Monday, December 31, 2012

... on New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve Fireworks 2012
source

Happy New Year!

The picture shows the giant ferris wheel and the people attending the famous Silvesterpfad in Vienna on New Year's Eve 2011.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

...in pictures

The topic for the last Photochallenge picture is:
Christmas 
(what else?)

our Christmas tree

and my favorite ornament - a gift from my parents

Friday, December 28, 2012

...in books

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

It's time again for a Bout of Books Read-a-Thon!
It will run from January 7th to January 13th. For more details check Bout of Books Homepage. You can sign up here and check the schedule here

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 6.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. 
From the Bout of Books 6.0 team

I am really looking forward to it and hope to manage to read some books and have lovely Twitter conversations with all the other participants. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

...Blogmas

Here I am again to do a little Blogmas Wrap-Up. I had so much fun writing and uploading a post each day from December 1st until the 24th. I received lovely comments and amazing feedback and highly enjoyed having a countdown to Christmas on the blog.

To sum Blogmas up, I created a list with all the links to the individual posts.

Day 1: How to make a Bookish Advent Calendar

Day 2:
Gift Guide: Awesome YA Books


Day 3:
Some Wonderful Christmas CDs


Day 4:
Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me   


Day 5:
Gift Guide : Delicious Cookbooks


Day 6:
Many Christmas Themes Books


Day 7:
Photochallenge: Red & Green


Day 8:
Gift Guide: Romantic Comedies


Day 9:
Review: Meet me at the Cupcake Café


Day 10:
Gift Guide: Mystery Novels


Day 11:
Top Ten
Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012


Day 12:
Gift Guide: Films


Day 13:
Review: Dash & Lily's Bood of Dares


Day 14:
Photochallenge: Winter


Day 15:
Christmas Movies


Day 16:
Recipe: Baked Apples


Day 17:
Review: The Land of Stories


Day 18:
Top Ten Books I read in 2012


Day 19: Review: The Big Over Easy

Day 20:
Photochallenge: Winter Pic


Day 21:
Photochallenge: Christmas


Day 22:
Recipe: Rum Truffles


Day 23:
Showcase Sunday


Day 24:
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

...Blogmas


Welcome to Blogmas!

Every day from December the first until Christmas Eve I will accompany with one Christmas related post, giving you gift ideas, tips, recipes, etc. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy Coming up with posts and writing them. 
Day 24

Merry Christmas! 
May your days be filled with joy and 
spend with your loved ones!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

...Blogmas

Welcome to Blogmas!
Every day from December the first until Christmas Eve I will accompany with one Christmas related post, giving you gift ideas, tips, recipes, etc. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy Coming up with posts and writing them. 
 
Day 23
 
I know that today's post is a bit late but I was out celebrating Christmas with my friends yesterday evening and forgot to write a blogpost before that. But better late than never, right?
 
 
Showcase Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits & Tea which was inspired by In My Mailbox from Kristie at The Story Siren.
It is a possibility for us to show what amazing books we got during the week. 

I got a wonderful book from a wonderful friend yesterday evening. Usually my friends are not brave enough to give me books as presents but yesterday I got one. 
German version
English version
 Ever since Jacob Reckless was a child, he has been escaping to a hidden world through a portal in his father's abandoned study. Over the years, he has made a name for himself as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. He's also made many enemies and allies--most important, Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting vixen whom Jacob cares for more than he lets on.
But life in this other world is about to change. Tragedy strikes when Jacob's younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal. Brutally attacked, Will is infected with a curse that is quickly transforming him into a Goyl--a ruthless killing machine, with skin made of stone.
Jacob is prepared to fight to save his brother, but in a land built on trickery and lies, Jacob will need all the wit, courage, and reckless spirit he can summon to reverse the dark spell--before it's too late.
source: Goodreads

Saturday, December 22, 2012

...Blogmas



Welcome to Blogmas!

Every day from December the first until Christmas Eve I will accompany with one Christmas related post, giving you gift ideas, tips, recipes, etc. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy Coming up with posts and writing them. 
 
Day 22

Recipe: Rum Truffles
 
My grandma published a cookbook way back in 1983 where she gathered many recipes typical for Lower Austria (one of the nine different areas in Austria). Each and every member in our family has a copy of this cookbook and it is where today's recipe for rum truffles is from. 

What you'll need:


100 grams of coconut oil
150 grams of icing sugar
40 grams of cocoa powder
40 grams of ground coconut (you can use ground nuts too)
30 grams of flour 
1 tsp. of rum

Melt the coconut oil in a pot or the microwave, combine all the ingreditents and mix well. 
Form the dough into a ball and put it in the fridge to cool down. 


When the dough has cool down, form little truffles out of it, roll them in the decoration of your choice (I used ground coconut) and put them into small paper cups (like the ones used for muffins but smaller). 


Put them back into the fridge and let them chill for a bit longer

Enjoy!
 

Friday, December 21, 2012

...Blogmas





Welcome to Blogmas!
Every day from December the first until Christmas Eve I will accompany with one Christmas related post, giving you gift ideas, tips, recipes, etc. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy Coming up with posts and writing them. 
Day 21
 Next week's topic will be:
Christmas / Weihnachten

Please link you post to mine in time.
Submission period is between the 21st and the 29
th of December.
(11:59 pm CET)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

...Blogmas


Welcome to Blogmas!
Every day from December the first until Christmas Eve I will accompany with one Christmas related post, giving you gift ideas, tips, recipes, etc. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy Coming up with posts and writing them.
Day 20
 
Last week's Photochallenge topic was 
Winter
and here is my picture.
We had some snow last week here in Vienna but sadly it's all gone now due to the usual thaw around Christmas. It's quite warm here at the moment but the last days there was a steady drizzle falling from the fog. Not nice! Today is better though.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

...Blogmas


Welcome to Blogmas!
Every day from December the first until Christmas Eve I will accompany with one Christmas related post, giving you gift ideas, tips, recipes, etc. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy Coming up with posts and writing them.
Day 19 
 
Review
The Big Over Easy
by Jasper Fforde
  
First sentences:
It was the week following Easter in Reading and no one could remember the last sunny day.

Summary:
In The Big Over Easy, Fforde takes a break from classic literature and tumbles into the seedy underbelly of nursery crime. Meet Inspector Jack Spratt, family man and head of the Nursery Crime Division. He’s investigating the murder of ovoid D-class nursery celebrity Humpty Dumpty, found shattered to death beneath a wall in a shabby area of town. Yes, the big egg is down, and all those brittle pieces sitting in the morgue point to foul play.
source: Goodreads

My opinion: 
The Big Over Easy is the first book in The Nursery Crime series and it is a typical Jasper Fforde book – super funny, entertaining and a bit weird.

I always need a bit of time (about 30 pages) until I am fully in my, what I call, “surreal books reading phase”. Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde are the two authors where I need to get into the right mood to read the books. The Big Over Easy was everything I hoped for and a lot more.

The book mainly tells the story of the Nursery Crime Division of the Reading police department and their current case which in this book was the murder of Mr. Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III. I love reading mysteries (nothing cruel just the light ones) and I try to guess who was the murderer but there was no way to solve this particular mystery. We as readers always follow DI Jack Spratt and his new DS Mary Mary.

Both main characters are well portrayed and especially Jack is a highly amusing character. For me he was the perfect DI for the Nursery Crime Division. He is loyal to his team, always tries to safe the NCD from being cut but he has flaws too. His biggest must be that he killed four giants-well, only one; the other ones were just tall. Mary Mary is the new Sergeant in Reading and she hopes to be part of the team from famous Friedland Chimes but is partnered with Jack which annoys her tremendously. Still she does her best work and learns to love the NCD and the team working there.

If you like Terry Pratchett’s books you will like this one too. You cannot compare the two worlds or writing styles but from the level of absurdity (which should not be understood as bad) they are pretty similar.

The Books in the Nursery Crimes Adventures are:
  • The Big Over Easy
  • The Fourth Bear
For more information about Jasper Fforde visit his Homepage, his Facebook and Twitter pages.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

...Blogmas


Welcome to Blogmas!
Every day from December the first until Christmas Eve I will accompany with one Christmas related post, giving you gift ideas, tips, recipes, etc. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy Coming up with posts and writing them.

Day 18
 
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.
This week the girls at The Broke and Bookish want to know my:
Top Ten Books I Read In 2012

I read so many really fantastic books this year and it was a lot harder than I thought narrowing it down to the best 10. I’m pretty sure I could have managed a list of my Top 20 Books. 

Here are my Top 10, in no particular order:

Cassandra Clare - City of Bones

Shannon Stacey - Exclusively yours

Jill Shalvis - Simply Irresistible 

Sophie Kinsella - I've got your number 
(read my review)

Amy Plum - Die for me
(read my review)

Morgan Matson - Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
(read my review)

Darien Gee - Friendship Bread 
(read my review)

Kady Cross - The Girl in the Steel Corset
(read my review)

Lindsey Kelk - I heart New York
(read my review)

Ali McNamara - From Notting Hill to New York...Actually 
(read my review)

Monday, December 17, 2012

...Blogmas

 
Day 17

 
Welcome to Blogmas!
Every day from December the first until Christmas Eve I will accompany with one Christmas related post, giving you gift ideas, tips, recipes, etc. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy Coming up with posts and writing them. 

Review
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
by Chris Colfer

First sentences:
The dungeon was a miserable place.

Summary:
Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.
"The Land of Stories" tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
source: Goodreads
 
My opinion:
Through all my bookish Twitter friends I was able to second hand experience this year’s Book Expo America (BEA) that took place in New York City at the beginning of June. Via Live-Stream I saw a panel with Chris Colfer in it and I was really puzzled. Why was an actor I knew from Glee on a book panel? So I watched it and discovered that he wrote a book called The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell.

In October I saw it on the shelf in my local bookstore and bought it. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was willing to give it a try. I flew through the book (438 pages) in just one and a half days where I did nothing besides reading and studying for an exam and I have to say that it was a light entertaining read.

The book deals with a totally new take on fairy tales, fairy tale characters and the land all of them live in. Connor and Alex fall into the Land of Stories via their father’s old fairy tale book and to get home again they have to collect items for a wishing spell. During their treasure hunt they encounter many fairy tale characters and adventures.

The characters are really lovely and all the different fairy tale characters are hilarious. Red Riding Hood, for example, is queen of the Red Riding Hood Kingdom and she is the only elected queen in the whole country. Unfortunately she behaves like such a spoilt and arrogant brat that no other fairy tale princess wants to invite her to their meetings.

The story itself is entertaining and you always want to know who it continues. I had a hard time stopping and had to force myself sometimes to put the book down to go study. The illustrations by Brandon Dorman are so beautiful and reminded me a lot of those typical fairy tale books.

I would categorize it as a middle grade book but definitely suitable for all ages. If you are looking for a quick and entertaining book filled with a wonderful story than I can recommend it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

...Blogmas

 
Day 16

 
Welcome to Blogmas!
Every day from December the first until Christmas Eve I will accompany with one Christmas related post, giving you gift ideas, tips, recipes, etc. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy Coming up with posts and writing them. 


Recipe: Baked Apples

Let me tell you a little secret – I don’t like fruit, except for berries and peaches but I like baked apples during winter. When I was little the Sundays during Advent were always really special. We would light a candle on our Advent wreath, sing Christmas songs (dad plays the guitar) and have either tea and cookies or baked apples. So they are part of my holiday season tradition.
They are really easy to make, can be prepared in advance and are so yummy!

What you’ll need: 

Don't use overly sweet and juicy apples. They will only dissolve into juice in the oven.

Chop the nuts and dried cranberries until they are as big as the raisins and mix raisins, nuts and cranberries with jelly of your choice (I used elder). Remove the apple core from the apple, drop a knob of butter through the hole and fill it the raisins, nuts, cranberries and jelly. 


Put some butter on top and pop it into a hot oven at 200°C / 393°F for 30 to 45 minutes (until the apple is soft). Put it on a plate, wait for approximately 5 minutes to let it cool a bit – it will still be extremely hot – and serve it with a generous amount of ice cream. 


Flavors that go really well with the baked apples are Vanilla (or any kind of Vanilla variation – we had vanilla eggnog) and Walnut. 

I hope you’ll enjoy your baked apples and tell me in the comments if there is something (to eat) that you need to get into a Christmassy mood.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

...Blogmas



 
Day 15

Welcome to Blogmas!

Every day from December the first until Christmas Eve I will accompany with one Christmas related post, giving you gift ideas, tips, recipes, etc. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy Coming up with posts and writing them. 


Christmas Films

Christmas time is the time for snuggling up on the couch with tea and Christmas cookies either reading a lovely Christmas novel (check out my recommendations) or watching a Christmassy movie. The following four are my favorites. 

The Holiday
starring: Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black
The Holiday is a wonderful comedy telling the story of Iris, an English journalist, and Amanda, a movie producer from sunny Los Angeles. Both women got their heart broken (one more, one less) and decide to swap houses. While Amanda struggles with the English winter and Iris’ brother, Iris enjoys her time in LA tremendously.
The Holiday is a funny feel-good movie and Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz are absolutely fabulous in it.

Love…Actually
starring: a huge amount of fabulous actors, like Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth
Who doesn’t know Love…Actually, the first of many movies with multiple storylines linked with each other. The has to be the number 1 Christmas movie! Hugh Grant as the British Prime Minister, Emma Thompson as a mother of two and wife of Alan Rickman, who clearly has no idea how lucky he is the have her and many more.
If you haven’t seen this movie (this year) go and watch it – it is the best way to get into holiday spirit.

While you were sleeping
starring: Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullmann
While you were sleeping is one of my absolutely favorite movies, filled with lovely characters, funny lines and the mentioning of Florence. Sandra Bullock plays Lucy a subway worker and saves the life of her secret love one day. In the hospital a nurse mistakes her for his fiancé and allows her to visit him. His family immediately includes her into the family and showers her with love so that she can’t force herself to tell them that there was a mistake. Jack, the victim’s brother, can’t be so easily fooled and tries to find out if she is lying.
The interactions between Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman are just hilarious and Joe Jr. the landlord’s son might be the best character in this whole movie. If you are looking for an entertaining and wonderful Christmassy movie, than pick this one up.

New Year’s Eve
starring: Jessica Biel, Lea Michelle, Ashton Kutcher, Robert DeNiro and many more
Okay, New Year’s Eve isn’t a Christmas movie but it still deals with the holiday season. We follow many characters around New York City on New Year’s Eve looking for love, forgiveness or for a way to tackle their list of resolutions before the ball drops.
New Year’s Eve would be a wonderful movie to watch on the 31st of December or any time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It is a wonderful mixture of stories and funny episodes but be warned: At one point I cried like crazy but still this movie is worth watching.  


my favorite scene from Love..Actually

Friday, December 14, 2012

...Blogmas

 
Day 14
Welcome to Blogmas!

Every day from December the first until Christmas Eve I will accompany with one Christmas related post, giving you gift ideas, tips, recipes, etc. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy Coming up with posts and writing them. 
 Next week's topic will be:
Winter 
Please link you post to mine in time. 
Submission period is between the 14th and the 22nd of December
(11:59 pm CET).  

Last week's topic was:
Red and Green
and this is my picture:
my wonderful Advent Calendar with a red poinsettia