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Rachel Blogs

Welcome to my Rachel Blogs on Booklikes. You can find all of my book reviews here. Find my blog blog at rachelblogs.com

Currently reading

Leaving Ordinary: Encounter God Through Extraordinary Prayer
Donna Gaines
Progress: 65/192 pages
The Walking Dead, Compendium 1
Cliff Rathburn, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore, Robert Kirkman
Progress: 8 %
Lola XOXO, Vol. 1
Siya Oum
Progress: 16 %
Psalms, 1-72 (Journibles: the 17:18 Series)
Robert M. Wynalda
Progress: 132/336 pages
The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood
Progress: 31/311 pages
The 5th Wave
Rick Yancey
Progress: 156/457 pages

Captain Marvel Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More

Captain Marvel Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More - Kelly Sue DeConnick, David López

Carol Danvers is pretty amazing, I'm not going to lie. She's a badass, female superhero who isn't really overtly sexual but kicks ass just the same. Carol loves her cat, as you should, and she isn't afraid to kick ass and take names.

The story to me, seems kind of weak. Maybe it's because I'm coming in in the middle of her saga in a way, she isn't a new character, she isn't one that was JUST introduced, but the story was just marginal for me. I found myself engrossed way more in Ms. Marvel than this one, even with the entry of Guardians of the Galaxy for part of it.

The art was beautiful and wonderful, the story on the other hand just didn't really interest me. The plot revolved around a group of people that were essentially given a planet that's killing them. They refuse to move because they've been uprooted so many times, but there's obviously something more sinister going on. All in all, this totally seems like something that I would be all over, and I will probably read the next graphic novel, but it didn't resonate with me like some other comics have. I enjoy Carol, and I'm excited to see her in future Marvel films, and I enjoy her character in the Alias comics. I'm excited to see more.

"The Sound" by Sarah Alderson

The Sound - Sarah Alderson

I have a friend who has a rule: if the cover has a human on it (not drawn, but an actual photographed human) and the first word of the book is "I" she doesn't read it. The Sound actually fit both of these and I probably should have passed.


So here's the thing about The Sound. I wanted to give it a chance, and I really wanted to like it. But I couldn't.


The main character is a hot mess, she's annoying and a huge try hard. I actually checked multiple times that the author was actually British, because part of it felt really...fake to me. Ren felt very 2 dimensional, there wasn't any part of her that I could relate to and that made me sad.


I made it to my typical DNF point and was happy I was finally there. Things were starting? to maybe? pick up with this whole storyline with Jesse, but it wasn't enough and it wasn't thrilling like say Abigail Haas's "Dangerous Girls", and it really didn't fit the thriller motto. Jesse's story wasn't scary, the build up wasn't there to make me really curious of what was going on with him. He seemed fine, and I wasn't too concerned for her safety.


I can't give this one star, although I probably should. So it can have two. But here are some quotes that just show some of the ridiculousness:


"Still not my type, because he is, after all, still in possession of a penis. But hot nonetheless."

No she's not gay, just? not? interested? in penis? anymore? I don't know. This is unclear, and really weird. Apparently, she was just saying that she isn't interested in guys right now because she went through a hard breakup. At first I thought maybe she was coming out, but it was made evident she wasn't. I was actually intrigued at this point, but then...well stopped being intrigued when I realized she was just saying she wasn't interested in penis because of a bad breakup? I don't know.


‘Are she and Matt going out?’ ‘Going out?’ he asks, lifting his eyebrows at me. ‘Dating, you mean?’ I nod. ‘I guess you could call it that. They hook up every summer but it’s not like it’s Facebook official or anything.’

You see this a lot, where it's like Ren is from a different planet or something. She's not from another time, just from the UK. Yeah, the slang is slightly different, but I've never heard of there being this weird disconnect between Americans and Brits. In fact I know many Brits and it's never been stilted like this. Also, Americans know that Going out = Dating? I guess? Just weird.


There are also a ton of pop culture references in this book, that all also seem dated and strange and out of touch.


I'm not saying I won't read anything by Alderson, because I'll never say that, but I was disappointed with this.


"The Wicked Will Rise" - Danielle Paige

The Wicked Will Rise - Danielle  Paige

Before I start this review, I think it's really really important that there be some backstory on Full Fathom Five, and why I find it really hard to support them in good conscience. Exploiting people is never acceptable. Please read this, because context, my friends, is everything.


