Citylights – Margreet Maljers

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My book review of “Citylights” [EN] / “Licht over de stad” [NL] written by Margreet Maljers

In my view…

Where the first book in the series ‘The Guide – Margreet Maljers‘ left, this sequel starts. It is 1943 and The Netherlands are at war with Germany. In the middle of WWII the story starts. Elja van Lier is now really a young adult and is running a fabrics store in the city of Alkmaar. Her aunts are running a photo shop next to the fabrics store. Her best friend Helmy helps her in the daily routine of being a shop owner. The inhabitants of Alkmaar are having a tough time. In the middle of this WWII lots of people have to buy their food, drinks and basic needs with vouchers. But the vouchers are scarce and as soon as a voucher is valid, it becomes really busy in the fabrics store of Elja. Together with some friends and family she helps refugees and crashed pilots who are wanted by the enemy. Family, love and friendship but also conspiracy. The good versus bad and the incredible kindness of good people that always survives war.

Who would you really trust when a war breaks out? What would you trust? Where do you trust to live then? Those questions I asked myself while I was reading this sequel.

Writing style / spelling

In the book I found only one error, a double printed word. The pace of the writing was at first quick and slowed down towards the middle of the story. A little bit too long slowly for my taste but towards the end it was al quickened up and it made me even wonder how the story would evolve if every year was so descriptive written.

Main characters

The main character in the story is Elja van Lier. And the other very important characters are her friend Everardus (Evert) Koomen, her aunts Flora & Aline van Henegouwen, the parents and aunts and uncles from Elja and Evert and best friend Helmy and her family are important as well. Together roughly three families and a many other persons. But you discover that in the book otherwise a complete story would already be told.

I hope you like the book too. It is worth to read it! I am not telling about the story too much– never do in my book reviews – you have to read the book yourself and make your own opinion. 

Greetings by Sophie

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Planet Earth II: Official Extended Trailer | BBC Earth | David Attenborough

The Planet Earth II: Official Extended Trailer from the BBC Earth series and narrated by David Attenborough.

There is one kind genre in series, documentaries, films, photos and so on… I never get tired of! The genres that involve and envelop nature and animals! Especially when the text is written and / or narrated by David Attenborough himself! He is the professor who can explain to anyone how – a special part of – nature works. David Attenborough is has (co)written 42 distinct major works according to his profile on IMDb. When you count every episode…the score today is 137 episodes. Times the length of every episode, you understand you can watch this genre for many many relaxing hours! The music is written by Hans Zimmer and you recognise his style, it really suits ‘Planet Earth’. 

The love for animals, the love for nature. And the wonderful lessons of life you learn through these kind of series, documentaries, films and just everything that is captured on camera, in photo or by text. The relaxed feeling while watching an episode. But realising as well that this is nature and in somehow or some way this started on earth and the animals developed, adapted and evolved over time and still do. And we as human being live next to it, together with it or above or under it haha. Miraculous nature, I love it! Read the official description of this trailer too for more information!

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Advent – Gunnar Gunnarsson

Advent - Gunnar Gunnarsson
Advent – Gunnar Gunnarsson

My book review of “Advent” written by Gunnar Gunnarsson

In my view… and the main characters

The story is about a good shepherd who, every year in the few autumn weeks and winter days before Christmas, goes up on the mountains. This shepherd named Benedikt does not travel alone. Together with his dog Leo and his buck Knoest he sets off to the smaller roads and paths that lead to the top of the mountain.

Every year herds of sheep are living on the mountain from spring until the end of autumn. Every shepherd has to look for his herd and bring them safe home in the valley before winter starts and it will be nearly too late to travel on the mountain to get home with the sheep.

Benedikt does not have his own herd of sheep. But together with Leo and Knoest he tries to bring every sheep safe back home. He helps the other farmers and shepherds who in fact too late. That something like this happens makes it a very dangerous expedition for Benedikt and his friends. Leo has as a dog a keen sense of smell and can locate the sheep way earlier than the eyes of Benedikt in a winter storm can see. Knoest has also his specialty. When a sheep is stubborn, Knoest knows how to deal with it so the sheep does follow the shepherd Benedikt who leads them all … hopefully … back home.

“A lovely story that shows the unconditional love from a man in a small community who dares to risk his life every year for the good.” – Sophie van den Akker – 12 april 2017

Writing style / spelling

This book is translated from Danish though Gunnar Gunnarsson is Icelandic. I did not discover any grammar or spelling mistakes in the Dutch version but I can not read Danish nor Icelandic.

I hope you like the book too. It is worth to read this short story! You have to read the book yourself and make your own opinion.  

Greetings by Sophie

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Quote | Mother Teresa

Quote of the day on a sunday



“Let us always meet with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” – Mother Teresa 

Have a lovely Sunday!

Greetings by Sophie

Collateral Beauty (2016) | Trailer

When everything is lost, how do you find your way back?”

Will Smith is known for his acting in already 34 productions varied from films, such as ‘I Am Legend (2007) , to a television episode in ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996)’. He is also known for his producer skills in 22 productions such like ‘Annie (2014)’ , ‘The Karate Kid (2010)’, ‘Hancock (2008)’. Did you know that? In september is announced that there will be a ‘Hancock 2′  but the date nor status of production is yet unknown.

A few weeks ago the film ‘Collateral Beauty‘ had its première and the story is touching and a bit thrilling in the drama.

The story

Howard is a man who has lost his little daughter and he does not care anymore if he loses anything or anyone else. But he starts to write letters. To whom? That is unknown but he writes to ‘what’. To love, to time and to death. Or are they ‘who’s’ in his mind, in his recovery. He writes because he needs it without completely knowing it. The collateral beauty, the profound connection to everything. If he accepts the fate, he can make something beautiful out of life again. “Challenge them, just to engage!” 

When everything is lost, how do you find your way back?”

COLLATERAL BEAUTY – Official Trailer 2 | 2,781,752 views |

Warner Bros. Pictures

Published on 10 Nov 2016 | SUBSCRIBED 3M
This December, experience the miracle. Will Smith, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Michael Peña, Naomie Harris, Jacob Latimore, Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren star in #CollateralBeauty, in theaters December 16.


Will you watch it in cinemas?

Greetings by Sophie

Today on the Christmas Eve of 2016






MERRY CHRISTMAS – and a good – 2017!


Barista! | Solace – Elsbeth Witt

Cover design: Studio Marlies Visser Authorphoto: Desiree Engelage
Cover design: Studio Marlies Visser Authorphoto: Desiree Engelage

My book review of “Solace” written by Elsbeth Witt

In my view…

The trilogy is based on three young women who are baristas at a coffee bar named Barista!. In the first book was the main character Laura. That review can be found here –> Barista! | Café au Lait . In the second and previous volume the main character was Iris. That review can be found here –> Barista! | Sweet Irruption. In this sequel and the final one of the trilogy the character Sophie is the main character of the book. The other two women are still important side characters.

In my view this book is a nice final volume of the trilogy. Lots and lots becomes clear about how it all started in the first book Café au Lait and Sophie has also her own extraordinary life. A life not many would expect when you start with this series. But it is beautifully written and fits in my imagination about her character. She is my namesake but our lives are quite different. What we have in common is our love for music, smoothies and sometimes a piece of cake.

Writing style / spelling

In this sequel and final volume I have found no spelling or grammar mistakes. Nearly at the end I had trouble with a sentence, but it was no grammar mistake, I had just read the sentence too quickly.

Main characters


The main characters and the important side characters are mostly explained in the previous volumes. This volume is more about Sophie. She is a young mother who loves to sing, works at Barista! and needs to keep her life and that of her daughter, running with order and regularity. Some strange things and some coincidences happen that makes her head spinning. A couple of persons are becoming more important in her life. Her daughter Yasmina, her nice Nadia, a man from the past named Mitch, the brother of Laura named Matthijs and a professional guitar player named Mark. I guess the author was in a mood of giving nearly all the men in the book a name that starts with ‘M’. Anyways how all those people are related or how big the role is they play, I will not explain to avoid spoilers.

My main question after completing these series:

Do you love coffee now more than ever?

Greetings by Sophie

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Barista! | Sweet Irruption – Elsbeth Witt

Cover from
Cover from

My book review of “Sweet Irruption” written by Elsbeth Witt

In my view…

This book is the second of a trilogy about Barista! In this sequel Iris seems to have a settled life. Living in a house, finished her bachelor study and even finished a masters study. But something happens that will change her life drastically. Will she find a new love? Will she start a business on her own? What are her plans anyways? What does she really want in life. After a while she makes a couple of decisions and they do not really depend on each other, but every decision affects another decision. If it all will turn out good or turn out bad – depends also on what your expectations are when you read the book – is something I leave up to you,

Writing style / spelling

This sequel has no grammar or spelling mistakes so it reads quick in a nice pace.

Main characters

The main character throughout this sequel is Iris. Iris is a graduated student in Psychology and has also finished a Master’s study. She lives together with her boyfriend and has everything settles, except that she has no job.

I hope you like the book too. It is worth to read it! I am not telling about the story too much– never do in my book reviews – you have to read the book yourself and make your own opinion. 

Greetings by Sophie

Book Facts:

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Everybody knows, I love pandas the most!

Dear readers I wish to you all: Happy International Panda Day!

Photo from iPanda, combined by me.

This photo combination is also posted on Instagram: @sophie.vda (personal Instagram) and (blog Instagram)
This photo combination is also posted on Facebook Sophie’s Blog and is linked to Sophie’s Blog on Twitter

Have you seen a panda this year?

I have visited the pandas in Tiergarten Schönbrunn (Vienna, Austria) this summer. What an incredible lovely day with those special bears. ❤

Greetings by Sophie

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