Getting Personal #77: July Goals Recap

July felt like one of the longest months to me, but I think that’s because of two weeks of suffering through AC issues (Now gloriously fixed!), and we didn’t have many plans during the weekends. However, the end of the month always seems to sneak up on me!

Here’s the link to my July Goals post:


Here we go!

  1. Clear the clothing clutter. — Semi-Achieved.
  2. Start designing my custom American Girl doll cabinet / storage unit. — Semi-Achieved.
  3. Register for the fall semester. — Did not accomplish.
  4. See Spider-Man: Homecoming. — Accomplished!
  5. See Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. — Accomplished!
  6. Write at least 200 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt. — Accomplished!
  7. Work toward weekly meal planning. — Accomplished!
  8. Set up a consistent cleaning schedule. — Accomplished!
  9. Update my resume. — Semi-Achieved.
  10. Publish a bigger variety of blog posts. — Accomplished!

Here’s the breakdown:

Clear the clothing clutter. — Semi-Achieved.

  • I got it a bit more organized and clearly divided.
  • I tried everything on, just to be absolutely sure!
  • This past week, I just ordered a Donation Bag through thredUP – I love that what I put into this bag, when it arrives, (including Al’s stuff!) will help our local Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation! There are three local charities that we can choose from, at any time.

Start designing my custom American Girl doll cabinet / storage unit. — Semi-Achieved.

  • We took measurements of a standard American Girl doll box.
  • Al is starting to work it up on the computer, using Adobe Illustrator.

Register for the fall semester. — Did not accomplish.

  • This is happening, just later this week!
  • I called the academic advising department two weeks ago – They don’t make appointments, they only take walk-ins (Of course they do).
  • I’m prepared to sit on campus all day on Friday until this happens. I’m tired of waiting!

See Spider-Man: Homecoming. — Accomplished!

  • We saw this on Thursday, July 6th! It was a later showing, and we were both really tired on Friday at work, but it was COMPLETELY WORTH IT.
  • It’s one of the best movies with Spider-Man, in our opinion.
  • It’s a movie that I think would make John Hughes proud.
  • If you haven’t seen it, we both highly recommend it!

See Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. — Accomplished!

  • We saw this last weekend – A Sunday matinee.
  • It was good, overall – Not anything spectacular.
  • The CGI was stunning and mind-blowing.
  • The story – Not so much.
  • We’re both a little sad that it flopped at the box office.

Write at least 200 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt. — Accomplished!

  • Drumroll … I wrote approximately 452 words!
  • I feel awesome. I’m hoping to keep this momentum going!
  • Current word count: 10,662 words.

Work toward weekly meal planning. — Accomplished!

  • We sat down and mapped out the month of July. We basically picked one meal per week, and then I adjusted the recipes I had accordingly.
  • One of our favorite recipes now is Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken.
  • The first time I made it, I followed the recipe step-by-step. It was really good!
  • When I made it again this week (Monday), I grilled the chicken on our George Foreman grill after marinating it for over 24 hours with olive oil, water, salt, and pepper. Instead of spinach, I used a whole head of broccoli. Absolutely delicious! I made enough for us to have ample portions for five nights.
  • This week – Taco salad!

Set up a consistent cleaning schedule. — Accomplished!

  • I took a pen to our Chick-fil-A calendar in our kitchen, and basically alternated Kitchen, Bathrooms, and Floors on every weekend. I wrote it down for every Saturday, but I give myself all weekend to make sure whatever it is gets done.
  • I’ve also noticed that I now feel less stressed because I’ve broken it down in this way!

Update my resume. — Semi-Achieved.

  • The main thing I did was write down the highlights of my current job, and the skills that I’ve learned while working for Riverside so far. I just need to condense it down into something that’s resume-worthy.
  • I’m not planning on leaving my current job anytime soon, but I know that it’s a good idea to keep my resume updated and refreshed.
  • I also need to overhaul my LinkedIn profile.

