i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings. i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds. i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

The Peach Keeper

The Peach Keeper
by Sarah Addison Allen

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it. (snipped for length – goodreads.com)

I am a year behind all Sarah Addison Allen awesomeness because I wait for the trade version of the book to come out. This means I lust after, long for and envy every single book review of her books I see for 12 months before I get to immerse myself into a world only SAA can create.

I don’t just enjoy the stories and characters that SAA imagines, I also take great joy from the title and cover art of each book. The entire package has made Sarah Addison Allen a must-read, all-time favourite author and I am thankful to have given Garden Spells a chance when I did so that I had this author in my life.

The Peach Keeper was full of warm, genuine characters, as all SAA novels are. Though I felt the whimsical magic that always fills the pages was slightly lacking in this particular book, I was still enamoured by the characters and their friendships.

Sarah Addison Allen captures everything that is real and important about relationships. She introduces us to characters that are raw, flawed and utterly charming because of it. There is a softness to the story that comforts you as you read, sort of like snuggling into a fluffy, warm blanket on a cold winter’s day. You want to walk the same streets and taste the same foods and sit in the same diner as these people.

You want to order your coffee and have someone try and figure you out by the way you take it.

You want your ordinary, simple life to feel as enchanting and exciting as the ordinary, simple life of the woman you are reading about.

I sort of figured where the story was going from the start, but that didn’t make the journey any less fulfilling. The friendship that blossoms between Willa and Paxton is something that you enjoy watching. I wanted to know whose bones were burried under that tree and how they got there. As simple as the mystery was, I was still captivated by it and it made the story that much more entertaining.

I might like some SAA books better than others, but I have yet to not fall in love with one. Thank you, Ms. Allen.

 

The Girl Who Chased the Moon

The Girl Who Chased the Moon
by Sarah Addison Allen

Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, not only wishing to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also dreaming of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in. (amazon.ca)

You have no idea how much it pains me to have to wait for new Sarah Addison Allen books. It is especially painful because I wait for them to come out in trade format since I refuse to pay the insane price of the hard cover. I now know I will love her books immensely and therefore know I must own a copy, so I wait. This particular time I had plans to read it during the summer because my crappy library actually had one copy. It was always out and there was an insane waiting list for it so I said forget it.

My dear friend Monkey sent me an amazon giftcard for my birthday last month and I used that to preorder this here book. When it arrived earlier in the week I was just finishing off another book and then I devoured this one happily.

Once more I am greeted by characters that made me laugh and cry and feel at home. Once more I turned the last page of the book only to be shocked that it was over because I didn’t realize I had read so fast. Once more I was sad the book ended because I was going to miss these characters.

Allen has a way of writing that makes you want to be a part of the town she’s chosen to tell her story. You want to be out on a porch swing, sipping lemonade and wondering when the heat wave is going to end. You want to smell sugar and lemon and vanilla and you think you CAN while you read. You want a room whose wallpaper changes depending on your mood.

You want to BE the story.

I am constantly in awe of how strongly a Sarah Addison Allen story affects me. I don’t feel anything remotely like I do when I read her novels than when I read anyone else’s. Even if it’s a story from a favourite author. Her books comfort and content me in a way I can’t describe and like no other.

So far, I believe this to be my order of preference for the three books I have read. Out in front, Garden Spells, a close second, The Girl Who Chased the Moon and in third place The Sugar Queen. I am curious as to where The Peach Keeper will fall in this list. It comes out in March and seems to be $28.99 in my local shops. Gah! Maybe I will try and wait on whatever waiting list my crappy library might have if they get it in, because I am lonely without her characters.

Something that makes me happy: Everyone I have suggested Garden Spells to has loved it. I am now trying to convince all of these people to read Allen’s other books and it’s working. I am now passing out her books in my office, starting with my boss. The stories are contagious in a good way. 😉

Buy the Book: AmazonAmazonCA | Book DepositoryUK

The Sugar Queen

The Sugar Queen
by Sarah Addison Allen

I dub Sarah Addison Allen my new goddess. It used to be Sarah McLachlan but then she cheated on me with the US Olympics and I think I might have to break up with her. However, I have a new Sarah Goddess and she’s in literature this time. And I already know she’s not Canadian so it’s not like she can cheat on me with the US like some other Sarah did. *might be slightly bitter about the Olympic theme for NBC*

So, in August 2008 I read Garden Spells. The only other thing in the world I think I am more in love with is my husband (ok and my dogs). I had not been that touched by a novel in my adult life. And not the kind of touching that results in band-aids on dolls either. This book filled me with such enchantment and contentedness that I was literally sad about finishing it.

