maandag 31 december 2012

50 Books Challenge 2012 Update - December

Sequels this month, but I only read 2 books. Like I said last month, I'm moving at the moment so I didn't have much time to read.

# 51. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments # 3) - 4/ 5
# 52. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson (Millenium # 2) - 4/ 5

Average: 4

Favorite of the Month: City of Glass

Now the theme for january:

I hope that I can spend more time reading next month, because I will be officialy living in my new home next weekend. My goal for the year 2013 won't be different from last year: 50 books with every month a new theme. Happy reading everyone!!

zondag 30 december 2012

50 Books Challenge 2012 - # 52: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson (Millenium # 2)

Title: The Girl Who Played with Fire("Millenium # 2")
Author: Stieg Larsson
Story: Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government. But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker. As Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.
Start: december 18th 2012
End: december 30th 2012
Comment: It's been a while since I read the first book. That one didn't really surprise me. It was good, but I expected more due to its popularity. When I started reading I somehow immediately knew that this was going to be better. This book focuses on Lisbeth more and we got to know more about her past. I found that interesting, because I think she is a fascinating character eventhough she is so complex. Like the first book I also liked Mikael Blomkvist. We see how much he cares about Lisbeth and that he's struggling with the fact that she wants to shut him out of her life. The second installment in the "Millenium"-trilogy deals with a lot of topics: Sex trade, police corruption, authority abuse, homocide. Although that keeps it interesting, it sometimes feels like a bit too much in one book. Like the first book I also think that this book is too big, there are some parts that we could've done without. But all in all it's a good book and better then it's prequel.
Rating: 4/ 5

Movie Trailer Sunday (66) 2013 Preview

Like last year I'm going to share with you trailers of movies I'm looking forward to seeing next year. Some of them I already shared in a previous "Movie Trailer Sunday". Here they are.

World War Z
Description: United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.
Director: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox, David Morse
Trailer: Trailer "World War Z"
Comment: This was actually on my list last year, but there wasn't a trailer yet. Now there is and I'm super stoked about this film.

Monster's University
Description: Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan (John Goodman) are an inseparable pair, but that wasn't always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn't stand each other. "Monsters University" unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.
Director: Dan Scanlon
Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Dave Foley, Julia Sweeney, Joel Murray, Peter Sohn
Trailer: Trailer "Monster's University"

Ganster Squad
Description: Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and--if he has his way--every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It's enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop...except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen's world apart.
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Robert Patrick, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Peña
Trailer: Trailer "Gangster Squad"
Comment: I really don't want to skip this movie in 2013!

Zero Dark Thirty
Description: "Zero Dark Thirty" focuses on the black ops mission to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, which culminated in his death during a high-stakes raid on his compound in Pakistan.
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain, Edgar Ramirez, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, Nash Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Harold Perrineau, Frank Grillo
Trailer: Trailer "Zero Dark Thirty"
Comment: I heard so many great things about this film.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
Description: We follow the siblings Hansel and Gretel (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) 15 years after the incident at the gingerbread house. The two are now specialized bounty hunters looking to put down the cackling black-hat set.
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare
Trailer: Trailer "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters"
Comment: I love darker versions of fairytales!

Oz the Great and Powerful
Description: When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he's hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking--that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity--and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Zach Braff, Bruce Campbell
Trailer: Trailer "Oz the Great and Powerful"
Comment: You know I love James so I have to see this. And Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz are all great too. And the visuals look fantastic. I'm in!

The Great Gatsby
Description: We follow would-be writer Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and bootleg kings. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles.
Director: Baz Luhrman
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher
Trailer: Trailer "The Great Gatsby"
Comment: It looks amazing.

To the Wonder
Description: Marina (Olga Kurylenko) and Neil (Ben Affleck) meet in France and move to Oklahoma to start a life together, where problems soon arise. While Marina makes the acquaintance of a priest and fellow exile (Javier Bardem), who is struggling with his vocation, Neil renews a relationship with a childhood sweetheart, Jane (Rachel McAdams).
Director: Terence Mallick
Starring: Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem
Trailer: Trailer "To the Wonder"
Comment: Shared it last week, but this looks so amazing!

Movies I'm lookig forward to seeing, but don't have a trailer yet: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The World's End, Kick-Ass 2, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Knight of Cups, Twelve Years as a Slave

zaterdag 29 december 2012

In My Mailbox (77)

Five postcards this week. The first came from my own country, Arnhem, The Netherlands. It's a vintage card. De writer is, just like me, a fan of Robert Downey Jr.

Sent: december 23rd 2012
Received: december 28th 2012
Distance: 88 km (55 miles)
Travel Time: 5 days

This beautiful dragon came from Chengdu, China. It has some info on the front, always interesting.

Sent: november 4th 2012
Received: december 28th 2012
Distance: 7,935 km (4,931 miles)
Travel Time: 54 days

From Minsk, Belarus I received this christmas card.

Sent: december 21st 2012
Received: december 28th 2012
Distance: 1,486 km (923 miles)
Travel Time: 7 days

Another christmas card, this time from Bordeaux, France. I really love this one!

Sent: december 21st 2012
Received: december 28th 2012
Distance: 860 km (534 miles)
Travel Time: 7 days

My favorite of the week arrived today. This wonderful umbrella postcard! It's from Cherbihiv, Ukraine. I noticed that a lot of people from the Ukraine of Belarus have the same handwriting.

Sent: december 18th 2012
Received: december 29th 2012
Distance: 1,754 km (1,090 miles)
Travel Time: 11 days

Thanks Olivia, Sichuan, Victoria, Amandine and Elena for your wonderful postcards.

donderdag 27 december 2012

Top 5 Thursday: Books I Read in 2012

This year I had themes for every month and I liked it. It made reading even more pleasant for me. Some months were better then others, but overall I had a very good reading year. Here are the five best books I read this year.

5. “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë
It’s an absolute classic and I can’t believe that I never read it before. Although it’s not a very spectacular book, it keeps your attention at all times. (September – Classics Month)

4. “Duma Key” by Stephen King
I read a lot of Stephen King books this year, but this was definitely my favorite. It totally captivates you, like my brother had already warned me before. King is a magician with words, just sublime. (October – Stephen King Month)

3. “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien
Fantasy has become one of my favorite genres over the year and I loved every second of reading “The Hobbit”. What a fantastic journey. (June – Adventure Month)

2. “Matilda” by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is the best children´s book writer off all time and “Matilda” is his best work. I´ve loved this books ever since I was a child. And now as a teacher I love to share this wonderous story with my children. It’s such a magical story. (August – Roald Dahl Month)

1. “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett
When I finished this book in the beginning of the year, I already knew that this was going to be high on my favorites list. It is the best books I read this year, for so many reasons. It really grabbed me, the story is touching and sometimes funny and it has such great characters. If you haven’t read this book yet, what are you waiting for?(February – Bestsellers Month)

They almost made the top 5: “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, “Into the Wild” by John Krakauer, “The Understudy” by David Nicholls, “Dances with Wolves” by Michael Blake, “A Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin, “The Lucky One” by Nicholas Sparks, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” by Roald Dahl, “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, “Carrie” by Stephen King

dinsdag 25 december 2012

Best of... Meg Ryan

Whatever happened to Meg Ryan? I liked her, the queen of romantic comdies! So it's about time to go by all of her movies and choose her best ones.

"Top Gun"
Yes, Meg Ryan was in "Top Gun". This is really one of those 80's movies only women love, eventhough it's about fighterpilots and every boy wants to become one. Tom Cruise was just irresistible in this film.

"When Harry Met Sally"
This movie is so much fun, it's been too long since I saw it. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan have perfect chemistry, so much humor and off course that diner scene is historical.

"Joe Versus the Volcano"
The first collaboration between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It's my least favorite of the three, but still a great film.

"Sleepless in Seattle"
And then there's the second movie. So sweet... I just love Tom Hanks in this one.

"When a Man Loves a Woman"
This is actually one of my mom's favorite films. She likes Andy Garcia. It's a more serious role for Meg and she does a fantastic job. This is a movie about a man that truly loves his wife, no matter what. Even in the darker days of their mariage. It's all in the title.

It's about Albert Einstein who wants to help a man get together with Einstein's niece. I have only seen it once, but thinking of it I want to see it again. It was a fun movie.

"Courage Under Fire"
Again a more serious role for Meg. This movie also stars Denzel Washington. That's always good. It's a strong drama.

"City of Angels"
Beautiful lovestory which brought along the best Alanis Morissette song "Uninvited".

"You've Got Mail"
You can say a lot about this film, criticize it all you want. I love this movie. Even if it's outdated now, with today's technology. I like it more then "Sleepless in Seattle". I must have seen this movie so many times, that I an actually quote from it. Call me an idiot, but "You've got Mail" is awesome!

maandag 24 december 2012

The Many Faces of... Kirsten Dunst

Some people love her and some people can't stand her. I think she's a beautiful actress, she has a distinctive look. Kirsten Dunst and her many different looks.

Face # 1: Interview with the Vampire
Role: Claudia
Comment: She was a creepy kid in this movie.
Rating: 3/ 5

Face # 2: Little Women
Role: Young Amy March
Comment: She looks adorable
Rating: 4,5 /5

Face # 3: Jumanji
Role: Judi Shepherd
Comment: Already a little more grown up, except for the braids. Love them.
Rating: 4,5 /5

Face # 4: The Virgin Suicides
Role: Lux Lisbon
Comment: Pretty young thing.
Rating: 4/ 5

Face # 5: Drop Dead Gorgeous
Role: Amber Atkins
Comment: Eventhough she has something ridiculous on her head, the title of the movie speaks for itself.
Rating: 4/ 5

Face # 6: Bring it On
Role: Torrance Shipman
Comment: Kirsten looks believable as a cheerleader.
Rating: 5/ 5

Face # 7: Crazy/ Beautiful
Role: Nicole Oakley
Comment: She obviously plays a troubled young woman in this movie.
Rating: 2,5/ 5
Face # 8: Spider-Man
Role: Mary-Jane Watson
Comment: Like her as a redhead.
Rating: 5/ 5

Face # 9: Mona Lisa Smile
Role: Betty Warren
Comment: A bit stiff.
Rating: 3/ 5

Face # 10: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Role: Mary
Comment: Really loving this look.
Rating: 5/ 5

Face # 11: Wimbledon
Role: Lizzy Bradbury
Comment: Perfect.
Rating: 5/ 5

Face # 12: Elizabethtown
Role: Claire Colburn
Comment: I like the hat.
Rating: 5/ 5

Face # 13: Marie Antoinette
Role: Marie Antoinette
Comment: Classy and chique!
Rating: 3/ 5

Face # 14: How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
Role: Alison Olsen
Comment: Like the shorter hair.
Rating: 4,5 /5

Face # 15: Melancholia
Role: Justine
Comment: Makeup, some makeup please!
Rating: 3/ 5

Face # 16: On the Road
Role: Camille/ Carolyn Cassidy
Comment: Charming...
Rating: 3,5/ 5

zondag 23 december 2012

Movie Trailer Sunday (65)

This weeks trailers are about a couple with problems and seeking someone elses comfort, the apocalypse, the different lives of two men, a man fighting against Pinochet and a maniac.

To the Wonder
Description: Marina (Olga Kurylenko) and Neil (Ben Affleck) meet in France and move to Oklahoma to start a life together, where problems soon arise. While Marina makes the acquaintance of a priest and fellow exile (Javier Bardem), who is struggling with his vocation, Neil renews a relationship with a childhood sweetheart, Jane (Rachel McAdams).
Director: Terence Mallick
Starring: Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem
Trailer: Trailer "To the Wonder"
Comment: This trailer gave me goosebumps, it looks so beautiful.

This is the End
Description: We follows six friends trapped in a house after a series of strange and catastrophic events devastate Los Angeles. As the world unravels outside, dwindling supplies and cabin fever threaten to tear apart the friendships inside. Once they discover that they are experiencing the Apocalypse, they must come to terms with why they were left behind. Eventually they are forced to leave the house, facing their fate and the true meaning of friendship and redemption.
Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Emma Watson
Trailer: Trailer "This is the End"
Comment: It's only a teaser, but anything with James Franco gets my attention.

The Place Beyond the Pines
Description: A motorcycle rider Luke (Ryan Gosling)makes a fateful decision to commit a crime to support his child. The incident renders him targeted by policeman Avery (Bradley Cooper), and the two men become locked on a tense collision course which will have a devastating impact on both of their families in the years following.
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Bruce Greenwood, Ray Liotta
Trailer: Traler "The Place Beyond the Pines"
Comment: I love Ryan!

Description: When Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, facing international pressure, calls for a referendum on his presidency in 1988, opposition leaders persuade a brash young advertising executive, Rene Saavedra (Gael García Bernal), to spearhead their campaign. With scant resources and constant scrutiny by the despot's watchmen, Saavedra and his team devise an audacious plan to win the election and free their country from oppression.
Director: Pablo Larraín
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Ant�nia Zegers, Marcial Tagle, N�stor Cantillana, Jaime Vadell, Pascal Montero
Trailer: Trailer "No"

Description: The owner of a mannequin shop develops a dangerous obsession with a young artist.
Director: Franck Khalfoun
Starring: Elijah Wood, Norah Arnezeder
Trailer: Trailer "Maniac"

zaterdag 22 december 2012

In My Mailbox (76)

Six postcards this week. From Tsuruga, Japan I received this fun card. It's a cartoon in Japan.

Sent: december 12th 2012
Received: december 18th 2012
Distance: 9,221 km (5,730 miles)
Travel Time: 6 days

This adorable kitten postcard came from Waren, Germany. So cute.

Sent: december 12th 2012
Received: december 18th 2012
Distance: 523 km (325 miles)
Travel Time: 6 days

From Nieuw-Tonge, The Netherlands I got this really awesome vintage add card. I think it's amazing.

Sent: December 15th 2012
Received: December 18th 2012
Distance: 142 km (88 miles)
Travel Time: 3 days

What a beautiful bird this is. I got this postcard from Minsk, Belarus. I love the colors in this card.

Sent: december 13th 2012
Received: december 18th 2012
Distance: 1,390 km (864 miles)
Travel Time: 5 days

This is a card from the Maritime Museum. It's in Taichung City, Taiwan. What a blue ocean!

Sent: december 1st 2012
Received: december 22nd 2012
Distance: 9,511 km (5,910 miles)
Travel Time: 21 days

My favorite of the week, and maybe even one of my all-time favorites, is this one from my own country. It's from Made, The Netherlands. These are such sweet apes! It's also a card from Greenpeace, they do good things.

Sent: december 18th 2012
Received: december 22nd 2012
Distance: 99 km (62 miles)
Travel Time: 4 days

Another oceanview from Taiwan, this time Taipei.

Sent: december 12th 2012
Received: december 22nd 2012
Distance: 9,477 km (5,889 miles)
Travel Time: 10 days

Thanks to Tomoko, Dorota, Mirjam, Katerina, Tiny, Nancy and Tingjun for the postcards!