September TBR Wrap Up & October TBR

Happy October! September flew and I kind of failed…okay, failed miserably at my TBR challenge. 🙈 No excuses, it is what it is. I still wanted to do a wrap up and I plan to dominate October. So, let’s do this 😁

September TBR Wrap-Up

Days of Blood and Starlight – Read. You can read my review here.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters – Read, still need to review.

Passengers – Started.

Six of Crows – Not started.


October TBR goals:

The Call – Peadar O’Guilin

172 Hours on the Moon– Johan Harstad

Nightfall – Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

Bonus:

Review Dreams of Gods & Monsters (this will definitely happen).

Finish Passengers & Six of Crows (This might happen 😂).


Hopefully this month will be more successful than last. If so, I will review each book upon completion and do a wrap up at the end of the month on my success. Let me know what your October reading plans are.

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Need to contact me? Email me: jessicarachow15@gmail.com

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Bookish Scenarios Tag

Hi everyone! I’m super excited because my hubby and I decided to make this weekend a long weekend. I plan to spend lots of time with him but also get a lot of stuff done (like reading the books on my TBR for this month!). I wanted to do a quick tag tonight before diving back into reading. I found this tag on Katytastic’s YouTube channel.

Bookish Scenarios

1. You have to get rid of all your books and you can only keep one from each of these genres – contemporary, fantasy, non-fiction and one other genre of your choosing. What books do you keep?

Contemporary: I don’t read a ton of contemporary, so I am going to go with The Fault in Our Stars because it’s one of the only ones on my shelf.

Fantasy: Hmm. Tough one, but I will go wit The Lord of the Rings. Can we pretend the entire series is one book?

Non-Fiction: Six Days of Creation. Cool Christian science book.

Sci-fi (genre of my choice): Illuminae. Hands down. It might be my favorite book.

2. You’re at the bookstore and you hear a teenager telling their mom they don’t like to read, but their mom insists they pick something. You walk over and recommend a book you think is great for people who aren’t big on reading – what book is it?

Hmm. Good question. Maybe Harry Potter? It’s a fun read and I don’t think it’s too challenging.

3. You’re not feeling yourself and need a pick me up. Which book do you read to put yourself in a great mood?

Eve: The Awakening by Jenna Moreci. It’s such a kick-butt book. I love it.

4. You go back in time for a day to your teenage years. What book would you most likely have caught yourself reading?

Twilight. Yeah, I was one of those.

5. Your friend surprises you with a 4 day trip and you have 1 hour to pack. Which book do you bring to read on the way?

I’m bringing Passengers, because I just started reading it and I can’t wait to finish it.

6. Your house has been robbed! Don’t worry – everyone is safe, but your bookshelf has been raided. What’s the book you really hope is safe?

Eve: The Awakening because it’s a signed copy and I don’t want to loose it. (Yes, I used this book for multiple answers).

7. Your friend borrows a book and returns it in awful condition. Do you a) Just pretend you haven’t noticed b) Ask them to repurchase it or c) Secretly do the same to something of theirs

I’d say something, and ask for them to repurchase. If you’re borrowing my books, you best be nice to them.

 

That’s all I have for you tonight. As always, I tag you if you want to participate. Let me know in the comments if you do, I’d love to read your responses.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter: @JessicaInspired
Instagram: @JessicaInspired
Facebook: @AuthorJessicaRachow
Goodreads

Need to contact me? Email me: jessicarachow15@gmail.com

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor – Book Review (September TBR)

I flew through the first book in my September TBR challenge. As promised, I will be reviewing each book upon completion.

The next book I’ve chosen to tackle from my list is Dreams of Gods & Monsters – Laini Taylor; the last book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I’m excited to see how the story wraps up, but let’s get on with the review of Days of Blood & Starlight.

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Synopsis taken from GoodReads:

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Review:

This book picks up right after the events of Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Karou has vanished, and Zuzana, her best friend is worried. Okay, more like terrified, that Karou has met her end. Meanwhile, the media is in a frenzy and Kaz, Karou’s ex is profiting off her disappearance, much to Zuzana’s dismay.

