Thanksgiving Day & My Pet Tag!

Hey everyone!

I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it). Unfortunately, I’m still not feeling the best so it was a rough day…but I pushed through it and still had fun.

No crazy stories for you other than I had two turkey dinners. My husband and I are blessed to get along with both of our families. I have a huge family and he has a very small family, but we always see both sides on Thanksgiving and Christmas. So we started out at my parents from 12-4, and then we headed to Paul’s parents and stayed the rest of the night (where Paul’s cousin and I dominated at Euchre 4-0 😂).

It was a good day. I love our families. How was your day?


For the second half of this post, I wanted to do this really cute tag I found here! We can’t have my dog in our appartment because of breed restrictions and the fact that she LOVES to run, so she lives with my parents. That doesn’t stop us from sneaking her over to stay on weekends sometimes, so of course, she’s here now. 😊


My Pet Tag

1. What is your pets name?

Cheyenne

2. What kind of pet is it and what breed?

Cheyenne is a lab/pitbull mix. Partly why she can’t live in our apartment, which is so unfortunate because the worst she would do is lick you to death.

3. How long have you had your pet friend?

Cheyenne came into our lives in September, 2009 ♡

4. How did you get your pet?

I had been searching for a dog for a while. I worked at a doggy daycare that, at the time, was fostering two great dogs. One of them was a beautiful white husky, named Luke. I was ready to put the application in when my aunt called my dad asking if we were still looking for a dog.

She was driving along when the car in front of her threw something out of the window. My aunt was pretty sure it was a puppy, so she pulled over and that’s how I got my baby. Fate. ♡

5. How old is your pet?

She’s 8.

6. What are some quirky things about your pets personality?

You’d have to meet her, she has the best personality. Remember when I mentioned she would lick you to death? I wasn’t kidding. This dog loves to lick. If you’re not into being licked, don’t go bare foot around her.

She also loves her beauty rest. At 9PM, she will go lay in bed. And then huff and whine until you come in.

Food is her best friend. If you even think the words “treat,” “cookie,” or “food,” she will be at your feet. She knows the people who will sneak her food and won’t, and she stays by those people that will for the most part (I’m a mean mom, according to Chey).

7. What does your relationship with your pet mean to you?

Cheyenne is my best friend. She came into my life when I needed her. We saved each other.

8. What are some of your favorite past times with your pet?

There are so many. When I worked at that doggy daycare, I could bring her for free when I worked, which was the best. She got to play and socialize, and I wasn’t worried about her being home alone.

9. What are nicknames that you call your pet?

Chey. Kid. Little girl. Bum (Paul and his family call her that for the most part).


That’s all I have for you today. Let me know about your Thanksgiving day and if you do the pet tag.

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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!! 🦃

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Beauty and the Beast – Movie Review

Hi everyone! Happy Sunday.

Today, I thought I would share my thoughts on the 2017, live action remake of Beauty and the Beast.


Review:

Honestly, it took me this long to see it because I wasn’t all that interested in it. Beauty and the Beast was not my favorite Disney film (The Lion King will always be superior to all Disney films, in my opinion! And yes, I know the Lion King is not a princess movie.), and generally, I’m just not a huge fan of live action remakes.

I’ve read quite a mix of reviews. Most people either absolutely love the film or absolutely despise it. I’m going to say, I am somewhere in the middle of this opinion.

It is almost identical to the original, only adding a couple new scenes. Which is a pro, in my opinion. I mean, if they had deviated too far from the original script, it wouldn’t have been a Beauty and the Beast remake. The additional scenes/songs add to the film, and help break up what would otherwise be super predictable. The additions give us some extra background info that the original that actually helped make sense of some if the plot.

The film is very pretty. Yes, it’s mostly CGI, but it is still a nice looking film. I don’t fault the CGI in this, because most of it was necessary and even though you could tell, it helped keep the story feeling “magical”.

Emma Watson is hit and miss with me in this. I think she embodies Belle’s persona well, and I think she nails the part…but the singing isn’t the best. She’s not the worst singer, but I just wasn’t in love with her voice.

The rest of the actors fit their parts. I particularly liked Belle’s father. There weren’t any Oscar worthy, stand out performances, but everyone fit well.

With all this positive feedback on the film, I still think it just fell flat for me. That’s why I’m in the middle of the ranging opinions on this film. Enjoyable but not something I’ll watch over and over again.

Rating:

3.5/5 ☆


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

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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. 🙂

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Forgotten – A Poem

Hi Everyone! Happy Friday.

Better news today! While I’m not feeling much better yet, I did finally see a doctor who has an idea of what is going on and is going to help me out. I should be on the road to feeling better soon. Thanks for all the thoughts.

