Tag #97: “The Bookish Heavenly Virtues Tag”

Image Credit: Ebook Friendly

I spotted this tag on Destiny’s blog, Howling Libraries!

Here’s the link to Destiny’s post: The Bookish Heavenly Virtues Tag

Here we go!


CHASTITY: Which author/book/series do you wish you had never read?

The Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. I liked Divergent and loved Insurgent, but Allegiant ruined everything for me.


TEMPERANCE: Which book/series did you find so good, that you didn’t want to read it all at once, and you read it in doses just to make the pleasure last longer?

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.


CHARITY: Which book/series/author do you tirelessly push to others, telling them about it or even given away spare copies bought for that reason?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I re-read it every year.


DILIGENCE: Which series/author do you follow no matter what happens and how long you have to wait?

Barbara Ehrenreich. I’ve learned so much from her books!


PATIENCE: Is there an author/book/series you’ve read that improved with time the most, starting out unpromising, but ultimately proving rewarding?

I honestly can’t think of one!


KINDNESS: Which fictitious character would you consider your role model in the hassle of everyday life?

I can’t think of one!


HUMILITY: Which book/series/author do you find most underrated?

Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso. I received an ARC from the publisher in the U.K. in 2018. I’m not usually a paranormal fan, but this book was refreshing. I could barely put it down!


Tag – You’re It!

Sara – The Bibliophagist

Kristian – Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table

Jenna – Bookmark Your Thoughts


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #90: “Soulflow” (Audiobook)

Kristen Martin is amazing!

This book went on my Amazon wishlist within hours of her announcing its release date on her podcast, That Smart Hustle.

Then, in March 2020, Kristen made an amazing decision. In part due to the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic, she recorded every chapter of Soulflow, and released one per day from March 20 through April 5. At first, I wasn’t sure if listening to the book would work for me. It’s been YEARS since I’d listened to a book. Think back to books on tape and books on CD from the library. Yeah, that long ago.

But, I dove in. And I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it. I got a late start in listening to it, so all the chapters had been released by the time I started the Introduction in early May. I found myself listening to multiple chapters per day while working from home. I love Kristen’s voice!

Between May and August, I’ve listened to the entire book twice. I plan to listen to it a third time before the end of 2020.

I know, personal development books get a lot of flack. Trust me, I’ve read a lot of them over the years. But, I feel like Kristen’s book is different. It is personal development, but it also has a lot of her memories and experiences. To me, it’s relatable. This may be in part because she and I are virtually the same age, but I keep coming back to it.

I love Kristen’s energy through this book. I was planning to read some of her fiction work first, but I’m glad I listened to this one first. I’m even more excited now to read her fiction. If her second personal development book is this inspiring and influential to me, I can only imagine what worlds she’s created with her fiction.

5 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #111: “50 Best Films About Writers, Ranked”

Image Credit: Medium

I stumbled upon this article when I was researching a daily film challenge post for Facebook. The question that day was: “A film where a character has a job you want.”

My answer: Finding Forrester (2000)


Here’s the link to the article about the 50 best films:

50 Best Films About Writers, Ranked |Flavorwire

Now, granted, this particular article was published in 2014. But, I wanted to take a closer look at these movies and offer my thoughts.

50. Sylvia (2003) — I have not seen this.

49. Finding Forrester (2000) — I have seen this movie, and I like it. I want to watch it again.

48. Total Eclipse (1995) — I have not seen this.

47. Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994) — I have not seen this.

46. Deathtrap (1982) — I have not seen this.

45. Henry Fool (1997) — I have not seen this.

44. Manhattan (1979) — I have not seen this.

43. Barfly (1987) — I have seen pieces of this movie.

42. The Pillow Book (1996) — I have not seen this.

41. My Left Foot (1989) — I have seen this movie, and I like it.

40. American Splendor (2003) — I have seen pieces of this movie.

39. Swimming Pool (2003) — I have not seen this.

38. The Front (1976) — I have not seen this.

37. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) — I have seen this movie, and I like it. I want to watch it again.

