Commentary #66: “T5W – Favorite Science Fiction & Fantasy in Other Media” (Reblogged)

Star Wars

Image Credit: Quora

I think I need to start doing these different posts during the week! This one from Thrice Read caught my attention immediately. By the way, T5W stands for Top 5 Wednesday. Too cool!

I’m married to a wonderful, amazing geek, so I have a much greater appreciation for science fiction and fantasy now!

Here are my Top Five:

1. Star Wars (Movies)
2. Star Trek (Movies and T.V. Shows)
3. The Princess Bride (Movie)
4. Jessica Jones (T.V. Show)
5. The Flash (T.V. Show)

Star Wars (Movies)

Full disclosure: I already liked the Star Wars franchise before I met Al. I have now watched all of them. I wasn’t partial to the sequels at first, but now that we watched all of them in “machete order,” I understand why they were produced. I don’t have to like them, though. My all-time favorite Star Wars movie is currently The Force Awakens (2015).

Star Trek (Movies and T.V. Shows)

I have definitely gained a greater appreciation for the Star Trek franchise since meeting Al. I remember watching The Next Generation as a kid, and loving LeVar Burton! We’ve seen all the movies. The Wrath of Khan (1982) and Star Trek Into Darkness.

The Princess Bride (Movie)

This is one of my favorite movies!

Jessica Jones (T.V. Show)

Like Thrice Read, I love this show! Netflix struck gold with this one. We just finished watching all of Season 2, which we both think was better than Season 1!

The Flash (T.V. Show)

We loved this show from Day 1. It’s a good series. Plus, Grant Gustin is a local boy! My mom’s best friend taught him piano!

What about you? What are your favorite sci-fi and fantasy in other media? Let me know!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Thrice Read

It’s another Wednesday and another really awesome top five Wednesday.

Obviously I’m a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy, but this week I get to completely geek out over the genres.

This week I’m going to give you guys the low down on my favorite science fiction and fantasy’s in other media.

The 100 (T.V. Show)

The 100 wasn’t a show I would have watched without Jenn pushing me to watch it. It’s a CW show and it’s not really within my demographic any longer, but I absolutely love it. It’s got both elements of science fiction and fantasy and it’s just everything for me.

Jessica Jones (T.V. Show)

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this show. From the cast to the story line, this show is everything to me. I’m about two episodes from finishing the second season and, honestly, I may just go…

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Awesome Authors #13: Caroline B. Cooney

Caroline B Cooney - AZ Quotes

Image Credit: AZ Quotes

I discovered Caroline B. Cooney through one of the libraries, either the school or the Russell Memorial Library in Chesapeake. I think I read her for the first time in middle school? It’s been a minute since then, wink wink.

Born in May 1947, Cooney grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut. After high school, she attended several different colleges (Indiana University, Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing, and University of Connecticut), but did not obtain a degree.

Her first novel, Safe as the Grave, was published in 1979. Since then, she has written well over 30 stand-alone novels, a trilogy, and three different series. Her work has received multiple honors and awards, including several from the American Library Association (ALA). In 2008, her book Diamonds in the Shadow was named an ALA/YALSA Quick Pick, and nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe Award.

Driver’s Ed (1994)

Driver's Ed

Image Credit: Between The Lines

This was the first of Cooney’s books that I remember reading. I think I was in middle school at the time, because I specifically remember asking my mom lots of questions about what I would learn in driver’s ed.

This book haunted me for years, and I didn’t dare read it again until after I got my license!

Flight #116 Is Down (1992)

Flight 116 Is Down

Image Credit: Caroline B. Cooney

I’m so glad I didn’t read this one while traveling! I realize Cooney’s works are fictional, but she brings such realism to them, I was always left a little paranoid after reading them.

Flash Fire (1995)

Flash Fire

Image Credit: Goodreads

This book made me grateful we never lived in California or anywhere with a high fire danger.

Code Orange (2005)

Code Orange

Image Credit: Caroline B. Cooney

I remember reading this book right after it was published. It was fascinating to me. She revealed the genesis of this book on her website – A librarian was going through donated medical textbooks and an envelope, at that time 100 years old, fell out. It was labeled “smallpox scabs.” What do you think happened next?

Cooney wrote the book in the context of a sixteen-year-old boy finding them in New York City. What could possibly happen?

The Face on the Milk Carton (1990)

I tried to read this one in middle school, but ending up waiting until high school. I do want to read the whole series eventually. It’s fascinating to read about Cooney’s research and writing processes – What if a girl recognized herself as a missing child on a milk carton?

Emergency Room (1994)

Emergency Room

Image Credit: FictionDB

This is one book I don’t remember hearing about. This is going on my TBR!

What about you? Have you read any Caroline B. Cooney’s books?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #65: “SuperShe Island: Women-only luxury retreat opening in Finland”

Image Credit: LoveThisPic

On a recent Monday, this article from CNN caught my eye:

I’ve always been fascinated with the Scandinavian region! That’s one of the many, many places on my travel bucket list!

And, I totally agree with the article’s author. Yes, I did want to relocate to the island of Themyscira after watching “Wonder Woman” this past summer. Bring it on!

This retreat paradise sounds like a super-awesome, grown-up version of summer camp. Who’s with me?!

At least it’s not like Survivor.

Excuse me while I go daydream about the beauty of Finland!

The retreat’s owner, Kristina Roth, also owns property in Turks and Caicos. She stated that if the resort in Finland is successful, she plans to renovate her additional property for a similar purpose. Yes, please! She’s already received rousing positive feedback, so I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more from her!

For more information, check out the SuperShe website.

What do you think about a luxurious women-only retreat in Finland? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #64: “This Small Norwegian Town Turns Abandoned Buildings Into Bookstores”

Geeky Book Snob

Image Credit: Geeky Book Snob

I saw this post from Read Voraciously on February 28th.

Here’s the link to Read Voraciously’s original post:

And, here’s the link to the Reader’s Digest article:

I knew I wanted to write about this before I finished the Reader’s Digest article. How cool is this?

There are approximately 2.5 miles of books in the village of Mundal, part of Fjaerland, Norway. Northeast of Bergen, it looks like an absolutely beautiful area to live and visit!


Image Credit: Alamy

Knowing me, and my love of books, I don’t think I would want to leave! But, the bokbyen (“booktown”) is only open for business from May to mid-September.

But, fear not! The online side is open year-round.

I would love to at least see the stunning glaciers. And then, read a book next to them.

For more information, check out these sources:

What about you? Have you ever visited a booktown?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #63: “Awareness vs. Understanding”

Image Credit: TOBYMAC

I started following Caralyn’s awesome blog, Beauty Beyond Bones, a while back. She is an awesome, amazing woman. I love all of her posts!

She always shares something profound, or thought-provoking, every week. This past week was no exception.

Here’s the link to her post, published on February 22nd:

Caralyn’s focus is her journey after her eating disorder (ED). She’s a beautiful woman, who is an activist for so many causes. She posts recipes, too!

This particular post shined a spotlight on Weight Watchers being in the news last week, and not for a good reason.

They announced they would be offering free memberships to teens, ages 13-17.

Naturally, this caused almost immediate backlash.

I’m with Caralyn. I don’t agree with Weight Watchers offering these free memberships. Teens, ages 13-17, have enough to deal with in their lives. Yes, obesity remains a significant issue. Caralyn cited several statistics, including some from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But, for Weight Watchers to offer these free memberships to this very vulnerable age group is not the answer.

She tied the Weight Watchers news in with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDA), which starts today, February 26th, and runs through March 3rd.

I see her point about viewing NEDA with somehow glorifying the disease, and so on. But, then she realized that the news about Weight Watchers is one reason why conversations need to be had.

And then, she hit on the Awareness vs. Understanding point, which I think is so important.

There is a difference.

Awareness is certainly important, and a good thing – Share stories, come together as a community, and so on.

However, understanding is even more paramount. With something like eating disorders, moving beyond awareness into understanding is critical.

With that said, I cannot say that I empathize with Caralyn, or say that blanket statement of “I understand” at all. I have never had an eating disorder. I know what they are, how they start, the basics. You could say that Laura Beth is aware of eating disorders.

Caralyn, however, truly understands eating disorders. She is a survivor. She is an advocate. She works hard to discuss ED, her own journey, and help others, which I find incredibly admirable. In her post, she writes that “an eating disorder is a mental illness.”

She closed her post with wanting to “foster understanding on this anorexia recovery blog” and “answering any and all questions about eating disorders, recovery, treatment, how to support. Nothing is off limits.”

I think this is wonderful! She, of all people, knows what she’s talking about. She writes beautifully and humbly, too.

So, if you’re interested in asking questions or learning more, check out her blog!


Image Credit: BeautyBeyondBones

To me, Caralyn is a source of inspiration. Thank you for being amazing!!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #12: John Green


Image Credit: Pinterest

I first learned about John Green when I was assigned to read one of his books in my Young Adult Literature class during my final semester in college. He’s quickly become one of my favorites. I’m determined to eventually read all of his books.

Born in August 1977, Green moved several times during his childhood with his parents and brother, Hank. He graduated from Indian Springs School in 1995. He attended Kenyon College in Ohio, graduating in 2000 with a double major in English and religious studies.  Intending to become an Episcopal priest, he served as a student chaplain at a children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio, although he ended up not attending divinity school.

Green lived in Chicago, Illinois, for several years. He worked as a publishing assistant and production editor for the book review journal Booklist. In addition, he has written book critiques for The New York Times Book Review, and created original radio essays for NPR’s All Things Considered and Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ.

His first novel, Looking For Alaska, was published in 2005. Green has written four novels individually, collaborated with other authors on two more, five short stories, and several pieces written for donors to Project for Awesome (P4A). In addition, he is an active vlogger with his brother, Hank, a podcaster, and has had roles in the movie adaptations of two of his novels (The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns).

Green has been honored with multiple awards since 2006. He received the Michael L. Printz Award in 2006 for Looking For Alaska, the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Paper Towns in 2009, the National Author Award at the Indiana Authors Award ceremony in 2012, and the Visionary Award at the mtvU Fandom Awards in 2014.

Looking For Alaska (2005)

Looking For Alaska

Image Credit: Amazon

This was the book that started it all. I fell hard for this book in my Young Adult Literature class in the spring of 2011. Immediately after finishing the last page, I went through Longwood’s library, looking for more by Green. This is such a powerful book, almost more powerful than the others that he’s published thus far. It’s gripping, spellbinding, and heart-wrenching.

While researching for this post, I learned that Green based this book on his experiences at Indian Springs School near Birmingham, Alabama. Fascinating!

Paper Towns (2008)

Paper Towns

Image Credit: Amazon

So far, this book is tied with Looking For Alaska as my all-time favorite of Green’s. I loved this book when I first read it, and I have my own copy now. I think I re-read it three times in one year. It’s that good. I loved the movie adaptation, too.

The Fault in Our Stars (2012)

The Fault in Our Stars

Image Credit: Amazon

I reviewed this book in January 2016: Book Review #9: “The Fault in Our Stars.”

I was definitely late to the party to read this book, but I’m glad I waited until the movie hype was over. I’m glad I read the book – But, I still haven’t seen the movie. It’s a heart-breaker. Like Looking For Alaska, Green based this book on his experience as a student chaplain at the children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio, after his college graduation.

Turtles All The Way Down (2017)

Turtles All The Way Down

Image Credit: Amazon

This has been on my TBR since I heard it was being published. Green drew from his own experiences with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for this book, and from what I understand, it’s one of his best yet.

What about you?

Have you read / seen any of John Green’s work?

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 🙂