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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I Saw Frozen For the First Time | Blogmas 2016 🎄

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1 DAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS (I know it’s the 25th, but this was supposed to go up on the 24th so just roll with it)

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I can’t apologize enough for my absence.  To make up for lost time, I’m going to be blogging through Hanukkah.  I will call it “Blogukkah.”  Genius!  I have a good excuse for not blogging this week.  I worked myself into the ground and got the flu.  I had the worst day of work possible Tuesday, and it went from bad to worse once I got home.  I spent both my days off resting and reenergizing for my last two shifts before Christmas.  I hope you follow my art blog and Youtube channel because I’ve been active on both those platforms all month long.  I’m not sure why I haven’t been posting as often for Blogmas this year.  I think it has a lot to do with my retail job.  I’ve felt like such a grinch and haven’t done anything outside of working.  No spirit and no fun means no good material for your reading pleasure.  I do have something to share with you tonight so let’s jump right in.  I watched Frozen for the first time.  I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

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Have you composed yourself?  Alrighty then!  I’ve heard a lot of different perspectives.  People loved the movie.  People liked the movie.  People hated the movie, some only because of the ridiculous amount of attention and hype.  I didn’t want my first viewing experience to be ruined by someone else’s opinion so I waited and waited and waited until the right time.  I’m glad I did because I was pleasantly surprised.  I knew the music would be good, but other than that I had no expectations.  I ended up liking it much more than I thought I would.  The animation is beautiful, and the characters are charming.  Idina Menzel’s voice is beautiful as always, but Kristen Bell’s voice stunned me.  WOW!  I love the end (SPOILER) when Kristoff is available to save Anna with an act of true love, but she ends up being saved by sisterly love.  That is a refreshing twist.  It’s adorable how Kristoff’s gruff exterior is slowly melted by Anna’s quirks.  I could watch an entire movie with him, Sven, & Olaf.  Those three crack me up!  I highly recommend this film if you love Disney, but wait until your mind is clear from the bombardment of other opinions.

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ARTMAS – https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Anthology Candles

Today I am reviewing products from Anthology Candles, a company owned by Rheney Williams and her husband Stephen.  Their soy products are whimsically inspired by music, movies, & books.  Keep reading for information on their candles, mini candles, & wax tarts.  My Youtube review video will be posted at the end for those of you who want to see the products in action.

Candles | $16.00

The top white layer is clean river water; the middle lavender layer is a floral blend; and the bottom purple layer is a mixture of flowers & water.  There is no need to burn the candle down to smell each layer; it immediately smells clean and floral.  If you like strongly scented candles that fill a room within minutes, this is not the product for you.  It took an hour for me to smell the scent, and even then I had to remain within a foot or two to enjoy it.  Once it is burnt, the candle’s scent is hidden by the smell of burnt wick.  As time goes on, the scent comes back and gets stronger.  The draw of this candle is definitely the aesthetic.  The design, inspired by the lantern scene in the Disney film Tangled, is spot on.  The white wax becomes transparent when burning and makes the candle appear as though it is a lantern.  The effect is mesmerizing!  If you are planning a Tangled party, think about investing in these candles and creating your very own “Floating Lanterns” scene.

• Find the candles here: https://anthologycandles.com/collections/candles

Mini Candles | $14 per sampler pack

Instead of purchasing more big candles, I got a sampler pack of four mini candles.  Belle’s Library is aged library books, hint of leather, & wild roses.  To me, it smells nutty with a hint of rose.  My nose is obviously confusing the smell of old books for nuts.  I don’t know of any other way to describe it.  It just smells nutty!  Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is bakery cakes with vanilla icing, chamomile tea, and a twist of cinnamon.  I do smell cinnamon and occasionally vanilla but mostly an icee.  I know that sounds crazy but it’s true!  Part of Your World is crisp coastal breeze & warm golden sand.  I smell a blend of vanilla & flowers, and the strength of the scent reminds me of Bath & Body Works products.  Tink’s Flight is fresh verbena, sweet coconut, & tangy lime.  I smell every single one of those notes.  The scent is sweet & sour just like Tinker Bell.  Time for the bad news.  The wicks are folded down in the packaging so when it comes time to light them, zip zilch NADA!  I had to trim the wicks a little bit and wipe them gently with a paper towel; I wasted a lot of matches before finally getting flames.  Once lit, the candles look pretty but don’t smell at all.  These sampler candles are fine if you plan on testing the scents without flame.  It might be a better investment to know what scents you like and buy a few big candles.

