Book Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

I was instantly attracted to The Hazel Wood by its dark foreboding cover and intriguing blurb so was pleased when I was given an advanced copy to review by NetGalley and the publishers Penguin Random House UK.

The Hazel Wood cover

 Title    The Hazel Wood

Author  Melissa Albert

Publisher Penguin Random House UK Children’s Penguin

Blurb

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began . . .

My Thoughts

Fairy Tales have always intrigued me. Not your saccharine sweet Disney versions but the dark, complex tales passed down the generations by the spoken word before they were captured in print by Perrault and The Grimm Brothers when they provided entertainment lessons for the community.

The Hazel Wood has the elements of these original stories which create a unique dark YA novel. It has all parts of a book  I tend to fall hopelessly in love with – mystery, secrets, dusty bookshops and a book central to the plot with a twist of magic. It may not have grabbed me as much as I hoped (my expectations were maybe too high) but I enjoyed this well written, quirky novel. It was easy to fall into the adventure with Alice as she followed clues with the aid of Finch, a huge fan of her Grandmothers works to search for her mother. Alice’s nomadic childhood has been blighted by a string of bad luck which has made her have an extremely close relationship with her mum, Ella and it is this bond that holds the plot together. Alice is not the most pleasant character with a tendency for uncontrollable anger leading me to question her actions at times but they are in keeping with her personality. There are many unique characters dotted throughout the story, linked together by the fairy tales written by her grandmother.  It is surreal read especially part two which I found reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.

Would I recommend?

I enjoyed it so would recommend it to those who love Caraval by Stephanie Garber or darker YA tales.

Reading update: Jan 2018

 

Welcome to February

A new month and a step closer to Spring. I love winter for the excuse of snuggling under the duvet with a good book but I long for sunshine and cheery flowers now. Rather than weekly updates on the books I am reading, I have decided to do monthly ones – hopefully, they will be easier to keep track of and more time to focus on writing.

Last books I read in January

Life got in the way of updating last week but I finished reading:

Books on my February TBR list

These are the books I would like to read this month

  • Write a Novel in 30 Days by Megg Geri – I am excited to read this. I will update progress on my Instagram account.
  • Still Me by JoJo Moyes – how can I not read this when it called to me from the bookshelf while shopping? Some books are irresistible and the library list is too long. I have missed Louisa Clarke.
  • The Truth of Ella Black by Emily Barr
  • Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
  • Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick – the illustrations are outstanding.
  • Catch up on books to review for upcoming blog tours on Duvet Dwellers Books

And finish Jennifer Gilmour’s Clipped Wings

It will a busy month.

What are you reading this month?

Weekly Update: 15th Jan Books 

It’s the beginning of another week and more books are being lifted from my TBR pile. After last week’ s reading of The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan, and Jennifer Gilmour’s Isolation Junction these are the books I plan to read:

  • The One by John Marrs. This has been out a while but I have patiently waited my turn on the library reservation list. I first heard about it on Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 Book Club and the premise of dating based on DNA testing had me hooked.
  • Clipped Wings by Jennifer Gilmour. After reading Isolation Junction, which is a fictional account of domestic abuse (eye-opening, worrying and uplifting book) I decided to try her second book. This is a collection of survivor’s stories on their experiences of domestic abuse.
  • Forget her Name by Jane Holland, in time for next week’s blog tour.
  • Write Smart, Write Happy by Cheryl St. John. I am jumping into this after receiving a digital ARC from NetGalley. Will I be a happier writer and will my technique improve once I have finished it? I will find out soon. 

What books are you opening this week?

Happy reading!

Weekly Reading Update 8th Jan 2018

This is the first weekly reading update of the year. One of my 2018 goals is  to check in weekly to share my current reads for the week and hopefully hear what you are reading too.

I have just finished an ARC for Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood, a fantasy YA with elements of a twisted fairy tale. I will post a review nearer to its publication date next month.

I have started Jenny Colgan’s The Endless Beach, also an ARC and would love to pause time so the to-do list can be forgotten so I can just read undisturbed. Her books always demand my attention once they are started.

Thank you NetGalley and publishers for allowing me the opportunity to have a sneak preview at books. I am so grateful.

Though I have read Murs Lafferty’s I Should be Writing, I am dipping in to complete the exercises.

Also Jennifer Gilmour’s debut novel Isolation Junction has been downloaded on my Kindle along with her second book Clipped Wings. If you can head over there now – Isolation Junction is available FREE for 5 days (8th – 12th Jan 2018) to raise awareness of domestic abuse. We will also hear more from Jennifer later in the week but in the meantime why not pop over to download your copy.

UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LX4HLT0

US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX4HLT0

What are you reading this week?

Happy reading and writing!