36. Ruby Sparks (2012) — I have seen this, and it’s a good movie!

35. Impromtu (1991) — I have not seen this.

34. Kill Your Darlings (2013) — I have not seen this, but I want to.

33. Contempt (1963) — I have not seen this.

32. Prick Up Your Ears (1987) — I have not seen this.

31. Adult World (2013) — I have not seen this.

30. Julia (1977) — I have not seen this.

29. Poetic Justice (1993) — I have seen pieces of this movie.

28. Fellini’s Casanova (1976) — I have not seen this.

27. Shakespeare in Love (1998) — I have seen this, but it’s not my favorite.

26. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) — I have seen this, and it’s an excellent movie.

25. Midnight in Paris (2011) — I have not seen this.

24. Iris (2001) — I have not seen this.

23. Before Sunset (2004) — I have seen pieces of this movie.

22. The Door in the Floor (2004) — I have not seen this.

21. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) — I have seen pieces of this, and I want to watch it in full.

20. Misery (1990) — I have seen this, and I want to watch it again.

19. Before Night Falls (2000) — I have not seen this.

18. Deconstructing Harry (1997) — I have not seen this.

17. The World According to Garp (1982) — I have seen pieces of this movie, and I want to watch it in full.

16. The Hours (2002) — I have seen this movie, and it’s good.

15. Naked Lunch (1991) — I have not seen this.

14. Starting Out in the Evening (2007) — I have not seen this.

13. Bright Star (2009) — I have not seen this.

12. Young Adult (2011) — I have seen pieces of this movie, and I want to watch it in full.

11. Certified Copy (2010) — I have not seen this movie, but I want to.

10. A Man For All Seasons (1966) — I have not seen this.

9. The Shining (1980) — I have seen this movie, and it’s good.

8. Providence (1977) — I have seen pieces of this movie, and I want to watch it in full.

7. Sunset Boulevard (1950) — I have seen this movie, and it’s good.

6. My Brilliant Career (1979) — I have not seen this movie, but I want to.

5. Adaptation (2002) — I have seen this movie, and it’s excellent. I want to watch it again.

4. An Angel at My Table (1990) — I have not seen this.

3. Wonder Boys (2000) — I have seen this movie, and it’s excellent. I want to watch it again.

2. Barton Fink (1991) — I have seen pieces of this movie, and I want to watch it in full.

(1) Reprise (2006) — I have not seen this movie, but I want to.


What do you think about these 50 movies? Let me know!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #88: “Thank You, Mr. Falker”

My mom asked me to buy five copies of this book from Amazon toward the end of 2019.

I said, “Sure. Absolutely, I’m happy to help.”

I read many of Patricia Polacco’s books as a kid, but I hadn’t heard of this one. I first learned about her through LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow.


My mom let me read one of the copies I purchased soon after they arrived. At the end of the 37 pages, I was crying. The story is so special and heartwarming.

It shows that teachers truly make a difference. Mr. Falker made a huge difference in the little girl’s life, especially when there weren’t nearly as many male teachers back in the 1940s.

It’s hard to talk about this book because I don’t want to spoil anything. What I will say is this book is based on true events and real people.


This is one of the best children’s books I’ve read. I plan to buy a copy for several teacher friends for their classroom libraries. If you haven’t read Polacco before, I highly recommend it. Her writing is beautiful, and she also illustrates them.

5 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #171: “My Grandma, the PUBLISHED AUTHOR!!!” (Reblogged)

Full disclosure: This is not about my grandma!

I wanted to spread this exciting news!

I’ve been following Didi and her blog for quite a while. I remember her telling us about her amazing grandmother, who was in the process of writing a novel. Well, this week, her grandma’s dream became a reality! Check out Didi’s post, Doris’s book, and share away! I’m definitely buying it in the near future.