Here’s another poem. Enjoy 😊


Forgotten

Take my heart, hold it close.
Feel the passion, sweltering.
I want this power around me.

Emotions whirling, whispering,
“you’re truly beautiful.”
And I’m living to discover your soul.

I’d forgotten how to breathe,
but now I’m paralyzed by you.
And stronger, our flame burns.


What are your plans for the weekend? Mine is powering through to catch up on NaNoWriMo. I’m behind but not giving up yet.

I hope you have a great weekend!

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Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney – Blog Tour

Hi everyone! I’m honored and excited to be a part of this blog tour. Jay has been extremely helpful and supportive in my blogging adventures, and I’m happy to help him out now.

You can buy Watching Glass Shatter on Amazon in Ebook and Paperback, here, however, there is still time to get your Ebook copy for FREE, so get to it. 🙂

You can also enter the GoodReads giveaway, for your chance to win a signed, physical copy! You have until 11/30 to enter.

Enter the poll to choose your favorite character thru 11/20. You can choose from all the major family members or submit your own write-in vote.

Jay will also being doing a radio spot on Artist First Radio Broadcast, tonight from 6PM-7PM (EST). For more info, click here.

For more Watching Glass Shatter fun, make sure you follow along with the blog tour. Links to previous posts and posts to come, here.


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Synopsis:

The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.

Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.

We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family.

Review:

Watching Glass Shatter is one of those books you pick up with the intention of reading a few chapters before bed and then end up staying up way too late trying to finish it. The family drama layers up, and the more you read, the more you want to know. It truly is unlike anything I’ve read before. A very unique perspective on family life, and relatable to a degree, to anyone who reads it.

This is a very character driven novel, and it is ambitious. We follow Olivia and her 5 sons: Zachary, Matthew, Teddy, Caleb, and Ethan. Each chapter reveals vital pieces of background for each character, that really drives the plot forward and piles on the family secrets. I particularly love novels that focus on characters to drive plot, and this one doesn’t fail. Don’t let the amount of character perspectives worry you, each character is so well developed and defined, you won’t get confused.

The plot is well thought out. The interweaving of each character’s life to build up tension is fantastic. As the plot thickens, the emotions are real and there were a few moments, I shed some tears…okay, bawled my eyes out. A testament to Jay’s writing, because I was emotionally invested in these characters from the beginning.

Speaking of the writing, itself – stunning. The dialouge is beautifully written, and so realistic, it truly feels like the Glass family members are real, and I want to meet them.

Wrap-Up:

Watching Glass Shatter is a character driven, heartwrenching, and inspiring family drama. I highly recommend picking this one up. You won’t be disappointed!

Rating:

5/5 ☆


Learn more about the author:

Basic Bio & Background
I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I spent ~15 years in a technology career in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. After leaving my position in 2016, I directed all my energies towards re-invigorating a focus on reading, writing and publishing.

Author
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current genres include family drama / saga, contemporary and mystery fiction. My first novel, Watching Glass Shatter, was published in October 2017. I am currently in the process of writing my second novel, ‘Father Figure,’ which will be released in early 2018.

Reader & Reviewer
Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read 2 books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Blogger & Thinker
I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share book reviews, write a blog and publish fiction: In the blog, I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.

Genealogist & Researcher
I want to be a researcher or historian. I want to reach back into the past to figure out why someone made the choice he or she did and what the consequences were. I want to feel the pressures and culture of hundreds of years ago. I want to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I want to watch my ancestors from a secret place to know how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll learn why I do things the way I do them.


All the Links!

Amazon Bookbub GoodReads Facebook Author Site Blog Twitter Instagram Pinterest Google+ YouTube Tumblr Bloglovin LinkedIn


Thanks again, for having me on the tour, Jay. Congratulations on all your success, and here’s to even more success in the future! 🙂

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Evanescence – Synthesis Album Review

Hi everyone! Happy Friday.

I’m still feeling awful, I have another appointment on Monday to hopefully figure out what’s going on. Keep me in your thoughts and I’ll keep you guys updated as best I can.

In happier news, Evanescence’s new album, Synthesis dropped today and I received it in the mail. I’ve never done an album review, so bare with me.

I’ve been a fan of Evanescene for a long time. I remember watching the Bring Me to Life video on MTV in the morning, before school. I immediately searched for info about Evanescence when I got home and started collecting all their music. I am pretty sure I have every song ever released, including the old stuff and remixes/remakes. (I will admit, I’ve missed some of the solo stuff, Amy Lee has done, but I’m working on it). And throughout all the years, and the long breaks in between albums, Evanescence has remained my favorite band.

