Customer Reviews for

Garden Spells

Average Rating 4.5
( 2606 )
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(1341)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

28 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

MAGICAL

Magical story with a predictable plot, minimal conflict, some comical antagonists, simplistic characters, an an unbelievable happy ever after: this book has little depth and, on a technical level, not much to offer. In fact, Claire's homeless past and Sydney's abusive b...
Magical story with a predictable plot, minimal conflict, some comical antagonists, simplistic characters, an an unbelievable happy ever after: this book has little depth and, on a technical level, not much to offer. In fact, Claire's homeless past and Sydney's abusive boyfriend are almost red herrings, foreshadowing conflicts that never quite arrive. Instead, this book is about self-discovery and love with perfect endings, containing impossible magic. It's set in a small town where the biggest conflict is a foolish family feud. There is no complexity, no hidden meaning or intelligent depth, and readers expecting it will be disappointed.
Garden Spells is fluff. Accept that the book is little more than escapism, and it actually becomes quite a fun read. There's something enjoyable and uplifting about uncomplicated self-discovery and romance, and the magic--unbelievable as it is--is colorful and entertaining. The conflicts of the small town remain vaguely irritating (and mildly sexist), but they're comical as well. So, while the book is simple and unmemorable, it's pure escapism which is surprisingly fun to read. I wasn't blown away by this book and I'll never reread it, but I enjoyed it much more than I expected I would. Exaggerated as it is, I like the magic. There's something oddly enduring about a playful apple tree with prophetic fruit, or the ability to influence memory or emotion by baking with the right edible flowers. All told, I recommend this book only moderately, and only to the reader looking for a lighthearted bit of escapism. It's a good book to borrow, because it won't stand up to rereads. But if you want simple fantasy and fun with a colorful twist, Garden Spells might be a good choice for an empty afternoon.

posted by BANCHEE_READS on November 20, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

14 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

Good writing, but the plot is a rip off

I was very excited to read this book, and heard wonderful reviews, and then I read it. And the whole time I was reading it it sounded just like a certain movie which happens to be one of my favorites... And suddenly Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman were the main charac...
I was very excited to read this book, and heard wonderful reviews, and then I read it. And the whole time I was reading it it sounded just like a certain movie which happens to be one of my favorites... And suddenly Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman were the main characters! The story and characters are such a cheap rip off of the move Practical Magic it isn't even funny. Two sisters born into a family who is "different" and known for witchcraft. And resented for it. One sister leaves to escape her past, the other stays and starts selling magical herbs. They live in a weird old house in a small town on the East coast. Need I continue? I couldn't believe how entirely the plot was ripped off from that. This book was published in 2008, and that movie came out years ago, possibly based on a book before that. I don't know at what point copyrights are infringed upon, but this book is just Practical Magic with new names and a different town.

posted by vanillabrite on February 26, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2010

    Didn't like it

    This book reminded me of Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. It was bordering on plagarism. All the major plotlines are similar in some way to a major plotline in that book. And Practical Magic was better written.

    11 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2007

    Sounds Familiar

    I'm surprised that this was a recommended book.This story is so similar to Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic it's almost like reading a book report about Hoffman's book. It was basically the same story with a few changes but not written nearly as well. As an avid reader I was very disappointed.

    10 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2007

    Sleeping Potion

    I'm sorry, but this read was exceedingly below expectations and succeeded in doing little more than boring me to sleep. There is nothing here that has not been said before, and better.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2014

    light read a la "Water for Chocolate"

    Sisters reunite, both find love, and a little magic apple tree thrown in for fun.

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  • Posted August 12, 2011

    A Waste

    Bad flow

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2011

    Very light reading

    A very easy read. Enjoyable but very perdictable and formulatic.

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  • Posted March 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    decent read

    it was a good book because of the cool magic in it but the story plot was okay, not too engaging. it leaves you feeling like not much happened but its still good because the magical aspect keeps you entertained.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2011

    good.not great

    unique storyline not very compelling

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2011

    The enchantment wore off

    I enjoyed this book for the first 100 pages, then after that it just got tedious. The drone of the same things felt so pounded into my head that after awhile I felt myself thinking "I get the point already, let's go somewhere with this." The characters lacked a real depth or connection, and the building anticipation of the story bordered on annoying.

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    Ehh, so so

    Maybe my low rating is due to a personal preference that I have for stronger more developed books. This is an easy read and doesn't really say much. Kinda cute if you go for no brainers. It is nice to find a happily ever after book, though.

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    Posted December 4, 2011

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