maandag 30 april 2012

50 Books Challenge 2012 Update - April

I read five books this month, he amount I had planned in the beginning of the month. I'm so glad I managed. And I read some great books, one disappointin and one surprising book.

# 14. Playing the Enemy by John Carlin - 4/ 5
# 15. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes - 2/ 5
# 16. Into the Wild by John Krakauer - 5/ 5
# 17. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote - 3/ 5
# 18. In the Sea There are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda - 4,5/5

Average: 3,7

Favorite of the Month: Into the Wild

Now the theme for may:

From realistic stories to futuristic and dystopian stories. I've already picked up some books I'm super excited about and I have many other books on my do-to list. I'll keep you posted.

zondag 29 april 2012

Movie Trailer Sunday (35)

This weeks trailers are about a spooky hotel, the Bondurants brothers, a couple going to therapy, a woman returning to her hippie mother and a couple struggling to be 40.

Hotel Transylvania
Description: Welcome to the Hotel Transylvania, Dracula's (Adam Sandler) lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free from meddling from the human world. But here's a little known fact about Dracula: he is not only the Prince of Darkness; he is also a dad. Over-protective of his teenage daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), Dracula fabricates tales of elaborate dangers to dissuade her adventurous spirit. As a haven for Mavis, he opens the Hotel Transylvania, where his daughter and some of the world's most famous monsters - Frankenstein and his bride, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, a family of werewolves, and more - can kick back in safety and peace. For Drac, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem, but his world could come crashing down when one ordinary guy stumbles on the hotel and takes a shine to Mavis.
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Starring: Adams Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kvin James, Fran Drescher, Cee-Lo Green, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Koechner
Trailer: Trailer "Hotel Transylvania"

Description: We follow the freewheelin' Bondurants brothers, bootlegging siblings taking the law into their own hands. This is the story of the rural hard-men that created the big city gangsters. Brazen and fearless, these young rebel brothers helped build the American Dream in this exuberant tale of what was to become crime's first major gold rush. The youngest brother, Jack (Shia LaBeouf), fancies himself the next Al Capone; he dreams of sharp suits, guns, girls and fast cars, no matter the cost. Ambitious and impulsive, he takes the family's small-scale moonshining operation to the big leagues, to impress the gorgeous but off-limits Amish girl, Bertha (Mia Wazikowska). The middle brother, Howard (Jason Clarke), is the brawling muscle - loyal but reckless - never one to turn down a taste of white lightning. And eldest brother, Forrest (Tom Hardy), reluctantly accepts the changing times with grace and grit, leading the family with strength of character and silent determination against the beginnings of corporate greed. An enigmatic and stunning Maggie (Jessica Chastain) comes to town with a hidden past, igniting his passion and almost saving him in the process. As the Bondurants' legend grows, so too does the danger, and it's not long before the brothers must face the consequences of their transgressions, or rewrite the myth and the law themselves.
Director: John Hillcoat
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Mia Wazikowska, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jason Clarke
Trailer: Trailer "Lawless"
Comment: It's been a while since we saw Shia LaBeouf in a movie (not counting the sucky "Tranformers" franchise). And To Hardy and Jessica Chastain are our new rising stars.

Hope Springs
Description: Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) are a devoted couple, but decades of marriage have left Kay wanting to spice things up and reconnect with her husband. When she hears of a renowned couple's specialist (Steve Carell) in the small town of Great Hope Springs, she attempts to persuade her skeptical husband, a steadfast man of routine, to get on a plane for a week of marriage therapy. Just convincing the stubborn Arnold to go on the retreat is hard enough, the real challenge for both of them comes as they shed their bedroom hang-ups and try to re-ignite the spark that caused them to fall for each other in the first place.
Director: David Frankel
Starring: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell
Trailer: Trailer "Hope Springs"
Comment: I always liked Meryl Streep for her viariety of roles.

Peace, Love and Misunderstanding
Description: Diane (Catherine Keener) is a conservative New York City lawyer who is in desperate need of an escape after her husband asks for a divorce. Along with her two children (Elizabeth Olsen and Nat Wolff), she takes refuge at her estranged hippie mother Grace's (Jane Fonda) farmhouse, where she is exposed to a motley crew of free thinkers. What was meant to be a stress-free getaway quickly turns into a reminder of why Diane escaped her mother's hippie lifestyle in the first place, but the reunion forcers her, her children, and Grace to search for peace with each other and with themselves.
Director: Bruce Beresford
Starring: Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chace Crawford, Elizabeth Olsen, Nat Wolff
Trailer: Trailer "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding"

This is 40
Description: We follow Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) (from the movie "Knocked Up") as we see first-hand how they are dealing with their current state of life.
Director: Judd Apatow
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Megan Fox, John Lithgow, Jason Segel, Iris Apatow, Maude Apatow, Melissa McCarthy, Albert Brooks
Trailer: Trailer "This is 40"

zaterdag 28 april 2012

50 Books Challenge 2012 - # 18: In the Sea There are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda

Title: In the Sea There are Crocodiles
Author: Fabio Geda
Story: When ten-year-old Enaiatollah Akbari’s small village in Afghanistan falls prey to Taliban rule in early 2000, his mother shepherds the boy across the border into Pakistan but has to leave him there all alone to fend for himself. Thus begins Enaiat’s remarkable and often punish­ing five-year ordeal, which takes him through Iran, Turkey, and Greece before he seeks political asylum in Italy at the age of fifteen. Along the way, Enaiat endures the crippling physical and emotional agony of dangerous border crossings, trekking across bitterly cold mountain pathways for days on end or being stuffed into the false bottom of a truck. But not every­one is as resourceful, resilient, or lucky as Enaiat, and there are many heart-wrenching casualties along the way. .
Start: april 25th 2012
End: april 28th 2012
Comment: I didn't plan on reading this book in the month of april. It caught my eye after I saw the book I actually wanted to read wasn't available. I'm so glad that I got to read this novel. We follow the story of a young Afghan boy who is left at the border of Pakistan one night by his mother and tell of his journey around and through various European countries as he tries to find somewhere where he can settle and live without persecution and having to work and live in horrific conditions. Every chapter captures one of the countries he travelled through during his journey. You really hear Enaiatollah's voice, it's told from his point of view. Sometimes there's even a short dialogue between Enaiatollah and writer Fabio Geda. I think it might bother some readers, as it breaks up the story a bit. I think this is a good book for older kids, from the age of twelve to eighteen. It would be an eye opener for them as it was for me. "In the Sea There are Crocodiles" is a small book with a big story, which was both chilling and heartwarming.
Rating: 4,5/ 5

In My Mailbox (44)

A pretty good week. And I got some great cards.
The first card of this week came from Hongkong. Also the first card from this destination. It shows a delicious snack.

Sent on: april 9th 2012
Received on: april 23rd 2012
Distance: 9,292 km (5,774 miles)
Travel time: 4 days

Then a card from Moscos, Russia. A beautiful photo of Meryl Streep. My favorite of the week.

Sent on: april 12th 2012
Received on: april 24th 2012
Distance: 2,139 km (1,329 miles)
Travel time: 12 days

Another card from Russia, this time St. Petersburg. A ten year old girl sent me this one.

Sent on: january 2nd 2012
Received on: april 26th 2012
Distance: 1,800 km (1,118 miles)
Travel time: 115 days

I got a card from Taiwan. A really cute one with a puppy.

Sent on: april 11th 2012
Received on: april 26th 2012
Distance: 9,470 km (5,884 miles)
Travel time: 15 days

And finally a card from Bosnia-Herzegovina. My first card from this country. A nice landscape card, always welcome.

Sent on: april 22nd 2012
Received on: april 26th 2012
Distance: 1,097 km (682 miles)
Travel time: 4 days

Thanks Lilian, Natasha, Alina, Winnie and Sonja for the postcards.

donderdag 26 april 2012

Top 5 Thursday: "Harry Potter" Characters

I'm a huge fan of the Harry Potter books and movies. Even as an adult it's so great to read and experience the magical world of Harry and his friends. I made a top 5 of my favorite characters.

5. Hermione Granger
Hermione may start the films as an insufferable know-it-all, but she finishes them as an entirely sufferable, even loveable, know-it-all, someone who doesn't hide her smarts but also gives the people around her credit for intelligence as well.

4. Professor Minerva McGonagall
Second only to Dumbledore in providing a sense of security and refuge at Hogwarts, Professor McGonagall may appear the strict disciplinarian and dry old stick, but there's life in the old girl yet.

3. Neville Longbottom
Neville had a rocky, bullied start in life, suffering clumsiness and a spotty magical ability crippled by his own insecurities. However, he blossoms during his time at Hogwarts, winning Gryffindor the House cup in his first year, joining (and eventually leading) Dumbledore's Army, and becoming a rebel leader against the school authorities.

2. Sirius Black
In the absence of an actual father, Sirius Black is Harry's next best thing.Sirius is a wonderfully flawed character, combining an entitled arrogance and tendency to recklessness with an immense capacity for affection.

1. Ron Weasly
Ron is the heart of the trio. He provides the most laughs in the books and movies and you love him for it. But there's more to him than that. His relationship with Harry is not simply one of best friends but a complex mix of love and envy.

They almost made the top 5: Rubeus Hagrid, Dobby the House Elf, Ginny Weasly and Bellatrix Lestrange

dinsdag 24 april 2012

50 Books Challenge 2012 - # 17: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Title: In Cold Blood
Author: Trumand Capote
Story: On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy.
Start: april 17thth 2012
End: april 24th 2012
Comment: The violent murders of Herbert and Bonnie Clutter and their two youngest children: Nancy and Kenyon in 1959 became a media sensation as these violent crimes are wont to do. The first chapter of the book introduces you to the Clutters and we also meet the two men who later turn out to be the killers. The first part is the most interesting part. You get sucked into the story, get to know the family and their killers. It's a creepy idea when you're reading it, because you know they will die. The question is just when and how. The book is divided in four sections: The Last to See Them Alive, Persons Unknown, Answer, and The Corner. Very smart because this separation helped more in following the different events and stages of what happened: (before) the murder, the investigation, the answers, and the conviction. I started out so fast, I couldn't stop reading and I was totally captivated by the story. Somehow I couldn't stay in that mode, because some parts where really slow and long-winded. I admire the research behind this novel. Capote took initiative to get to know the murderers' story, as well as that of the Clutter/investigators and bystanders of the story. It was a good crime story, it didn't feel like a typical non-fiction book.
Rating: 3/ 5

maandag 23 april 2012

The Many Faces of... Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams is becoming more and more of a star. She got her fame through hit show "Dawson's Creek" and after that showed everyong how good of an actress she actually is. Here are some of her looks.
Face # 1: Halloween H20
Role: Molly Cartwell
Comment: A real schoolgirl.
Rating: 3,5/ 5

Face # 2: Dick
Role: Arlene Lorenzo
Comment: She was so young
Rating: 4/ 5

Face # 2: Brokeback Mountain
Role: Alma
Comment: She looks just as unhappy is her character is in this film.
Rating: 3/ 5

Face # 4: I'm Not There
Role: Coco Rivington
Comment: Sparkling!!
Rating: 4,5/ 5

Face # 5: Deception
Role: S
Comment: Long hair suits her well too.
Rating: 4,5/ 5

Face # 6: Wendy and Lucy
Role: Wendy
Comment: Dark hair... She's better as a blonde.
Rating: 2,5/ 5

Face # 7: Blue Valentine
Role: Cindy
Comment: I love this look.
Rating: 5/ 5

Face # 8: Shutter Island
Role: Dolores
Comment: Very pretty. Just sad that her role is so disturbing.
Rating: 4/ 5

Face # 9: Meek's Cutoff
Role: Emily Tetherow
Comment: Cute hat.
Rating: 3/ 5

Face # 10: My Week with Marilyn
Role: Marilyn Monroe
Comment: The perfect actress to play Marilyn Monroe.
Rating: 5/ 5

Face #11: Take This Waltz
Role: Margot
Comment: Michelle as a red head, not so bad!
Rating: 3,5/ 5

zondag 22 april 2012

Movie Trailer Sunday (34)

This weeks trailers are about two sisters, a woman named Virginia, stripper men, a young novelist and high school.

Your Sister's Sister
Description: Jack (Mark Duplass) is still reeling from his brother's death a year earlier. His close friend Iris (Emily Blunt), who happens to also be the ex of Jack's brother, ships him off to her family's remote vacation home so he can be alone to get himself back together. Jack unexpectedly finds Iris' sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) there for similar purposes, and the two quickly get to know each other over an evening of tequila. When Iris arrives unannounced the next morning, it sets off a chain reaction of revelations and shifting dynamics.
Director: Lynn Shelton
Starring: Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, Rosemarie DeWitt
Trailer: Trailer "Your Sister's Sister"

Description: Virginia (Jennifer Connelly) is a beautiful yet unhinged single mother who struggles to raise her son Emmett (Harrison Gilbertson) while dreaming of escaping her small Southern boardwalk town. Her long time affair with the very married, Mormon Sheriff Richard Tipton (Ed Harris) is thrown into question when he decides to run for public office. Things are further complicated when Emmett begins a romantic relationship with Tipton's daughter (Emma Roberts).
Director: Dustin Lance Black
Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Emma Roberts, Harrison Gilbertson
Trailer: Trailer "Virginia"
Comment: Jennifer Connelly looks amazing. It was about time she got a leading role again.

Magic Mike
Description: We follow Mike (Channing Tatum) as he takes a young dancer called The Kid (Pettyfer) under his wing and schools him in the fine arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn
Trailer: Trailer "Magic Mike"
Comment: It looks a bit stupid, but Channing Tatum taking his shirt off is a good reason for watching this movie.

Ruby Sparks
Description: Calvin (Paul Dano) is a young novelist who achieved phenomenal success early in his career but is now struggling with his writing - as well as his romantic life. Finally, he makes a breakthrough and creates a character named Ruby who inspires him. When Calvin finds Ruby (Zoe Kazan), in the flesh, sitting on his couch about a week later, he is completely flabbergasted that his words have turned into a living, breathing person.
Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Starring: Paul Dano, Antonio Banderas, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan, Elliott Gould, Chris Messina
Trailer: Trailer "Ruby Sparks"
Comment: Looks a bit like "Stranger Than Fiction" and I loved that. So this looked very good.

High School
Description: It's the end of the school year, and smarmy Principal Gordon (Michael Chiklis) has suddenly instituted a zero-tolerance crusade against his nemesis, the reviled marijuana. A mandatory drug test for all students is to be administered, failure of which will result in immediate expulsion. With his college scholarship hanging in the balance, valedictorian Henry Burke teams up a charismatic pothead to do the only thing they can think of to neutralize this threat - get the entire student body stoned.
Director: John Stalberg Jr.
Starring: Adrien Brody, Colin Hanks, Michael Chiklis, Mykelti Williamson, Sean Marquette
Trailer: Trailer "High School"

zaterdag 21 april 2012

In My Mailbox (43)

Only two cards this week. The first one came from Germany. On the card yo can read a German poem, it's a childrens poem.

Sent on: april 15th 2012
Received on: april 18th 2012
Distance: 357 km (222 miles)
Travel time: 3 days

The other card I got this week came from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A nice skyline of the city by night.

Sent on: april 13th 2012
Received on: april 18th 2012
Distance: 10,128 km (6,293 miles)
Travel time: 6 days

Thanks Karolina and Shurbani for the cards. I hope next week I will receive a little more over 2 cards.

donderdag 19 april 2012

Top 5 Thursday: “Sons of Anarchy” Season 1 Episodes

I recently started re-watching “Sons of Anarchy”, because we still have to wait for season 5. So far season 4 is the best season, I’m currently watching season 3, but I’m going to dedicate this top 5 to the very beginning of the show. Here are my favorite episodes from season 1.

5. Episode 13 – Old Bones
Three skeletons are found. Clay tells the crew they where Mayans and they need to stop the cops from identifying the bodies. What they don’t know is that one of the bodies belongs to Lowell Harland Sr., a former mechanic at Teller-Morrow Automotive Repair, who Clay killed because he was a ‘rat junkie’ (his words). Jax later finds out. He also finds out about Agent Kohn and why he’s actually in Charming. Chibs trains Half Sack for a boxing match he needs to win for a lot of money.

4. Episode 12 – The Sleep of Babies
Because ATF agent Stahl is following Opie, Clay and Tig think Opie has turned on them. Opie doesn’t know that Stahl bugged his car and phone. Clay and Tig plan a hit on Opie. The first time Tig has a clear shot at Opie, but he can’t shoot him because he just saved Tig’s life. After Abel’s homecoming party Tig follows Opie. When Unser tells Clay that Opie wasn’t working with Stahl, Clay tries to call Tig. Too late, he’s already on his way to Opie. When he fires shots at Opie’s truck, he sees he accidentally shot Opie’s wife Donna. When Opie finds Donna dead, it’s heartbreaking.

3. Episode 5 – Giving Back
Gemma organizes a fundraiser. She is approached by the wife of former member Kyle Hobart, the guy that got Opie in jail. She wants Kyle to attend the fund raiser, for their kids. At first the club is okay with it, but when they see he still has the ink they decide to take action. Clay gives Kyle a choice: knife or fire. He chooses fire and they burn off his tattoo.

2. Episode 8 - The Pull
The Sons intend to meet Michael McKeavy but instead meet Cameron Hayes, who later turns out to play an important part in season 2 and the beginning of season 3. They end up in a gunfight, with Hayes being hit. Chibs and Juice try to patch him up, with the help of Tara. When Tara goes home, Agent Kohn is waiting for her. He shoots him and she calls Jax. He kills Kohn and gets rid of the body.

1. Episode 3 – Fun Town
In this episode the club is trying to find the rapist of a young girl, the daughter of Elliot Oswald. Clay and his guys helping Oswald is actually a very important happening in the show, because he later mentions Oswald owing them something. Oh, and that scene with Juice in the diaper is just hilarious and unforgettable.

They almost made the top 5: Episode 1 – Pilot, Episode 10 – Better Half, Episode 9 – Hell Followed, Episode 13 – The Revelator

dinsdag 17 april 2012

Pic Spam: Maggie Siff

I'm currently rewatching all the seasons of "Sons of Anarchy". I decided to dedicate this pic spam to the most beautiful woman on the show: Maggie Siff, who plays Dr. Tara Knowles. Here are some of her best photos.