She tried to pray, but she had only ever prayed at night, and it seemed to her that the moons made poor protectors when angels chose to hunt by day.

Karou is of course, alive, because what kind of trilogy would kill their main character off page? She has joined the Chimera vs. Seraphim conflict; aided by her memories from her previous life as Madrigal.

Akiva is wrought with guilt. Without spoiling too much, what he did destroyed Karou’s life and aided the Angel’s advances. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place. His goal remains the same though, and the dream of peace Madrigal and he had so long ago is what he is still fighting for now.

The revelation of Akiva’s betrayal at the end of Daughter of Smoke & Bone, could have gone two ways. Karou could have unrealistically forgiven him and continued to persue their relationship, or hated the very thought of him. I love that Laini Taylor was brave enough to make this story real instead of giving into fan desires of a relationship. How unhealthy and annoying it would have been for Karou to easily forgive such an atrocity. Thank God for YA writers who still craft meaningful stories.

What are we fighting for? What are we killing for? What do you see when you look into the future?

As with her first novel in the series, Taylor’s writing is beautiful. The vivid images I am able to imagine by reading her words is incredible. She provides a consistent, complex world that never ceases to amaze me.

Karou is an interesting and complex lead. She is frustrating and weak at times, and then comes out of nowhere with all of this strength and power. Her choices are never easy, and her character gets more and more compelling as she grows.

A dream, dirty and bruised, is better than no dream at all.

Zuzana plays a more critical role in this novel, which is great. Her personality is a joy to read and when the story gets heavy, she is there to give you a bit of humor and lighten the mood a bit. I also enjoyed Mik. While not as critical, he is great to keep Zuzana level headed and I love their relationship.

Once upon a time, a girl lived in a sandcastle, making monsters to send though the sky.

Akiva’s character has me conflicted. I want to root for him. It’s clear he is stricken with guilt and only wishes to atone. At the same time, I’m so angry with him for Karou’s sake, I’m not sure I want her to forgive him. I enjoyed getting to know Hazel and Liarz more in this novel as well.

As long as you’re alive, there’s always a chance things will get better.

Thiago is utterly terrifying. I won’t say much more for fear of spoiling, but he is a very well written character.

I will give them nightmares to haunt their dreams long after I’m gone.

I enjoyed getting into a few more character’s heads this time around. It was interesting to see the perspective of different sides of the war. Like the first novel, this story is very character driven and it stays gripping and entertaining throughout.

Mercy breeds mercy as slaughter breeds slaughter. We can’t expect the world to be better than we make it.

This book is heavy and intense, with themes of atonement and mistrust. While there are brief bits of joy, the majority of the time, you feel the bleakness the characters are feeling. This will not be an easily won battle. The enemies are too great, and smart. Hope is all anyone has left, and it will be interesting to see if it’s enough to generate the peace many are longing for.

Bitter, bitter, this desolation of angels.

Final thoughts:

Many times, the second book in a trilogy only serves one purpose: bridge the gap between the first and the third. This is not one of those books. If anything, I actually found this book be stronger and more compelling. An interesting look at how each choice has a repruccsion, and not all choices lead to happy endings.

Rating:

5/5 ☆

What did you think of Days of Blood & Starlight? How are you doing on your TBR list?

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter: @JessicaInspired
Instagram: @JessicaInspired
Facebook: @AuthorJessicaRachow
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Need to contact me? Email me: jessicarachow15@gmail.com

Reading Habits Book Tag

Hello there! Since I’m working through my SSeptember TBR, I thought it would be fun to do a reading book tag. I came across the tag here.

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Either on the couch or in bed. Some day, I will have a special place in my house for reading and writing, but for now, I make do with the apartment.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Normally, I use a random piece of paper, but I purchased a few pretty bookmarks from our church’s bookstore, so I use them.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

I have page number goals for my September TBR challenge. If I don’t have a page number goals, I need to stop at the end of a chapter. I definitely can’t stop in the middle of one.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

Water, mostly. I am trying to lose some weight, so snacking while reading or writing is out of the question at the moment.