Publish a bigger variety of blog posts. — Accomplished!

Final Thoughts:

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to six out of 10 goals! Yay!
  • The three goals that were Semi-Achieved: I’m happy with my progress with these goals.
  • The one goal that I did not accomplish: I’m okay with this – I’ll be able to mark it as officially Accomplished at the end of this week!

What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of July?

Come back tomorrow to see my August Goals!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #23: “Who Am I?” Tag


Image Credit: Stuming Games

Many thanks to Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts for tagging me!

Here’s the post where I was originally tagged:

What does my name mean?

Since I go by my first and middle name (given in honor of my great-grandmother, Laura Bethany Powers), I decided to search for “Laura” and “Beth” separately. When I searched “Laura Beth,” most results landed on either “laurabeth” or “laura-beth.”

This is what I found for the name Laura:

“Derived from the Latin laurus (laurel, an evergreen shrub or tree whose leaves were woven into wreaths by the ancient Greeks to crown victors in various contests). Originally a Latin name, Laura came into use in England in the 19th century, and is now popularly bestowed throughout the English-speaking world.”

This is what I found for the name Beth:

“Originally a short form of Elizabeth (God is my oath) and Bethany (house of figs), Beth is popularly bestowed as an independent given name and as a name element in compound names such as Mary-Beth or Laura-Beth.”

According to the website Seven Reflections:

“You always bring to completion anything you start. You are generous but like to see returns from your giving. You have an executive ability, you are a leader. You are moral, balanced, honest and intellectual, and you may attain spirituality. You are wise and practical with an appreciation of beauty. You always think before you act.You are bold, independent, inquisitive and interested in research. You know what you want and why you want it.

You are very intuitive. You have a reservoir of inspired wisdom combined with inherited analytical ability, which could reward you through expressions of spiritual leadership, business analysis, marketing, artistic visions, and scientific research. Operating on spiritual side of your individuality can bring you to the great heights, and drop you off if you neglect your spiritual identity. You are always looking for an opportunity to investigate the unknown, to use and show your mental abilities, to find the purpose and meaning of life. You want to grow wise and to understand people and things. You need privacy to replenish your energy. You have a unique way of thinking, intuitive, reflective, absorbing.”

What is my Myers-Briggs Personality Type? (Link)

My results: Protagonist (ENFJ-T) — Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging, Turbulent.

I would agree with these results. I’ve always been enthusiastic, sensitive, caring, and so on. In terms of Turbulent, my results were 53 percent Turbulent to 47 percent Assertive, and that’s me to a T, no pun intended!

“With vision and determination, nothing is impossible.”

What is my Zodiac Sign? (Link)

I was supposed to be a Scorpio (November 18th), but I was born a Leo (August 7th).


Strengths: Creative, passionate, generous, warm-hearted, cheerful, humorous

Weaknesses: Arrogant, stubborn, self-centered, lazy, inflexible

Leo likes: Theater, taking holidays, being admired, expensive things, bright colors, fun with friends

Leo dislikes: Being ignored, facing difficult reality, not being treated like a king or queen

People born under the sign of Leo are natural born leaders. They are dramatic, creative, self-confident, dominant and extremely difficult to resist, able to achieve anything they want to in any area of life they commit to. There is a specific strength to a Leo and their “king of the jungle” status. Leo often has many friends for they are generous and loyal. Self-confident and attractive, this is a Sun sign capable of uniting different groups of people and leading them as one towards a shared cause, and their healthy sense of humor makes collaboration with other people even easier.

Leo belongs to the element of Fire, just like Aries and Sagittarius. This makes them warmhearted, in love with life, trying to laugh and have a good time. Able to use their mind to solve even the most difficult problems, they will easily take initiative in resolving various complicated situations. Ruled by the Sun, Leo worships this fiery entity in the sky, quite literally as well as metaphorically. They are in search for self-awareness and in constant growth of ego. Aware of their desires and personality, they can easily ask for everything they need, but could just as easily unconsciously neglect the needs of other people in their chase for personal gain or status. When a Leo representative becomes too fond and attached to their achievements and the way other people see them, they become an easy target, ready to be taken down.

