Wild Beauty

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Oct 2017

Member Reviews

I'm blown away as always by Anna-Marie McLemore's books. There's casual mentions of periods, people all over the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and the best magical realism around. I love the spanish language and latino culture throughout her books. I always love the family dynamics and traditions we get to see. Her genderqueer or trans characters are always extra special to me and I love knowing her husband helps with those parts of the books. 

Her stories are always full of strong women and huge, tight-knit families. The love stories are always lush and romantic. I'm always surprised by the different ways she infuses magic in the worlds. I never see them coming and yet they feel like it's something that should've always been in our world. The life lessons and hard truths are interwoven into these magical worlds and teach both the characters and the reader. There's always fantastic personal growth from the characters and I love looking at who they are at the end of the novel versus the beginning.
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I'm a big fan of Anna-Marie McLemore and her luscious writing. Wild Beauty was another hit for me. With its gorgeous prose and its intriguing characters, the book completely swept me off my feet. I will read anything and everything she writes in the future!
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Wild Beauty wasn't my cup of tea. The writing style was good and interesting, but the pace of the story was too slow for my taste. It took pages for anything to happen and when it did, I've already lost interest. Plus, the characters weren't remarkable. As I said, it wasn't the kind of book I enjoy reading.
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DNF
I'm so sorry, i just couldn't finish this book, even if i read most of it, because it wasn't for me.
Maybe if i read it in another time i'd enjoy it more, but right know i can't see myself loving it.
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This will appeal to the more thoughtful reader. But I enjoyed it a lot.
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McLemore's writing is descriptively beautiful and lush. The imagery is vivid and I can perfectly picture the gardens of her setting. The pacing and the unveiling of clues about the land were a little too slow. I would have liked a bit more of character development in order to distinguish the five cousins.
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Wow. Just WOW. 

I received an ARC of Anna-Marie McLemore's last book (When the Moon Was Ours), which I absolutely loved, so I jumped at the chance to read her newest book. I had high expectations, but I didn't think she'd be able to match my love for WTMWO. Well played, Ms. McLemore. Well played. 

This book doesn't just build a world where there are subtle, yet magical differences from our world, but transports you there. The land that the Nomeolvides women live on, La Pradera, was a character of its own. Both protective and vindictive, it protects the Nomeolvides "witches" from the outside world, but at a price: the women can never leave the land, and any men they dare to love is taken from them. The newest generation of Nomeolvides, five cousins as close as sisters, all in love the same woman: their neighbor, Bay. They hope that Bay's gender is enough to keep her safe, but in praying to La Pradera to protect their love, they instead receive a boy covered in soil who seems to come from a different era, triggering a set of events that change both La Pradera and the Nomeolvides women's willingness to love.

I don't love flowers, but this book made me interested in flowers? I don't know. I just love everything about this book. Recommended for people who like magical realism, women of color who are IN CHARGE, witch fables, queer love, het love, sisterly love, love in general, poetic storytelling, and taking down "the man."
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Wild Beauty is a book about lost loves, family curses, and flowers. Estrella and her four sisters all fall in love with the same woman and fear that the family curse will make her disappear because of the intensity of their love. After she does disappear Estrella makes a deal with the ground she grows flowers in and falls in love with a boy who appears out of the ground. 

Wild Beauty is magical and yet still believable. The characters and story line are well written although a little wordy and poetic for my tastes. I love the strength and intensity displayed in the character of Estrella and her passionate protection for her lovers and family. The author does a wonderful job of creating a Hispanic Fairy-tale that will become a classic in years to come.
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DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF DNF
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Well, first things first. This is easily one of the most beautiful covers of a book I've ever seen and it sets the tone perfectly for what's inside. This book is full of lyrical writing and  magic realism, which means you absolutely have to be in the mood for that when you pick up this book. You have to be willing to suspend reality and fully immerse yourself in La Pradera in order to get the full feel of what's happening, and in some parts of the book I'm still not sure if I really understood it, but it didn't bother me.  La Pradera becomes its' own character in the book. We aren't really given a time period for the story, but the island has an old vibe to it and we get the distinct impression that the island is a living thing. The Neolivde sisters have a unique ability to grown flowers out of their hands and they feel at home in La Pradera because they have always been shunned in other locations. But, early on Estrella shows the reader that they love the island but are also afraid of what it will do them if they chose to leave.

We are introduced to the Neovolide sisters as they are fighting. Each sister is staking claim to the heart and attention of their friend, Bay. I loved that it takes the author a little bit to reveal that Bay is a tomboy girl. Her gender is not a big deal to the sisters or their family and its simply dropped into the story as a fact. The sisters decide that they cannot love Bay because the curse on the family line is that everyone they love disappears. Estrella is the main character and we follow her as she deals with her feelings for Bay, emerging feelings for a newcomer to the island and trying to figure out how to please the island that takes so much from her and her sisters.

