Happy B-day and discount in my Etsy shop.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Because I’m turning 21 plus taxes (31 actually) this Sunday I thought it would be nice to give something back. Since I can’t all give you cake.

So this weekend only I’m hosting a 10% discount in my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HotCuteGirlyGeek

You can use the following code: HAPPYBIRTHDAY2014

Browse the shop for great wintery gifts, aka fandoms hats, pillow cases and stuffed / crochet animals. You can buy something nice for yourself or as a lovely Christmas gift.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

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Game Review: Hyrule Warriors

Yay, applause for me! I’m finally writing my Hyrule Warriors review! *coughbetterlatethannevercough*.

Hyrule Warriors is a cross-over game between the Legend of Zelda series and the Warriors series. You’ve probably heard of the Legend of Zelda, but the Warriors series isn’t that popular outside of Japan. So it is important to know that this is NOT a Zelda game: this is a Warrior game with Zelda characters and maps. Now that we’ve got that out of the way: let’s review!

In warrior games, you start on a relatively small map where it’s basically your army versus another army. On that map, you have to conquer keeps (enemy bases). You conquer a keep by defeating a number of enemies within that keep and eventually defeat the keep boss. When the keep is still in enemy hands, new enemies will spawn from that keep. When you’ve conquered a keep, soldiers of your army will spawn there. So conquering keeps is a good way to outnumber the enemy army. Each stage has specific win and lose conditions. You lose when you die or if your allied base (your main keep) falls. Sometimes one specific ally must be kept alive. Winning conditions vary from ‘conquer all the keeps’ to ‘conquer the enemy base’, ‘defeat the boss’, etc.

As stated, you play as a character from the Legend of Zelda. You can either play as the good guy or the bad guy. There are many characters you can choose from, and that number will only be raised through DLC’s. The maps are based on settings from different Zelda games too. Controls are pretty easy: You can make combo’s, raise up power do do a special attack and you can enhance your attack once you’ve gathered enough magic. You can dodge and block, and you can use items that you know from the Legend of Zelda series. Like in the Zelda series, bosses are weak to one specific item.

Enemies will drop specific materials and weapons that will range in rarity, depending on how difficult it is to defeat that enemy. With materials, you can upgrade your characters and lengthen their combos. Weapons vary in strength and have different skills.  With these skills you can, among others, strengthen your attacks, increase rupee or heart drop, or increase your gained experience. With each enemy you defeat, you gain experience. With this experience your character will grow levels which makes them stronger. Some stages will require specific characters so you’ll have to train all your characters.

The main menu presents three different modes. There are two modes that you’ll play the most: Legend Mode and Adventure Mode. Legend Mode is basically story mode. Note that it is confirmed that this story is NOT canon for the Zelda series. You start as Link, a young soldier in the army of Hyrule. Hyrule is attacked by Cia (an original Hyrule Warriors character). Together with Lana (another original character) and familiar friends from the Zelda Universe, you’ll fight your way trough different maps as the story unfolds. I will not tell more than this due to spoilers. Legend Mode is a great mode to start your game and to get to know the characters. The story fits surprisingly well into the Zelda Universe. Through Legend Mode, you’ll unlock most characters.

In Adventure mode, you navigate through the map we know from the original Legend of Zelda (NES). Each square represents one stage. Some stages are similar to the story mode stages, but some provide very specific challenges. Sometimes you have to defeat 2 bosses within a time limit, sometimes you have to defeat a certain amount of enemies within a time limit, sometimes you just have to fight your way trough very hard enemies. When you clear a stage, more squares on the map will be unlocked. Sometimes you’ll be rewarded with an item card which you can use to reveal secrets on the map. These secrets are usually at the same place as in Zelda I. For instance, you’ll need a power bracelet card to move a stone on the map. You can use the compass item cart to reveal secrets on the map, but since collecting a compass for every secret on the map requires a huge amount of effort (you have to clear a stage for each item card), I used a map I found on the internet. When you reveal a secret, the reward for clearing the stage will be changed. This way you can unlock new characters and weapons. The difficultly of the stages will increase as you progress further over the map.

