Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Review 2015: Paper Towns

I mentioned recently that I joined a book club. Our first session is tomorrow and I'm super excited. Here is my review of our first book, Paper Towns by John Green.

**All reviews published on Randomness With Rachel are done on a five-star rating system. The reviews are solely my opinion and no one else's. Randomness With Rachel does not receive any incentives or compensations for reviews.**

Paper Towns by John Green

I'll admit that I didn't like this book as much as I liked The Fault In Our Stars (I went on an emotional roller coaster with that book). Paper Towns was overall a decent book, there were parts that I really liked, but there were also parts that I didn't particularly like.

The author divides the book into three parts. The first part I really enjoyed. We are introduced to Margo and Quentin, even given a little flashback to their childhood. Their night out on the town is a fun story and I like how it was written. I don't want to go too much into it because I don't want to spoil anything (and I'm too lazy to figure out how to put a spoiler code in my blog post). This is probably the only part of the story that I actually enjoyed reading about the Margo character. She got on my nerves as the story went on (I've been told I'm not the only person to feel that way).

The second part seemed to drag in some places (seriously, I don't want to read about another prom for a good while). It started out well and even a little exciting, but it kinda went downhill for a while. I did like the friendship between Quentin, Ben, and Radar. I almost wish there was more focus on them instead of Quentin and his Margo obsession. I get it, the kid thinks he loves this girl, but it almost got to be a little silly after a while with all the extremes he went to. But maybe that is just me though.

I have mixed feelings about the third part. Although the ending almost seemed a little anticlimactic, I think the right decision was made in the end (yeah, I know, that makes no sense not knowing the ending, but again, I don't know how to put a spoiler code in). I do like how John Green writes his characters (even if I didn't really care for Margo, she was well-written).

Despite not liking parts of this book, I would recommend it, especially if you are a John Green or YA fiction fan.

If you have read the book (or have no desire to read it) and want to know more of my thoughts on certain parts of the book, comment below or tweet me and I'll be happy to discuss it!

For some reason, I really liked this quote in the book...

Friday, January 23, 2015

Billy Joel Concert Recap

Last night my friend Monica and I went to see Billy Joel at the American Airlines Center (AAC). It was awesome. I have liked Billy Joel since I was five (thanks to my Bubba) but until last night, I had never seen him live in concert. I was kind of "nerding out" about going to the concert. Lol.

The opening act was a guy named Jamie Cullum. He had a great performance. Honestly- I didn't know who he was before last night, but I like his style of music. Looks like I'll be downloading some new songs for my iPod this weekend!

When Billy Joel finally took the stage, I was beyond excited. It didn't matter that I was up in the nosebleed section (hey- even those tickets were NOT cheap), I was seeing him live and in person. And yes, I was singing along with all the songs (I apologize to those around me who had to hear my terrible, off-key, tone deaf voice). Lol. 
One thing about going to a Billy Joel concert, you know he's going to play songs you know because he hasn't put out an album in almost 22 years (as he said last night, this has been by his choice). I found his Dallas setlist on this website, so I thought I would post it here so you would know the songs he played.

Yeah, there are some big hits not on there, like "We Didn't Start the Fire" and "Uptown Girl", but that's okay. I was a little sad that he didn't play "Uptown Girl" because Innocent Man is my favorite album (probably because it's the first one I remember listening to with my Bubba). But if he played all his hits, we would have been there all night (I would have been okay with that). He played over three hours as it was. Hey, the man is 65 years old and still had some good moves. Although we were worried he was going to fall and break a hip or something at one point. Lol.

The crowd was pretty much singing along the whole time, but of course, "Piano Man", got the biggest reaction. I like how he let the crowd sing by ourselves at the end of it. :)


After the concert I met up with my good friends Pam and Scott. Before I moved two years ago, I used to live down the street from them. I definitely miss hanging out with them! Scott was my Cowboys game watching buddy!

As we were leaving the AAC, Monica noticed a guy who looked like Babe Laufenberg. It turns out it WAS Babe Laufenberg (if you don't know who he is, click here). He ended up holding open the door for us as we walked out, so I thanked him and we made small talk. He was very nice and took a picture with both of us. Because of course only I would go to a concert and end up taking my picture with a former NFL player. Lol.

Thanks for reading! I hope everyone has a great weekend! :-)


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursday 13: 13 Things In My Netflix History

Well, it seems when you are out of the blogging world for a long period of time, your favorite link ups disappear. I went to find the Thursday 13 link up, and it hasn't been used since last July.

