Support the Irish Arts

As I was writing this blog post, the Gilmore Girls episode currently playing on my iPad, season 3 episode 7, referenced Riverdance. That is the best possible sign that today is a great day to support the Irish arts! Former Riverdance dancer Kincaid Stringer & his mother Shannon Kincaid, a painter, have teamed up for a great cause. They’re selling seven of Shannon’s paintings through Indiegogo for a COVID-19 relief fund; all proceeds will support Irish actors, artists, backstage workers & crews, clubs, concerts, cultural & event spaces, dancers, dance schools, festivals, musicians, performers, singers, theaters, & writers. I grew up dancing & singing so the arts are very important to me. Riverdance is the reason I asked my mom to sign me up for dance classes at the age of four so the Irish arts are also very important to me. Let’s not forget my Irish ancestors! 🇮🇪 The arts have done a lot for us in quarantine so it’s only right that we give back. You can choose to only donate money or receive a painting or two or seven in exchange for your donation. If it’s not already obvious, I’m buying “The Dancer.” Can’t wait to have a gorgeous Irish dancing queen above my bed! 👑 Please consider setting aside $25, or more, to support a great cause & get a piece of Ireland for your home. 💚🤍🧡

*NOTE: The Indiegogo campaign ends on September 17th, & the paintings will ship in November. Because of COVID-19, please consider that shipping could be delayed.

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Irish people’s love of dancing has been well documented throughout their written history. In fact, one of the earliest references to dancing details a visit between the Mayor of Waterford and Mayor of Baltimore in 1413. The modern Irish dancing of today is no longer merely a processional combination of singing and dancing as an act of celebrating, but a sport that produces athletes that are physically strong, as well as creative and artistic. What was once a tradition specific to Ireland (as well as England, Scotland, and some parts of America) caught like wildfire in 1994 with the debut of Riverdance. The theatrical show consisting mainly of traditional Irish music and dance took the world by storm and has been a global phenomenon ever since. Now, twenty-five years later, the Irish dancing community consists of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people around the world today. Teachers from around the world have committed themselves to spreading their love and passion for Ireland’s traditional form of expression. Regardless of how far a dancer progresses competitively or professionally, being an Irish dancer is something that is inextricably bound to their identity forevermore. In this piece entitled “The Dancer,” you feel the excitement, the confidence, and the artistry that comes from expressing a centuries-old tradition that has touched the hearts of many.  – Kincaid & Shannon

Ireland and Scotland combined have a rich culture within the performing arts, which has resulted in a thriving gig scene. Musicians are constantly pushing the boundaries in order to create new and fresh work that is often steeped in tradition. Many are staunch believers that musical traditions must be preserved as they always have been – the “play it like my father used to” kind of sentimentality. Yet, every generation brings a new wave of talent that feels that this attitude discourages progress and evolution. This debate between tradition and innovation is a tale as old as time. Still, many feel it is possible to honour your origins while also exploring and adapting to the future; they are not mutually exclusive. Irish music legend, Míchéal Ó Súilleabháinn, believed that traditions are never frozen, but rather are fluid. He believed that the idea of authenticity originating from a pure source located in antiquity was bogus! This painting is for the new wave of artists and musicians who are creating some of the most incredible new-age folk / Trad music in the world. Project Smok, Beoga, Talisk, Ímar and the like are leading the way for the future of Irish music. – Kincaid & Shannon

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”  – George Bernard Shaw

Ériu is the goddess of sovereignty and the mythological mother of Ireland. She is often interpreted as the modern-day personification of Ireland. Along with her two sisters, Banba and Fódhla, Ériu was a part of a triumvirate of goddesses. Before their final defeat, each goddess requested that the island be named for her. This was granted to all of them, but Ériu became the chief name in use. The old Irish name Ériu evolved into Éire in modern Irish and depending on the case is spelled Éireann or Éirinn. This is how we finally arrived with the English name for the country, Erin. The painting has been imbued with symbols to depict all that Ériu embodied within pre-Christian Irish culture. Ériu represents the sacred feminine, as illustrated in the column capitals, or the decorative element at the top of a column, that represent the three phases of a woman’s life cycle – the maid, mother and crone. The stars behind her and the lunala around her neck evoke her role as a lunar goddess. Her hair bleeds into the trees, depicting her connection to the earth and its bounty. She holds this bounty in her hand as a glass of mead, which was served at the feast of Goibhniu, and offered immortality to those that drank it. Around her head is a ring of knot work encasing the land, which is topped by the stone of divisions from the hill of Uisneach, the symbolic and sacred centre of the island in Irish mythology. Ériu’s bones are said to have been laid to rest on this hill and serves as a gateway between the Underworld and the world above. – Kincaid & Shannon

