Review Crimibox : The Case of the Ashes @crimibox

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Are you a wannabe Sherlock? Well I certainly am at times and if you are too then I have good news because I found this puzzle game on the internet from game developer Crimibox that will put you to the ultimate test. I certainly couldn’t resist purchasing one of their mysteries as a Christmas present. Do you want to place any bets (hypothetically of course) as to whether I solved the case or not? No, I’m not saying anything yet, keep on reading 😉.

When you first go to their website you can choose your language. Unfortunately for you guys, there’s only one English case available at the moment and I’ll come back to that at the end, but I’m sure they’re very busy developing more cases because it’s becoming very popular to enjoy this type of thing from your own home.

In the Dutch version there’s a little more choice right now. They offer three cases that are either completely digital or you can play them analog which means you still get some of the evidence on paper delivered to your home address. I can’t help it but this makes it even more real so I chose the latter and for 25 euro (with free delivery) the box was sent to me.

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Because I didn’t know what to expect and I thought it might be easier (ha!) to play in my native language I chose the Case of the Ashes which seemed the easiest case with an estimation of 180 minutes game play and a difficulty level of 3 out of 5.

This is what was in the box I received: documents, police reports, photos and eh well I don’t know, it looks like ashes…

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The case was about a lady in a retirement home who died and when her daughter clears the room she finds an urn. The very mysterious part of it all is that it’s not empty! Are they human remains, and if so, whose remains are they and why are they there? Ah a perfect job for Detective Inge to find out.

When you scan a code with your phone it starts the game and you can really investigate. I could choose an action and had the options then to investigate, interrogate or accuse someone. If I was stuck I could also ask for a hint from DS Hunter, but I do have to say that it is an automated program so I got the same hints quite a few times.

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The start was fairly difficult because I had no idea where to begin but when it became clear you also had to investigate web pages and a Facebook page, I was off to a good start and I started reading every post and article available on a certain site. There was a bump in the road though that got me completely stuck a little later and I had to sleep on it because the hint didn’t help. I just didn’t know what to do or what to investigate about a certain item but the next day I found the right keyword to ask the police, and from thereon I was on a roll.

The investigating work was great and challenging. I had to study dna and pieces of handwriting, open a safe with a code I had to find somewhere, and decypher a cryptic language. It was all really well done and kept me pretty occupied for a good few hours. I did ask for a hint several times but then I also had to solve this case all alone so some extra little help was very welcome. You can play this alone as I did, but it certainly looks even more fun (and helpful as well) if you play it with 2, 3 or even 4 persons.

In the end I did it though!!

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I really liked solving this, the mystery was impressively complicated and everything made perfect sense in the end. I had a fun time playing the game and I can totally recommend this mystery case (you’re welcome to DM me on Twitter or Instagram for extra help if you need it). I’m worried that the other cases with more difficulty would prove to be too complicated for me though and it would be a shame to spend money on it and then be completely stuck. So I don’t know yet if I’ll order another box – the next level up – in the future but I’ll let you know if I do.

As I said, there’s one English game, Missing in Jericho, it’s all digital and it certainly sounds amazing to play as well. So if you liked what you read, maybe you want to try it out yourself. If I can do it, then you can do it! You can also buy a digital voucher on the site, so maybe, just maybe, you can start a new Christmas list already with the perfect gift for someone ;-)?

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So what do you think? Any thoughts or comments about the crimibox? Have you played other boxes perhaps that are worth recommending? Let me know! 

10 most anticipated reads of 2020

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Happy New Year to all my readers!!! I wish you all the very best and a great year to come!

I don’t know what 2020 will bring for the most part, but one thing I do know for sure: there will be plenty of amazing books to read! I have listed 10 novels that are already on my wishlist. I have read and loved previous novels from 9 of these authors and there’s one author I haven’t read yet but her debut novel has a 3.91 average on Goodreads so I have a good feeling I’ll love her writing, and her next novel sounds like one I don’t want to miss either.

Here are 10 of my most anticipated books:

The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne

You have been cut off from society for fifteen years, shut away in a mental hospital in self-imposed exile as punishment for the terrible thing you did when you were a child.

But what if nothing about your past is as it seems?

And if you didn’t accidentally shoot and kill your mother, then whoever did is still out there. Waiting for you.

