4 Stars, Book review, Fantasy, Melissa Albert, YA Fantasy, Young Adult

Bee Reviews: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

- hazel woodFormat: Paperback, 359 pages

Published: 8th February 2018 by Penguin

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads | Amazon | Wordery


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


A copy of this novel was given in exchange for an honest review.

The Hazel Wood is about Alice’s quest to find her mother after she goes missing. She’s danced around the borders of the world her grandmother created all her life – running from it, hiding from it – but finally the time has come for Alice to go into the Hazel Wood and uncover the secrets her mother’s been trying to hide from her.

Everyone is supposed to be a combination of nature and nurture, their true selves shaped by years of friends and fights and parents and dreams and things you did too young and things you overheard that you shouldn’t have and secrets you kept or couldn’t and regrets and victories and quiet prides, all the packed-together detritus that becomes what you call your life.

This book is AMAZING. I regret how long it waited on my list before I finally opened it. I was swept away from the start although it was something of a slow burner to start off with – I didn’t really understand where it was going until it had gone, but sometimes that’s the best kind of story, the kind that you just can’t predict.

My favourite bit was perhaps receiving the snippets of the dark and twisted fairy tales her grandmother wrote about, although reading about the tales coming to life was a very close second. Rarely have I come across a novel so imaginative, and I can’t wait for Melissa Albert to release the Tales from the Hinterland. I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

Hell is caring about other people.

This novel is so carefully crafted; everything about it, from Alice’s creation (yes, she is a little annoying but it’ll all make sense when you get to the end) to the world Albert has created in which Stories are brought to life (note: Stories with a capital S). The Hazel Wood is a wild and magical ride from start to finish and I can’t wait to see more of what Albert has in store. I highly recommend this novel not only to readers of YA, but also people who just love fairy tales.

Contemporary, Dhonielle Clayton, Katherine Arden, Laura Steven, Melissa Albert, Samantha Shannon, Tomi Adeymi, Uncategorized, YA Fantasy, Young Adult

The Books and the Bees has turned 1 today!

To celebrate my book blog’s birthday, here are some birthday books I received / bought for myself because I’m greedy and buy a ton of books before I’ve finished any of the millions on my to read list.

- the bear and the nightingale1. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

So this one was actually a gift from a close friend of mine, also coincidentally called Kathryn. This book is about – actually, I’m not entirely sure what it’s about yet, but I love it. Set in Russia, full of magic and fairy-tales and unexplainable goings-on, I’m head over heels in love with this book just six chapters in, which is probably why it was a gift (and a darn good one for me!).

Stay tuned for the review which will follow in due course.


- the belles

2. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

I love fantasy because fantasy novels are a more interesting version of the real world. That’s to say, our fantasy heroines tend to experience the same problems we do, but in a more imaginative and action-packed way, and The Belles sounds like just this. Did I also mention a royal family is involved?

Fantasy, royalty, an exploration of body politics… what more could you want from a novel?



- children of blood and bone3. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeymi

Rumour has it that this is the most hyped-up YA novel of the year and I can’t wait to find out why. This novel captures the desire of many YA readers – fantasy, with an interesting twist. In this case, the twist is that it’s based on West African magic, and I am definitely here for this.

Again, this book involves magic, royalty… ticks all the boxes for this blog! Stick around for the review which will come as fast as I can finish this book.


- the exact opposite of okay4. The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

So this book is hugely different to everything else on this list so far, but it’s not unlike other books I’ve reviewed on this blog because I do love my contemporary.

This novel is about a girl whose sex life is the talk of the town, and she’s not let it get to her before – but when a sex scandal with a politician’s son makes the national news, Izzy finds it harder and harder to keep her chin up.


- hazel wood5. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Oops… so I just realised I’ve had an ARC of this novel since January that I hadn’t gotten around to reading. It’s nice to know my taste in novels hasn’t changed between then and now.

This fantasy novel is based on fairy tales (there seems to be a common theme recurring here…), specifically the tales that Alice’s grandmother has told her, tales that become truth when Alice has to venture into The Hazel Wood to find her missing mother.


The Beauty and the Beast Colouring Book (Macmillan Classic Colouring Books)

6. The Beauty and the Beast Colouring Book by Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve

I thought I would end this on a light note as most of these books seem quite heavy – this was something a friend (again, Kathryn) got me for my birthday (definitely a recurring theme) that I can’t wait to start because sometimes you need a break from all the action and the fantasy to just chill, and colouring is probably the perfect way to wind down.


the song rising alternate cover7. The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

Oops – almost forgot about this gem of a book. I’ve already read this book but I waited a year to buy it in hardcopy to match all my paperbacks. If you haven’t already, you must pick up The Bone Season series because it is hands-down the best fantasy series in existence.

You can find my full review of The Song Rising here.



And that’s it! To wrap up this post, I would like to say thanks to Waterstones for having Buy One Get One Half Price off some books in their YA section which allowed me to buy so many books for myself on my birthday.

Are any of these books on your to-read list? Or have you read them already and want to share how much you love them? Let me know in the comments!

Fantasy, J R R Tolkien, Samantha Shannon, Sara Raasch, Top 5 Wednesday, YA Fantasy

Top 5 Wednesday: Five Fantasy Books On Your TBR

(This is part of a meme hosted by the Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads group.)

Again, my top five list is rather lacking, so if you have any great fantasy reads that I’m missing out on, please let me know!

1. The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season #3) is the most anticipated fantasy novel of the year. This series follows Paige Mahoney, now-Underqueen of London’s criminal population, as she navigates life as a clairvoyant in the 2050s. The third novel in the septology promises to be just as captivating and dangerous as the 2.5 books before it.

2. Beren and Lúthien is the latest posthumous novel to be released by J. R. R. Tolkien (edited by Christopher Tolkien). This love story promises to be very different to your typical romance novels. A forbidden love between a mortal man and an immortal Elf is by no means an easy when your father-in-law sets you on a mission that puts everything, including your life, at stake.

3. Okay, I know that Frost Like Night by @sararaasch (Snow Like Ashes #3) has been on my TBR pile for a very long time, but I’m too uncertain about what I’m going to do with my life when I finally put this series to rest! The final installment that follows Miera’s struggle in bringing the kingdoms of Primoria together to fight the Decay that threatens their land is, I’m sure, going to be every bit action-packed as it sounds.

Do any of these books particularly take your fancy? Is there anything obvious that I’m missing? Let me know in the comments!

Sarah J Maas, Top 5 Wednesday, YA Fantasy

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Felt Betrayed By



(This is part of a meme hosted by the Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads group.)

1. The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas: I’m quite an easily pleased reader, so, after my friends showered this series with praise endlessly, I was quite looking forward to reading it.

This series follows Celaena Sardothien, an assassin who is punished for her crimes by serving in the salt mines of Endovier, but brought back to Adarlan with the promise of freedom if she successfully wins a competition under the training that the Crown Prince, Dorian, can offer her. But under the rule of the magic-hating King, things quite quickly go awry for Celaena in the proceeding novels.

The first book in the series was very promising, the second book slightly less so but still a pleasure to read. After the third one though – I had to wonder what in the world went wrong. I stuck with the series until the fifth book, Empire of Storms, came out last September, upon which I decided I might not read the next book, or indeed, Chaol Westfall’s novella to be released later this year which will undoubtedly do the character even further injustice.

I feel betrayed by these books because they held so much promise. In my opinion, the series should’ve ended after Crown of Midnight.

Am I being too harsh or do you agree? Do you have extra thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments!