Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, a book review.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Sometimes life can be very strange. A while back I bought the book Hex, written by Dutch writer Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I was drawn to it by the fact that it was being promoted as the new Dutch fantasy novel.

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For some reason I put it in my bookcase and forgot about it (sorry Thomas).

Earlier this year whilst I was attending Dutch Comic Con, Thomas was there, signing books. I felt a small pang of shame as I remembered that unread book, still in my bookcase, and bummed I didn’t have it with me to get it signed.

Still, I again forgot about it, until two days ago. One of my friends posted a screenshot of the tweet made by Stephen King, the master of horror himself, praising Thomas his book. How epic and cool is that! So I liked that post and yesterday I got a friend request from Thomas himself.

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Maybe this was the universe telling me, read the book! Ok, ok. I got my copy, settled on the couch and… read the book in one go.

Now I have read loads of books, the fact that I own over 700 of them is prove as well. And there aren’t many books I read in one sitting, where I am drawn into it, forget the world around me and keep turning page after page, desperately wanting to know what happens next. This book did.

Slight note. As I understand it, the English version is slightly different from the Dutch version. I read the Dutch one, but now I want to get my hands on an English copy as well.

Synopsis according to Goodreads:

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves. Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past.

Author info according to Goodreads:

Thomas Olde Heuvelt

  • Born in Nijmegen, Netherlands

 

Dutch novelist THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT (1983) is the author of five novels and many short stories. His work has appeared in many languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French. In 2015, his story The Day the World Turned Upside Down was the first ever translated work to win a Hugo Award. Two more of his stories have been nominated for both Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. In 2016, Olde Heuvelt’s critically acclaimed novel HEX, which became a bestseller in The Netherlands, will be launched around the globe (In the US by MacMillan/Tor and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). Warner Bros. is currently developing a TV series based on the book. “HEX is reminiscent of vintage Stephen King, and I can think of no higher praise. Chilli

Dutch novelist THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT (1983) is the author of five novels and many short stories. His work has appeared in many languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French. In 2015, his story The Day the World Turned Upside Down was the first ever translated work to win a Hugo Award. Two more of his stories have been nominated for both Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. In 2016, Olde Heuvelt’s critically acclaimed novel HEX, which became a bestseller in The Netherlands, will be launched around the globe (In the US by MacMillan/Tor and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). Warner Bros. is currently developing a TV series based on the book.

I’ll try not to give away too many spoilers.

What I loved about this book, first and foremost is that it is set in the region I originally come from (for the people who read the Dutch version of the book). I was born in a smallish town in ‘Brabant’ although not as small as the town ‘Beek’ mentioned in the book. But how the people and townsfolk act is pretty much how I remember it (minus the horror stuff, but then again, I wouldn’t be surprised). It has nothing compared to living in a larger city where you are lucky if your neighbours greet you at all.

Not until the second chapter you finally begin to get a grasp what the story is about, and throughout the book you begin to grasp the situation about Hex. I imagine when reading the book for a second time you will get a lot of aha moments, small little signs you missed the first time because know you know.

It is amazing how Thomas managed to capture todays life, with texting, popular language and big brother is watching you and at the same time describes that small town feel and throw you back into the middle ages as well.

Some of the horror stuff, nope no spoilers, you should really read the book yourself, reminded me a lot of the books written by Bridget Wood and which I think is high praise. Thomas has captured multiple important ethical dilemmas while being subjected to years and years of indoctrination and pear pressure in such a way that it’s almost scary, even if applied to today’s everyday life and how we as people react to say the refugees’ crisis.

If you are susceptible to nightmares I suggest reading this book during the day, or keep a light on at night when you go to bed. Unfortunately, I’m past this point, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t scare me at some points.

Not one point during the book I had a moment where I had that feel of pages being filled, just for the sake of creating pages (which some books do). From beginning to end it captures you and I hate myself sometimes for having a high reading speed and finishing it in a couple of hours.

The book leaves you hunger for more, but as I said, luckily I can read the English version as well!

Thomas, ik had niet gedacht dat Hex zo ontzettend goed zou zijn. Schrijf meer van dit soort boeken, je hoort thuis in de fantasy wereld en ik kan niet wachten tot een eventuele verfilming en meer van je fantastische verhalen.

