Can’t Wait Wednesday : Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert


“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is: Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert.  Here’s the description:

Our CrookedSecrets. Lies. Super-bad choices. Witchcraft. This is Our Crooked Hearts, a darkly gripping contemporary fantasy from Melissa Albert, the New York Times bestselling author of The Hazel Wood

The suburbs, right now . . .
Seventeen-year-old Ivy’s summer break kicks off with an accident, a punishment, and a mystery: a stranger whose appearance in the middle of the road, in the middle of the night, heralds a string of increasingly unsettling events. As the days pass, Ivy grapples with eerie offerings, corroded memories, and a secret she’s always known—that there’s more to her mother than meets the eye.

The city, back then . . .
Dana has always been perceptive. And the summer she turns sixteen, with the help of her best friend and an ambitious older girl, her gifts bloom into a heady fling with the supernatural. As the trio’s aspirations darken, they find themselves speeding toward a violent breaking point.

Years after it began, Ivy and Dana’s shared story will come down to a reckoning among a daughter, a mother, and the dark forces they never should’ve messed with.

Expected publication : June 2022

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Night Country (The Hazel Wood #2) by Melissa Albert

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Night Country (The Hazel Wood #2) by Melissa Albert.

TheNightCountry.jpgCan you ever truly escape the Hazel Wood?

In the sequel to her New York Times bestselling, literary/commercial breakout, The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert dives back into the menacing, mesmerizing world that captivated readers of the first book. Follow Alice Proserpine and Ellery Finch as they come to learn that The Hazel Wood was just the beginning of worlds beyond, “a place where stories and real life convene, where magic contains truth, and the world as it appears false, and where just about anything can happen, particularly in the pages of a good book”

Due for publication : September 2019

The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1) by Melissa Albert

Posted On 10 February 2018

Filed under Book Reviews
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hazelThe Hazel Wood is a book that is a combination of quest, redemption and dark fairy tale all rolled into one. I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The writing was really good but more than that the book actually spoke to me, and I realise that probably sounds a little bit sentimental but this was about change, coming of age, discovering who you are and having the courage to alter those things that seem set in stone.  It also gave me a serious case of the goosebumps that were bad enough to stop me reading late into the dark – I don’t know why, perhaps I’m just a bit of a wimp.

As the book begins we learn about Alice.  Alice and her mother have been on the run for as long as she can remember.  A long time ago Alice’s grandmother wrote a book of dark fairy tales that became a cult classic. Very few copies of the book can be found and although it appeared to be adored, and indeed inspired a strong following, very few people now know much about the stories. It seems like the people who read the book become somewhat obsessive and one of Alice’s earliest memories was of a man abducting her and trying to take her to her grandmother.  Since then, Alice and her mother have barely kept one step ahead of the perpetual bad luck that seems to follow them around and which has, in fact, with the death of her grandmother, finally caught them up. Alice returns home from school one day to find her mother missing and against advice knows that the only place to look is her grandmother’s estate, The Hazel Wood.

The setting is a combination of contemporary and fairytale.  A good portion of the story takes part in New York where Alice and her mother have finally put down tentative roots and indeed seem to have momentarily forgotten to keep on the move. The latter chapters of the story take part in the Hazel Wood and are a riot of mixed up fairy tales that make Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland seem almost sane.

Alice comes across as a fairly hard character.  She can be brutally honest, she doesn’t particularly mix well or make friends easily and in fact can be a bit difficult to get along with.  However, stick with her.  She’s definitely flawed and maybe not always easy to like but then a life on the run has made her develop a protective armour of snarky indifference and her character flaws become somewhat more understandable as the story unfolds.

Ellery Finch is the other main character of the story.  He’s one of Alice’s classmates and, as it turns out, a strong fan of the stories penned by Alice’s grandmother, which given the obsessive nature of some of the fans, did give me a slight feeling of unease.  Two things about Ellery – one good and one maybe not so much.  I must admit that I really appreciate that Ms Albert didn’t make him into a romantic lead but as much as I appreciated that aspect at the same time I couldn’t help feeling that his story was a little bit contrived in terms of moving the plot forward.  Given Alice’s time on the road I think it would have been more than plausible if she had managed by herself.

The plot is the real winning element of this book, and of course the lovely writing.  The two together combine to make an intriguing story that you feel compelled to read.  As I said above there were definitely mystery elements to this book.  I needed to find out more and to be honest I would have loved to have learned more of the original fairy tales explored here as the few snippets that were on display made fascinating reading.

In terms of criticisms.  I think some readers may find the start of the story, which is predominantly contemporary with a hint of creepiness thrown in, a little longer than they might wish for.  Particularly so as it feels that the fantasy elements of the story only really take a hold during the latter stages of the book.  I didn’t have a problem in that respect but thought I should raise the issue as some readers may be more interested in a full on fantasy read.  Obviously there’s the fact that Alice can be a bit abrasive – although, again, I found her character to be understandable.  So, I think the only real criticism that I can share, with the above provisos in mind, is that this is one of those stories where the main character is kept in the dark about so many things – by a number of people – and it’s actually quite annoying.  For example Finch – he’s read and loved all Alice’s grandmother’s stories but does he tell her all about them all?  No, of course not, because that way would lie the way of spoilers.

Overcall, whilst there were a couple of elements that gave me pause for thought overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It had me hooked to the page trying to find out more about Alice. and the mystery that surrounded her family.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.