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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Content Breakdown:

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

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

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

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

Language:

Apesh*t

A*$ / A*$hole

B*d*ss

B*tch / B*ches / B*tchy

D*mn / D*mmit

Dumb*$$

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

G*d

G*dd*mn

Good L*rd

H*ll / Holy H*ll

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

J*sus / J*sus Chr*st

Merde (French word for sh*t)

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

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

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

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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A Tale of Two Weekends

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Last weekend I put on my big girl pants & knocked out my taxes. Technically they’re not that difficult, but it’s a task crossed off my to-do list so I’m celebrating the victory. 🎉 This past weekend was a different story. I found myself in a deflating situation Friday morning & spiraled so quickly, I could barely move by the afternoon. That might sound dramatic, but I feel like I’ve been moving against the tide for months so that was my body giving in to mental and physical exhaustion. I had to be gracious, allowing myself to do whatever the heck I felt like doing, including RELAX. I read books, took naps, cheered on Team USA in the winter olympics, & started season one of Downton Abbey. I also managed to continue & finish my 7-day cardio challenge which made me feel so proud. 🔥 Life is not smooth sailing, but what defines you is how you handle the waves that come along. So cheesy, I know, but it’s true. My days look much different in 2022, & I’m in career limbo at the moment, but I’m taking it one step at a time. If you’re doing your best to survive, I’m right there with you. You are NOT alone! ♥️

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👋🏻 I’ll leave you with what I’m currently up to:

Currently Listening To: To All the Boys soundtracks | There are so many great songs to choose from, but (I think) my favorites are Moral of the Story & The Same, both by Ashe.

Currently Reading: “Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, “The Bookshop of Dust & Dreams” by Mindy Thompson, & “The Ravens” by Danielle Paige & Kass Morgan

Current Starbucks Order: Venti Irish Cream or Salted Caramel Cold Brew + Iced Lemon Loaf | Is this healthy? No. Do I care? Also no. 😂

Currently Watching: The Gilded Age (from the creator of Downton Abbey) & the Winter Olympics

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKj1cMz3yfI
@lesdoggggg

Yall know what this is!! LETS GO @teamusa

♬ original sound – Leslie Jones
Source: https://www.tiktok.com/@lesdoggggg/video/7060680088420977966?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en

For those of you interested, here’s the 7-day Cardio Challenge I completed:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqRY4PJoJdk

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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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Ha Bracha | A Blessing Over 2021

It’s a gross understatement to say 2020 was a rough year so I won’t say it. Instead I’ll look forward to the new year with cautious optimism & lots of prayer. Speaking of prayer, I recently heard Joshua Aaron’s Hebrew cover of the song The Blessing, & it is a spiritual experience. It’s the perfect prayer to lead us into the coming year so I recommend you find a quiet spot, close your eyes, & let the song wash over you. Wishing you & yours a healthy 2021! 💙 

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” ’ “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”  – Numbers 6:22-27

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzqrWae5lK4

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Yevarechecha Adonai, VeYishmerecha • The LORD bless you and keep you • יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ⁠

Ya’er Adonai Panav Eleycha ViChuneka • Make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you • יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ⁠

Yisa Adonai Panav Eleycha, VeYasem Lecha Shalom • The LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace • יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

Yehi chasdo aleicha le’alfei dorot • May His favor be upon you to a thousand generations • יהי חסדו עליך לאלפי דורות

Mishpachtecha viladecha • Your family and your children • משפחתך וילדיך

Dorotecha achareicha • Your generations after you • דורותיך אחריך

Rucho telech lefaneicha • May His presence go before you • רוחו תלך לפניך

Letsidecha achareicha • Beside you and behind you • לצידך, אחריך

Misvivecha belibecha • All around you and within you • מסביבך, בליבך

Hu itcha • He is with you • הוא איתך

Baboker uvaerev • In the morning in the evening • בבוקר ובערב

Betzetecha uvoecha • In your going and your coming • בצאתך ובואך

B’sivlotecha beoshrecha • In your weeping and rejoicing • בסבלותיך ואושרך

Hu itcha • He is for you • הוא איתך

Hu itanu im kulanu • He is for us, He is with us • הוא איתנו עם כולנו

Hu itcha • He is for you • הוא איתך

Shalom • Peace • שָׁלוֹם

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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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Birds of Prey