There is much more to an Irish pub than just having a drink. In Ireland, pubs are central to the way of life. Similar to a church, they represent a pillar of Irish social life and community. A place where pints, comfort food, live music, and sport can be always be found; somewhere you can meet friends, neighbors, or even complete strangers, in an inviting atmosphere. It’s for these reasons that recreations of Irish pubs can be found in any city around the world. O’Connor’s was opened as a pub in Galway in 1942 by Thomas O’Connor, and is currently operated by third generation O’Connors. Every inch of it decorated in eclectic memorabilia, the pub has become famous for its hospitality and world-class live music. So much so that Ed Sheeran used it as the location of his music video “Galway Girl” in 2017 featuring actress Saoirse Ronan, furthering the pub’s world-wide recognition. – Kincaid & Shannon

Ireland has a rich tradition of various festivals taking place throughout each year. The Rose of Tralee was first held in 1959 and has since been held every August in Tralee, County Kerry, to select a young woman to be crowned the Rose. Cities all over the world host their own selection balls to determine who will represent them in Ireland. The festival bills itself as a celebration of the “aspirations, ambitions, intellect, social responsibility, and Irish heritage” of modern young women. Bursting with music and dancing, this festival celebrates the very best of Irish culture and the future of Irish relations worldwide. The winner and their family become a part of a global network, showcasing how Irish culture is thriving amongst the Irish Diaspora. They say, “Once a Rose, always a Rose.” – Kincaid & Shannon

A session is a casual gathering of musicians playing traditional Irish music, usually taking place in a pub, but has also been known to take place on street corners or even in someone’s kitchen. Irish “trad” music has garnered a deep appreciation, not just in Ireland, but also around the world. It’s important to note that a session is more than just a casual jam between musicians – the focus is on the instrumental tunes found within the Irish tradition – reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas, slip jigs, and the like. Whether it be in a pub or someone’s home, sessions are times of brilliant music and ever-flowing drink that have a certain habit of continuing late into the night, if not into the wee hours of the morning! – Kincaid & Shannon

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

These are just two quotes from one of the biggest literary personalities in Ireland’s history, Oscar Wilde. A literary treasure, Wilde was a hugely popular playwright and poet in the late 1800s. Besides well-known works such as The Picture of Dorian Gray and Lady Windermere’s Fan, his biting wit and flamboyant style gained him notoriety as well. As a people, the Irish are known for their good sense of humour, which has bolstered them during periods of great hardship throughout history. Wilde embodied this intrinsically Irish trait to the very end. Even as he faced death, he was cracking jokes and reportedly said, “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.” A collection of art in support of Irish culture would be incomplete without paying homage to Oscar Wilde. – Kincaid & Shannon

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHAx8IE3PTk&feature=youtu.be

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

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

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

–   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. 😉

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–   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   📖

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

–   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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– Lauren Michele ❤

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December 21st – December 25th | 25 Days of Hallmark

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️   P O T E N T I A L   S P O I L E R S   ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️

D E C E M B E R   2 1 S T

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   W i s h e s   &   M i s t l e t o e   K i s s e s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I admit that I was in a MAJOR Grinch mood after a long day at work. That being said, this movie wasn’t for me. There was not even one redeeming factor that would motivate me to give it a second chance. I felt zero chemistry between the lead actors, & the story never gave me the warm, fuzzy Christmas feelings I expect from Hallmark. I’m acknowledging I watched this movie once & walking away with no intention of looking back. Onward & upward!

Rating: 1 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

M o o n l i g h t   &   M i s t l e t o e   |   2 0 0 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: This is classic Hallmark so I own a DVD copy. It isn’t at the very top of my favorites list, but it is on the list. Christopher & Candace are adorable as an onscreen couple, & the story has lots of festive cheer to warm your heart on a cold December evening. Tom Arnold is always quirky & a little cringey in his Hallmark roles; it can be annoying at times, but in this case it doesn’t affect my rating too much. A solid, above average Christmas movie to turn on every holiday season!

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   2 2 N D

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   C h e e r f u l   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Chad & Erica had some chemistry, but even though there were a handful of cute moments, I wasn’t blown away by them as a pair. Erica’s personality as Lauren was bubbly; I could see how it would annoy some, but honestly that was the least of my concerns. Canadian actor Chad Connell played a British character. I’m definitely not an expert, but I was able to notice the accent wasn’t authentic. It was fine at times, albeit a bit generic, but at its worst it morphed into a caricature of the posh upper-class. The side character Maryam also had an interesting accent that left me scratching my head; I wasn’t sure if she was meant to be American or British because the accent was a strange blend of the two that often sounded like a bad Katherine Hepburn impression. Overall this isn’t the worst that I’ve seen, but it isn’t the best either, falling just short of average.

Rating: 2.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   B r i d e   f o r   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 2

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: This is another film I try to watch annually. It’s not creme of the crop, but it is a good one. Andrew & Arielle work well as an onscreen pair. Arielle’s character Jessie is annoying throughout film due to her inability to commit, but not enough to stop me from rewatching. The storyline about a bet to marry a girl in order to win a better office is offensive so I’m acknowledging the issue & taking it into consideration with my rating. I’ve also considered that Andrew’s character Aiden realizes his error before the film ends.

Rating: 3.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   2 3 R D

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

P r i d e,   P r e j u d i c e,   &   M i s t l e t o e   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: There’s nothing outright bad about this film. Brendan & Lacey have good chemistry, & the story is fine. The main issue I have is the title which references Jane Austen’s famous novel “Pride & Prejudice.” There are expectations that come with such a reference, & this movie is only a subtle nod to the story of Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth Bennet. In fact, the use of names is the main connection between the source & the Hallmark version. One of my favorite movies is the 2005 Focus Features adaptation so this was never going to live up to my standards. Basically this movie let itself down by referencing a classic romance & falling short.

Rating: 3.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

S e n s e,   S e n s i b i l i t y,   &   S n o w m e n   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: The leads had some chemistry, but I never reached a point when I was rooting for them as a couple. The side romance also felt lukewarm. My love for Erin Krakow & her stunning wardrobe wasn’t enough to overcome a missing puzzle piece or two or three. I need to mention that the teddy bear Edward gives Ella is one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. Still trying to shake that image from my brain! I really wanted to like this movie, but it just didn’t blow me away so Pride, Prejudice, & Mistletoe is still my favorite Hallmark movie loosely inspired by Jane Austen.

Rating: 2.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   2 4 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   S o n g   f o r   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 7

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Becca & Kevin were adorable as an onscreen couple, & the story was sweet. It was good, just not great. I have yet to be blown away by a Hallmark Christmas movie about a singer/songwriter. That being said, I’m willing to rewatch this because it’s one of the better Hallmark offerings centered around music.

Rating: 3.25 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

H o l i d a y   H e a r t s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Keep in mind my family made jokes during the entire movie so I was definitely distracted. Ashley’s character was fine, but I didn’t feel any chemistry between her & Paul. Because most of these Christmas movies are centered around romance, zero chemistry guarantees a low rating. I didn’t feel much of anything, & that is why I seriously considered a 1 mistletoe rating. I raised my rating slightly because I, as a viewer, was not fully focused. I would consider giving it a second chance at a later date.

Rating: 2 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   2 5 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

T h e   M i s t l e t o e   P r o m i s e   |   2 0 1 6

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: This is another movie that’s earned a spot on my watchlist. It’s not perfect but does enough to get the job done when I’m in the mood for some Hallmark. The leads have good chemistry, & I’m a sucker for the “fake dating” trope. I want to note that the moment when Elise breaks down in the parking lot during her business Christmas party is cringey; the stilted dialogue & acting feel forced. The ending is also cringey but not as bad. Just want to be transparent about both the pros & the cons.

Rating: 3.25 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

D o u b l e   H o l i d a y   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: After the Holiday Date fiasco, I was extremely cautious going into Hallmark’s second Hanukkah 2019 offering. WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT! It wasn’t perfect, but it had much, much more heart. I was not expecting the leads to have such great chemistry so that was a pleasant surprise. I was also not expecting to cry, but I did! At a business Christmas party (SPOILER), Chris put Rebecca & her family center stage, asking that they share the Hanukkah prayer with the other guests. It may sound like he put them on display like a museum or zoo exhibit, but it came straight from his heart, wanting to make up for taking them away from their intimate family celebration for a business function. This movie restored my faith that Hanukkah has a place on Hallmark.

