The Dark I Know Well: Elizabeth Báthory || Little Dutch Bookshop


In the light of recent happenings, I wanted to do this post about a political person. Anyway let’s keep this short and I hope you enjoy this blog post.

This week: Elizabeth Báthory or The Blood Countess.

Early Life

Elizabeth was born into a wealthy family in 1560 or 1561, the exact year is unknown. She got engaged to Ferenc Nádasdy when she was eleven years old and they married when she was fifteen. Elizabeth being wealthier than her husband, did not want to change her name due to status. She was an intelligent woman, who could read and write in four languages and was to defense her home when her husband was away fighting in the Long War.

The Blood Countess

Elizabeth, like any woman, began aging. Which she did not want. Like many, she yearned for eternal beauty. And she found it. Together with four accomplices, she murdered young women, just to bathe in their blood. Or that is what the legends say. She did, however, torture her victims with great pleasure. And it is said that she killed 650 girls at most from 1585 to 1609. Multiple girls were found at the time of her arrest, all horrible mutilated, some dead, some alive. This all makes her the most prolific female serial killer to date.

Life locked in a tower

After her trial, she was sentenced to solitary confinement until her death. Because of her noble status, she couldn’t be given the death sentence like her accomplices. She was locked in her castle, her rooms closed off by bricks. Only small slits open to allow in air and food. She survived there for four years and was found dead on august 21st of 1614 after she passed away in her sleep.

Elizabeth inspired many novels and movies, most notably Lady Gaga’s character in American Horror Story is inspired by Báthory.

-xxx- Valerie


A Playlist for a Pageturner #8: A Court of Mist and Fury || Little Dutch Bookshop

It’s been a while but I’m back with my playlists yay! This time, since I’m rereading ACOMAF and I have a lot of feelings about it I decided to make a playlist for it! This is mainly for the night court! But because I don’t want to spoil anyone I’m going to give you the synopsis for A Court of Thorns and Roses (the first book in the series) instead!

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Anyway, here is the playlist!


She Used to be Mine – Jessie Mueller

Castle – Halsey

Immortal – Marina and the Diamonds

Never Seen Anything Quite Like You – The Script

All About Us – He is We

Shatter Me – Lindsay Stirling

Run to You – Pentatonix

Love is Blindness – Jack White

Bright – Echosmith

Monster – Imagine Dragons

Together – Carrie Hope Fletcher

Until We Go Down – Ruelle

Seven Nation Army – Melanie Martinez

Smile – Mikky Ekko

Like I’m Gonna Lose You – Jasmine Thompson

House of Memories – Panic! At The Disco

Old Money – Lana Del Rey

Emmylou – First Aid Kit

Light in the Hallway – Pentatonix

Every Breath You Take – Denmark

You can listen to the playlist here

So that is my playlist for A Court of Mist and Fury by Sara J. Maas. What do you think? What pageturner should I make a playlist for next? Let me know!

-xxx- Valerie

The Dark I Know Well: Isla de las Munecas || Little Dutch Bookshop


Hello hello and welcome to a new series (or a pilot of it, not sure if I will continue it). In a Top Five Wednesday, I mentioned some creepy places that are perfect settings for novels. And since I enjoy these dark legends or stories so much, I decided to make full blog posts about some of them every now and then. So, in The Dark I Know Well I will give you some information about a haunted place/creepy place/murder mystery just anything creepy. Do with it what you want, use it for information, use it to kickstart a writing session or just get creeped out but be sure to tell me what you think about it! I’m starting with a place that freaks me out, so looking at pictures was torture. I also mentioned it in said Top Five Wednesday.

Today, we are traveling to Isla de las Munecas, or the Isle of the Dolls in Mexico.


Where is it?

When you travel down the canals of Xochimico, just south of Mexico City you can find thousands of people living in towns and cities. But one island looks abandoned, save for the hundreds of dolls decorating the place. The eerie island was never meant to be a tourist attraction, but like calls to like, and the Isle of the Dolls pulls quite some tourists every year.


The legend

Legend goes that the caretaker of the island, Don Julian Santana Barrera, found a girl drowning in the waters near the island. He sadly wasn’t able to save her. But he did find a doll nearby the place where the girl drowned, presumably from the girl. As a way of showing respect, and to support and guide the spirit of the girl, he hung up the doll in a nearby tree.

They say that Julian got possessed, and started hanging up more and more dolls ‘like he was driven by some unseen force’ according to family and friends. He soon realized that the dolls he collected were all possessed by spirits.

But the fact that he couldn’t save the girl seems to have haunted him for the 50 years he collected the dolls for her. And in 2001 they found his body, drowned in the same spot as the girl before him. His spirit joining those already dwelling on the island.


What is true?

Even the drowning of the girl is speculated. Some people think Julian made her up due to his solitude. All that we do know is that the dolls are there, and his demeanor changed after he supposedly found the girl. The Isle of the Dolls now is a tourist attraction, and people like to bring new dolls with them for Julian and the girl to enjoy.

So, what do you think? Would you ever visit the island? And do you like these kinds of blogposts? Let me know!

-xxx- Valerie


Top Five Wednesday #30: Misleading Synopsises || Little Dutch Bookshop

It is Wednesday again, so that means another Top 5 Wednesday! As always, these picks are in no particular order!

Top 5 Wednesday is created by Lainey, if you want to join, join the Goodreads group here


The Kiss of Deception – Mary E. Pearson

 A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

It is well known how much I dislike this book. If you want to know why I have a review here. But the synopsis sounds so interesting, but it is nothing like the actual book! A princess must find her place in a reborn world uhm what reborn world? Sorry but I don’t see a reborn world anywhere!

City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end

Remember how it promised us a love triangle (it’s a different synopsis now though). Yah, I don’t remember the love triangle either. That’s all, but this was the first misleading synopsis that came to my mind!

The Summer I Turned Pretty – Jenny Han

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

It sounded so cute and fun, and it turned out to be about a whiny bitch. This might just be because of my strong disliking of this book but oh well.

The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson

Jack the Ripper is back, and he’s coming for Rory next….

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him – the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target…unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

This book is about so much more than Jack the Ripper! I’m not saying much about this one because of spoilers but the synopsis makes you think this is just about him, while, in reality, it is the setting up of a whole series (which I did not continue but whatever)

My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

I have a love-hate relationship with this book, you can read why in my review. However, the synopsis makes it seem like the unthinkable happening is the big kick starter of the story, while it happens almost at the end. I just find that this just gives away the ‘plot twist’ which is sad.

So those are five synopsises I found misleading, what synopsises do you find misleading? Let me know!

-xxx- Valerie


October Wrap Up || Little Dutch Bookshop


Happy Halloween! October is almost over and that means that we can all start listening to Christmas songs again! (without getting weird looks). It also means that it is time for another wrap-up! Unlike last month, I actually did read some books this month, yay for me! Anyway, here is my wrap-up.

Empire of Storms – Sarah J. Maas


I finally finished this beast and it has given me the biggest book hangover ever. I reviewed it here, but I gave it four out of five stars. It was beautiful, just, MY BABIES!

P.S. Want to know why I don’t rate books five stars anymore? Read this!

Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur


I had never read poetry before. But this beautiful piece of feminism is a wonderful way to start getting into the genre! The illustrations were also a plus! I gave the book three our of five stars

There are also two books I am currently reading:

A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas


… Can you blame me for rereading this after EoS? I just need more SJM in my life! (Also listening to the audiobook again aay)

I also reviewed this one here, it is one of my favorite reviews!

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys – April Genevive Tucholke 


This is a collection of short stories I started reading last year in October and I thought I’d get back to it this year! I read Hide-And-Seek, The Dark Scary Parts and All and The Flicker The Fingers The Beat The Sigh this month and I loved them! Some more than others but they definitely introduced me to some new writers!

So those are the books I read in October! That brings my stats up to the following:

Total books read this month: 2 (2.5 technically)

Total pages read this month: 997 (with 10 hours of audiobook)

Total books read in 2016: 37

Total pages read in 2016: 11695

How many books did you read this month? Did you read scary books? Let me know!

-xxx- Valerie

Top Five Wednesday #29 : Favorite Spooky Settings || Little Dutch Bookshop

It is Wednesday again, so that means another Top 5 Wednesday! As always, these picks are in no particular order!

Top 5 Wednesday is created by Lainey, if you want to join, join the Goodreads group here


I’m presenting you some creepy settings I would love to see used in books. This is a weird interest of mine, so enjoy!

Island of Dolls – Mexico


I hate dolls okay, and the legend behind this island is just waiting for a book. The legend goes that a girl drowned on the island and a guy started to collect hundreds of dolls for her (until he died in the same spot as her) and now they say that the dolls are possessed. I mean, look at the fucking dolls. NOPE NOPE NOPE not in a million years


Mental asylums – all over the world (though in the US they are probably the most fucked up)


Want the perfect ghost hunting show? Get some sassy guys, go to an abandoned mental asylum and rattle up some ghosts. One of my favorites? Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, people got fucking scratched there, like really big scratches! Nope, not seeing me there! See ya later!

Poveglia Island – Italy


So, Poveglia Island was a dumping island for plague victims. And now it is said to be haunted by a fucking demon. Ghost Adventures went there and the guy that brought them there didn’t want to go all the way there, he let them take a little boat for the last kilometer or so. Also, the image source called it the most haunted island in the world.

Ancient Ram Inn – England


They say this is the most haunted place in the world, enough said.

Winchester Mystery House – United States


Not only scary but also funny because of all the traps. A psychic told Mary Winchester (wife and widow of the inventor of the Winchester guns and probably family of Sam and Dean) that the house was haunted by everyone ever killed with a Winchester gun. So in order to confuse them, she built the mystery house, adding rooms until she died. So now the house is confusing as hell with traps everywhere.

There are many more places I am just not getting to, or I don’t want to look for them because it is eleven at night when I’m writing this and I value my sleep. I love haunted stuff, so please let me know if you want to see more of it!

What are some of your favorite creepy settings? Real or fictional. Let me know!

-xxx- Valerie

Rainbow Book Tag || Little Dutch Bookshop


It has been ages since I have done a tag which is sad because I love them! So when I saw Jacquie from Rattle the Stars do this tag and it looked like so much fun! The original tag was created by Le Book Chronicles and the rules are as following:

  1. I must be the dominant colour of the COVER not the spine!
  2. If you do not own a book of a certain colour, just choose one that has the colour on it somewhere.
  3. It has to be a book you own and/or has to be the exact edition you read (e.g. there are two different overs for Me Before You, you would choose the one you read).
  4. TAG some people to do it! Whether they be Bloggers, Bookstagrammers or BookTubers.

So here is my rainbow!













(Is this even turquoise?)











So that was the Rainbow Book Tag! I tag everyone who wants to do this one because it’s so much fun!

-xxx- Valerie

Why I don’t rate books 5 stars anymore || Little Dutch Bookshop


Okay, so if you follow me on Goodreads (which you should) you might have noticed that I stopped rating books 5 stars a few weeks ago, even if I loved them. And if you read my Empire of Storms review (which, again, you should) you saw that I loved it but I only rated it four stars.

But, Valerie, why are you doing that? You might ask. Why are you not acknowledging all of those perfect books? What makes you not rate them the five stars they deserve?

You see, a few weeks I had this realisation. Because while we sometimes say that a book is perfect, something is never perfect. How hard someone tries, something can always be done better. This reminded me of a quote by Leonardo da Vinci:

Art is never finished, only abandoned.

I interpret this as the following:

Art can always be improved, things can always be changed or perfected. But a good artist needs to find the point at where all of the changes made are small and to the general public, they won’t matter. I find that the same counts for literature. And that is why a novel is never perfect.

This made me change my rating schedule when I found this quote and because it might become confusing I’m going to put it down here and on my Goodreads:

1 star: I only give my DNF’s one star. So basically the book was so slow, boring or just badly written that I could not get through it.

2 stars: It was hard to get through this one, but either I did it or I just DNF’ed it because I lost interest/just never finished it.

3 stars: It was okay. There were some good parts and some bad parts. But overall I liked it.

4 stars: I really enjoyed it! It was a fun read, I flew through it and the story was great!

4.5 stars: This was almost, nearly perfect! Just amazing!

How do you rate your books?

-xxx- Valerie



Top Five Wednesday #28: Books that took me ages to finish || Little Dutch Bookshop

It is Wednesday again, so that means another Top 5 Wednesday! As always, these picks are in no particular order!

Top 5 Wednesday is created by Lainey, if you want to join, join the Goodreads group here


So, I’m going to sort this out in two categories:

The Longest Books Ever

Empire of Storms – Sarah J. Maas


It took me nearly a month but I finished this beauty last night and it was beautiful! 700 pages of heartbreak and sex and I loved (almost) every bit of it! Keep an eye out for a review!

Breaking Dawn – Stephanie Meyer


Have you seen how massive this book is! This is one of the first books I ever read in English and while I have always been very good at the language (I failed Dutch most of my school career while I got straight A’s in English lol) reading a book this huge in English was tough! I was 10 when this came out, and I was a slow reader anyway, but bloody hell!

The Slowest Books Ever

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater


I started this book thrice before listening to the audiobook which finally made me finish it.  This book’s tipping point (the part that hooks you to the book, that kickstarts the plot) came very late which made me stop reading for so long! I liked it, but because of that reason I, sadly, won’t finish the series.

Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas


Isn’t it funny how I tried SIX(!) times to read Throne of Glass before finally falling in love? Again, the beginning is super slow and because of all of the love in the book community I was so hesitant! But I don’t regret picking it up, never, not when the series introduced me to Manon Blackbeak.

City of Glass – Cassandra Clare


I’m not sure if it was this one or City of Fallen Angels but guessing by my Goodreads rating I’m guessing it was this one but I did not like this one! I had to keep forcing myself to read and I put it aside for a while! I just found the pacing so slow and nothing happened for me and bleh. I actually stopped reading the series after this one and only picked it up because City of Heavenly Fire came out and everyone was raving about it. Do you know how glad I am about that!

So those are five books that took me ages to read! What are some of yours? Let me know!

-xxx- Valerie