•  💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  • 🚨  •  💀  • 

Birds of Prey came out this past February, but I unfortunately didn’t make it to a theater, the reason having nothing to do with the movie or reviews. I was very excited to see it, but honestly the harsh criticism leading up to the release was a major bummer. I understand that DC fans are disappointed with a large portion of our cinematic universe, but that doesn’t excuse negative reviews of something that hasn’t even come out yet. Sadly, people did not show up like they did for previous DC films. I don’t want to feed the idea that it struggled because it’s a female-centric film but can’t help doubting the motives now that I’ve seen it for myself. The filming and music and costumes and cast were all fantastic. Color me confused because I have no idea why it came and went without the support I expect from the DC Comics community. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a total flop. It doubled its budget & received mostly positive reviews. However, its box office gross ranks last in three different categories compared to the seven other DCEU movies that have come out since 2013. I think the lack of success can be interpreted in a couple different ways, but I’d like to confront the elephant in the room. One of the biggest complaints had to do with the feminism and politics people picked up on in the trailers. I want to make one thing clear: YOU NEED TO GIVE THINGS A CHANCE BEFORE YOU PASS JUDGEMENT! I had concerns about the movie too but still gave it a fair chance. Turns out I love it, & there was never anything to be worried about. Now’s your chance to make amends & show it some love. Watch it on HBO Max, buy the DVD/Blu-Ray, stream the music, purchase the soundtrack, follow the cast, & spread the word. All I ask is that you give Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn a chance. 💋

•  💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  • 🚨  •  💀  •

–   A W E S O M E   B I R D S   O F   P R E Y – I N S P I R E D   A R T   –

•  💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  • 🚨  •  💀  •

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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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

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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

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–   J  U L Y   2 1 S T   –

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

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

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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! 🙈

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

–   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   📖

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

–   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 ! !  🎉

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

–   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. 🎉

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

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

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

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

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

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

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• Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A P R I L   1

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 38 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 72 pages

📖 110 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2

📖 0 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   3

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 82 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 88 pages

📖 170 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   4

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 33 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 47 pages

📖 80 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   5

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 46 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 14 pages

📖 60 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   6

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 113 pages

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

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

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 48 Pages

📖 314 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   7

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 93 pages

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

W E E K   O N E   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 1

📝 Pages: 827

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

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 📖

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

W E E K   T W O   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 4

📝 Pages: 1,109

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

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 📖

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

*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 📖

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

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 📖

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

W E E K   T H R E E   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 4

📝 Pages: 1,029 

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

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

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

W E E K   F O U R   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 2

📝 Pages: 698

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

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

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

O . W . L . S   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 12

📝 Pages: 3,836

1 Magical Readathon

30 Days, April 2020

1 Ravenclaw Student

2 Comic Books

1 E-Book

11 Physical Books, 5 Hardcover & 6 Paperback

3,836 Pages

12 Ordinary Wizarding Levels

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

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

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

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

• Art Blog

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The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender | March 2020

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

🗓   Wednesday, March 25, 2020   🗓

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

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

🗓   Friday, March 27, 2020   🗓

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

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

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

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

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

🎭   –   M A S K   –   🎭

🥇   –   G O L D   –   🥇

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

💦   –   W A T E R   –    🌊 

🔑    –   K E Y   –   🔑 

📖   –   B O O K   –   📚 

➡️   –   A R R O W   –   ⬅️

⛵️   –   B O A T   –   ⛵️ 

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

🕊   –   F E A T H E R   –   🕊

🍋   –   F R U I T   –   🍋

👠    –   S H O E   –   👠 

👑   –   C R O W N   –   👑 

🚪   –   D O O R   –   🚪 

🪑   –   T H R O N E   –   🪑 

🗡   –   S W O R D   –   🗡 

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

🗓   Saturday, March 28, 2020   🗓

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

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

🗓   Sunday, March 29, 2020   🗓

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

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

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

4pm48 hours later, the readathon was over. 🎉

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

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

✔️ Tournament Ready – Join a Competition – Scavenger Hunt

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

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

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

✔️ Master Your Craft – Watch a Favorite YouTuber – BooksAndLala

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

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

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

The Results:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Post: Activities For Social Distancing

• Previous Video: Disney Plus Marathon Part 2 | November 17 – 21, 2019

• Art Blog

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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

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

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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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

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

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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