I put off reading The Sugar Queen for some time. Why? Mainly because I was so enthralled by Garden Spells that I didn’t want to break that connection I had with the book in case this new one didn’t make me feel the same way. This was a different story, different characters and what if I didn’t like them? What if what I felt about Garden Spells didn’t happen with The Sugar Queen? So many people told me I would love this book and that I should read it. I did finally pick it up last year but then it sat on my TBR shelf and just taunted me with it’s pretty cover and sugary title. The book even FELT enticing. But I couldn’t bring myself to read it.

Finally Saturday afternoon, after having finished another book I picked this one up. It’s almost like it called to me. And I read it. Cover to cover. In about two and a half hours.

It started off ok. I didn’t think I would have the same connection to these characters as I did in the previous book. I didn’t like Della Lee in the closet. I hated Josie’s mother with a passion (which I know was the point). But then Della Lee started to grow on me and I was pretty sure I knew her story (I was right). Josie and Chloe are two women I would love to have as friends. Adam was sweet and the whole snowman scene filled me with such joy.

The best part? Chloe being followed around by books her entire life. The relationship she had with the books that were trying to help her out by just appearing made me laugh many times. Imagine that! To be forever followed by books that were there when you needed them (even if you didn’t want their help). I think I have a lot of books… something like that would probably kill my husband. ha!

I had tears in my eyes at the end of this book. The connection I felt with the previous one was not as strong with this novel, although I was left with the same lighthearted feeling as I turned the last page. There is something in the way this author writes that just speaks to my heart. It’s not overly romantic, but the relationships in the story are strong and the humour is subtle and just the right amount. The characters are real, even with the quirks of book stalkers. You feel what they feel you want them to succeed and find happiness.

I know Sarah Addison Allen currently has a new book out, however I will be a good girl and wait until the trade paperback comes out next spring. The lure of the new book is strong however due to the use of the word “moon” in the title. I have a weird lust for all things moon-related. (One of the best books I read was Elizabeth Berg’s The Pull of the Moon, which I lent to someone who never gave it back and then vanished one day. Sigh. She had two of my Berg books.)

So. The lesson I learned here? Read anything and everything that Sarah Addison Allen ever publishes. She is a literary goddess.

Out of My Pocket #19

Due to my book buying addiction I started this  feature on my blog where I post about the book(s) I bought that week. Not something I plan on having every week – though it seems to be turning out that way.  So here’s what I bought this week!

Previous OoMP posts can be found here!

It has been ages since I have bought books. I have not been reading them or buying them. It’s been very sad. Or, rather, I have been very sad? Stupid case of the blues and blahs. But this week I set out on a mission – buy a book and read it. And there were a few that piqued my interest and then my husband gave me the $25 gift card to Chapigo he won at his office Halloween party, so I went BACK a second time. Heh. Three books were actually bought the week prior at my University bookfair (which was very lousy to be honest) they cost me a total of $2.50. 😉

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 #30 – Retreat Part 5

Ok, is anyone else out there reading this “season” of Buffy? Because, really! What. The. Hell. I had a monthly subscription at my local comic book store and then the comic got so confusing and stupid and disjointed that I cancelled it. My husband and I started reading the Angel Season 6 “After The Fall” comics and they actually read like there was a story arc. But once I cancelled my Buffy subscription it got interesting again, and so I reinstated it… and now? Did you read this one? I ended with, “Wait.. what?!?!” This is so un-Whedony it’s not funny. And as a matter of fact it is NOT funny at all. At least the Angel comics have humour and have charters that act like the characters the are supposed to be and have art that depicts the characters so you know who the hell is in the frame when they are talking. Because this Buffy comic? I never know who the hell anyone is! Gah! Anyhow.. just needed to get that out there.

Tempest Rising
by Nicole Peeler

Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn’t quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human.

Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures alternatively terrifying, beautiful, and deadly- all of which perfectly describe her new “friend,” Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire.

It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never-ever-rub the genie’s lamp. (amazon.ca)

I am almost finished this as I write this post! I am loving it!

Cast in Shadow
by Michelle Sagara

Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddled streets of Nightshade, knowing that something was after her. Children were being murdered—and all had the same odd markings that mysteriously appeared on her own skin.…

Since then, she’s learned to read, she’s learned to fight and she’s become one of the vaunted Hawks who patrol and police the City of Elantra. Alongside the winged Aerians and the immortal Barrani, she’s made a place for herself, far from the mean streets of her birth.