There is also a co-op mode, which can be really helpful in the more difficult stages on the Adventure map. This has a few downsides: The frame rate will drop from 60 fps to 30 fps and the resolution drops from 720p to 480p which is REAAAALLY noticeable (and ugly, to be fair). Another downside is that the second player is only able to play with the Wii-remote and Nunchuck (which sucks balls), or the Wii-U pro-controller, which is €50,-, which sucks for people who have the Wii pro-controller which is basically exactly the same as the Wii-U pro-controller, but which is not compatible with Hyrule Warriors.

At the time of writing, one DLC pack is already released: The Master Quest Pack. This pack contains new weapons, new stages in the Legend Mode, new outfits, and a whole new Adventure Mode map. The Twilight Princess Pack, Majora’s Mask Pack, and a Boss Pack are announced for the future.

So, is this game any fun? Yes, it is! I was a bit afraid because I’m a Zelda fan and I did not have any experience with Warrior games. But I love it! The mechanics are easy to understand and as I said earlier, the game fits really well into the Zelda Universe. It has a real-Zelda feel to it. Since this game was not made by Nintendo itself, that was a really hard task to accomplish. While the Legend Mode is relatively easy, the Adventure mode can be HARD. This game was pretty large to begin with (especially because of he Adventure Mode map), but with all the upcoming DLC, this game will be HUGE. This game will probably be a bit too hard if you’re a casual gamer, but I recommend it when you’re a fan of the Legend of Zelda series and/or the Warrior series. The only downsides are the previously mentioned difficulties with the co-op mode and the locking system sometimes is a little sucky (forgot to mention that earlier).

Final Grade: 8/10.

Hyrule Warriors is available on Wii-U for €50,-
The Master Quest Pack is available for €8,-
The Twilight Princess Pack will be available this month for €8,-
The Majora’s Mask Pack will be available in January 2014 for €8,-
The Boss Pack will be available in February 2015 for €3,-
You can buy all packs together (Hero of Hyrule Pack) for €20,-

 

Film Review – “The Imitation Game” (Director: Morten Tyldum)

the-imitation-game-poster-uk

 

NOTE: As this film has not been released in all territories at the time of writing, there are some plot points that could be considered as slight spoilers.

 

Normally, I’d be on the site writing about all stuff Whovian, or at the very least something geek related.  However, I want to break this habit this once to write about a film that is gaining a lot of buzz at present, “The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

For those who don’t know the plot of this film, “The Imitation Game” follows the story of mathematician and logician Alan Turing.  Primarily set during the Second World War, the film sees Turing and his team, including rival Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode) and best friend Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), seek to crack the Nazi Enigma cypher system.  It also looks back to his teenage years at boarding school and his post-war conviction for maintaining a homosexual relationship that led to him having to endure the indignity of Government enforced hormone “therapy” and his suicide at the age of 41.

I have to admit to knowing very little about Alan Turing, both the man and the contribution that he actually made to to the war effort.  So, due to my interest in the Second World War and the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch was to play the lead as Turing, I decided to see this film on the first day of release.  Over the two hours running time, I was treated to not only a fantastic historical drama/thriller, but a film with a very human core and, despite the foreknowledge of how it would end, it has a great deal of dry British wit within it.

The storyline by Graham Moore, based on Andrew Hodges’ book “Alan Turing: The Enigma”, the story moves you throughout three key time periods starting with Turing’s arrest in Manchester in 1951.  However, it doesn’t dwell in this time period, choosing to focus on the World War II time period whilst providing snippets of background from Turing’s youth which seeks to provide an insight to who he is and the reasons for some of his behaviours – notably his close friendship with Christopher Morcom and the unhappiness he had to endure due to bullying and, from the film’s perspective, a form of obsessive compulsive behaviours.  Whilst I have seen films where the audience is guided backwards and forwards along a character’s lifetime, this film avoids the trap of becoming a confusion of where to follow the storyline as it plays the story out by looking at Turing’s behaviours and then providing a context to them, either in a Second World War time period scene or a scene from his youth.