Congratulations, Doris!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Didi Oviatt

My Grandma published her western romance novel today! I couldn’t be any more thrilled! Not only to have a grandma of my very own, that’s a writer like me, but to have her step up and publish her work, is absolutely amazing! I’ve mentioned her project before, even wrote a bit ofdescription andreview as she pushed through the process of it all. Writing a novel is no small task, and she’s been working on it for quite some time. As a long time poet, she’s had the itch to write for years, and I am so proud of her. The book is a delight! The characters are phenomenal! Even in her 80s, my Grandma is a confident, beautiful, and extremely talented woman! SO GO READ THIS BOOK!

DESCRIPTION:

Terry is an independent woman who stems from a prominent family that founded Paradise. She’s humble yet fierce, and she…

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Awesome Authors #19: Lois Duncan

Lois Duncan

Image Credit: AZ Quotes

I hadn’t thought about Lois Duncan in years!


Born in April 1934, she was the oldest child of professional magazine photographers. Raised in Pennsylvania at first, her family relocated to Florida, where her parents became circus photographers. She played in the woods and read. Duncan started writing and submitting manuscripts to magazines at age 10. She sold her first story at age 13. After graduating from high school in 1952, she enrolled in Duke University. However, she dropped out the following year to start a family with the man who became her first husband, Joseph Cardozo.

Her writing career continued throughout the 1950s, publishing over 300 articles for various magazines. Her first novel, Love Song for Joyce, was published in 1958. In the early 1970s, she was hired to teach journalism at the University of New Mexico, after living in Albuquerque for nearly 10 years. While teaching, she enrolled in classes at the university. She earned her B.A. in English in 1977.

Married twice, Duncan had five children. Her youngest daughter, Kaitlyn, was murdered in 1989. After her daughter’s death, Duncan’s writing shifted to lighter fare, particularly children’s picture books.

Her 1966 novel, Ransom, received an Edgar Allen Poe Award. She was the recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Margaret A. Edwards Award in 1992. In 2014, she was awarded the Grand Master award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Duncan died on June 15, 2016. She was 82. Although the cause of death was not disclosed, her second husband, Donald Arquette, noted his wife had suffered several strokes in prior years.


Killing Mr. Griffin (1978)

Book cover with a black-and-white marble pattern, showing the title of the novel centered in red, and blue skull and bones at the bottom right

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’m pretty sure this is first book of Duncan’s I read. Every book written by her, I borrowed from Russell Memorial Library in Chesapeake.

Summer of Fear (1976)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I don’t remember reading this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did.

The Third Eye (1984)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

This one absolutely freaked me out. I don’t think I picked up another book by Duncan for at least six months after this.

Don’t Look Behind You (1990)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I don’t remember reading this one, but I want to. It’s set in Virginia!

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I didn’t make the connection between the book and the film adaptation (1997) until years later.

Chapters: My Growth as a Writer (1992)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’ve always been interested and intrigued by authors and their memoirs or autobiographies.

Who Killed My Daughter? (1992)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

Being such a fan of true crime, this book is already climbing toward the top of my next TBR list.


What about you? Have you read any of Lois Duncan’s works?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #18: Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen Quote

Image Credit: Quotefancy

I’m long overdue for an Awesome Authors post.

I inhaled Sarah Dessen’s books when I was in high school and college.


Dessen was born in June 1970 in Evanston, Illinois. Her parents, Alan and Cynthia, taught classicism and Shakespearean literature at the University of North Carolina.

When she was 15, Dessen became involved with a 21-year-old man. She realized it was a bad idea, and cut ties shortly thereafter. In an interview, she said she took the blame for the situation and relationship for years afterward. When she herself turned 21, she made a point to look at teens and ask herself whether or not she wanted to hang out with them, or even date one. The answer, she said, “was always a flat, immediate no. They were kids. I was an adult. End of story.”

She first attended Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina. She dropped out quickly to enroll in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She graduated with the highest honors in Creative Writing.

While launching her writing career, Dessen worked as a waitress at a restaurant called Flying Burrito. Her first book, That Summer, was published in 1996.

The 2003 movie How to Deal, starring Mandy Moore and Allison Janney, was based on Dessen’s books That Summer and Someone Like You.