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

I can listen to music with no lyrics, but that is it. As with writing, TV or songs with people singing will distract me from the task.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

One book at a time. When I attempt more than one at a time, I don’t finish any of them.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

At home or on break at work. I don’t sit in a restaurant to read, but I will read anywhere that’s appropriate.

8. Reading out lout or silently in your head?

Silently in my head…unless I want Paul to hear a sentence for some reason.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

No way.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

Like new.

11. Do you write in your books?

Nope. If I’m taking notes for a review, I write them down in a separate notebook. I love my books too much to do anything to them.

_____________________________________

Well, that’s all I have for you today. Per usual, I tag anyone that would like to do the tag. I hope you’re enjoying the long weekend if you have it off. If you don’t, I hope work is going by quickly for you.

You can keep up to date with me on Twitter & Instagram: @jessicainspired and on Facebook: @authorjessicarachow

Until next time –

Jessica

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor- Book Review

Hey there! Two posts in one night. Crazy right? I just finished reading Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. This book isn’t part of my September TBR (because I finished it before September), but I still wanted to review it since I plan to read the other two books in the triology during September.

Review

Karou, a blue haired, 17 year old, Prague art student lives a double life. Juggling her human life and her life with the Chimera who raised her proves to be a difficult task. And while this fact sets her apart, she is and struggles to find the answer the one question that has haunted her, her entire life; who is she?

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.

I had pretty high expectations going into this book. I’ve heard and read a great deal of positive reviews, and let me just say, I was NOT disappointed. This story is the age old “forbidden love” story, but it is so unique in its mythology.

Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war or does war make monsters?

Laini Taylor created such a diverse world that captivated my attention through the entire book. There was not one page that left me bored. Every word had me on edge, waiting to find the answers to the many questions posed through the chapters.

Wishes are false. Hope is true. Hope makes its own magic.

The language in this novel is beautiful. It really sets apart Taylor as an author. She weaves such a vivid picture into the readers mind without drawn out descriptions. This is a very character driven plot, which I love. Every character introduced has a unique personality, and I never felt like I was reading the same person over and over again.

Love is an element.

This is one of those novels where you aren’t really sure what is going on through the majority of the book, but you’re just so invested and intrigued, it doesn’t matter. You keep flipping the page with the hope and expectation that you will understand in the end. And you do…sort of. Taylor ends the first book in this trilogy in the right way. I had planned to read a different book outside of this series next, but I changed my mind. I need more of this world.

Peace is more than the absence of war. Peace is accord. Harmony.

I recommend this book to anyone who is into mystery and fantasy. The names take some getting used to, but once you get past that, you’re in for one beautiful experience.

Rating:

4/5 ☆

Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

You can stay up to date with me on Twitter & Instagram: @JessicaInspired and on Facebook: @authorjessicarachow

You can still read chapter one of Alter Reach here.

Until next time –

Jessica

September TBR

Hey there, Happy Thursday. I have a very long list of books to read on my shelf. As a writer, I think one of the most important things to do is read. I’m going to try something new, and see if it helps me work through my TBR list a little quicker. At the beginning of the month, I am going to select 4 books I would like to complete. I will do reviews on each book after completion, and at the end of the month, I will do a wrap up on my success.

September TBR (in no particular order):

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Passenger – Alexandra Bracken

Days of Blood & Starlight (Book 2 in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy) – Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Book 3 in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy) – Laini Taylor

Let me know what your September reading plans are.

You can keep up to date with me on Twitter & Instagram: @jessicainspired and on Facebook: @authorjessicarachow

Until next time –

Jessica

Alter Reach Inspiration

Hey everyone,

If you are following me on social media, you may recognize these. I took some of the images I pinned on Pinterest and created “story boards” for some of my characters.

NOTE: I do not own the rights to these images.

MARCI

FAELYN

ALYSON

ZEKE

WREN

BRASTON

I hope you enjoy checking these out. I can’t wait to share this story with everyone.

Follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @jessicainspired

Follow me on Facebook: @authorjessicarachow

Until next time –

Jessica

The Ultimate Book Tag

Hey everyone! I hope you are having a fantastic week. My week has been nice and short. 😊

Doing another book tag today. I found the tag here. Not sure where the tag originated, but that’s where I found it. I tag you if you want to participate!