There is a lot going on in this book and it touches on a few different genres. As long as you are in the mood for a lyrical, deep and thought provoking story this book would be a good choice for you.
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Beautiful story with beautiful writing! I loved getting to know this world and hope to visit again and again.
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Wild Beauty was unfortunately a DNF for me. This lovely book had a lot of things going for it. The premise was promising. I love books with 'witches' or unique magical abilities and Wild Beauty had an abundance of those things. The writing was also gorgeous and wonderfully descriptive. It was the pace that I didn't love. I struggled with picking this up for 2 weeks. It seemed like nothing was happening in the story. I was really intrigued by the curse and magic, but it was taking way too long for anything to happen. I ultimately DNFed at 29%.
I'll definitely give this author's other books a chance in the future since I enjoyed certain aspects of her writing.
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For over a century, the Nomeolvides women have lived on La Pradera; lush and fruitful lands.  The Nomelolvides women all have special abilities to call upon and grow a certain flower, usually based on their names.  The only caveat is that any man the Nomeolvides women falls in love with end up disappearing.  

The five youngest Nomeolvides women are hoping to break this cycle of love and loss by all being in love with the same woman, Bay Briar.  What they didn't expect was for a young man to appear on the grounds one morning and change everything. 

Told from the youngest Nomeolvides, Estrella, point of view and one of the young men that appears, Fel, this book is lyrically beautiful, and will entrance reader's from the start with the beauty that is La Pradera and the Nomeolvides women.  McLemore tackles all kinds of tough issues in this book, and does so with grace and magic.  Highly recommended for all library collections.
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I am unable to adequately critique this book as I have been unable to finish it. It is beautifully written, but unfortunately the genre seems to be one that is not pulling me into the story. I have heard so many wonderful things about it and I wanted to read it and love it so bad, but instead I was unable to get past the first couple of chapters. I found myself rereading paragraphs, trying to make sense of who is whom and staring incredulously at the pages. While I'm certain it is a fantastic book for those that truly love magical realism, as I am only able to read a few books from this genre, it is not for me. 3 stars as I am required to give a star rating.
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The link to the review will be added upon completing and polishing the review.
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Basic Keywords and Intro:

Own Voices: Queer Latinx Women
-YA Fantasy Novel
-Third person Omniscient Narration + Dual POV
-La Pradera is a magical garden that the Nomeolvides women curate.
-Those women are a generation of 5 girls, and their mothers, and their Grandmas.
-La Pradera is a cursed land that vanishes any person who is truly loved by any of the Nomeolvides girls.
-The five girls are: Estrella, Calla, Gloria, Azalea, and Dalia.
-They are all in love with the same girl, Bay.
-For the 1st time ever, the La Pradera gifts the young girls a boy.
-The land that takes, gave back a boy who remembers nothing about his past.
-A boy who could vanish again if one of the girls falls in love him.

“This was the heart of being a Nomeolvides girl. The more she loved a boy, the more reasons there were not to touch him.”

Points to address:

-The writing style was everything! Beautiful, Breathtaking, and all of the synonyms that go with those 2 words.
-I believe that Anna-Marie did a brilliant job with how she connected the beautiful, whimsical aspects of life with the brutally blunt reality of the world that we live in.
-And that is what makes Wild Beauty so magical.

“Never underestimate what the ground under your feet knows, what it can do. What it can give you and what it can steal."

Things I liked:

-A lyrical and beautiful writing style.
-A unique take on Magical Realism.
-FLOWERS!!! I can’t believe that I’ve read and loved an entire book about flowers.
-Being torn apart when it came to deciding what I liked the most .
-Is it the melodious writing style, the spellbinding storyline, or the captivating traits of every single character.
-Addressing the exploitation of child labor, the bigotry towards immigrants, and racism.

“You’d be amazed how no one looks past that. Most of the time, people don’t look past what they think they know.”

Things I didn’t like:

-NIL! NIL! NIL! NIL! NIL! NIL! NIL! NIL! NIL!

I received an eARC in exchange with an honest review.
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Several people have told me to check out Anna-Marie McLemore and I can certainly see why! This is a really lovely book that feels very grounded in cultural specifics while still building a unique magic system. The family dynamics reminded me a bit of Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova, and the romance was very sweet. For lack of a better term, the writing is very aesthetic -- lots of descriptions of scenery and outfits and flowers -- but I think McLemore pulls it off admirably. A beautiful fairy tale of a book.
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I went into this book pretty sure that I wouldn't love it as much as I loved When The Moon Was Ours. It was good, but the plot and the magic weren't as cohesive as WTMWO, and the characters felt not quite as real. It was confusing at times, and flowed along in a sort of dream-like way -- which can be good, but it left me more with a sense of vagueness than wonder. The ending was powerful, although it felt a little sudden and didn't build up to it as much as I would have liked. The romance was good, and McLemore writes good kissing and intimacy. It was good, but sort of meandering, and just didn't hold together as strongly as WTMWO.
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DNF. I tried so hard to get into this book but once I realized that I would never figure out the characters or the setting itself, I gave up. There are five girls immediately introduced but not by any way I could tell them apart. As I read I kept thinking it as taking place in the past but it sounded like it was supposed to be the present. Yet, that didn't seem right. Also, what country is this supposed to be? The characters might be Hispanic but that doesn't help me at all.
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This is a lovely book. I was cautious of it because I disliked 'The Weight of Feathers', but this novel is a vast improvement upon that one.
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