Blog Awards #5: “Summer Award!”


Image Credit: wwwpalfitness

I was nominated for this Summer Award by Paul, who writes wwwpalfitness. I follow his blog, and he offers some excellent workout posts, creative acrostic poems, and he also re-blogs lots of interesting articles and pieces.

Here’s the link to where I was nominated:

The Rules:

  1. Copy the award in your post and if you like display it on your site.
  2. Thank your nominator and link them to your post
  3. Answer just 3 questions
  4. Simply nominate 3 people, advise them in a post of theirs and set your own questions or copy mine

The questions I was asked:

  1. Tell everyone what your blog is about
  2. Tell people a little bit about yourself that is not on your blog
  3. What is unique about you that we may not know

My Answers:

Tell everyone what your blog is about

  • I created Hot Shot Headlines to publish informational posts about things in the news, share some of my personal experiences, as well as create a platform to publish my own work. I wanted to create a space that combined my loves of journalism, media, fiction, non-fiction, and other forms of creative writing. I’ve met so many amazing people through this little blog in the last two years – So, thank you all!

Tell people a little bit about yourself that is not on your blog

  • I love the American Girl books and dolls. I’ve read every AG book that has been published since the early 1990s. As for the dolls, I started with a Bitty Baby when I was young. I received my first 18-inch doll, Stephanie, for Christmas 1996. I bought Molly before she was archived in 2013. Then, my wonderful husband recently help add Kit to my collection (errr, addiction / obsession). I desperately want to take a trip to one of the stores – The closest one to us is near Washington, D.C. – but I’ve told Al to keep my credit cards under lock and key when we go.

What is unique about you that we may not know

  • This is a challenging question for me. I think I’ve revealed a lot of my uniqueness on the blog already! Let’s see … Something unique about me is that, despite being born prematurely, I tried my hardest in school, and was lucky / fortunate enough to be accepted into the International Baccalaureate (IB) program for my high school years. It was a significant challenge, given my struggles with math and science, but it was a great opportunity. I had some of the best teachers, and I made a great group of friends. When given the chance, I always talk about IB and how great of a program it is. I’m thrilled that one of the young women at my church, Lindsey, is starting the program in September! I helped teach her Sunday School in her elementary school years, and she chose IB over a few other exclusive academies in the Chesapeake area. I’m cheering for you all the way, Lindsey!

My Nominees:

  1. Vinster at vinnieh
  2. Rae at I Will Not Live In Vain
  3. Candace at Literary Dust

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #9: “Inside Out Book Tag”

Inside Out Book Tag - itstartsatmidnight

Image Credit:

I stumbled upon this tag on B.G.’s fantastic blog, Getting Through Anxiety!


Here we go!

I: Inside Flap / Back of Book Summaries. Too much info? Or not enough? Discuss!

  • I love reading the inside flap – It helps me determine whether or not I’ll leave the library or bookstore with that book! I don’t normally read back of book summaries, but it depends!

N: New Book. Be Honest: Which format do you want it in? Audio, hardcover, paperback, or ebook?

  • I prefer paperback.

S: Scribble While You Read? Do you write in your books, or keep them clean? Tell us why.

  • The horror! Never. I keep them clean. B.G.’s response was perfect: “The only writing that should be in a book is the author’s!”

I: In Your Best Written Voice Read Us Your Favorite First Sentence From a Book.

  • “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
    ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, he told me, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.‘”
    ~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

D: Does It Matter to You Whether the Author is Male or Female when Deciding to Read a Book? What if you’re unsure of author’s gender?

  • That’s a very interesting question! As a child, I was drawn to more female authors. As an adult, I’ve found that it’s been basically a 50-50 split between male and female. Regardless, it doesn’t matter to me whether the author is male or female. As for being unsure of an author’s gender, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a book that I really didn’t like!

E: Ever Read Ahead? Or have you read the last page before you got there?

  • I have read ahead, but just a few books that I had to read for school. Some were just awful!

O: Organized Bookshelves or Outrageous Bookshelves?

  • For me – Organized, as much as possible. However, I like hunting through outrageous bookshelves in second-hand bookstores!

U: Under Oath: Have You Ever Bought a Book Based On the Cover? … The Cover Alone?

  • Yes, a few times when I was younger. Not now, though.

T: Take it Outside or Stay In?

  • I prefer to stay in, especially now, since this summer has been ridiculously hot and humid. However, I’m envious of our neighbors across the street – They have a beautiful front porch with chaise lounges. I would love to have that, at some point. For now, though, once the weather decides to calm down, I’m excited to get some patio furniture and read on our back screened-in porch!

I Tag…

  • EVERYONE! I would love to see your responses!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Blog Awards #4: Bloggers Recognition Award – Number 2!


I don’t have an official credit for this image, but whomever created it, thank you! I love vintage typewriters!!

I’m humbled and honored to have received the Bloggers Recognition Awards for the second time.

Thank you so much, Zia Jane, for the nomination!

Here’s the link to Zia Jane’s original post:

If you haven’t already, go check out Zia Jane’s blog – My Lost Thoughts. She’s a wonderful writer who pours out her heart with every post.

The traditional rules for accepting this nomination are:

  1. Thank the one who nominated you and embed a link to their blog.
  2. Share how you started your blog.
  3. Give a little bit of advice that new bloggers can take away.
  4. Select fifteen other blogs who you think really deserve the award.
  5. Visit the blogs you nominated and let them know.

Thank the one who nominated you and embed a link to their blog

Thank you, Zia Jane, for nominating me. I’m humbled!

Share how you started your blog

I started this blog as a result of a class assignment from Dr. Bill Stuart at Longwood University. When I was first nominated for the Bloggers Recognition Award about a month ago, I was inspired to look for the blog I created for Dr B.’s class.

And, to my amazement, I actually found it!

The last post I made was Tuesday, April 13, 2010.


It was a nice nostalgia trip. I may clean these up and re-post them on here!

Give a little bit of advice that new bloggers can take away

Don’t put pressure on yourself to write and post to your blog on a regular basis. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way, several times. It’s important that you blog for yourself, first and foremost. If you post every day, that’s fantastic! I’m cheering for you!

However, if you don’t post every day, don’t force yourself to do so. Don’t try to keep up with others. Some of the best bloggers that I know have sporadic posts, not a set schedule, and I look forward to each and every one!

For me, I’m happy and thrilled if I get three posts published per week.

Then, if I do more than three in a week, I feel awesome and fantastic! It’s a great motivator.

Select fifteen other blogs who you think really deserve the award

  1. Jay Colby at Jay Colby
  2. Akkshara kiran shetty at Sally Porte
  3. Aubrey at If Mermaids Wore Suspenders
  4. HighLifey
  5. Andrew at Adopting James
  6. Maureen Rose at Sparkle
  7. Alex at Lost in the Midst of Forms
  8. With Love
  9. Suyog at Positivity Unlimited – Re-Imagine The Life!
  10. Kristian W. at Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table
  11. The Lonely Author
  12. Tony Burgess at The Tony Burgess Blog
  13. Un-Break My Heart
  14. Ariel Lynn at Writing Radiation
  15. The Captain at The Captain’s Quarters

One Final Note:

As honored and humbled as I am to accept this award for the second time, I don’t plan to accept this particular one again. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t like pressuring people to accept these nominations. Receiving this award twice is enough for me.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #17: “Harry Potter and The Cursed Child”

Harry Potter - amazon

Image Credit:

“Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.”

~J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

After quite a bit of skepticism, I bit the bullet and purchased a copy of my own on Monday, August 8th. I took the day off from work to celebrate my birthday. My first stop when I arrived at MacArthur Mall in Norfolk was the massive Barnes & Noble.

The first chance I got to really start reading was on Sunday, August 14th. I needed to put my feet up for a while after cleaning the house from top to bottom, in preparation for having family over for the first time for a real meal!

I took a photo of the cover, posted that to Facebook, and promptly dove in.

About 45 minutes later, I had to resurface (with great reluctance!) to the real world to make the final preps for our guests, but in that short period of time, I had already flown through 135 pages. At that point, I was almost at the end of Act II.