Leo – the Lion in the Cave The story of the Lion always speaks of bravery. This is an animal fearless and impossible to challenge, hurt or destroy, their only weaknesses being fear and aggression towards those they confront. Living in a cave, a Lion always needs to have one, nesting and finding comfort in hard times. However, they should never stay there for long. With their head high, they have to face others with dignity and respect, never raising a voice, a hand, or a weapon, bravely walking through the forest they rule.

I completely agree! These results made my laugh out loud so hard! I’m definitely stubborn (My mom mentioned this just a few weeks ago!)

What is my Hogwarts House? (Link)

Hufflepuff – Loyal, Dependable, Hardworking.

I’ll take it!

What are my Learning Styles? (Link)

Visual 10

Aural 9

Read/Write 12

Kinesthetic 14

Am I Left or Right Brain Dominant? (Link)

I’m more Right Brain Dominant —  66 percent versus 34 percent (images, chaos, creativity, fantasy, intuition, curiosity). Yep, that definitely makes sense, especially since I’m left-handed!

What is my Blood Type?

I am A-negative (A-), just like my mom. My blood can be given to patients with four different blood types (A+, AB-, AB+, and A-). My dad is O-negative, so he is the “universal” donor. That means his blood type can go to anyone! I’m currently working on my iron level so I can donate again on August 5th – Blood drive number 101!

What Career am I meant to have? (Link)


You have a skill for language, your imagination is vast and you are artistic and creative. Your brain is just overflowing with ideas, and all you have to do is get a piece of paper and share it with the world. You were born to turn words into magical stories.

Yes! Awesome!!

What Divergent Faction do I belong to? (Link)

I belong in Divergent.

You deviate from the norm. The aptitude test is inconclusive. It cannot determine just one faction for you, Divergent. Your mind is ceaselessly changing. You’re creative, with a strong sense of self, and you have a clear picture of who you are and what you want. You stand out from the crowd. You may pose a threat to the norms of society, but you are unwilling to give into them.

I love it!

What does my Birth say about me? (Link)

The Firstborn (Technically only child)

Stereotype: Natural leader, ambitious, responsible.
Why it’s true: The eldest, for a while, has no competition for time (or books or baby banter) with Mom and Dad. “There’s a benefit to all of that undiluted attention. A 2007 study in Norway showed that firstborns had two to three more IQ points than the next child,” says Frank J. Sulloway, Ph.D., the author of Born to Rebel. Firstborns tend to be surrogate parents when other siblings arrive, hence their protective and responsible nature.
When it’s not: Parents can set high expectations for a first (or only) child. “When he feels like he has disappointed his parents or can’t measure up, he may veer off in another direction,” says Kevin Leman, Ph.D., a psychologist and the author of The Birth Order Book.

This was such a fun tag! Thanks, Jenna!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #40: “The End of Everything”

The End of Everything

Image Credit: Amazon

A couple of weeks ago, I found this book while I visited 2nd and Charles with a dear friend of mine. They opened a new location across the street from my office last year – They have every type of book, DVDs, Blu-ray, vinyl, CDs, toys, games, and more. Some things are brand-new, still in the packaging! It was only $5.00, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I immediately recognized that Abbott is the author of other books such as You Will Know Me (currently on my TBR). I was intrigued by a combination of the cover and the synopsis on the inside. And, I can’t really turn down a hardcover book for $5.00!

I found myself reading multiple chapters per night, and I ended up finishing the book after less than a week.

In the 1980s, Lizzie and Evie are finishing up eighth grade, best friends since childhood. They’re attached to each other’s hips, but they appear to be going through their own paths and struggles. What 13-year-olds don’t?

