3.5 stars Sarah Addison Allen is one of the very few ladies' lit authors I can tolerate. Her stories are sweet and fluffy and utterly insubstantial, but they're nice when you need a break from heavier fare. I always know what I'm asking for when I pick one up, so I can't complain too much afterward that they're sappy and implausible. That would be like ordering vanilla ice cream and then complaining that it wasn't mashed potatoes and gravy. Or buying a Britney Spears CD and then wondering why it doesn't sound like AC(lightning bolt)DC. Anyway, my point is that you go into a Sarah Allen story knowing it's a confection, and you just happen to have a sweet tooth at the moment. Allen uses magical realism in a light and playful way, as a means of helping the characters have that happy ending we all want for them. This particular story features an eight-foot-tall grandfather who spends a lot of time checking the dryer for frogs. (Made ya curious, didn't I?) You'll also meet a family whose men have a genetic anomaly that makes it uncomfortable for them to go out after dark. (Hint: They're NOT werewolves or vampires.) Also, there's some wallpaper that functions sort of like those mood rings that were popular in the 70s, only cooler. And a delightful baked goods theme that will make you swear you can smell vanilla and cinnamon. This is the third Allen book I've read. I have only one ongoing gripe, and it seems to be the one thing that keeps me from nudging my ratings up to four stars. She spends a lot of time building a back story for her characters, getting me really interested in the secrets of their past and making me curious about their futures. Then, when all has been revealed and it's time to tie up the story, she hits me with a bang-boom-bomb-bing-wham-bam-damn-thank-you-ma'am ending that leaves me feeling like the entire book was just foreplay. Ya know? All that buildup, and THIS is how it ends?! In spite of that one complaint, (not to mention the gooey romantic barfy stuff), I still recommend the books for a certain mood. Why? Because while I'm sitting there in my sugar coma with a big goofy grin on my face wondering what just happened, I'm also greedily looking forward to my next fix.