The direction by Morten Tyldum provides just enough plot movement to keep the audience at the edge of their seats to classify this as a thriller.  In fact, it’s not just a thriller, it’s a thriller with further thrillers within it.  The scene where Turing and his team work out how to set the cyphers had my heart in my mouth when you realise that moment of clarity that they must have had.  However, it also has moments of calm to allow the audience to catch their breath and follow the story.

The soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat is beautiful working alongside the story with the main piano theme sounding like Turing’s early computer and matches his work on films such as “The King’s Speech”, “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” in using the background music as an additional source of character and tension alongside what you see on screen.

The acting on this film is nothing short of peerless with Benedict Cumberbatch making a fantastic lead in the role of Turing, in fact I would go as far as to say it’s the best performance that I have seen him in to date.  He combines the arrogance of a man who knows that he has the answers that others don’t (remind you of anyone) with an all consuming passion for the work that he is doing and a cold mathematical clarity which comes to the fore in a chilling scene later in the film.  He also gives Turing a humanity and dignity which whilst present throughout the film definitely comes to the fore in the film’s climax.

Keira Knightley provides a perfect counterpoint to Cumberbatch in the role of Joan.  Her character opens him up to the possibility of Turing not being the lone outsider to meet their joint objective of cracking Enigma and providing the basis of a deep friendship that, in their own way, could be seen as a deep love for one another.  Ms Knightley also make Joan uncompromising in that love for Alan, especially in the scene where he cold heartedly rejects her and in the final scenes where she provides emotional support after his conviction.

Matthew Goode is an effective “adversary”, and later colleague and friend, in the role of Hugh.  At first, Hugh sees Alan as insufferable and selfish, only to thaw in his opinions thanks to Joan’s influence and their joint goal.

Charles Dance is equally adversarial in the role Commander Denniston, a man who could be seen as the “villain” of this movie whilst Mark Strong gives a cleverly pitched performance in the role of MI6 officer Stewart Menzies, a man of secrets who seeks to bluff both allies and opponents.

Away from the main storyline, Alex Lawther perfectly matches Cumberbatch in the role of the young Alan providing equal sympathy and humanity in the role whilst Rory Kinnear gives a sympathetic portrayal of Detective Nock, the man who eventually managed to get Turing convicted.

 

My own personal opinion is that this is probably Benedict Cumberbatch’s finest performance that I have seen him appear in and if he or the film as a whole doesn’t receive Oscar or BAFTA accolades, then there is something wrong.

It is particularly poignant at this time when we have remembered the people who have died in conflict that this film which commemorates not only Alan Turing but the silent people who worked behind the scenes is released.  A lot of the freedoms we experience today are thanks to brave people such as those who serve in our armed forces and the backroom staff who support them and we should never forget their contributions, even seventy-plus years on.

Game Review: Shovel Knight

First of all:

Because this is the freaking FIRST TIME that I’m writing an actual game review. I did write about games and game news, but I didn’t actually write a review. I know I promised to write a review about Hyrule Warriors and Smash Bros 3DS, and they’re coming! I’m aiming for next week and the week after ;).

So Shovel Knight. It’s out in the US for 3DS and Wii-U for a couple of months now, but Europe only got the Steam Version. That is, up until last week. Since I prefer console gaming to pc gaming, I decided to wait for the Wii-U version. Last week’s Nintendo Direct announced that Shovel Knight would be available in the Nintendo e-shop shortly after the broadcast (and SURPRISE: freaking Majora’s freaking Mask freaking 3D was announced, but that’s not what this article is about).