Lizzie’s dad left years ago, but her mom looks like she’s been having a man over to the house recently. Evie appears to be living in her older sister, Dusty’s, shadow, but also excelling at soccer while trying to figure out what happens next.

Then, mere weeks before eighth-grade graduation, Evie Verver suddenly vanishes. As her family and the police investigate, Lizzie proves to be invaluable, finding multiple clues and helping assemble the complex puzzle. Everyone is desperate to get Evie back, although different characters are going through different emotions and handling the situation in different ways. One suspect, from their own neighborhood, looks promising, and the intensity continues to increase.

The book weaves together the complex topics/subjects of a child abduction, painful childhood memories, blossoming sexuality, and the relationships of parents with their children. The setting was the 1980s, and Abbott stays faithful to it the entire time. She also does a good job with balancing tragedy with triumph in her writing.

The only major complaint I had was that Abbott focuses so much on the relationship between Lizzie and Mr. Verver, and then tries to also explain/develop the relationship between Dusty and her father. The lines started to blur, and it was hard to tell sometimes who Abbott was referring to, and to figure out what exactly was going on.

It was challenging to differentiate between the two, and I felt a little creeped out by the end of the book. Mr. Verver appeared to be the sweetest, least-pervy of the fathers in the book, but some of the allusions that Abbott was making, absolutely made my skin crawl. Part of me didn’t want Lizzie, Evie, or Dusty to be taken advantage of, but part of me knew that the setting was also a different era (in a way), and parent-child relationships can still be taken too far, if you catch my drift. It makes me shudder just writing it.

Abbott is a great writer overall, and I look forward to reading more of her books! I just hope this one is just a fluke.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Hot Topic #21: The Confounding Congress


Image Credit: AZ Quotes

Disclaimer: This post contains strong language.

Hey there, readers. Bear with me. This post is probably going to be long-winded, basically a stream of consciousness, and likely have a significant amount of profanity in it.

You’ve been warned.

As a result of a spirited discussion with my wonderful husband last weekend (Note – Not spirited as in angry or anything. We typically tend to agree on most things, including politics and things going on in Washington), I’ve been inspired / motivated to write out some thoughts about our United States Congress.

Simply put – It’s completely fucked up.

And it has been for a LONG time.

Meanwhile in Congress

Image Credit: Meme Center

I decided to read through the entire U.S. Constitution.

Friends, it’s been way too long since I read this (I think the last time I read it in full was, begrudgingly, for my 10th grade IB Government class). I’m glad that I took the time to read it – It was like another education.

The Patriot Post

Image Credit: The Patriot Post

Here’s some highlights:

“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” (Article I, Section 1)

“The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.” (Article I, Section 2).

“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, [chosen by the Legislature thereof,]* for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.” (Article I, Section 3).

“The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.” (Article I, Section 6).

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” (The 16th Amendment – Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.)

“No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.” (The 27th Amendment – Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.)

They’re fighting over healthcare, but they all know that they’re completely exempt from whatever legislation that eventually passes?

I say that every member of Congress should have to go through the same process that all of the other Americans in this country go through to sign up for healthcare. They should experience the hardships that so many others face!

There is no “employer-sponsored healthcare” in this instance – That’s only for people who work for businesses that offer health plans to them. Period!

Wouldn’t it be great if Congress also couldn’t vote for themselves?

I wish that every member of Congress could be knocked down a peg, so to speak. I wish we, the people, could mandate that every single member only makes $7.25 an hour. Yep, you got that right, make sure that those serving in Congress only make minimum wage.

Oh, and you’re capped at 40 hours a week. No overtime. Nothing extra. And during those 40 hours, you get your work done. If your work isn’t done … You can be fired. Kicked to the curb. If you’re kicked out, then you have to go back home and start all over. Plenty of Americans have gone through layoffs, corporate restructuring, and being fired. Why should members of Congress just be able to sail through?

You get two weeks of vacation per year – That’s it. No more ridiculous recesses that last WEEKS. Recess is for those in elementary school.