Several of her novels have been named the American Library Association’s (ALA) “Best Fiction for Young Adults” selection. Along for the Ride (2010) made the New York Times Best Sellers List.

In 2017, Dessen received the Margaret A. Edwards Award as a result of seven of her novels, published between 2000 and 2011. Her newest book is Once and for All (2017).


Just Listen (2006)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’m pretty sure this is the first book of Dessen’s I remember reading, although I’m not 100 percent sure.

Lock and Key (2008)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

As someone who has struggled all her life to ask for help, this one cut deep.

That Summer (1996)

Image result for that summer book

Image Credit: Goodreads

I think I’ve read this? I’m not sure. This is Dessen’s first novel.

Dreamland (2000)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I passed by this book so many times at the library, and then once I finished either Just Listen or Lock and Key, I knew I needed to read it.

This Lullaby (2002)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I remember this one, since having faith and learning to leap is something I’ve worked on for years. The cover also caught my eye at the library.

Along for the Ride (2009)

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Image Credit: Goodreads

I don’t remember reading this one, but I know I want to.

Keeping The Moon (1999)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

If I have read this, it was early on. I distinctly remember the cover, and I know I saw it on the library shelves. Regardless, I do want to pick it up and re-read it.

Saint Anything (2015)

Image result for saint anything book

Image Credit: Goodreads

This is one I definitely haven’t read. I’m pretty sure the last new release I read was Lock and Key.


What about you? Have you read any of Sarah Dessen’s works? Have you seen How to Deal?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth  🙂

Awesome Authors #17: Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks

Image Credit: NewInBooks

Nicholas Sparks was my absolute go-to for romance novels for a long time. I own nearly every one of his books, and he was a defining author for me for several years.

In fact, I did my college senior thesis on his books. I studied the perceptions of love and romance from female readers. I would like to eventually publish it!

Born on New Year’s Eve 1965, Sparks was the second of three children. The family moved frequently while his father was pursuing graduate studies in Minnesota and California. Eventually, they settled in California after his father became a professor. On a track and field scholarship, Sparks majored in business finance at Notre Dame.

He married Cathy Cote in 1989, and they have had five children, three sons and twin daughters. He started writing in his early college years. His first publication was as a co-author in 1990. The book was titled Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding.

While selling pharmaceuticals in the early 1990s, Sparks wrote The Notebook. Literary agent Theresa Parks offered to represent him after finding it in her agency’s slush pile and liking it. She secured a $1 million advance from Time Warner Book Group in 1995. After its publication in October 1996, it made the New York Times best-seller list in its first week.

He lives in New Bern, North Carolina, where he donated $9 million to New Bern High School for an all-weather tartan track. He and his wife amicably separated in 2015, and subsequently divorced.

As of October 2018, he has published 22 books. He has published one book nearly every year since 1996, with two books being released in 2003, as well as 2005. Eleven books have been New York Times best-sellers. His most recent book is Every Breath.


A Walk to Remember (1999)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I honestly can’t remember if this was truly the first Sparks book I read. But, I loved it, and the movie adaptation (2002) was very good. It was also incorporated into some of our Sunday School classes and youth group activities.

The Notebook (1996)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I think I read this after the movie adaptation (2004) came out, but this is one of Sparks’s books that I treasure and re-read frequently. The movie adaptation is one of the best that’s ever been made, hands down.

Nights in Rodanthe (2002)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I felt a special connection with this book, since Rodanthe, North Carolina, is only about two hours south of where I live!

I wanted to love the movie adaptation (2008) so badly, especially since I’ve visited the house that’s featured in it multiple times, but it wasn’t that great.

Safe Haven (2010)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

This book was a hard read for me. I myself was a part of an abusive relationship for several years, and this book brought back several memories. Thankfully, by the time I actually read it, I was several years into dating Al.

I’m pretty sure we watched the movie adaptation (2013) together. I liked it a lot, despite the subject matter.

The Last Song (2009)

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Image Credit: Goodreads

I waited for what seemed like FOREVER to get my hands on a copy of this from the library! I devoured it on a car trip either to or from Florida.

