Tag Archives: Book Review

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

garden spells

Readers, I have found you a summer read that’s just about as light and fluffy as a vanilla cake!


Meet the Waverleys – a family a bit more magical than most. Claire, one of the last remaining Waverleys in their small town, resides in their ancestral Victorian and uses her culinary and horticultural skills to single-handedly run a successful catering business famous for her unusual flavor and ingredient combinations. Content with the security of her known world, Claire is deeply unsettled by the sudden arrival of her sister, Sydney, and Sydney’s daughter, Bay, after 10 years of absence. Sydney, as well as possessing some of her own unique Waverley magic, is dogged by troubles of her own, troubles she hopes to leave far behind the safety of her family home.  Both will find that being together again will set events in motion that neither can fully control, events that will change them and their relationship with each other forever.

Read this if

You like Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – it’s like its Southern cousin.


My Wish List by Grégoire Delacourt

my wish list

What would you do if you won the lottery?

This is exactly the question facing Jocelyne, owner of a fabric shop in small-town France. Resigned to a life different than she had dreamed of as a young woman, Jocelyne’s unexpected win forces her to re-evaluate the meaning of her life – is she living it the way she wants? Would she change anything? And when the unthinkable happens, what will she do?

A beautifully-written rumination on what makes a life valuable, Delacourt’s Wish List  will make you ask yourself “what would I do with 18 million euros??”

The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean – David Almond

Billy Dean

I can bet that you have never met anyone like Billy Dean.

Like David Almond’s other transcendent novel, SkelligThe True Tale deals with a central figure who may or may not be divine. Billy, kept in a single room for the first 13 years of his life, is raised mainly by his mother, although is also sustained by increasingly infrequent visits from his angry, fervent priest of a father. Why Billy is hid away for so long is only slowly revealed through the course of the book, but (I think) is, when finally revealed, somewhat irrelevant.

What truly makes this novel, and the character of Billy Dean, so astonishing and unexpected is Billy’s own unique perspective on the world. Perhaps the most magical thing about him is the how he is able to effortlessly see beauty everywhere.

A word on the writing style – I was entranced by how Almond chose to portray this unusual story. Billy is the narrator of his own life, and not only that, but we truly read Billy’s voice. Written phonetically, the words and sentence structures help to transport us into Billy’s mind, as well as into the cadence of speech in the small-town, war-torn England of the book.

Check out this stunning novel by one of the leading YA authors out there; Billy Dean just might change your life.