No more housing allowances – That’s only given to those who serve our country in our armed forces. Period.

Back to healthcare for a minute. Since you, as a member of Congress, only make $7.25 an hour – You have to choose your healthcare like anyone else who only makes minimum wage. Yep, that makes you have to take the time and go on or go through the exchanges to find your health plan.

Oh, and you have to make sure your spouse and all of your children are covered, too.

Not so easy now, is it?

Oh, and whatever happened to serving in Congress actually being a service to your constituents and this great nation?

If I remember correctly, not too long ago, there were no career politicians. None, zero. There were farmers who were elected in Kansas, businessmen elected in Arizona, dentists elected in California – Those men (and later women) maintained their households, jobs and/or businesses, and lives in their constituencies. When their work was done in Washington, they went back to their families and jobs and businesses at home, and worked with their constituents to help their districts change for the better. These men and women didn’t have apartments or houses in Washington, Virginia, or Maryland. They went home to Kansas, Arizona, California, and so on!


Image Credit: PolitiFact — Based on numbers from 2014, this is nearly 100 percent accurate. *facepalm*

If you stuck with me through now, thanks for reading! I try really hard to not get political on the blog. But, sometimes, something makes me really mad, and the best way that I cope is to write about it!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #54: “What To Pay For When Publishing”

Things I Learned About Self-Publishing

Image Credit:

I was inspired to write this post from James Harrington’s Blog of Geek and Writing.

Here’s the link to his original post:

As someone who has several novels / stories in the works (A never-ending cycle, it seems), I’ve gotten more and more curious about self-publishing in the last year or so. I have nothing ready to self-publish as of yet, but I like to plan ahead!

Jim offers this advice, as a self-published author on Amazon. You should be prepared to pay for the following:

  1. ISBN Numbers
  2. Copyright registration
  3. Cover
  4. Editing and Reviewing
  5. Advertising

He brings up some excellent points. Before reading his post, I knew that having someone else design the cover, as well as hiring someone else to edit and review your work, would definitely be worth the money. However, I didn’t think about ISBN numbers, copyright registration, and advertising.

Jim says that if you do decide to self-publish, you should be prepared to spend at least $400 at an absolute bare minimum. However, it’s also wise to spend a little more if you want your work to reach more people! (Don’t we all?)

Jim’s post made me research a little bit deeper. Keep in mind – Everyone has their own opinion, and the Internet is chock-full of advice about self-publishing.

There are so many avenues available now – It made my head spin! There’s CreateSpace and IngramSpark, and then a massive number of independent publishers. A Google search for “self-publishing” is almost overwhelming and panic-inducing.

Here’s a few links:

A lot of these articles tend to agree on several items:

  1. Purchase your own ISBN (International Standard Book Number).
  2. Hiring “book doctors” and getting it copy edited by a professional.
  3. Don’t just choose one medium – Consider publishing in print and e-book formats, and even audio books.
  4. Marketing is key.
  5. A good cover design is immensely helpful.
  6. Do your pricing research, and be mindful of the different percentages of the price that each company takes (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Audible, etc.) when a copy of your book is sold.

The bottom line – The publishing and self-publishing worlds seem to be constantly evolving. It’s hard to keep up with!

But, I’m glad that I have bloggers like James, among others, who are willing to write posts, offer advice, and answer questions!

Have you self-published anything? If so, what was your experience like? Can you offer any advice?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #68: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 30)

Week #30: Your Current Age.

As of right now, I’m 28 years old. As I’ve said several times before, I’m incredibly grateful to have been on this Earth for these 28 years!

It’s hard to believe that my birthday comes around again just a few weeks from now. The last year of my 20s! It always seems to sneak up on me now. When I was a kid, though, it was a different story. I was always slightly jealous of the kids who had their birthdays during the school year – Their parents would bring in treats for the whole class, and so on. It felt like it took forever for August to arrive!

