Tag #65: Friday Funday Challenge – Game On – You Name It!

I was tagged for this fun challenge by Rory, the author of A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip!

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


The Rules …

…because there are always rules, are simple!

1] Thank the nominator

2] Answer Q1 – Q19

3] Nominate three bloggers of your choice and notify them.

4] Each selected blogger MUST answer 16 of the asked 19 questions, but also insert 3 new questions to make up the 19 compliment. Every time a new blogger is selected they MUST only answer 16 of the asked 19 questions as well as answer their own 3, and choose 3 new bloggers. Each time a new blogger sees the questionnaire it will be completely different to the next blogger along.

[Hint: delete three of the questions you don’t like or have no answer for and insert your own in its place]

5] Q20 & Q14  Must always remain intact.


Questions from Rory

1] Are you currently reading a book, if so what is it?

2] Toast or cereal?

3] Choice weapon for survival during the zombie invasion?

4] Horror or comedy films?

5] Skinny dipping or mud wrestling?

6] What was your favourite sweet/candy as a kid?

7] Going to the party or the library what’s your preference?

8] What is your favourite tipple [drink]?

9] If you were coming back as an animal which is the least you would like to return as, BUT knowing your luck you just might? [Provide image]

10] What are five of your unique selling points for your writing?

11] What were you like as a child?

12] How important is personal achievement to you?

13] How do ‘you’ define hard work?

14] Which 3 questions will you be deleting to add your own in?

15] If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?

16] Ok, you are going to be shipwrecked on an island that has food and water, what three items would you need to have with you?

17] What was the most stressful situation you ever encountered and how did you handle it?

18] If we didn’t know what the colour ‘mauve’ actually looked like, how would you describe it?

19] What music is currently your favourite? [Provide link]

20] The three bloggers you are nominating are?


Laura Beth’s Answers

1] Are you currently reading a book, if so what is it?

  • Yes. I’m currently reading Among The Hidden (Shadow Children #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

2] Toast or cereal?

  • Toast. I don’t eat a lot of cereal anymore.

3] Choice weapon for survival during the zombie invasion?

  • Baseball/softball bat. I played for Little League one season in eighth grade, and then again as adult for the Presbyterian church’s softball team in 2014. I’d love to get back into it!

4] Horror or comedy films?

  • Comedy. I’m definitely not a horror film fan!

5] Skinny dipping or mud wrestling?

  • Hehe – Mud wrestling all the way!

6] What was your favourite sweet/candy as a kid?

  • I devoured the plain chocolate M&Ms as a kid.

7] Going to the party or the library what’s your preference?

  • Library, hands down. Give me all of the books!

8] What is your favourite tipple [drink]?

  • A Corona with lime.

9] What is your least favorite movie?

  • I didn’t like Requiem for a Dream.

10] What are five of your unique selling points for your writing?

  • (1) Character-driven, (2) As original of a story as possible, (3) Enjoyable/exciting content, (4) At least one thing/issue being recognizable/relatable to society/audience, and (5) accurate as possible in terms of details/setting/history, etc.

11] What were you like as a child?

  • I was/am an only child, so I learned to be independent quickly. I was also bubbly, enthusiastic, loud, talkative/chatterbox, stubborn as hell, and determined. After being born at 25 weeks and given a 50-50 shot of survival, I overcame a lot of obstacles.

12] How important is personal achievement to you?

  • Personal achievement is very gratifying. But, I also enjoy helping others.

13] How do ‘you’ define hard work?

  • Hard work means dedication, focus, asking for help, and getting the job done right the first time.

14] Which 3 questions will you be deleting to add your own in?

  • Numbers 9, 15, and 17.

15] If someone wanted to make a movie about your family, who would you want to portray yourself, your parent(s)/caregiver(s), and your sibling(s)?

  • Me – Emma Watson
  • Dad – Paul Guilfoyle (Original CSI:)
  • Mom – Diane Keaton

16] Ok, you are going to be shipwrecked on an island that has food and water, what three items would you need to have with you?

  • Unlimited books, Rodan + Fields sunscreen, and one comfortable outfit. I don’t want to be naked!

17] Where you do feel the most at peace?

  • Around water.

18] If we didn’t know what the colour ‘mauve’ actually looked like, how would you describe it?

  • A beautiful pale purple color that reminds me of flowers, and elegant Victorian decoration.

19] What music is currently your favourite? [Provide link]

20] The three bloggers you are nominating are?

  • See my Tag – You’re It section below.

Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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Writing Prompt #116: The ABC Book Challenge (The Letter B)

 

ABC Book Challenge - B

Here’s the link to Tiana’s post:


Memorable titles that start with the letter “B”:

The Baby-Sitters Club - Elle

Baby-sitters Little Sister - Amazon

Baby-Sitters Club series

  • I devoured this series, as well as Baby-Sitters Little Sister books, for years. Check out my Awesome Authors post on Ann M. Martin!