Most people hated / loathed the movie adaptation (2010), but I liked it.


What about you? Have you read or seen any of Nicholas Sparks’ work?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #76: “A Seasoned Author’s Tips On Handling Criticism!” (Reblogged)

Didi Oviatt is a published author, but also an awesome blogger. I wanted to share her recent post about handling criticism.

I really liked Didi’s analogy. So much so, that I bookmarked the post to save it for future reference.

Criticism is tough. I’m pretty sure many of us have been there a time or two, as bloggers, writers, and just putting ourselves out there. It’s the nature of what we do. But, Didi put this tough topic in the context of cooking and recipes, and it’s a wonderful way to think about it.

Thank you, Didi! You are one of many people who continue to inspire me.

Criticism Quote

Image Credit: BrainyQuote


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Didi Oviatt

Sometimes I think of reviews and critique, be it negative or positive, as being suggestive ingredients of sorts for my next creation. Like my writing/books is actually a four course meal. I’ve shopped, prepped, marinated, mixed, chopped, fried, blended, and baked until I’m utterly exhausted. I feel like the food is as perfect as I can possibly get it and it’s time to be served.

The guests show up, ready to devour my masterpiece (or read the book per say), and here I am pacing the floors from the sidelines. I watch as some people slowly pick at it before actually giving it a taste. Some people dive right in without second thought. They’ll eat as much food as possible, as quickly as they can, until they’re ready to pop. Some let each bite swirl around in their mouths slavering the flavor.

And in the end, EVERYONE has something to…

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Awesome Authors #16: Chris Van Allsburg

Chris Van Allsburg

Image Credit: Quotefancy

Chris Van Allsburg was practically a household name when I was younger. He has created some of the most beautifully illustrated books I have ever seen. Our future kids will definitely know about him, too.

Born in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, in June 1949. Van Allsburg has an older sister. His parents moved a few times between East Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids. After graduation, he attended the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Michigan, where the art school was located at the time. After graduating in 1972, he went on to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he obtained a master’s degree in sculpture in 1975. He opened a studio. Struggling with time in the studio, he started to sketch his ideas and designs at home. His wife thought his drawings would be good for children’s books. His first book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, was published in 1979.

He resides in Providence, Rhode Island, with his wife, Lisa. They have two daughters, Sophia and Anna. Van Allsburg converted to Judaism, which is Lisa’s faith.

He has received several awards, including two Caldecott Medals for U.S. picture book illustration. He was the 1986 U.S. nominee for the biennial, international Hans Christain Andersen Award, the highest international recognition for those who create children’s books. In April 2012, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from his alma mater, the University of Michigan.


The Polar Express (1985)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

My parents have had a copy of this book since before I was born. It was a Christmas tradition for years to read the book and/or listen to the story on cassette tape. We even had a collector’s set with the book, cassette tape, and a silver bell. If you haven’t read it, you should.

Also, the movie adaptation (2004) is wonderful. We went to see it in theaters, likely the weekend it was released. We love Josh Groban in our house, so we also got the soundtrack and DVD. It’s a thing.

Jumanji (1981)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’m pretty sure I first read this book through either the Chittum Elementary School library, or the Russell Memorial Library. I remember the Reading Rainbow episode, too.

Like The Polar Express, the movie adaptation (1995) is awesome, with Robin Williams and a cast of characters. I think I saw it on TV first. It’s one of my favorite movies that will never get old. We also saw the sequel (2017) in theaters, and it was pretty good, too. We miss you, Robin. There was also a TV series that ran from 1996 to 1999.

The Wreck of the Zephyr (1983)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

This is one book that I hadn’t heard of! I need to see if the local library has it.

Zathura (2002)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

This is one instance where I saw the movie adaptation (2005) before I read the book. It’s always fun to think about and dream about space. We actually watched the movie again recently – It’s really well-done. Plus, it’s fun to see several actors when they first got their start in the film industry.


What about you? Have you read or seen any of Chris Van Allsburg’s work?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