Thanks to those of you who expressed interest in participating in a What I'm Loving Wednesday link up! I should know in a few weeks if I want to take that on. :)

Well, I'm going to create my own Thursday 13 (even without the link up). I can't swear I'll make this an official link up (we will see if I can manage to do just one a week), BUT I'll probably use this one a lot of Thursdays that I blog. Feel free to use it (and you can even borrow my logo) if you want. Please leave me a comment so I can check out your blog as well! I promise to get better about commenting on blogs again, I'm so bad (I'll admit it). Yeah I know, the Thursday 13 buttons looks similar to my WILW button, I really liked that image, so I used it again. :)

13 Things in My Netflix History
(Can I say going through the history tab is SCARY. It's sad how much I watch Netflix).

1. The Dick Van Dyke Show (there were multiple episodes watched, but I'm only counting the show as one. I'm gonna do this with all the TV shows, otherwise this list would mainly be The Dick Van Dyke Show. Lol). Yes, I have these on DVD, but sometimes I'm too lazy to get out of bed and go into the living room to get them. I possibly sleep with my laptop next to me, and have been known to fall asleep watching episodes. Don't judge. :)

2. How To Steal A Million January 20th was the anniversary of the passing away of Audrey Hepburn. I decided to watch one of her movies in her honor. I own the DVD for this one, but I was at work wasn't at home when I watched it, so I used Netflix.

3. Charade January 18th was Cary Grant's birth date, so in his honor, I watched one of his movies (this one was a bonus because it also stars Audrey!) :) And yes, I have this on DVD too, but I was already in bed when I decided to watch it, and it was so much easier to start Netflix than to walk ALL the way down the hall to my DVDs. I'm honestly not as lazy as this is making me sound. Lol.

4. The Andy Griffith Show (multiple episodes) I am ashamed to admit that I've never really watched this show before now. I don't care how long ago it aired, it is still funny even today! 

5. Friends (multiple episodes) I'm going to confess that I never really watched Friends when it was on originally. Over the years, I had seen maybe a handful of episodes. So, I'm now on season 2 (I only watch a few episodes here and there, I haven't fallen into a "binge" watching mood with this one). I told my friend B I was mainly watching it so next time he says "hey- remember in that episode of Friends?", I'll know what he means. Lol.

6. Snow 2: Brain Freeze This is one of those cheesy ABC Family Christmas movies. I watched a lot of these over the holidays. A LOT. And yes, I watched the first one too (Snow). I actually kinda like this one though. Yes, it was cheesy, but I think Tom Cavanagh is adorable in it (as well as the first one). This was only available through the holidays, so I'm sorry, you can't watch it on Netflix right now (I know you are really upset over that). 

7. Christmas Town This is a cheesy, horrible, made-for-TV (or possibly straight to video) Christmas movie. If I could un-watch it, I would. It starred Patrick Muldoon, who will forever be Jeff from Saved By The Bell. Jeff was the older guy who broke up Kelly and Zack. Obviously 23 years later, I'm still not over it and I blame him. Lol.

8. 1000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story I don't know how I ended up watching this one, it appeared under "movies you might like" and since it was a sports movie, I decided to watch it. It's based on the true story of this high school basketball player named Cory who suffers a stroke. I actually would recommend it. The kid that stars in it played the "son" on How I Met Your Mother (random trivia).

9. The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries This is a show from the 1970s. Yeah, it's cheesy, but I still watch it. One episode had Mark Harmon in it. I was like, it's GIBBS!!

Mark Harmon on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. The man has always been good-looking.
10. Cedar Cove This is some cable TV show starting Andie MacDowell. It's actually pretty good. I somehow stumbled across it. I'm bummed that only season one is on Netflix. I'm on a mission looking for season 2!

11. Dogs With Jobs I couldn't see a TV show with that title and NOT watch an episode. Okay, I watched two.

12. Blue Bloods I will shamefully proudly admit that I binged watch four seasons of this show in less than three weeks. I don't know why I hadn't been watching this show in the first place. I mean, it has Tom Selleck AND Donnie Wahlberg in it. It doesn't get much better. 

13. Gilmore Girls Like a lot of people I know, I was kind of excited when I learned that Gilmore Girls was coming to Netflix. I only watched the first few seasons when it was on originally, so I thought I could finally catch up and find out what happened in the later years. I made it about halfway through season two when I stopped watching it. I'm sure I'll get back to it at some point, but it's not on my "Netflix Priority List" right now. I was sad when Edward Herrmann, who played the grandfather, passed away last month though. :( 

So there you go, my Netflix watching habits thrown out for the world to see (and probably judge). So, what's on your Netflix watching list? Any guilty pleasures? Comment below or tweet me here.