Tuesday, October 31, 2017

📖 Novel of the Week [Halloween Edition]: Heads Will Roll by Joanie Chevalier

Imagine not loving your body, whether it's because it doesn't reach your beauty standards or because you're on a weelchair. Well, Doctor Stefan Frankis can (or at least thinks he can) give you what you want: a new body, literally, but not with exhausting and endless hours in the gym or with liposuction...
Kaneko, a teenage girl from Tokyo, would do anything to please her parents: she's not thin as most of her schoolmates and her mother is one of those women who seek for perfection in every aspects of their lives, so Kaneko's father, Aiko, finds out a way to give her wife what she want...so maybe she'll stop being a pain in the a** and will start treat him with respect.
Barry Thompson, from Oakland, is forced on a weelchair by muscular dystrophy and is desperate for a new body, a new life.
Jim, Joey and Brett are brothers who struggle to keep the family business (funeral agency) running so when Jim hears that a company pays good money for corps he doesn't think twice, but tries to keep his brothers unaware.

By accident, Barry's and the brothers paths cross and they'll find themselves in a situation bigger than what they initially thought: Doctor Frankis wants to be famous and worldwide renowned as the first dead transplant surgeon, but his patients keep dying, so he has to performe the surgeries in a safe warehouse, provided by influential people of politics and mafia, until one of his "guinea pigs" will survive the procedure...

👍👎My Thoughts
At first I thought the novel would be something similar to scifi movies like "Criminal" (where memories are moved from a brain to another) or "Transcendence" (Jhonny Deep's mind is relocated in a computer) but this is not the case: the story focuses on the reasons that move the characters: greed, vanity, desperateness or wanting to please someone at all costs.

The cover may suggests that the story is creepy and weird, but (even if the medical procedure is surely questionable) it's not as horror as I thought, but it gives you goosebumps reading some parts.

This is not my usual "cup of tea", when I think of sci-fi genre I think about future centuries, but setting the whole story nowadays gives the story credibility and allows the reader to dive completely in it. The only plot decision I didn't like was the introductions of new characters half way of the book, I belive the author could have done an equally good job with the characters already in it.

My vote: 7/10

Photo credits: goodread.com

Sunday, October 29, 2017

🍀[Irish Week 2.0] An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi

This 2012 novel closes this year Irish Week. I really hope you all enjoyed it. The movies reviews and this book's review are linked by a common theme: Northern Ireland.
12846577Risultati immagini per quando eravamo foglie nel vento
English book cover & Italian book cover
Clare Moorhouse is going to have a busy and challenging day: in less than 24 hours she has to organize the perfect dinner that will help Edward, her husband, to obtain the British ambassador position in Ireland.
Claire was born and raised in America, but her last name ( Fennelly) is Irish and so you'd exoect her to be thrilled and overjoyed to finally go to her origin's country...yet Claire is petrified by fear!

When she was just a Radcliffe college student in Cambridge, Connecticut she met Niall, an Irish young boy whom she fell in love with. He was charming and mysterious, treated her differently and so she let him convince her to travel to Dublin for an important 'mission'...after that, she has never seen him again.

Claire has hidden the episode for nealy 20 years, but now the past started to hunt her once more...
While trying to keep the past where it belongs and dealing with his uproarious younger son Jaime, Claire has a dinner to prepare: her husband worked really hard to gain that position, so it's imperative that the evening runs smoothly.

My Thoughts👍👎
The story develops between Claire's present in Paris with her husband and her past in America with Niall. Even if Ireland is just mentioned most of the times, the Emerald isle is the real protagonist of the story.
Story that sometimes could be a bit confusiong, hopping from past to present without you even realizing it, but overall I ejoyed reading it. 
The writing style is simple, clear and it's a jump in the Europe post 9/11, I reccomend it to those who like novels about introspection and past's mistakes that come back to hunt us.
My vote: 7½/10

Photo credits: goodreads.com & ibs.it

Saturday, October 28, 2017

🍀[Irish Week 2.0] 12 Celebrities you didn't know were Irish

There are people that strike you immediately as Irish or their nationality is mentioned so often you remember that better than their name...and, let's be honest, Irish names could be difficult to pronounce! (Yes, Saoirse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson, I'm talking about you!). 

Other people worked so much in the US, or maybe their nationality wasn't your priority, that you mistook them for Americans or English...
Here's a list of actors and actresses who are Irish...there's even one you'd have NEVER THOUGHT was Irish! 

Fiona ShawBorn in Co.Cork, you all will probably remember her for the role of Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter films and Marnie Stonebrook in season four of True Blood
Evanna Lynch - Harry Potter alumn as well, she portrayed Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, the actress was born in Co.Louth. 
 Photo credits: HERE & HERE

Amybeth McNulty - her bright red hair and her surname maybe worked as clues...The young Anne with an "E" actress was born in Co.Donegal
Ruth Negga - now this is an Irish actress no one expected! Oscar nominee actress was born in Ethiopia, from Irish mother and Ethiopian father. She moved to Ireland when her father died (she was 7 years old) and lived there ever since. She is naturalized Irish.
Photo credits: HERE & HERE

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers - this is one of those actors that when they says he's Irish, you think 'Oh, right, I knew that'. That's because we've seen him in so many US/British movies and TV series (he was King Henry VIII of England in The Tudors), Jonathan was born in Dublin and he's fame comes from his troubled private life (like fellow Irish actor Colin Farrell)
Robert Sheehan - the young actor was born in Co.Laois and in his resume you can find The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (he was Simon Lewis) 
 Photo credits: HERE & HERE

Cillian Murphy - famous his Scarecrow in Batman Begins and his portray of a transgender woman in Breakfast on Pluto. Born in Co.Cork, he now lives in Co.Dublin. You may have seen him in Peaky Blinders and Dunkirk. (my review HERE)
Brendan Gleeson - he was my personal favourite in the Harry Potter saga (he played professor Alastor Moody), but the Irish actor has tons of blockbuster movies in his resume:  BraveheartMission: Impossible 2Gangs of New York, Edge of Tomorrow and Assassin's Creed combined to leading roles in films such as In Bruges and Hampstead
Photo credits: HERE & HERE

Liam Cunningham - worldwide know for his role as Davos Seaworth in Game of Thrones, when I first saw this Dubliner I immediately thought "God, that's  Jean Reno's twin brother!"
Aidan Gillenanother well known Game of  Thrones actor, he was born in Dublin, but now lived in Dingle with his family. 
Photo credits: HERE & HERE

Pierce Brosnan - I couldn't belive that my very first James Bond isn't actually Birtish! Born and raised in Co.Louth, Pierce Brosnan is now naturalized American.
Aidan Turner - I liked it since I first saw him playing the elf Kíli in The Hobbit, when I found out he was Irish I thought that was a sign...of what? Still don't know! Anyway this Dubliner is also known for his leading role as Ross Poldark in the same name TV series.
Photo credits: HERE & HERE

If you liked this kind of post, be sure to check last year post - 

Photo credits: xxxxxx

Friday, October 27, 2017

🍀[Irish Week 2.0] Movie Review: Hunger

Hunger Movie Poster
Northern Ireland - 1981
The movies shows two point of view: how's life for detainees and warders. 
Everyday is a fight for power inside the prison and violence is a costant. Tension between the parts is palpable and there are brutal repercussions for any outrage to the prison's rules or guards order.

