunt Eby is thrilled to see her long lost niece, but Lost Lake is on the verge of closing up shop. Eby, Kate, and a few regular guests set out to make Lost Lake’s final summer one to remember. A little romance, a little magic, and a healthy dash of Southern fried fun make Lost Lake a wonderful escape.

This book is utterly charming and heartwarming. Sarah Addison Allen puts together a cast of quirky characters that can’t be beat (and you know how much I LOVE quirky characters, especially when some of them are cranky old women. It makes my inner Mildred positively gleeful.) I read this tasty morsel in a single day. If you need a little escape from reality, Lost Lake is as refreshing as a cold glass of sweet tea.

Tell me, dear Bookworms. Do you enjoy books that offer an escape?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will use it to take a flipping vacation!*

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Oct 06

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Audio Books, Coming of Age, Fantasy 25

Pick a card, any card, Bookworms!

Actually, don’t. I would be a hot steaming pile of horrible if I tried to do card tricks. Depressing though it is that I lack actual magical powers as well as the manual dexterity to perform sleight of hand, I still dig books about magic. If it happens to be October, all the better! I listened to the audio version of The Magicians by Lev Grossman to help get me in the spirit of the Halloween season.

The MagiciansQuentin Coldwater is a genius, but at 17, he’s got a serious case of the mopies (I can relate, yo!) He’s obsessed with a series of novels about children who visit a magical land (think Narnia), but he tries to play it off as nostalgia. Quentin is minding his own teen angst business when he finds himself being tested for admittance into a legit, elite, magical college. That’s right. It’s sort of like Hogwarts for the older set. A little less whimsy, a lot more booze, sex, and apathy.

The Magicians had the same darkly mystical tone as The Night Circus (review) which was a delightful surprise. The book was darker than I had anticipated, and it dabbled in some heavy philosophy. When you have immense magical power, the fulfilling stuff of life no longer presents a challenge. Grossman’s magical world doesn’t have the structure that Rowling’s does- magicians are left to their own devices wandering the ordinary world. A few magicians will go in for charitable endeavors or research, but mostly they wander aimlessly searching for meaning, as they have no need for careers to provide them with money or purpose. It was this thoughtful analysis of the human condition that had me loving the first 2/3 of this book.

Then? Grossman went full Narnia on me. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the book now. I’m a little less excited to finish the series, but that doesn’t mean I won’t do it. There are a lot of loose ends I would like to have wrapped up, so I’ll probably get to it eventually. It was a mixed bag for me, but if you liked The Chronicles of Narnia, The Night Circus, and His Dark Materials , it’s definitely worth sampling.

One of the major reasons I related to Quentin and his longing for a fictional world is my own (perhaps unhealthy) obsession with Harry Potter. Is there another literary world you desperately wish you could escape into?

*If You make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Like magic. Only not.*

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Sep 04

I Want To Join The Night Circus

Fantasy 13

Good Morning, Bookworms! I hope you all had a fantastic holiday weekend! In case anyone reads this who is not in the USA, this weekend was Labor Day, where Americans celebrate ye olde working stiffs. Once a year we all pay tribute to the laws that keep children out of factories and give us weekends. Huzzah! Now, as much as we may honor those who work for a living, there isn’t a single one of us who hasn’t thought at some point, “dang it all, I want to run away and join the circus!” (Maybe it’s not the circus for everyone, but if people are willing to applaud looking cool in a tutu and doing poorly executed cartwheels, I’m a shoe-in for the acrobat job…)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern takes you on a magical journey through an enchanted circus. This book falls into the magical realism category, but don’t be discouraged if fantasy isn’t your thing. This book has plenty to offer.

The Night Circus begins with two mysterious old magicians. They each choose a young pupil to begin training for an epic battle of magical wits to prove with of the two old men is the better magician. Why not just battle each other one on one? I don’t know, I supposed they have  a penchant for ruining young lives. Besides, when you’re ageless (which these two appear to be) you have to find ways to amuse yourselves, and hand-to-hand combat gets old after a couple hundred years.

It is determined that the “arena” for this magical battle will be a circus. What better way to disguise from the world that you’re having a magical war than to invite the public in to watch. Seriously. You expect to see the unbelievable at a circus, but if you’re just walking down the street, you’d be pretty suspicious of the elaborate display of bouncing clouds. This isn’t just any circus though. It’s a circus that arrives in towns without notice and is only open at night. It’s all spooky and mystical and delightful that way.

Anyhow, eventually the two magic pupils realize who they are competing against, which sucks for them,  because they’ve fallen in love. The only way the “battle” ends is for one of the magicians to die. As you can imagine, years or putting together spells and holding up elaborate illusions wears one  out, so the couple faces a real dilemma. They can’t keep up the competition indefinitely. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it’s a bit of Romeo and Juliet with a dash of Tuck Everlasting and a pinch of Harry Potter.

What I liked best about this book was Morgenstern’s imagery. I could see the black and white striped tents appearing unannounced in a field. I could visualize the exquisite clock that was the circus’s centerpiece. I could smell the food, taste the caramels, appreciate the wonder that the circus provided its patrons. This book is great escapist literature- I recommend it if you want to take a hiatus from real life.

So Bookworms, if you were to run away from reality, where would you go? Anybody joining me in the mediocre circus?

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