Book Review #65: “Fallible Justice” (ARC Review)

Over the summer, I received an email from Louise Walters, who owns and operated Louise Walters Books, asking if I was still interested in receiving an advance reading copy of Fallible Justice. I couldn’t remember how or why this happened, but I said yes. I’m so glad I did.

Although it’s taken me a full four months to finish, I’m thrilled to publish this review right before the book is scheduled to publish on November 8th.

Fallible Justice is the first in the Wilde Investigations series. I can’t wait to read more!

Like Louise wrote in her lovely letter to me that accompanied the book, the characters are one of the great strengths. I loved their interactions, and to discover how many characters worked together to achieve the same goal – Working to save a man’s life before his scheduled execution.

I also loved Laakso’s world-building. I’ve always been fascinated with the U.K. and London, but she puts an awesome spin on it with her Old London, the wilderness, and the different classes of characters. I hesitate to compare Laakso to other writers, but I felt distinct hints of J.K. Rowling throughout.

In addition, whomever created the cover should be given an award. It’s one of the most beautiful and intriguing book covers that I’ve seen!

When I first read the synopsis to my husband, Al, he immediately thought of Martin’s Game of Thrones series. While different in its own right, Laakso is definitely on to something with this first book. I was delighted to read the first chapter of book #2 at the end of the ARC, and I truly can’t wait for it to be published.

The only significant complaint I have was the book was a bit wordy and/or lengthy. It dragged in a few places, but I also recognize this to be a part of Laakso’s world-building and integrating characters. Despite a few slow areas, the book captivated my imagination and the characters kept me engaged.

I particularly loved the way Yannia and Karrion work together as they try out Karrion being a potential apprentice during this investigation. They both have different strengths, and weaknesses, but together they are a great team, and I can’t wait to see what they are assigned next.

I felt very sad when I came to the end of the book. That’s how much these characters made an impression on me. However, I’m thrilled that Laakso is creating a series. I eagerly await the publication of book two!

5 out of 5 stars.

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 🙂

Writing Prompt #147: The ABC Book Challenge (The Letter I)

The ABC Book Challenge - I

Here’s the link to Tiana’s post:

Memorable Books that Start with the Letter “I”:


I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

  • Maya Angelou is a wonderful writer!


In Cold Blood

Image Credit:


  • This was my favorite in the Divergent trilogy.


Island of the Blue Dolphins

  • I loved this book as a kid.

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


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

  • This book has been on my list for years!


In the Shadow of Blackbirds

  • Historical fiction? Yes, please!


Into the Water

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

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #141: The ABC Book Challenge (The Letter H)

ABC Book Challenge - G

Here’s the link to Tiana’s post:

Memorable Books that Start with the Letter “H”:

Image Credit:

The Happiness Project

  • It’s hard to believe that I read and reviewed this book more than three years ago. It’s still one of the best memoirs I’ve read.

Image result for harry potter series books

Harry Potter series

  • I was a little late to the party with the books, but once I started, I was hooked.


The Hunger Games

  • This is the book that got me started with the dystopian genre. The series is my favorite trilogy.

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


The Haunting of Hill House

  • This book has been recommended to me numerous times, by different people.


Hollow City

  • We saw the movie adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to read the books.



  • Al bought me All The Missing Girls for Christmas, so I’m intrigued to see how Megan Miranda wrote this one.

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

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