10 February 2011

An Unusual Dual Review: Garden Spells & The Sugar Queen

Two books, both alike in dignity...


Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen
Authoress: Sarah Addison Allen
Genre: Adult Fiction, Magical Realism
Goodreads: Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen

Both (with the help of friendship or sisterhood) discuss mending wounds, overcoming the past, sorting through lies, and learning to believe and stand up for yourself.

Whimsical:
-Garden Spells has a sentient apple tree that bears fruit that can reveal bits of your future.
-While Sugar Queen has a flame haired girl with a serendipitous relationship with books. Books appear as she needs them and if she doesn't read them, they follow her.


Witticism:
-Garden Spells: "She was so Southern that she cried tears that came straight from the Mississippi and she always smelled faintly of cottonwood and peaches."
-Sugar Queen:
"It had always fascinated him that she'd consumed so many words, that her head was full of stories, told a thousand different ways."

Wrapping:
While both covers are beautiful, I wasn't pleased with the hair of each girl.
-Garden Spells should have had the darker haired Claire enjoying the garden.
-While Sugar Queen should have had the long dark curly haired Josey sitting at the window.

Wrapping Winner:
-The Polish cover of Garden Spells is my favorite.
-While the Vietnamese cover of Sugar Queen really captures Josey.

Whippersnappers:
-Garden Spells has sex (the act, sexuality, homosexuality, promiscuity, and sexual abuse) as well as mentions to physical abuse.
-While Sugar Queen has infidelity, a minor sex scene, and mentions to suicide, murder, prostitution, and sexual abuse.

Word to the wise:
-Garden Spells will leave you ready to bake and mix herbs.
-While Sugar Queen will leave you craving sweet confections.

Writing:
-Garden Spells is less fluid and tender then The Sugar Queen or The Girl Who Chased the Moon.
-While Sugar Queen was a beguiling instant favorite.

Wholly:
-Garden Spells is a 3 star (less witchy) tart Practical Magic with a good dose of Southern flair.
-Sugar Queen is a 5 star (ghostly infused) sweet tale about friendship and courage.

Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com

56 comments :

  1. I loved both of these book and was itching to throw edible flowers into everything I baked after reading them. :) I think she has a new book out as well, which I can't wait to read!

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  2. Gah! I'm a huge fan of Allen....I love everything she writes LOL!

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  3. This is an author I really need to try. I’ve heard so many amazing things.

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  4. Wow, thanks! You just turned me on!
    to the book that is, LOL.

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  5. By-the-way,
    I loved that way you did that!
    Compared the two, that was clever. You should do that more often.

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  6. Wall: Why thank you darling :) You reallly would love these.

    Christie: Oh yes do! She's magical!

    Kris: :)

    Coffee: OMG right? me too! I can not wait for the Peach Keeper!

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  7. I read both of these and found them enchanting. ;) Thanks for the reminder of these fun reads--I need to go find her third book.

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  8. Wonderful review, Juju. I love how you gave each book their time to shine but without too much detail from either. Just enough to peak our interest should we be inclined for a quick read. Great job...thanks for sharing!

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  9. These look great! I absolutely love how you reviewed them both...I don't think I've ever seen so many "w" words on one page in my life! Love it!

    XOXO~ Renee

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  10. I love both of these books. I'm looking forward to her upcoming release. Sarah Addison Allen has become auto-buy for me. :)

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  11. Jenn: Oh yes you must. It is also enchanting :) Perfect word!

    GMR: Ahhhh thanks! I try. It's hard with magical realism. You don't won't to give too much away ya know? :)

    Renee: Thanks :D A compliment indeed!

    Nely: OMG me too! :)

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  12. Love your dual review! I loved Garden Spells and do agree that the Polish cover is gorgeous. I started Sugar Queen but put it down. I might try to pick it up again this year sometime!

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  13. Cool review :)
    I have head about these, and there is just something about them that says read me

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  14. Lazy Girl: OMG you should so try again. Hang in there until you meet the girl that books come to. Then you will be hooked ;)

    Blod: Yes do it!

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  15. I've been pretty sure I would enjoy these ever since someone compared them to Joanne Harris' Chocolat. Oh and I loved Practical Magic. Gotta remember to add these to my list!

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  16. Ladytink: Oooo Chocolat. I loved that one. I must re-read that.

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  17. Well, now. I know why I hadn't seen your Garden Spells review before. Ha!

    I love that we each found the opposite book the better one. I just couldn't connect as well to the characters in Sugar Queen and I found Garden Spells to be more tenderly told.

    I am now going to devour your Girl Who Chased the Moon review.

    I am so happy I have met you through blogging! You always make me smile!

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  18. Carrie: Thanks :)

    Cat: Really? Right on. It's so funny how people can see things differently :) I like that we've met each other blogging too. You definitely always make me smile :) Thank you for visiting darling.

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  19. What a cool format for a review! Your site is always a treat to visit!

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  20. Unusual way of doing a review but I like it by comparing the two.

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  21. Haha, I like how you did these reviews. I just am not into these books for some reason. I just finished The Girl Who Chased the Moon (and have read Garden Spells in the past) and their just 'meh' to me.

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  22. Kim & Jenny N: Thanks :) I like to shake things up!

    Jenny: Really? Wow. Question: Do you dig magical realism in general? :)

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  23. I adore these reviews and the mashup of the two! They sound brilliant :)

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  24. Oh I love the sound of Sugar Queen, I wouldn't mind having books following me around. Love the quote about consuming words from that one too:) I agree with you on the covers, it always irritates me when the cover model doesn't have the main physical attributes as the character in the book. I know it's probably difficult to do sometimes, but hair would be a pretty easy change to make right!

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  25. Jenny: OMG I was thinking the same thing. I wish books would appear to me when I need them.

    YES! OMG those little details matter to me :) And you're right - they're easy changes.

    Thanks for stopping by. I adore your visits.

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  26. So Garden Spells will have me baking the stuff that Sugar Queen will make me want to eat. Sounds like a win/win!

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  27. Alyssa: LOL pretty much ;) You'll be eating Gobstoppers while experimenting with dinner.

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  28. I like how you compared the two. Well done! :) Sugar Queen sounds like a wonderful read.

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  29. I really liked Garden Spells and already knew I wanted to read her other stuff. Now hearing that you liked her other two books even more makes me want to run out and grab them asap!

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  30. JessBookLover: Yes do! :)

    Alita: OMG you soooo have to read the others! Her writing improves as she goes along.

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  31. This was a clever way to review these books, Juju! I also found The Sugar Queen a charming story. My heart went out to Josie.

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  32. I've been planning on re-reading it too.

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  33. Ladytink: Great minds think alike. Maybe after I reread it, I will rewatch the film and redrool over Johnny Depp. :)

    Renee Ann: O me too! Her mama was so awful!

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  34. I have yet to read either of these books. Wonderful review and like the double dose of the author. I especially liked the Word to the Wise.

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  35. Hi Juju! I love the books! I remember reading them last few years ago and still love it. I'm looking forward to read the girl who chase the moon soon. =)

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  36. I enjoyed reading Garden Spells, so it sounds like I need to read The Sugar Queen.

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  37. Jenny Girl: Thanks :D

    Darlyn: Oooo you are going to love it :)

    Midnight: Totally! I look forward to hearing which you dug more.

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  38. Oooo, I loved both of these books! Fantastic review and great way to analyze both!

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  39. I wonder, were both books published by the same publisher... I think that could account with the similarity in the cover...

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  40. Oh, this is so what I needed! I love the dual review, so I could see how they matched up. I totally remember why I LOVED The Sugar Queen, now!

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  41. Stacy: Thanks doll :)

    Cherry: I think originally they were not, but perhaps they were reissued together :)

    Penelope: Yay! I'm so happy you liked it :) After finishing these, I was wishing for apple trees and books to follow me :)

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  42. Whoa: i like your "W" review setup ;-D

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  43. Vv: Thanks :) I thought I'd rock the W and make it my signature :)

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  44. Oh! I love that quote from Garden Spells! So perfect! I have both of these on my "to read" list and now I'm wondering which should go first? The one that was just okay or the really good one? What do you think? I'm wanting to read them before The Peach Keeper comes out next month.

    Loved your review by the way! Especially how you managed to pull both books together. Great idea!

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  45. 1st daughter: Thanks! :D To answer your question: Garden Spells. Because then you can see the progression in her writing.

    And OMG I can't wait for The Peach Keeper.

    So what do you think of the new paperback cover of The Girl Who Chased the Moon?

    Jupiter: Delightful right? :)

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  46. I loved both books, well...all three books I've read by Allen. I have to say that Garden Spells is still my favorite, but Girl Who Chased the Moon is a close second. I think that's because G.S was the first Allen book that I picked up.

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  47. Lizzy: Cool! Book love is definitely in the eye of the beholder. :D I think I'm Sugar Queen tied with The Girl Who Chased the Moon followed by Garden Spells. Thanks so much for stopping by! :D

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  48. I think I might be sold on Sugar Queen.

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  49. Andrea: Yay! Cause it's delicious and SO worth it.

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  50. I know I'm a little behind on this review. I checked out a sample of Garden Spells on my Kindle. I enjoyed what I read. I'm going to pick up at the library along with The Girl Who Chased the Moon. I though the first chapter was pretty good.

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  51. Julie: Yay! I'm so glad to hear that :) Prepare to be totally charmed :) And I believe they are both perfect Spring time reads.

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  52. I so want to read these. Darn it, I just never have had a chance. I guess I should rectify that. Thanks for the reviews, Juju!

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    1. Oh you should. Sarah Addison Allen is marvelous.

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