Book Review #53: “Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America”

This was the second book that Al gave me for Christmas. He’s heard me talk about Barbara Ehrenreich before. I read her book Nickel and Dimed (2001) for one of my early college classes, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

Right out of the gate, Ehrenreich writes about her own battle with breast cancer, and how “fighting cancer with a positive attitude” has permeated our culture. Although this book was published in 2009, nearly 10 years ago, the same sentiments appear to be holding strong. I have my own opinions about breast cancer charities and the amount of money that is spent on research (Susan G. Komen in particular), but let’s just say that Ehrenreich’s words and research fell in line with my thoughts.

Ehrenreich continues with chapters about the economy, life coaches, how “coaching” entered into corporate culture, and so on. One review compared positivity and positive thinking to a fake orgasm. “Fake it ’til you make it” is referenced a lot, and not always in a good way. But, Ehrenreich says, that’s okay. It’s actually healthier to not be positive all the time. Her main point is to not get brainwashed, and make sure you remain in control of your emotions.

While I was reading, I couldn’t help but think of the Pixar movie Inside Out (2016), where the viewers are inside the head of 11-year-old Riley and seeing her emotions (Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger) interact. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should. And I wondered if Ehrenreich had seen it, and what she thought about it. A lot of her writing in this book, years before the movie was released, was spot on with the messages Pixar was sending to moviegoers. We all have Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger among us and in us for a reason and a purpose.

I’m glad that I put this book on my Amazon wish list. I had been thinking about Ehrenreich and Nickel and Dimed a lot last year, and I found myself searching for more books written by her. I was not disappointed. I plan to read several more of her works in the future:

Despite this compelling read, I still have a positive attitude. I’ve always been an optimist – One nonfiction book isn’t going to turn me into a pessimist. However, I’m definitely going to pay closer attention to my surroundings, try not to get caught up in hype, and stay in control of my emotions.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂


Book Review #52: “The Woman in Cabin 10”

The Woman in Cabin 10 - Amazon

Image Credit: Amazon

This is one of three books that my wonderful husband gave to me for Christmas!

I first learned about this book, and the author, in September 2017 thanks to a book review from Thrice Read. Don’t worry, the ladies have spoiler-free reviews, and this is one of them. I immediately added this book to my Amazon wish list!

Once I started reading, I could hardly put this book down. Ever since I read The Girl On The Train, I wanted to find and read more thrillers. Ware’s writing is amazing, and spellbinding. I did not want to put this book down. She seamlessly takes you from London, to Scandinavia, and back again.

I will say that I’m glad I didn’t read this book on a boat or on a cruise, and I recommend that you don’t either. Ware is so talented at making you feel like you’re a fly on the wall, watching main character Laura’s (Lo’s) every single move on the luxury yacht.

And once you think you’ve figured it all out, there’s a twist. And another. And another. I felt for Lo, I caught myself holding my breath several times! It’s very much like a murder mystery, with psychological horror thrown in.

I’m amazed I didn’t have nightmares, since I typically read before going to bed. Ware is such a good storyteller!

I look forward to reading In a Dark, Dark Wood very soon! I hope she continues writing, because Ruth Ware is quickly rising toward the top of my favorite authors list.

5 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #37: The “Me in Book Characters” Tag

Book Characters Quote - Favim

Image Credit:

I was tagged by the amazing Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts. Thanks for thinking of me, Jenna!

Here’s the link to the post where I was tagged:

The Rules:

  1. Thank the creators of the tag (Ash & Lo @ Windowsill Books).
  2. Thank whoever tagged you!
  3. List five book characters who you are most like and explain why.
  4. Tag your friends!

My Five Book Characters (in no particular order):

Hermione Granger – Harry Potter

How could I not pick Hermione? I’ve been a fan of her character since first reading the books in elementary school. Then, I absolutely fell in love with Emma Watson’s portrayal of her in the movies. She’s smart, bookish, clever, and cheeky. She keeps the boys in line, too.

Molly McIntire – American Girl

I easily identified with Molly when I first read her books in elementary school. She loves adventure, reading, spending time with her friends, down to struggling with math! Her father is in the military, like I was.

Matilda - Target

Image Credit: Target

Matilda Wormwood – Matilda

I loved Matilda’s personality from the beginning. She loves school and learning, and learning as often as possible.

Jo March

Image Credit: Shoomp

Jo March – Little Women

I had to read Little Women for a project in my English class during my freshman year of high school. I had trouble with Louisa May Alcott’s writing style at first, but I found myself loving Jo. She’s a bookworm, a geek, and passionate. She also loves writing. I want to re-read the book soon!

Karen - Scholastic

Image Credit: Scholastic

Karen – The Baby-sitters Little Sister series

Karen is the blonde girl in the image above. As I mentioned in my recent Awesome Authors post about Ann M. Martin, I found myself devouring all the Little Sister books in my libraries. I really identified with Karen – She went through a lot as an eight-year-old! She got glasses earlier than I did (I started in sixth grade), but she was teased like I was. She loves making mischief, playing outside, and reading. She has so many adventures with her family and friends. As an only child, there were many times that Karen felt like a friend!

That’s all! Are there book characters that are like you?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #102: February Goals

February-Goals - Balancing Today

Image Credit: Balancing Today

Welcome to February! We’ve almost turned the corner for winter. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring!

Here are my goals for the month of February:

  1. Host my first P.E.O. meeting.
  2. Get back to a regular cleaning schedule.
  3. Work at least one hour on my Lady Lounge every weekend.
  4. Donate blood.
  5. Use my diffuser more often.
  6. Send another box of clothes to Darby’s Dresses.
  7. See Black Panther.
  8. Wear my contact lenses every day this month.
  9. Write in my journal at least once a week.
  10. Read at least two books.
  11. Explore options for essential oil storage.

Here’s the breakdown:

Host my first P.E.O. meeting.

  • I’m hosting our meeting for the first time! We are trying a few Saturday meetings to see if it increases attendance, among other things. Our typical meetings are held on Monday nights.
  • What is P.E.O., you ask? It stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization. The way I describe it is it’s women helping women, where we raise money for scholarships, grants, and loans.

Get back to a regular cleaning schedule.

  • The holidays were a blur, and I had little to no consistency with my cleaning schedule in December and January. Like last month, I want to dust and vacuum more often, so that’s going on the calendar.

Work at least one hour on my Lady Lounge every weekend.

  • Every time I look at my Lady Lounge, I want to scream. I have been so lazy recently, and the clutter and boxes are driving me nuts. I want to find permanent homes for everything in the lounge, and in the garage.
  • I figure committing a time to each weekend will hopefully hold me accountable. My plan is to set the oven timer for an hour, and then see what happens.

Donate blood.

  • Our next blood drive is on Saturday! Fingers crossed for high iron.

Use my diffuser more often.

  • I love my Desert Mist Diffuser in our living room, but I want to use it more often. I have an abundance of oils, and I want to use them!

Send another box of clothes to Darby’s Dresses.

  • I’m part of this awesome Facebook group / small business called Darby’s Dresses. Darby is an awesome woman in Tennessee, and she sells women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories on consignment for very affordable prices. I’ve sent her two big boxes already, and I’m almost ready to send her another one!

See Black Panther.

  • We are so excited for this movie! We’re hoping to see it at least once with our friends Mike and Shana.

Wear my contact lenses every day this month.

  • I need to give my glasses a break, and stop being so lazy in the mornings!

Write in my journal at least once a week.

  • Last month’s goal was a bit ambitious, so I’m hoping that committing to once a week will help motivate me.

Read at least two books.

  • I started reading my current book two nights ago, and I devoured the first chapter. It’s really interesting so far!

Explore options for essential oil storage.

  • I love all my Young Living essential oils, but they’re currently cluttering the end table next to our couch. I’m exploring building a shelving unit out of wooden crates at the moment, so that they can be displayed in the Lady Lounge. More to come!

Do you have any goals for the month of February? I’d love to hear about them!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #101: January Goals Recap

january-goals - See Jane Write

Image Credit: See Jane Write

I’m pretty sure that I say this every month – That it flew by! I looked at the calendar today, and was stunned. February starts tomorrow!

Here’s the link to my my January Goals post:


Here we go!

  1. See The Post— Accomplished!
  2. Attend the Annual Riverside Service Awards Dinner. — Accomplished!
  3. Dust the house more often. — Semi-Achieved.
  4. Get better at weekly meal prep. — Semi-Achieved.
  5. Commit to regular journaling. — Did not accomplish.
  6. Continue to make progress with my 2012 NaNoWriMo endeavor. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Read at least three books. — Did not accomplish.
  8. Put away the laundry as soon as it’s clean and dry. — Semi-Achieved.
  9. Celebrate Al’s birthday! — Accomplished!
  10. Update my TBR. — Accomplished!
  11. Announce my new blogging challenge for 2018. — Did not accomplish.

Here’s the breakdown:

See The Post. — Accomplished!

  • We went to see the movie this past Sunday. It was really good. I’m a sucker for historical dramas, and this one absolutely did not disappoint. I highly recommend it! I look forward to seeing it again.

Attend the Annual Riverside Service Awards Dinner. — Accomplished!

  • Al and I attended the dinner at the Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton, Virginia. I was one of over 800 employees honored for milestone anniversaries – Five years, up through 40 years. It was a really nice experience!

Dust the house more often. — Semi-Achieved.

  • I want to keep improving upon this goal, but I pulled out the vacuum, Swiffer, and broom a bit more often this month.

Get better at weekly meal prep. — Semi-Achieved.

Commit to regular journaling. — Did not accomplish.

  • I didn’t write a single word! Womp, womp.

Continue to make progress with my 2012 NaNoWriMo endeavor. — Did not accomplish.

  • This was the farthest thing from my mind this month.

Read at least three books. — Did not accomplish.

Put away the laundry as soon as it’s clean and dry. — Semi-Achieved.

  • I was really good at this at the beginning of the month, but faltered a bit in the middle. Oh well, there’s always next month!

Celebrate Al’s birthday! — Accomplished!

  • He picked out New York strip steak, which I marinated in Peppercorn and Garlic mix overnight. It was delicious!
  • We also feasted on shrimp cocktail, Red Lobster Rosemary Garlic Parmesan Biscuits, and cookie cake!
  • Al’s parents also came to visit this past weekend to celebrate. His mom made amazing lasagna!

Update my TBR. — Accomplished!

Announce my new blogging challenge for 2018. — Did not accomplish.

  • I went back and forth over this all month long. I couldn’t find anything that was particularly interesting or inspiring.

Final Thoughts:

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to four out of 11 goals: I’ll take it!
  • The three goals that were Semi-Achieved: There’s always room for improvement.
  • The four goals that I did not accomplish: Most of these were based on time and effort. I’m looking forward to continued progress in February.

What about you? Did you have goals for the month of January?

Come back tomorrow to see my February Goals!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #11: Ann M. Martin

Ann M Martin Quote - Quotefancy

Image Credit: Quotefancy

I first discovered Ann M. Martin in elementary school, when I devoured all of The Baby-Sitters Club Little Sister books from my local and school libraries. There were so many!

Ann M. Martin was born on August 12, 1955. She grew up in Princeton, New Jersey. The daughter of a pre-school teacher and a cartoonist, Martin loved creative writing starting in second grade. As she grew, she loved working with children, and decided to become a teacher. As a teenager, she spent summer breaks working at the Eden Institute, helping autistic children.

She attended Smith College, graduating in 1977, having studied early childhood education and child psychology. After graduation, Martin taught fourth and fifth-grade students in Noroton, Connecticut. Her students had a variety of learning challenges, including dyslexia and autism. She has said that working with special needs children influenced her writing.

Martin pursued publishing after teaching. Starting as an editorial assistant, she worked her way up to senior editor at several children’s book publishers, including Pocket Books and Scholastic.