I would like to say that I am a HUGE fan of the OZ universe, so huge in fact that one time when we drove through Kansas I insisted that we stop at Dorothy's House (which apparently has its own website??) and buy shirts and go on tours. So, I started Dorothy Must Die and was a little cautious. OZ can be really over done, and it usually follows movie canon. These books were different and followed book canon which I was ecstatic about. The first was written so uniquely, and not structured like a typical trilogy. Most trilogies have a pretty short set up, it's established that they need to do four things or three or however many and each book is dedicated to finding one of those things before ending in a big crash bang broohaha. This series wasn't structured like that at all, which was offsetting at first, but I actually really like that it broke from the norm.


This book though was such a disappointment. First of all it's significantly shorter than the first, which is okay if it was packed with action and story which...it wasn't. Part of me yearned for the way the prequels were written with backstory and world building. This was just...bland. The revelation that Pete was gay was not exciting or shocking and I didn't have any sort of reaction to it, the way that I have in the past with other characters. This book was just completely underwhelming if that was a word. While the first book took a bit to get into, it was fire. This one...not so much. 


I wonder if this lost it's luster because of the pressure put on Full Fathom Five authors and the little compensation that they receive. I loved the idea of this series but I'm pretty sure I won't pick up the next one. Maybe this is a sign that people shouldn't overextend their authors, especially if it's a book they love.

The Most Dangerous Animal of All - Gary L. Stewart.

The Most Dangerous Animal of All The Zodiac Killer (Hardback) - Common - by Gary L. Stewart and Susan Mustafa

"I know now that sometimes things should be left in the past, that knowing isn't always better. Sometimes the truth is so horrible that it must be uncovered in bits and pieces, snippets here and there, absorbed slowly, as the whole of it at once is simply too shocking to bear."


This book was a doozy, in the absolute best way. I've always found serial killers interesting, and I've watched documentary after documentary on them. This book was something so different to me though. This book follows the author's journey through discovering who his father was/is. Turns out, after lots of research and digging, he is quite possibly the Zodiac killer.


The book is divided into sections, three to be exact. The first is a lot about Van's early life (his father) and what could have led up to him being a serious serial killer. There was so many interesting things that seemed like too close to be a coincidence. There were a lot of early signs of a sociopath, even a psychopath. He preyed on young women and was often described as having large amounts of "charm" before revealing his true colors. People said this about Ted Bundy a lot too. The book is written quite lyrically and almost like reading a novel, which is actually stated in the prologue.


The story is broken up quite logically, and I saw a few people get upset in reviews that in the third section he regurgitated a lot of information but it was definitely. a different perspective. Stewart gave his feelings on discovering evidence, and the processes and tolls it took on his adoptive family and the way that everything seemed to come together was too much for me not to really buy him as the killer. Sure, some of it is going to be circumstantial, but too much of it matches up to be a coincidence, and sometimes it's just the smallest things that catch these guys. I found the supposed cover up by the SFPD...strange but I get where he was coming from. Stewart was upset that certain people within the Police Department wouldn't release part of his father's file, but in reality that could put his job on the line in a huge way. I don't blame them for not releasing it.


These are real people, which is why I find it hard to review, this isn't a fictional story, but real people, real lives, real victims and real accusations. There also wasn't a way for the accusations to be refuted. Because of the way this book was written and the fact that I couldn't put it down, I gave it 4.5. I wasn't ready to give this book five stars but I can't really tell you why. I will say this book was so hard to put down, and I enjoy watching people grow in their journey to self discovery.


Side note: I was not expecting all the Christianity in this book, especially in the end. Not complaining, but it wasn't something I was expecting.


The Merciless

The Merciless - Danielle Vega

So this book was highly recommended to me, and I'm not...sure why to be honest. This book was way too much for me. I've never been a horror fan, it's just never been a genre I'm interested in and I was told that this one would be more what I would be looking for. In fact it was described as Mean Girls meets horror and I was...oddly in? I love thinking about what I would do in certain situations and how they would pan out. This book just didn't do it for me.


The Merciless follows a girl named Sophia and her induction into a friend group that apparently? believes in Jesus? (I use the question marks because it was all very weird) all while hinting at the fact of exorcism and wrong people, wrong place, wrong time. Basically, the leader of the Mean Girls group kidnaps Brooklyn, takes her to a model home???? and they decide to give her an exorcism. Brooklyn was always nice to Sophia, so Sophia feels sympathy towards her and makes every attempt not to hurt her.


Except they do hurt her, quite a freaking bit. And there were many times that I got squeamish because it was just too much for me. I don't like senseless violence and this was pretty senseless. I was intrigued by the idea of twists and turns "How do they get out" kind of thing but it wasn't that. It turned into just...gross and not my type of book. Granted, I was always the kid in school that wanted to take care of everyone, and I have a tendency to this day to be overly sensitive about things but this was just too much.


I somehow finished this book. Usually once I hit the 70 page rule/mark I try to finish it, even if I'm not enjoying it. I don't know if this is a book you should enjoy though. Brooklyn flies off the handle in the end and actually ends up being "part of the evil" and says that Sophia is one of their own? I feel like it would have been way more spooky if Brooklyn was on the run or whatever but instead now we throw in some weird "one of us" thing.


This book just didn't do it for me. I actually felt like throwing up at the end and was so glad to just be done. It's also gone in my rehoming pile. Ugh. Why do I buy books again???

The Girl's Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World

The Girl's Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World - Liz Curtis Higgs

I really love Liz Curtis Higgs. Like a lot. "Bad Girls of the Bible" is one of my favorite books and I'm actually planning on leading a life group at my Church about that book. And I really really loved this book, the way she writes, all of it. The only reason this is getting a three star rating instead of a four star is because of one part of the book.

I know, maybe it's harsh, but that one paragraph actually made me skim the rest of the book.

Christians come from all sorts of backgrounds, and have all sorts of beliefs. Convservative, liberal, moderate and everywhere in between. This is why it frustrates me when Christians jump on beliefs and speak about them like it's easy. Higgs makes a comment about "Why should you choose abortion because it's legal when God's word says another thing?" and "Why choose a same sex partner because you think it will make you happy when it's clearly against God's word". And stuff like that just really really bothers me. I get how easy it is to make assumptions that all people who follow Christ see social issues the same, especially when you intentionally surround yourself with people who see social issues similarly. I happen to be a progressive feminist pro-choice and pro-marriage equality Christian. So seeing something so heavy handed, and thrown around like abortion is an EASY choice for a woman, or that people who enter into same-sex relationships choose to be attracted to someone of the same sex is just...aggravating, and not loving. This left me disappointed in this book, and not really wanting to read more in it, sadly.

Other than that, this book has Higgs's typical flair, and relatability that I really loved. I learned a ton about Ruth and Boaz, and had no idea Boaz was my fav Rahab's son. This book is thorough and easy to read, and was so close to four stars from me.

The Bad Beginning

The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket


These books were RAVED about throughout my childhood but I never really got into them. People LOVE these books, like they really do and have such a huge attachment to them. Maybe this isn't as broad of appeal of Harry Potter or...I don't know maybe I'm missing something but this book wasn't out of the ballpark amazing.


These books follow the Baudelaire Orphans and...the series of unfortunate events that follow them. In this first book, they are sent to live with the extremely creepy Count Olaf who is a family member. The adults in these books are idiots, and the children are beyond smart and see through his evil plans to get to their fortune.


This book was...not at all what I was expecting. I could see myself as a kid LOVING these maybe, but I was also overly smart. Olaf was so squicky for me that it actually made it physically uncomfortable to read. That being said, I found the writing style interesting, and I had no idea that the formula for these was moving from one guardian to the next. That's what made me give this book 3 stars, because I couldn't understand how someone would want to read like...12 books with seriously pedophilic overtones.


As a kid, I would have devoured these I think, especially where the narrator specifies what words mean and such but then again, I really don't like terrible things happening. This book originally got 3 stars from me, but when I found out it was moving from guardian to guardian and at some point with a broader plotline I decided to read more and bumped up my rating. I actually find that this is a book that parents should read before giving to their kids, only because of the pedophilic overtones, just to make sure they know of any questions that might arise.

Say What You Will

Say What You Will - Cammie McGovern



This book was not what I was expecting. I, like a few of my other friends who read it, were not expecting what was happening in the third act, and the first few acts I was bored. I hate the constant comparisons to things being the new TFIOS because...it was so unique and had such a fresh perspective on YA lit. Holding this to that standard and then also being unsure considering the comparison to Eleanor and Park, I wasn't sure what to think.


"Say What You Will" follows Amy, a girl with a disability that has prevented her from walking and living what we call a "normal life" and her adventures into having a peer assistant, specifically Matthew who is dealing with his own OCD. When I first started reading this book, I wasn't all that thrilled about it. I figured it was going to be exactly what so many of these books are where two flawed people meet and it's just all perfect and then someone dies. It was like that for the first two acts to be honest, but then it changed.


The third act redeemed this whole book for me. I enjoyed watching these characters grow, although I was really concerned through the whole book that they wouldn't be addressing the real issues but McGovern seemed to do that well. It still felt lacking for me, but it wasn't terrible. Not sure if I would readily recommend it, but the third act was strong. I found myself wishing the rest of the book was just as strong.