Rating: 3.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

D E C E M B E R   1 S T   –   5 T H

D E C E M B E R   6 T H   –   1 0 T H

D E C E M B E R   1 1 T H   –   1 5 T H

D E C E M B E R   1 6 T H   –   2 5 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Video: Merry Harry Potter Christmas To Me! | Nerdy Post Unboxing | Vlogmas 2019

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December 16th – 20th | 25 Days of Hallmark

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️   P O T E N T I A L   S P O I L E R S   ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️

D E C E M B E R   1 6 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

T i m e   f o r   y o u   t o   C o m e   H o m e   f o r   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Based on the marketing I saw beforehand, I wasn’t sure this pairing would be convincing as a couple. I was pleasantly surprised by great acting & sweet chemistry between Alison & Lucas. The final kiss was a bit awkward, but that didn’t spoil the whole movie. It wasn’t perfect but good enough to be labeled “above average.”

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   I n c o r p o r a t e d   |   2 0 1 5

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Shenae & Steve were so stinkin’ adorable together! One glance at the poster makes me squeal all over again. Obviously the chemistry was great, but that’s not all. The acting was good, & so was the story. Not only is this “above average” but also a candidate for receiving a higher rating in the future. Only time will tell!

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 7 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

S l e i g h   B e l l s   R i n g   |   2 0 1 6

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: At first I was convinced that the leads had no chemistry, but in a positive turn of events I was converted to a believer. Actually, they ended up being great together! I also loved their dynamic with Laurel’s daughter Scarlett. When a child is involved in the plot, trio chemistry is just as important to me as the romance. There was some focus on a side story so I’ll give it a quick mention. One or two parts felt a bit too awkward for interactions between a married couple, but I think Wade was meant to be a bit quirky as well as anxious about keeping his surprise hidden from Betty. Their scene together at the end was sweet so all’s well that ends well. Overall, I’m pleased to say I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. What a pleasant surprise!

Rating: 4.25 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A n g e l   F a l l s   A   N o v e l   H o l i d a y   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: After an unconvincing start, the chemistry between the leads & the warmth of the story did improve. However, it wasn’t enough to convince me this movie deserves a spot on my annual watchlist. I didn’t connect enough to care about the main romance. In fact, my favorite part was the side story about author Tina Finnegan learning to love Christmas again after a painful loss.

Rating: 2.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 8 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   B e l l s   a r e   R i n g i n g   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: To be fair, this movie was better than I expected. The Cape Cod setting was pretty; the story was interesting enough to keep me entertained; & the leads had decent chemistry. It wasn’t amazing enough to be a new favorite but good enough to earn a middle of the road rating.

Rating: 3 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   C h r i s t m a s   M i r a c l e   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: First of all, I want to mention how great it was to see Tamera in her own Hallmark Christmas movie after watching Tia in A Gingerbread Romance. Seriously, I LOVED them growing up. Still do! ♥️ Back to A Christmas Miracle. Brooks & Tamera did have chemistry, but it took me some time to warm up to Marcus as a character. I know there was supposed to be tension in the beginning for the sake of drama, but he just didn’t come across as likeable until later on. Tamera’s radiant smile & sweet personality were perfect for a plot centered around positive, heartwarming stories. This movie isn’t perfect, but it did put me in a good mood & pour some much needed holiday cheer into my life.

Rating: 3.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 9 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   i n   M o n t a n a   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Kellie Martin has been my girl since her Christy days. Because I’m such a big fan, I’m picky. Based on the trailer, I wasn’t sure if I liked her paired with Colin. I’m so glad I gave it a chance because I was w-r-o-n-g. Their chemistry hit me out of nowhere! Some of the “saying the same thing at the same time” moments felt forced, but that didn’t spoil the entire movie . Not only did Sara & Travis have chemistry with each other but also with Sara’s daughter Chloe; their dynamic as a trio worked well onscreen. I also loved the cozy Montana setting & all the side characters. Definitely a new favorite & an addition to my annual watchlist.

Rating: 4.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   M a d e   t o   O r d e r   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I was nervous going into this movie; it was highly anticipated because of the leads, & I didn’t want to be disappointed. Good news: I wasn’t! The story was very festive; Alexa & Jonathan had great chemistry; & I loved all the side characters. As Steven’s guard came down, he got a little goofy at times, but as a dedicated Food Network viewer, I know that’s part of Jonathan’s personality in real life. On a serious note, he surprised me with some tender, well-acted moments. Alexa, as always, was fantastic & a joy to watch. Another new favorite!

