BOOK REVIEW: Gemina (Illuminae Files 2) by Aime Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Hi everyone!

I just finished Gemina and I wanted to write up my review. This has not been a very productive reading year for me so far, but I plan to change that!

*This will be a spoiler free review, BUT if you haven’t read Illuminae yet, I highly advise reading that before reading this review, just in case I unintentionally spoil something from the first book.*

The Illuminae Files #2
659 pages
Published: October 18, 2016
Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.


So, I’m normally a bit pessimistic when it comes to second books in triologies when the first book blows my fricken mind (Illuminae blew me away, read my review here.) I feel like, sometimes second books fall pray to being bridge books for the first and last, and never really have a strong plot or likable characters. This isn’t the case with Gemina.

The layout of this book is similar to Illuminae. It’s written as a collection of emails, chat logs, security footage, etc. It’s so unique and visually appealing, and it provides a really interesting reading experience on its own. I listened to the audiobook while reading along, and I really recommend you do too. The audiobooks for Illuminae and Gemina were so well done – sound effects, unique voices for each character, and so much more. I was really immersed while reading, and it was easy to feel like I was there.

Gemina has two new main characters, Hanna and Nik. At first, it was a bit difficult to warm up to them because I loved Kady and Ezra from Illuminae so much. Once I gave them a shot, I loved Hanna and Nik. Their relationship was much different than Kady and Ezra’s and I loved their dynamic together. Hanna and Nik are both very wity and smart, and I love when two people start off annoyed with each other and build their relationship up to something so meaningful.

Without spoil anything, Aiden is my favorite character so far.

The dialogue in this book is really interesting and it feels real. The characters use a lot of abriveations and “text speech” because they are normally communicating through chat systems. It’s not difficult to understand, it’s just really awesome world building.

I loved the concept and science behind this plot because it seemed to make sense. While some of the lingo seemed over my head, in the end, I understood exactly what was going on and it seemed plausible. Sometimes, sci-fi can feel a bit stretched, but this just didn’t.

This book is full of twists and turns, and just when you think you have it figured out, Gemina blows your mind again.


I love Gemina as much, if not more than, Illuminae. I can’t believe I let it sit on my shelf as long as I did. The third book, Obsidio, is already out and I’m probably starting that as soon as I post this blog. 😊



Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. And her name was Vengeance.

What did you think of Gemina? Let me know in the comments.




Days of the Week Book Tag

Hi everyone!

Ugh. It’s Monday, but we can only hope the week will fly by.

I found this tag at Sam’s Little Corner and thought it would be a fun way to kick off the week.

Monday: Book you’re too lazy to read.

The Game of Thrones books. I might ruffle some feathers here but I’m not a fan of the show (😮) and because of that, I’m not really intetested in reading the books. But, they are also really long, and I’m too lazy to try to see if I’ll enjoy them.

Tuesday: A book that was hard to finish.

I’m not sure why, but I struggled to finish The Call by Peadar O’Guilin. It’s not a bad book, nor is it boring…I just kept putting it down. I’ll have to work out my issues with it in a review.

Wednesday: Book you haven’t finished.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Not because I don’t like it, but because Obsidio by Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff was released. Haha.

Thursday: Book you don’t recommend.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I liked it when I read it, but now I’m not that into it and have no interest in finishing the rest of the books.

Friday: A book you can’t wait to be released.

It’s cheating to say Obsidio by Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, but I’m going to anyway. I’m not normally one to keep up on release dates, except in this case.

Saturday: A book you wanted to re-read right away.

The Savior’sChampion by Jenna Moreci. I almost started reading it again, right away, but I had to contain myself.

Sunday: A book you didn’t want to end.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Thank goodness there were two more books!

What are you currently reading?

If you do the tag, let me know so I can read your answers!



The Intimidating TBR Tag

Hi everyone!

Happy weekend. It’s been a crazy week, but hubby and I took Monday off, so I’m excited to have a three day weekend.

I haven’t done a tag in a while, and thought this would be fun. I found this one here. As usual, if you’d like to do the tag, go for it! Let me know so I can read your answers. 😊

1. A book on your TBR pile that you haven’t finished.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. I’m about half way through, but I recently agreed to read and review a couple of books, so I put this one on the back burner so I could focus. I have one more to read and review, and then I’ll be back to this one.

