Buddy Read – Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

April 2018 – Janelle’s choice

Hex

by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Published 2016

Genres: Fiction / Horror

“At first he didn’t understand where the heavy, stale stench of corpse was coming from. “Okay, just come…” he began, but then he heard the whispering. He looked around, straight into the tormented, nightmarish face of Katherine van Wyler.”

Welcome to Black Spring, a picturesque town with an ugly secret. A 17th century woman with sewn shut eyes and mouth walks its streets day and night… enters its homes… watches its people when they sleep. They call her the Black Rock Witch.

So accustomed to her presence they’ve become, the townsfolk often forget she’s there. Or what will happen if her eyes ever open.

 

Janelle says…

Expectations were high for this one, it had been talked up and guaranteed to deliver the scares. The premise sounded so good to me – a seemingly normal town, with the exception of an ancient witch from the dead who randomly pops up in the street, in people’s houses, etc., and this is so normal to the people who live there that they barely bat an eyelid. WHAT?!

I went back and forth on this one while reading it, I enjoyed the beginning but then found the book to drag a little, then it picked up again, then dragged a little, and then I raced through the end because I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen. So in terms of a story, yes I think this delivered.

But the big question is, was it scary? And surprisingly I’d have to say “meh”. It was creepy, sure, but I didn’t find myself hiding under the covers at night like I thought I would be. And let’s face it, that’s what I was here for. So while I did enjoy this read, I felt it didn’t really deliver on its promise to me, and so I can’t go above a 3-star rating.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

 

Mel says…

Please note that I am STILL shivering from some of the creepy moments in Hex.  I have read only a handful of horror books in my life (criminal, I know!) and all have been good reads, but none of ever made me feel like I need to look over my shoulder to make sure I am in fact still alone in my room. Enter Hex…

Janelle introduced this book to me by saying she’d heard it is ‘one of the scariest books ever written’, so I was initially sceptical/eager to see what all the fuss was about.

The first 1/4 of the book was a bit of a drag and to be honest, I didn’t understand the initial introductions of the “witch” better known as Katherine. All of a sudden a family is having dinner while an ancient witch, whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut, is standing motionless in their living room. Like seriously, wtf!? Then the shivers started.

By the halfway mark I was upset that there wasn’t enough time in my day for me to sit and purely read, with no distractions. I stayed up until the wee-hours of the morning and got out of bed early on Sunday to finish this eerie book and I was glad I did.

The ending made me want to cry, and that wasn’t the first time I felt this way. Aside from the chill-factor, Hex was also a story about the lengths a parent will go to to protect their child. Love does funny things to people and this was very apparent.

This wasn’t quite 5 stars, so I am doing a cheeky 4.5. Grab a blanket, hot tea and Hex. Thank me later!

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

 

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Yawn – The History of Bees by Maja Lunde

The History of Bees

by Maja Lunde

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Published 2017

Genres: Fiction / Mystery / Crime Fiction

“The little plastic container was full of the gossamer gold, carefully weighed out. I tried to transfer invisible portions lightly out of the container and over into the trees.

Each individual blossom was to be dusted with the tiny brush of hen feathers, from hens scientifically cultivated for precisely this purpose. No feathers of artificial fibers had proven nearly as effective. 

….in my district the tradition of hand pollination was more than a hundred years old. The bees here had disappeared back in the 1980’s, long before The Collapse;..”

 

 Mel says…

This was in my TBR pile for so long and I finally got my hands on a library copy. The History of Bees had such high praise on Goodreads, so I was really looking forward to the concept of 3 intertwining stories, all set in different eras of time.

The story of William, set in the 1800’s was probably my least favourite of the 3. He begins by being bedridden with an unexplained illness and his family try desperately to get him to begin participating in life once more. He is then driven by immense guilt from his children to get back on his feet (literally and figuratively) and develops a brilliant idea to design a new concept of bee hive. Fast forward through his dramas and his story begun to bore me to the point where I skipped the last handful of his chapters, as my care factor was ZERO!

George is a modern day bee keeper who has a struggling honey farm. He fights battles to keep his farm and family together. He is also an ignorant father and angered me to the point I wanted to throttle him with the book. Some of the conversations he held with his son and wife made me wonder how the hell these people managed to put up with him. Such a prat!

Finally we have Tao. Tao lives in China, post “Collapse” and works tirelessly to make ends meet. Her son is struck with a mystery illness and he is taken away for “treatment”, which Tao and her husband then have to struggle to find where their son was taken and what has happened to him. I related the most with Tao, as she demonstrates the lengths a mother will go to for her children. She is a fighter and a bad ass woman, who never gives up hope of finding her son alive.

Overall, The History of Bees had very few subtleties as to how each story related to the next and I found the minor links boring. I am still scratching my head as to how this book has such a high star rating on Goodreads because I unapologetically give it 2 stars.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

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