Wednesday, July 22, 2015

a few of my favorite Summer reads . . .

My kids (and family life) keep me busy, so I look forward to opportunities for 'down time.' That's often when I edit photos, write/blog, and peruse through my favorite magazines. 

A few months ago I added a new 'down time' activity to my repertoire . . . reading! And I love it!

A beautiful gal, S, told me about the book Garden Spells. She said that the main character reminded her of me, and that I had to read it. So before the school year ended she gave me two books to read over Summer break . . . Garden Spells and The Candy Queen.  

Since I don't read novels very often (if at all), I wasn't sure how I would embrace the book; but I fell in love with the author's writing style - and content - immediately.

If you know me, then you know that I'm passionate about my family and FOOD. So when I learned that Garden Spells had all the things that I love - nestled between two covers - I was excited to read it.

Garden Spells is beautifully written! 

I've truly enjoyed following the stories/women of the Waverly family

I particularly fell in love with the main character, Claire, who clings to her roots and tradition . . . and tends to the enchanted soil in the family garden from which she makes her sought-after delicacies. I enjoyed reading about her baking & cooking, and catering events, as her menus were impeccably described . . .

Business was doing well, because all the locals knew that dishes made from flowers 
that grew around the apple tree in the Waverly garden could affect the eater in curious ways. 

The biscuits with lilac jelly, the lavender tea cookies, 
and the tea cakes made with nasturtium mayonnaise 
the Ladies Aid ordered for their meeting once a month 
gave them the ability to keep secrets. 

The fried dandelion buds over marigold-petal rice, stuffed pumpkin blossoms, 
and rose-hip soup ensured that your company 
would notice only the beauty of your home and never the flaws. 

Anise hyssop honey butter on toast, angelica candy, 
and cupcakes with crystallized pansies made children thoughtful. 

Honeysuckle wine served on the Fourth of July gave you the ability to see in the dark. 

The nutty flavor of the dip made from hyacinth bulbs made you feel moody and think of the past, 
and the salads made with chicory and mint 
had you believing something  good was about to happen, whether it was true or not. 

I enjoyed Garden Spells so much that my husband surprised me (for my birthday) with First Frost, the sequel to Garden Spells. I was so excited!

When I opened the book and saw Claire's First Frost menu, I knew that I would love this novel too.

Fall is my favorite time of year . . . and what makes this this story extra special to me is that it's set in the Fall. So the text is filled with visions of pumpkins on porches, sidewalks lined with red leaves, cooler temperatures, and bare branches.  LOVE!

For all of you who are also passionate about gardening, cooking, and baking . . . and would love to get lost in a fun, light-hearted, and magical story that encompasses all these things AND MORE . . . then I totally recommend these two books!

Do you have any favorite Summer reads?


  1. I miss reading so much. But I'm an addict at heart. It's all or nothing. Our last long weekend at the Rock Farm, I read Goldfinch. Straight through. All 700 and some pages of it. I am an avid reader, on hiatus while raising children. I was just thinking, my house got thoroughly cleaned today, the weather is supposed to stay cool for a few days in a row, which means less's a PERFECT time to start a novel. ;)

  2. Adding these to my list. :)

    I just went back to reading a few months ago. I had the sudden epiphany that I was never reading books anymore and that's one of my greatest joys. Now I can't get enough!

  3. Suzanne, I came back to tell you that your new blog look is beautiful.

  4. Thank you so much for the recommendations -- I love to read and I am a total incurable romantic. I love happy endings and family and cooking and gardening is right up there. If I don't have a book in queue I start to hyperventilate -- seriously. Lately I've been immersed in "how to" books. Such as photography, food staging, photo editing, and cookbooks. My hubby gives me "the look" when he gets the male and there's is another package from Amazon. I am definitely getting the two books you recommended and I can't wait to start. One book that I really loved and it's a true story is Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn. I cried at the end but it is a happy bittersweet emotion. Thank you for sharing. Big Hugs and have a great day!

  5. Doggone word correct -- it is mail NOT male. Sheesh - I thought I reread what I wrote and didn't see any grammatical errors. WRONG!! Sorry!

  6. lovely summer reads my friend, and of course you know I love your recipes. I hope you shared at the hop today xo

  7. The books sound like something I would enjoy and your photos are fabulous.

  8. Hi Suzanne! Thanks for checking on me the other day :). The week just kind of got away from me with our summer activities. These books sound fabulous! I always love a good book recommendation. Your beautiful pictures make me want to curl up with one and have a lazy, summer reading day! Hope you're having a good weekend!

  9. You've made it sound so good, I think I will try to read them both.

  10. Your pictures are gorgeous. thank you for the recommendations! Coming over from Inspire Me Monday.

  11. Suzanne, Sarah Addison Allen is one of my favorite authors! I have read all of her books but Garden spells is my favorite. I love that the apple tree and house are characters in the book just as much as the people! Definitely check out Lost Lake too if you haven't yet I couldn't put that one down either:). Have a great week and take care, Tara

  12. I read Garden Spells a while back and really enjoyed it! I love to read, but sadly reading has really taken a back seat to the computer. I am still managing to read one book each month, my book club book, but that's about it. We're heading to the beach in a few days and I am so looking forward to getting totally lost in a book with the my toes in the sand!


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