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Because of Winn-Dixie

  • I don’t remember when I read it, but it made me cry.

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Beezus and Ramona

  • I loved Beverly Cleary’s books. I read nearly all of them before I started middle school. Ramona has always been one of my favorite characters.

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The BFG

  • Roald Dahl is another one of my favorite authors. I remember being assigned to read The BFG in elementary school, but falling in love with it.

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Bleachers

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Briana’s Gift

  • I stumbled upon Lurlene McDaniel at the library when I was in high school, I think. Like a few other authors, I quickly devoured all of her books. All of her books make me cry, but they’re well-written, and also somewhat relevant, too.

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Bridge to Terabithia

  • This is one of my favorite books. However, it always makes me cry. I sense a theme here!

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Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America

  • I appreciate Barbara Ehrenreich’s writing, too. Al gave me this book for Christmas, and I eagerly read it.

Books starting with “B” that I wish to read:

Between Shades of Gray

  • Tiana mentioned this book – I’m definitely intrigued!

Image result for john grisham blood drive

Blood Drive

  • I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this short story until now!

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The Bonfire of the Vanities

  • I’ve never read it. But, I feel it’s appropriate. Wolfe was a heralded writer, and I’m always intrigued by books set in New York City.

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s

  • Another book I’ve never read. I love Truman Capote. Adding this to my TBR, stat!

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The Bridges of Madison County

  • I think I have a copy of this, somewhere. If not, I’m sure my library probably has a copy, since this book was one of the best-selling books of the 20th century.

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


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #115: The ABC Book Challenge (The Letter A)

Image Credit: The Book Raven

I found this awesome book challenge through Tiana, who writes for The Book Raven! Tiana writes some of the most in-depth, intriguing book reviews. Check her out!

My goal is to post about one letter every week!

Here’s the link to her original post:


Memorable titles that start with the letter “A”:

A Girl Named Rosa

A Girl Named Hillary

A Girl Named Rosa: The True Story of Rosa Parks

A Girl Named Hillary: The True Story of Hillary Clinton

  • I was immediately intrigued by this new series of books from American Girl. They’re designed for younger readers, but I still like reading them.

A Stand for Independence

A Stand for Independence: A Felicity Classic 2

  • Despite not having the original, beautiful illustrations, I love the historical books from American Girl. Felicity is one character that is close to my heart, because her story is set in Colonial Williamsburg!

A Winning Spirit

A Winning Spirit: A Molly Classic 1

  • Molly has always been my favorite American Girl.

Image result for a tree grows in brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

  • I struggled to read this book in middle school, but eventually re-read it in college. I think it’s time to read it again.

Image result for american wife

American Wife

  • This is my favorite Curtis Sittenfeld book. I re-read it three times over the course of one summer.

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Angels & Demons

  • As much as I despised the ending, I love Robert Langdon’s character!

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Angela’s Ashes

  • Another good book that I read when I was in college.

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Animal Farm

  • I think I read this in high school? Orwell’s fiction feels closer to the truth now. *shudders*

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Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

  • I’ve always loved Judy Blume.

Books starting with “A” that I wish to read:

Image result for accident: a day's news

Accident: A Day’s News

  • I stumbled upon this book recently whilst scanning Goodreads. I haven’t read a lot of fiction about Chernobyl, so I’ll seek this out at my local library.

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All the Missing Girls

  • Al bought me this book for Christmas. I started it, fell into a reading slump, and stopped. Now, I’m ready to start fresh.

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All the President’s Men

  • Having seen the movie multiple times, I’m long overdue to read the book about the events that thrust Woodward and Bernstein into the spotlight.

Image result for all the rage book

All the Rage

  • I just learned about this book from another blogger – Destiny, I think. Hopefully my library will have it.

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American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst

  • This book is in the stack on my nightstand!

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Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1)

  • This book is on the top of my nightstand stack. This will probably be the next book I review.

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And Then There Were None

  • I love Agatha Christie, so I hope my library has a copy.

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Anna and the French Kiss

  • Several bloggers have read this book, so I need to satisfy my curiosity.

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Anne of Green Gables

  • I tried reading Montgomery’s books as a kid, but was never able to get into it. I think my mom has the whole series!

Image result for aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

  • Several bloggers have been raving about this book, so I’m adding this one to my list. Plus, I love the synopsis.

I love this challenge so far!

