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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Artificial Intelligence – Movie Review

Hello there! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. It went by too quickly, per usual.

Tonight, I wanted to review a movie that I have claimed to be my second favorite movie of all time (coming in very close to The Wizard of Oz). Artificial Intelligence. I remember the first time I watched it, and fell in love with it. I’ve seen it more times than I can count and I never get tired of it.

I figured it was time to review it on my page. I bet you can guess the rating I will be giving it, but that’s okay.

As usual, I will try not to spoil, but watch the movie first. It’s so worth it.

Synopsis (Taken from IMDB):

A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become “real” so that he can regain the love of his human mother.

Review:

This movie is very similar to the story of Pinocchio. David (Haley Joel Osment) is an android who by all accounts looks human. Unlike other androids shown in the film, David is the most advanced “mecha” of the Cybertronics Corporation.

David has been programmed to love. Once activated with a code, he will love his activator infinitely. In David’s case, his activator is his Mommy, Monica (Frances O’Connor) who is grieving a sick child when her husband Henry (Sam Robards) brings him home to help fill the gap.

I can never go to sleep. But I can lay quietly and not make a peep.

Of course, this fairytale does not last long, because the sick boy, Martin (Jake Thomas) wakes and all goes downhill from here. While trying very hard to be like Martin, David makes mistakes that finally bring Monica and Henry to the decision of getting rid of David.

Instead of returning David to Cybertronics, where he would be stripped and rewired, Monica abandons David in the woods believing she is protecting him. In a way, her activating his love, activated hers as well.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the world.

This is just the first act of the film, but I want to pause to discuss it a bit. Haley Joel Osment is incredible. At such a young age, he was able to really take you on a rollercoaster. His mix of “real” and “artifical,” blend so seamlessly sometimes, you forget he is supposed to be robot. I’m very impressed by his performance, and it really pulls this entire film together.

The first act causes you to wonder what you would do if you were in Monica and Henry’s position. If your child was in a coma, would you bring an A.I. into your life to fill the void? Is that really the best way to grieve? Is it ethical?

The second act of the film is the more visually exciting part. We are shown an interesting world where free range mechas have no rights and are constantly in fear of being captured and put into a Flesh Fair (an event where humans cheer as mechas are grotesquely destroyed in various ways) or taken back to Cybertronics.

The city is very bright and clearly an exciting night life. It’s futuristic but also very familiar which keeps this movie realistic and relatable.

This is where we meet Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), a mecha programmed to be an expert lover. Another fantastic performance. While David feels very real and human, Gigolo Joe does not. He is feels very mecha…from his dialogue to his mechanical facial features and unmoving hair. But, you still grow an attachment to his character and it’s interesting to see how he develops throughout the story.

We are the guiltless pleasures of the lonely human being.

It is also in this part of the film where David recruits Gigolo Joe to help him find the Blue Fairy who can make him a real boy so Mommy can love him. The rest of the film is dedicated to that mission.

How can the Blue Fairy… make… a robot… into a real live boy?

This film is a rollercoaster as I said earlier. There are some comical scenes, but for the most part, the mood is very somber. You, as a viewer are aware that the Blue Fairy probably can’t make David real, but you spend the entire movie hoping it will happen.

Human beings have created a million explanations of the meaning of life… in art, in poetry, and mathematical formulas. Certainly, human beings must be the key to the meaning of existence.

The film is long, 2.5 hours, and it is not an action movie. If you go in expecting car chases, you will be sorely disappointed. This is a slow burn of emotions and it’s a much more thought provoking movie than it is a high action movie. It presents a lot of questions about love, human nature, and morality and gives you a lot to digest after the first viewing. It’s definitely a worthwhile film to watch a few times.

Wrap Up:

As I said before, this ranks at number two for my favorite movie of all time. I could watch it, and have watched it over and over. The acting is phenomenal and I’m blown away by the thought provoking story that never dulls. I highly recomend this fim!

Rating:

5/5 ☆


Have you seen Artificial Intelligence? What did you think?

I hope you have a great week. I will talk to you soon.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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

Wreckage – A Poem

Hey everyone, Happy Wednesday. I’m behind on my September TBR, but I’m not giving up. I’m also not that upset because I’ve been working hard on Alter Reach (if you haven’t read chapter one yet, what are you waiting for? 😉)

I have a poem for you, written 9 years ago. Enjoy!


Wreckage

Buried in the wreckage,
of disconnected dreams,
I’m but a ghostly mirage,
wandering the streets,
trapped in the past,
until this dark cloud recedes,
and I can finally say,
I have found inner peace.


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

No Turning Back.- A Poem

Hello! Happy Monday. This weekend didn’t quite go as planned. I didn’t get chapter one of Alter Reach revamped enough to post, and I didn’t finish Dreams of Gods and Monsters (but I still am on track with my September TBR challenge), but that’s okay. Not every day will be perfect and I had a great weekend.

I wanted to do a quick post today, so I thought I would share another poem. Enjoy ☺

No Turning Back

Like a fallen star,
on a cold winter’s day,
wandering, waiting,
I have lost my way.

Like a broken tree,
covered in thick ice,
I have learned my lesson,
and paid the price.

Like a winter wonderland,
suddnely turned black,
I have reached my fate,
there’s no turning back.

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Light of Hope – A Poem

Happy Thursday! I’m so happy it’s almost Friday. This weekend is going to be dedicated to finishing up Dreams of Gods& Monsters, the second book in my September TBR, as well as getting a ton of writing done on my WIP, Alter Reach. If I can complete both of these goals, expect to see a review blog and, possibly, a revamp of Chapter One of Alter Reach.

For now, here’s another poem. Enjoy 😊

Light of Hope

A light of hope flickers,
in silence of the night,
vivifying this somber room,
crushing eager darkness,
and masking all misery,
beyond these four walls.

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Writer Tag

Hi everyone! Happy Wednesday. I’m currently reading through the second book in my September TBR challenge, so I thought I would do a quick tag.

On another note, I’m super close to 100 followers on this blog. I wanted to say thank you for the support. I’m trying to plan my 100 subscriber blog, so stay tuned for that (hopefully soon! 😊)

As always, I tag anyone who wants to participate.

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TAG Questions:

W- Wherewhere do you do your best writing?

At my desk in my living living room. In the apartment, I don’t have a ton of options but it’s my own space.

R- Ritualsdo you have any rituals you have to do when you want to write?

Not really. The only thing I need to do is shut down Twitter…because Twitter is the downfall of my writing progress.

I- Irritatewhat irritates you most when you struggle with writing?

Lack of ability to write what I’m seeing in my head. The visuals are there, but the words aren’t flowing. That is just so disheartening.

T- Talentwhat aspect of writing do you feel you’re most talented at?

Creating relatable characters. I love creating diverse, relatable personalities.

E- Essentialwhat part of writing is absolutely essential to who you are?

All parts of writing? I don’t think I can pick one part of writing. Writing in general just means so much to me.

R- Reflections- what is something that you’ve written that is a reflection that something that’s happened to you in your life?

Almost every piece of poetry I’ve written has been a real story.

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Well, that is all I have for you tonight. I hope your week is going well.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter: @JessicaInspired
Instagram: @JessicaInspired
Facebook: @AuthorJessicaRachow
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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
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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.

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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

Phoenix- A Poem

Hello and Happy Labor Day weekend. Here is another poem for you. Enjoy. 😊

Phoenix

Embrace the chaos,
as a white dove awakens,
on the red horizon,
of bleached reality.

Silence the destruction,
as a white dove falls,
on the cold stone of earth;
another fatality.

Reach across the moon,
to the birth of a Phoenix;
a breath of fresh air,
and an end to brutality.

What are your Labor Day weekend plans?

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