Yesterday, Monday, August 15th, I desperately wanted to make more headway after a very long day at work.

After dinner, by the time 8:00 p.m. rolled around last night, I was finished.

I was astonished.

I had plowed through all 308 pages, all four acts, in a little over two hours.

As I called out to Al that I was finished, I was stunned.

He sat down on the living room couch, looked at me, and said, “How was it?”

Okay. You’ve made it this far.


If you haven’t yet read Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, I would strongly advise / encourage you to scroll down, until you reach the place where I indicate the spoilers have ended.

Look for an image of a wand.


Here we go!

I didn’t dislike it.

I certainly didn’t hate it!

I was shocked at how fast I read through it.

But, it is a script. It’s not a novel.

I liked how the writers formed the script. I was very happy that the story continued, virtually seamlessly, from the end of Deathly Hallows.

As I started, I found myself overcome with memories – Memories of first reading the books. Memories of seeing the movies.

I was transported to those magical worlds again, and they didn’t let me go. I couldn’t put it down. Despite several challenges and objections to plot points, I wanted to keep reading, to find out everything that was going on.

My only true preconception going into this experience was I thought I had figured out who “The Cursed Child” was.

I originally thought it was one of Harry and Ginny’s children, or possibly Ron and Hermoine’s child, Rose.

Boy, was I mistaken.

I wasn’t fully expecting Voldemort to return, let alone for Delphi to be his DAUGHTER.

But it was a wonderful mistake, in a way. It made the magic even more magical, if that’s such a thing.

In attempting to vocalize my feelings with Al, almost immediately after reading “The End,” I didn’t quite know how I felt about all of this.

Thinking about it in a broad sense, I enjoyed the story. Overall, I liked what they did with it.

I’m very glad it wasn’t just Rowling who was involved.

It had similar amounts of action, dialogue, drama, tragedy, and happiness as the previous stories.

That said, it was not one of Rowling’s novels. That was actually refreshing. It was nice to fly through a script so quickly, rather than sometimes being buried in detail-laden chapters that seem to never end.

I appreciated the attention given to the characters, both old and new. I was very pleased, and surprised, that Scorpius Malfoy was featured as a central character. As much as I hated Draco’s character in the earlier books and movies, I was happy that Scorpius, Draco, and Astoria were so prominent in this story.

The twists and turns were fun, although frustrating at times. Facing dark and light were expected, and the writers certainly delivered.

My main complaint with the script was attempting to keep up with all the flashbacks, and dream sequences, and time-turning. It seemed constant. It was tough to keep up.

There were multiple instances where I had to slow down, re-read several passages, and find my footing again before continuing. It happened more than I would have liked, and it got annoying very quickly.

However, I appreciated that each scene had its appropriate header. If I ever got truly confused, I had that ability to turn back a few pages and find my footing with the scene heading. I didn’t like that, though.

I wasn’t thrilled with the idea that Albus and Scorpius were hell-bent, determined to save Cedric with the Time-Turner. But, that’s what happens when two kids get ideas in their heads that they think are good and brilliant. However, I liked, toward the end, when the two of them admitted that those ideas were absolutely ridiculous.

I felt sad when I closed the book, but I also felt feelings of warmth and happiness.

As I pictured the last scene in my head, the story just ended. But, remembering that it’s a script, and being performed as a play, I appreciated the image of Harry and Albus, together, remembering Cedric.

Part of me wants more stories in the future, but part of me is also satisfied with this script. It was a sunset ending. It was tough to swallow at first, but stories like this can’t always be carried on for forever.

In terms of waiting so many years for this script to be released, it feels a bit lacking. However, with that said, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, and I was skeptical from the time that the announcement was made – Despite being a huge fan of the original books.



Image Credit:

Final Thoughts:

Overall, it was a good read.

I’m happy that I decided to ignore the skepticism and read it for myself.

It was a good story, and I’m glad it was written and shared. Part of me wants to see the play, but I’m also satisfied with having the chance to read the script.

I look forward to sharing this experience with my husband, and then my future child/children.

Once a Potter fan, always a Potter fan.