It all starts with the arrest and consequent imprisonment of Davey Gillian, a suspect IRA member and the IRA wing of the jail is where he's going to go. There he meets Bobby Sands, well known member of the organization, charismatic figure and leader insiede Long Kesh's walls.
Bobby Sands in Hunger
Sands fights for status recognition of "political prisoners" for IRA members and when both the blanket protest and dirty protest fail, he organizes the ultimate kind of remostrance: an hunger strike.
Bobby talks about this with father Dominic Moran (with an incredible 15 minutes monologue) and it shows how much he cares about the cause.
Immagine correlata
The final part of the movie is about Sands sufferings to the strike's consequences, that will lead him to the prison hospital (where he still refused to eat) to his death. 9 other members died for the strike before the prisoners requested were accepted by the British government, beside the political prisoners status.

My Opinion👍👎
The movie is dark, cruel and cruent and will leave a weight on your chests (not that I expected something different, given the topic).
Actors could be used as example in movie encyclopedies, they we able to portray feelings and ideals from both sides and the historical reconstructions are accurate and well-documented. Steve McQueen doesn’t take sides nor he portrays the story from only one point of view, but he also doesn’t take back when he has to show cruent and violent scenes, so this is not a movie for every taste or for those who are easily impressionable.
It's hard to just sit and watch a movie like this and not wondering how it was possible that events like this happened only 30 years ago!

This is the first Michael Fassbender/Steve McQueen collaboration movie that I've seen

Would I pay the full prize ticket? yes! Even if it's disturbing in its cruelty, it helps to understand better modern conflicts and the reasons they started!

Raking: 4

Photo credits: impawards.com & tasteofcinema.com

Thursday, October 26, 2017

🍀[Irish Week 2.0] What to do in Ireland: visit a Library in a Church

Just a 10 minute bus ride separate Oranmore from Galway and, even if it's a very small center, you should definitely pay a visit!
Beside Oranmore Castle (right in Oranmore's centre) and Rinville Park (5 minute by car), one of the particularities of the town is its Library.
What could make a small town library so interesting, you ask? Well, is the fact that it is a deconsecrated church a good enough reason? 
Because Oranmore Library not only used to be a church, but it still inside a cemetery! It may look like a wierd thing and the fact that in Ireland it rains the majority of the time could give to the place a dark and disturbing vibe, but...it's the opposite!
The place is always crowded with children and people going in and out, the librarians and their assistents are welcoming and always smiling so the feeling you'll have won't be of a cold and death place!
If you like unconventional spots and are in the Galway area, go check Oranmore...there're cute little cafès and pubs (of course!) for all tastes. And after that go for a walk to Rinville Park! When there you can relax and enjoy a magnificent view of the bay!

I hope I intrigued you!

All photos were taken by me!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

🍀[Irish Week 2.0] Movie Review: The Journey

Time for a bit of historical contest here! 
Northern Ireland conflict is the name for a series of riots that took place in Northern Ireland between the end of the 60s and the end of the 90s. Since Northern Irland was (is) part of the UK, the ufficial religion was the Protestantism while the Catholic minority was discriminated. That (and the fact that Catholics were unable to win political election) was the spark that lightened the riots. From peaceful demonstrations to real act of terrorism and England’s iron fist, this conflict spread throughout 3 decades.
The movie I’m about to review is the fictionalized story of 2006 real peace talks between Sinn Fein (independent movement) leader Martin McGuiness and Democratic Party leader Ian Paisley, that were forced to travel by car together to reach Edinburgh airport.

Ian Paisley is with his staff in St.Andrews, Scotland, and so is his polical opponent Martin McGuiness. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Ireland’s Premier Bertie Ahern are there as well. 
In the movie, these talks don't even happen because Ian Paisley has to leave in order to catch a flight back to Belfast, where he will celebrate his 50 years of marriage's party. Martin McGuinnes (former IRA leader) doesn't want to be played like a fool and joind Paisley in the car ride to the airport. Jack is their driver, which happens to be more than a simple chauffeur: he's an under cover British agent, constantly in contact with his direct superior and Blair.
Immagine correlata
At the beginning Paisley is visibly irritated and hardly acknowledges McGuiness presence, but that doesn’t stop chatty Martin to speak his mind, whether it’s about nonsense or his political opinions and hopes. Paisley starts to talk to him, but he’s not very reasonable and keeps on refering to McGuiness as a terrorists and even mocks him when he wants to make amends for the wrongs he has done. Both of them are intelligent men and their argumentations show the love for their people, so in the end, they find a way to get “along”…or at least, to avoid to get on each other’s throat!
Immagine correlata

My Opinion👍👎
Actors here have no option rather then being fascinating and charismatic, not only because the characters they're portaying were so in real life, but mainly because 85% of the set consists in closed spaces (in this case, the car's interiors). Honestly, I found useless John Hurt's speeches to the driver: they should have made Jack understand the historical importance of that journey, yet they added nothing if not minutes to the movie.
Said this, I liked this movie. The aerial shots were few, but suggestive and Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney were the perfect cast choices. It's hard to say how much is fiction and how much is real facts, but the spectator can sense the tensions between the political parts and common dislike between both the politicians.

Would I pay the full prize ticket? Full prize? Not 100% sure. Discount one? Totally worth it!

Raking: 3

Related Movies:

In the Name of the Father (1993) with Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Pete Postlethwaite and John Lynch.
Michael Collins (1996) with Liam Neeson, Julia Roberts, Aidan Quinn, Ian Hart, Brendan Gleeson and Alan Rickman.
Bloody Sunday (2002) with James Nesbitt, Allan Gildea, Gerard Crossan and Mary Moulds.
Hunger (2008) with Micheal Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, Stuart Graham and Brian Milligan.
'71 (2014) with Jack O'Connell, Valene Kane, David Wilmot and Sam Reid.

Photo credits: impawards.com, mymovies.it & ilgiornale.it

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

🍀[Irish Week 2.0] Where to go in Ireland: Cuilcagh Mountain

Do you remeber my 'Stairway to Heaven' post, a couple of weeks ago? I wrote that Ireland had something similar...well, here it is! 
Risultati immagini
This place is Cuilcagh Mountaina mountain right on the border between County Fermanagh (Northern Ireland) and County Cavan (Republic of Ireland). If you're a Pinterest addicted (like me) then you've probably already seen this woodden boardwalk on a few "must do" lists of things interesting to do/see in both countries.

The Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail has been built to protect the soil and vegetation from erosion caused by walkers, its length is of 1.6 km (more or less like the Champs-Élysées in Paris or Via del Corso in Rome) and has 450 steps. The panorama all around it is breath taking, with an amazing view on Lough Atona, a lake based at the foot of the mountain. Usually the trail isn't crowed, so the hikers can relax during the walk. 
Immagine correlata
In 2001 the mountain and the surrounding territories were recognized as one of UNESCO first European Geoparks and Global Geopark in 2004. It appears to be a trail that requires a good physical preparation, since it is 665 metres above see level and one of the highest point in both counties.

Have you ever been here or is it now on your travel wish list?

Photo credits: lougherneresort.com & eventbrite.co.uk

Monday, October 23, 2017

🍀[Irish Week 2.0] 4 Things you should know about Ed Sheeran's "Galway Girl"

Last year I hosted an entire week Irish themed and I wanted to repeat it this 2017 as well. There will be movies and books reviews, travel tips and a post to make you see how funny Irish people are!

Have a great Monday and enjoy this year's Irish week!

Ed Sheeran's "Galway Girl" has been one of the most played songs this past summer and I have to say I'm a fan! It has been #1 most played song on my iPod since it was released back in March!
Risultati immagini per galway girl ed sheeran
The videoclip was released 2 months later and I was obsessed with it...first of all, the rhythm is addictive, but what I liked the most was that it was showing off the beauties of Galway (even if it was shot during nightime, but hey! still looks gooood!).

Here's to you 4 curiosities about the video and the song, enjoy!

1) The girl portraying the "Galway Girl" of the title is Saorse Ronan. Born in New York, moved back to Ireland when she was 3 years old (first in Co.Carlow and then in a city in Co.Fingal). Now she lives in New York. She has been nominated twice for the Academy Awards: in 2008 as Best Supporting Actress in Atonement and in 2016 as Best Leading Actress in Brooklyn. You may also remember her performances in Hanna, Grand Budapest Hotel and The Host.

2) There actually is no bars in Grafton street in Galway, as some people pointed out on Twitter and forums...

The Parish Priest on boards.ie
"I'm trying to figure out where this Grafton Street in Galway is that Ed Sheeran met his Galway girl"

Hesh  (@laura_session) on Twitter
"@edsheeran ain't no bar in Grafton street son"

3) The overview at the end of the video is on Galway's famous docks, just in front of the Claddagh Quay, home of the well known Irish "Claddagh" ring.  
Immagine correlata
4) The Riverdance dancers, showed at some point inthe videoclip, have been choosen thanks to a viral video of themselves presenting their dance routine over Ed Sheeran' song "Shape of You"...watch it if you already haven't, they're really talented! The link HERE

That's it for today's post. I hope you liked it! 

Slán leat!

Photo credits: youtube.com, KiSS 92.5 & ebay.ca

Sunday, October 22, 2017

🎬 Movie Review: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Yemeni sheikh Muhammed has an unusual passion for salmon fishing, reason why he has a propriety in Scotland, where its rivers are inhabited by these fishes. He also loves his country and so he decides to import sport fishing in Yemen.
For the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office this is a great opportunity to improve relations between the UK and the Islamic world, so they do everything they can to make this project happen: they hire fisher expert Alfred Jones and, along with financial adviser Harriet Chetwode-Talbot, they have to plan the task in a financial and realistic perspective.
Alfred isn't thrilled like everybody else about this project: he thinks it's unachievable and, frankly, foolish, but has no option rather than accepting the job and working on it.
Alfred can be rude and uncompromising, while Harriet sees the project like an opportunity to do something great.
Risultati immagini per fishing salmon in yemen
The protagonists private lives are messy, to say the least: Harriet's boyfriend is a soldier and appears to be M.I.A. while Alfred's wife is a cold woman, focused only on her and her job. 
So, despite a certainly not idyllic start, they both will join forces to make salmon fishing in the Yemen a success they can be proud of.

My Opinion👍👎
The movie starts a bit slow and Alfred's obstructionism makes it difficult to fully appreciate it from the beginning. But after he's forced to join the project and begins to see how marvelous would it be if they actually can make it happen, the story gets a whole new vibe: it goes from grey and drizzly London to the beautiful and lush Scottish Highland's landscapes to hot and sandy Yemeni desert.
Sheikh Muhammed's character spreads mysticism and optimism, without losing sight on reality: he knows the project is challenging (to say at least) but he has faith in the people who work for him and in the final success.
Kristin Scott-Thomas is Prime Minister irreverent press secretary and sees political opportunities everywhere...you cannot dislike her!

Conclusions? This is a movie you'll want to see again, it warms your heart up!

Would I pay the full prize ticket? Yes, I would have payed the full prize, it is worth it!

Raking: 4

Photo credits: impawards.com & cinemattire.wordpress.com

Friday, October 20, 2017

👗Bianca Lawson vs Keleigh Sperry

For today's #WWIB we have two absolute newbies...or should I say three, because for the designer as well its first appearence here!
Actress Bianca Lawason wore this fantastic Alice+Olivia floral embroidered gown first, while at the 
Annual PaleyFest Fall TV Previews. She added nothing more, given the dress particularity: neutral make up and a loose hairstyle.
Nearly a month later, model Keleigh Sperry (Miles Teller's fiancée) wore the same gown at the 'Only The Brave' premiere. She opted for an high and messy bun and nude colored lipstik to complete the look.

Who do you think wore it better?
Bianca Lawson or Keleigh Sperry?

Photo credits: celebzz.com

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Professor Ladybug - Book Blast & Giveaway

Professor Ladybug Teaches Alphabet Animals Practicing the alphabet is fun when your child can do it learning about animals! This workbook contains over two hundred practice pages, easy-to-follow instructions, and lots of bonus games and activities. Educational exercises include:
  • Alphabet practice
  • Uppercase and lowercase letter recognition and practice
  • Simple drawing exercises that improve understanding
  • Essential writing practice
  • Practice writing rudimentary sentences
  • Matching exercises
  • Basic word puzzles
  • And much, much more!
This workbook also encourages numerous life skills that are essential for your child, including word recognition, memory recall and creative thinking. These books allow your children to learn in a way that is both fun and highly effective! Parents with younger children can read along and explore these fun animals together! Professor Ladybug workbooks are packed with simple learning exercises that your children will be happy to complete. This workbook is designed primarily for children aged 3-6.

Praise for the Book 
"Professor Ladybug workbooks are wonderful for young children... Engaging them to learn, think, write, create, and draw. I love it. Creative with a great page layout. Certificates in the back to award to the children upon completing their learning tasks. I wish children's workbooks were more like this one when I was little. Overall, I highly recommend this one to both teachers and parents alike." Danielle Urban, Urban Book Reviews 

amazon or paypal
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 11/8/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

👗Laura Haddock vs Nina Dobrev

Today's #WWIB is total white!
Laura Haddock has been the first to wear this Prabal Gurung piece, attending (alongside husband Sam Claflin) the premiere of his latest movie ‘My Cousin Rachel’, back in June. She went minimal, leaving all the attention on the layered dress, with a simple hairstyle and make up.
Nina Dobrev opted for a more edgy approach, showing off the runway version of the look with the black belt and her new short bob cut. The actress attended the he premiere of ‘Flatliners’, later this September.

Who do you think wore it better?
Laura Haddock or Nina Dobrev?

Photo credits: zimbio.com & hawtcelebs.com

Sunday, October 15, 2017

🎬Movie Review: A Perfect Day

Risultati immagini per a perfect day
Somewhere in the Balkans - 1995

Mambrù and B., two veterans AID workers, are disillusioned and with a humour darker than black. The newest memeber of their team, Sophie, on the other hand is an idealist and really wants to make the difference in in villages torn apart by Yugoslav wars. 
Their task for the day is to restore a water well, where a fat man drowned: they need to get the body out before the water gets contaminated, but the rope they use breaks...
Risultati immagini per a perfect day movie
While B. and his translator look for a new rope, Mambrù and Sophie head to the UN headquarters, were they get orders to stop any kind of help to the locals: war is over, so they are not allowed to do anything, if not helping with demining. Mambrù also has to take war analyst Katya to the airport: the two are ex-lovers and it looks like they have quite a few things that still need to be discussed.

This is the start of their day-long journey to find a new rope, in an area where war is "officially" over, but that doesn't mean the operators are safe: rebels, landmines, UN's rigid rules, poverty and Mambrù ex-lover will make every effort twice as difficult.
Immagine correlata
My Opinion👍👎
This is a war movie, no doubts. Its peculiarity is that you won't see a single bullet shot nor a human killing another human: nothing it's showed, all is implied. 
The surroundings are bare and desolated, everything reminds were you are and how horrible and critic the situation is. A simple thing like looking for a rope becomes almost an epic quest for gold. 
All being said, you may think this movie is dreary, depressing and negative at its best...prepare to be surprised because IT IS NOT: obviusly it's not funny like a comedy, but Mambrù and B's black humour is almost comforting and their willingness to help others (even if it's not completely disinterested) a spark for optimism.

To sum it up, you have to watch this movie! It's realistic, but not overwhelming and it's istructive, if you haven't got the chance to study contemporary history at school.

Would I pay the full prize ticket? I saw it on Tv, but I'd have definitely payed the full prize ticket to watch it at the cinema.

Raking: 5

Photo credits: angryitalian.com, rogerebert.com & comingsoon.it