For a decade and a half, Rachel Cunningham has chosen to lock herself away in a psychiatric facility, tortured by gaps in her memory and the certainty that she is responsible for her parents’ deaths. But when she learns new details about their murders, Rachel returns, in a quest for answers, to the place where she once felt safest: her family’s sprawling log cabin in the remote forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

As Rachel begins to uncover what really happened on the day her parents were murdered, she learns–as her mother did years earlier–that home can be a place of unspeakable evil, and that the bond she shares with her sister might be the most poisonous of all.

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendrickx and Sarah Pekkanen

You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.

Beast by Matt Wesolowski

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’. However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire’…

Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

His & Hers by Alice Feeney

There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying.

Anna Andrews finally has what she wants. Almost. She’s worked hard to become the main TV presenter of the BBC’s lunchtime news, putting work before friends, family, and her now ex-husband. So, when someone threatens to take her dream job away, she’ll do almost anything to keep it.

When asked to cover a murder in Blackdown–the sleepy countryside village where she grew up–Anna is reluctant to go. But when the victim turns out to be one of her childhood friends, she can’t leave. It soon becomes clear that Anna isn’t just covering the story, she’s at the heart of it.

DCI Jack Harper left London for a reason, but never thought he’d end up working in a place like Blackdown. When the body of a young woman is discovered, Jack decides not to tell anyone that he knew the victim, until he begins to realise he is a suspect in his own murder investigation.

One of them knows more than they are letting on. Someone isn’t telling the truth. Alternating between Anna’s and Jack’s points of view, His & Hers is a fast-paced, complex, and dark puzzle that will keep listeners guessing until the very end.

The Keepers by John Marrs

Everyone has secrets. They know yours…

In the 21st century information is king. But computers can be hacked, files can be broken into. So a unique government initiative has been borne. Five ordinary people have been selected to become the latest weapon in thwarting cyber terrorism. A revolutionary medical procedure has turned them into the ultimate secret keepers – the country’s most secretive information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads.

Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every Government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. Only somebody has discovered who the secret keepers are. And one by one, they are being hunted down…

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

From the author of Jar of Hearts, a mother driven to the edge by the disappearance of her son learns her husband is having an affair with the woman who might have kidnapped him.
Four hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado’s four-year-old son.

Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman.

Kenzie Li is an artist and grad student—Instagram famous—and up to her eyeballs in debt. She knows Derek is married. She also knows he’s rich, and dating him comes with perks: help with bills, trips away, expensive gifts. He isn’t her first rich boyfriend, but she finds herself hoping he’ll be the last. She’s falling for him—and that was never part of the plan.

Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek’s lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek.

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

In this new thriller from the author of The Escape Room, a podcast host covering a controversial trial in a small town becomes obsessed with a brutal crime that took place there years before.

After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

In the latest thriller from New York Times bestseller Riley Sager, a woman returns to the house made famous by her father’s bestselling horror memoir. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound—and dangerous—secrets hidden within its walls?

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

He Started It by Samantha Downing

From the twisted mind behind mega hit My Lovely Wife comes the story of a family—not unlike your own—just with a few more violent tendencies thrown in….

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone.

It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory—a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.

But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone.

So are any of these on your list too? Any other novels that I should know about? Do let me know!

The Belgian Reviewer’s top 10 of 2019

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I’m finally ready to share my top 10 of the year. It was so difficult to choose only 10 and I made changes to this list twice but I’m happy with every book that’s on it and I’m trying not to feel too bad for the ones that should be on it too. I opted for books that were unique, orginal, with great twists and endings that really stay with me, even months after reading, so this is what you get then :-).

Of these 10 novels there are new authors for me (Søren Sveistrup, Heidi Perks, Louise Beech..), there are debut novels that really deserve to be on everyone’s readlist (The Doll Factory, The Escape Room) and there are a few authors who you can find (again and again) on previous lists of the past years (Matt Wesolowski, John Marrs).

 

 

Out of these 10 novels I read 7 in paperback and 3 in e-copy, and it’s all thanks to the wonderful publishers that I had a chance to read these amazing novels, so I’m eternally grateful for that, thank you loads if you’re reading this! I’m also extremely thankful for the e-copy that I won in a giveaway and turned out to be an unexpected revelation and an author I want to follow from now on. Last but not least, I find it really telling that I read 4 Orenda Books titles this year and 3 of them made it on the list. They have such great authors I shouldn’t be surprised really.

So what do you think, did I choose well? Any titles that are on your list as well? Let me know in the comments! 

Bookish gift ideas 2019

Christmas gift ideas for book lovers

It’s officially that time of year. Yep, it’s almost Christmas and it’s time to start looking for gifts for your loved ones (or for yourself). No need to panic though, I’ve got you covered! I’m sure you’ll find some inspiration in the bookish gift ideas I listed for you. Check these out:

GIFT IDEA 1

Etsy : book clock

Book clock

GIFT IDEA 2

Amazon UK: Roy Kirkham Creative Writing Single Breakfast Cup and Saucer

Roy Kirkham cup and saucer

GIFT IDEA 3

Amazon UK: Kikkerland Boiled Wool Bedside Pocket, 22x 28.2x 4 cm, Grey

Beside pocket

GIFT IDEA 4

Literary Emporium : Handmade Tale’s Gift Set

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The Handmaid’s Tale gift set with a t-shirt, enamel pin, book.

GIFT IDEA 5

Amazon.com: DOSS Cloud Book

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DOSS Cloud Book Wireless Portable Bluetooth 4.0 & Wi-Fi Straming Music Speaker

A great idea if you know someone who loves to listen to audiobooks in the living room. You can listen up to 12 hours before recharging.

GIFT IDEA 6

Amazon.com: Night Light

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It says night light but it’s actually a really good reading lamp too. It has a touch-actived led lamp and offers 48 combinations of brighteness and colors. You can play audiobooks from a microSD card, AUXinput or flash drive. You can wirelessly connect your kindle or other device with audiobook app. It has a 4400m AH battery so it’ll last hours and hours.

GIFT IDEA 7

Amazon UK: Word Puzzles for Mystery Lovers

Word Puzzles for Mystery Lovers

Each of the puzzles relates in some way to the wonderful world of MYSTERY NOVELS AND SHOWS.

The Double Jumbles are each based on a quote by a mystery novel writer or one of their characters. Solving these puzzles requires you to unscramble words to find the letters to complete the quote. Double Jumbles have been around for years in the comic ad puzzle section of newspapers. But these jumbles are ALL ABOUT THE MYSTERY / DETECTIVE NOVEL.

The next part offers entertaining word search puzzles, each with a mystery-based theme. To solve the puzzle, find the clues in the letter grid.

In the third section will have five crossword puzzles.

We’ve made our puzzles in large type to make them easier on the eyes. Even our solutions are in an easy-to-read format.

Oh and while you’re at it, why not add these Word Puzzles for Cat Lovers too?

Word Puzzles for Cat Lovers

GIFT IDEA 8

MX Publishing: Dear Holmes

You can become a detective now with Victorian era-mysteries sent to you by mail, or gift a mystery package to someone of course. I love the sound of this (and yes they send international)!

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Dear Holmes

GIFT IDEA 9

Etsy: Coffee and Crime Vintage Mystery Box

One-off or subscription (1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 12 month packages)

Coffee and Crime

In each box you receive:
• A newsletter which highlights upcoming releases, personal favourite reads, puzzles and more!
• Two personally selected surprise vintage mystery novels (although vintage in origin, with some signs of previous use, they will all be in good condition ).
• A sachet of luxury coffee (Great for indulging in whilst reading your latest books). Hot chocolate and tea alternatives are possible too.
• Book/Mystery related goodies, such as notebooks, tote bags, coasters and more!

GIFT IDEA 10

The Literary Tea Company: Agatha Christie Inspired Teas

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GIFT IDEA 11

 

The Booktaster: Christmas Inspired Taster Box

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Included:

A festive inspired handpicked by ‘The Book Taster’
Unique ‘Tasting Card’ – providing tasting notes about the book to wet the reader’s appetite.
A personalised book themed note-card to the recipient
A unique The Book Taster Bookshelf Bookmark
A delicious 100g bar of Christmas Creighton’s Chocolaterie (May contain traces of nuts.)
A selection of Joe’s Tea Company Matchbox Tea Bags
A gorgeous 50g Cinnamon & Orange Clovelly Bar Soap
A beautiful Cinnamon and Orange Votive Candle by The Clovelly Soap Company

GIFT IDEA 12

Crimibox: Missing in Jericho 

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A little heads up, I’ll probably post about the Crimibox at a later time again because I ordered a box from this site (for Dutch readers there are also 5 physical and 2 digital Crimiboxes available in Dutch and I ordered one of these and I’ll receive it in December). The Jericho case (for now the only one in English) is a digital case.

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So, did you see anything you like? Let me know in the comments! Do check out my previous posts: 2018 gift ideas,  2017 gift ideas and 2016 gift ideas.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech #BookReview

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Be careful what you wish for…
Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

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What is there to say except that it was… exceptional! After finishing Call Me Star Girl I wanted to see if another story would have a similar effect on me. So, a few weeks later I’m on my second Louise Beech novel and I can officially say that I have added her to my list of must-read authors. This novel is, again, heartbreakingly beautiful.

I loved reading about Ben’s adventure in Zimbabwe with the lions. I had put off reading this novel for soooo long because I was afraid to find out what the setting would entail. I have such a tiny heart when it comes to animals and I thought it might be depressing or that there would be a mention of animal cruelty towards the lions but it was quite the opposite, it gave me so much joy to read how Ben tried to create a bond with his lion cub. Of course Ben had to say goodbye at some point and that was hard but it was also a satisfying and beautiful moment, so if this is the only thing keeping you from reading this as well then I can tell you, you need to pick it up pronto, as you’re really missing out on an amazing story. No, the hardest parts of the novel were definitely yet to come and had really nothing to do with the animals but with Ben, Andrew and their families.

When Ben was in Zimbabwe I knew he had such strong feelings for Andrew but for some reason he had left him behind and they had no contact. I couldn’t imagine why that was and I first suspected it was for some trivial reason but that didn’t last long as it was quickly replaced – her previous novel working as my reference point – with a sense that it would go deeper than that, and I was so right! If you’re thinking this is just a run of the mill love story, you are dead wrong. This is an unprecedented love story, one I haven’t read before. Oh how I felt for Ben and Andrew and the whole impossibility of the situation. Andrew is older than Ben and has long come out but Ben is afraid of the reaction he’ll get, especially from his father. As if that wasn’t enough, Louise Beech ripped my heart apart with more tragedy. Have I already told you that I love star-crossed lovers themes and Romeo and Juliet are forever in my heart? Well I had the same feel here, Ben and Andrew’s initials are not only carved in a tree but also in my heart. Oh and that wishbox, that damn box… when I realised what was in there, god I wanted to stop time, I wanted to go back in time, anything to avoid that moment where everything would collide as in a heads-on car crash.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a remarkable novel, it left me spoilt and spent. She’s only done it again. I highly highly recommend this novel and even though I didn’t cry, I did have a lump in my throat and felt emotional. So did Call Me Star Girl though so the struggle for favorite novel so far is real. Because Star Girl was the first one – first love – I’ll keep it at first place but you don’t need to twist my arm. Either way, I can’t wait to read her next novel and become all emotional all over again!

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

I am strong and I am weak #CapitalCrime

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I reported everything that went on from 26-28 September at Capital Crime in a previous post. Today I’m sharing some other highlights.

First though, I just want to stress again that I had the best of times at the book festival so please don’t see this post as negative because it wasn’t a negative experience, I have only happy thoughts looking back.

It only seems fair that I let you in on that other side of me when I was there, the one that nobody sees very often because I can hide it fairly well and because people don’t realise some of my thoughts. I was debating whether to do this or not but with WorldMentalHealthDay just behind us, I’m feeling strong and I want to give you a look behind the curtain.

I received really great support from my friends and the lovely Meggy (@choconwaffles) of Chocolate’n’ Waffles in particular (she’s a team on her own) but of course I had some weak moments. I didn’t want it to taint my report about the festival but it’s only fair I share the good with the bad so here’s a little more about the latter in this post. There are definitely some things that I want to do differently if there’s a next time and that I know now I shouldn’t have stressed about. It seems silly now but it is what it is. This is my journey, and there are a lot of lessons to be learned in life, this is just one of them for me. 

So here were some of my stressed out-thoughts from a few weekends ago.

Train

The first day, it went wrong quite soon. The train to get to the Eurostar was cancelled. Of course I had calculated this too into my planning (I am nothing if not prepared to the fullest) but still, it made me wonder if the rest of the day would go this way too, the start of my adventure could have been better. No real panic there yet though, I took the train in the other direction to a bigger town and then took a direct train to Brussels. I have done this once or twice before so I wasn’t too stressed. Luckily, someone told me where to find the Eurostar terminal in the trainstation because I didn’t see the signs for it. I was a little anxious though going through security because the security check is exactly the same as when boarding a flight where you have to put items on a conveyer belt. I have a fear for flying so I couldn’t shake that feeling of unease. I knew I was boarding a train but it felt as if I was going on a plane. Once seated and seeing we weren’t flying off Harry Potter-like, I was able to relax more on my two-hour ride and I was assured again that Meggy would be there waiting for me so I was ok by the time I got to my destination and in a good mood.

St. Pancras train station

I was quite overwhelmed when I arrived at London St. Pancras station. It’s really big and easy to get lost in which was what probably had happened if I were alone. I counted my lucky stars that I had Meggy to lead the way (I even tried to mislead her but she knew very well where to go haha). I had some fears beforehand about getting on the tube (the underground) as I had read up (a lot) beforehand about different cards (the oyster card or the travel card) only I didn’t know which one and where to get them, but I just had to hold my bank card next to a reader and I had paid. Who knew, so simple! Again, if she hadn’t been there I hadn’t known and would have spent at least an hour getting to the venue. We were there in no time instead so I stressed about this for nothing beforehand again.

Proof copy

It was lunchtime when I arrived so there were no panels and we had about an hour to kill. We went to a secondhand bookstore then where I spotted a proof copy of Will Carver’s novel Nothing Important Happened Today which isn’t out until November! I’m not going to name the bookshop because I don’t want to have anyone put it on their list to go shopping for proofs. Let’s just say that Meggy rectified it with the shop’s owner! I’m in complete awe that she did that. My style would be to tuck away that book somewhere on the lowest shelf behind other books or something but going to talk to someone about it, I wouldn’t dare.

Goodiebag

It’s hard to speak up for yourself in any situation. I need more time to think about what to say and how to react which is why I avoid unpredictability (which is why I always avoid arguments and fights at all cost too). There’re a few situations I certainly could have handled better, if only I wasn’t so shy. One example was the goodie bag. When I received the Weekend Pass at the registration desk they didn’t give me such a cool tote bag (with 2 books and plenty of samplers in it). The lovely Meggy went back with me and asked for it. If she hadn’t I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have two more books to read.

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Wrong name

I’m not good at talking to people I don’t know, I hate bringing attention to myself… even when ordering food or a drink in a café I always try to have the other person order for me. I’m lucky there are still some gallant men (and women) who don’t mind doing that.

On the first day I surprised myself when I initiated a conversation with an author – Deborah O’Donoghue who wrote Sea of Bones – who was waiting in line at the loo (and yes I did manage to call her by the wrong name but it’s because I wanted to be quick, I saw the opportunity and didn’t want to miss it… and I just don’t do quick very well) but all was well, she was actually super nice and we had drinks together. I couldn’t say no when she proposed, could I? Not that I wanted to do that of course. So I did and I enjoyed myself. I did have a small panic attack when she left me with another author afterwards that I hadn’t read the book and didn’t know anything about, but Merilyn Davies, the author in question, was super friendly too and made me feel very much at ease. I’m really determined to read When I Lost You soon as well.

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Heidi Perks, Rachel Kennedy, Deborah O’Donoghue

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Merilyn Davies

Who’s who

The event was very well organised but I wished people had nametags. There was no way of knowing who everyone was. If some authors weren’t pointed out to me by the others I would have missed some of them at least. If I was there alone I would have missed out on some great intel.

I love the bloggers I met, they’re normal people, my kind of people, and so sweet and friendly really… but we were a very small group. Where were all the other bloggers? I thought the blogging community would be a real community there too who would get together but that didn’t happen. It made me realise you better do know someone who plans on going to an event… if Meggy wouldn’t have been with me, I’m also not sure I would have dared to talk to Ronnie, Zoé and Danielle by myself or hung out with them for so long, and it would have been a lovely festival anyway but pretty lonely too.

Hotel

I feel almost embarrassed (ok not quite, I’m grateful) to say so but Meggy walked me to the hotel and stayed with me until I checked in at the reception. Even then, I still managed to get lost inside. I KNOW! Well in my defence the receptionist pointed to the left hallway and I needed to go right the other way. Luckily someone from security crossed me and asked where I was headed, he gave the right directions and I did find it then. The room was quite fine but then I realised that the electrical outlets were different and I couldn’t charge my phone. The phone I needed to let my father know when he needed to come and get me at the train station the next day. It suddenly felt like that phone was my life line.. cue small panic attack :-). Well I needn’t have been anyway because on the way back home I suddenly saw a screen in the train that there was a plug under the seat. I gave a shout, hit my head when bending down to see it (the person in the seat next to me did have a good laugh) and when I arrived in Brussels again on Saturday my phone was 100%. The room was ok but there was no hairdryer so I didn’t dare wash my hair if it meant going out with wet hair. The duvet was also too thin so I was cold the whole night and I didn’t bring a sweater or anything warm for an extra layer. I think I slept for two hours and was up at 5 again.

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The sound of silence

I’m getting to the crux of my story now. Is it a surprise that day 2 was a bit of a struggle? I wasn’t myself and godawfully emotional by the lack of sleep. My absolute lowpoint must be that I saw the lovely publisher Karen of Orenda Books and I didn’t say a word. I want to crawl under a rock now. I feel sooo bad about it because I really wanted to tell her that I was so thankful for the blog tour invites and the books I received in the past and I wanted to say something about her great taste in the books she publishes, how much I loved them and… I didn’t say ANYTHING. I have no excuse even… it just didn’t come out of my mouth, it was like the mute button was on all of a sudden. I didn’t say anything to Antti Tuomainnen either when I stood right there and I think someone else asked for a picture for me with Will Dean because I certainly didn’t have the courage. Everything passed in a bit of a blur. The tables for the signing were crowded, there were a lot of people and everyone was wriggling there around those tables, I don’t know but it made me close up. I’m even going to spare you the embarrasement with C.J. Tudor, I had a minor breakdown in front of her but luckily she didn’t react to it. Let’s just say that Meggy deserved that novel of The Other People so much more and made me get tears in my eyes. She’s an angel really for letting me have it but I still feel incredibly guilty too.

Photos

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I never want to be in any photos, be it a work thing or leisure but I had thought about it in advance and prepared myself for this eventuality. Even though I’m still happy I have photos of me with Mark Edwards, M.W. Craven, Merilyn Davies, Will Dean and C.J. Tudor, I still hate the way I look. I should have paid better attention how I presented myself on the photos. I should have lost my jacket/coat at least and I’m asking myself why I didn’t do something about my hair. I washed it the day I came to London but it looked like I hadn’t washed it in a week. I could at least have fluffed it a bit or something. Gah. Good thing nobody sees these photos.

Language

I haven’t spoken to anybody for more than 5 minutes in English in ahum 15 years, maybe longer? So I was a bit apprehensive about that. I was determined to pay attention to my pronounciation and accent but I don’t think I was there 5 minutes before I forgot my good intentions. I know I can do it if I put an effort to it (usually I read two sentences in a book out loud that way, and that’s pretty much it) but it’s just too exhausting. Everyone did understand me though, so there’s that.

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I know and I think I handled it all okayish, for me being me. In life there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think something couldn’t have gone better if done differently (perfectionist, much) or that worries me, I even exhaust myself sometimes so it’s only natural that it comes with me on my travels. Meggy’s help was amazing, but still, I wish I had a redo button and do a little better. I have absolutely no regrets of going though. Those two days were exhausting and yes overwhelming but very worth it, it also gave me a really good energy to take home with me and I did feel proud of myself for other things like being accepted in the group. I have proven to myself and hopefully to you too now that you can go to festivals and enjoy yourself, even if you’re an introvert and even if you have anxiety… seriously, if I can do it, you can do it !

WWW Wednesday (09-10-2019)

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book list hosted by Taking on a World of Words, and I’m happy to participate today.

The three W’s are:
What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

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What I finished reading:

I received this novel orginally in a book subscription box. It was an ok read but not outstanding in my opinion as it was pretty predictable. I have no idea yet how to review this one so it’s still very much a work in progress.

Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart

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What I’m reading now:

I have C.J. Tudor’s third novel ‘The Other People’ to read now (yay!) but I also have the first one thanks to a blogfriend who sent me her proof copy, so I’m happy to do things in the right order. I started this novel on vacation actually but the holiday was over sooner than the book was finished :-). It’s an easy read and has a very enjoyable writing style so I know it’s an author I want to read more books from and I’m thrilled that I can now.

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

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What I’ll (probably) read soon:

A difficult choice and I still haven’t read the novel I mentioned in my post last month but I’m thinking it’s cold and wintry already so it might be a perfect timing for nordic noir. Red Snow is the second novel in the Tuva Moodyson series, the follow-up of Dark Pines and I can’t wait to see where it’ll take Tuva this time.

Red Snow by Will Dean 

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TWO BODIES

One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS

Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS

Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

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So that’s it, what are you reading this week? Share your link in the comments below so that I can come and take a look !