Book Review || The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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Hi, bookworms! You know, sometimes I’m a bit perplexed when it comes to hyped books. I’m not a difficult readers with particular tastes. I’m quite adaptable. So, even if I’m one that can easily like over hyped books, I’ve always some doubts

That’s why I was really pleased that The Hazel Wood was an okay read that I totally enjoyed!

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Title: The Hazel Wood
Author: Melissa Albert
Series: The Hazel Wood #1
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pages: 368
Rating: ★★★★★ 

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic 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 Hinterland, 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.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

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Hyped books are something that so far haven’t really let me down. Happened that I loved the first book or started to feel another series only thanks the second installment… but I’ve been quite lucky. Anyway, the story grew on me.

This was the case too. I started The Hazel Wood with a normal expectations and I end up being in love and already in need of the second book.

First of all I need to point my only two “not so okay” points:

  • many fables are cited but only few are really told. I get that those are part of the main story, even if not entirely, but I would have loved to hear more
  • Alice does some really s****y things but when she’s called out (even if not really in the most direct confrontational way) both times she managed to get away with it.

All the rest? I liked it.

First of all I liked Alice. She’s bitter and actually really down to earth. Sometimes can be a little annoying on certain aspects because looks like nothing makes her happy. But I felt her attitude as realistic. There’s something, in the way she moves around the story and the way she talks, the way she goes toward her objective that makes her more human, instead that the classic character made of pages and ink.

Same thing I cannot say for Finch, not because he’s a bad character but because while  I liked him, at the same time, I think that he needed much more pages. Yes, in the end all will make a sense (sorry if I sound vague but I don’t want to spoil) but I would have liked to see him being more presents. I can only hope that the second book will talk about him. Finch’s story open to so many possibilities and it would be amazing to read a novel from his POV.

Talking about the story itself, I loved the start and I loved the end, while I’d a bit of downs with my span attention during the middle of the book. I was intrigued by the growth of the plot but at the same time I was too much looking forward to arrive at the core of the event.

The author created a beautiful and creepy world, built around a concept that (I’ve to admit) I guessed quite early. exactly like what I guess is supposed to be the major twist. Well, I’d  got it quite easily, but this didn’t diminished how much I still loved the way Albert described it, informed the reader.

Is a common (or at least something I already think about) concept that still works and at this point should have been use much more, because with attention and work leads to some good novel.

The Hazel Wood is not a perfect book but for sure is fascinating, with immersive description, creepy atmosphere, a touch of fables’ magic that couldn’t help but hugging me into its development, keeping me to the pages and definitely breaking my heart I’m a softy at its end.

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DID YOU READ THE HAZEL WOOD? THERE’S A FABLE THAT YOU WANT TO READ MORE? WHAT ARE EXPECTING FROM THE SECOND BOOK? DO YOU WANT AN HINTERLAND COLLECTION OF FABLES?

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The Literary Salon || Bookish characters: about connecting and empathizing

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Happy middle week, bookworms! Today I bring to you a discussion post about a topic really dear to me and always centred around book characters.

I’ve already written something about the same topic in those post:

I’ve a bit of fear that I might end repiting myself. Same thing I felt towards the posts above. I think that I managed to write them quite differently but I don’t trust myself that much.

Anyway, today theme is a bit of complicated. I will try to handle it at my best and express my feeling about it.

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 The idea started from a Tweet by Malinda Lo   (author of A Line in the Dark) where she talked about the big difference that there’s between “to connect” and “to empathize”. Her discourse went on relating to publishing, editors and gatekeeping in the book industry and diversity. But I’m not here to talk about it, because:

  • as much as I understand the issue, as an international reader that is far away from the US book industry, talking about this topic without further research would end in a mess
  • her words gave me inspiration for something else, that still revolves around how readers see characters. Both the ones that are like them and the ones that are different.

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The tweet I talked about, was the spark of something that has always been around my head. For many reasons, some that I don’t even get myself, I’ve a particular fixation for fictional characters and how readers relate to them.

Anyway, after reading the tweet, her word started to make a lot of sense, posing a focus onto the big difference between connection and empathizing and how the readers should actually do the latter and not the first.

The topic can be seen on different levels.