But children are once again dying, and a dark and familiar pattern is emerging. Kaylin is ordered back into Nightshade with a partner she knows she can’t trust, a Dragon lord for a companion and a device to contain her powers—powers that no other human has. Her task is simple—find the killer, stop the murders…and survive the attentions of those who claim to be her allies! (goodreads.com)

I saw the latest book mentioned on some blog recently and this series looked interesting. So I’ll try it out!

Witch Fire
by Anya Bast

After a chaotic marriage and a rough divorce, all Mira Hoskins wants is stability and normality. But when sexy Jack McAllister enters her life, she discovers that what you want isn’t always what you need.

Jack is a powerful witch with the ability to command fire and is anything but normal. As the head of a security detail for The Coven, a national organization that governs national witches, Jack has been assigned to watch over Mira. She is a natural born witch with the ability to call the air. And although she is unaware of her talent, a group of renegade witches has discovered her existence and are determined to steal her power–and her life. (goodreads.com)

I like witches. Yep, I do!

Playing With Fire
by Gena Showalter

Twenty-four-year-old barista Belle Jamison dreams of a better job and a decent love life. Until a crazy scientist spikes her mocha latte! Suddenly Belle can wield the four elements—earth, wind, fire and water—with only a thought. Coffee too hot? No problem. Hair in need of a blow-dry? Done.

Gorgeous government agent Rome Masters has been sent to neutralize Belle. But he’s not the only one after her. Together they must outrun the rogue agents on their trail and find a way to control her powers. There’s just one problem: the sparks Belle and Rome generate are even hotter than the ones flying from her eyes—and with her future on the line, now is the worst possible time to fall in love…. (amazon.ca)

Was so interested in this one, started it right away, stopped 5 chapters in because it was just so horridly written. I am so disappointed. I will be mailing this book to Kristi this week. I warned her though.

Dead on Arrival (Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: Super Mystery, #23)
by Carolyn Keene

Nancy is called upon to investigate the disappearance of an ace reporter, but is unable to prevent the missing girl’s murder, while the Hardy Boys go undercover to find out who has been holding up ambulances and stealing bodies. (goodreads.com)

An exciting bookfair find! I had all the Nancy Drew books from the early to mid-90s and I was always so thrilled when they would release the joint Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mysterys! Yay!

Fear Street Superchiller: Broken Hearts
by R.L. Stine

When Josie and Melissa receive threatening Valentine’s Day messages, and then the girls of Shadyside High begin turning up dead, the two friends are certain that they will be the next victims.

Oh, how I adored Fear Street when I was a kid. This one cost me a whopping $0.50 at the bookfair. 😉 I am slowly but surely going to rebuild my teen library!

Runaways Vol. 9: Dead Wrong
Marvel Comics

The beginning of a whole new Runaways! Comics legend Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise, Echo) and super-star artist Humberto Ramos (X-Men, Wolverine, Spider-Man) run back to Los Angeles with your favorite teen heroes. But it’s not the same city they left so long ago. The Runaways try to stay off the radar, but the sins of their parents won’t make that possible… Collects Runaways Volume 3 #1-6. (amazon.ca)

I have been really enjoying these digests, however I was looking through this one today and noticed the art is completely different and I don’t think I like it. I hope I like the story lines at least!

Lily’s Ghosts
by Laura Ruby

A sinister old house, an intriguing new friend, a fifty-year-old mystery, and a tag-team of disgruntled ghosts force thirteen-year-old Lily to unearth her family’s deepest secrets in this multilayered tale that’s both hilarious and harrowing, comic and creepy. (goodreads.com)

This book looked really cute and so I picked it up at the bookfair. My 3-year old niece is named Lilly and I thought that when she got older this might be a fun book to read with her. For a dollar who could resist?

The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. (goodreads.com)

My Monkey! Monkey! Monkey! just posted a review on her blog of this book and raved about it – so when I noticed I was just off by a few dollars in order to use the discount coupon I had, I picked this one up.

The Sugar Queen
by Sarah Addison Allen

Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey’s narrow existence quickly expands. She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them—and who has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush. Soon Josey is living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons. And that’s just for starters. (amazon.ca)

I loved Garden Spells and though I have been holding off on reading this one, I was suddenly in the mood to read another Sarah Addison Allen story.

Willow
by Julia Hoban

Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow’s parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy –one sensitive, soulful boy–discovers Willow’s secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the “safe” world Willow has created for herself upside down.

Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl’s struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy’s refusal to give up on her. (amazon.ca)

I only picked this one up because I had the gift certificate and a $10 off coupon. I was trying to wait for the paperback. Oh, well. Worked out to be cheaper with what I had. I have heard a lot of great things about this book and I am currently in need of some emotionally wrenching fiction right now.