Rating: 4.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   2 0 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   V e t e r a n ’ s   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I love Eloise & Sean as an onscreen couple in Christmas With Holly, but this movie doesn’t compare. The chemistry was there, but it wasn’t on the same level for reasons that I can’t place my finger on. All I can say is that it just wasn’t the same. The character Joe felt overacted at times, not very natural. Actually, that goes for some of the side characters as well, specifically Joe’s Aunt Nellie. Because there were some truly heartwarming moments, like Grace’s reunion with her dog Christmas, my rating is less severe.

Rating: 3 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   G o d w i n k   C h r i s t m a s   M e a n t   f o r   L o v e   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I didn’t feel much chemistry between Benjamin & Cindy. Actually, I didn’t feel much of anything during the entire movie. To my surprise, the ending had quite a bit of chemistry & feeling. It wasn’t enough to make me like the film, but it did make me question why I didn’t feel anything sooner. Even though she had very little screen time, I enjoyed Kathie Lee Gifford’s performance; she put a smile on my face which goes a long way in my book. Those two redeeming qualities saved this movie from a worse rating.

Rating: 2.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

D E C E M B E R   1 S T   –   5 T H

D E C E M B E R   6 T H   –   1 0 T H

D E C E M B E R   1 1 T H   –   1 5 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Video: CenturyLink Hallmark Movie Dream Job Video Entry

• Support My Blog

• Art Blog

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• Snapchat

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• Twitter

• Youtube

December 11th – 15th | 25 Days of Hallmark

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️   P O T E N T I A L   S P O I L E R S   ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️

D E C E M B E R   1 1 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   C h r i s t m a s   D u e t   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I wanted to like this because I felt chemistry between Chaley & Rome. Unfortunately I had a difficult time connecting to both the characters & story. The acting left a lot to be desired as well; it was noticeably patchy throughout the movie. I just never reached a point when I felt invested in what was happening therefore this is not a new favorite.

Rating: 2.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   C h r i s t m a s   M e l o d y   |   2 0 1 5

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I have to be honest & admit that the story about Kristin’s daughter writing a song that turns out to be Mariah Carey’s holiday hit “Oh Santa” is too cheesy, even for a Hallmarkie like me. That being said, my rating is high because Brennan Elliott & Lacey Chabert are my favorite onscreen couple on Hallmark. Their chemistry is on a level yet to be reached by another pairing. They’re in a league of their own, & I can’t bring myself to give them a lower rating, even though it should probably be a 3.75 or 4. In this case, I’m definitely biased.

Rating: 4.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 2 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

D a s h i n g   T h r o u g h   t h e   S n o w   |   2 0 1 5

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Andrew & Meghan had good chemistry, & I like the idea of two strangers falling in love while forced to take a road trip together in the airport’s last rental car. However, all of that was overshadowed by the idiocy of the FBI. Ashley is wanted for questioning, & unbeknownst to her, Dash is the agent in charge of keeping a close eye on her. Suspicions grow because she speaks Romanian & is transporting a mysterious red box. Turns out she has some Romanian friends, & they are the recipients of the red box that is JUST A PRESENT. After a dramatic arrest, the situation ends up being a giant misunderstanding. I know mistakes can be made, but the whole thing looks so idiotic from the outside looking in. I cannot get over such incompetence, even on TV.

Rating: 3.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   a t   t h e   P l a z a   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: The setting is The Plaza Hotel in New York City which makes the movie feel like an Eloise book come to life but for adults. I didn’t know if Simmons would work with anyone other than Fitz ( AOS reference 😉 ), but Elizabeth had great chemistry with Ryan. Following Jessica’s job setting up a historical exhibition about Christmas at The Plaza was fascinating, especially when she decided to focus on the unique tree topper displayed each year. If you want to sound extra smart, the official name is finial d’arbre. The only issue I have has to do with makeup. For one whole scene, Jessica had lipstick on her teeth. Poor thing! The crew should be keeping an eye on details like that because it’s embarrassing for the actor & distracting to the viewers. 😡 Since that has nothing to do with the cast or story, my opinion remains the same. In the middle of the movie I started to overthink my rating, but at the very end when Nick decorated Jessica’s house, I knew for certain I had found a 2019 favorite. 🎉

Finial – A distinctive ornament at the apex of a roof, pinnacle, canopy, or similar structure in a building or an ornament at the top, end, or corner of an object.