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


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #40: “The End of Everything”

The End of Everything

Image Credit: Amazon

A couple of weeks ago, I found this book while I visited 2nd and Charles with a dear friend of mine. They opened a new location across the street from my office last year – They have every type of book, DVDs, Blu-ray, vinyl, CDs, toys, games, and more. Some things are brand-new, still in the packaging! It was only $5.00, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I immediately recognized that Abbott is the author of other books such as You Will Know Me (currently on my TBR). I was intrigued by a combination of the cover and the synopsis on the inside. And, I can’t really turn down a hardcover book for $5.00!


I found myself reading multiple chapters per night, and I ended up finishing the book after less than a week.

In the 1980s, Lizzie and Evie are finishing up eighth grade, best friends since childhood. They’re attached to each other’s hips, but they appear to be going through their own paths and struggles. What 13-year-olds don’t?

Lizzie’s dad left years ago, but her mom looks like she’s been having a man over to the house recently. Evie appears to be living in her older sister, Dusty’s, shadow, but also excelling at soccer while trying to figure out what happens next.

Then, mere weeks before eighth-grade graduation, Evie Verver suddenly vanishes. As her family and the police investigate, Lizzie proves to be invaluable, finding multiple clues and helping assemble the complex puzzle. Everyone is desperate to get Evie back, although different characters are going through different emotions and handling the situation in different ways. One suspect, from their own neighborhood, looks promising, and the intensity continues to increase.

The book weaves together the complex topics/subjects of a child abduction, painful childhood memories, blossoming sexuality, and the relationships of parents with their children. The setting was the 1980s, and Abbott stays faithful to it the entire time. She also does a good job with balancing tragedy with triumph in her writing.

The only major complaint I had was that Abbott focuses so much on the relationship between Lizzie and Mr. Verver, and then tries to also explain/develop the relationship between Dusty and her father. The lines started to blur, and it was hard to tell sometimes who Abbott was referring to, and to figure out what exactly was going on.

It was challenging to differentiate between the two, and I felt a little creeped out by the end of the book. Mr. Verver appeared to be the sweetest, least-pervy of the fathers in the book, but some of the allusions that Abbott was making, absolutely made my skin crawl. Part of me didn’t want Lizzie, Evie, or Dusty to be taken advantage of, but part of me knew that the setting was also a different era (in a way), and parent-child relationships can still be taken too far, if you catch my drift. It makes me shudder just writing it.

Abbott is a great writer overall, and I look forward to reading more of her books! I just hope this one is just a fluke.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #37: “The Unknown and Impossible: How a research facility in Virginia mastered the air and conquered space”

The Unknown and Impossible

Image Credit: Amazon

“I am proud to be part of a species where a subset of its members willingly put their lives at risk to push the boundaries of our existence.”

~ Neil deGrasse Tyson


Mike Holtzclaw is a good friend of mine from church and our blood drives. This year, he’s also a co-author of this amazing book. He, along with Tamara Dietrich, and Mark St. John Erickson, are all employees with the Daily Press. All part of the News division, Dietrich is the Senior Reporter – Science and Environment, Holtzclaw is a Senior Reporter, and Erickson is the Senior Reporter – History.

Mike took to Facebook a while back to make the announcement that the book was being published. I immediately went to Amazon and pre-ordered it. I was impressed – It arrived earlier than expected!

Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop! Having worked for the student newspaper of Longwood University, The Rotunda, I immediately recognized the vast amount of research, interviews, and collaboration that went into writing this book!

It’s such a quick read, but it’s jam-packed with over 100 years of history, and a look into our future. I thought I knew a lot about the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Langley, but boy, was I wrong!

It’s fitting they published the book during the 100th anniversary of Langley Research Center, as well as the 25th anniversary of the Virginia Air & Space Center (The NASA Langley Visitor Center), both located in Hampton, Virginia. I remember taking many trips to the Air & Space Center as a kid, having grown up across the water in Chesapeake. I was always in awe of the exhibits and the history there. However, this book has helped me truly understand how significant Langley has been to the development of the space program, training the astronauts, and making both aviation and space travel better.

If you haven’t seen Hidden Figures, just do it. It’s not only an impressive movie, but it also shines a nice spotlight on both Hampton and Langley. I want to read Margot Lee Shetterly’s book as well. Katherine Johnson is one of the many profiles in the book, and she’s 98 years old!

I greatly appreciated the dedication to historical accuracy – The authors clearly demonstrated that. They used a vast array of sources, resources, and interviews. Thanks to their work, I now have a much better appreciation of Hampton as a city, and this great research facility that started out so small, and unappreciated. I always smile when I see the NASA logo directing people to Langley on Interstate 64 West on my way to work every weekday!

In addition to historical accuracy, I loved seeing all the photos! I loved how they were set within the text, and each one of them added something to the words on the page. Plus, the profiles of the pioneering people at the end of every chapter was really awesome to see and read, recognizing their talents and contributions from 1917 forward.

