The Severed Moon – Day 5

“How do you choose to ornament yourself? Does it change from day to day?”

When I think about this prompt, I think about my wedding rings. It’s the only thing I wear daily to ornament myself and set myself apart and it never changes. Getting married to my best friend is one of the best decisions I ever made. The rings hold such a special meaning. Not because they are gold with diamonds, but because of what they represent. The represent being bonded with another soul, being a part of a family, showing the world that I have another half. Being married is hard, as are many things in life, but I wouldn’t want to go  through the motions with anyone other than Chuck. He is truly my soulmate, if those exist. He is always there for me, I have never once doubted his love for me even on my worst days. I am so excited to spend the rest of my life with him.

Speaking of family, I took a few days off from the blog and most of the social media to focus more on my family over the weekend and during my eldest’s spring break. I also wanted to focus on reading a few books I’ve needed to read and review. You can check out my micro update of Mistborn here. I am going to start Wicked Saints and The Fever King soon!

~Rachael
Instagram: @rqdavis_

Mistborn Updates

I finished Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson in December and then took a month break because the writing is so rich. The world building is so heavy and the emotional toll on my body was hangover worthy! I started The Well of Ascension in February and finished it last night. You guys – that book broke me in such a epic way. I was literally so shocked at some of the revelations that I had to continue straight into Hero of Ages! I thought I would take another break but I can’t. Mistborn is all I can think about. I am going to order the UK copies, I also got a Mistborn sign from Bookish Signs and More through Etsy that I will be showcasing soon!

I will do an official series review when I get done with the Hero of Ages! You can see a micro review on my Goodreads. This epic adult fantasy was more than I could have ever imagined. If you are looking for something fresh, a new world to dive into, some new characters to love and to possibly mourn, pick up this series. You won’t regret it! I’m sure I’ll dive right into Era 2!

~ Rachael
Instagram: @rqdavis_

My First Big Time ARC!

I received an e-mail yesterday from Penguin Random House stating that I had been approved for an ARC I had requested. I have never requested an ARC from a publisher, especially not one this big – I typically use NetGalley and read those “insta-approve” books because I am just a wee-account on all platforms. To my surprise, I was approved for an e-ARC of AURORA RISING by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff!

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ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I looked at my phone, I looked around the room, I looked back at my phone, and I just sat silently… I was in shock! Never in a million years did I think that I could get an ARC of something of this magnitude! I am forever thankful for the people at Penguin Random House for selecting me and trusting me with this new space adventure! I will have this read and reviewed soon!! I’m already at 20%!

**Synopsis**

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling authors of the Illuminae Files comes a new science fiction epic . . .

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger-management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem–that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

NOBODY PANIC.

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Pre-order your copy from Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Target, or other retail sites!

 

The Severed Moon – Day 2

“Describe something in your life that others might view as ordinary but that you experience as magical.”

Food. There is something magical about cooking food and then being able to consume it for energy or for pleasure. We take ingredients that can be eaten on their own, or can’t be eaten on their own such as spices or raw meats (in most cases) and combine them together and then add heat, changing the chemical structure of the dish. We then take that food and enjoy it by ourselves or by serving it to others. There is nothing I enjoy more than making a delicious and hearty meal and then serving it to my family. Food brings us together, gives us comfort, reminds us of good and sometimes bad times.

For me, my favorite dish is a Korean dish called “Haemul-sundubu-jjigae,” or spicy seafood and tofu stew. This dish reminds me of my mom, which then reminds me of home.

 

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You start with your stock, add seafood, spices, tofu, and let it boil not only to cook but to absorb flavor. The longer you let this stew simmer, the more condensed the flavor becomes. Crack an egg into it at the end, let it poach, and add a splash of vinegar to give it some bite! I top it with green onions and eat this dish with hot, sticky white rice.  It’s usually pretty spicy! Yum!

You can find an easy recipe and video to follow by clicking *here*. Maangchi is an incredible resource for Korean cooking! The beauty of Korean food is that you can substitute basically anything! If you don’t like seafood you don’t have to add it! If you don’t like beef but like pork, use that instead! I hope everyone in their lifetime gets to experience the magic in eating cultural foods!

 

~Rachael

Reviewing Indie Books

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Do you review Indie books differently? I feel like when I know this is a self published work, or a very small, unknown author, I have a different scale for reviewing. But is that the right thing to do?

Typically my star ratings on Goodreads and Amazon are more critical rather than personal (depending on the book), whereas in my bullet journal or this blog I give more of my personal star rating. For example, my critical review for Red Rising is 5 stars due plot, the character development, the writing style, etc. My personal review is 4.5 because during one part of the book, it dragged on a little bit too long for my personal taste. I started drifting in and out and would take breaks because it wasn’t gripping me. I’m starting to wonder if I should just merge the two ratings, if that makes sense so it’s more consistent, or maybe I’m just being too extra, haha!