Her first book, Bummer Summer, was published in 1983. She began writing The Baby-Sitters Club series in 1985. She now focuses on single novels, many of which are set in the 1960s.

Martin has been honored with several awards, including the Children’s Choice Award in 1985, and a Newbery Honor in 2003. She started the Ann M. Martin Foundation in 1990, which supports art, education, and literacy programs, as well as programs for abused and stray animals.

Bummer Summer (1983)

This is Martin’s debut novel. I definitely want to read this one.

Missing Since Monday (1986)

A girl is kidnapped. Sounds like my kind of book.

The Baby-Sitters Club series (1986-2000)

The Baby-Sitters Club - Elle

Image Credit: Elle

Martin wrote the original 35 books, and the rest have been ghostwritten.

This is the most complete list that I have come across: List of The Baby-Sitters Club novels.

Baby-Sitters Little Sister series (1988-2000)

Baby-sitters Little Sister - Amazon

Image Credit: Amazon

This was the first series I completely devoured, although I don’t think I’ve actually read them all. I really identified with Karen, the main character, throughout elementary school.

The California Diaries


Image Credit: Scholastic

This is one series that I discovered while writing this post. I definitely want to read them, since they are journals, and they deal with more mature topics than The Baby-Sitters Club typically covered.

A Corner of the Universe (2003)


Image Credit: Scholastic

This was the book that received the Newbery Honor. Hattie turns 12, and her uncle Adam returns home for the first time in ten years. Adam has schizophrenia and autism, and while the other adults struggle to deal with his view of the world, Hattie wants to be a friend.

What about you?

Have you read any of Ann M. Martin’s work?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #100: Fifth TBR Recap

Reading Quote - Ebook Friendly

Image Credit: Ebook Friendly

Welcome back!

In case you’re interested, here are the links to my previous TBR posts:

This is what I’ve read since my last update in October:

  1. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond, Lilly Ledbetter and Lanier Scott Isom

And, here’s my updated list!

Laura Beth’s To Be Read (TBR) List, as of January 2018:

  1. The Language of Silence, Tiffany Truitt
  2. Black Rabbit Hall, Eve Chase
  3. Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  4. The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
  5. Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
  6. New Boy, Julian Houston
  7. The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling
  8. 11/22/63, Stephen King
  9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
  10. Hollow City, Ransom Riggs
  11. Library of Souls, Ransom Riggs
  12. Tales of the Peculiar, Ransom Riggs
  13. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling
  14. Quidditch Through the Ages, J.K. Rowling
  15. Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, Emma Straub
  16. Modern Lovers, Emma Straub
  17. In the Unlikely Event, Judy Blume
  18. You Will Know Me, Megan Abbott
  19. Dare Me, Megan Abbott
  20. The Fever: A Novel, Megan Abbott
  21. Give Me Your Hand, Megan Abbott
  22. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  23. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand
  24. Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann
  25. The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson
  26. Loving Day, Mat Johnson
  27. American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst, Jeffrey Toobin
  28. The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson, Jeffrey Toobin
  29. The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future, Gretchen Bakke
  30. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance
  31. A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression, Jane Ziegelman and Andy Coe
  32. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney
  33. Bright, Precious Days, Jay McInerney
  34. Underground Airlines, Ben Winters
  35. A Good Month for Murder: The Inside Story of a Homicide Squad, Del Quentin Wilber
  36. Teardrops of the Innocent: The White Diamond Story (True Colors – Volume 1), Allie Marie
  37. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
  38. Caraval, Stephanie Garber
  39. Jefferson’s Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret Children, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  40. The War I Finally Won, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  41. Read All About It: A Kit Classic Volume 1, Valerie Tripp
  42. Turning Things Around: A Kit Classic Volume 2, Valerie Tripp
  43. Full Speed Ahead: My Journey with Kit, Valerie Tripp
  44. Autumn Street, Lois Lowry
  45. The Giver, Lois Lowry
  46. Gathering Blue, Lois Lowry
  47. Messenger, Lois Lowry
  48. Son, Lois Lowry
  49. Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
  50. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  51. Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
  52. Emma, Jane Austen
  53. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
  54. Persuasion, Jane Austen
  55. The List, Patricia Forde
  56. Hello Me, It’s You, Anonymous; edited by Hannah Todd
  57. Use The Force: A Jedi’s Guide to the Law of Attraction, Joshua P. Warren
  58. Digital Fortress: A Thriller, Dan Brown
  59. Deception Point, Dan Brown
  60. Inferno, Dan Brown
  61. Origin: A Novel, Dan Brown
  62. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  63. Camino Island, John Grisham
  64. The Rooster Bar, John Grisham
  65. Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self, Manoush Zomorodi
  66. Lost Laysen, Margaret Mitchell
  67. Before Scarlett: Girlhood Writings of Margaret Mitchell, Margaret Mitchell; edited by Jane Eskridge
  68. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane
  69. Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane
  70. Uglies, Scott Westerfeld
  71. Pretties, Scott Westerfeld
  72. Specials, Scott Westerfeld
  73. Extras, Scott Westerfeld
  74. Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery, Robert Kolker
  75. Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.), Francine Prose
  76. Reading Like a Lawyer: Time-Saving Strategies for Reading Law Like an Expert, Ruth Ann McKinney
  77. Into the Water, Paula Hawkins
  78. All The Missing Girls, Megan Miranda
  79. The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
  80. In the Lake of the Woods, Tim O’Brien
  81. July, July, Tim O’Brien
  82. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han
  83. P.S. I Still Love You, Jenny Han
  84. Always and Forever, Lara Jean, Jenny Han
  85. Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn
  86. Dark Places, Gillian Flynn
  87. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  88. Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
  89. The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls
  90. Half Broke Horses, Jeanette Walls
  91. The Silver Star, Jeanette Walls
  92. Because You Exist (Light in the Dark Series) (Volume 1), Tiffany Truitt
  93. Among The Hidden (Shadow Children #1), Margaret Peterson Haddix
  94. The Goldfish Boy, Lisa Thompson
  95. Postcards from the Edge, Carrie Fisher
  96. Shockaholic, Carrie Fisher
  97. Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher
  98. The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher
  99. Trell, Dick Lehr
  100. In A Dark, Dark Wood, Ruth Ware
  101. The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware
  102. We Can Be Mended, Veronica Roth
  103. Carve The Mark, Veronica Roth
  104. Sing, Vivi Greene
  105. West End Quartet, Ariadne Apostolou
  106. Defining Sexism in the U.S. (Sexism in the United States) (Volume 1), Elizabeth Hall Magill
  107. Sexism and U.S. History (Sexism in the United States) (Volume 2), Elizabeth Hall Magill
  108. What Yo Mama Said, Elizabeth Hall Magill
  109. Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy, Seymour Reit
  110. Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace
  111. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli
  112. The Upside of Unrequited, Becky Albertalli
  113. Words in Deep Blue, Cath Crowley
  114. Turtles All the Way Down, John Green
  115. Lea Dives In, Lisa Yee
  116. Lea Leads the Way, Lisa Yee
  117. Lea and Camila, Lisa Yee & Kellen Hertz
  118. Mary Jane’s Ghost: The Legacy of a Murder in Small Town America, Ted Gregory
  119. The Dark Lake, Sarah Bailey
  120. The Innocence Treatment, Ari Goelman
  121. Haunting the Deep, Ariana Mather
  122. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich
  123. Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America, Barbara Ehrenreich
  124. The Secret, Bryon Priess
  125. A Winning Spirit: A Molly Classic Volume 1, Valerie Tripp
  126. Stars, Stripes, and Surprises: A Molly Classic Volume 2, Valerie Tripp
  127. Chances and Changes: My Journey with Molly, Valerie Tripp

That’s all, for now!

I’ll publish my next TBR update / recap in April!

What have you read recently?

Happy reading!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