4 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #38: “In Defense of Villainesses”

Kristen Johnston - anquotes

Image Credit:

One of my dearest friends, Michaela Leigh, tagged me, along with 31 other amazing women, in a Facebook post the other day with this article and the following script:

“this one is for all the vibrant and ambitious Outlaw Women, Cowgirls, Gunsmoke Gals, and Femme Sharks in my life. your dreams and accomplishments inspire and delight me. may every day be filled with such unbridled joy that all you can do is throw your head back and laugh.”

Entitled “In Defense of Villianesses,” the author brilliantly starts to describe characteristics of powerful, confident, self-assured women.

Then, she applies those characteristics to Disney villianesses.

Here’s some of the examples she used:

  • Maleficent
  • Cruella de Vil
  • The Queen from Snow White
  • Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove
  • Shego from Kim Possible
  • Ursula from The Little Mermaid

I eagerly started searching the Internet for quotes and images:

Disney Villains - pinterest

Image Credit:

Little Mermaid - pinterest

Image Credit:

Maleficent - pinterest

Image Credit:

Cruella - quotesgram

Image Credit:

Queen - pinterest

Image Credit:

Villainesses - pinterest

Image Credit:

One line stuck out to me instantly:

  • ” … Why is it that I can easily remember the faces and voices of female cartoon villains, but if asked about female cartoon heroes, all I can remember is the clothes?”


She’s absolutely right.

And then, towards the end of the piece, she blew me away again:

  • ” …How might you laugh if you’d burned every bridge that needed burning, and there was nothing standing in the way of your ambition? How might you look, if the only person you needed to please with your fashion choices was you? It’s delicious and frightening to think about becoming the type of woman that a Disney illustrator would light from below, surrounded by billowing smoke, with your henchmen cowering in the background and every opportunity spread before you. It’s thrilling to imagine a life where your only fear is mortality, and even that can be negotiated out of the way if you know the right people or brew the right potions. It’s wonderful and terrible to think about having that much power, because as we all know, that much power makes you a villainess. …”

Her writing blew my mind.

I grew up admiring the Disney Princesses, especially Belle. I wanted to live in the Beast’s castle and fawn over that gorgeous, amazing, stunning library.

Beauty and the Beast - kardsunlimited

Image Credit:

Belle - pinterest

Image Credit:

As a child, and then transitioning into a woman, I remember fearing these villainesses.

The Queen from Snow White gave me nightmares for a while.

SW_Queen - disney.wikia

I pictured Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil for several years.

Glenn Close - disney.wikia

Image Credit:

Maleficent made me instantly cringe.

Maleficent 2 - pinterest

Image Credit:

Ursula gave me goosebumps.

Ursula - disney.wikia

Image Credit:

Yzma’s voice sounded like nails on a chalkboard.

Yzma - pinterest

Image Credit:

But, in a way, Sarah’s right.

Most of the Disney Princesses are portrayed as brave, heroic, ambitious, and determined.

However, the villainesses also have those characteristics.

And they don’t get the credit they deserve.

Like Sarah, I stand in defense of these villainesses.

I still admire Belle, but I admire her for her love of books.

I hope to have children one day, and because of this, I want to show them both sides of these characters. Yes, these women may be portrayed as villainesses, but they’re not all bad.

In fact, some of their qualities are significantly better than those of the princesses.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #16: “Taking Off: A Maryellen Classic 2”

Maryellen - amazon

Image Credit:

“The fifties – they seem to have taken place on a sunny afternoon that asked nothing of you except a drifting belief in the moment and its power to satisfy.”

~Elizabeth Hardwick

If you haven’t already, I would recommend reading my post titled Book Review #15: “The One and Only: A Maryellen Classic” before diving into this one.

Maryellen’s story continues as she prepares to celebrate her tenth birthday in 1955.

Three weeks before her birthday, a historic day emerges. Around the world, it’s broadcast that Dr. Jonas Salk has perfected a safe and effective vaccine for polio.

This is significant, since it was mentioned previously that Maryellen suffered from the illness during the Polio Epidemic of 1952. Fortunately, she only has two long-lasting effects – One slightly weaker leg and sensitive lungs.

