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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Oscars 2015 Part II – Best Dressed

Here it is readers: Oscars 2015 Part II.  Tonight I will be discussing the top five dresses that caught my eye on the red carpet.  The following information and images are brought to you by the New York Times.  Let’s skip the chit-chat and get things started counting down from the #5.

Oscars 2015 Jennifer Lopez

Designer: Elie Saab.

Celebrity: Jennifer Lopez

The warm nude color is gorgeous against Miss Lopez’s skin.  Although I approve of the monochromatic details and minimal styling, this was not my #1 pick because I am not a fan of wide V necklines.  In my opinion, the neckline ruins an otherwise perfect Saab creation.

Oscars 2015 Anna Kendrick

Designer: Thakoon Panichgul

Celebrity: Anna Kendrick

This gown missed the top spot because of simplicity.  I find no fault in simplicity, but many of the red carpet looks this year were eye-catching because of the details.  However, Anna can do no wrong in my eyes.  The pink hue and jewelled collar, appropriately accentuated by soft neutral makeup, make her skin glow.  She did more than enough to make my top five.

Oscars 2015 Emma Stone

Designer: Elie Saab

Celebrity: Emma Stone

I am not a fan of the yellow-green color family therefore this dress is not my “Best Dressed” pick.  However, Miss Stone earned her #3 spot by miraculously pulling off this color and embodying the style and grace of “Old Hollywood.”  The styling– side curls, coral lips, and matching bracelets –was well done and assisted in making the color easier to accept.

Oscars 2015 Felicity Jones

Designer: Alexander McQueen

Celebrity: Felicity Jones

First of all, I am thrilled to see Felicity evolve from female lead in the British television film “Northanger Abbey” to Oscar-nominated actress in “The Theory of Everything.”  She was gorgeous then, and she is gorgeous now.  The color of the gown is surprisingly flattering.  It is light gray, and yet shine and a hint of periwinkle keep Miss Jones’ skin looking alive rather than washed out.  The detailing in the bodice is what edged out the competition for this #2 spot.  The color reminds me of space, and the bodice accents remind me of the ocean.  In a nutshell, this look is a chic ocean/outer-space hybrid.

Drum roll please!!  I am giving the “Best Dressed” title to…

Oscars 2015, Lupita Nyong'o

Designer: Francisco Costa, Calvin Klein Collection

Celebrity: Lupita Nyong’o

I stand and applaud Ms. Costa.  APPROXIMATELY SIX THOUSAND PEARLS!!!  I think we can all agree that not many people could wear this gown and pull it off effortlessly.  Mission accomplished Lupita!  The silhouette is elegant, and the pearls make Miss Nyong’o’s skin glow.

If you would like to see other red carpet looks, here is a link to the New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/red-carpet-watch/oscars-2015/felicity-jones

I hope you have enjoyed my two-part recap of the 87th Academy Awards because I had a lot of fun writing it.  Perhaps I will do this again next year and add on more information such as a movie review and/or men’s fashion.  Until then, stay classy readers!

– Lauren Michele :)

Oscars 2015 Part I: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/oscars-2015-part-i-and-the-oscar-goes-to/

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Oscars 2015 Part I – And The Oscar Goes To

Oscars 2015(Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Wxtzw0UVkcw/VMO4JhBZANI/AAAAAAAAMrc/_5CAcxONTrs/s1600/poster1.jpg)

The 87th Academy Awards took place last night, and all the media outlets are buzzing about the movies that got snubbed.  This year’s tight race was made up of outstanding nominees; no matter who won what category, the other nominees would have been snubbed in the eyes of the general public.  Congratulations to both the winners and nominees!!  Here is a complete list of winners, courtesy of ABC News and Washington Post:

– Actor: Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

– Actress: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

– Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”

– Animated Feature Film: “Big Hero 6”

– Animated Short Film: “Feast”

– Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman”

– Costume Design: Milena Canonero, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

– Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”

– Documentary Feature Film: “Citizenfour”

– Documentary Short Film: “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”

– Feature Film: “Birdman”

– Film Editing: Tom Cross, “Whiplash”

– Foreign Language Feature Film: “Ida”, Poland

– Live Action Short Film: “The Phone Call”

– Makeup and Hairstyling: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

– Original Score: Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

– Original Screenplay: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, “Birdman”

– Original Song:Common and John Legend, “Glory” from “Selma”

– Production Design: Adam Stockhausen (Production Design) and Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration), “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

– Sound Editing: Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, “American Sniper”

– Sound Mixing: Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley, “Whiplash”

– Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

– Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

– Visual Effects: Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher, “Interstellar”

If you would like to see the nominees in each category, ABC News has that covered: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/oscar-winners-full-list-2015/story?id=29148491

If you are like me and have, unfortunately, not seen any of the nominated films, here are the trailers for all the winners:

“American Sniper” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MItGoIxoVGk&index=14&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS

“Big Hero 6” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcqbqeXIjZ8&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS&index=2

“Birdman” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jAfBd3g6bA&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS&index=7

“Boyhood” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiDztHS3Wos&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS&index=9

“Citizenfour” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiGwAvd5mvM&index=4&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS

“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSxt1GNQX-c

“Feast” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAIf4aIOYyY

“Ida” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JIXxo8qUn0&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS&index=3

“Interstellar” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LqzF5WauAw

“Selma” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6t7vVTxaic

“Still Alice” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrXrZ5iiR0o&index=10&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgGXL5lJ-6g&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS&index=8

“The Imitation Game” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuPZUUED5uk&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS&index=12

“The Phone Call” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0NggvtmNeg

“The Theory of Everything” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUayjO_KgsQ&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS

“Whiplash” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHDEZXoh4-c&index=11&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS

Stay tuned for Oscars 2015 Part II, which will be posted tomorrow.  I am warning you now: The topic is my best dressed pick as well as honorable mentions.  I am only discussing the actresses, not the actors.

“I have a theory that movies operate on the level of dreams, where you dream yourself.”  – Meryl Streep

– Lauren Michele :)

Oscars 2015 Part II: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/oscars-2015-part-ii-best-dressed/

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