Gift Guide for Book Lovers

Hey my loves,

in today’s blog post I am going to show you some of my book recommendations that make perfect gifts for your friends and family members who love to read. I personally enjoy gifting and getting books a lot, you are gifting so much more than just a few pages with words. You are given a new world, a new fantasy, an escape from your life risen from your own imagination. 

Books have the power to create a lot more for you. They tickle your inner child, your inner private detective, raise dreams and emotions and so much more. I tried finding a vast variety of books to put into this gift guide, so that there is something for everybody. 

I also posted a gift guide for your makeup loving friends, you can check it out here: Gift Guide for your Makeup Loving Friend

My Top 3 

The Circle, The Girl on the Train & Sharp Objects

When I read “The Circle” I was captivated, I loved the entire story, from front to back and I think I’ve read the entire book in just two days. It was that good! Sadly, the movie version sucked! You can buy it here: Dave Eggers – The Circle

“The Girl on the Train” is one of my absolute favorite books ever! It was truly amazing and Paula Hawkins is a gifted writer! I was so into the book, I actually read it twice! And the movie version is amazing as well, but that could be my love for Emily Blunt. You can buy it here: Paula Hawkins – The Girl on the Train

Gillian Flynn is a genius when it comes to writing dark and twisted stories. And “Sharp Objects” is definitely one of her best work. I really did not see that ending coming, let me tell you that. AND – the tv series with Amy Adams was truly amazing! Amy was the best choice for it, she shows so much vulnerability, I absolutely loved watching it. You can buy it here: Gillian Flynn – Sharp Objects

Other Great Books & Some that are on my own wishlist include

Paula Hawkins – Into the Water

This one has been on my list ever since it coming out, just haven’t gotten around to buying it! But Paula Hawkins is an amazing writer and I loved “The Girl on the Train”.

You can buy it here: Amazon


Stephen King – Gerald’s Game

Wasn’t the biggest fan of the movie version, but loved the book!

You can buy it here: Amazon


Stephen King – The Green Mile

One of the best movies I have ever seen and one of the many books on my wishlist because of that.

You can buy it here: Amazon


Shirley Jackson – The Haunting of Hill House

I love the TV show on Netflix, it was one of the best shows I have seen in ages and it was truly amazing to watch the story unfold. Highly recommend watching it!

You can buy it here: Amazon


Michelle Obama – Becoming

I mean… how can this not be on any girls wishlist right now! Definitely excited to get my hands on this!

You can buy it here: Amazon


What are some of your favorite books or books that are on your wishlist? Tell me in the comments, I would love to know and I am always open for any suggestions.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

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My Favorite Christmas Movies

Hey my loves,

in today’s blog post I am sharing with you six of my absolute favorite Christmas movies that I actually love to watch every year. I love Christmas movies so much, they are always so full of love and usually have a happy ending! So here are my Top 6!

Die Hard, Elf & Home Alone

Now, listen to me on this one. It plays on Christmas so it is a Christmas movie! Haha xD Also I just love Bruce Willis! Check it out here: Die Hard

How could you not love Buddy? This one alway makes me smile so much! If you haven’t seen it yet, first of all: WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?, haha xD Check it out here: ELF

A CLASSIC! And by far one of the most well-known Christmas movies if you ask me. Check it out here: Home Alone

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Love Actually & The Holiday

I vividly remember watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” for the first time, so I believe this is the first mover, like ever, that I actually remember watching each year when it was Christmas eve. Check it out here: How the Grinch Stole Christmas 

Love Actually is the only romantic movie that I can watch over and over and over again and still get as emotional as I got the first time around. And how could you not love it! Check it out here: Love Actually

The Holiday is another classic! When I watched it the first time I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but at the end of the movie I was sobbing and happy at the same time and it quickly became one of my absolute favorites. Check it out here: The Holiday

What are your favorite Christmas movies? Tell me in the comments below, I am always up for new movie ideas. 

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

My Summer Playlist

Hey my loves,

today I am sharing with you my summer hits for 2018. Yesterday I spent the day at a lake with one of my closest friends and we had such a nice time and ride there. We listened in the car, as well as at the lake to my favorites from this summer.

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My Top 3 songs are:

Ariane Grande – God is a woman

This song is so good, I sometimes wakeup and have it in my ear without even hearing the song. I don’t follow her music much, but this one I love.

iiola – sickly sweet

By far my favorite this summer, heard this on my long train rides to College and it’s just a beautiful song in general. Really love it!

LANY – Thru These Tears

Love this one! I just love a lot that LANY does and I absolutely fell in love with this one when I heard it.

What are some of your summer favorites this year? Let me know, always open to new suggestions.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

The 3 Best Non-English TV Shows – Guest Entry by Miri

What’s up folks?

This is Miri. The last couple of years I have always been on the lookout for new, exciting TV dramas, and, as we all know, the best (or, at the very least, the most) entertainment is still produced in the US and Britain. However, there are a few golden pieces of TV I’ve come across that may completely escape the English-speaking viewers. Of course, being able to watch something in its original form, without dubbing or subtitles, is always the most rewarding, but trust me when I tell you that for the three shows I will introduce to you, dubbing and/or subtitles will not ruin the fun.

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No.3: Gomorra – La Serie

Gomorra is an Italian TV series produced by Sky about the mafia in Naples, Italy. The show is based on the nonfiction book by Roberto Saviano, who infiltrated the Camorra (the mafia’s local name) and published names of important people and detailed information on the organization’s illegal operations. Saviano’s book was so close to the truth that he has had to live with a constant protection detail due to threats. Herein lies the series’ biggest advantage as well as its biggest flaw. The stories told are so realistic and so sinister they not only make for prime entertainment, but they also serve as a constant reminder that what we see here is not fiction but bitter reality; this knowledge creates an intense viewing experience. Because of its realism, however, we have no one to identify with. Everyone is evil, no character is likable. Every person portrayed in-depth is either a hateful, cruel beast of a human, or an innocent soon to be killed. That is reality in the mafia, and that makes the show hard to watch, so those who like gritty crime shows with hero figures may be disappointed or confused. We are constantly reminded that we are not watching standard, easily digestible TV because of the violence that always undercuts each scene, every piece of dialogue, always threatening to break out. Everybody is fair game, no one is safe, not even little children.

So why is this show worthy of your time? For one, it is something that needed to be made to expose the violence that exists day to day to a broader audience. The people live with fear, the young kids grow up believing that they will never get out of their parts of the city. Honest jobs are rare, so if you need money, you have to turn to crime. The show brilliantly portrays the way in which the kids in Secondigliano take the crime and cruelty for granted, even emulate what they see in their childish games.

Also, and we as viewers should never take this for granted, Gomorra is incredibly well-made. The cinematography is stunning, especially in the third season, where every frame would be worthy of being hung on a wall as a piece of art. The original score is haunting and creates a unique atmosphere. In these gorgeous images, we see devastation and beauty exist side by side.

Lastly, the characters may be unlikable, but they are strong and interesting and captured in amazing performances by talented actors. The show has been renewed for a fourth season set to air next year, and I cannot possibly imagine what may happen next, but the first three seasons all centered on the relationship between Ciro di Marzio and Gennaro Savastano. There is an entire army of characters, including some strong women, but Ciro and Gennaro and their connection with one another has driven the show forward. It is brutal, and disgusting, and beautiful all at once.

No. 2: Deutschland 83

Everybody in Germany who loves great TV entertainment has had to turn their backs on German TV productions. Most shows produced in Germany, by Germans, for a German audience, are not very good, and every German will agree with me, I’m sure. I think the problem is that the German networks are, on the one hand, very hesitant to allow change (which is why, when Breaking Bad was aired on free TV, it was hidden in a very small channel Saturdays at 10 pm). Experiments are never welcomed with open arms. On the other hand, the prime networks probably think we, the viewers, are stupid. They do not seem to have a lot of faith in our comprehensive abilities. These issues make it all the more astounding that such a show as Deutschland 83 exists at all. It is a well-written, intelligent, thrilling show about the tensions between East and West Germany in the 1980s. Martin Rauch, a young man who firmly believes in the government of East Germany, is forced to go undercover for the Stasi in West Germany, posing as a soldier named Moritz Stamm. The real Moritz has been killed to make room for Martin. Suddenly, Martin is ripped out of his safe, relatively comfortable existence with his sick mother and his (unfaithful) girlfriend and thrust into the colorful world of West Germany, where all the restrictions and trade embargos on American merchandise of the East do not exist. But Martin also continuously risks his life for his country, spying on the West, stealing important data, only barely escaping from being discovered. The stakes are high, as would be the punishment for treason.

Deutschland 83 thus manages to combine history lessons on East and West tensions and the Cold War with a genuinely thrilling espionage story. The actors are amazing, and the soundtrack includes some of the best songs from the 80s. What makes this show so entrancing, however, is the development the main character undergoes over the course of the episodes. Martin starts as a rather naïve young man who firmly believes in his government’s values, that East Germany is right and everybody else is wrong. When he is forced to go undercover in the West, he refuses at first, but with a few patriotic lines, his Stasi handlers, who include his aunt, manage to convince him that what he is doing is “the right thing.” This serves as one example of how fanatic patriotism is akin to brainwashing. And the longer Martin works for the Stasi, the more ruthless he gets, until even human lives seem to pale in significance compared to his mission. Subtly fused into the compelling thriller is the story of how one finds his or her identity, sometimes by consciously turning away from what you know. The show is also very well-made, as lighting and editing basically scream American TV standards. And, indeed, it is a co-production between German network RTL and the AMC. If only we could have more collaborations such as this one. A second season is supposed to be coming this year, and I can only hope that t will be able to compete with the first one.

No. 1: Bron/Broen

The Bridge is a Scandinavian crime drama I discovered on accident while I was browsing articles for my bachelor’s thesis. The pilot episode begins with a female murder victim on the Øresund Bridge, a bridge that is 5 miles long and provides a direct connection between Denmark and Sweden. The body discovered has been placed exactly at the junction of the bridge where the official border between Danish and Swedish territory runs, even though the border crossing is not marked on the bridge. Also, the body of the victim is cut in half, one half each lying on Danish and Swedish territory. As the upper half is immediately identified as belonging to a known Swedish citizen, the Swedish police claims the case as theirs. On closer inspection, however, it turns out that the lower half of the body belongs to another victim, making it two cases of murder. The lower half is discovered to be that of a Danish woman, and thus a cooperation between Swedish and Danish police forces becomes necessary. The bridge obviously stands in for more than just a geographical connection between two places; it also symbolizes the cooperation between two nations, as well as the language gap that is artfully bridged in the show. The original title, Bron/Broen, means “bridge” in Swedish and Danish, respectively. As I do not speak Swedish, or Danish, I watched the show in German, so the language barriers that the characters may encounter at times was completely lost on me, but I do know that when the Danish characters speak, there are Swedish subtitles, so the language definitely factors into the viewing experience for native Scandinavian audiences.

Even without the language barrier, however, the show makes for a unique experience. In part this is due to the clearly Scandinavian crime thriller vibe. Muted colors, sparse lighting, and imaginative murders create an oppressive, sinister atmosphere that provides a welcome distraction for those viewers who are tired of polished, over-produced shows where everybody looks pretty and the bad guy is always apprehended. This is one thing The Bridge has in common with Gomorra: there can be no happy ending. The bad guy is never caught, or if he is, he has been caught too late.

What really makes this show worthwhile is its main character: Såga Norén, homicide detective in Malmö, is the strong female lead women have been waiting for. Interestingly, she is the antithesis of what societal norms predetermine a woman should be. An excellent detective, extremely intelligent, with an almost perfect memory, Såga is incapable of understanding social cues and engaging with other people on an emotional level, which makes her come across as cold and rude in the beginning. Once the audience gets closer to her, it becomes clear that she must have some form of Asperger’s Syndrome, and although she has never been diagnosed, Såga herself is aware, as she says at one point, that she is “not normal.” She never tries to hide this fact about herself, however, which gives her a range of freedom in social interactions others can only dream of: not inhibited by the unwritten rules of “proper” conduct, Såga has sex whenever she wants, with whomever she wants to have it, without ever coming across as anything but self-assured and determined. On the downside, her condition, and the love she has for her job, make her incapable of maintaining relationships, and she has a hard time finding, and keeping, friendship. Såga’s job is her life. Not interested in hobbies, police work is all her life consists of. We learn more about her tragic backstory as the seasons progress, and it fits right into the sinister mood of the show. Basically, if you love Scandinavian crime thrillers and strong female lead characters, this show is an absolute must. I am currently waiting for the fourth, and final, season to arrive on Netflix, because I would really like to see how Såga’s story concludes. If you have the opportunity, just watch it. It is time well spent.

Do you know any non-English TV shows that would be worth watching? I would love to hear some suggestions. Also, follow me on Instagram if you want: miri_mh8

Books: What I Want to Read 2018

Hey my loves,

in today’s post I thought I would share with you my reading list for 2018. I will be updating this along the way this year, but for starters I have a couple of books that made it onto my list for this year.

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I am currently reading “The Night Circus” and I absolutely love it, it feels so different to anything I’ve read so far. Mainly because I usually stick to the thrillers and haven’t read any fantasy lately (except for rereading Harry Potter, duh!).

What is on your reading list for 2018? Tell me in the comments.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

TOP 3 – HBO TV SHOWS written by Miriam

HBO has given us amazing entertainment, groundbreaking, shocking, hilarious entertainment. However, this is only a Top 3 list, so I do not have a lot of space to spare, and also I am not basing this list on the number of viewers or prizes (if I did, The Wire wouldn’t even be on this list). I am solely basing this ranking off my personal taste. So I do apologize to those who are missing Game of Thrones, or Curb Your Enthusiasm, or True Detective on this list, because I can only speak for myself and what I have seen. And the three shows I am about to introduce to you are three of the best TV drama series you will ever have the joy of watching.

TOP 3

3. Boardwalk Empire

The Volstead Act, which introduced the Prohibition era to the United States that lasted from 1920 to 1933, was a bad idea, because it did not work the way it had been planned. Boardwalk Empire shows how a group of gangsters became millionaires by smuggling alcohol into the US every which way, killing whoever stood in-between them and the alcohol they wanted to illegally import into the US. The series centers around Nucky Thompson, played by always awesome Steve Buscemi and based on a real-life person. Nucky is the treasurer of Atlantic City, but basically controls the entire city, and when the Volstead Act is officialized, he and a group of politicians and gangsters decide to cash in. The first 3 seasons of this historic TV show are epic and thrilling, with an amazing ensemble cast, including not only good old Steve, but also Michael K. Williams, Michael Shannon, and Daredevil Charlie Cox. The scale of this superbly written drama really reaches epic proportions, considering the producers were unable to shoot scenes on the actual boardwalk in AC, so they built a new one in another city, furnishing it with amazing details from original 1920’s postcards and photos. The wardrobe and cars used in the show are so true to the prohibition era the production costs must have been astronomically high, and it pays off: anyone watching will definitely feel like they were transported right into the year 1920. Add to that the amazing variety of characters and gripping dialogue (as usual for HBO), this show is just fun to watch. It can be quite gory at times, though (there is a scene in season 2 where someone is literally scalped), so it might not be suitable for people with weak stomachs, but that just proves how amazing the special effects make-up is, as well. Characters you hate will die, and characters you love will die, and you just have to know how the story continues. There are several characters involved in the plot who existed in real life, such as Charlie Luciano, Bugsy Segel, and Al Capone (portrayed perfectly by Stephen Graham), which again proves the attention to detail applied to the writing. Season 4 loses some of the show’s excitement and speed, and season 5 seems like a tired, idea-lacking wrap-up that had me quite disappointed, but the first 3 seasons are just plain brilliant TV drama.

“We been on the road for eighteen hours. I need a bath, some chow, and then you and me sit down, and we talk about who dies, eh?”

“F***in’ tough guy, you gonna shoot me for mouthin’ off?” – I wasn’t going to, but you kinda talked me into it.”

“Untie him. Oh, but before you do, put a bullet in his f***ing head.”

2. The Sopranos

This is a TV drama that basically paved the way for all other TV dramas that followed. There would be no Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, or Dexter, without Tony Soprano and his family of thugs. For those of you who have actually never seen it, it is a show about Tony Soprano, New Jersey mobster and capo and later on the boss of the Soprano clan. Officially employed in waste management, he and his underlings are stone-cold killers who make their living with drugs, prostitution, illegal gambling, and collecting debts. At the same time, however, Tony is a loving father of two children and an unfaithful husband. The show explores themes of faith, family, loyalty, friendship, Italian-American intercultural conflicts, and lays down ground rules for storytelling and dialogue that were revolutionary at the time. Also, you will see some of the finest acting ever broadcast, on the small or big screen. Michael Imperioli especially, portraying Christopher Moltisanti, will tear your heart out with his all-in performance, and was awarded with the Emmy for his efforts. Moreover, I believe it was the first TV show to begin the tradition that was later copied by Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead of killing off characters unexpectedly that you were sure would stay until the very end. Some of the deaths you will see coming, some will hit you completely unprepared and make you weep with either glee or (more often) grief. The show stays brilliant throughout its six seasons, but the finale is, well, debatable. Nonetheless, if you love TV dramas, and you liked Goodfellas, Casino, and of course The Godfather, you need to see this. Even Martin Scorsese himself did not want to miss out on the fun and has a very brief cameo in the first season.

“Who do you think you are?” – “I’m the person who says how things go, that’s who I think I am.”

“You don’t think that human beings possess free will?” – “How come I’m not making f***ing pots in Peru? You’re born to this sh*t. You are what you are.”

“You’re being set up! He’s lying to you, whoever he is!” – “Wouldn’t make any difference.” – “What do you mean, it wouldn’t make any difference?!” – “He wants you dead.”

1. The Wire

Once denoted the “best show that nobody watches,” The Wire is possibly the best TV drama ever created, and still, if you research how many awards the show has received, you will be appalled, and rightly so. Even though it was supposedly suffering from continuously low ratings, luckily the creators managed to produce five whole seasons, and they are a gift to anyone who loves watching high-quality TV drama. At first glance, it seems to be a cop show, but it cannot be compared to Law and Order and the likes thanks to HBO’s liberty to give it a gritty sort of realism, which is what the show is praised for and owes largely to its creators, who are an ex-cop and a journalist, respectively, and know how the real world of crime and punishment works in Baltimore, Maryland. Using their background to thoroughly investigate and tell the story of life in Baltimore from as many angles as possible, the show aims to portray a new point of view in every season. While the first season begins with introducing the police in Baltimore and kicks off the amazing plot by starting the investigation of the Barksdale clan, a drug-dealing organization operating on the streets, the second season introduces the struggles of the dockworkers on the Port of Baltimore. The third season focuses more heavily on Baltimore’s politicians, showing a white councilman’s attempt to become mayor in a predominantly black city. In the fourth season, we enter the school system of Baltimore, while the fifth season places us in the newsroom of a big Baltimore newspaper. The fascinating thing about this multi-faceted way of portraying Baltimore is that we not only learn more and more about the city and how its institutions have an effect on the individual, but that the plot manages to outline not only the stark differences, but also the striking parallels between all these milieus. Giving every character, from the lowest street thug to the richest politician, their moment to shine, we see how every system is built on greed and deception to achieve its goals of surviving and persevering. The Wire is also the only TV drama I can think of that stays equally strong and brilliant in its casting, acting, and storytelling from the first episode to the very last one. If anything, the series finale is the best episode of them all, because it manages to wrap up the story of the entire show by demonstrating how everything always changes and yet stays the same. There is a reason why it has been termed a literary show. It is beautiful, skillfully crafted, and yet still entertaining enough for people who prefer less demanding entertainment, through awesome and funny characters such as Omar, the gay gunman who robs drug dealers for a living. The Wire is my favorite TV show of all time and will always be an example of how to do it right.

“You come at the king, you best not miss.”

“Does this sh*t look like money, motherf***er? Money be green!”

“You heroic mother***ers. Fighting the war on drugs, one brutality case at a time.” – “Girl, you can’t even call this sh*t a war.” – “Why not?” – “Wars end.”