A Series of Unfortunate Events | Friday the 13th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Lauren Michele <3

My Links:

Previous Post: Out With the New, In With the Old | Throwback Thursday

Previous Video: 2016 Reading Wrap Up

• Support My Blog

• Art Blog

• Goodreads

• Instagram

• Lauren Michele’s MyWebRoom

• Sign up for MyWebRoom

• Pinterest

• Snapchat: LMichele93

• Tumblr

Twitter

Youtube

Advertisements

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!! 📚

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

– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: Disney Pin Collecting & Trading

Previous Video:

My Links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/laurenmicheleonline/

Lauren Michele’s MyWebRoom: http://www.mywebroom.com/room/laurenmicheleonline/#

Sign up for MyWebRoom: http://www.mywebroom.com

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Snapchat: LMichele93

Tumblr: http://lauren-michele.tumblr.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenmichele93

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed

 

Early Morning Pondering

Please support the artist by visiting her website: http://maikeplenzke.blogspot.com/

I should most definitely be in bed considering I have had intense headaches on and off for the past three days.  However, here I am at 3am wide awake; my brain is working overtime.  Many changes have taken place in my life over the past three years, and the process has been overwhelming.  There have been moments when I chose to not think, ignore the problem, and pretend like everything is A-OK.  The emotional pain has been easier to deal with in parts.  I have a breakdown, struggle through the resulting depression, feel a little better, and wait for the next breakdown.  It is incredibly hard to move away from a place you called home for thirteen years.  No words can describe the pain of letting go of a life I thought I would have forever.  I never once considered that God would uproot me and my family and take away the house, the people, and the atmosphere I was familiar with.  Routines are my comfort zone.  Anytime change comes along, I panic.  Hence my earlier statement about shutting down and becoming a zombie.  I have no regrets about the jobs I accepted, the events I volunteered for, and the people I associated myself with.  I have vivid memories, both positive and negative; at least I have something to remember.  During this time of transition, social media has been a great tool for staying in contact with friends.  However, it has also been a window for watching life go on without me.  As I said before, I never once thought my life would change so drastically.  Now that my comfort zone is gone, I realize how much the small things meant to me.  For those of you who are letting go of something or someone right now, I am right there with you.  The process sucks, plain and simple.  Cling to the happy memories and the hope that something even better is right around the corner.  Oy vey!  That was cheesy enough to stop my tears.  But seriously, give yourself time to mourn and adjust.  I stayed up late Monday night eating goldfish and watching episodes of “Make It or Break It.”  I know, I know.  I am practically the conductor of the crazy train.  My point is that taking the time to do something you know will instantly make you happy works wonders for your mood.  One step at a time.  Breathe in, breathe out…

Image 1 Source: http://gifsgallery.com/tangled+lanterns+gif

Image 2 Source: http://mickeyandcompany.tumblr.com/post/58935992915/the-descending-lantern-that-rapunzel-lifted-back

This quote scares me to death, but I suppose that is a good thing: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”  – Alan Watts

Think happy thoughts readers!!  :)

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

– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/the-new-normal/

Previous Video:

My Links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/laurenmicheleonline/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://laurenmichelephotography.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenmichele93

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed

Love Out Loud

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I am going to try very hard to get these words out without becoming overly emotional and rambling.  I apologize for the serious note of this post, but my heart is telling me to write.  Because of the picture, you already have a basic idea of what I am going to discuss.  I have watched quite a few Holocaust-related movies but am not sure why because it is very hard for me to do so.  I suppose that as a Jew I feel a strange sort of loyalty, a loyalty that urges me to watch and empathize to the best of my ability.  I did not experience a concentration camp nor did my Sephardic ancestors.  However, Jews are brothers and sisters no matter the category one belongs to (Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, or Sephardic); after all, we all descend from the same bloodline.  I cannot speak for other Jews, but I can speak for myself.  When another heart hurts, I hurt, no matter how far back in history that hurt occurred.  I have been emotionally disturbed by Holocaust movies in the past, but this film wrenched my heart to the point of illness.  As soon as the credits started to roll, I ran away from my computer and wept alone in another room.  My head throbbed, and my stomach was in knots.  I do not pretend to have felt pain anywhere near that of the Jews in concentration camps, but I did indeed feel pain.  Pain and anger.  I could not speak, only weep.  One word kept coming to mind over and over and over again: Why.  Why?  Why??  Why??!  Why!!!

– If you have not seen “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”, I suggest you stop reading now. –

There is one specific element in this movie that grabbed my attention.  It is subtle but very much significant.  When Bruno is mistakenly taken with a group of Jews to the gas chamber, the Nazi soldiers do not question his presence.  Yes he is disguised, and yes he is surrounded by numerous other Jews, but take all that away.  Cut off Bruno’s hair.  Take away from Shmuel the dirty appearance and malnutrition.  Line them up side by side in matching “striped pajamas.”  They are two young boys, same age and same height.  Shmuel could be German.  Bruno could be Jewish.  Both could be one or the other.  It is unclear whether Bruno was visible to the soldiers, but he looked just like everybody else therefore he received the same treatment and tragic death.  He was one of them, a German, and yet the soldiers could not tell the difference.  What does that tell you about prejudice?  Hatred will show you what you want to see, not what is actually there.

If you think your contribution to the fight against prejudice as one person is too small, think again.  Love goes a long way no matter the number of contributors.  I will end with some lyrics from a song called “Let It Be Love” by Family Force 5.  I encourage you to read the words, click the following link to hear the entire song, and take time to reflect.

“Stronger than every fear
Comfort for all the tears
It’s where the war is won
And it has overcome
Louder than the loudest shout
Deeper than the deepest doubt
We’ll watch the walls fall down…

Let it be a heart wide open
Bigger than the words we’ve spoken
Let it be a heart for the broken
If we’re gonna light, light, light the way to You
Let it be love…
It’s love that lights the way”

“Let It Be Love” by Family Force 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTZHl5cNLJE

Please don’t pick and choose who to love.  Love everyone!

– Lauren Michele :)

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/dresses-and-llamas/

My Links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://laurenmichelephotography.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenmichele93

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed