“The Three Dahlias” by Katy Watson | Book Review

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“In the early eighties, actress Rosalind King originated the onscreen role of lady detective Dahlia Lively, the creation of Golden Age author Lettice Davenport. Fifteen years later, Caro Hooper introduced the character to a whole new generation, gracing TV screens for twelve years. Less than a decade has passed, and Dahlia is headed to the big screen once again, this time portrayed by former child actress Posy Starling who’s trying to reverse a bad reputation and revive her career. A three-day summer convention is being held in the late Lettice Davenport’s honor at Aldermere, her family home, and in attendance are relatives who still reside in the house, three generations of Dahlias, the movie crew, and VIP fans. As the weekend commences, real mysteries start popping up, threatening to derail the summer festivities. Caro, Posy, and Rosalind couldn’t be more different, but they’re well acquainted with the detective mind of Dahlia and team up to figure out what’s going on. When the situation escalates to murder, the three actresses appear out of their depth but continue to push for answers. Will the tenacious spirit of Dahlia Lively prevail, or should her three successors give up their amateur sleuthing before one of them gets hurt?”

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*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Constable, imprint of Little, Brown Book Group, through NetGalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

I can’t even imagine what goes through an author’s head when their work is compared to Agatha Christie, the one and only “Queen of Crime.” Those are big shoes to fill, and I wouldn’t wish that pressure on anyone. That’s exactly what’s happening with Katy Watson’s debut, and as an Agatha fan, I agree on many counts. The book opens with an invitation and Aldermere House map which makes you, the reader, feel like one of the guests. The story takes place during a modern time, probably not far off from 2022, but it feels so much like a classic mansion murder mystery that you forget what year it is until someone mentions their cellphone. The convention is dedicated to Golden Age author Lettice Davenport, let’s call her Agatha’s fictional peer, and though she has passed away, her presence is felt everywhere. Aside from story after story about Miss Davenport’s life and career, each chapter begins with a quote from one of her Dahlia Lively detective novels, a deceptively small detail. The quotes don’t take up much of the book, but Katy Watson went to the trouble of creating excerpts from a book series that doesn’t exist which makes the fictional world where it does exist seem that much more real. That is maximum effort, and I applaud it.

Sometimes, on a rainy evening, you reach for a thriller to elevate your heartrate and maximize the chills in the room. Other times, you brew your favorite hot beverage and reach for a sleeper that’s going to lull you into the depths of coziness while intriguing you enough to devour page after page. “The Three Dahlias” is the latter, a mystery that’s less about action and more about brainstorming. Yet another way Katy Watson has captured the essence of Agatha’s work, almost exclusively focusing on the detectives methodically working through the clues until an answer presents itself in the eleventh hour. Speaking of detectives, I dare say the best part of this book is the dynamic between the actresses-turned-sleuths trio. They’ve all assumed the role of Dahlia Lively for films and television and gleaned enough knowledge to fake their way through detective work until something sticks. Rosalind King is the oldest and most prim and proper, and though she now finds herself passed over for leading roles due to age, she’s earned enough respect as the original Dahlia to be able to walk among the convention crowd and get answers to her questions. Caro Hooper likes to take charge and be the center of attention, much to the displeasure of Rosalind; she often loses herself in the character of Dahlia, shying away from being herself when it’s easier to hide her personal struggles behind a facade. Posy Starling rounds out the trio as the youngest member and the newest Dahlia; she is a disgraced child star recently returned to England and trying to distance herself from a substance abuse past with a new chapter in her career. Three women, different ages, contrasting personalities, and the combination works, like three liquids that shouldn’t mix, but if you trust the process, they eventually blend into something of substance.

I’m going to stick with my normal procedure and give this debut four stars, leaving room for improvement. I enjoyed it but struggled to focus at times due to the pace. There was a little something missing, but this is a solid foundation for the in-progress sequel. I’m not sure what Katy Watson’s plans are, but she has the makings of a great modern murder mystery series on her hands. I highly recommend you check out this debut mystery that has, thus far, flown under the radar. It may not have enough action for thrill-seeking readers, but mystery enthusiasts will find more than enough meat to sink their teeth into.

*NOTE: The expected U.S. publication date is July 26th, 2022.

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Content Breakdown: 

*Disclaimer: I read an uncorrected ARC so certain things might be different in the final copy.

*Disclaimer 2: This section of my review is thorough and might contain SPOILERS.

Abuse: It is briefly implied that Posy’s last relationship was abusive.

Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking: Mentions of Alcoholism, Amaretto, Brandy, Cigarettes, Cocktails, Drug addiction, Gin, Intoxication, a Pub, Rehab for substance abuse, Sobriety meetings, Whisky, & Wine

Main character Posy Starling is a recovering addict, and there are numerous mentions of her experience with rehab and sobriety meetings. She no longer drinks alcohol.

One of the side characters who never makes an appearance is mentioned as an addict who ran away from home as a teen, got pregnant, and moved back home, only to relapse several times and struggle to keep a job.

Blackmail: PLOT SPOILER – Three characters are blackmailed with photos. The first group of photos shows the victim under the influence despite being on a sobriety journey. The second group of photos is sexual, & the blackmail note mentions there’s a tape. The third & final group of photos shows the victim in an affair with someone else’s husband.

Blood & Violence: There are dolls left lying around as a threat, each representing a method of murder such as poison & stabbing.

During a tour of Aldermere House, the contents of shelves in Lettice Davenport’s office are described: books on anatomy and poison, the knot from a noose, a bottle with a poison sticker on it, and a line of bullets.

Chapter 8 begins with a Dahlia Lively quote which is said while she holds the hand of a corpse.

In chapter 11, there’s a brief mention of World War II & a bomb landing on Lettice Davenport’s building of flats.

PLOT SPOILER -There is a murder via poison, & the victim is described as looking relatively unharmed aside from the vomit coming out of his mouth.

A character is attacked from behind, hit with a heavy object which leaves a bloody head wound.

PLOT SPOILER -A dead body is discovered in a river, described as bloated, grey, & naked; it’s later revealed that the victim suffered blunt force trauma to the head. The person who discovered the body screamed long enough for her voice to go hoarse & later mentions not being able to sleep because all she sees are the bulging, staring eyes of the victim.

During the big reveal, the murderer throws the contents of a poison bottle into Rosalind’s face. Posy throws herself in front of Rosalind, but thankfully it’s only a bottle of glitter labeled as poison.

Cheating: PLOT SPOILER – There are two characters having an affair. The history of the situation is complicated, but the black & white facts are her having a relationship with her friend’s husband & him staying with his wife despite insisting she isn’t the woman he truly loves. 

Fake Pregnancy: PLOT SPOILER – There’s a discussion about a character who announced a pregnancy, but once her boyfriend married her, the baby was never born. It’s not known whether she faked the pregnancy or lost the baby, but it is known that her boyfriend wasn’t planning to take their relationship any further before the announcement.

Language: B*st*rd, Bloody, D*mn, Heck, & H*ll

Pregnancy & Adoption: PLOT SPOILER – Details are given about a character’s father who was given up for adoption at birth. His mother fell in love with her cousin, but he wouldn’t commit when she got pregnant because he had an understanding with a family friend, a more suitable wife. The son tried, and later on his daughter, to reconnect with the biological family & was met with rejection.

Therapy: Posy mentions having a therapist & dealing with the aftermath of a past relationship, possibly abusive. 

Sensual/Sexual: There is one kiss which happens as part of the murder mystery game at the convention.

In chapter 16, Juliette admits to sneaking out of Aldermere to meet her boyfriend. There’s no definite mention of what they were doing, but Juliette says they were too busy to notice any suspicious activity outside the house.

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🌟 Find author Katy Watson here:

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“The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman | Book Review

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“Every Thursday, the Jigsaw Room in Coopers Chase retirement village is reserved for The Thursday Murder Club and their cold case discussions. Each of the four members comes from a unique background: former spy Elizabeth Best, former psychiatrist Ibrahim Arif, former nurse Joyce Meadowcroft, and former trade union leader Ron Ritchie. Crime is exciting to dissect from afar, but when a murder happens on their doorstep, the club jumps at the chance to solve a case in real time, even if their input is unwanted by local police. They contribute life experience and wisdom, but the victim is the unpopular owner of their retirement village so the suspect list is endless, and every answer leads to more questions. Will Elizabeth, Ibrahim, Joyce, and Ron be able to bring the killer to justice, or is a murder investigation too much to handle for four seventy-year-old retirees?”

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Seeing rave reviews beforehand drove my expectations sky high, but thankfully I had a pleasant reading experience. The small English village setting where everyone knows everyone gave me the cozy mystery vibes I was looking for. Warning: Do not expect a thrilling amount of action! Aside from the descriptions and discussions of criminal cases ranging from smuggling to murder, you’re following four sleuthing seventy-year-olds who live in a retirement community. They’re plucky and capable of more than expected but still have their limits. If you align your expectations with the acitivity levels of Marple or Poirot, you’ll have a much better chance of enjoying this slow but steady mystery.

Despite more than ten characters and one hundred chapters, the Thursday Murder Club stays front and center, mentioned or appearing in approximately seventy-five percent of the book. Included in those ninety chapters are twenty-five diary entries from Joyce Meadowcroft, giving personal updates as the murder investigation moves along. Joyce is definitely my favorite character so far. She brings medical knowledge to the table as a former nurse, and I relate to her being underestimated just because she’s quiet. Using that to her advantage, she gets the inside scoop and spreads the word before you even know she was there. Turning lemons into opportunity. I love it! I’m assuming the next three books will feature POV chapters from the other club members which is a nice way to get acquainted with the main characters. I’m excited to learn more about them, especially enigmatic, former spy Elizabeth. She has secrets, and I want to know every single one.

Let’s go back to what I discussed earlier because the one element holding “The Thursday Murder Club” back from a perfect rating is pace. I’ve read and loved slow burn mysteries before but this time found my attention wandering every few pages. I had to purpose to sit down and focus because I wasn’t feeling eager to dive back in. Eventually I got into a reading groove and enjoyed the story, even getting emotional a few times. It was interesting to read about an age group looking at the end of their life and dealing with the circumstances that come with that. The main characters carry some heavy burdens such as disrespect from younger persons, loved ones with dementia, and grief over the constant loss of friends and acquaintances. That kind of subject matter makes you realize there is no age when you know everything, and your days are smooth sailing. Every phase of life come with its own set of challenges, and you will always be a student, learning through the ups and downs. Struggles aside, I’m so glad I picked this up because the age aspect was outside my comfort zone and thought-provoking. I’m settling on four stars and recommend this book to cozy mystery fans who don’t mind a slow burn and a tear or two.

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Content Breakdown:

*WARNING: This section of my review is thorough and might contain SPOILERS.

Alcohol & Smoking: Mentions of a bar/pub, beer, being drunk/tipsy, B&H cigarettes, brandy, cigarette & pipe smoking, cuban cigars, a flask, gin & tonic, whisky, & wine

Crime: Mentions of arson, drug dealing, money laundering, murder, robbery, & smuggling

Drugs: Mentions of cocaine, counterfeit viagra, death by overdose, drug addict(s), fentanyl, heroin, opioids, a syringe of parpobarbital, & unspecified drugs as well as a company used as a front for drug dealing

Blood & Violence: There’s a discussion in chapter one about the murder of a woman stabbed multiple times with a kitchen knife under the breastbone; the case is mentioned a few more times with added detail such as the victim being left to bleed out & die.

Brief mention of a hypothetical bullet wound in the shoulder

One mention of a scoutmaster burned to death

A character is described as the type to break your arms or kill you if things don’t go his way.

One mention of torching someone’s car because of an argument

A murder is described as it happens in chapter ten: the victim is hit on the left temple with a spanner, & the blood pools around the body. There are many discussions later on about the circumstances using terms like “bludgeoned” & “blunt force trauma to the head.”

There are numerous mentions and a description of a pub shooting that left a young drug dealer dead, the bullet piercing his stomach. The driver who helped dump the body was also shot as a precaution to cover up the murder.

One mention of a situation in which foxes were killing ducks so a man killed the foxes.

During a discussion about the murder case, the mafia & triads are mentioned.

The Thursday Murder Club inspects & discusses the bones of a man they believe to be a murder victim shot in the femur.

Description of a bullet wound in the leg that bleeds out & leads to death

Two instances of death by syringe

Death & Loss: One mention of a character losing his mother at the age of 19; she died of a stroke while alone in her home.

Chapter 88 deals with grief over the loss of a spouse

Illness: Multiple appearances by former Thursday Murder Club member Penny who is bedridden & hooked up to a heart monitor. Doctors suspect she can’t hear anything, but her husband sits with her daily, & Elizabeth frequently visits to share all the Coopers Chase gossip.

In Chapter 24, there is heartbreaking detail about Elizabeth’s husband Stephen who has some form of dementia. She takes care of him the best she can, simultaneously trying to keep her own mind healthy. He makes a few appearances throughout the book.

Misogyny: While having a business conversation, Ian thinks about the woman across from him, picking apart her appearance which disgusts him: her fifty-year-old face with no botox, her un-moisturized hands, & her wardrobe which implies to him that she’s given up on life. He manages to slip in the thought that they’re the same age, but men & women are different when it comes to age & aging. Major eye roll!

Language: Ars*, Bull, Chr*st, Chr*st’s Sake, D*mn, H*ll, J*s*s, Middle finger, Screw it, Silly sod, & WTF

DCI Chris Hudson says “OK, folks, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” in jest, meaning he’ll share his latest discoveries in the case if his team will share their latest discoveries.

Joyce tells Bernard a story from her nursing days about a junior doctor who got his “bits trapped in a Hoover nozzle.”

One brief mention of a police interviewee with an “I kill coppers” tattoo

Prejudice: While scoring murder suspects including members of the Thursday Murder Club, a drunk Ron gives Ibrahim a seven, one reason being he’s an immigrant who the public views as someone who comes in & steals jobs. This is said in jest between friends but still a hurtful thing to say.

Religion: The retirement village Coopers Chase is built on the land of an old convent so there are frequent mentions of Catholicism, nuns, priests, & a statue of Jesus Christ.

There’s a major conflict over digging up the old convent’s cemetery Garden of Eternal Rest which holds the bodies of nuns who passed away while serving; some digging does occur.

While discussing a murder, Ron implies that the Catholic church is involved, saying they always have their hand in one thing after another.

Ron drinks a can of Stella beer while sitting at the feet of a Jesus Christ statue.

Sensual/Sexual: One brief mention of porn

Ron asks Ibrahim if he thinks Bernard is banging Joyce.

VAGUE SPOILER -> -> -> -> -> An intimate relationship from the past is discussed, a romance between two people serving the Catholic church who were supposed to be celibate.

There’s a discussion about the dating apps Grindr & Tinder; it’s mentioned that most use the app for one night stands, some single & some married.

Sexual Violence: After a Tinder date tried to grope her, Donna “punched him in the balls.”

A character tells a story about inviting a man back to her place where it’s implied they were about to sleep together before he, already naked, attacked her & ended up dead from self defense.

Suicide: Suicide by pills in chapter 88

Description of a discovered body in chapter 100, suicide by hanging

There are a few other brief mentions of suicide throughout the book.

Weight: A character internally worries that her daughter is too thin due to her new boyfriend.

There are a few mentions of DCI Hudson struggling to maintain a healthy diet & exercise routine, correlated to him not buying new clothes or going on dates. There’s a moment when he describes himself as overweight, & former nurse Joyce internally agrees, telling him out loud that eating after 6pm is the key to preventing diabetes. Later on he remarks that he’ll never be able to wear a tight t-shirt.

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🌟 Find author Richard Osman here:

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“The Agathas” by Kathleen Glasgow & Liz Lawson | Book Review

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“Last summer Alice Ogilvie disappeared after her boyfriend Steve Anderson ended their relationship. Now she’s home, & it’s time to go back to high school. She tries to return to normal despite the curiosity surrounding her disappearance, but the mystery on everyone’s mind grows even bigger when Alice’s former best friend & Steve’s current girlfriend Brooke Donovan disappears.

Iris Adams has one goal & one goal only: get out of Castle Cove! She agrees to tutor Alice because it’s a paid job, but her pupil is too distracted by the latest news to get any work done. When a reward is offered by Brooke’s grandmother, Iris sees an opportunity to fund her trip & gives in to Alice’s desire to play detective.

When Brooke’s body is found, Steve is arrested based on convenient but flimsy evidence. Alice & Iris aren’t convinced of his guilt so they turn to the works of Agatha Christie to guide their investigation. Along the way they face personal demons, hard truths coming to light & threatening the integrity of their partnership. Are they truly prepared for the task at hand, or will the secrets of Castle Cove prove to be too dangerous for two amateur teen detectives?”

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*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Delacorte Press through NetGalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

“The Agathas” was inspired by the Queen of Crime Agatha Christie, & it’s not just lip service in the title. Her iconic characters Marple & Poirot are mentioned throughout, & several chapters begin with a quote from one of her many novels. If that’s not enough, there’s a special blurb about Agatha’s success, & I’m pretty sure Alice Ogilvie’s disappearance is a nod to her own 11-day disappearance. I was excited to get my hands on this book because Agatha is my favorite author; for that same reason I was terrified to start reading because the standard was set so high. The pace started slow, & the teenage tone of the dialogue took some getting used to. But just when I was starting to feel like this might not be my cup of tea, the mystery consumed me, & I flew through the last three quarters of the book. 

There are two points-of-view: Alice Ogilvie & Iris Adams. I’m not sure how the chapters were divided between authors Kathleen & Liz, but the writing is seamless; the story is cohesive from start to finish while both characters remain unique & easily distinguishable from the other. I was pleasantly surprised by the addition of mixed media: Alice & Iris’ “Murder Board,” news articles, social media comments, text conversations, & transcripts from local news, police interviews, & press conferences. Those pages made me feel even more immersed in the mystery, like I was an Agatha too. I correctly identified the murderer & motive around the halfway mark, but I’m the kind of bibliophile who theorizes as I read so I wasn’t bothered by a spoiled ending. What did bother me is how the reveal happened; the location made sense thanks to excellent foreshadowing, but the interaction was a little awkward in places.

Despite a few cons, this book was a top-down, sea air thrill ride so I’m rating it four stars. I do recommend it to Agatha Christie fans, but only those who also enjoy teen novels; otherwise you might find yourself more annoyed than amused by the language & mannerisms of the youths. The coastal California setting reminds me of the Big Little Lies TV show so picture that with a teenage cast. If the result intrigues you, preorder a copy of this murder mystery right now. The release date is May 3rd, 2022.

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Content Breakdown:

*Disclaimer: I read an uncorrected ARC so certain things might change before the final copy is printed.

Abuse: Iris’ dad is abusive, & it’s frequently discussed in her chapters. There are several mentions of the time he broke her wrist. He shows up a couple times, disobeying the restraining order; near the end of the book he barges into the Adams’ apartment & physically harms Iris & her mom. He is attacked in self-defense, first hit on the head & then pushed down a flight of stairs.

Alcohol, Cigarettes, & Drugs: There are several mentions of alcohol & being drunk, & the bar where Iris’ mom works is mentioned & visited a few times. There is one mention of Lucky Strikes cigarettes. There are mentions of pills & weed as well as being high. Two separate times, someone’s drink is drugged.

Blood: Some of the characters wear cheerleader costumes on Halloween that are covered in fake blood. There are a few instances when a character bleeds from a head wound.

Language:

Apesh*t

A*$ / A*$hole

B*d*ss

B*tch / B*ches / B*tchy

D*mn / D*mmit

Dumb*$$

F*ck / F*ckboy / F*cking / Middle finger

G*d

G*dd*mn

Good L*rd

H*ll / Holy H*ll

Holy sh*t / Sh*t / Sh*tless

J*sus / J*sus Chr*st

Merde (French word for sh*t)

These can also be considered crude: Crap, Frickin’, Mother-Sucker, & What the F ( I don’t know if those last two will be changed in the final book, but they obviously replace What the f*ck & Motherf*ck*r )

Sensual/Sexual: There are a few mentions of condoms. Alice is shown a video of another character getting intimate with a boy from their school. One character exchanged nude photos & sexual texts with multiple people, some of which are recovered & described.

Violence: After the discovery of a dead body, an autopsy is performed off-page & discussed on-page. Crime scene photos are looked at, & the body is described in gruesome detail more than once. There is one past & two present car crashes which lead to head trauma. There are a few attacks during which a character is hit on the head. When the murderer is revealed, the murder is described in detail.

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🌟 Find author Kathleen Glasgow:

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🌟 Find author Liz Lawson here:

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“The Latke in the Library & Other Mystery Stories for Chanukah” by Libi Astaire | Book Review

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“Thanks to a handful of nasty falls, mystery writer Agatha Krinsky is moved into an assisted living facility with the help of her nephew Sheldon. On her first day she gets lost and finds herself inside the library with a dead body. To her dismay, no one believes her story or offers to call the police. She is taken to the dining room where she meets Ukrainian PI Herschel Perlow, knitting enthusiast Miss Eppel, and husband and wife team Ronny and Rubles Bernfeld. As they take turns reminiscing a la “The Tuesday Night Club,” Agatha impatiently waits for another opportunity to bring up the body in hopes that someone will do something. Will her new friends help, or are they too distracted by their mystery-solving memories?”

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In my search for Hanukkah books, this short story collection caught my eye because Agatha Christie is my favorite author. I was excited to start reading but also nervous because those are big shoes to fill. I couldn’t help but smile at all the details added to make her characters and stories Jewish. The names and Yiddish vocabulary and mentions of Hanukkah were great, but the transition was not flawless. The mystery-aspect got lost in the shuffle, leaving behind more novelty than quality. I know this is a short read for the holiday season, but don’t promise me Agatha and not deliver on the intrigue.

It’s hard to rate something that tugs on my Jewish heartstrings, but I have to be honest. 3 stars for novelty and 2 stars for quality which averages out to 2.5 Stars. If you’re a Jewish Agatha Christie fan, this book is good for a one-sitting read and some fun. Don’t expect too much from the mysteries and enjoy it for what it is.

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If you’re not knowledgeable about the works of Agatha Christie, here’s a cheat sheet:

Characters

Agatha Krinsky – Agatha Christie

Agatha’s nephew Sheldon – Miss Marple’s nephew Raymond West

Ukrainian PI Herschel Perlow – Belgian PI Hercule Poirot

Miss Eppel – Miss Marple

Ronny & Rubles Bernfeld – Tommy & Tuppence Beresford

Inspector Haddock & his grandfather Sir Harold Withering – Sir Henry Clithering & his godson Detective Inspector Dermot Eric Craddock

Stories

“The Latke in the Library” – “The Body in the Library”

“Evil Under the Wick” – “Evil Under the Sun”

“And Then There Were Gornisht” – “And Then There Were None”

“The Olive Cracked” – “The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side”

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🌟 Find author Libi Astaire here:

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Goodreads

Website

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Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ♥️

 ⬇️ Important Links ⬇️  

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The Reading Rush 2020

It’s the end of July which means it’s time to do some reading & rushing for seven straight days. The Reading Rush, formerly known as BookTubeAThon, is an annual weeklong readathon that I’ve been participating in since 2017. There are reading challenges, virtual badges, social media reading sprints, giveaways, merch, and so much more. This is my 4th year, & I’m ready to make it the best one yet. Start scrolling to follow my reading journey for 7 days. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! 😉👍

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–   J  U L Y   2 0 T H   –

🏅 Earned the 2020 Reading Rush badge for participating in the readathon

✔️ Started & finished “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han | eBook on Scribd | 328 pages | Earned the Read a Book in a Genre You Want to Read More of badge

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–   J  U L Y   2 1 S T   –

✔️ Earned the Participated in a Twitter Sprint badge with Maureen Keavy

✔️ Started & finished “P.S. I Still Love You” by Jenny Han | eBook on Scribd | 312 pages | Earned the Read the First Book You Touch badge | I really wanted to continue this trilogy so I cheated a teeny tiny bit. I laid out four books on my bedroom floor & touched the one I wanted to read. Ariel & Raeleen said this prompt could be interpreted multiple ways so I used creative license. 😉

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

–   J  U L Y   2 2 N D   –

✔️ Earned the Participated in a Read In Live Show badge with hosts Ariel & Raeleen 📱

✔️ Started & finished “Always & Forever, Lara Jean” by Jenny Han | eBook on Scribd | 316 pages | Earned the Read a Book With a Cover That Matches the Color of Your Birthstone badge | This book cover has a pale yellow tint that matches honey topaz. If that’s not enough, topaz comes in multiple colors so take your pick. Another slight cheat! 🙈

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–   J  U L Y   2 3 R D   –

✔️ Started & finished “Stuart Little” by E.B. White | Leatherbound edition from Barnes & Noble | 145 pages | Earned the Read a Book That Inspired a Movie You’ve Already Seen badge

✔️ Earned the Read Over 1,000 Pages badge

✔️ Started & finished “Aquaman, Volume 1: The Trench” by Geoff Johns | Softcover Comic Book | 144 Pages | Earned the Read a Book Completely Outside Your House badge – I read in the shade on my patio. It was really nice until I got “attacked” by a fig beetle. I know they’re harmless, but I don’t care. Beetles freak me out! 😭

✔️ I gave “Aquaman, Volume 1: The Trench” 5 stars & earned the Read a Five Star Book badge

📖 Started “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie | Hardcover | 52 pages

📖   3 4 1   T O T A L   P A G E S   📖

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–   J  U L Y   2 4 T H   –

📖 Continued “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie | 57 pages

📖 Started “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer | Hardcover | 120 pages

📖   1 7 7   T O T A L   P A G E S   📖

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–   J  U L Y   2 5 T H   –

✔️ Finished “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer | 158 pages | Earned the Read a Book That Takes Place on a Different Continent Than Where You Live badge

✔️ Finished “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie | 104 pages | Earned the Read a Book That Starts With The Word “The” badge

✔️ Earned the Read Seven Books badge

📖   2 6 2   T O T A L   P A G E S   📖

🎉  I FINISHED ONE DAY EARLY ! !  🎉

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–   J  U L Y   2 6 T H   –

I wanted to participate in the final Instagram & Twitter reading sprints so I picked up “Capturing the Devil” by Kerri Maniscalco, which I started back in October 2019. I finished the last 175 pages & completed the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. 🎉

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R E A D I N G   S T A T S

1 Reading Rush

7 Days

1 Comic Book, Softcover

3 E-books

3 Physical Books, Hardcover

7 Books

1,911 Pages

13 Badges

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Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Post: O.W.L.S Readathon 2020 + Stay at Home Reading Rush

• Previous Video: Disney Plus Marathon Part 6 | December 7 – 11, 2019

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O.W.L.s Readathon 2020 + Stay At Home Reading Rush

It’s that time of year, time to take my Ordinary Wizarding Levels. This is an amazing Harry Potter-themed readathon run by G from Book Roast & AJ from @asjamestweets. Last year I vlogged so this year I’m blogging. I hope you enjoy following my monthlong reading journey! 📚

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRuZ4EBkiKA

Last year I picked a career, read the required books, & managed to also pass the remaining exams. This year I’m focusing on passing all 12 O.W.L.s rather than a specific career. Basically I’m indecisive & want to keep my options open. 😂 Here are the exams/reading prompts & my TBR:

🌀 Ancient Runes | Heart Rune: Read a book with a heart on the cover | I chose “The Night Country” by Melissa Albert which has an anatomically correct heart on the cover.

🧮 Arithmancy | Magical qualities of the number 2: Balance/Opposites – Read something outside your favorite genre. | I chose “The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller because I don’t often read comic books, although I do like them.

🔭 Astronomy | Night Classes: Read the majority of a book while it’s dark outside. | I chose “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins. I was actually supposed to read “The Hunger Games” for this prompt, but I forgot to read part of it at night so I switched it to my Care of Magical Creatures textbook.

🐉 Care of Magical Creatures | Hippogriffs: Read a book with a beaked creature on the cover. | I chose “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. My original textbook was “Catching Fire,” but as you already know I made a mistake & had to switch books.

✨ Charms | Lumos Maxima: Read a book with white on the cover | I chose “Every Crooked Path” by Steven James.

🧙🏼‍♂️ Defense Against the Dark Arts | Grindylows: Read a book set at sea or on a coast | I chose “The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude. The story is set in a fishing village on Cornwall’s Atlantic coast.

🔮 Divination | Third Eye: Assign numbers to your TBR & use a random number generator to pick your book | I assigned numbers to some of the Agatha Christie books I want to read & ended up with “At Bertram’s Hotel,” a book I previously DNFed (Did Not Finish). I’m ready to finish it!

🌱 Herbology | Mimbulus Mimbletonia: Read a book with a title that starts with the letter M | I chose “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins. By now you’ve surely figured out that I’m rereading the series in anticipation of the new prequel releasing in May. 🎉 

📜 History of Magic | Witch Hunts: Read a book featuring witches/wizards | I chose “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling because I’m in the mood for a series reread. Also, I’ve been dying to read my illustrated editions.

👱🏻‍♀️ Muggle Studies | Read a book from the perspective of a muggle (Contemporary) | I chose “Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James, the sequel to “Every Crooked Path.” Mr. James is one of my favorite crime authors!

🧪 Potions | Shrinking Solution: Read a book under 150 pages | I chose “Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond” by Adam Beechen which has 144 pages.

🐈 Transfiguration | Animagus Lecture: Read a book that involves shapeshifting | I chose “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, a classic I’m very interested in but haven’t read yet. SPOILER: Obviously the shapeshifting in this book has to do with Jekyll turning into Hyde through a concoction made in his science lab.

A P R I L   1

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 38 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 72 pages

📖 110 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2

📖 0 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   3

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 82 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 88 pages

📖 170 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   4

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 33 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 47 pages

📖 80 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   5

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 46 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 14 pages

📖 60 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   6

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 113 pages

✔️ “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 153 pages | I completed my Care of Magical Creatures exam. 🐉

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMCATh4VVz8

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 48 Pages

📖 314 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   7

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 93 pages

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W E E K   O N E   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 1

📝 Pages: 827

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A P R I L   8

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 61 pages

✔️ “The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller – 216 pages | I completed my Arithmancy exam. 🧮

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGKqkZ28cIA

📖 277 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   9

✔️ “Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond” by Adam Beechen – 144 pages | I completed my Potions exam. 🧪

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWs5GJXH__M

✔️ “Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 124 pages | I completed my Charms exam. ✨

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Te8ndpLzz0

✔️ “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson – 57 pages | I completed my Transfiguration exam. 🐈

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciJ0QH5fvXY&t=9s

📖 325 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 0

📖 0 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 1

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 7 Pages

A P R I L   1 2

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 50 Pages

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 102 pages

📖 152 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 3

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 45 Pages

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 101 pages

📖 146 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 4

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 102 Pages

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 100 pages

📖 202 Total Pages 📖

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W E E K   T W O   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 4

📝 Pages: 1,109

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A P R I L   1 5

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 11 Pages

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 3 pages

📖 14 Total Pages 📖

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*Note: From April 16th to 19th, I participated in the Stay Home Reading Rush. I picked books for my TBR that fulfilled prompts for both readathons. Multitasking at its finest!

My TBR:

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling | Set at a Hogwarts, a place I would love to visit & part of a magical series that will always put a smile on my face. I read the entire book in my bedroom, specifically in my bed.

“The Night Country” by Melissa Albert | Has a castle on the cover

A P R I L   1 6

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling – 37 pages

“The Night Country” by Melissa Albert – 48 pages

📖 85 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 7

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling – 69 pages

“The Night Country” by Melissa Albert – 39 pages

📖 108 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 8

✔️ “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling – 140 pages | I completed my History of Magic exam & 3 prompts for the Stay Home Reading Rush. 📜

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAHciSqi1-8

“The Night Country” by Melissa Albert – 153 pages

📖 293 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 9

✔️ “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 128 Pages | I completed my Astronomy exam. 🔭

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QGwmoIJKB8

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 3 pages

✔️ “The Night Country” by Melissa Albert – 86 pages | I completed my Ancient Runes exam & the last prompt for the Stay Home Reading Rush. 🌀

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-Zfa9Pmyx4&t=2151s

📖 217 Total Pages 📖

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A P R I L   2 0

✔️ “Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 256 pages | I completed my Muggle Studies exam. 👱🏻‍♀️

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5IyKqaplUc

A P R I L   2 1

“At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 33 pages

“The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 23 pages

📖 56 Total Pages 📖

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W E E K   T H R E E   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 4

📝 Pages: 1,029 

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A P R I L   2 2

“At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 90 pages

“The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 55 pages

📖 145 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2 3

“At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 21 pages

“The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 69 pages

📖 90 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2 4

“At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 5 pages

“The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 13 pages

📖 18 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2 5

✔️ “At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 102 pages | I completed my Defense Against the Dark Arts exam. 🧙🏼‍♂️

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPoaNHkY36U

✔️ “The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 126 pages | I completed my Divination exam. 🔮

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUKqsr05Az8&t=23s

📖 228 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2 6

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 15 pages

A P R I L   2 7

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 43 pages

A P R I L   2 8

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 159 pages

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W E E K   F O U R   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 2

📝 Pages: 698

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A P R I L   2 9

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 97 pages

A P R I L   3 0

✔️ “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 76 pages | I completed my Herbology exam. 🌱

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElG_yRX_ZqI

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O . W . L . S   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 12

📝 Pages: 3,836

1 Magical Readathon

30 Days, April 2020

1 Ravenclaw Student

2 Comic Books

1 E-Book

11 Physical Books, 5 Hardcover & 6 Paperback

3,836 Pages

12 Ordinary Wizarding Levels

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Post: The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender | March 2020

• Previous Video: Disney Plus Marathon Part 6 | December 7 – 11, 2019

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The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender | March 2020

Last weekend I participated in The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender, 48 hours of reading to take everyone’s mind off the Coronavirus pandemic currently affecting most of the world. It was also a contest to find out which team gets a 2-day lead during The Bookie Trials in July. I’m on Team Mage; the other 3 teams are the Bards, Outlaws, & Scribes. Start scrolling to see how I did. 🧙🏻‍♀️

🗓   Wednesday, March 25, 2020   🗓

1:50pm – I declared my TBR on Twitter & earned my Oath Maker badge.

Source: https://twitter.com/LaurenMichele93/status/1242916815132483584

🗓   Friday, March 27, 2020   🗓

4pm – I earned my Power Surge badge by watching the Starting Ceremony Live Show & participating in the reading sprints. I started “Maisie Dobbs” by Jacquie Winspear & “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE5oyp45vfk&t=5s

6pm – I posted my TBR & played This or That on my Instagram story.

6:30pm – I earned my Tournament Ready badge by participating in the Scavenger Hunt.

Source: https://twitter.com/TheBookieTrials/status/1243705603060641797

🎭   –   M A S K   –   🎭

🥇   –   G O L D   –   🥇

*Note: My photo came out a little blurry so I’m using one from the internet.

💦   –   W A T E R   –    🌊 

🔑    –   K E Y   –   🔑 

📖   –   B O O K   –   📚 

➡️   –   A R R O W   –   ⬅️

⛵️   –   B O A T   –   ⛵️ 

🐉   –   M Y T H I C A L   A N I M A L   –   🐉 

🕊   –   F E A T H E R   –   🕊

🍋   –   F R U I T   –   🍋

👠    –   S H O E   –   👠 

👑   –   C R O W N   –   👑 

🚪   –   D O O R   –   🚪 

🪑   –   T H R O N E   –   🪑 

🗡   –   S W O R D   –   🗡 

🌟 Wrap-Up: I finished the day with 24 pages read in “Maisie Dobbs” & 38 pages in “The ABC Murders,  a total of 62 pages.

🗓   Saturday, March 28, 2020   🗓

Noon: Things did not go as planned. Despite trying to get my mind off current events, I received news that the store I work at is closed until further notice & was encouraged to apply for Unemployment Insurance. My reading time turned into a long afternoon & evening spent crunching numbers for an application. I didn’t open a book until 11pm. 😴 💤

🌟 Wrap-Up: I stayed up until 3am & read 116 pages in “The ABC Murders.

🗓   Sunday, March 29, 2020   🗓

9am – Running on 6 hours of sleep, I was determined to finish 1 book. A few hours later, I reached my goal & earned 3 badges: Clairvoyance, Magi Might, & Tome Champion.

Noon – 4pm: I wanted to attempt to finish a 2nd book, but the application process I started on Saturday got in the way. I turned into the Hulk & had a meltdown so it was for the best that I stepped away from reading. I did, however, earn my Master Your Craft badge by watching one of my favorite YouTubers: BooksAndLala.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFdJ0tSlDdA

4pm48 hours later, the readathon was over. 🎉

🌟 Wrap-Up: I read 24 pages in “Maisie Dobbs” & finished “The ABC Murders. I read 247 pages total & finished 1 book, earning 7 out of 8 badges.

✔️ Oathmaker – Share Your TBR – I declared my TBR on Twitter.

✔️ Tournament Ready – Join a Competition – Scavenger Hunt

✔️ Power Surge – Complete a 2-Hour Sprint – Starting Ceremony

✔️ Tome Champion – Finish One Book – “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie

❌ Expansive Lore – Discover a New World – “Maisie Dobbs” by Jacqueline Winspear

✔️ Master Your Craft – Watch a Favorite YouTuber – BooksAndLala

✔️ Clairvoyance – Read a 5-Star Prediction – “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie

✔️ Magi Might – Read a Book With Purple on the Cover – “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The Results:

4th PlaceTeam ScribeAverage score of 6.99 & an average page count of 537

3rd Place: Team Bard | Average score of 7.14 & an average page count of 537

2nd Place: Team Mage | Average score of 7.16 & an average page count of 543

1st Place: Team Outlaw | Average score of 7.20 & an average page count of 632

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

This weekend didn’t go as planned, & my team didn’t win, but after a horrible reading slump dating back to 2019, I was happy to finish at least one book. I can’t wait for the big event this summer.  I vlogged last year so I think I’m going to blog this year. See you in July! ☀️

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Game of Thrones Rewatch

❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ❄️

Leading up to the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere, I was determined to rewatch seasons one through seven. I meant to start on April 1st but actually started on the 2nd. For your blog post viewing pleasure, I copied all of my Facebook updates down below. Enjoy!

❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ❄️

⚠️ S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

⚠️  S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

⚠️ S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

⚠️  S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

⚠️ S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

April 1 

8:48am – To all my fellow GOT fans spending the next 2 weeks binging seasons 1-7: May the odds be ever in your favor! 👸🏻

April 2 | S1 E1-6 ( 6 episodes, finished after midnight )

10:48am – Even though I love Daenerys, I think I’ve known all along that my heart belongs to House Stark. ❄️ 🐺 ❄️

11:16am – The W O R S T part of a GOT rewatch is Joffrey. 🤢🤮

2:19pm – This time around I’m trying really hard to keep track of GOT families & historical events. 3 episodes in, I’ve already been on google a billion times! 🤣

4:34pm – Let’s take a moment to appreciate that Sansa started out annoying & ended up being pretty darn BA. I am HERE for 2 strong Stark Girls! 🔥

4:41pm – Popular Opinion: Tyrion is literally the O N L Y bright spot in House Lannister. 🦁

April 3 | S1 E7-10, S2 E1 ( 5 episodes, finished after midnight ) 

1:40pm – GOT lured us into a false sense of security by killing Viserys first. No one liked him! Now, 7 seasons later, we’ve all mourned at least one beloved character. 💔

3:48pm – The 2nd time around actually hurts worse because now I recognize all the foreshadowing. I’m doing a lot of emotional preparation for the end of season 1. 😭💔

5:43pm – WHOA!! Now I understand the signifance of Aemon Targaryen’s interactions with Jon Snow. 😳

6:07pm – I’ve had an up & down relationship with Jamie Lannister. At this moment, I’m feeling no mercy & wondering if the Starks should have just killed him when they had the chance. 🤷🏻‍♀️

6:11pm – I knew episode 9 was coming, but now it’s actually happening . . . SOMEONE HOLD MY HAND!! 😭💔

April 4 | S2 E2-4 ( 3 episodes, finished after midnight ) 

11:53pm – Season 2, Episode 4 a.k.a. the birth of Arya’s kill list! 🐺

April 5 | S2 E5 ( 1 episode, finished after midnight )

N / A

April 6 | S2 E6-7 ( 2 episodes, finished after midnight )

N / A

April 7 | S2 E8-10, S3 E1-5 ( 8 episodes, finished after midnight )

1:11pm – I will probably reach the Red Wedding tonight or tomorrow morning. The 1st time gutted me. This time around I know what’s coming, & I’m still upset. 😭

1:23pm – (S2 E10) The scene when Daenerys walks into the “Iron Throne room” full of snow with a torch . . . that is how you do symbolism! 🔥 Fire & Ice ❄️Also, when she walks “outside,” I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be The Wall. More symbolism, more genius, such foreshadowing! 😱

1:34pm – Remember when season 2 ended with WHITE WALKERS EVERYWHERE?!? That was fun. 😭

April 8 | S3 E6-10, S4 E1-2 ( 7 episodes, finished after midnight )

2:42pm – Very few shows can take my emotions on a rollercoaster ride like GOT. One episode I’m indifferent to Theon Greyjoy, the next I absolutely despise him. Next thing I know, I want Ramsay Bolton dead & Theon safe and sound. It’s a lot to handle, and yet I wouldn’t change a thing. 🤷🏻‍♀️

3:12pm – For a period of time, it seems like Margaery’s influence might be softening Joffrey. And then in S3 E6 he shoots Ros with his crossbow & nonchalantly walks away. Does he die soon?? I need that to happen NOW. 😭

4:35pm – Davos learning to read is too pure for HBO television. 😭❤️

5:40pm – I made it to S3 E9. *DEEP BREATHS* I knew this was inevitable. The time has come to experience the Red Wedding all over again. H E L P 😭

6:02pm – Jon Snow being in the same place as his brothers/cousins & not even knowing breaks my heart. 💔

6:32pm – Knew what was going to happen. Still cried my eyes out. One of the MOST gut-wrenching episodes in television history! 💔 #RedWedding

12:46am – Joffrey is FINALLY dead. Now I can go to sleep. 😴 BTW, I’ve made it to S4 E3 in 7 days. 👍🏻

April 9 | S4 E3-10, S5 E1 ( 9 episodes, finished after midnight )

2:52pm – Olenna Tyrell did what needed to be done, & I appreciate her for that. MVP! MVP! MVP! 🎉

4:03pm – Here’s the deal: I’ve realized my allegiance lies with House Stark. I wouldn’t mind any of the remaining family sitting on the Iron Throne. That being said, their purpose has always been ruling The North, never the entirety of Westeros. I would be THRILLED if Danaerys ended up on the Iron Throne & established a strong relationship with the Starks ruling The North. There’s my take! ❄️🐺🔥

4:51pm – When Bran & Jon don’t reunite ➡️NNNNNOOOOO!!!!! 😭

5:20pm – S4 E6 – The dragons are getting bigger! 🐉

8:19pm – Oberyn would still be alive as would those who died in his wake if he hadn’t been so emotional during the fight. He. Had. The. Mountain. Defeated. What a shame! 😔

10:28pm – I REALLY don’t want to like Jaime, but his relationship with Tyrion in season 4 puts me in a gray area. He saves his life! 🤷🏻‍♀️

April 10 | S5 E2-7 ( 6 episodes, finished after midnight )

10:06pm – I hate to brag about my gift, but I immediately knew Dorne is inspired by Spain. I felt it in my Mediterranean soul! 🌴 🇪🇸 🌊

12:26am – The thing is, Joffrey is a horrible person but in an annoying way that makes me want to meet him in a dark alley. Ramsay Bolton is on another level. He makes me scared to go outside alone! Joffrey is awful, but during this rewatch I’m realizing that Ramsay is definitely worse. Every time he abuses Sansa, my skin crawls, & I see red. Spoiler Alert: Both of them are now burning in hell. 😈🔥

April 11 | S5 E8-10, S6 E1-4 ( 7 episodes, finished after midnight )

4:26pm – That first white walker battle at Hardhome is just . . . 😱 There is a zombie waterfall! 🧟‍♂️

4:45pm – S5 E8 Hardhome – What a masterpiece! Props to Kit Harrington & Kristofer Hivju for their acting. The emotions are palpable as they float away from the battle & deal with the magnitude of what has begun: a war with the dead! Also, the creepy ending is both brilliant & bone chilling, the newly dead rising to join the Night King’s army. 💀

5:15pm – Shireen’s death is one of the saddest in seasons 1-7. I always despised Melisandre, but this is the moment I wanted Stannis dead as well. What a disgusting excuse for a human being & father! 😡

7:39pm – Brienne & Pod coming to the rescue of Sansa & Theon is a freaking M O O D. 🔥😈🔥

April 12 – 6 Episodes | S6 E5-10, S7 E1

3:56pm – If we’re discussing the saddest GOT deaths, Hodor is near the top of the list. 💔

4:44pm – 🐉 FULL. GROWN. DRAGON. 🔥

7:43pm – Watching both Hodor & Rickon die in one day is too much to handle. Pray for me! 😭🙏🏻

8:02pm – Ramsay’s dead. I feel better now. 😈🔥

9:35pm – Seeing Cersei on the Iron Throne makes my blood boil. If a dragon eats her, it will be too kind a death. Remove her crown, whatever it takes! ❄️🐺🔥🐉

April 13 | S7 E2-7 ( 6 episodes, finished after midnight )

5:11pm

Missandei: “You stand in the presence of Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, rightful heir to the Iron Throne, rightful Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains.”

Davos: “This is Jon Snow. He’s King in the North.”

Still one of my favorite GOT moments. 🤣

5:12pm – I FREAKING love Tyrion! 💘 His humor is a bright spot on a very intense show. 🦁

5:40pm – We should all agree on this: the moody, holier than thou three-eyed raven is not our favorite version of Bran. 🙄

11:36pm – Please take a moment to appreciate that Uncle Benjen was half dead & exhausted but stayed alive long enough to save the lives of two nephews. What. A. Hero. 😭👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

11:49pm – Remember when the biggest threat was dead people? Additionally they have bears & giants & horses, oh my! Those were the days. S7 E6 changed all that for the worse. Now they have a ZOMBIE DRAGON!! 😱

12:10am – A zombie running at Cersei? Replay! 😂

12:56am

Bran: I became the three-eyed raven.

Sam: Oooh! . . . I don’t know what that means.

None of us do!! 🤣

1:17am – 🎉 I did it! I finished Game of Thrones seasons 1-7 in 12 days. 🏅 IIIIIIIIIII AM THE CHAAAMPION MY FRIIIEEENDS!!! 🏆 

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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2017 Wrap Up | 2018 Reading Challenge

With twelve minutes to spare in 2017, I completed my Goodreads goal of reading 50 books. Thanks to the diversity of those books, I also completed the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. Let’s recap the categories accompanied by detailed & extensive lists:

📚 A Book you Chose for the Cover – Before we dive into the list, I want to clarify that I define a cover buy as a book I picked up because the cover caught my eye, which doesn’t  mean I didn’t look at the synopsis:

📖 My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt De La Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, & Stephanie Perkins | I almost didn’t buy this book, but I couldn’t get the cover out of my head.

📖 The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudis

📖 Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet

📖 Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis

📚 A Book With a Reputation for Being Un-Put-Down-Able

And Then There Were None & Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie | Some people might also include Death on the Nile, myself included.

📖 Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

📖 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

📖 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, …Chamber of Secrets, …Prisoner of Azkaban, & …Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

📖 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

📖 Cinder & Heartless by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

📖 The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop, & The Queen by Steven James ( bestselling author & series )

📚 A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Never Been but Would Like to Visit

🇪🇬 Egypt – Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, Crocodile on the Sandbank & The Curse of Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens,  And Then There Were NoneCrooked House, & The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis, Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon,  & Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland – The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

📚 A Book You’ve Already Read – I did a lot of rereading last year:

📖 Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories & Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

📖 Kristy’s Great Idea, Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, & The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin

📖 Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

📖 Mind Over Monsters, To Catch a Vampire, & Death Takes a Holiday by Jennifer Harlow

📖 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

📖 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

📖 Tutu Deadly & Tapped Out by Natalie M. Roberts

📖 The Rook, The Knight, & The Bishop by Steven James

📖 White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter

📚 A Juicy Memoir In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett. The ending made me cry. No lie!

📚 A Book About Books or ReadingThe Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan & The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

📚 A Book in a Genre You Usually Avoid – These aren’t all genres I avoid on purpose; I just don’t reach for them often:

📖 My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt De La Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, & Stephanie Perkins ( contemporary )

📖 Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff ( science fiction )

📖 In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett ( memoir)

📖 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern ( fantasy )

📖 Mind Over Monsters, To Catch a Vampire, & Death Takes a Holiday by Jennifer Harlow ( supernatural )

📖 The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan ( contemporary )

📖 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, …Chamber of Secrets, …Prisoner of Azkaban, & …Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling ( fantasy )

📖 Cinder & Glitches by Marissa Meyer ( science fiction )

📚 A Book You Don’t Want to Admit You’re Dying to ReadHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. I’m not embarrassed by this series but rather ashamed that I didn’t pick it up sooner. I also read …Chamber of Secrets, …Prisoner of Azkaban, & …Goblet of Fire.

📚 A Book in the Backlist of a New Favorite AuthorPearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar

📚 A Book Recommended by Someone With Great Taste – These are recommendations by bookstagrammers, booktubers & friends:

📖 Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

📖 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

📖 Night by Elie Wiesel

📖 Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon

📖 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, …Chamber of Secrets, …Prisoner of Azkaban, & …Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

📖 Cinder & Heartless by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

📚 A Book You Were Excited to Borrow or Buy but Haven’t Read Yet – Though I’m excited about every book I purchase, this list includes the titles I’d been dying to read but had yet to do so:

📖 And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

📖 The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

📖 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

📖 Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

📖 Heartless by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

📖 The Queen by Steven James

📚 A Book About a Subject or Topic You Already Love – Another thorough list:

📖 And Then There Were None, Crooked House, Death on the Nile, Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories, & Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie ( mystery )

📖 The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie ( Christmas & mystery )

📖 The Unexpected Guest by Agatha Christie & Charles Osborne ( mystery )

📖 My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt De La Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, & Stephanie Perkins ( the holidays )

📖 The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudis ( crime )

📖 In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett ( The Carol Burnett Show )

📖 The Mystery of the Stone Tiger by Carolyn Keene ( mystery )

📖 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ( Christmas )

📖 Crocodile on the Sandbank & The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters ( Egyptology & mystery )

📖 Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet ( mystery )

📖 Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire ( I already love the musical! )

📖 The Postcard Killers by James Patterson ( crime )

📖 Kingdom Come by Jane Jensen ( Amish life & crime )

📖 The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan ( books & reading )

📖 Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon ( mystery )

📖 Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis ( mystery )

📖 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder ( pioneer life )

📖 Cinder & Glitches by Marissa Meyer ( fairytales )

📖 Heartless by Marissa Meyer ( Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland )

📖 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ( books & reading )

📖 Tutu Deadly & Tapped Out by Natalie M. Roberts ( dance & mystery )

📖 The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop, & The Queen by Steven James ( crime )

📖 Land of Silence & Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar ( Bible times )

📖 Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delaney ( Christmas & mystery )

📖 White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter ( Amish life & Christmas )

Total: 12 Categories & 50 Books

Here are links to my reading updates & 2017 Goodreads Challenge:

2016 Wrap Up & 2017 Reading Challenges ( V I D E O )

January Reading Wrap Up | 2017 Reading Challenge Update

BookTube-A-Thon

October 2017 Wrap Up | November 2017 TBR

Murder on the Orient Express Vlog

November Wrap + December TBR

📚 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge 📚 

Due to reading fatigue, I am not officially committing to the 2018 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. However, I’m not giving up completely. I may join at any point during the year so I’m leaving the categories here for reference.

📚 A Classic You’ve Been Meaning to ReadA Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

📚 A Book Recommended by Someone With Great Taste – TBD

📚 A Book in TranslationThe Time in Between by Maria Duenas

📚 A Book Nominated for an Award in 2018 – TBD

📚 A Book Of Poetry, a Play, or an Essay CollectionRomeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

📚 A Book You Can Read in a DayLittle House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

📚 A Book That’s More Than 500 PagesHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

📚 A Book by a Favorite AuthorMurder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

📚 A Book Recommended by a Librarian or Indie BooksellerThe Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

📚 A Banned BookTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

📚 A Memoir, Biography, or Book of Creative NonfictionTalking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham

📚 A Book by an Author of a Different Race, Ethnicity, or Religion Than Your OwnHarvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar

Last but not least, I pledged to read 55 books on Goodreads. I’m not going to push myself because reading should be fun, not a competition. Regardless of whether or not I read a certain number of books, I’m doing something I love. Happy reading!

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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The Last Jedi | Blogmas 2017

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ DISCLAIMER: My intention is not to spoil the movie for you, but spoilers are hard to avoid once you’ve seen and want to talk about it. You have been warned! ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ 

I recently saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi and loved it, but I’m still dealing with a lot of feelings. The severity of my emotions caught me off guard, and it wasn’t just because of Carrie Fisher’s death, although that sadness is still very fresh. This is the end of an era, a transition from the old to the new. I’m excited about the next generation of characters, but that doesn’t make the change any easier. When the twins reunited, Luke said the words “No one’s ever really gone” as he placed Han’s dice in Leia’s hand. From that point on, I couldn’t stop crying. That one poignant moment sums up my experience with this film. I know that’s a really short statement about a really big movie, but I honestly can’t bring myself to say anything more.

❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄

➡️   ➡️   ➡️   A R T M A S   ⬅️   ⬅️   ⬅️

F o u r   D a y s   U n t i l   C h r i s t m a s . . .

❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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