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

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

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Riverdance Turns 25

I couldn’t let today pass without acknowledging the 25th anniversary of a show that changed my life: Riverdance. The stage show began as a 7-minute act performed during an intermission at the Eurovision Song Contest on April 30, 1994. The performance was a smash hit with the audience, causing a chain reaction that breathed new life into Irish dancing around the world. The great minds behind this phenomenon are composer Bill Whelan, director John McColgan, featured dancers Jean Butler and Michael Flatley who also contributed choreography, producer Moya Doherty, and, of course, the rest of the hardworking crew & talented company of dancers.

Four years after Riverdance made its grand debut, I received a VHS from a family friend, a tape of the show during its 1995 debut run in Dublin. Four-year-old me had no idea my life was about to change. I can’t even tell you how many times that tape played while I leaped & twirled across the living room floor. It wasn’t long before I was taking my first tap class. Did I become an Irish dancer? No. Did I bring every ounce of passion I possessed as a proud Irish girl into ballet, jazz, modern, & tap classes for 12 1/2 years? YES I DID!!! 🔥

It’s hard to explain how much this show means to me, but believe me when I say it holds a very VERY special place in my heart. It was not only my introduction to the dance culture in both Ireland & Spain but also my introduction to dance. I lost my passion & did not pursue a career as a dancer, but I never lost my love for all things dance. To this day, I drag my dad to the theater if Riverdance visits our neck of the woods (he knows he loves it!). I’ve seen it five times, & I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

To the Riverdance companies & crews: From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you have done. Happy Anniversary! I am looking forward to 25 more years of this special show!

Do yourself a favor & watch the moment when it all began:

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

P.S. Shout out to María Pagés, the original flamenco dancer in Riverdance & my Spanish queen since the age of 4. 🇪🇸

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rk6LYFwP8lE

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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!!! 🏆 

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

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• Previous Post: 2018 Reading Wrap-Up

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Aquaman Review

I’m starting the new year with a review of Aquaman, my family’s 2018 Christmas movie. Even though I’m a “DC Girl For Life,” I still have the ability to be constuctively critical. In short, I loved this movie. In depth, there are a few things that bothered me:

  1. Some of the camera angles & shots took me out of the movie. The beach training scene between Arthur and Vulko involved back and forth shots of both characters straight on. It felt odd and a bit too melodramatic. In the Italy scene with Arthur & Mera, the atmosphere dramatically changed to a cheesy rom-com and felt out of place in an adventurous superhero movie.

2. Speaking of the rom-com scene, that brings us to the terrible soundtrack. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I specifically dislike the songs from the Black Manta costume creation scene (“It’s No Good,” Depeche Mode), the Italy rom-com scene (“She’s A Mystery To Me,” Roy Orbison), and the infamous Pitbull cover of Toto’s “Africa.” I should clarify that those first two songs aren’t bad; they just felt out of place. The Pitbull song is the one I hate with a vengeance, with or without the movie. All that being said, the score is amazing, and I really like the end credits song “Everything I Need” by Skylar Grey which fits right in with the tone of the movie’s finale.

Let’s end with two MAJOR positives:

  1. I  teared up twice: once during the title sequence from pure, unadulterated joy & again when Arthur Curry is proclaimed king of Atlantis because FINALLY we have the Aquaman we deserve on the big screen.

2. My dad loved the movie! You definitely won’t understand why that is such a big deal so let me provide some clarity. He enjoys movies like Darkest Hour and The Post. Superhero blockbusters are usually a little too weird & rarely impress him as great films. I 100% expected him to either fall asleep or walk out of the theater unimpressed. Shock of all shocks, he stayed awake the whole time and loved both cast and plot. 😱

I can understand why length was an issue for some people. Right before the finale, it started to feel like the story was being stretched out . . . and then BAM! It ended with an E P I C fight; I teared up; and all was forgotten and forgiven. Lastly, I want to give the cast & crew a round of applause. Director James Wan brought Atlantis to life which is no small feat considering you can’t actually film an entire movie underwater. There wasn’t even one weak link in the cast; I was impressed with every single performance, and I can’t wait to see more.

This is a DC film I can stand behind, and I think my fellow fans should do the same. Moving forward, we need to focus on the positive & support the parts of our cinematic universe that we love. Things can only get better from here because the casts & crews are experimenting, learning, and growing. So what if DC is darker and/or weirder?! At least we’re daring to be different!