Shovel Knight is an indie game developed with the help of Kickstarter. It fits in the current indie game trend, and qualitatively, it fits right in between Fez, Super Meat Boy, and even Minecraft. Because Shovel Knight is GOOD. Shovel Knight is a retro platformer game, much like Mega Man. For those who are unfamiliar with the platformer genre: it’s a side scrolling perspective where you usually walk from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen, jumping on platforms (hence the name) and killing enemies.

The story starts with the introduction of Shovel Knight. (S)he (gender is unknown) and his/her friend Shield Knight are the best knights in the world and live a happy knight life. But Shield Knight is kidnapped and was taken to the Tower of Fate. Shovel Knight couldn’t rescue her and lived his/her life in despair afterwards. But suddenly, the Enchantress takes over the world with the help of other knights: the Order of No Quarter. The Tower of Fate is now unsealed which means that Shovel Knight can save Shield Knight.

This is where your adventure begins. You navigate through a map a la Super Mario Brothers 3, with levels a la Megaman (and many other platformers) and villages a la Zelda 2. Each level has a different theme, linked to the Knight who is the final boss of each respective level. To name a few: there is a laboratory level where you have to defeat the Plague Knight, an ice level where you have to defeat the Polar Knight and a castle themed level where you have to defeat the King Knight. In these levels, you collect gold which you can use to buy mana, heart, armor, and weapon upgrades in the villages.

Speaking of weapons: Your weapon is a shovel. You can use this shovel not only to attack enemies, but also to dig up treasure and break down secret walls. You can also use it as a pogo stick to bounce and damage enemies. Each level has it’s own unique mechanics, which you will discover if you play the game. This means that each level feels genuinely unique and the game does not feel repetitive at any point. There are also some kind of ‘random events’: enemy icons appear on the map which enables you to play a mini-level or defeat a boss, which is a good opportunity to earn more gold.

As previously stated, gold is important in this game because you need it to buy upgrades. Every time you die, in stead of losing a ‘life’ or getting the game over screen, you’ll lose gold. You get a chance to get the gold back if you return at the place where you died. This sometimes causes dilemmas: will you return to a dangerous place to get the gold back but risk losing even more gold or do you just ignore it and progress further trough the level? Each level has 5 save points where you return to when you die. Another interesting mechanic is that you have the opportunity to destroy those save points for more gold, but then you’ll lose the save point and are send back in the level even further when you die.

This game has an amazing learning curve. Each mechanic and level is build in a way that it is self-explanatory, so there are no annoying tutorials. Some passages or final bosses may seem impossible at first, but with practice and trying over some times, you’ll get increasingly better. So this game may seem hard at some points, especially if you’re not used to playing platformers, but you’ll learn fast and it won’t happen that you’re stuck at one particular point for several days.

This game is made to look like it could’ve been released on the NES. But don’t be fooled by that: it looks amazing! The pixel art is beautiful and the bright colors just make me feel… happy. The music is also amazing. Speaking of music, music sheets are collectibles in this game. They’re usually hidden behind secret walls.

When you finish the game, there is a second mode unlocked called New Game Plus. All the upgrades you bought in your previous play trough will be carried over, but enemies are twice as strong and there will be less checkpoints. There are also achievements in this game, called feats. Some achievements will be very easy and you’ll almost get them by default (spend 25000 gold, compete the game), and others are nearly impossible (complete the game within 1,5 hours, complete a the game while destroying all checkpoints). This gives the game a high replay value.

There is a lot more I can tell about Shovel Knight, but to be honest, I’m only halfway trough the game and I want to play further. I really recommend this game, even if you’re casual gamer or if you’re not a gamer at all. It’s really accessible without being too easy. Since I haven’t finished the game yet, I can’t give a grade though, but it will be between an 8/10 and a 10/10.

Shovel Knight is available on Steam, 3DS and Wii-U for €15,-.

(note that the music in the trailer is not actual in-game music)

The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Today I want to talk to you about reading challenges and one in particular.

rorybook

For the last two years, I’ve been participating in the Goodreads reading challenge, where you can set your own set of goals towards how many books you want to read in a year.