D’arbre – French for tree

S O U R C E

Rating: 5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 3 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   i n   L o v e   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Brooke & Daniel had chemistry, but it didn’t feel romantic, more like friendship. They just didn’t work as an onscreen couple. The story was fine, & the overall vibe of the movie wasn’t a total turnoff. Basically, it was just okay. I was considering 2.75, but I rounded up because it’s Christmas. I could change my mind after the holidays.

Rating: 3 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   a t   G r a c e l a n d   H o m e   f o r   t h e   H o l i d a y s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Unfortunately this was not for me. I didn’t feel any chemistry between the leads, & the acting was patchy throughout the movie. The story did warm up in the middle but not enough to change my opinion. Actually, I might’ve been too generous with my rating, but I’ll leave it for now.

Rating: 2.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 4 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   C h r i s t m a s   f o r   t h e   B o o k s   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

*Note: To clear up any confusion, the title of the movie did change.

Thoughts: From what I saw, Chelsea & Drew have the potential for good chemistry; unfortunately I didn’t feel it in this movie. Actually, I had a difficult time connecting to anything. I didn’t care about the characters nor feel anything from the story. It all left me feeling cold, no Christmas warmth.

Rating: 2.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

H o l i d a y   D a t e   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I refused to feed into the hate surrounding this movie until I’d watched it for myself. Having seen it, I’m unfortunately siding with the majority. I didn’t like the characters, especially Joel; his personality was too goofy for my taste. I felt no chemistry between the leads which means I wasn’t invested in the romance. For the record, I’m totally fine with a cheesy Hanukkah movie because all the Christmas movies are cheesy too. My problem is what’s lost in translation. Even though this is a minor Jewish holiday, I don’t think that makes it any less special. What I’m missing from Hallmark’s interpretation is the heart. The prayer scene was a missed opportunity to share an intimate look at a family home during the eight nights of Hanukkah. I know the story is relying on the “holiday date” trope, which we’ve seen before in Hitched for the Holidays. However, it would be nice to see a Jewish family celebrating together rather than one Jew on his or her own in a gentile home, a bit like an exotic animal on display at the zoo. There’s nothing wrong with a teaching moment, but I’m craving serious, heartfelt family moments that are seen in all the Christmas movies. I decided on a rating of 2, but even that feels too generous. Fingers crossed that Hallmark’s 2nd Hanukkah 2019 offering is much, MUCH better.

Rating: 2 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 5 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

N o s t a l g i c   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Brooke had good chemistry with Trevor, more than she did with Daniel in Christmas in Love. Unfortunately I didn’t feel any onscreen chemistry between Trevor’s character Keith & his daughter Jessie. There was no ease about his parenting; it felt more like he was watching someone else’s child. Everything else – the atmosphere, the characters, the story – were fine. I wasn’t blown away by anything, but I’d be willing to watch it again.

Rating: 3 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   D r e a m   o f   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 6

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: The leads Andrew & Nikki had great chemistry. There was strong acting from two Hallmark veterans which gave the story much more depth than one might expect. Another pro is the story which relies on one of my favorite tropes: A woman wishes for a better life, gets her wish, & wants her old life back. I have one stupid complaint so please bear with me. Nikki’s character Penny is the main character because she’s the one who’s unhappy with her life &  gets a wish. However, I can’t help feeling the absence of her husband Stuart during a portion of the movie. In the grand scheme of the plot, it makes total sense, but in my own little La La Land it sticks out enough to (slightly) distract me. This isn’t a “girl falls in love with boy” type of romance so my complaint isn’t valid, but I think it’s worth noting just to be thorough. A Dream for Christmas isn’t perfect, but there’s something very sweet about watching a wife fall in love with her husband again because she didn’t realize what she had until it was gone.