So when it comes to indie authors, especially ones without editors, I usually overlook a lot of the grammatical issues and the writing style. I take it into a account but I’m not as hard on that person as even the best writers have editors. Hell, Stephen King has an editor! Understanding that indie authors want to get their names out there, I just try to push passed it – but then that got me thinking…. should we be doing that? If you are not a good writer, should we give praise just because you’re trying? If a book is not written well by a well known author, I don’t give them stars because they tried. If the story is there but the writing is bad, hiring an editor to help you get a publisher would help you!

I think that people need to understand that it typically takes a long time to write a book. The process is grueling, the criticism, even more so. I think I personally need to work on reviewing books with the understanding that people are going to read them and trust what I have to say. I’ve never lied, but I do withhold to a certain degree. It’s a slippery slope. If we sit and hype a book because a friend wrote it, the author is nice, etc, it’s deceiving the other people who may spend good money on the book that you may have personally not liked.

I recently had the opportunity to read a book by an indie author in which she told me not to review her book if it was going to be a bad rating. I don’t think that’s fair. Her Goodreads has only 5 stars and because I wanted to be nice, I almost didn’t review it so it wouldn’t drag down her  rating. After she repeatedly harassed myself and another reviewer, it got me thinking; I need to review this. You can see the full story on my Instagram @rqdavis_ in my highlights.

You can see my review for A Twisted Belief by Pearl Khatri by clicking *here* She has since blocked me on all forms of social media after harassing myself and another reviewer to remove the reviews.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day! I’m finishing up The Black Witch via audio and will be reviewing that book soon!

Rachael

How NOT to Respond to a Bad Review

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Alright, I have a confession to make, it is hard AF for me to write a negative review. I usually always find the positives in a book and then give it a higher star thinking that maybe the book wasn’t for me. I’m a pretty generous rater. However, sometimes you come across work that is so overly offensive, you don’t even want to waste your time writing a review. This has only happened to me twice so far and neither time I wrote a review… and I wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to do.

When a book contains things like poor language structure, or the book is said to be adult and the writing is more YA, I don’t feel like that forces my hand to HATE IT, it just wasn’t for me. However, if the book contains themes that are offensive and those situations are not being addressed as issues for that particular world, that’s when I start having that feeling of, I need to tell people… I have recently come into a situation where someone was being harassed by the author over writing a negative review and that honestly scared me.

People should not be afraid to give their honest opinions, after all, that’s why we rate books. This person was stalked over her social media to have her review removed (instagram, her blog, goodreads, etc) and it honestly left a bad taste in my mouth. If you are an author, I understand that getting positive reviews drives your book into people’s hands, but you are GOING to get negative reviews, period. People are NOT going to like your book in the same way that people LOVE that book. The number one thing people tell authors is to not get caught up on the reviews – especially since people rate books differently. Some personally, some critically, some both.

I was truly disturbed when I was contacted about that author harassing her to remove her review. I have a weird suspicion that it’s going to happen to me, even though I am being vague in my blog post. I should not have this feeling. I should not feel scared to leave my review for a book I was asked to review. I know that authors work hard, but the only way to get better is to listen to what people are saying. If you decide to read reviews and they list issues they had with it, take it or leave it and move on! I struggled for a week on how I was going to leave my review because I hate hurting people’s feelings, but when I did decide to discuss the issues INSTEAD of leaving a review because I wanted to be nice, I was met with, “I don’t want people tweaking my work.” Then don’t ask for people to review it?

All in all, I did not enjoy the book. I think the overall story was there, it has potential, but if you’re unwilling to take any criticism, the book is going to stay off of people’s TBRs. If your book has NO negative reviews and only over the top 5 star reviews, people note that.

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

-Rachael

Weekend Slumps – Monday Motivation

The weekends are a time when most people settle in and read more than they did during the work week; this is the opposite for me. When the weekend comes, my audiobooks shut off and my books close. Whenever I find a minute to read I always end up stopping a few pages in.

I am lucky to get through 10-20 pages… sometimes I’ll squeeze in an audiobook chapter while doing the dishes. I just can’t seem to find the motivation when my kids are running around and my husband is home. We rarely get to spend time as a family; when we do, we go go go until bedtime and then I pass out!

Now it’s Monday and I just couldn’t get myself to listen to The Night Circus. I read this book last year, it being my favorite standalone of 2018 and I cannot follow along! I’m so lost! I don’t know if it’s just where I’m at mentally or if the nature or the book requires more concentration.

I opted to listen to something light and easy, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, narrated by Newt Scamander/Eddie Redmayne. It’s such a fun and quick listen. At just under 2 hours, it definitely resets my mind. I think I’ll try and finish TNC tonight via hardcopy and start fresh with something new tomorrow.

I hope everyone’s having a lovely day!

-Rachael