Let me start with a little introduction to ownvoices reviews, meaning that the reader is, supposedly, disposed to connect and empathize with the character who represent them.

I will use Let’s Talk About Love as example. I read many ownvoices reviews talking about how much how the  novel was good for them, finally represented on pages. But I also found an extremely negative ownvoices view about the book. While every ownvoice reviewer has the right to critique, this review in particular was kinda harsh to the point of being discharging toward who found Let’s Talk About Love a fine representation for their own identity.

So, I asked myself where was the limit between posing a fair critique, plus a way to see a book under another perspective, and seen as not valid other people experience. Because we all know that no identity is the same and  so people’s experiences . But also: finding a ownvoice book at fault with our identity,  can lead us (as readers and reviewers) to break the link we can have with the character? In this particular case, meaning ownvoices, I feel that is normal to get angry or offended with what is seen as lack of rep or misrepresentation. For sure this can let down the “connection link” and also ruin the “empathize link”. Continue reading

Book Review || The Case For Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro

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Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! Do you know a funny thing?

Do you get that felling that you’re finally reading the last book of a series you like quite a lot? You turn the last page and: “OMG is done.” You feel a bit sad but also accomplished.

Well, that’s not the case. Britanny Cavallaro confirmed, after I asked her on Twitter, if Goodreads or someone else was messing up, if was a fake news… but no. Charlotte Holmes series is getting a fourth book for 2019 called A Questions of Holmes.

I’m really happy for this but sure I would have been glad to finish a series after su much times 😂

By the way, if you haven’t read the first books, skip the blurb part because it contains a big spoiler

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Title: The Case For Jamie
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Series: Charlotte Holmes #3
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 368
Rating: ★★★★ 

It’s been a year since the shocking death of August Moriarty, and Jamie and Charlotte haven’t spoken.

Jamie is going through the motions at Sherringford, trying to finish his senior year without incident, with a nice girlfriend he can’t seem to fall for.

Charlotte is on the run, from Lucien Moriarty and from her own mistakes. No one has seen her since that fateful night on the lawn in Sussex—and Charlotte wants it that way. She knows she isn’t safe to be around. She knows her Watson can’t forgive her.

Holmes and Watson may not be looking to reconcile, but when strange things start happening, it’s clear that someone wants the team back together. Someone who has been quietly observing them both. Making plans. Biding their time.

Someone who wants to see one of them suffer and the other one dead.

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The Case for Jamie is a novel that differs quite a lot from the first two books, mainly because for the first time after A Study in Charlotte, Jamie and Charlotte are separated. While the previous books offered already a dual POV, this time the two are gonna work on their own, using their mind and not actually following each other in an untangled mess of lies and feelings.

It’s time for both to face what happened before, how they relate to one another. Especially for Jamie. Cavallaro explores the aftermath of what meeting Charlotte, along with all the traumatic events, have affected Jamie.

Is a thing that I appreciated a lot. I will not express myself about the representation in details, because I’m not an expert and so contemplating the accuracy of it isn’t really my place. But here’s a thing that I felt after having finished this book.

While between Jamie and Charlotte there’s a tender feeling and much more, at the same time both confront their past and current relationship. While Charlotte needs to heal her opwn wound by herself, trying to do what is right, even in her own way (which is not always right), for Jamie is kinda different.

Parts of Charlotte’s past are revelead, opening a new (again) eye on her behaviour. While a part of her own story and way to act recall of myself, I was interested to see Jamie realizing that Charlotte has done him quite a lot of wrong things. From lieyiong to not informing him of what was happening, using him around without context. Because yes, Charlotte does some s**t.

And at the same time things don’t change that much, even if the end might open a new possibility for both, to actually heal and confront eachother without Charlotte manipulations. Maybe re-starting as friends. Because that’s also the thing: the set of limits and boundaries.

The case itself was a bit creppy, full of decives and I couldn’t not getting wrapped into it… even if I noticed how reading thrillers/crime young adult is something that I love at the start and I simply start to follow going on.

Some twist left me if not shocked, at least surprised and worried for the characters. As kind usual for this series, I didn’t feel the supposed villains as similar to an actual person but more like a figure. A lot of their own issue are explained by the major characters themself. Also, new secondary protagonists come out during the story and the implicationms all around them are quite heavy but only slightly explored.