The first year I set my challenge at 50 books and this year 52. I mean I read quite a lot and my reading speed is high. I almost read as fast in English as I do in Dutch. A book a week is very doable for me.

I tried to keep my own challenge this year about books and movies / series. However, I noticed it’s hard to keep track about everything you watch. Thus me giving up on that challenge.

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon something epic. I am a huge Gilmore girls fan. I wish I had Netflix (hopefully by the end of the year when I buy a new TV) and I love Rory. She reads, loads. Never without a book and she reads just about everything she can get her hands on.

I usually only read books I’m interested in. Which turns out to be mostly fantasy and sometimes a work related book. I have a lack of classics in my reading.

Much to my surprise I stumbled upon a post about someone who has taken the effort to make a list of all the books Rory Gilmore reads throughout the entire series. How epic is that. This is a reading challenge worth taking but not something you can establish within one year.

Not that I mind having a challenge taking up multiple years. I still want to read other books as well in between.

I want to start a Rory Gilmore reading challenge book club online thingy. Starting the first of January and we’ll take it as it goes. I want to try to read two books a month from the epic list, because otherwise it would indeed take years (at this rate as well). I’m actually looking for participants in this reading challenge. To give you the idea which books there are:

This link gives you the books with covers: http://www.listchallenges.com/rory-gilmore-reading-challenge

If you do have a Goodreads account, you can even keep track of the books here: https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/rory-gilmore-reading-challenge

Leave a comment if you want in!

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

For those to lazy to click the links:

1.) 1984 by George Orwell
2.) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
3.) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
4.) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
5.) An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
6.) Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
7.) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
8.) Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
9.) Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
10.) The Art of Fiction by Henry James
11.) The Art of War by Sun Tzu
12.) As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
13.) Atonement by Ian McEwan
14.) Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
15.) The Awakening by Kate Chopin
16.) Babe by Dick King-Smith
17.) Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
18.) Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
19.) Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
20.) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
21.) Beloved by Toni Morrison
22.) Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
23.) The Bhagava Gita
24.) The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
25.) Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
26.) A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
27.) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
28.) Brick Lane by Monica Ali
29.) Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
30.) Candide by Voltaire
31.) The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
32.) Carrie by Stephen King
33.) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
34.) The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
35.) Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
36.) The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
37.) Christine by Stephen King
38.) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
39.) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
40.) The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
41.) The Collected Stories by Eudora Welty
42.) A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
43.) Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
44.) The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
45.) Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
46.) A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
47.) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
48.) Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac
49.) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
50.) The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
51.) The Crucible by Arthur Miller
52.) Cujo by Stephen King
53.) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
54.) Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
55.) David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
56.) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
57.) The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
58.) Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
59.) Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
60.) Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
61.) Deenie by Judy Blume
62.) The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
63.) The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
64.) The Divine Comedy by Dante
65.) The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
66.) Don Quixote by Cervantes
67.) Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
68.) Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
69.) Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
70.) Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
71.) The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
72.) Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
73.) Eloise by Kay Thompson
74.) Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
75.) Emma by Jane Austen
76.) Empire Falls by Richard Russo
77.) Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
78.) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
79.) Ethics by Spinoza
80.) Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
81.) Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
82.) Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
83.) Extravagance by Gary Krist
84.) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
85.) Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
86.) The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
87.) Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
88.) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
89.) The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
90.) Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
91.) The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
92.) Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
93.) Fletch by Gregory McDonald
94.) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
95.) The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
96.) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
97.) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
98.) Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
99.) Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
100.) Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
101.) Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
102.) George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
103.) Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
104.) Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
105.) The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
106.) The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
107.) The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
108.) Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
109.) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
110.) The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
111.) The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
112.) The Graduate by Charles Webb
113.) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
114.) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
115.) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
116.) The Group by Mary McCarthy
117.) Hamlet by William Shakespeare
118.) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
119.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
120.) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
121.) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
122.) Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
123.) Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
124.) Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
125.) Henry V by William Shakespeare
126.) High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
127.) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
128.) Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
129.) The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
130.) House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
131.) The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
132.) How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
133.) How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
134.) How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
135.) Howl by Allen Ginsberg
136.) The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
137.) The Iliad by Homer
138.) I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
139.) In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
140.) Inferno by Dante
141.) Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
142.) Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
143.) It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
144.) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
145.) The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
146.) Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
147.) The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
148.) The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
149.) Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
150.) The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
151.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
152.) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
153.) Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
154.) The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
155.) Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
156.) The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
157.) Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
158.) Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
159.) Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
160.) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
161.) Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
162.) The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
163.) The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
164.) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
165.) Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
166.) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
167.) The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
168.) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
169.) The Love Story by Erich Segal
170.) Macbeth by William Shakespeare
171.) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
172.) The Manticore by Robertson Davies
173.) Marathon Man by William Goldman
174.) The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
175.) Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
176.) Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
177.) Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
178.) The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
179.) Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
180.) The Merry Wives of Windsro by William Shakespeare
181.) The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
182.) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
183.) The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
184.) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
185.) The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
186.) Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
187.) A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
188.) Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
189.) A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
190.) A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
191.) Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
192.) Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
193.) My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
194.) My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
195.) My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
196.) Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
197.) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
198.) The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
199.) The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
200.) The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
201.) The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
202.) Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
203.) New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
204.) The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
205.) Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
206.) Night by Elie Wiesel
207.) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
208.) The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
209.) Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on  Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
210.) Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
211.) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
212.) Old School by Tobias Wolff
213.) On the Road by Jack Kerouac
214.) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
215.) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
216.) The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
217.) Oracle Night by Paul Auster
218.) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
219.) Othello by Shakespeare
220.) Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
221.) The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
222.) Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
223.) The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
224.) A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
225.) The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
226.) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
227.) Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
228.) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
229.) Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
230.) Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
231.) Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
232.) The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
233.) The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
234.) The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
235.) The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
236.) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
237.) Property by Valerie Martin
238.) Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
239.) Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
240.) Quattrocento by James Mckean
241.) A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
242.) Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
243.) The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
244.) The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
245.) Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
246.) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
247.) Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
248.) The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
249.) Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
250.) The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
251.) R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
252.) Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
253.) Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
254.) Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton
255.) Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
256.) A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
257.) A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
258.) Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
259.) The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
260.) Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
261.) Sanctuary by William Faulkner
262.) Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
263.) Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
264.) The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
265.) The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
266.) Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
267.) The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
268.) The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
269.) Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
270.) Selected Hotels of Europe
271.) Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
272.) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
273.) A Separate Peace by John Knowles
274.) Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
275.) Sexus by Henry Miller
276.) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
277.) Shane by Jack Shaefer
278.) The Shining by Stephen King
279.) Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
280.) S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
281.) Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
282.) Small Island by Andrea Levy
283.) Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
284.) Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
285.) Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
286.) The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
287.) Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
288.) The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
289.) Songbook by Nick Hornby
290.) The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
291.) Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
292.) Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
293.) The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
294.) Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
295.) Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
296.) The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
297.) A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
298.) Stuart Little by E. B. White
299.) Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
300.) Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
301.) Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
302.) Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
303.) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
304.) Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
305.) Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
306.) Time and Again by Jack Finney
307.) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
308.) To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
309.) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
310.) The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
311.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
312.) The Trial by Franz Kafka
313.) The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
314.) Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
315.) Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
316.) Ulysses by James Joyce
317.) The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
318.) Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
319.) Unless by Carol Shields
320.) Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
321.) The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
322.) Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
323.) Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
324.) The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
325.) Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
326.) Walden by Henry David Thoreau
327.) Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
328.) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
329.) We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
330.) What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
331.) What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
332.) When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
333.) Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
334.) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
335.) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
336.) The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
337.) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
338.) The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
339.) The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Fool’s Assassin (The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb, a book review.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Another book review, or at least I’ll try, because as I said before and will say it again. The books by Robin Hobb are my favourite and it’s difficult to do them justice by writing a proper review about them. Beware of spoilers! No seriously! Lots and lots of spoilers ahead!

