The Hazel Wood is a book that has been lurking at the back of my mind since 2017 – it’s a book that sounded absolutely perfect for me. I love a dark fairy tale, so when you throw in a New York setting and fuzz the barriers between fiction and reality it basically becomes my catnip. However, I think that my own expectations got in the way of my enjoyment of this book.
I love true crime, but I tend to get my true crime fix from podcasts rather than books. I want to amend this and have recently been keeping an eye out for interesting titles. I have heard great things about My Friend Dahmer, which has recently been made into a film, and decided to pick it up. While I wouldn’t call it true crime, it offers fascinating insight into the early life of one of America’s most notorious serial killers.
Occasionally, book bloggers come across a book that’s just too good to review. How could we possibly put into words how much we loved this plot, those characters? Can't we just flail wildly instead? I rarely struggle with reviewing books, but I’ve encountered two this past year that have just blown my mind. So instead of a full review, here are two five-star flash reviews of books that are too good to review. Honestly, they’ll probably just be me ranting about how great these two books are. Seriously. Apologies for the below rating systems.
Dystopian novels are funny for me -- they either work really well or they just don’t click. I was intrigued by The Rising Storm due to its use of weather phenomenon and climate change as the catalyst for the dystopian society that our characters find themselves in. The Rising Storm is a fast-paced and punchy dystopian read with a great opening chapter -- I nearly missed my bus stop reading it, and if that isn’t a great endorsement I don’t know what is.
A few years ago I stumbled upon a little book called Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. I cannot tell you what a game changing book this was for me. Here was this person who could talk about depression and anxiety with honesty, humour, and hope. It was the first time I really acknowledged my own mental health worries and it felt a little less alone. I figured this marvelous book was just a one-off, so you can imagine my delight when I found out he was writing a follow up, Notes on a Nervous Planet.
I didn’t really know what to expect from Every Heart a Doorway, but I liked the concept well enough. I didn't actually read the synopsis because from what I had heard around the bookish community, this weemed like one of those books that you should just tumble into. I asked for it and the two sequels for my birthday and started right away. Oh boy, oh boy. I never, ever, EVER say this, but I feel like this book was written for me.
Blackwing was one of my favourite novels of 2017 -- I absolutely loved the refreshing world, story, and characters. I had high expectations for the sequel, and those expectations were absolutely smashed. While some authors struggle with ‘second book syndrome’, McDonald is showing that his talent as a writer is only growing.