At this point, I’ve the feeling that this third book wasn’t so focused on the case itself like the first two. While the plot is anyway deeply fused with the characters’ moves, a lot of character driven side lead the plot in its complexity. Also, the fact that a fourth book will coming raise few questions.

But another point is that many things happen but  still looked like something not important as much as the relationship between the protagonist. While at the same time being really a particular kind of glue that kept all togheter.

So, will I’ve som mixed feeling with the plot itself, I appreciated many things. I think that Cavallaro didn’t tried to describe an ideal relationship, but exposed ugly and good sides, a story with layers and nuances. Something realistic but still nothing ideal.

In the end, I liked The Case for Jamie as much as the other novels, but I’m looking forward for the next story.

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HAVE YOU READ THIS ONE? WHAT DO YOU THINK? ARE YOU LOOKING OUT FOR THIS SERIES? 

 

International Bookworm || My dream library

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Happy Saturday, bookish folks! Are you well? Is time for another light post from the International Bookworm meme created by Ayla @Books and Babbles

The theme for this time is one of the better because it totally leaves me with a head full of ideas and things that I was waiting for since forever. Because the funny thing is that I’m probably going to describe some kind of library that already exist in some part of the world, even saying that is some kind of common reality. But is not in my country. So, let’s go.

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Funny thing is that few years ago I had to create a project for my brand classes and it was about putting on an entire reduction about a shop, its target, its way to use the social medias, the products it can offer  and so.

I will try to rebuild here what I wrote down that time, because yes, that was my dream library, or better: bookshop.

HOW IS MY DREAM LIBRARY?

First of all, it would situated in a beautiful street in one of the most suggestive Rome’s rione. I think that the little chick streets just behind Via del Corso might be a good choice, but also the rione called Parione is a nice place to choose. Anyway, it should be a place where even tourist can reach or see easily.

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Via Margutta in Rome’s centre

The exterior would have big glass panel that allow to watch outside. Also there would some climbing erica on the exterior walls. The interior would be mostly made of wood and marble or some other type of stone perfect for interiors. Also I would like to see some leather couches. Yes, no modern style but I would prefer something between the hipster mode and an ancient touch. Continue reading

International Bookworm || Life of an international blogger

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Hello, bookish people! Today is time for a meme! It’s the international book blogger meme. It was created by Books and Babbles for every international bookworm, to share pur views and feelings and even more relaxing stuff like hobbies, because sometimes, too many times, things get filtered with a USA point of view and that’s really restrictive for a book community.

Today theme is about the life of international bloggers and this time I will not be super creative, but I will follow some of the questions that are already listed on Ayla’s site 😉

P.s. Yes, I know that I’m like week late but I had a moment in which I had to put the blog on pause because I was draining myself. But I really wanted to post this one.

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WHAT IS LIKE TO BE AN INTERNATIONAL BLOGGER?

Well, that’s immediately a difficult questions. As many of you know, I’m from Italy and currently still living there. Italy isn’t the best place for writing in English and reaching out to the international’s panorama, but….

As far as my experience goes, being an international blogger is fine. Yet it may pose this fact: international bloggers haven’t the same bookish privilege of US bloggers. And I say bookish privilege because I want to remain strictly related to book. And in certain ways, it may happen that UK bloggers can reach out to much more possibility then other bloggers all around the globe.

But, in general, being an international blogger that is currently in Italy, I’m quite fine.

My blog get views, I just recently hit 211 followers, I can fairly reach to eArcs and I got the joy of being contacted for a review. I can order books and get them without many problems, but in this case having a family economical has backup plays its part.

For sure, there are some things that aren’t that easy to do. Like, yes, some italian bloggers really purchase many tickets as they want, airplane included, to reach to European book fairs, especially YALC. Or have no problem to reach another Italian city. But I cannot. So is more something personal. I’m living a moment where my family has money but sure cannot go on spending too much at once.

In the end, I cannot really say that being international is a terrible barrier, but sure I cannot reach that easily to authors and events. I’m gonna talk more about it down below.

Continue reading