2. A book you just haven’t had the time to read for.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. I’m so mad I haven’t finished this one. I loved the first two, and I can’t wait to find out the end, but I just haven’t had time.

3. A book you haven’t read because it’s a sequel.

I will choose Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo for this one. I’m definitely getting there. I need to write my Six of Crows review.

4. A book you haven’t read because it’s brand new.

I’m going to say Origin by Dan Brown. It’s the newest book on my shelf, so I’m going with it.

5. A book by and author you read previously but didn’t really like.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I’m not really a fan of Divergent, so I’m not sure how much time I really want to dedicate to the other books.

6. A book on your TBR pile that you’re just not in the mood to read.

I guess for this I will go with Gone by Michael Grant. I bought it at a used bookstore, and now I’m just not that excited to read it. I’ll probably read it someday.

7. A book on your TBR pile that you haven’t read because it’s enormous.

I’m really disappointed to say Gemina by Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. However, I’ve been listening to the audio book to and from work, and on lunch break, so I’m making time. It’s so good, but it’s also big. Haha.

8. A book on your TBR you bought because of the cover.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I really didn’t need to read the blurb, I just wanted the pretty cover. Haha.

9. The book on your TBR you find the most intimidating.

Creation Basics & Beyond by Various authors at ICR. This one is a science book, and while I’m not really great at science, I really want to dig into it. It’s just intimidating. I’ve read a bit of it, but it takes time for my brain to process in the info.

That’s all I have for you today. What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you enjoy your weekend!



BOOK REVIEW: The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci

Hi everyone!

I was chosen to be an ARC reviewer of Jenna Moreci’s newest novel, The Savior’s Champion (releasing April 24th). I’m super pumped to finally review this one. Enjoy! 😊

*This will be a spoiler free review*

Title: The Savior’sChampion
Author: Jenna Moreci
Release Date: 4/24/18
Genre: Romantic Fantasy Adventure
Catagory: Adult


Tobias Kaya doesn’t care about The Savior. He doesn’t care that She’s the Ruler of the realm or that She purified the land, and he certainly doesn’t care that She’s of age to be married. But when competing for Her hand proves to be his last chance to save his family, he’s forced to make The Savior his priority.

Now Tobias is thrown into the Sovereign’s Tournament with nineteen other men, and each of them is fighting–and killing–for the chance to rule at The Savior’s side. Instantly his world is plagued with violence, treachery, and manipulation, revealing the hidden ugliness of his proud realm. And when his circumstances seem especially dire, he stumbles into an unexpected romance, one that opens him up to unimaginable dangers and darkness.


I was really blown away when I finished reading The Savior’s Champion. It has just enough of everything you’d want in a Romantic Fantasy Adventure. There is this tension that grips you from the first sentence and holds you through the entire novel, only breaking for moments of the tender and beautiful romance, interlaced through the book. I read the majority of this 500 something page book in one day. I could not put it down.

TSC opens with a prologue that left my heart racing and my mind spinning. I know people have mixed feelings about prologues, but this is one that doesn’t info dump, and is still able to set the story up and introduce us to the world. We learn quite a bit about how the world works.

The world building of TSC is incredible. It is interwoven throughout the chapters, mixed in with dialogue, and never slows the plot down. Jenna is able to paint a vivid picture of the world without ever info dumping. It’s such a refreshing thing to read, because sometimes fantasy novels fall prey to this.

Speaking of characters and dialogue, TSC is filled with amazing characters who are all distinct. While this story is told in deep, 3rd person, we are still able to learn so much about all of the other characters in the novel (and there are a lot!). Jenna is a master at developing sound, distinct characters that never feel cookie cutter. The dialogue really helps give us a clear picture of the characters, along with helping build the world of TSC.

The tournament itself was crafter amazingly and kept me guessing the entire time. Jenna has an insane ability to write very intense, thrilling – and sometimes super bloody scenes. The tournament is not for the faint of heart, and Jenna wastes no time revealing that. I felt myself holding my breath during some scenes because they were just so vivid and intense. I loved everything about it.

The romance in this novel is also something I’d like to touch on. There is nothing “instant” or cheap about this romance. It is developed through the entire book, and it is such a healthy and exciting romance to read about. Tobias and his love interest develop feelings over time, and it feels real. There wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t shipping them.