That’s it for me! I even got two books in the mail from Bookmooch this week and only just remembered that now, but I am too tired to write my IMM post right now. Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow.

In My Mailbox #14 / Out of My Pocket #9

I’m back from vacation! We left a day early due to lousy weather and exhaustion from all that driving (well, my husband drives, I don’t have a real driver’s license yet. *cough*). But we did have fun, even with the rain (and rain, and rain, and rain). The best part of the entire trip was the discovery of an awesome used bookstore called The Owl’s Nest in downtown Fredericton, NB. I went back a second time before I left. I got 13 books for $45 total! That’s THREE BUCKS A BOOK! Woot! Also while I was away my Early Review Copy from LibraryThing came in the mail! I was worried I wouldn’t get it since the first time I was lucky enough to “win” an ER copy (Christopher Moore’s Fool) it never came. 🙁

So, first things first – In My Mailbox! Thanks to Kristi (The Story Siren) and Alea (Pop Culture Junkie) for this brainchild. (All my IMM posts can be found here!)

Broken
by Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry
(and NOT Bruce McBay!!)

Ok, this one is confusing. I have the book here, next to me and I can confirm that the author they list on Amazon AND on LibraryThing is WRONG. The cover clearly states – Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry and NOT Bruce McBay. Also there are three different summaries out there. First one from Amazon:

Wendy and Zachary decide to form a club to help theirneighbors and come up with the name Angels Inc. Theirfirst mission is to help an old woman across thestreet. But it turns out she really didn’t really wantto cross over to the other side. Then they paint aneighbors shed, with disastrous consequences. Theirnext good deed happens when they see Mrs. Haddockwondering what to do with her dog while she goes tothe market to pick up a cake. They offer to dog sitfor her. But the dog gets free and is chased around bya Doberman. They return a very muddy dog to Mrs.Haddock who gets her dress all muddy and ends updropping her cake. On their next mission, which was tomow Mrs. Creechs front yard, they notice a suspiciouslooking man and woman snooping around, who turn out tobe thieves. After the police arrest the culprits, Mr.Beale asks if they want to paint his shed becausesomeone made a mess of it!

Which, um, is wrong. These people aren’t the characters in the book.

Then there’s the one from LibraryThing (which I am inclined to believe since at least they seem to have the character’s name right:

Ash Perrault can explain why she’s so upset: her dad’s fiancée is moving into their house, her best friend Mouse is hiding a secret from her, she has detention on the school dance committee, and her relationship with her boy friend, Seth, is confusing and often hurtful. But Ash can’t explain why the glass around her keeps breaking without her touching it. Her power to break glass is not only eerie, it’s dangerous. Can she find a way to control it?

And then there’s what’s written on the back of the book itself (which I am also inclined to believe!):

With purple hair and ’90s retro clothes, Ash Perrault is a modern-day Cinderella. She has a new stepmother, annoying stepsisters and a rocky relationship with the school prince. But she has a problem Cinderella didn’t have–a dangerous problem that keeps on getting worse.

My money is on the last two, personally. And I am curious as to why Amazon has all the wrong information. How do you get them to change things? Anyhow. That’s what I got for review! Thank you LibraryThing!

And now, for my excitement! My used book finds!! (click to enlarge) All my OoMP posts can be found here!

Yay! Yay! Yay!

To list:

  • Garden Spells – Sarah Addison Allen (Trade. Wanted this since I borrowed from library last summer!)
  • Fourteen and Holding – Candice F. Ransom (author of Thirteen, my most treasured book of all time)
  • Fifteen at Last – Candice F. Ransom
  • Class of ’88: Sophomore – Linda A. Cooney (only missing Freshman now and it’s complete!)
  • Class of ’89: Freshman – Linda A. Cooney (only missing Sophomore now and it’s complete!!)
  • Charisma, Inc Book 2: Breathless – Ruth Glick (trying to rebuild this series, too! Was thrilled to find this one!)
  • Sweep series books 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9 – Cate Tiernan (I have finished those already and I am loving them and wishing I could have found books 3 and 8 and then final books in the series 10 -14 (I have 15!).)

Man, I wish we had a decent used bookstore here in Montreal. In English. Sigh. I loved that place. It was rather overwhelming though, there were so many books that you couldn’t help but get a fuzzy-brain looking at them all. And they were all crammed into tiny spaces making it hard to look at everything. But I loved it. Spent an hour there the second time I went. I was in heaven!