Getting Personal #144: NaNoWriMo 2018

NaNoWrIMo 2018

Image Credit: BookBub

After four years of not participating, I decided I wanted to commit to NaNoWriMo 2018!

After my success with both Camp NaNoWriMo sessions earlier this year, I wanted to try the November event again. I’ve also published excerpts of my most recent NaNoWriMo attempt from 2014.

I’ve dropped a few hints, here and there, about an idea I’ve had percolating for a fourth novel.

So, for NaNoWriMo 2018, I want to finally put my fingers to the keyboard and start fleshing this out!

Working Title: “Tunnel Vision”

Synopsis: On her way to her milestone birthday party, Nicole, a dedicated Newport News, Virginia police officer, gets stuck in traffic at the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel. As the tunnel stoppage unfolds into a true mystery, Nicole finds herself reflecting on her career, family, friends, acquaintances, and the criminal justice system. Can she help solve the mystery in one night?

I’m excited to dive into Nicole’s world, and help tell her story!

What about you? Have you ever done NaNoWriMo?

Come back around the beginning of December to see my results!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂


Writing Prompt #153: The ABC Book Challenge (The Letter J)

ABC Book Challenge - J 2

Here’s the link to Tiana’s post:

Memorable Books that Start with the Letter “J”:

Jacob Have I Loved

  • Written by Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, this is a great historical fiction novel.

James and the Giant Peach

  • Roald Dahl is one of my favorite authors. If you haven’t seen the movie adaptation (1996), I highly recommend it.

Jane Eyre

  • It took me a long time to be able to digest and appreciate Jane Austen, but Jane Eyre is one of her books that hold a permanent place on my shelves.

The Joy Luck Club

  • I resented reading this in high school as assigned reading. I actually want to re-read it at some point.


  • Chris Van Allsburg is another one of my favorite authors. The movie adaptation (1995) is one of my all-time favorite movies, and the recent sequel (2017) was also, surprisingly, well-made.

Just Listen

  • Sarah Dessen was a defining author throughout my high school and college years. I’m pretty sure this book is one of the first of hers that I read.

Books I Wish to Read that Start with the Letter “J”:

Jamaica Inn

  • I want to read more from Daphne du Maurier!


  • I’ve seen the movie (1975), but I want to satisfy my curiosity by reading the book.

Jellicoe Road

  • I was very intrigued by the synopsis of this one!

The Journal of James Edmond Pease, A Civil War Union Soldier, Virginia, 1863

  • I love collecting the Dear America and My Name is America series!

Jurassic Park

  • Same story. I’ve seen the movie (1993) and sequels (1997, 2001, 2015, 2018), but I’ve never read any of Crichton’s work.

Just Between Us

  • I’ve read quite a few books by Susan Beth Pfeffer, but I don’t remember reading this one. Hopefully my library will have it.

What books have you read, or want to read, that start with the letter J? Let me know!

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)

A Walk to Remember (Hardcover).jpg

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)

The Notebook Cover.jpg

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)

Nights in Rodanthe.jpg

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)

Safe Haven Cover.png

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)

Image result for the last song book

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 🙂

Getting Personal #143: Eighth TBR Recap

Book Quote

Image Credit: Ebook Friendly

Welcome back!

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

Here’s what I’ve read since my last TBR update:

  1. Haddix, Margaret Peterson, Among The Hidden (Shadow Children #1)
  2. Bartow, Karina, Forgetting My Way Back To You (ARC Review) 

Removing from Laura Beth’s TBR:

  1. Bader, Bonnie, and Connie Porter, The Underground Railroad (American Girl: Real Stories from My Time)
  2. Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker, The War I Finally Won
  3. Carlson Berne, Emma, The Titanic (American Girl: Real Stories from My Time)
  4. Fisher, Carrie, Wishful Drinking
  5. Hite, Sid, My Name is America: The Journal of Rufus Rowe, Witness to the Battle of Fredericksburg
  6. Lehr, Dick, Trell
  7. McNamara, Michelle, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
  8. Miranda, Megan, All The Missing Girls
  9. Murphy, Jim, My Name is America: The Journal of James Edmond Pease, A Civil War Union Soldier, Virginia, 1863
  10. Myers, Walter Dean, My Name is America: The Journal of Joshua Loper, A Black Cowboy
  11. Paley, Rebecca, The Boston Tea Party (American Girl: Real Stories from My Time)
  12. Reynolds, Jason, Long Way Down
  13. Swanson, Jennifer, Pearl Harbor (American Girl: Real Stories from My Time)
  14. Toobin, Jeffrey, The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson

Removal Rate: 14/26 = 54%

Keep & Re-Classify – Laura Beth’s Updated TBR

  1. Arnold, David, Mosquitoland
  2. Block, Lawrence, Small Town
  3. Calonita, Jen, The Real Z (American Girl: Z Yang, Book 1)
  4. Desmond, Matthew, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
  5. Ehrenreich, Barbara, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
  6. Green, John, Turtles All the Way Down
  7. Hopkins, Ellen, Crank
  8. Shetterly, Margot Lee, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
  9. Skloot, Rebecca, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  10. Summers, Courtney, All the Rage
  11. Teagan, Erin, Luciana
  12. Tripp, Valerie, Read All About It: A Kit Classic Volume 1

Keep Rate: 12/26 = 46%

Adding To The TBR

  1. Laakso, Laura, Fallible Justice (ARC)
  2. Ng, Celeste, Everything I Never Told You
  3. Ritter, Krysten, Bonfire
  4. Thomas, Angie, The Hate U Give
  5. Watts, J. Holley, Who Knew? …Reflections On Vietnam
  6. Weldon, Fay, Habits of the House

So, my current total is 18 books.