Robin Hobb

Synopsis according to Goodreads:

Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown. But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more… On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends: Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool. But one is long dead, and one long-missing. Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger? Suddenly Fitz’s violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe.

My thoughts:

How does one write a proper review for a book that is singlehandedly one of your favourites and still do it justice? Don’t look at me, I don’t know, otherwise I wouldn’t be asking this of you. If you haven’t read the books by Robin Hobb, there is no point at starting with this one, as it is a new trilogy in a group of trilogies and for the proper background story, you need to read the other books first. I’ll help you with that:

Start with the Farseer trilogy:

  • Assassin’s apprentice
  • Royal Assassin
  • Assassin’s Quest

Continue with the Liveship Traders trilogy:

  • Ship of Magic
  • The Mad Ship
  • Ship of Destiny

Next is the Tawny Man Trilogy:

  • Fool’s Errand
  • The Golden Fool
  • Fool’s FateThe Rain Wilds Chronicles:

And if you like (but not really necessary):

  • Dragons Keeper
  • Dragon Haven
  • City of Dragons
  • Blood of Dragons

Before you even contemplate beginning reading Fool’s Assassin. If you have done so, good job and continue reading this review. If not, back up now, read the other books and when you are done, come back to this review.

Last time before you can back out and stop. There are spoilers ahead!

Years after we have left the Fool and Fitz we finally come back to them. Fitz finally has Molly as his wife, only to be known as Tom Badgerlock and he and Molly manage Wittywoods. They have raised all the kids Molly and Burrich had together as well as Fitz’s and Moll’s real child Nettle. Burrich, unfortunately is no more and a lot has changed in the years. Chade is no longer hidden in the walls of Buckkeep Castle and an important influence on Kettrichen and her son Buckkeep finally has a proper skill mistress and coterie in Nettle. People with the Witt are no longer chased for their magic and it seems like peace has restored in the realms.

We see Fitz and Molly working in Wittywoods, the daily upkeep and life is good. When on a stormy and cold winterfest festival a mysterious messenger appears and disappears, again Fitz thinks nothing of it.

His old friends and his old life seem far away, but still in his mind and he thinks often about Nighteyes and the Fool. The two most important beings in his life besides Molly and Chade.

Things calm down after the winterfest and life continues. Molly gets older rapidly while Fitz keeps strong thanks to that skill healing he had years ago. And then Molly starts to behave strangely. She seems forgetful, losing her way and losing her mind. Suddenly convinced she is pregnant at her age. At first this is joyous news for Fitz, but as time passes by, there are no signs of a pregnancy and Molly’s behaviour gets stranger still. Fitz does everything he can to support her and protect her of the gossiping of their staff.

Much to everyone’s surprise, 2 years after Molly announced she was expecting, she gives birth to a tiny little daughter that they name Bee. But still no joy was given to the household as everyone expects the child to die soon and if by some miracle she would grow up, she would be handicapped for as long as she may live.

Of course Bee pulls through and we see how she grows up, not stupid as everyone expects her to be, but highly intelligent and in possession of both the Skill and Witt.

But she has a lot of trouble connecting to other people besides her mother and the unthinkable thing happens. Molly dies, Fitz loses yet another important person in his life and now he faces the world alone yet again. He needs to pull himself together to raise Bee and manage Wittywoods and also take charge of two new protégés Chade puts in his care.

Another messenger arrives, a white one leaving behind a dangerous message and an assignment for Fitz. Will he be able to carry out that oh so important assignment? Is the Fool still alive? Can he manage all the new tasks given him?

My thoughts again:

Although I am costumed to read the books by Robin Hobb in Dutch, I now have an English version in my possession and nothing really changed. The translation in Dutch was really well done and within a couple of pages, I was sucked back into the story about Fitz, the kingdoms, the Fool, politics and magic.

Robin Hobb has done it again. Whereas I struggled to read the Rain Wild Chronicles (and I still haven’t read all of them yet) this was a book I couldn’t put down. But since I’m not in school anymore and need my sleep in order to function at work I stretched my reading period.