The last aspect I’d like to touch on is the main character, Tobias. What an incredible lead. He is intelligent and strong, and he was a refreshing character to read. Of course, he’s clearly a hottie, but he has depth that many MCs lack in books I’ve been reading. I truly enjoyed reading his story and I’m a fan!


I could go on and on about this book, but I’d have to head into spoiler territory and I promised I wouldn’t do that. You will just have to trust me, this book is amazing. From the writing to the characters, TSC has everything I was hoping it would and more.



**Presale Giveaway!!**

Everyone who pre-orders a copy of The Savior’s Champion can enter the giveaway! Each participant will receive the first five chapters. There are a ton of other prizes to be had. Pre-order TSC and enter the give away here!

Buy TSC! (Available in Ebook and Hardback):

Amazon|Amazon UK|Amazon CA|Nook|Kobo

Learn More About Jenna Moreci:

Jenna Moreci is a Silicon Valley native and YouTube sensation, dominating the authortube communities with her straightforward and hilarous writing channel. A lifelong storyteller, Jenna specializes in crafting thrilling adventures with heaping doses of bloodshed and romance.

When she’s not writing or ‘tubing, Jenna enjoys angry music, potent wine, and laughing until her face hurts with her goofball fiance.

Follow Jenna:


I really hope you’ll consider pre-ordering this one, it is definitely worth the money. Can’t wait to hold the hardcover in my hands in April!



BOOK REVIEW: In My Dreams by Cameo Renae

Hi everyone!

Today, I’m reviewing In My Dreams by Cameo Renae! I’m super new to her novels, but when she mentioned on her Facebook page that she was looking for reviewers, I jumped at the chance. I’m really glad I did.

*This will be a spoiler free review.*

In My Dreams:

206 pages
Published: March 15, 2015

The dreams were happening again.
It was something seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Hayes thought she’d outgrown. She didn’t want them anymore; detailed premonitions of how people would die.
One night, Lizzy’s worst nightmare occurs. She dreams of her boyfriend, Michael Young, and soon discovers his car was found in a river, along with his lifeless body.
Confusion settles deep within when Michael appears alive in her dreams. He warns her, attempting to keep her safe from the very person who murdered him.
Awake, Lizzy must pull on her inner strength, not only to save herself, but also her friends whose lives are in danger.
In My Dreams is a story of trust, friendship, courage, and true love that lives beyond the grave.


I went in blind with this one. As mentioned before, this was my first Cameo Renae read, so it was new author territory for me. I am so happy I was able to read this one! It’s a fast paced, intriguing and unique story that I had a hard time putting down.

World-building: The novel is set in Alaska, and while it’s set in a familiar area, the dream sequences are awesome. Cameo Renae has a real talent in describing the dream settings. Michael takes Lizzy to some beautiful places in her dreams, and it’s really great to picture.

Characters: I love when a story makes me care about the characters. It could be a terrible plot (this is not!), but if the characters are relatable, different, and make me feel emotions while reading there story, then I’m so much more invested. I was invested from the beginning. I love Lizzy. She falls a bit prey to the “average girl,” trope, but she made me happy. The story is written in first person, and she spoke like and acted like a 17 year old who had to grow up too fast. She is the most in-depth character in the story, but I think that is due to the first person narrative. We see everyone else through her eyes and don’t get to know them as much. That being said, Michael is a great character and the love he has for Lizzy is beautiful. I shed a few tears reading some of the scenes. Supporting characters like best friend Emily, Tyler, and Lucy were great. They each had a role to play, and were necessary to move the plot forward.

Plot: This is a super unique story, to me. I don’t think I’ve read anything like it, and it was refreshing. It was fast paced, thrilling and heart-wrenching at times. I had a hard time putting this one down.

Negatives: I don’t have much to say that is negative. I think, maybe the lack of depth to characters like Tyler and Emily were a little disappointing, but you got to know them well enough to care about them, and that’s really all a reader can ask for, from supporting characters.

Wrap Up:

This is a great read that I highly recommend! If you enjoy a fast paced, twist and turn, romance, this is your book. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!



Author Links:

Facebook Page

Facebook Group




Buy In My Dreams

If you’ve read In My Dreams, let me know what you thought in the comments.