Do you have a TBR?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #64: “Forgetting My Way Back to You” (ARC Review)

Forgetting My Way Back To You

Image Credit: Amazon

Karina Bartow asked me months ago to be a part of her blog tour, and I happily agreed! I chose to review her new book Forgetting My Way Back To You.

Here’s the link to her release /announcement blog post: “Forgetting My Way Back To You” Release: Twelve Years in the Making

Here are my thoughts!

It was just released yesterday – October 15th – but Karina was nice enough to send me a PDF to read in advance. Thanks, Karina!

Many of you know that I prefer physical copies of books to e-books, but I made an exception in this case. My eyes were a bit blurry once I finished, but I enjoyed the story.

It’s not a super-long book – The PDF was roughly 218 pages. However, it has been a LONG time since I’ve touched a book that was a love story / romance.

I liked Charlee from the beginning. I recognized several themes from the first few pages – Perseverance, determination, and grit. She’s been through a lot in a few short years, between her own struggles, and her family dealing with a serious illness / setback.

I was very skeptical about Hunter. I wasn’t sure if I could trust him, or not. I think other characters had that vibe, too. However, I feel like the skepticism was a benefit to the story. It kept me interested. Considering I flew through the first 17 pages in less than 20 minutes, and then I read pages 17-58 in just thirty minutes during one of my lunch breaks, Barlow’s writing kept me engaged and interested. My husband thinks I broke a speed record with how fast I read this book!

The one plot point I had a significant issue with (no spoilers, I promise) was integral to the story, but it definitely made me roll my eyes and groan a little. Having that situation happen to Charlee was a bit cheesy, I’ll admit. I told my husband what happened in the story – I was reading next to him on my iPad while we were relaxing one night after work – and he had a similar reaction.

Despite the slight cheesiness, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and their interactions. The dialogue was well-written, and it was really easy to follow along and lose myself in a book for a while. The Pennsylvania setting was picturesque, and she captured it so well!

I look forward to reading more of Barlow’s work!

4 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #142: October Goals

Fall is here! Yay!

Here are my goals for the month of October:

  1. Make progress with my Lady Lounge.
  2. Write at least 500 new words for my WIP.
  3. Prepare for NaNoWriMo 2018!
  4. Get together with several friends.
  5. Finish reading my current book.
  6. Donate items to Project Beauty Share.
  7. Donate blood.
  8. Celebrate Halloween!

Here’s the breakdown:

Make progress with my Lady Lounge.

  • There are way too many boxes in there! I need to dedicate some time every weekend to make it less cluttered.

Write at least 500 new words for my WIP.

  • I really want to close out this draft!

Prepare for NaNoWriMo 2018!

  • November will be here very soon!
  • I’m excited to write something completely brand-new!

Get together with several friends.

  • We are planning to spend some time with our friends Ashley and Ray, and their son, Adam.
  • We’ve also been invited to Kathryn & Tim’s annual Halloween party!

Finish reading my current book.

  • It’s a really interesting story, and I’m looking forward to finally writing the Book Review!

Donate items to Project Beauty Share.

  • I discovered this Washington-state-based organization through a recent advice column. I want to clear out some unused beauty products, and help others!

Donate blood.

  • The next blood drive is Saturday, October 6th!

Celebrate Halloween!

  • We’re excited to pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters. We love seeing their costumes every year!

Do you have any goals for the month of October?

If so, I’d love to hear about them!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #141: September Goals Recap

September was a blur. We are still adjusting to having Pablo in our house, and we know he’s still adjusting to, well, everything. He’s such a sweet boy.

Here’s the link to my September Goals post:


Here we go!

  1. Celebrate eight years together with Al! — Accomplished!
  2. Welcome our greyhound home! — Accomplished!
  3. Write at least 1,000 words for my WIP. — Did not accomplish.
  4. Read at least two books. — Did not accomplish.
  5. Finalize our New York trip plans. — Did not accomplish.
  6. Buy a new crock-pot. — Accomplished!

Here’s the breakdown:

Celebrate eight years together with Al! — Accomplished!

  • Our dating anniversary was a Tuesday after the long Labor Day weekend, but we enjoyed spending time together after work.

Welcome our greyhound home! — Accomplished!

  • Here’s the link to my Getting Personal post: Getting Personal #140: Welcome Home, Pablo!

Write at least 1,000 words for my WIP. — Did not accomplish.

  • Nope. Didn’t happen. I hardly looked at my personal laptop all month.

Read at least two books. — Did not accomplish.

  • After Pablo came home, I could barely keep my eyes open most nights after 9:00.

Finalize our New York trip plans. — Did not accomplish.

  • We didn’t finalize anything. After looking at our numbers, and the calendar, we’ve decided that the New York trip can wait. Hopefully sometime in 2019.

Buy a new crock-pot. — Accomplished!

  • Thanks to a very generous Bed Bath and Beyond gift card that I received for my birthday, we bought a larger crock-pot (Eight quarts versus six), and we only spent $13!

Final Thoughts

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to three out of six goals – I’ll take it!
  • The three goals I did not accomplish: Most of this was time, and spending most of our energy on Pablo.

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

Come back tomorrow to see my October Goals!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