• Find the mini candles here: https://anthologycandles.com/collections/sample-packs

Wax Tarts | $25 for 4 different scents

* Note: Wax tarts are cubes of scent-infused wax.  Once placed in a warmer (e.g. Scentsy), the heat melts the wax and releases the scent.

I bought one sampler and received four different wax tarts.  Rivendell is amber, oakmoss, twilight woods, & woodland foliage.  I wish I could tell you that my dream of being a Middle Earth elf was fulfilled by this product.  Alas, it smells like play-doh, and the warmer is no help at all.  However, due to circumstances I cannot explain, the scent is improving.  There is hope yet!  Soaring Over is orange blossoms, orange groves, and salty sea breeze.  The scent is inspired by the Disney park ride Soaring Over California.  It smells of oranges and takes me right back to my childhood in Orange County.  The Black Pearl is cannonball smoke, mildewy wood, musty “pirates” water, & salty sea breeze.  I did not like this funky scent at first.  All you smell is must, mildew, and smoke.  Surprise of the year, it smells much more pleasant in the warmer.  If you aren’t into scents that are clean, floral, and/or sweet, this scent might float your boat (get it?!).  Wilderness Lodge is campfire and a forest tree mix of juniper, pine, & spruce.  This spicy forest scent will be p-e-r-f-e-c-t for Christmastime.  Overall, I am very happy with the scents I purchased.  However, much like the candles, it takes an hour or more for the scent to be recognizable, and it does not fill the room; you have to be within a few feet of the warmer to enjoy the scent.

* Rivendell scent description courtesy of http://ritareviews.net/2015/11/anthology-candles-spotlight-lord-of-the-rings/ *

• Find the wax tarts here: https://anthologycandles.com/collections/wax-tarts

Conclusion:

The novelty of Anthology Candles is attractive.  I would recommend their products for two things:

1. The candles and wax tarts are best enjoyed in close proximity (e.g. bedside table or living room side table).

2. I have seen the candles used as decor all over Instagram, especially on bookshelves.

My overall experience was good.  There are only a few changes I would suggest.

1. There are descriptions on the website for the candles but not the wax tarts.  This works out fine if the wax tart happens to have a candle, but if it doesn’t, there is no way of knowing what the scent is.  Also, the packaging gives no indication of the scent.

2. The mini candle sampler packs are not customizable.  There are three packs available, each with a set group of candles.  I am not sure of the possible complications, but it would be nice to have a customization option in the future.

3. The wax tarts can only be purchased in groups of four.  Once again, a customization option would be nice in the future.

4. These products would be much more enjoyable and worth the money if the scents were stronger.

• My review video:

• If you’re interested in more information on Anthology Candles, here are some links to get you started:

Article – http://ritareviews.net/2015/10/the-craft-behind-the-candles-by-rheney-williams/

Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/shop/AnthologyCandles

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/anthologycandles/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/anthologycandles/?hl=en

Twitter – https://twitter.com/anthologycandle

Website – https://anthologycandles.com

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Show Your Colors

July 4th, the day that Americans put the flag on display and shout their pride from the rooftops in honor of freedom.  Now is the perfect time to share what makes me feel patriotic.  I love my country, but I’m not the most vocal about it.  However, there are two things that make my blood run red, white, & blue.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I respect that.  But, I can’t help feeling rage when someone born and raised outside the American borders feels the need to judge.  I am American-born and American-raised.  I can count the number of times I’ve left this country on one hand.  I speak English with an American accent.  I received education and now work as an adult here.  I can criticize this country because I am a citizen and know what I’m talking about (for the most part 😉).  Think of it this way.  As a brother or sister, you can tease your sibling(s) to your heart’s content, but God help the outsider who feels led to do the same.  Suddenly you’re on the defensive!  Perhaps that paints a clearer picture of my point.  Moving on.  I see or hear stories about soldiers every day, but nothing compares to seeing or meeting them in the flesh.  As a retail employee, I meet military personnel of all races and ages and feel an indescribable level of honor and pride to serve them.  I respect the diverse group of people willing to train and fight for this country.  If any soldiers, past or present, are reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Go out & have fun readers!  I wish you a safe, happy holiday.

🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

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– Lauren Michele <3

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2016 Reading Challenge Update #2

Mount, Jane. Ideal Bookshelf 753: Shakespeare. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2016. https://www.idealbookshelf.com/collections/prints/products/ideal-bookshelf-753-shakespeare.

Mount, Jane. Ideal Bookshelf 753: Shakespeare. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2016. https://www.idealbookshelf.com/collections/prints/products/ideal-bookshelf-753-shakespeare.

The time has come for a second update on my 2016 Reading challenge progress.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, take some time to read my first two blog posts:

• 2016 Reading Challenge

• 2016 Reading Challenge Update #1

If you’re subscribed to my Youtube channel, you may have already seen my update #2 video.  However, I filmed almost two weeks ago, and I’ve finished a few more books since then.  Let’s jump right in and chat about books.

* * * SPOILERS AHEAD * * *

Buckle your seat belts because I have some notes about this trilogy.  I was a HUGE Hilary Duff fan back in the day so when I found out she had written a book series, I was all in and ready to read it.  The basic premise is as follows:

The main character Clea is an only child and a photojournalist.  Her mom is a politician, and her dad was a doctor.  He disappeared while out of the country and was pronounced dead.  Clea believes he is still alive but keeps quiet around her mom who is trying to move on.  After a photo assignment, Clea discovers a male being in every single one of her photos.  He’s not immediately visible, but he is always there.  Following a series of conversations and events, she finds out that her dad and his employee Ben, who is also Clea’s friend, were researching the elixir of life.  During that process, they discovered that Clea had a “guardian angel” of sorts, a soulmate who is tied to her.  Hundreds of years ago, Sage, Clea, & Ben were all alive.  Clea was the love of Sage’s life, and Ben was his friend.  Unintentionally, Ben betrayed Sage by speaking openly about the protectors of the elixir of life, a group Sage belonged to.  His confidants brutally murdered the group and Clea who happened to be present despite not being a member.  They kidnapped Sage and gave him the elixir of life followed by torture to make sure it worked.  He eventually got away but found himself trapped in a vicious cycle.  He cannot die therefore he has lived many lives in each of which his friend Ben betrays him and his girlfriend Clea dies.  The reincarnations of Ben and Clea always have different names and appearances, but the series of unfortunate events is always the same.  In the present, their main mission is breaking the cycle.  On top of that, they have to protect Sage from two groups of people.  The elixir keeping him alive runs through his veins instead of blood.  One group wants his blood to make them immortal, and the other group wants to kill him and break their family curse of dying before 30.

That synopsis is informative about the first and second book, but there is a lot more to the story.  I read the first book and was instantly hooked.  I liked the plot because it was different from anything I had ever read before.  Sage and Clea’s relationship is “Insta-Love”, a term that describes relationships in which a boy and girl fall for each other at a quick, ridiculous pace.  I know why that is annoying, but in this case, it didn’t annoy me… yet.  The sequel kept me interested in the story, but it felt different, which I liked; it didn’t feel like “Elixir” in a different cover.  The third book is where the story crashed and burned.  I had expectations and was thoroughly disappointed.

* * * SPOILERS AHEAD * * *

It’s cute to think of Sage and Clea as soulmates, but their relationship isn’t as perfect as it seems.  The circumstances seem like smooth sailing for a short period of time, but chaos is never far behind.  In the third book, new events cause Sage to be violent.  Clea keeps getting hurt emotionally and physically, but she stands by him determined to fix his problem.  I don’t disagree with that, but I do disagree with the decision to let them live happily ever after.  Sad endings are hard to deal with, but they can benefit a story or series.  In this case, the death of Clea or Sage would have been more believable.  One of their first predicaments was the cycle of Ben’s betrayal and Clea’s death.  If Clea had died following Ben’s betrayal in the third book, it would have completed another cycle except this time Sage is no longer immortal, and he will eventually die.  Another thing that irritates me is the fact that Clea’s dad is rarely mentioned after the first book.  His story is never resolved, and I am left with many questions.  I know that disappearances are often unresolved, but he discovered Sage and the elixir of life.  Readers deserved closure considering he was so important to the story.

FINALLY!!!  I’ve been waiting to read The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings for years.  It is dangerous for a reader to build up expectations, but I am glad to say this time my excitement was justified.  I want to save my final thoughts for after I finish LOTR, but… I LOVED The Hobbit.  No complaints!!

This series is a blast from the past!  I’m thoroughly enjoying the books, even at 22 years of age.  My final thoughts will be shared after I finish the series.

• These are the books I’m currently reading:

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

“The Fellowship of the Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien

“The Vile Village” by Lemony Snicket

• After 4 months, this is what my list looks like:

Published This Year – “Land of Silence” by Tessa Afshar | “A Spy’s Devotion” by Melanie Dickerson

✔️ Finish in a Day – “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum

✔️ Meaning to Read – “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien | “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien | “Zoo” by Michael Ledwidge & James Patterson | The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Recommended by Bookseller or Librarian – “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket | “The Girl on The Train” by Paula Hawkins

Should Have Read in School – “Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ” by Lew Wallace

Chosen by Spouse, Partner, Sibling, Child, or BFF – “As Sure As The Dawn” by Francine Rivers

Published Before You Were Born – “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote

Banned at Some Point – “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll

✔️ Previously Abandoned – “Elixir” series by Hilary Duff

Own But Never Read – “First Light” by Bodie & Brocke Thoene

Intimidates You – “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

✔️ Already Read at Least Once – “Sisters of the Quilt” series by Cindy Woodsmall | “River of Time” series by Lisa T. Bergren

*Note: I put checkmarks by categories in which I have already completed one book.  Everything else after the first title is extra.

It is not too late to join in on the fun.  Here is the source of this challenge: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2016-reading-challenge/

Happy reading!! 📚

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Can’t Help Falling in Love

(Image Source: http://www.rougemagz.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/il_570xN.309602305-570×400.jpg)

Three months ago this blog post was 75% complete and well on its way to being published.  Despite my August deadline, I was feeling uninspired and decided to walk away for reflection.  I missed the opportunity to connect this post to August, “Romance Awareness Month”, but I would much rather publish content I am proud of than meet deadlines for the sake of being clever.  That being said, allow me to set the stage for this project that has been a labor of love (HA!).  Back in April, I made two collages of Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley from “Anne of Green Gables” in honor of Jonathan Crombie.  When I found out August was “Romance Awareness Month” (who knew?!!), I immediately put my Photoshop skills to work and made collages for my favorite TV and movie couples.  This project is near and dear to my heart.  The couples I have chosen are fictional, but their stories inspire me because they have substance.  Personally, I am not fond of glorifying the physicality of relationships.  Less is more!  I recently watched the BBC miniseries “North & South” for the first time.  The main characters do not interact romantically until the last few minutes of the series, and yet I felt tension and passion throughout; I did not need to see more in order to empathize.  It was absolutely brilliant!  I strongly believe purity and subtlety go a long way, much further than graphic details.  We should all have high standards and use the term “love” with caution.  Go ahead and call me a “hopeless romantic”; I accept that label with open arms.  :)

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

(Image Source: https://quotefancy.com/quote/772/Helen-Keller-The-best-and-most-beautiful-things-in-the-world-cannot-be-seen-or-even)

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**These stories come from either a TV show or a movie, not book(s)**

*** It is hard to keep track of so much content.  Feel free to notify me of any mistakes. ***

*** I recommend you click each image to make it bigger ***

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Counting down from #6, let’s meet our couples!

6. Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly

(Image Source: https://longagoandohsofaraway.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/for-your-consideration-the-office-2-05-halloween/)

What: Television Show, 2005 – 2013

Title: “The Office”

Jim and Pam

Jim Halpert: “Not enough for me? You are everything.”

I could name specific episodes, but I wont because there is at least one Jim and Pam moment in every episode.  The list would go on and on and on!!  Instead, I recommend that you take the time to watch the entire show.  It is hilarious so time well spent.

Jim and Pam’s Love Story (SPOILERS):

“The Office” Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ustheoffice/featured

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

5. John Thornton and Margaret Hale

(Image Source: http://north-and-prejudice.tumblr.com/post/103886129826/why-do-i-love-north-and-south-so-much)

What: Miniseries, 2004

Title: “North & South”

John and Margaret

Margaret Hale: “It offends me that you should speak to me as if it were your… duty to rescue my reputation!”

John Thornton: “I spoke to you about my feelings because I love you; I had no thought for your reputation!”

“North & South” Trailer:

John and Margaret Montage (SPOILERS):

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4. Captain Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot

(Image Source: http://biathenas.tumblr.com/post/115466669253)

What: Film, 2007

Title: “Persuasion”

Captain Wentworth and Anne

Captain Frederick Wentworth: “I imagined myself indifferent to her but I was only angry and resentful. Too late… too late I began to understand myself and her.  Never have I met her equal in good sense or sweetness of character. She’s perfection itself. I’ve never loved any but her.”

“Persuasion” Trailer:

Frederick and Anne Montage (SPOILERS):

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

3. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet

(Image Source: http://katieoliver.com/ko/2015/05/ten-reasons-why-mr-darcy-reigns-supreme/)

What: Film, 2005

Title: “Pride and Prejudice”

Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth

Mr. Darcy: “Miss Elizabeth. I have struggled in vain, and I can bear it no longer. These past months have been a torment.  I came to Rosings with the single object of seeing you… I had to see you. I have fought against my better judgment, my family’s expectations, the inferiority of your birth by rank and circumstance. All these things I am willing to put aside and ask you to end my agony.”

Elizabeth: “I don’t understand.”

Mr. Darcy: “I love you.”

“Pride and Prejudice” Trailer:

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Montage (SPOILERS):

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

2. Almanzo Wilder and Laura Ingalls

(Image Source: http://effyeahlittlehouse.tumblr.com/post/108620013240)

What: Television Show, 1974 – 1983

Title: Little House on the Prairie

Almanzo and Laura

Laura Ingalls: “I took Ma’s advice and didn’t say anything more about Almanzo. I guess I knew I’d always be Half-Pint to Pa, but I was just as sure that I would someday be Laura Ingalls Wilder.”

“Little House on the Prairie” Trailer:

Almanzo and Laura Montage (SPOILERS):

Important Episodes to Watch:

Almanzo And Laura Meet – “Back to School” Parts 1 and 2 (Season 6, Episodes 1 and 2)

Laura Gets Jealous – “Annabelle” (Season 6, Episode 5)

Almanzo Starts to See Laura as an Adult – “Wilder And Wilder” (Season 6, Episode 20)

Almanzo Falls in Love With Laura – “Sweet Sixteen” (Season 6, Episode 22)

Almanzo Proposes – “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not” Parts 1 and 2 (Season 6, Episodes 23 and 24)

Almanzo and Laura Get Married – “Laura Ingalls Wilder” Parts 1 and 2 (Season 7, Episodes 1 and 2)

*** From this point on, the newly married couple are seen on and off on the show.  The following are some of my favorite episodes post-wedding. ***

Laura Thinks Almanzo is Having an Affair – “Divorce, Walnut Grove Style” (Season 7, Episode 7)

Almanzo And Laura Get Their First Taste of Parenthood – “Nephews” (Season 7, Episode 14)

Laura is Pregnant – “I Do, Again” (Season 7, Episode 20)

Almanzo Comes Close to Death – “Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow” Parts 1 and 2 (Season 8, Episodes 17 and 18)

Almanzo And Laura Lose a Child – “A Child With No Name” (Season 9, Episode 18)

Baby Rose Wilder is Kidnapped – “Little House: Bless All The Dear Children” (Movie)

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

1. Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley

(Image Source: http://anneandgilbert.tumblr.com/post/24994025167/polkadotage-squeeeeeeeeeeeeee-3)

What: Film Trilogy – 1985, 1987, and 2000

Titles: “Anne of Green Gables”, “Anne of Avonlea”, and “Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story”

Gilbert and Anne

Gilbert Blythe: “Anne, There’s not going to be any wedding anymore.”

Anne Shirley: “You’re gonna get well, Gil. I know you are.”

Gilbert Blythe: “I called it off. It wouldn’t be fair to Christine. There would never be anyone for me but you.”

“Anne of Green Gables” Trailer:

“Anne of Avonlea” Trailer:

“Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story” Trailer:

Gilbert and Anne Montage (SPOILERS):

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

(Image Source: http://lovehonourandrespect.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/1-Corinthians-13-vs-4-8.jpg)

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Shoutout to my fellow November 5th babies.  Happy birthday!!  :)

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

– Lauren Michele

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/the-great-boot-detective/

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– Image Sources (L to R, Row by Row) –

* * * Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly

Image 1: https://ngbbpc.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/1197844.jpg

Image 2: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/xebHJQU4Lqg/maxresdefault.jpg

Image 3: http://s892.photobucket.com/user/irishirideyo2/media/movies/f9575553-e6d0-49ef-9ffa-0a1822ab7c64.jpg.html

Image 4: http://canbabiesdrinkredbull.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Office2.png

Image 5: http://www.fanpop.com/images/polls/16619_1_full.jpg

Image 6: https://pixelbrushstudios.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/1403451878497.jpg

Image 7: http://www.ew.com/sites/default/files/i/imgs/100714//Jim-Pam-Niagara-office_400.jpg

Image 8: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d8/fa/1b/d8fa1b5fdd4405c1c03c65a41f07b600.jpg

Image 9: http://blog.mysanantonio.com/jakle06/files/2013/05/officejimpam.jpg

Image 10: http://reallylatereviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/jim-and-pam.jpg  (This is the source, but the link is no longer available)

Image 11: http://www.eonline.com/eol_images/Entire_Site/20100303/425.fischer.krasinski.theoffice.lc.030310.jpg

Image 12: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-muSy491aT_w/UZ4EGLxeBgI/AAAAAAAAAeI/XeL5DOVd34Q/s1600/jim+and+pam+family.png

Image 13: http://www.ew.com/sites/default/files/i/2012/10/08/the-office.jpg

* * * John Thornton and Margaret Hale

Image 1: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 1)

Image 2: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 1)

Image 3: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 2)

Image 4: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 2)

Image 5: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 4)

Image 6: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 4)

Image 7: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 3)

Image 8: http://www.richardarmitageonline.com/north-and-south/north-south-pictures-episode4.html

Image 9: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 5)

Image 10: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 10)

Image 11: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 10)

Image 12: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 10)

Image 13: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 10)

Image 14: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 10)

Image 15: http://caps.desert-sky.net/n&s.htm (Zip File 10)

* * *Captain Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot

Image1: http://kissthemgoodbye.net/movie/displayimage.php?album=225&pid=492280#top_display_media

Image 2: http://kissthemgoodbye.net/movie/albums/Persuasion%202007/P_2007_0522.jpg

Image 3: http://kissthemgoodbye.net/movie/albums/Persuasion%202007/P_2007_1833.jpg

Image 4: http://www.janeitejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Persuasion-2007-persuasion-5250064-1024-576.jpg

Image 5: http://kissthemgoodbye.net/movie/displayimage.php?album=225&pid=492761#top_display_media

Image 6: http://www.cap-that.com/austen/persuasion/2007/images/persuasion-2007_1041.jpg

Image 7: http://www.janeitejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Persuasion-2007-persuasion-5249840-1024-576.jpg

Image 8: http://www.janeitejournal.com/moving-pictures/through-the-eyes-of-a-janeite-2/through-the-eyes-of-a-janeite/persuasion-2007-persuasion-5249807-1024-576/

Image 9: http://kissthemgoodbye.net/movie/albums/Persuasion%202007/P_2007_1708.jpg

Image 10: http://kissthemgoodbye.net/movie/albums/Persuasion%202007/P_2007_1277.jpg

Image 11: http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/5200000/Persuasion-2007-persuasion-5251119-1024-576.jpg

Image 12: http://images2.fanpop.com/images/polls/127454_1223825332686_full.jpg

Image 13: http://www.cem.itesm.mx/signo/images/Notas/cinetv/Persuasion-2007-persuasion-5251156-1024-576.jpg

* * * Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet

Image 1: https://reginajeffers.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/lizzy1.jpg

Image 2: http://images1.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Elizabeth-Darcy-pride-and-prejudice-couples-954305_1280_554.jpg

Image 3: http://images2.fanpop.com/image/photos/9500000/Mr-Darcy-jane-austens-heroes-9589809-2560-1664.jpg

Image 4: https://terbsworld.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pride_and_prejudice_0980.jpg

Image 5: https://imheathcliff.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/darcy_lizzy2005.jpg

Image 6: http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/2005-P-P-mr-darcy-and-elizabeth-683783_1920_1237.jpg

Image 7: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8U56CTlGkx8

Image 8: http://breezybaldwin.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/sh4.jpg

Image 9: https://terbsworld.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pride_and_prejudice_0980.jpg

Image 10: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/9570217930523482/

Image 11: http://images1.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Elizabeth-Darcy-pride-and-prejudice-couples-954122_1280_554.jpg

Image 12: https://vinnieh.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/elizabeth-and-mr-darcy.jpg

Image 13: http://images2.fanpop.com/images/polls/127418_1223818551045_full.jpg

* * * Almanzo Wilder and Laura Ingalls

Image 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzYG03I3whc

Image 2: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-BVvMG2BIWs0/UtnyxArlXmI/AAAAAAAAgfQ/t4CduAeYOcE/s1600/Ya+wanna+talk+about+it+now.JPG

Image 3: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/361343570077920259/

Image 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euFznRRl0SE

Image 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euFznRRl0SE

Image 6: http://www.moviemarket.com/library/photos/291/291536.jpg

Image 7: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/OzYG03I3whc/hqdefault.jpg

Image 8: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euFznRRl0SE

Image 9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzYG03I3whc

Image 10: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEf-gdSgE8s

Image 11: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEf-gdSgE8s

Image 12: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzYG03I3whc

Image 13: http://auto.img.v4.skyrock.net/2203/84812203/pics/3106697159_1_3_SBzOa5hG.jpg

Image 14: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEf-gdSgE8s

Image 15: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euFznRRl0SE

Image 16: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEf-gdSgE8s

Image 17: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEf-gdSgE8s

Image 18: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euFznRRl0SE

* * * Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley

Image 1: http://data2.whicdn.com/images/173326929/large.jpg

Image 2: http://40.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ljnf0kbWtb1qak5hto1_500.jpg

Image 3: http://anne.sullivanmovies.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/07/AOGG2-001.jpg

Image 4: http://sullivanmovies.com/articles/fashion-in-avonlea-gilbert-blythe/#jp-carousel-4246

Image 5: http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/AOGG-The-Sequel-anne-of-green-gables-600620_500_375.jpg

Image 6: http://anne.sullivanmovies.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/09/Gilbertc.jpg

Image 7: http://anne.sullivanmovies.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/07/AOGG2-002.jpg

Image 8: http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/17600000/Anne-and-Gilbert-anne-and-gilbert-17693147-500-333.jpg

Image 9: http://anne.sullivanmovies.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/07/AOGG3-008.jpg

Image 10: http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/17600000/Anne-and-Gilbert-anne-and-gilbert-17693181-500-333.jpg

Image 11: http://anne.sullivanmovies.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/07/102-580×377.jpg