If you want to learn about how NASA came out of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), how a tiny corner of southeastern Virginia was one of the first places to pursue and develop groundbreaking research in aviation, how aviation development gave way to the space program, and what the future may behold – Absolutely, definitely read this book.

It’s a refreshing, fascinating read about 100 years that truly shaped our skies, our planet, and our future. Here’s to leaving more footprints on the moon, Mars, and more.

5 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #36: “The Lost Symbol”

The Lost Symbol

Image Credit: Target

If you’re curious about other books involving protagonist Robert Langdon, here are my previous Book Review posts:


Dan Brown has done it again!

Like Angels & Demons, this book was really long – Over 500 pages. However, I didn’t mind that it was so long. It was action-packed, and I learned so much about Washington, D.C.

However, I certainly wouldn’t recommend trying to read this book in one sitting. It’s so dense, I found myself taking multiple breaks, sometimes days at a time, in order to process all of the information. It wasn’t necessarily a turn-off, but it was a challenge. The longest stretch was a few nights ago, when I read Chapters 78 through 112. I needed a day-long break before starting again. Luckily, reading through Chapter 112 brought me closer to the end – I finally finished last night, around 10:30 p.m.

Langdon’s adventure this time is set primarily in Washington, D.C., with a few scenes in Maryland and northern Virginia. If you’ve ever been curious about the Masons and their history, this is a good book to learn about them!

For once, I greatly appreciated the lack of a romance aspect. This book appeared to focus on the various mysteries surrounding Langdon, especially since these 500 pages are set, for the most part, within just one night in the characters’ lives. I’d be happy to eventually see Langdon and Katherine end up together – I think they have a lot in common – but I was excited that the book primarily focused on solving the mysteries!

Again, like his other books, I really liked and appreciated Brown’s attention to detail and historical accuracy. It was incredible to see just how much history is jam-packed into Washington, D.C. Reading his books has taught me so much about our world’s various secret societies and great mysteries!

This book was a great mix of an intense thriller and historical novel. When I was able to wrap my mind around everything that was happening, I found myself flying through the pages. I think Brown is clever to mix up the length of his chapters – Some were long, some were a few pages, and a handful were either one page or a half-page. It’s a great way to keep the reader interested and wanting to read “just one more chapter” before turning out the lights.

Following the chronology of Robert Langdon’s character, I now need to find a copy of Inferno (2013). Hopefully, I can read that one right before Origin is released in early October!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

 

 

Book Review #35: “The Man in the High Castle”

the_man_in_the_high_castle_c4

Image Credit: Catspaw Dynamics

Finally! This is one book that I was hoping to finish a LONG time ago. I almost finished it in the fall, but the two-week window from the library closed so quickly. It was bugging me, for months. I hate not finishing books, unless it was so insufferable that I couldn’t stand to finish it.

This book was not one of those insufferable ones. I got it from the library two Saturdays ago, and I just made the deadline. Hooray!

It was an intriguing book. In a sentence: Imagine if the Allies lost World War II.

Think about that. If Germany, Japan, and Russia had won, what in the world would happen?

Philip K. Dick is (was) a very interesting writer. As I’ve said in previous reviews, I’m not a huge fan of science fiction, but alternate reality has recently captured my attention. I’ve even considered using it in some of my own writing.

Now that I’ve finished the book, I’m excited to see what Amazon has done with their TV series of the same name.

Trying not to give away a lot (The book is only a little over 200 pages), it’s 1962 and the U.S. has been divided into the Greater Nazi Reich and the Japanese Pacific States. Mr. Dick creates multiple characters as they try to live their lives under seemingly oppressive rule and challenging times.

Mr. Dick also creates “a novel within a novel.” This is something that I don’t see very often, but I usually enjoy. The novel within the book shows details of what would happen if the Allies HAD won the war, though it’s different that what actual history has shown. Regardless, it was fascinating. I appreciated how the author carefully wove it into the plot.

In writing this post, I started looking at other books that employ alternate reality or history. One that made me raise my eyebrows was Bring The Jubilee (1953) by Ward Moore, about an alternative Civil War. You can bet I’m adding this one to my TBR.

This was not a hard read, at all, despite my previous reservations / hesitancy about science fiction. It flows easily, and I enjoyed learning about the different characters. Through his words, it was frighteningly easy to imagine what life could like if the Allies had lost and Germany and Japan swiftly took over everything. The characters attempt to make the most of what they have and what they are living with, but I imagine that life would be pretty miserable. I found myself reading at least one chapter per night, unless I was completely exhausted.

This book made me think about how wars affect everyone and everything. Unfortunately, several countries in our world are suffering under dictatorships and oppressive rule, and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it!

Seeing what Mr. Dick created made me shiver. I’m curious to see what else he wrote in his short time on this Earth (He died in 1982 at age 53, from a stroke).

4 1/2 out of 5 stars


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