Needless to say, I was PUMPED to hear they were working on new material. Synthesis is an album I’ve been expecting from Evanescence for a long time. The orchestral arrangements mixed with their style fit so well together, and I am SO excited to finally have it.

Let me start with the one negative I have on this album, and it is minor. I was really hoping for reworkings of some older songs, like Innocence and Even in Death. We were given a lot of songs from Evanescence and The Open Door, along with a few from Fallen. While I love the songs that were chosen, I just would have liked to hear a new take on the old stuff.

Like I said, I’m not a music guru, so I won’t speak on what I don’t really know, but I can say, Amy Lee sounds incredible on this album. Her voice has matured and it’s interesting to hear her take on these songs all these years later.

I was super excited to hear Lindsey Stirling on Hi Low, which is one of the new songs. There are two new full songs and three instrumental intro/interludes on the album. I’m sure some of you are aware, I’m a big Stirling fan and mixing these two great creators of music was amazing.

Overall, I’m beyond satisfied with this album. It did everything I hoped it would. I enjoyed the new songs as well as the reworking of the old stuff I grew up with.

Rating:

5/5 ☆

If you’ve heard the album, what did you think? Let me know in the comments.

I’m behind on NaNoWriMo because of this abdominal crap I’m going through, but I’m hoping things will get better and I’ll be back to it again soon.

I hope you guys have a great weekend!

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Quick Update

Hey there everyone,

My apologies for the gap in my blog posts and lack of social media presence this past week. I’ve been dealing with some pretty terrible abdominal pain and I’ve been having trouble getting a real diagnosis. I am hoping to be back to normal soon! I have a few blogs planned out that I will try to get up either tomorrow or over the weekend. Keep me in your thoughts and I will hopefully talk to you all soon!

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Alter Reach Playlist

Hi everyone! Happy Sunday!

My NaNoWriMo word count update: 9,089

I’m right on track. I’d like to have a bit more, but I’m not pushing it. This is by far, the most productive NaNoWriMo I’ve participated in. Normally, I’m procrastinating until the last minute. This time, I’m trying to do it right.

I wanted to talk about a subject I feel like I read and hear a lot about in the writing community, and that is music. Music is a great tool for inspiration, and I understand why people make writing playlists to go along with their novels.

Music has always been a little tricky for me when it comes to writing. I am inspired by it, like most, but I have a hard time listening to music with singing while I write. It distracts me too much. I can listen to instrumental music, but sometimes, I write in silence.

I’m not sure what it is about silence, but I’m able to concentrate so much more. It’s part of the reason why I can’t wait until we have a house. Currently, my writing space is in our apartment living room. I have my desk in a little corner, and it works, but it’s not ideal. It’s a heavily trafficed room (even with just the two of us), and we have two (going on three) fish tanks running. If you have a fish tank, you’re aware that it makes noise. It’s a calming noise, and I like it, but it sometimes distracts me from my writing task. I’m apt to turn around and watch the fish. I need a room with a door and a do not disturb sign. Haha.

As I said earlier, I am very inspired by music and while I can’t always listen to it while I write, I can listen to it throughout the day and before I sit down to write.

I’ve never made a writing playlist, but for this post, I thought it would be fun. Here are 10 songs that I’ve listened to recently or use to listen to, that remind me of plot points or characters of Alter Reach. These are in no particular order, and I’m sure there are more. Maybe I will do another list in the future.

Enjoy 🙂


Lindsey Stirling – Lost Girls

Evanescence – Haunted

Nightwish – Nemo

Epica – Chasing the Dragon

Ed Sheeran – I See Fire

Lindsey Stirling – Crystalize

Enya – So I Could Find My Way

Within Temptation – The Hollowing

Amaranthe – Stardust

Leave’s Eyes – My Destiny


That’s all I have. If I think of ten more, I will do another list.

In other news, and I’ve mentioned this a few times in the past, but I’m finally looking into my options for publishing an Ebook of some of my poetry. It’s something I’ve contimplated since I started writing poetry, but never actually sat down to do. During my NaNoWriMo breaks, I am researching, formatting and getting everything together. I don’t have a publish date in mind yet, but I will of course, keep you posted.

I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was pretty busy, but I’m looking forward to the holidays.

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And the winner is…

Congratulations to Kristi, Confessions of a YA Reader!!

Make sure you check out her blog. 😊


Thank you SO much to all the amazing people who entered my giveaway. It was a HUGE sucess! I can’t express how grateful I am for all your comments and likes. It motivates me to continue chasing this dream.

I’m busy writing like crazy to keep up with NaNoWriMo. I hope this month will bring lots of exciting Alter Reach news!

Have a fantastic weekend!


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