GO.  SEE.  AQUAMAN.  🌊

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wcj6SrX4zw

🌊 🦀 🐠 🧜🏼‍♀️ 🌊 🐢 🐟 🧜🏻 🌊🐬 🌊 👑 👊🏼 💥 🔱 🌊 🐙 🌊 🧜🏾‍♀️ 🐳 🦑 🌊 🧜🏿‍♀️ 🦐 🦈 🌊 

Check out some awesome Aquaman art  ➡️  H  E  R  E  ⬅️

🌊 🦀 🐠 🧜🏼‍♀️ 🌊 🐢 🐟 🧜🏻 🌊🐬 🌊 👑 👊🏼 💥 🔱 🌊 🐙 🌊 🧜🏾‍♀️ 🐳 🦑 🌊 🧜🏿‍♀️ 🦐 🦈 🌊 

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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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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

I have waited all year for this movie! Part of my birthday celebration was seeing the first showing at my local theater. As a passionate Agatha Christie fan, I have thoughts both good and bad so settle in for a semi-bumpy Orient Express ride.

Many people had doubts about Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of beloved detective Hercule Poirot. If you’re a doubter, I want to put your mind at ease. Mr. Branagh is hands down the best part of the movie. He kept the spirit of the Poirot we all know and love while adding humor and his own unique touch to the character. He is a constant source of smiles and laughs, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Overall the ensemble cast did not disappoint. Johnny Depp is fantastic as always (SPOILER) even though his part is short-lived. Michelle Pfeiffer and Penelope Cruz have some shining moments, and Dame Judi Dench’s monologue about little Daisy Armstrong made me tear up. Lucy Boynton and Sergei Polunin’s respective portrayals of Count & Countess Andrenyi are dark, a hidden gem that is impressive considering their inexperience. Josh Gad was good for the most part, but the chase scene involving Poirot felt awkward. The conflict between Hercule and Dr. Arbuthnot also felt clumsy. Daisy Ridley acted well, but I did not like Mary Debenham’s demeanor. In the book, she is polite and reserved which leads Poirot to suspect she might be the mastermind behind the murder; his suspicion makes little sense in the movie because Mary is much too bright and happy.

The book’s methodical layout is not perfectly suited for a movie. Some may find the added action irritating, but I understand the necessity to shake up the format onscreen. That being said, some of the clues got lost in the shuffle due to a speedier pace. As far as I remember, all the clues from the book were included, but they weren’t given the time they needed to simmer and encourage the audience to consider possible outcomes. Perhaps the extra, non-book stuff could’ve been trimmed to accommodate character interviews and clue discoveries, making the final reveal much more grand than it actually was. I also want to mention that I don’t remember Biniamino Marquez being named at the end. (SPOILER) The twist relies on the shock of twelve people being involved, each with a specific connection to the Armstrong family. The cast may seem large, but those who know the story well won’t miss anything, even if only one name is passed over. This goes back to details being muddled at the end. Murder on the Orient Express is one of the greatest stories ever written in the mystery genre. If you don’t lay it out correctly, you spoil the thrill and fun of the twists and turns.

I love two-thirds of the movie, but the ending is a disappointment. Things can surely get better from here so I hope Kenneth Branagh is giving the chance to continue the series, perhaps with a book that has less adaptations. I truly believe he can do great things with Poirot. The final scene hints at a sequel based on Death on the Nile. How great would that be?! 😄

🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boSSSZpAkyw&t=25s

🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Anne with an “E”

Ever since the day I found out about the CBC/Netflix adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, I have been skeptical. I grew up with the Sullivan trilogy; if anyone asks what my favorite movie is, I answer with those three films. They are very near and dear to my heart, and it is difficult for me to accept anything else. The new series came to Netflix on May 12th. I tried numerous times to watch it but couldn’t bring myself to press play. I realize that I sound like a total drama queen, but keep in mind that I have always been compared to Anne who is the actual queen of drama. Fast forward to July 4th. I finally watched the first episode… and then the second episode… and then the third… two days later I’ve finished all seven, and I NEED MORE!!! Yes it is different from the 1985 movie, and no that is not a bad thing. The first episode was difficult to watch because I could only picture the Sullivan cast, but once I relaxed and and allowed myself to accept the changes, I was fine. Most of my favorite moments involved Anne & Gilbert and Rachel & Marilla. I hope the series continues for a very long time because I can already picture myself watching the cast grow with the story. Fellow AOGG fans, I understand the trepidation, but change isn’t always bad. If you haven’t watched Anne With an E, I highly recommend you give it a chance.