Also, when did I stop crying at books? I think I'm going to need to reread Harry Potter just to prove to myself how emotional I still am.

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow Part One

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow Part One - Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru



Actual Review: I feel like these comics get progressively better, maybe. Or maybe I just love Zuko centric things. This was seriously everything I've been waiting for. This comic series follows Zuko on his return to the fire nation, and the inherent anger from the people of the Fire Nation, upset at him changing things.


I really wish I could put into words how much I really loved all of this. I really don't know why I love Zuko as much as I do, because it's kind of ridiculous. His growth and change and character development is amazing to me. I will forever be a Zutara fan, even if it's not "alive" in the series, and this comic actually allowed Zutara to have a normal conversation. (I decided to post one of the panels on tumblr and people went crazy which was...weird but proof is here) This was a first for them in the comics and there was significantly less "sweetie" than their was in The Promise which was even better. I'm anxiously awaiting the next one and even preordered it on Amazon. I really like watching Zuko's growth, watching him educate himself on privilege in a way, and watching people push against it, as it mirrors a lot of what is happening in current day. 


People will always push against change, and especially when someone who speaks truth to power is suddenly the one with power and trying to make change. I think people forget that even the most radically different person who might bring about NEEDED change is fighting against thought that has been bred into a society. It's really difficult to fight against a group of people that refuse to see there is a problem, and we're seeing that in our society right now.


In summary, I really really loved this, I love Zuko and that is all. 

The Wicked + The Divine #12

The Wicked + The Divine #12 - Kieron Gillen, Kate Brown, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson

Because this is a comic series, the beginning of all of these reviews is going to begin the same with a short reaction to this edition in specific at the end.


If you like mythology and beautiful art and celebrity things this is the comic for you. The Wicked + The Divine follows a group of gods from all the Pantheons who reincarnate once every 80 years. In this incarnation they're all musicians. You can clearly see the influences of certain stars on certain gods and goddesses, but some of the gods and goddesses don't even KNOW that they are yet. The main character is a woman of color (which I love), and the storyline feels so real, very similar to the Harry Potter world where you really felt like it could exist currently.


This issue: Slower than the others, but never ceases to amaze me. I think I got spoiled by reading so much Gillen/McKelvie partnerships right away because...this..this is pure magic.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal - Christopher Moore

I was SO FLIPPING EXCITED to read this book. After all my friends reviews and some of the little snippets that I had read I thought I would be rolling on the floor laughing when I read this book. Sometimes I forget that I have a very strange sense of humor and this book did not make me laugh like I expected. Boo.


Lamb follows the fictional gospel according to Christ's best friend Biff. It follows their friendship from kids all the way through to his death and resurrection on the cross. There's a lot of very humorous moments, and the book was actually quite well researched and I was quite impressed. You can tell that Christopher Moore really wanted to do this right if he was going to do it. 


This book was actually strangely hard to get through for me? I had been looking forward to reading this book and thought that I would tear through it ravenously, especially considering so many of my friends reviews. I have to admit, I haven't read a lot of adult fiction lately or at all, it's just not something that I've found a lot of interest in, I find many of the books long and hard to get through. I prefer fast paced moving books, and this didn't move fast at all. I was intrigued by it, and was expecting to laugh out loud and there were parts that I did, but it left me hungry for more. I skimmed the whole last section, just not really entertained or laughing. Most of the humor was sexual humor that just seemed unnecessary and just not funny to me. I recommended this book to my grandpa, which was slightly terrifying as I got to Joshua and Biff's adventures with Balthazar. 


I'm not an easily offended Christian, and this book didn't offend me, but it was just a little too Much for me. It wasn't as funny as I'd hoped it would be. Also the fact that my grandpa found it hilarious is really strange to me.

The Wicked + The Divine #11

The Wicked + The Divine #11 - Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson

Because this is a comic series, the beginning of all of these reviews is going to begin the same with a short reaction to this edition in specific at the end.


If you like mythology and beautiful art and celebrity things this is the comic for you. The Wicked + The Divine follows a group of gods from all the Pantheons who reincarnate once every 80 years. In this incarnation they're all musicians. You can clearly see the influences of certain stars on certain gods and goddesses, but some of the gods and goddesses don't even KNOW that they are yet. The main character is a woman of color (which I love), and the storyline feels so real, very similar to the Harry Potter world where you really felt like it could exist currently.



like what. what. what. WHAT? what. this comic series continually blows me away like.