This books gets a well-deserved 5 out of 5 star review and I recommend you get your hands on a copy and read it, over and over again, because this is a book you can read multiple times.

Have you read it?

Lots of love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

Books, books and more books.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks. I seriously need more time for writing and blogging and even though with my new job I work 4 hours less than I’m used to, I still seem to be in greeter need of extra time.

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Books, I love books, I have a serious book addiction, which, by the way, I don’t see as a problem. I don’t feel the need to join the book AA. (Hello my name is Mendy and I read too much). In my opinion you can never read too much.

My current collection is somewhere between 700-800 books. All unpacked and in bookcases or on book shelves. I started keeping track of my books during puberty. Not that I had such a large collection back then, but still. I used to have a word document where I first started a list of my books by title and author.

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I lost this list (you know, back then, floppy drives and such).

I started a new list some years later, this time in excel and for a period of time I kept track of my books, sorted by author, title, ISBN and such, all by hand and it was in the time I had about 500-600 books. One freaking big monster project.

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I lost some books, sold some books, donated some books and bought enormous amounts of books (well duh!) But I also bought some books twice, or I wanted to buy a book and not knowing for certain I actually had it already so I left it in the bookstore (I missed out on some great deals thanks to this).

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A couple of nights ago I was thinking about the fact I wanted to make a new list but not insert all the books manually. Since it’s the age of smartphones and apps there must be an app out there where I can keep track of my book collection.

Google can be your best friend and I finally found ‘Book Catalogue’ and app that keeps track of your books, connects them to Goodreads, sends a list to your computer and much, much more. You need a barcode scanner and with both apps adding a book to your list is done within seconds. Both apps are free, yay! At least for android.

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I tested the app with a couple of books (75 so far) and it works like a charm! The app automatically searched for the cover photo, gives a quick summary, tells you everything about to book and you can make different lists and everything. This is so much fun that I can’t wait until the weekend that I can start cataloguing my collection.

Some features in this app, like I said it connects to Goodreads, although I recommend you synchronise with Goodreads before adding books, because I added 75 books, synced it and lost 25 in the process. No clue where they’ve gone.

Another feature, the app lets you add books manually by either ISBN or author and book title. Very handy if the barcode scanner doesn’t read the right code.

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Also handy, if you register with library thing and ask for a key, you can change the book covers which are automatically added to the book.

You can add notes in the edit mode, it automatically counts your books, uploads the stars you gave the book on goodreads, uploads reviews, when you read it etc., let’s you add if the book is signed and much more.

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For me it feels like I have a brand new shiny toy so if I’m done with my crochet order I will be adding books, books and more books!

Until next time, love your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

Rory Gilmore reading challenge book review: 151.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. I finished my mandatory books for January and high on my wanting to read books from the Rory Gilmore reading challenge was the book by Antony Bourdain.

Kitchen Confidential

I have a thing for chefs, cooking, eating and everything. This has to do with the fact I wanted to be a chef when I grew up. Until I was about 13 I had every intention to go to culinary school. Until I found out it was really hard to get into and it just didn’t seem appealing anymore for some reason.

That doesn’t change the fact I still love cooking and baking. During college I even worked as a cook in a Cuban tapas restaurant. It was a very small kitchen. We had a chef, myself and on busy nights a boy for washing the dishes. Along with bar staff and waiters and such. My boyfriend hooked me up with the job as one of the chefs was the bassist in his band. I did mis-en-place, worked the stove, did appetizers, desserts and washing up if needed.

I knew working in a kitchen wasn’t romantic. It’s a tough job, hot, smelly, dirty and a man’s world. You really need to have a thick skin, especially if you are a woman. I mean, the intellectual level of talk in the kitchen is about six feet under and if you aren’t discussing orders or prepping food stuff it basically is all about boobs, dicks and sex. You need to be one of the guys if you want to fit it. You need to be able to lust after the waitresses just as the boys, able to stand in your underwear in order to change into your kitchen uniform in front of the guys and be able to take comments about your ass and boobs. You need to be able to make dirty jokes, talk about booze, wave around heavy and very sharp knives. You need to be able to have your hands and arms splashed by hot oil and not bitch about it. You need to be able handling the bloody finger of your chef before he faints (he looked so pale, but it still gives me the giggles thinking about me fussing and bandaging his finger) You need to be able handling the yelling if you’re not fast enough or screwed up a dish. You need to be able handling the gross stuff in the kitchen (mice droppings and food falling on the ground and being put back into the pan ready for serving). Oh god I really miss it.

