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August 26, 2015

Suped Up: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks

Series: Standalone
Format: eGalley
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Fantasy | Literary Fiction | Mystery

Annabelle Aster doesn’t bow to convention—not even that of space and time—which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds.

Annie and Elsbeth’s search for an explanation to the hiccup in the universe linking their homes leads to an unsettling discovery—and potential disaster for both of them. Together they must solve the mystery of what connects them before one of them is convicted of a murder that has yet to happen…and yet somehow already did.




LEM-ON-CHOLYnoun (lim-uhn-kol-ee)
plural: lem-on-chol-ies
  1. The habitual state in which one makes the best of a bad situation. adj.
  1. Affected with, characterized by, or showing lemoncholy.


I don't want to jinx myself, but I am loving my reading streak. Once again, I am recommending another 5-star read, and this time it's by Scott Wilbanks, THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER. It's a mash-up of genres, it's a time travel novel that's more literary fiction than sci-fi, and as a bonus, we have a murder mystery to solve. 

THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER cannot be simpler despite it's rather complex premise. A door that's a portal, being neighbors with someone who not only lived a century ago, but was from a different state, not to mention stopping the murder of a 19th century illusionist. Once the pieces were laid out, it was quite easy to figure out how everything is connected.

But connecting these dots are not the main objective of SWilbanks brilliantly told tale. Rather the genius lies in the HOWS. Like how did Elsbeth and Annie became neighbors? How are they connected? How are Annie and Elsbeth going to stop the murder? How are they going to bring the real perps to justice?

And oh, how SWilbanks answered those questions! I only have superlatives to describe THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER
  • I loved how the time travel aspect was highlighted, but not hifalutin so that non-sci-fi readers won't be overwhelmed by the semantics of it. 
  • I loved Annie's obsession with the Victorian era and Elsbeth's penchant for grammar and language. The supporting cast are wonderful as wel: Annie's best friend, Christian, is representative of everything that is good and innocent in this novel; the mystery man, Edmund is perplexing but in a good way; the street urchin Cap'n was so endearing I want to adopt her; and even the villain wasn't spared of SWilbanks' cleverness for he is a wicked and curious antagonist.
  • I loved how the murder-mystery was plotted and resolved, it was nothing short of satisfying
  • I loved how this novel is also a story about friendships and it was the kind that touched and made me cry. 
  • I loved how Annie and Eslbeth inspired me to be lemoncholy, so much so that I think I will be borrowing Mr. Wilbanks term until my friends are sick and tired of it.
  • Oh and THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER ended with a heartwarming HEA too!


THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER is one of, if not the best, Grandfather Paradox novel I've read in a long time. The story is achingly beautiful and very, very entertaining, it sure made me crave for a similar novel to read. I tried to look for an excerpt to share, I wasn't able to find one, so do yourselves a favor, head on to Goodreads or Amazon, read a sample, and take it from there. 









Talk Supe


47 comments:

  1. But oh no, I hate falsely accused stories

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    1. Don't worry, it was a momentary thing, it didn't drag on ;)

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  2. That cover seems misleading. Wow, you are throwing out 5 stars like that are candy lately. lol.

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  3. *ha* When I saw the rating, I thought "Wow, she's been reading some fab books lately!" I'm so glad this was another winner, Braine. And I *did* put it on my tbr because it sounds like a phenomenal read! I'm very intrigued with the "Hows" as you put it and the in way in which Wilbanks wove all this together. Great review and I hope your streak continues!! :)

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    1. I know! It's nice to get lost in great narratives.

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    2. Braine got right to the heart of it. Lemoncholy IS about the "hows." It's also a very character driven novel--a story about five misfits who are seeking enlightenment, a little understanding, in a world that can be unforgiving.

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  4. *groans* Stop it, Braine! I can't come here and add a new book every day like that! The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster sounds fantastic! And I want it!!
    Excellent review :)
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. Hahaha!

      It's still on NG, grab it!

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    2. Hope you do, Lexxie! And hope you enjoy!

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  5. Nice! Glad to see you're loving all the books you're reading :) This does sound like it's an interesting read.

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    1. I feel like great! It's always great to lost oneself in a good book

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  6. I love a good time travel read! Wonderful review!

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    1. It's not my usual read but I'm glad this worked out for me.

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  7. You know I have to read this if only for that title, right? Lemoncholy? I suddenly feel very conventional and boring :\ I want my mommy!

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    1. Hahahaha!

      I'm planning to be lemoncholy moving forward

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    2. My publishing house didn't like the working title, and sent me on a fishing expedition, Ramona. I came up with dozens, DOZENS--each politely nixed.

      Things were getting dire, and I resorted to random word searches on Google. Since I wanted the book to evoke a turn-of-the-century vibe, I added the term "Victorian" in each search.

      At one point, I stumbled across a dictionary for Victorian slang, and browsed around until I hit on the word "lemoncholy."

      I fell in love with it, but not the fact that it was a synonym for "melancholy." So, I coopted the word, and merged "melancholy" with the phrase "if life gives you lemons."

      Unfortunately, I had to give my protagonist a makeover as her original name was Anastasia Biddleton. I mean, The Lemoncholy Life Of Anastasia Biddleton? Not!

      Annie is physically frail (due to a form of pre leukemia), but strong in spirit, so I hunted around for a flower that blooms in the fall. What could be more perfect than an Aster?

      Voila!

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  8. I do love time travel reads, so I'll definitely consider this one next time I'm in the mood for one! Awesome review!

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  9. Supped Up?!! I know this is my cup of tea. I love time travel and mystery together, but It's more literary? Count me in! Great review!

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    1. I struggle with the more technical aspect of time travel. He really simplified it with the science still plausible.

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  10. Oh Wow Braine what a fantastic looking book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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    1. You're welcome!

      I hope you can feature him in your blog one of these days too!

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  11. Sounds interesting and not something that I'd usually read. Time travel in books can be fun though.

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    1. Me too, this has a sheen of whimsy to it which helped my enjoyment.

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  12. Another 5 star book! You're on a roll - whoop!

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. I'm scared now, I don't want to jinx my streak!

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  13. You had my eyes narrowing at time travel, butttttt I'll admit, the book does sound good :P

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    1. Trust me, I'm a dud when it comes to time travel, so the fact that I loved this means it's SUPER idiot friendly! lol

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  14. I am jealous that you are on a fantastic reading streak. This sounds wonderful and I love the time travel aspect to it. I am going to go look this one up as I need a couple of good reads. I am a bit burned out.

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    1. I'm the same way so I decided to swing the other way and read something different. I'm glad my trip outside my comfort zone seems to be paying off. Consider my palate cleansed!

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  15. Wow...this sounds like another one that I'll have to add to my Wishlist! You are so enthused!!!

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    1. Yes I am! I hope he writes another one soon!

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    2. My next one is in acquisitions at the publishing house right now, Braine. Waiting with baited breath for their response. Send some good publishing juju my way, please!

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  16. First... love that title! This sounds so good. I want to read it. You said it is a mash up AND has a great HEA? I'm so there. :) This is going on my wishlist now!

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  17. Oooh! This sounds interesting! A mash of genres... I like the time travel aspect, and the murder mystery has me intrigued.

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

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    1. Try the excerpt, it's not your usual sci-fi.

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  18. I love what you've described here. I'll have to add it to my list.

    Yay for your streak of good books.

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  19. Can life get any cooler when someone really "gets" your book? And, more, sets Twitter on fire with a shoutout? Is it a sin to admit that I've already read your review three times, and will probably do so for another baker's dozen while I wait for my flight to Miami?

    I don't even know where to begin with my thanks, Braine.

    The fact that you understood that this book is about the "characters"--a mash up of misfits who are each seeking a little understanding in a society that has marginalized them--as much as it is about the story, simply carbonates my blood with happiness.

    And while I started my post with three questions, I'd like to end it with one more. Who was your favorites character in the book? :)

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  20. Glad we are benefiting from your streak. Keep it up. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  21. This wasn't even on my radar but lord you have me doing "gimmie hands" Murder mystery, science fiction and a mash up of genres...want!

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  22. I'm jealous of your fabulous reading streak!!! :) But this looks good and I will have to add it to my TBR! *grabby hands* Lovely review!

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  23. This sounds like such a unique read! I love time travel, science fiction, and mystery, so it's like all of my favorite genres wrapped into one! I was reading your list of things you loved and when I spotted " Victorian Era " (the main character is obsessed with this era like myself) I knew I wanted to read it from there! Keep up your good reading streak Braine :)

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    1. Let me know what you think if you decide to pick it up, Martika!

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  24. Glad to hear you're on a reading roll, sis! I love the definition of lemoncholy- I definitely need to adopt that kind of attitude!

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    1. I think we should turn it into a rallying cry, Lee. Whatcha think? "We need a lemoncholy world!" Or something like that? :)

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