God Is Dead, Volume 1

God Is Dead, Volume 1 - Jonathan Hickman, Mike Costa, Di Amorim

I was hoping the reviews would be wrong, but they were oh so right. So right.


I really loved the concept of this series. I have a love for anything that involves the parthenon of gods and seeing how authors/writers create them in the modern day (or just in general). This fell really flat for me, felt really contrived and really just cheesy. Zeus comes down to the Vatican? (first of all why the Vatican and not in Greece??) and sees the painting of Adam and God and destroys it and decides to take over. Do we know why? No. It seems more of because they can. Maybe the characterization of the gods comes later but I didn't see any hint of that. I found it interesting that the Aztec gods killed the athiests first? and then people were lining up to be butchered? I don't know, this just fell flat in so many ways and when there's amazingness like The Wicked + The Divine out there...I couldn't get myself into it. Boo.


Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

My foray into Rainbow Rowell has been a good one. My first one, Attachments, was really good and this actually lived up to it's hype for me. Rowell is a fantastic author with a real insight into how teenage/young adult girls exist in this day.


Fangirl follows Cather and Wren, twins who are headed off to college together, but not. Wren is ready to fly the coop and explore partying, boys and all the things college stereotypically is. Cather on the other hand, isn't ready for the world without her sister. She hasn't ever existed outside of her relationship with her sister. Cather is also a quite popular fanfiction writer for a book called Simon Snow. The book includes some of Cather's fanfic and is just..amazing.


This book was a little misleading for me because I vividly remember being told that it was about a girl that writes Harry Potter fanfiction and I was so. here. for that. BUT clearly because of copyright issues that couldn't be. I'll be honest, I skipped over all the Simon Snow fanfic, I'm picky about the fanfic I read on my own (although I have a few guilty pleasures), and I vividly remember being in 6-8th grade and finding Orlando Bloom and Lizzie McGuire fanfic that was just SO amazing and SO romantic that I would print the entire story out and read it on my one mile walk to school from the high school my dad worked at. Fanfic will forever have a soft spot in my heart (like I still remember this random Orlando Bloom fanfic I read called Heart Shaped Box and I'm bitter my favorite Mauraders + Lily fanfic is offline), so this book meant a lot to me. I saw a lot of myself in Cather, a lot of who I was in college and how I wish I had someone like Reagan to push me. I was depressed and alone, and too embarrassed to seek help.


This book made me feel better about all of this. It made me feel less alone. Even though I don't have a twin, Wren was the girl I would have been in college if I wasn't too scared. I've always been scared, scared of who would find out if I did something reckless, despite my soul being like "Go Go Go!", but Cather is the girl I was. I immersed myself in a fantasy world that was a much better escape and more validating than real people. And I just really love this book.

I don't care about Simon Snow or anything like that, I just love this book. and Harry Potter, and how lucky I feel to have grown up in this generation.

The Ghosts of Heaven

The Ghosts of Heaven - Marcus Sedgwick

I got this book for cheap, used, but looked brand new on Thrift Books. Click here for 15% off your first order

I. Loved. This. Book.

More than I expected to love this book.


I started reading it at work, I work as a customer service rep, and when things are slow, rather than doing things that require a lot of bandwidth (like watching Netflix) I read my ebooks. I'd been dying to read this book, so I started it at work and had no idea what I was in for. In the end, I stopped reading this at work because it was a book that demanded my full attention and I found it hard to go back and forth between calls and this book. That's a good thing. I ordered this from Thrift Books and started reading on my bus ride everyday.


This book is broken up into 4 individual parts. Stories that can be read on their own and stand in how powerful they are on their own, or that can be read together, in any configuration to create an amazing story all based around a spiral. My favorite arc was the second - the girl in puritan times - but I found all the stories equally enthralling and beautiful. I even called my grandpa and told him he needed to read this book stat. The only section I found slightly difficult to get into at first was the last - mostly because it took place in the future - which meant there was some world building that had to be done that didn't...really..have to be done in the others because you just knew what time period they were from.


The way Sedgwick writes women is phenomenal, he doesn't seem to prescribe to the view many men have when they write women is in order to have a strong female character they must go through something traumatic. He writes characters of both genders with ease, and I'm in awe of how beautifully he's mastered his craft. If I haven't convinced you yet, read this book. It's amazing.

The Sculptor

The Sculptor - Scott McCloud

I can't even form words around this book yet, except to say it is one of the most phenomenal books I've ever read in the history of ever. Resonating, strong, beautiful in so many ways, it's etched it's way into my heart and it's not something I'll be forgetting in a long long long time.