1. Do you get sick while reading in a car?

I don’t. I enjoy reading while traveling. Best way to pass time.

2. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga?

I’m one of the weird kids who didn’t read Harry Potter when it first came out. I read Twilight first, but I’m in agreement that the Harry Potter series is better. I just have a special place in my heart for Twilight, haha.

3. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books)?

Nah. Just a purse.

4. Do you smell your books?

If they are new.

5. Books with or without little illustrations?

Without. Mostly because I don’t read books with illustrations.

6. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

The Twilight series, haha.

7. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood?

Not really. I’m boring, haha.

9. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

Game of Thrones.

10. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

Yup! In the process. Alter Reach will hopefully be out soon.

11. When did you get into reading?

High school. After reading Twilight, I started acquiring books. Now, I have to stop myself from buying all the hooks.

13. In school what was your best subject?

English, History and Art. 😊

14. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?

Give it away or donate it.

15. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?

I mean. There are probably a lot of them, but nothing comes to mind at the moment.

16. What is a bad habit you always do while blogging?

Twitter.

17. What is your favorite word?

I don’t really have a favorite word.

18. Vampires or Fairies? Why?

Vampires. Because I haven’t read much with fairies.

19. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?

Shapeshifters. That’s a spoiler for my book.

20. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?

Werewolves. Because I think they are cool.

21. Zombies or Vampires? Why?

Vampires. Because I’m just not a fan of Zombies.

22. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?

Forbidden love, I guess.

23. And finally: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

Action. Not a huge fan of romance novels.

Alright, I skipped some questions, but whatever. Check the link above for the full tag. Let me know if you participate! 😊

If you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page – @authorjessicarachow.

Until next time –

Jessica

Rapid Fire Book Tag

Hello and Happy Saturday! I have a three day weekend because hubby and I decided to take Monday off. We are seeing The Who Sunday night and used it as an excuse to have a day off. 

I’ll definitely post a blog about the show. I’m expecting it to be great. Downside is we have lawn seats and there is a threat of rain…so keep your fingers crossed for us! 

Today I thought I would do another tag. As always, feel free to do the tag yourself and let me know so I can read your answers. 

The original creator of the tag did a YouTube video which you can watch here.

1. Ebook or Physical book?

Definitely physical. I like the idea behind ebooks, but I rarely read them. I love to have the physical book in my hands (and on my shelf).

2. Paperback or Hardcover?

Paperback. They are easier to read, and you don’t have to worry about storing the sleeve somewhere safe while you read. 

3. Online or In Store Shopping? 

I buy the majority of my books online because you can’t beat the price. 99.9% of the time I can get a book for much cheaper and shipped free on Amazon. I do, however, love to shop around used bookstores. 

4. Trilogies or Series? 

I think I’ll go with trilogies. 

5. Heroes or Villains?

Learning the backstory and motivations behind the villain in a story, if done right, can be very compelling and surprising, so I will go with villains. 

6. A book you want everyone to read?

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. You’ve seen me talk about this book a million times. Go read it. 😛

7. Recommend an underrated book?

While I don’t think it’s underrated, it’s not as well known as it should be. Eve: The Awakening – Jenna Moreci. 

8. The last book you finished?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor 

9. The last book you bought? 

I’m cheating a little because I am about to buy this book today, so I’m using it as my answer haha. Before The Fall – Noah Hawley

10. Weirdest thing you’ve used as a bookmark?

My phone. Because reading is more important than social interaction 😉 

11. Used books: Yes or No?

Yes! As stated previously, I love used book stores and used books. 

12. Top three favorite genres? 

Fantasy, Sci-fi, Mystery/Thriller 

13. Borrow or Buy?

Buy. That way I have no pressure to return it. My bank account, however, enjoys borrowing books. 

14. Characters or Plot?

Characters. If I’m connecting with the characters, I am much more likely to stick through to the end of the book. 

15. Long Books or Short Books?

Tough question, because it depends on my mood. But I guess I’ll go with long. 

