Hazel and Holly

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

I wasn't a fan of this and dnfd at just over halfway. The plot was all over the place which made this hard to follow but the magic system was interesting. Wasn't interesting enough for me to finish the book though
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Hazel & Holly is a cute story. It has that cuteness that comes from characters that are likeable and fun to read. Who care for each other even when they are awkward and goofy, and this is probably what I liked to most about this novel.

The story is after all quite straightforward. In spite of taking some twists and turns, the story starts with Hazen and Holly going after their father, and that's what they do from beginning to end.
The world where they travel is diverse and strange enough to be always interesting, though I'll admit that the part I liked the most is the Grove, the place where the story begins, because I love the way magic works there. It's not a very new concept (it's environmental magic, basically), but I really like the way this concept was used.

The tone of the story leans toward the humorous side, and that's part of the cuteness fo the story, though I wouldn't say this makes it light-hearted, at least not all the time. There are some quite dark episodes in here, especially toward the end.

The only thing that bothered me was the pace. Even if things are always happening, the story evolved very slowly. Personally, I would have liked for the focus to be a little less on the episodes and a bit more on the overall arc, because sometimes, concentrating on the episode made me lose sight of the main point. This made me struggle through a few episodes, especially in the middle of the novel.

But overall, it was a nice read.
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I was not a fan of this one. The magic system was interesting but I felt like the plot was all over the place. I just couldn't enjoy it.
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Starting with the positives, the cover drew me into this book and the magical premise sounded wonderful. Unfortunately, I found that this book left me rather wanting - the plot didn't grab me, and I found that it dragged with little momentum which left me disengaged and rather willing the story to progress. There were strong elements, and parts of the writing were beautiful - it's a shame as I think the world and characters have a lot of potential. This just wasn't for me.
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My thoughts




Narrative and Plot

Hazel and Holly has a light tone in the narrative despite the topic of dark magic that it deals with. It gives an easy vibe and a humorous tone for the most of the part. The book is about the adventurous journey they set out in order to free their mother.

The plot however wasn't as imaginative as the narrative. In the beginning the mysterious magical atmosphere was intriguing but as the story progressed, it felt more descriptive. It could have used some depth with the plot. A lot of the things were hazy till the end. Since this is a series one can hope it will dwell deeper in the future books.

Characters and Conflicts

This book definitely has its share of colourful characters. Tum being the most enjoyable one. It definitely had some great character sketches with vast potential, However, the course of the character development wasn't much evident. By the end, yes- most of the characters have found some change. However, they felt abrupt instead of the gradual path of developing one's personality.

Had the book spent more time on characters rather than the descriptive ways of the magical world and it's working, it would have given them more depth. Even the protagonists Hazel and Holly, were touched only on the surface as people. It's not that they don't have depth, but it was never evident.

The conflict of the book is focused solely on one goal. Though the book in the end explains itself, the whole adventure lacked a solid plan or path for that matter. You can catch one lucky break on an adventure trip but you can't make every single breakthrough based on chance or luck. By the time, the story catches up with this, providing an explanation, you're far too deep in it and could not care any less.



Conclusion


Hazel and Holly has its fun moments for sure. But it is a solid one time read for me. I wouldn't go seeking out the sequel but just in case, if I had enough time, I wouldn't mind picking it up either (only if I have that kind of time to kill). So, you get the gist here I suppose.
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I didn't care for this book.  I felt like Holly should have been a tween not a teenager the way that she acted.
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Thank you NetGalley for providing a free e-ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I really had high hopes for this novel. The cover was beautiful and the premise sounded promising, but this book just dragged. It dragged on and on and on and on for over four hundred pages. The plot was almost non-existent, watered down and stretched out to try to cover the whole things, where it would have hardly had enough to go on for two hundred pages. It goes around and around in a circular manner forever. It's actually quite tiring to read. The two sisters were actually also quite annoying in terms of personality dynamic. The world building wasn't too bad and the elemental magic system was a bit interesting. Yeah, it was mediocre.
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This NetGalley book was one I applied for many months ago purely based on the category, blurb and the cover design. It *should* have been a high hitter for me based on all of that. I mean, who doesn’t want to read about a community of witches and warlocks that has beer stealing gnomes? Add to that Necromancy and a journey to stop an evil father and rescue a mother’s soul? Sounds like an absolute riot! Unfortunately, this book failed to live up to the blurb for me. The plot itself lived up to the promises but the writing and world building did not for me. I found the characters very childishly written and the world not very rich in description. This should have been a fun and engaging book, but it just didn’t do it for me personally. One of the comments from my Goodreads updates was: ‘For what feels like a very simple and young story with little complexity this is taking me a while to get through. I can't actually decide if I'm enjoying this or if I'll end up DNFing’. I didn’t end up DNFing it, but it did take me almost a week to get through which is unusual. All 4 of the main characters were, to me, very one dimensionally written with little depth, for example, in the middle of a dangerous and dark necromantic battle Holly is giggling like a 5 year old. 

Overall disappointing but I did get through it. 1.5* out of 5* for me for this one. Rounded up to 2* for GoodReads as I did actually enjoy the plot at points!
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Going into this, I was all for it. There's sister witches and necromancy. The ghost of their mother and their father's untimely demise. It was going to be epic! But alas it missed a mark for me.

So, this novel reads as one giant tea party for at least the first 25%. There's long passages about cakes and society and I honestly felt like I had opened the wrong novel, instead reading a Victorian tale of high society. There was the occasional sprinkling of other events but to be honest, it all seemed a litle ho hum.

There further I got into Hazel and Holly, the less I connected with the characters. So much so that I couldn't much discern who was playing what part when the two were apart - they sort of turned into those grey space filling characters you write when you are still working out your secondary characters traits. 

I will however say that I loved the cellar gnomes of this tale. They are brutish and fun and thoroughly addicted to beer - basically they had personality.

I just found the whole thing extremely long winded for the tale it told. The overabundance of thorough descriptions of pretty much everything reminded me of a Maggie Stiefvater novel which for some is absolutely amazing while for others, seems tedious. 

Overall, the novel was not a complete loss with some witty and interesting characters along the way. Had the story been a little fast paced and ditched with some very pointless and longwinded scenes, I may have enjoyed this novel vastly more.
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I am a sucker for a colorful cover, which is why Hazel and Holly first caught my eye while I was searching through NetGalley. Add in a bit of magic and a good sister story (I’m an even bigger sucker for a good sister story) and I knew I had to request Hazel and Holly.

Hazel and Holly follows two sisters on a quest to release their mother’s soul from their necromancer (crazy and controlling) father.

Hazel and Holly is a difficult review for me to write. I really did enjoy the story, but there were certain parts I didn’t like very much. In the beginning, I really couldn’t find the sisters very likeable. Holly seemed too self-absorbed and Hazel seemed too uncaring. Happily, that changed, and by the end of the story I was not only routing for them, I found myself wanting to know more of what came next! The two brothers (Hemlock and Hawthorne) I found rather enjoyable from the start. Although the humor could be repetitive, Hawthorne definitely helped relieve the tension that Hazel seemed to exude.

The way that Snider created the world and wove the different factions of magic into it was great. I only wished I could learn a little more about each of the four (non-necromancy) magics. There was a little insight, but not nearly enough to satisfy my curiosity.

I wasn’t very pleased with the ending scene (spoilers ahead) and how the girls’ father just sort of gave up and helped them leave. I mean, this guy was smug, arrogant and completely infatuated with the idea and belief that Hazel was going to see the world the way that he wanted her to see it, and then after the siblings defeated the necromancers and released their mother’s soul, he just sort of gave up. Who knows, maybe he was just a man who could admit defeat or maybe Snider is setting him up as a villain in a potential later story, either way, the way he just rolled over and gave up after being revived was a little disappointing.

All in all, I found Hazel and Holly a really enjoyable light read. Once I got past the beginning, the sisters became relatable and interesting characters. It was fun to see how their different schools of magic all intertwined with each other’s in battle. Hazel and Holly will never be an epic fantasy, but it was an interesting world and a cute and easy read. I would recommend Hazel and Holly to any lighter fantasy readers.

3.5-4 Stars
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Title: Hazel and Holly
Author: Sara C. Snider
Pages: 452 
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy-tale 
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-alone
Stars: 3.5/5
Bechdel Test? (Depiction of Women): Yes, good female characters.
Trigger Warning: 

I received a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Story: I love books that have a fairy-tale vibe to them. This book did a version of enchanted forests and all types of creatures. The characters might be the strongest part of the book. I really liked them (even the villains). The premise was also interesting, and I enjoyed following the characters on their adventure. I found the book to drag a little in a few places and with such a long story, it was not equally engaging at every point. It was worth the read and I recommend it.
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So I will also admit, I read this book in two parts pretty much. I read the first 50% before exams, took a couple of weeks off from reading in total, and then finally finished this after exams. I did find this book to be maybe a bit too long for everything that does happen. I sometimes did find myself tuning out because it was often too descriptive for my liking, or the story line dragged on too much for me as well. This was my main issue. However, the plot for me, although dragged out, I did enjoy it. I enjoyed the path that Hazel and Holly went on to attempt to help their mother and find their crazy father. I was expecting to dislike the story line with Ash, their father. However, in some way, I’m still not sure how, I actually weirdly enjoyed it. It added a lot of plot twists and drama to me that I was semi expecting with Hazel and the role of magic in her life.

I did go into reading this book with low expectations, as I have previously found that books about magic and wizards and witches to be hit or miss for me. I wasn’t sure how I would find the magic in this novel and I ended up being pleasantly surprised. I liked the fact that each wizard and witch had a choice of a type of magic that they focused on. I also liked the way that necromancy was portrayed in the negative way initially, but then it was shown that yes, it isn’t everyone’s favourite type of magic, but sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do.

I loved majority of the characters actually, looking back. I think Hazel frustrated me the most, mainly with the way that she treated Holly. Yet I understand that she did majority of her actions as she wanted to protect her sister. I absolutely adored Hemlock and his calming influence on all of the characters, and the relationship of Hazel and Hemlock was probably the highlight of the book. Hawthorn is such an over the top, extra character, yet he added a lot of light heartedness and fun for me. Also Tum, the cellar gnome, oh my gosh, he was great. I mean who else doesn’t just want beer and food for stealing useless small things.

So yeah, overall, I did end up enjoying it, even though I did struggle with it and it took me FOREVER to read it. I found the last half to be more enjoyable than the first half.

Thank you very much to Double Beast Publishing for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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Now firstly I believe this book is definitely more young adult than new adult, if I'm honest it felt like something I would have loved to have read as a teenager. However I did enjoy it - I felt Snider did a great job of explaining her world and mystery that followed the two girls.

Hazel and Holly are two sisters who are witches, they are adventurous, feisty and have a strong empowering attitude which is great for young girls. As expected they soon embark on an adventure, with two warlock brothers in which both have a love interest in. The girls have contrasting personalities but they compliment each other very well and you can tell the pair love each other unconditionally. 

Their Mother, Willow has had her soul trapped by their estranged necromancer Father. The girls have spent their lives checking in on their Mother's spirit (once per year) and now they're ready to try and find their Father to undo the curse he has set upon their family. 

I found the book enjoyable and lighthearted, however at times the pacing felt off for me and a little rushed. Also as I stated above it definitely felt more young adult, so if you're reading this and looking for a new YA book to dive into this could be the perfect choice!
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While the writing was interesting, the dialogue and character development left this otherwise interesting world falling a bit flat for me.
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Beautiful writing! The book kept me hooked !! Fast paced and with beautiful descriptions, this one is a keeper!!! I would recommend it!
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I just couldn't get into to this story! I tried so hard to be interested in the sisters, but within a few chapters I found myself thinking of others things and drifting from the story. It just didn't capture my attention and sadly, I wasn't able to finish it. 

I do appreciate Snider's imagination and I look forward to seeing more from her in the future.
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They tried for a whimsical, random, slightly crazy tone and went a little overboard. The two main characters were equally annoying in different ways, and the plot was too distracted and overly silly.
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I received a free ebook version of this from Netgalley. Thankyou to both Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this! My review is still honest.

I requested this book from Netgalley fully on a whim. I have to be honest, I wasn't expecting too much and anticipated this reading like a simple, fun, middle grade novel. This little gem is far more complex than that, and I've found myself pleasantly surprised.
Hazel and Holly is a magical tale of two witch sisters and their adventures with two warlock brothers. They live in the Grove, where necromancy is outlawed and extremely taboo. Hazel and Holly's father, Ash, has been missing for a long time and was involved in necromancy. He also happened to trap their late mother's soul in a geas, and Hazel and Holly must figure out a way to free her so she can pass on and be at peace.
I really loved the characters in this. In line with the slightly wacky nature of the story, they are all exaggerated, and yet I loved them still. Hazel is the cold, formidable sister, and yet she has such a soft heart and hidden layers. Holly is the opposite, reckless and bubbly, and yet she also cares deeply about others and the world. I loved the relationship between them and how it changed throughout the course of the novel. I was also a big fan of the warlock brothers, Hawthorn and Hemlock, and how they complimented the story. The minor characters were executed well, especially Tum, and I can't say there's a character that I didn't think was written well.
The world and magic was also enchanting. I was impressed at how well fleshed out the world was with the Grove and Sarnum and the separate customs, and how the magic system worked. It does read like a fairytale and has an unusual way of telling the story that was jarring at first. I can see why some reviews say they disliked the writing style, but I think it's just different and fit the nature of the story well.
It's not a perfect novel, however. I do think this book needed some strict editing. I've seen some reviews say that it seemed repetitive and the barriers they faced kept cropping up in the same ways. I didn't find this to be a major problem but can see that this was an issue and think it may have been because apparently, this was originally published as a weekly web series and obviously would have been written with a different pace and method to a full novel. I found the ending lost my interest a little bit and became confusing, especially in the final showdown. 
Essentially, this book should and could have been a lot shorter, but nevertheless, for a book without any buzz that I'd heard nothing about, I am very impressed with this and would definitely read more from this author and this world.
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Yikes. I can't believe it was published with all of the issues! DNF at like 30%. The concept sounded so interesting and the cover is just beautiful but the inside was horrible.
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This has a great premise. I like the idea of two witch sisters and two warlocks having a magical adventure but I just didn’t like the characters enough to really enjoy it.  I was frustrated several times when the girls were in trouble, wondering if they are witches why can’t they do something?  I did like the mouse pet who helped out,  but I really couldn’t wait to finish it so I could read something else.  And it dragged on too long....   sorry!
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