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– Lauren Michele <3

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A Series of Unfortunate Events | Friday the 13th

• Don’t get excited because the worst show ever is now available on Netflix.  Don’t watch it because you will immediately regret the decision •

• 👧🏻 • 👦🏻 • 👶🏼 • 👁️ • 👧🏻 • 👦🏻 • 👶🏼 • 👁️ • 👧🏻 • 👦🏻 • 👶🏼 • 👁️ • 👧🏻 • 👦🏻 • 👶🏼 • 👁️ • 👧🏻 • 👦🏻 • 👶🏼 • 👁️ • 👧🏻 •

I recently read A Series of Unfortunate Events for the first time since my childhood and was shocked at the effect it had on me.  The Baudelaires suffer one misfortune after another without respite.  I’m not talking about stubbed toes and stuffy noses but rather abuse, deception, hunger, and loss among other things.  The story was much more grim and depressing than I remembered.  More than once I had to resist reading before bed because I found my dreams turning into graphic nightmares.  I tell you this not to deter your interests from the show but rather to prove the point that books are powerful.  I am a twenty-three year old adult, and the content of a middle grade series still affected my mind and imagination.  I find the plot of Lemony Snicket’s tale to be both horrifying and brilliant.  It introduces kids to new vocabulary (I could go on and on about the intricate use of wordplay) and exposes them to bleak circumstances that are not at all far-fetched from reality.  It also teaches the importance of telling the truth no matter what.  Time after time the Baudelaires’ warnings about Count Olaf and his sidekicks are ignored by the adult characters, and one by one the doubters suffer the consequences.  Life doesn’t get any easier, but the siblings continue to tell the truth and hope that eventually someone will listen.  The books also deal with the difference between good and evil.  The Baudelaires are seemingly good, but they find themselves compromising on more than one occasion to fight against various enemies.  There is an inner struggle to decide whether or not they are any better than their main nemesis Count Olaf.  I don’t think there is a simple answer to such a question, but I will say that these thought-provoking subjects are what shape young readers into intelligent adults.

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

I hope I haven’t scared you off!  The Baudelaire saga is sad but also quirky and funny.  I’m so excited to watch this new adaptation, and I hope you will give it a chance as well.  There are thirteen books in the series, and each book will play out over the span of two one-hour episodes, twenty-six episodes and fifty-two hours total.  The first installment contains eight episodes and covers the first four books: The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window, & The Miserable Mill.  Personally, I didn’t hate the 2004 movie adaptation.  I loved the cast!  However, I have to agree with the main criticism that the story felt rushed; too many books were squeezed into one film.  The Netflix format will allow each book to play out at a much more natural pace.  Enough chit chat!!  Go watch the show!!

• 👧🏻 • 👦🏻 • 👶🏼 • 👁️ • 👧🏻 • 👦🏻 • 👶🏼 • 👁️ • 👧🏻 • 👦🏻 • 👶🏼 • 👁️ • 👧🏻 • 👦🏻 • 👶🏼 • 👁️ • 👧🏻 • 👦🏻 • 👶🏼 • 👁️ • 👧🏻 •

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– Lauren Michele <3

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You Can Make a Difference

🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍

You might be thinking “I don’t hold a position of power.  How can I be effective and help eradicate prejudice?”  You can talk and keep the conversation going in a civil manner.  You can also take action.  That doesn’t mean becoming a one-person revolution.  It can be as simple as looking someone in the eyes and smiling.  I want to share a story with you that furthers my point.  Read until the end and keep an open mind. :)

Thank you NikkieTutorials for sharing!  Why is Natasha Howell’s story important?  The tragedies that have taken place are heartbreaking, and our reactions dictate the future.  Reacting in anger and causing a divide changes nothing.  If each and every one of us does our part to treat people with kindness, those small puzzle pieces will create a chain reaction and fit together to create something big.  Perhaps I’m a bit naive, but I truly believe the people who care about unity outnumber those who allow prejudice to affect their attitude.  You might be one person in a big world, but it is better to make a difference in at least one person’s life rather than stand by and do nothing at all.

🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍

I want to share a video that was posted on Facebook today.  It made me cry, but it also made me happy and hopeful.  You might know Candace Payne as “Chewbacca Mom.”  In this moment, it doesn’t matter what your personal opinion is regarding her claim to fame.  What matters is that she continues to use her newfound platform to make people smile.

 

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

– John 3:16

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

– John 15:12

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

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– Lauren Michele 😘

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