Rating: 4.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

D E C E M B E R   1 S T   –   5 T H

D E C E M B E R   6 T H   –   1 0 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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December 6th – 10th | 25 Days of Hallmark

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️   P O T E N T I A L   S P O I L E R S   ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️

D E C E M B E R   6 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   S c a v e n g e r   H u n t   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: What a roller coaster ride! The first 30 or 40 minutes, I was prepared to give a shaky 3 mistletoe or less. Dustin’s attitude rubbed me the wrong way even though I knew the intent was tension between him & Belinda. I did not like him at all! He was more like the jerk boyfriend or second suitor in a Hallmark movie than the charming male lead. Thankfully there was a palpable shift, & they were the cutest, sweetest couple by the end of the movie. I also really loved the concept of teams competing in a one-day scavenger hunt. Such fun! 😉

Rating4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

S m a l l   T o w n   C h r i s t m a s    |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: In theory this should’ve been a new favorite because I’m a sucker for cozy small towns in Christmas movies. Emmett & Nell had chemistry, but the movie overall left me feeling lukewarm. The characters & story didn’t grab me, make me feel invested.

Rating: 3 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   7 T H 

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

B e s t   C h r i s t m a s   P a r t y   E v e r   |   2 0 1 4

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: This movie isn’t outstanding, but it has two major things going for it. Number one: The party planning storyline which is fun to watch when done right. Who doesn’t love the idea of a career using a theme, budget, & creativity to throw a party?? That sounds amazing, especially at Christmastime. Number two: Jennie & Nick have great chemistry. They are so cute together, & you find yourself rooting for them from start to finish.

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

T w o   T u r t l e   D o v e s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Michael & Nikki had a decent amount of chemistry, but it didn’t blow me away & leave me wanting more. The story was sweet; I liked the idea of the grandmother leaving behind a to-do list of traditions to complete in memory of her. It wasn’t amazing but not bad enough to land below 3 mistletoe. Actually, I’m willing to give this one a second chance next year.

Rating: 3 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   8 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   a t   H o l l y   L o d g e   |   2 0 1 7

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I’ve seen & liked Alison Sweeney & Jordan Bridges in separate Hallmark projects, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about them together. What a pleasant surprise! They were fantastic together. Even though the atmosphere & chemistry took a slight dip in the middle, I really enjoyed this movie overall. Also, I’m a sucker for Hallmark movies set in a cozy inn or lodge.

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

O u r   C h r i s t m a s   L o v e   S o n g   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Alicia Witt starred in A Very Merry Mix-Up, a favorite of mine. When I saw that she was starring in a brand new Hallmark Christmas movie, I was very interested. Unfortunately this did nothing for my Christmas spirit. I didn’t feel any chemistry between the leads nor any connection to the story. Overall it was a big disappointment.

Rating: 2.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   9 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   C h r i s t m a s   L o v e   S t o r y   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: After watching Kristin in 12 Men of Christmas (GASP! A Lifetime Christmas movie), I wasn’t sure I could watch her with anyone else other than Josh Hopkins. I was pleasantly surprised by her connection with Scott Wolf. The chemistry didn’t blow me away, but it was sweet. I also love that adoption was discussed, something that is near & dear to Kristin’s heart as an adoptee herself. The story was emotional enough to make me cry, & the final scene with Danny, Greg, & Katherine singing into kitchen utensils was adorable. 💕

Rating: 3.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

O n c e   U p o n   a   C h r i s t m a s   M i r a c l e   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: This movie hit me out of nowhere! I didn’t know anything about the plot until I watched it for this marathon. Aimee & Brett had great chemistry, & the story packed an emotional punch. I was near tears for most of the second half, but the floodgates didn’t open until a photo of the REAL LIFE couple was shown at the end. I didn’t know it was based on a true story! I suggest a box of kleenex for this one.

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 0 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   a t   D o l l y w o o d   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I’m always cautious with movies that I’m anticipating because I could potentially be setting myself up for disappointment. I’m happy to report that this met my expectations. Most of the movie was set at Dollywood, & it was great to get a peek at the theme park. I also loved hearing Dolly Parton sing Christmas songs throughout the film. If you’re curious, she did make an appearance once or twice & perform at the very end. In regard to the romance, Danica & Niall had great chemistry. Definitely a keeper for my annual catalog!

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

T h e   M o s t   W o n d e r f u l   T i m e   o f   t h e   Y e a r   |   2 0 0 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I can’t remember if I saw this movie when it premiered in 2008, but I do know that it’s been on my Christmas watchlist for years. The leads have fantastic chemistry which guarantees lots of romance & resulting squeals. However, the real star in my eyes is Henry Winkler. He is endearing & hilarious; by the end you’ll want him as your uncle too.