But, in a way, I’m also lucky. My birthday is during the summer, so I never had to go to school on my actual birthday! I did go to work a handful of times on my birthday, but now I’ve started to deliberately take the day off, if it falls on a weekday. I’ve really enjoyed it, and it’s like a mental health day where I can do whatever I want!

Here’s 28 things that I’m grateful for:

  1. Living on this Earth for so long!
  2. My amazing parents.
  3. My wonderful husband!
  4. Our families that love each other and enjoy each other’s company.
  5. A house that is livable and in a great neighborhood.
  6. A fridge/freezer full of food.
  7. Having good jobs that allow us to have our house, food, and spending money.
  8. A closet full of clothes.
  9. Excellent education!
  10. A reliable car that is able to make the 60-mile commute five days a week.
  11. Being able to travel frequently.
  12. A wonderful, stable church home that’s lasted for 25 years.
  13. My overall good health.
  14. The ability to see doctors when needed.
  15. Enjoying several passions – Reading, writing, American Girl dolls, movies, photography.
  16. Connecting and re-connecting with friends and family.
  17. Being able to go to a gym near the house to work out and strengthen my body and mind.
  18. Affordable Internet access.
  19. Easy access to a library system, where I can check out as many books as I want, at any time.
  20. Intelligence.
  21. Humility.
  22. Grace.
  23. Understanding.
  24. Being able to control my anxiety.
  25. Being able to listen.
  26. The power of prayer.
  27. Connecting with so many amazing bloggers, all around the world!
  28. Being loved and appreciated!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #76: “Sunset Dock, Pelican Lake, Wisconsin” (Reblogged)

As the incessant heat wave breaks a little bit this week, I feel like this photo is foreshadowing what fall could be like. This girl is beyond ready!

I look at this photo and I think about several great things happening in September and October – Savy’s epic bachelorette weekend in the mountains, and then Nick and Savy’s wedding at the Vardaro farm!

Also, knowing this photo was taken in Wisconsin makes me think of my beloved Green Bay Packers and football!

As much as I like summer, it’s just too hot and humid! I love the cooler air and the changing leaves much more.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

Haley Woods
Sunset Dock, Pelican Lake, Wisconsin

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Book Review #39: “The Lady’s Slipper: A Melody Mystery”

The Lady's Slipper

Image Credit: Amazon

If you haven’t already, I recommend reading the other reviews of Melody’s books before checking out this one:

This is Melody’s first mystery story, and I was just blown away. I read this entire book in one sitting this past Saturday night – Something that hasn’t happened in a very, very long time.

The book is set in May 1965, and Melody is going through something that we all have struggled with – Maintaining old relationships/friendships while trying to be nice and make new friends. We see her trying to keep up her relationship with her 12-year-old cousin, Val, but also admiring 14-year-old Leah, wanting to be friends with her, too. Val gets really jealous because she starts to become the third wheel, and Melody is caught in the middle. But, there’s a mystery to solve!

Melody starts to suspect that Leah is keeping several secrets, particularly about her grandfather, Dr. Roth. Slowly, Melody learns Dr. Roth escaped Poland and the Nazis during World War II. As a botanist, he wanted to save as many plants as he could. Along the way, Melody gets an education about the Jewish faith, Hebrew, and the horrors of war. She makes a connection with Leah around family, and Melody learns that she can balance time with family as well as friends.

All of these secrets are coming to light while Melody’s Poppa is busy preparing for the Belle Isle Flower Show at the breathtaking conservancy. Several mysterious and suspicious events occur while the exhibition is being set up, and Poppa is targeted because he’s the only black man in the show. Are there other suspects? Will Poppa be arrested?

This book was a bit complex, but I was very impressed in how it all pulled together. I was floored by the amount of historical detail the author packed into this book! She expertly weaved together the worlds of Europe and the United States, as well as the worlds of African-Americans and Jewish people during those time periods. And to make it all make sense, that’s impressive to me.

I hope more Melody mysteries are published – I want more!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #38: “The Runaway: A Maryellen Mystery”

If you haven’t already, I recommend checking out my other reviews on Maryellen’s books before reading this review:

This new mystery featuring Maryellen, her family, and friends, takes us from Daytona Beach, all the way to Cape Canaveral!

Scooter is the Larkin family’s beloved daschund. Maryellen grows angry with him one day after tripping over him, and sends him out of the house. Hours later, Scooter simply disappears! Maryellen is heartbroken, convinced it was her fault that Scooter ran away.

Things start to become fishy when Maryellen and her friends notice other dogs in the neighborhood have vanished. Soon, multiple suspects are coming out of the woodwork. Can Maryellen and her friends solve the case? Will Scooter return?

I finished this book, all 232 pages, in just two nights. I think it took me about 90 minutes total to read it. I love these new mysteries with the BeForever characters. I want to read them all!

A fair warning – This book may be upsetting to some who are passionate about dogs and animals, but it’s an important book to read. I’m glad that American Girl is touching on tough topics (I won’t give anything significant away here), and the historical accuracy and explanations are superb. They cover a lot of ground in this one book, showcasing how dogs and other animals have been, and still are, used for science and scientific purposes. They also tie in the space race with the Soviet Union!

I’m planning to read Melody’s (1964) latest mystery next!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #22: “How I Choose My Books” Tag


Image Credit: Kristen Kraves Books

The lovely ladies at Thrice Read did this awesome tag!

Here’s the link to their original post:

Find a book on your shelves with a blue cover. What made you pick up that book in the first place?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I had heard a lot about it, but I bought it after the movie came out. I found it in a local used book shop called Book Owl. I’m glad that I bought it and read it – John Green is one of my favorite authors.

Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. As I wrote in my review, I was intrigued by it when one of my PEO sisters presented her review of it at one of our meetings in 2014. However, when I finally found my own copy, I felt hesitant and unsure. I found quickly that I didn’t need to worry – It was a really good book!

Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick a book at random. How did you discover this book?

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I’d first heard good things online, but what sold it for me was when Whitehead was interviewed by Terry Gross for NPR’s Fresh Air in August 2016. Not too long after the interview aired, I received a Barnes & Noble gift card for my birthday, and promptly bought it. It’s one of the best adult fiction books that I’ve ever read.

Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

If I Am Missing Or Dead: A Sister’s Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation by Janine Latus. My good friend Mike Holtzclaw recommended this book after I told him about my past abusive relationship when I was in college. Mike is good friends with Janine, and learned her story along with her sister’s tragic murder. It was a tough book to read, but I’m so glad that I did. It’s one of those books that’s stuck with me ever since I’ve read it, and that was well over a year ago.

Pick a book you discovered through book blogs. Did it live up to the hype?

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve read or reviewed any books that I’ve discovered through book blogs – Not yet, anyway. I’m working through several books on my TBR first! However, there are several book blogs and book bloggers that I absolutely adore, and I’m finding that my TBR is constantly growing and expanding.

Find a book on your shelves with a one word title. What drew you to this book?

Divergent by Veronica Roth. I remember falling in love with the plot, and being inspired because the woman is my age. As my review shows, there are issues with the overall trilogy, but when I first heard about Roth and her books, my imagination ran wild and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them!

What book did you discover through a film/TV adaptation?

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win The Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. I LOVED the movie adaptation – If you haven’t seen it, do it! It’s an awesome movie and a great story. With that said, I need to add the book to my TBR. Plus, Shetterly is from Hampton, Virginia, just a stone’s throw away from where I live and work.

Think of your all-time favorite books. When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’ve loved this book since it was assigned reading by Mr. Degnan in IB English. It’s one book that I re-read at least once every single year. I was so inspired by Gatsby that I ended up doing a major research project for Degnan on Fitzgerald’s life and his other books. It was an amazing time period that he lived in and wrote about!

How do you typically choose the books you read?

Leave me some recommendations of your favorite books. I’m always looking for more!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