I learned a lot during that year and a half I worked there. I know my body now wouldn’t be able to handle it anymore, but reading Anthony Bourdain’s books did bring back so much memories. I enjoyed every minute of it.

The show he has on TV, No Reservations, is really brilliant and I never knew he’d written a book about his culinary adventures growing up and him becoming the chef he is today. I don’t think anything is exaggerated, especially how things in the kitchen go.

If you want to know what goes on inside a kitchen and have a strong stomach, are not afraid of swearing, drug and alcohol abuse and enjoying cooking or knowing more about restaurants, this is the book for you. It’s an easy read, Anthony writes like he talks, a high pace filled with alcohol, smoking and swearing. You will really enjoy this.

He takes you along his youth, what made him passionate about food in the first place, how he ended up working his first job in a restaurant, going to culinary school, his career, ups and downs, his drug abuse (by the way, what I gathered during my time in the kitchen, although I personally didn’t participate, the drugs part is true as well), how he got clean and his act together and pretty much everything else. Until his job at Les Halles, working as the chef.

Have you read this book or other culinary books? Do you enjoy cooking or eating out in restaurants?

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

Rotterdam Book fair!

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks. For a couple of years now I wanted to go to the book fair in Rotterdam, but usually I either just miss it or don’t have enough cash. This time I made sure I didn’t forget and had enough spending money.

So on the last day of the 4 day book fair I went to Rotterdam to go hunt down some books, without really knowing what to expect.

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It was epic! It turned out it was an enormous hall filled with long tables of endless rows of books. No independent market salesmen just everything in one big heap so no haggling on prices or anything. They advertised books were at a maximum of 90% discount and all new!

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Some books were a bit damaged but I don’t mind.

At the entrance you could get a little book trolley to carry all the books around with you. I must say, they had a lot of books. Unfortunately, most of them were in Dutch. Now I don’t mind buying some books in Dutch to get a collection complete, but I do want the majority of my books in English. And I don’t know who was responsible for dividing the books into genres because all the sci-fi and fantasy books were under romance and thriller novels.

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I am very serious about my books. You don’t mix and match, you give them a proper place.

When I entered, one of the first books I saw was the biography of Roald Dahl. Since that book came out it 2010 it has been on my ‘I need this book in my collection and want to read it.’ But the price was very steep. And every time I bought new books I looked at it and still was too expensive. Until now… 5.99 in euros! It was the first book to go in my trolley. And I have already start reading it.

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I browsed the Dutch books and stumbled upon a book from my childhood. It was a series of books and I own just one of them “Tiny is ziek” translated Tiny is sick. For some twisted reason I really loved it. And now I found a second book “Tiny ziet spoken” or Tiny sees ghosts. I had to have it. Yay, second book found. The young adult section had many good books I wanted, but all in Dutch so I let them be. (Be still my crying heart).

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I did however found another Robin Hobb book I didn’t own yet. The second book in a series I already have in Dutch so I added it. Making three books now in my trolley. I loved the trolley and wanted to take it home with me. My own personal book trolley. Can I have it please?

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Finally I stumbled upon the English novels. Because it was just two tables, no genres specified I really had to dig through them to find some gems and I did. I added Dawn of the Dreadfulls, the prequel to pride and prejudice and zombies (epic, epic book) and Android Karenina (really looking forward to reading that one.)

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I also found a cheap vampire novel which looks interesting enough for just 1.99. And I found Wild Thyme beyond, a book that came recommended by Russel T. Davies, so of course it ended up in my book trolley as well.

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The next time the book fair is close by I’m going again, although I won’t wait until the last day. I seriously think I missed out on loads of good books. But I did ok and am really happy about my book haul which ended up costing me 23 euros!

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Do you go to book fairs or book markets? Do you love discount books or always pay full price?

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

The Rory Gilmore reading challenge: February books:

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. How’s the reading coming along? I finished all January books in time and actually added a fourth book. Yeah I know, I’m crazy. I read:

151.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

 

And it was magnificent! But I will post an update about that book later on.

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For now, the next member in our little group choose the next books to read this month:

121.) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

210.) Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski.

335.) Wicked: The life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

I already started reading Wicked, but I must say I got distracted because I went to a book fair last Sunday and bought a nice stack of books and already started reading one of them. I read multiple books at the same time, as well as some fanfiction mixed in it as well.

For me it’s all about different times a day which I enjoy reading different books. Let’s say travelling to work I’m not fully awake yet so I want some light reading. Before bed I enjoy fanfiction and sometimes there is a book I just need to read asap, like I’m doing with the Roald Dahl biography at the moment.

If you want to join in the reading group. Make sure you’re on Facebook and drop me a line to add you. You can only be added as a person, so no pages.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

The Rory Gilmore reading challenge, January books.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. I made a Facebook group, added some people and the Rory Gilmore reading challenge started for me on Monday morning.

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I am so excited, the list with books is amazing (well, not all the books, but the majority is). And I can’t wait to read them all, plus it will help me with my normal reading slump and not knowing what to read although my to read list is endless.

Speaking of endless, I added all the books I could find to my Goodreads account and made a separate shelf for it as well.

Let me explain a bit why I am this excited. I live in the Netherlands. I grew up with Dutch books and Dutch classics. I even read some of them for my mandatory reading list, which I didn’t enjoyed. I mean, I can even remember getting into an argument with our school librarian because I wanted to borrow a book, which was recommended to me by one of my French teachers, and it wasn’t on the mandatory reading list. He didn’t believe me I read books for fun.

A lot of the books on the reading challenge list are American and British classics. Books kids in the US and the UK grow up with, which I didn’t grow up Dorian Graywith. A lot of the stories I know about, but I haven’t actually read the books. And it always seems something else comes along I want to read as well and I need to make a choice. By doing this reading challenge, it gives me the opportunity the finally start reading them. And I already finished Charlotte’s Webb the first day.

But enough of that know. I picked three books for January. Not to read all of them (although I probably will), but more so the group can read two books and have a spare. January books are:

  • Charlotte’s Webb by E.B. White
  • The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

As you can see the books I picked are really different in genre. This to give all of the group a bit of change during the month and so there is something for everyone.

If you don’t want to read the books with us on Facebook, but just for yourself, you’re more than welcome to follow the blog for all the updates.

time traveller's wifeAlthough comments such as “if someone picks pride and prejudice, can I read pride and prejudice and zombies instead” are things that are epic and geeky and you don’t want to miss.

Happy reading everyone and good luck with whatever challenge you pick to read this year.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek Mendy.

The Rory Gilmore 2015 reading challenge.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Welcome to the first post of 2015. I hope you had an excited New Year’s Eve and everybody still has all their fingers and toes left after playing with fireworks.

First of all. Yesterday brought the sad news that Edward Hermann passed away at the age of 71 after battling cancer. Edward was for us Gilmore Girls knows as Richard Gilmore, Lorelai’s dad and Rory’s grandfather. Rest in peace Edward.

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Now 2015 has begun it’s also time to start new reading challenges. I mentioned in an earlier post I wanted to do the Rory Gilmore reading challenge. It isn’t possible to read all the books in one year, but I want to try to read 2 books a month from that list and start an online reading group on Facebook.naamloos1

The original post about the Rory Gilmore reading challenge can be found here. It contains the list with all the books. My goal is to imagesTLU03SA5start on January fifth and see who’s with me.

If you want to participate in this reading challenge just leave a comment or a Facebook link and I will set up a private group on Facebook so we can start reading. I will be doing monthly updates on how it goes and what our thought about the books are.

imagesJ9BOXJM7It doesn’t matter if you join on January fifth or later this year. It is just a way to read some epic classic books you normally wouldn’t pick up that soon to read. And remember, there is a Goodreads list of the books as well.images10XZG7SW

We all get turns into picking 2 books for that month and you are able to skip books if you read them already or you can reread them as well, up to you.

Oh and I’m also in the process of watching all the Gilmore Girls episodes again, thanks to Netflix and my new TV. It will get you imagesNCX6PWCKimagesJF5ML1H1right in the mood to pick up those books.

I hope to see loads of you participating! And let this epic reading challenge begin!

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

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