Rating: 3.75 Mistletoe, changed to a 4 on December 14th

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

D E C E M B E R   1 S T   –   5 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Three Generations

Vivianita Grace, Mona Lisa, & Lauren Michele

Happy Mother’s Day! First of all, how cute are we?!? Grandma Vivian in her purple sweater, my mama with picture-perfect makeup, and me with big blue eyes. A trio of 90s beauties! My grandma and mom’s relationship the last years of her life is something I will never forget. She lived with us for a period of time, and even when she wasn’t there, we were over at her house every Thursday. The one thing I will forever remember as though it were yesterday is the joy. I was constantly walking into a room and finding the two of them doubled over from laughter. It is overwhelmingly emotional thinking of how blessed I am to have seen that. They walked through a lot of hardship to get to that point, but for most of my early childhood I was privileged to have both a grandma and a mom who loved Jesus. Even though she’s gone now, I know my grandma is in Heaven, healthier than ever. I hope that in some way she knows that my mom & I have carried on the legacy of joy, always laughing. This special day is for moms & grandmas, but I want to give a special *internet hug* to all the people who are celebrating without their mothers today. ♥️

“Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”  

– Proverbs 31: 25-30

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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2018 Reading Wrap-Up

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

For once, I completed my reading goal with time to spare & exceeded it by two. I set my goal at 55 and completed 57 books. Yay! 🎉 Now for the semi-disappointing news: I didn’t complete the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. I could beat myself up, but reading is supposed to be fun, not a competition. Not all of the 2018 challenges matched up with what I wanted to read last year, and that is okay.

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

📚 A Classic You’ve Been Meaning to Read

📖 A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

📖 Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

📖 Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

📖 The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

📖 The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

📚 A Book Recommended by Someone With Great Taste

📖 As Sure as the Dawn by Francine Rivers

📖 The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

📖 The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

📚 A Book in Translation

📖 N/A 

📚 A Book Nominated for an Award in 2018

📖 Obsidio by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

📚 A Book Of Poetry, a Play, or an Essay Collection

📖 N/A 

📚 A Book You Can Read in a Day

📖 Death at Wentwater Court by Carola Dunn

📖 Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

📖 On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

📖 Scream All Night by Derek Milman

📖 Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

📖 Sugar Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

📖 The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

📖 The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

📖 The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Athur Conan Doyle

📖 The Little Android by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene

📖 The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

📖 The Queen’s Army by Marissa Meyer

📚 A Book That’s More Than 500 Pages

📖 Gemina by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

📖 Obsidio by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

📖 Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

📚 A Book by a Favorite Author

📖 The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters

📚 A Book Recommended by a Librarian or Indie Bookseller

📖 Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire

*Note: This category doesn’t (necessarily) count. Even though Hiddensee is on an IndieBound list, I didn’t read it because of their recommendation.

📚 A Banned Book

📖 N/A 

📚 A Memoir, Biography, or Book of Creative Nonfiction

📖 The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

📚 A Book by an Author of a Different Race, Ethnicity, or Religion Than Your Own

📖 Gemina by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Australian)

📖 Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar (Persian)

📖 Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar (Persian)

📖 Obsidio by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Australian)

📖 The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (Dutch)

📖 The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel (Mexican)

*Note: The definition of “ethnicity” is different depending on who you ask so I relied solely on where an author was born. I didn’t include British authors because of my own family’s roots, but perhaps that was just overthinking on my part.

I also read:

📖 A Fatal Winter by G.M. Malliet

📖 Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

📖 Antidote to Venom by Freeman Wills Crofts

📖 Cress by Marissa Meyer

📖 Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

📖 Fairest by Marissa Meyer

📖 Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

📖 Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

📖 In The Woods by Tana French

📖 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

📖 Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

📖 Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

📖 Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel by Ginger Garrett

📖 Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

📖 The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

📖 The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn & Janette Oke

📖 The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd

📖 The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

📖 The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd

📖 The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

📖 The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen

📖 The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

📖 The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

📖 The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene

📖 The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

📖 The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

📖 Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

📖 We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delany

📖 Winter by Marissa Meyer

📖 Written on the Wind by Judith Pella

Total: 9(ish) Challenges & 57 Books

⬇️  Here are all of my 2018 reading-related links  ⬇️

2017 Wrap-Up | 2018 Reading Challenge

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vKpIwxNQxM&t=2s

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORnYN7RZZDo&t=4s

📚 Stay tuned for my 2019 reading plans! 📚  

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

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• Previous Post: Aquaman Review

• Previous Video: The Joy of Christmas Book Tag | Vlogmas 2018

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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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