It has just dawned on me that I totally forgot to post my February update on the book jar experiment – two months in now, and I have successfully resisted temptation to read any books that aren’t in the jar, apart from those that I am on blog tours for. It’s killing me, because two very eagerly awaited books were released at the end of January, and are currently sitting on my bookcase tempting me, and more are being released soon! I am determined to stay strong though, and maybe just treat myself to an Easter weekend binge on one or two of them.
Blog tour commitments meant that I only had time to fit in two books from the jar in February, but my goodness they made up for quantity with amazing levels of quality, and both were books I had been meaning to get round to reading for a long time.
First out of the jar in February was Mischling by Affinity Konar. Now, since visiting Krakow just over a year ago, there are a number of books about the city and the events of World War Two that have been demanding my attention. However, until now the emotions that a tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau left me with were too fresh to handle it. Even having been there and seen the camps for myself did not prepare me for the horrors presented in Mischling. Affinity Konar throws you straight onto one of the death trains without preamble, and from there we follow identical twins Pearl and Stasha as they cling to existence in Josef Mengele’s zoo. I knew something about Mengele’s obsession with twins, but nothing I had heard previously prepared me for the raw, terrible heartbreak portrayed in Mischling. It seems wrong to say I enjoyed this book, that isn’t the right word, but it is certainly a powerful story, and one that I would say everyone should read, so that we never forget what went on during the Holocaust.
Next up was an altogether different read in the form of The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. I fell in love with this book the second I saw it – since buying my copy, I have seen many beautiful versions of the cover, but I am a proud owner of the gorgeous blue edition, with the blue edged pages. With a cover such as this, I had incredibly high hopes for what laid within the pages, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Hazel Wood is dark, and messed up, and so utterly engrossing that when I tapped the screen to turn the page, it took me a minute to realise why nothing was happening. I was so caught up in the story that I had totally forgotten that I was reading a paperback and not a Kindle book! Based around a series of fairy tales that are most definitely not for children, or the faint-hearted for that matter, The Hazel Wood is an example of truly great world building. It is a “read in one sitting” kind of book, and in fact I almost did – not least because Twice-Killed Katherine and Alice-Three-Times were so terrifying I had to keep reading until I reached a less chilling part of the book before I could go to sleep (I feel I should confess at this point that I am a bit of a wimp with a very vivid imagination). If you love dark fairy tales, then this is the book for you.
That’s it for February, but I have got a couple of great books on the list to tell you about for March already – watch this space! In the meantime, if you want to know more about either of these books, here are their Goodreads links: