Book Review: THE HAZEL WOOD by Melissa Albert (Owlcrate Book February 2018)

“The Hazel Wood”

The Hazel Wood #1

by Melissa Albert

Nikki’s Rating: 4 out of 10

Summary: Bad luck seems to follow them wherever they go so Alice and her mom, Ella, are constantly on the move. When her grandmother, the famous author Althea Proserpine, dies, Alice thinks their curse may be broken. But then Alice begins to notice characters from Althea’s fairy tales all over New York and they are definitely up to no good. And when the kidnap Ella, Alice has no choice but to make her way to the Hazel Wood, her grandmother’s hidden estate and the one place Ella told Alice never to go to.

Click on the Image to Purchase the Book and Support your local Bookstore!

4 Honorable Things about THE HAZEL WOOD by Melissa Albert

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Fairy Tales

The fairy tales within “The Hazel Wood” are not our known fairy tales. Instead, they are unique stories, with some of them actually being featured in “The Hazel Wood” novel. They also tend to be rather dark and twisted like many of our original fairy tales, not the Disney versions. For example, one fairy tale features a cold, spoiled princess who turns to ice and kills people or Twice-Killed Katherine who sucks the vitality and life out of others to remain young.

2. Mother & Daughter

While I am a HUGE fan of romance, it was a bit refreshing that “The Hazel Wood” was not focused on a couple. Rather it was a story about a mother and daughter. What made it even more special is that Alice finds out Ella is not her biological mother and yet realizes that blood doesn’t matter. Ella was a mother to Alice in every sense of the word and will remain in her life as her mother. Although, their dynamic was a bit strange in the sense that Alice would sometimes take on the role of parent to Ella and take care of her, which is not healthy for a child.

3. Fairy Tale Characters

One of my favorite things about “The Hazel Wood” is the concept of the fairy tale characters being “alive.” Obviously this means that bad characters such as Twice-Killed Katherine are alive and sucking the life out of people, which is bad. But overall it is a fun concept and I would have liked to see how different characters adjusted to being ex-Story and what they ended up choosing for their lives, fuck the Spinner.

4. The Night Country

The Hazel Wood series continues in Book 2, “The Night Country.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Review: THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black (Owlcrate Book January 2018)

“The Cruel Prince”

The Folk of the Air #1

by Holly Black

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Stolen from the mortal lands, Jude and her sisters are brought up in Faerieland and it is not all that magical. Faeries are cunning, manipulative, and love playing tricks especially on mortals, which they generally hate. No longer belonging to the mortal world, Jude learns to navigate their world and play their malicious games. But then the High King is killed and Jude finds herself caught up in a web of intrigue and a bloody political coup, which turns her life upside down all over again.

Click on the Image to Purchase the Book and Support your local Bookstore!

7 Captivating Things about THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Setting

While most of The Folk of the Air series takes place in Faerie, the world includes our modern mortal world as well. It is actually relatively easy for faeries to travel between the two realms allowing characters to go back and forth without consequences. This was a fun change from a fantasy novel being placed in a mythical land in which our world didn’t exist. Reminds me of Labyrinth.

2. LGBTQ

As always, I appreciate any author that includes positive, normalizing inclusion of the LGBTQ community in their novels. In Holly Black’s Faerieland, LGBTQ relationships appear to be accepted and Jude’s sister Vivi is actually in a serious committed relationship with another woman.

3. Sisterly Love

Overall, the three sisters, Jude, Taryn, and Vivi are there for each other and really show sisterly love. Throughout “The Cruel Prince” they are each other’s confidants, advocates, and counselors. They give each other space when needed, understand it when one of them has a secret that they are unwilling to share, and are willing to help each other with no questions asked.

4. Cardan

Cardan is an intriguing character, while he appears to be cruel there is an element of reserve, like he doesn’t actually enjoy being mean. He does terrible things but isn’t quite the monster his brother Balekin is and there may be hope for him to be better. It appears that Cardan is a product of his upbringing, as we all are, and with being abused, ignored, and taught to be ruthless, this is all he knows how to be. Perhaps free of his family he can become something different.

5. Emotional

“The Cruel Prince” pulls at the emotional strings, especially conflicting emotions. Madoc’s fatherly relationship with the girls, even though he murdered their parents. Taryn’s betrayal of Jude with Locke, even though they are sisters and twins at that. Cardan’s cruelty and then seeing him being beaten. Dain appears to be a fair and just prince and then he has Jude stab herself for making a mistake. Then there is Cardan wanting Jude but being repulsed and ashamed for his feelings. Holly Black creates an emotional whirlwind between her characters and one doesn’t know how to feel about anyone.

6. Surprise Twist

Holly Black did an amazing job of slowly revealing Jude’s overall plan to have Oak become High King. I didn’t realize who was going to be crowned until Cardan knelt before Oak, it was a surprising twist but makes total sense for Jude’s end game. Looking forward to seeing how this dangerous gamble plays out.

7. The Wicked King

As Cardan is now High King and in a binding agreement with Jude for another year, Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air series continues in “The Wicked King.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.