Have a great Thursday!


Twitter: @jessica_rachow
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The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt

Hi everyone!

Happy Sunday. I hope your weekend is going well. I found this tag here. Once again, I apologize that the picture quality isn’t the best.

Enjoy. 🙂

• Find an author’s name or title with the letter Z in it


• Find a classic

I sadly don’t have any classics on my shelf. 😦

• Find a book with a key on it

I also failed to find a book with a key on it. 😦

• Find something on your bookshelf that’s not a book


These were on my cake for my wedding shower. 🙂

• Find the oldest book on your shelf


• Find a book with a girl on the cover


• Find a book that has an animal in it


• Find a book with a male protagonist


• Find a book with only words on it


• Find a book with illustrations in it


It has maps in it…it’s as close as I could get.

• Find a book with gold lettering


My camera sucks, but this is definitely gold.

• Find a diary (true or fictional)


Not really a diary, but it’s her story.

• Find a book written by someone with a common name (like Smith)


• Find a book that has a closeup of something on it


• Find a book on your shelf that takes place in the earliest time period


I mean, it’s about time travel, so, it kind of works.

• Find a hardcover book without a jacket


Find a teal/turquoise colored book


• Find a book with stars on it


Okay, I cheated a little.

• Find a non-YA book


That’s all I have for you today. If you participate in the tag, be sure to let me know. I’d love to see your answers.


Twitter: @jessica_rachow
Instagram: @jessica_rachow
Facebook: @authorjessicarachow
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The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci – *Cover Reveal, Book Trailer, & Release Date!*

Hi everyone!

I know this is a late post for me, but I couldn’t wait! I have mentioned Jenna Moreci a few times in past blog posts. She has just revealed the cover, book trailer and release date of her up coming fantasy novel, The Savior’s Champion, and I can’t even put into words how excited I am! I’m just going to let the cover speak for itself. So, without further adieu…







Isn’t it beautiful?! If you love the cover, you definitely need to check out the book trailer. You can see that here!

The Savior’s Champion will be released, April 24th and you can be sure I will be reading this as soon as I can get my hands on it!

Jenna is having a cover reveal contest. Check out the description of the book trailer linked above for all the details.

Learn more about Jenna here and don’t forget to subscribe to her YouTube channel.


Twitter: @jessica_rachow
Instagram: @jessica_rachow
Facebook: @authorjessicarachow
Alter Reach Inspiration on Pinterest
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Progress is Not Failure

Hi everyone!

November is NaNoWriMo, I was pumped at the beginning of the month, because I had a plan to finish Alter Reach and start editing. Clearly, that plan fell through. While I had all the time in the world to write, I spent the majority of my days on the couch (or at the doctors).

Tomorrow is the last day, and there isn’t even a slight chance that I will hit 50,000 words. A year ago, I would have called this a failure and been super hard on myself, but I have been trying (and succeeding) to change my mindset.

I wrote words. It might not have been a lot of words, and it definitely wasn’t the amount I was hoping for, but given the circumstances, I still made progress. And progress isn’t failure. It’s…well, progress.

Alter Reach is closer to being a complete draft today, than it was on November 1st and I can’t complain about that. All I can do is try to feel better and get writing on a regular basis again.

So, if you’re not quite reaching your goals this month (whatever they may be), don’t sell yourself short. Progress is a good thing and it should be celebrated. Don’t let that little part of your brain start screaming, “failure,” because it isn’t.

I hope you’ve made progress toward whatever goals you may have.

I have another test scheduled for Friday. Hoping to get some answers and start feeling better soon. I will update again soon. 😊


Twitter: @jessica_rachow
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Giving Thanks – Book Tag

Hi everyone! I wanted to do this tag now because I won’t be posting tomorrow or Thursday.

I’m still feeling completely awful, so I’m still home. Today and tomorrow, I am going to write all day.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be winning NaNoWriMo this year, but I’m immensely impressed with what I was able to accomplish while feeling so terrible.

Thanksgiving Day is always crazy and I will be sure to do a blog post on that, Friday.

Today, I wanted to do a Thanksgiving themed tag, which I found here. As always, I tag you if you d like to play along.

Giving Thanks Book Tag

Name a book that made you thankful you live in your world and not the book’s world.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Definitely not a world I would want to live in. The districts, poor and unhealthy…the Capital, naive and obnoxious…and, I would be the first to die in the Games.

Give thanks to a book that changed your perspective.

My Story by Elizabeth Smart. I very rarely pick up biographies and this one had reviews ranging from 1 star to 5. I went to a Woman’s conference with a group from work, and Elizabeth Smart was the speaker. After hearing her describe some of what happened to her, I immediately bought the book. While the writing isn’t the best, the story is heart-wrenching and inspiring all at once.

What character would you be thankful for if they were your significant other?

I’m cheating. Damon from The Vampire Diaries TV show. I haven’t read the books, but he’s always my answer. I know, he’s a pretty messed up character but the change he goes through during the entire story is so significant that I can’t help but love him.

What character would you say, “thanks but not thanks” to?

Akiva from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I’m just…meh…about him. It isn’t that he’s a bad character or boring, he is just not my favorite.

Name a book that made you laugh out loud?

I don’t read a ton of comedic novels, however some of the banter in Eve: The Awakening by Jenna Moreci is hysterical. Specifically, Madison, Hayden and Heather with their “Mean Girls” attitudes.

Name a book that made you incredibly angry.

I’ve mentioned this before. I try very hard not to get angry with books (unless the reason it sucks is the atrocious writing). However, in school, we were forced to read The Butterfly Revolution by William Buttler… I threw the book across the room. The kids made decisions that just made me want to jump into the book and strangle them. 😲

Name one thing you are thankful for in the wordpress community.

Meeting people who are like minded. I love getting to know people who love to read and write as much as I do. It’s so fun to share our opinions, even when they differ. 😊

That’s all I have for you today. If you do the tag, let me know, so I can read your answers.

From my family to yours, have a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving!! 🦃


Twitter: @jessica_rachow
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How I Read – Tag

Hi Everyone! I hope you’re having a great weekend so far. I’m still not feeling great, but working on Alter Reach, regardless. Slow progress is better than no progress.

I’m doing the How I Read Tag, which I found here.  As always, I tag anyone who would like to participate. Just make sure you let me know so I can read your answers. 🙂

1. How do you find out about new books to read?

Booktube, WordPress reviews, and GoodReads.

2. How did you get into reading?

I missed the Harry Potter train when I was younger (I read them later in life). I wasn’t much of a reader as a kid, though I did always want to write. I didn’t really start reading as much as I do now, until Twilight came around. Then when Hunger Games was released, I really started filling my bookshelf.

3. How has your taste in books changed as you’ve gotten older?

I think my love of reading has increased rather than my taste in books. I’ve always loved Fantasy and Sci-fi, and that hasn’t changed. I will branch out a bit more now that I’m older and read some Contemporary and other genres.

4. How often do you buy books?

I try not to go crazy, but when a book is released or I hear about a book I’m interested in, I tend to buy it.

5. How did you get into Book blogging?

I started this blog to promote myself as an author and create a platform, so when Alter Reach is published, I’ll have some place to start. I enjoy reviewing books, and various other topics, so a blog made sense. I’ve been thinking about a YouTube channel, but that isn’t a solid plan yet.

6. How do you react when you don’t like the end of a book?

Eh. It happens. If it’s a poorly written end, then I tend to avoid that author. If it’s just not how I wanted it to end, then I move on with my life.

7. How often have you taken a sneaky look at the back page of a book to see if it’s a happy ending?

I’ve honestly never done this. I like the suprise of an ending and would be less likely to actually read the book if I knew the ending. (Unless I’m re-reading.)

That’s all I have for you today, back to writing for me. What’s on the agenda for you this weekend? Let me know in the comments.

Just a little house keeping note – I changed my Twitter and Instagram handles to @jessica_rachow. Facebook stayed the same because @jessica_rachow wasn’t available. I did this because I am trying to make my online presence more consistant. When I first started writing Alter Reach, I wasn’t even sure I’d get to the editing stage, let alone consider publishing options. @jessicainspired was just a name that came to me because I was inspired to follow my dreams. Now that I am actually doing that, and I’m thinking about my brand, this change made sense to me. 🙂


Twitter: @jessica_rachow
Instagram: @jessica_rachow
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