As spring begins to change into summer, Maryellen experiences a bit of fame and those effects, both good and bad. She learns several lessons along the way, about fame, attention, bragging, and friendship.

Shortly before summer vacation starts, Dad brings home a silver spaceship of a surprise – The 1955 Airstream trailer. The whole family goes West and explores much of the American landscape. Maryellen gets caught in the middle of gathering ideas for a science contest, the dog getting loose, figuring out whether or not her sister Joan really wants to get married, and more.

One of Maryellen’s excellent traits is coming up with great, practical ideas, especially in times of adversity. Because of this, she’s able to help her mother, father, sister Joan, and unites her girl friends and boy friends together to form an amazing science contest team.

The two stories blend very well together. They transported me from my home in Virginia straight to Daytona Beach, the Alamo, Old Faithful, and back to Daytona Beach. I could visualize everything, and almost smell certain smells.

In the future, I plan to explore the two other books in the Maryellen collection: The Sky’s The Limit: My Journey with Maryellen (Choose-your-own-adventure), and The Finders-Keepers Rule (Historical Character Mystery).

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #8: “Song to Book Tag”

Music and Books - wallpoper

Image Credit:

The Rules:

  • Mention the person who tagged you
  • Pingback to the original post at Getting Through Anxiety – Thanks, B.G.!
  • List about 10+ songs that describe 10+ books
  • Tag 5+ bloggers for this post

Here we go!

  1. Stronger by Britney Spears … The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  2. Only The Good Die Young by Billy Joel … The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  3. Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood … Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  4. Raise Your Glass by Pink … The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  5. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey … The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
  6. It’s My Life by Bon Jovi … Divergent by Veronica Roth
  7. True Colors by Cyndi Lauper … The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  8. My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson … Till Death Do Us Part and For Better, For Worse, Forever by Lurlene McDaniel
  9. Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield … Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  10. Beth by KISS … Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  11. Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys … The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  12. Oh, What a Night (December, 1963) by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons … No Ordinary Sound: A Melody Classic by Denise Lewis Patrick
  13. Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars … The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  14. (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes …Emma by Jane Austen
  15. Firework by Katy Perry …Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  16. Sugar by Maroon 5 … The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks
  17. Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac … Luna Morba: What A Wonderful World by Sirrico Whitfield
  18. Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson … Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
  19. Seasons of Love by the cast of RentThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  20. What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction … Push by Sapphire
  21. Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga … Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  22. Mine by Taylor Swift … Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  23. Footloose by Kenny Loggins … Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
  24. Faithfully by Journey … The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
  25. Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond … Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
  26. Dancing Through Life by the cast of WickedDash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
  27. Somebody to Love by Queen … November Blues by Sharon M. Draper
  28. Measure of a Man by Clay Aiken … The Vacationers by Emma Straub
  29. Forget You by Cee Lo Green … Persuasion by Jane Austen
  30. Welcome to New York by Taylor Swift … A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  31. Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder … The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  32. Who I Am With You by Chris Young … Paper Towns by John Green
  33. Life Is A Highway by Rascal Flatts … Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  34. Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson … To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  35. The Way by Clay Aiken … Looking for Alaska by John Green

From the beginning, I knew this tag would be a huge challenge. But, I loved it!

Thanks again, B.G.! Her blog is amazing!

I Tag:

  1. Brey at Ordinary Adventures
  2. Kristian at Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table
  3. scarletpen28 at 28 and Counting …
  4. Paul at wwwpalfitness
  5. stephburryshortkake
  6. Nicky M at The Shimmer Within Her
  7. marquay at Thefateblog
  8. The Captain at Captain’s Quarters
  9. Tony Burgess at The Tony Burgess Blog
  10. Iman
  11. Blanca at A Girl’s Voyage
  12. Emily at The Bibliophile Living
  13. Novelacious at Novelacious
  14. Caralyn at BeautyBeyondBones
  15. Lish Wells at Alisha’s words of wonder
  16. Brittany Anna at A Simple Dose of Reality
  17. heideekae at Write, Miss Monster
  18. zahraammar at Ramblings of a Wanderer
  19. Anthony Moss
  20. The Lonely Author

And anyone else who has an interest in books and music!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