16. Long Chapters or Short Chapters?

Short chapters. I seem to fly through books with shorter chapters no matter how long the book is. 

17. Name the first three books you think of…

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo 

Passenger- Alexandra Bracken 

If I Stay – Gayle Forman 

18. Books the make you laugh or cry?

Laugh. 

19. Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Fictional worlds. Not sure why. I like the escape. 

20. Audiobooks: Yes or No

For very specific books, I enjoy audio books (Illuminae). Otherwise, no.

21. Do you ever judge a book by its cover? 

Once and a while, but I try not to. 

22. Book to Movie or Book to TV?

If done correctly, book to movie. Doesn’t happen often though, haha. 

23. A Movie or TV Show you preferred to its Book?

Vampire Diaries. I just couldn’t get into the books, but I watched the show all the way to the end. 

24. Series or Stand Alone?

Stand alone. 
That’s all I have for you today. Expect a post about about The Who concert, probably Monday since I’ll be home late Sunday. I hope you enjoy your weekend! 

You can still read Chapter One of Alter Reach here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Until next time –
Jessica

Opposite Books Tag

Hi everyone! I hope your week is going okay! I wanted to do a quick tag I saw on YouTube. I tag you if you’d like to participate, just let me know so I can read your responses!

First book in your collection/Last book you bought

I believe the first book I ever bought was The Silver Kiss by Annette Kurtos Klause. I rented it from the library in middle school, read it in one night and then asked for it for my birthday. 

The last book I book I bought was Gone by Michael Grant. I bought it on a whim in a great little used book store. I’ll review it when I get to it. 

A cheap book/An expensive book


I just picked up The Grim Legacy by Polly Shulman from the same book store I bought Gone from. I believe it was $3.

For my expensive book, I’m going to go with Illuminae by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff…not because the book was super expensive, but because between the hardcover copy and the audible copy, I spent more than I ever have.

A book with a male protagonist/a book with a female protagonist

Male protagonist: The Maze Runner by James Dashner. 

Female protagonist: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

A book you read fast/A book that took you forever to read

A book that I read quickly: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I actually read this series in three days. 

A book that took me forever: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R. R. Tolkien. I actually really enjoyed this book but it wasn’t an easy read for me, so it took me quite a while to get through. 

Pretty cover/Ugly cover 

Pretty cover: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor. I bought this mainly because the cover drew me in. So beautiful. 

Ugly cover: The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith. Eh. I’m just not a fan. I find it a little predictable and boring.

A national book/An international book

I’m guessing this means a book that takes place where you live versus a book that takes place in another country. 

National: Eve The Awakening by Jenna Moreci. This book takes place at a college in California. 

International: Harry Potter. Sorry for the obvious answer but, hey, it works. 

 A thin book/A thick book

A thin book: Wake by Lisa McMan

A thick book: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

A fiction book/A non-fiction book

Fiction: Cinder by Marissa Meyer. A fairytale retelling with sci-fi elements, which I haven’t read yet, because I am so far behind on my TBR. Are you surprised? I’m guessing not. 😛

Non-Fiction: Creation Basics & Beyond by a lot of scientists at th Institute of Creation Research. A really interesting look at science from a biblical stand point. 

Very romantic book/Action book

I don’t own a ton of romantic books, but I will go with Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. The main plot of this series is love, so it fits, I guess. 

Action…I will go with Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. It’s about criminals trying to pull off the greatest heist. Action packed!

A book that made you happy/A book that made you sad

A book that made me happy: I want to go with Illuminae again. Not because it’s a super happy story, but because it was such a good book, I’m still on a high and I read it almost a year ago. Haha. 

A book that made me sad…I will go with another non-fiction on my shelf. My Story by Elizabeth Smart. Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped by two pretty sick individuals and she writes about what happened during that time. Ugh…such a difficult book to read. 

 

That’s all I have for you tonight. Good news everyone, tomorrow is Thursday. We are very close to Friday! Don’t forget to let me know if you participate in the tag. I will have another movie review for you next blog, so stay tuned for that!

You can still read Chapter One of Alter Reach here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Until next time –
Jessica