On the one hand, I really wanted to read the whole book in just one session, on the other hand, I didn’t want it to finish. I was really strict about reading just one chapter or a couple of pages.

This book felt like seeing an old friend again, who you haven’t seen in years, but it feels like home again as soon as you pull him into your arms. I laughed and I cried, I felt sorry and I was angry. I was going through all the emotions during the reading of this epic book. Fitz and his fellow characters almost feel like family to me, more so than some of my real family.

I hunger for more, I want the whole trilogy now, please Robin, continue writing. Bring us more Fitz, Bee, Chade, the Fool and all the other familiar characters you created. Never ever stop writing these books.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

Cowabunga, or how one remake destroyed my childhood memories.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Today not really a review but more of a rant so be warned.

TMNT 2014

The last couple of years it seems very popular to remake films, reboot series or bring out a long awaited sequel.

NOPE!

Don’t get me wrong, in some cases it’s a good thing to finally get a sequel, like the Veronica Mars film, or what about the Doctor Who reboot.

But in most cases a big fat NOPE. In particular the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film. Last weekend I had the opportunity to watch it and it was such a big disappointment. I mean, I was dreading the film as soon as I saw the first posters online, but this film singlehandedly destroyed my childhood memories of the cartoons.

I grew up in the 80’s and early 90’s. I grew up with the Sky channel (BBC) cartoons and later on a Dutch television program just for kids. I grew up in a time were the cartoon where still in its original language and with Dutch subtitles or in case of Sky channel, no subtitles. I grew up watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, GI  Joe and many more really classic and epic cartoons.

And this new Turtle film feels like J.J. Abrams and Michael Bay had a love child while someone with appalling taste in script writing created the story. Throw in what feels like a limited special effect budget (CGI wise) and think back at those Power Ranger series on TV and you have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I loved the series as a kid growing up. I loved the catchphrases and jokes and epic adventures. I loved the dorky April (us girls wished we were her), and I had a secret crush on Michelangelo with his jokes and love for pizza.

When I was 10 and visited Disneyland Paris I even danced with Michelangelo (let’s face it, some dude in a Michelangelo suit) and I was over the moon.

Now, after this abomination of a film I feel I need to cry and rave and rant. I know many people who didn’t grew up with TMNT love the film. But even without my background in the story and the original cartoons you can’t absolutely love that film. It’s horrible!

The turtles are indeed mutant, my god they look awful. I hope whoever designed them is shaming in a corner. The story is paper-thin. I guess it’s made so that a whole TMNT franchise can spawn from it, but please don’t. As I said before, it seems like JJ Abrams and Michael bay had a love child. Its lens flares and cheap explosions all over. And let’s not discuss Megan Fox. Ok for a bit. I don’t know what she has done to her face, but it feels like she’s pulling a Kirsten Steward, one facial expression and it’s not a good one.

And the fight scenes, oh the fight scenes. I unfortunately grew up for some part of my childhood with stepbrothers and they loved the power rangers. Have you seen it? Remember the fake fighting scenes where they kicked someone from a very safe distance and the other person still was hit? Yep, that’s what the fight scenes look like in this film. And I counted one, just one cowabunga in the whole movie, as well as two or three pizzas. How the hell is that possible! That is not nearly enough pizza!

And Splinter? Just shoot me now. He does have the characteristic pulling of his moustache / whiskers thing, but that’s it. I just want to go hide and cry over this film.

Poor, poor Micky, Michelangelo, my baby, my secret crush is now some obnoxious, hormone driven teenager. I would slap him for the comments that come out of his mouth, seriously.

TMNT old skool

What about all those other rumours? A remake of the Goonies, and just this week I read about the Crow.

How hard is it to come up with something original people! And please keep your grabby hands of the classics. Stop destroying childhood dreams and introduce bad films to a completely new audience.

Rant over. Thank you.

Your own very sad and disappointed hot cute girly geek, Mendy.