Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I had this post ready to publish, and before it did, I found out about the passing of Mary Tyler Moore. I'm still going to do my What I'm Loving Wednesday post, but I had to say something in memory of her. She was an amazing actress. I know a lot of people love her for her role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but my favorite role of hers will always be Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show. RIP Mary. Thanks for the laughs!

I'm loving...
That I got to hang out with my Austin peeps this weekend! I always love hanging out with my besties Mandy and Zach while I'm in town. They both had birthdays recently so I was able to celebrate with them. I also got to see my friend Kirk. We went to high school together and hadn't seen each other in about six years.

The original BFF Mandy!

Me and Zachary
Me and Kirk
I'm loving...
That I crossed another presidential library off my list when I went to the LBJ Library in Austin. Well, technically I had been there before, but it was back when I was in elementary school, and I honestly didn't remember anything. It was much better as an adult.

Obligatory picture by the presidential library sign
A selfie with the president
LBJ was known for being a "close talker"
Replica of LBJ's Oval Office

A letter to LBJ from Billy Graham
These were on display next to each other in the library (it was in a room that had things that were popular during LBJ's time as president). These are two of my favorite things. :)
I'm loving...
That I got a box (or two) of these while in Austin. They are on sale for a limited time ONLY at HEB grocery stores. Unfortunately there are no HEBs in Dallas, so I made a stop at one while I was in Austin.

The latest edition for my sports room. I have a box of Wheaties from when the Spurs won the NBA Championship back in 2003
I'm loving...
That I get to be an honorary aunt to Mandy's two kids. I had so much fun with them this weekend. They make my heart smile! 

I'm loving...
That on Sunday I will be leaving on a seven day cruise to the Caribbeans! I've never been on a cruise before- I'm SUPER excited. It's also the first time I will get to use my passport.

I'm loving...
This smoothie drink. Sometimes I'm too lazy busy to make a smoothie from scratch before work. These are awesome- you just add juice, shake, and it's ready to drink. I was skeptical when I first saw them, but I really like them!

I'm loving...
That my taxes are filed! I love TurboTax, it's so easy to use and it didn't take me long at all.

What are YOU loving today?


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Twitter Tuesday

I haven't done this in a while. Here are the wonderful mediocre at best tweets that you are missing if you don't follow me on Twitter. If you would like to follow me for even more randomness on there, you can find me on Twitter here

Do you tweet? 


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Reviews 2017: Catching Up On Book Reviews

**All reviews 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.**

Okay, most of these were read in 2016, but of course, I'm behind on my reviews. If you are on GoodReads, you can follow me here. I'm better about posting reviews there as soon as I read the book! :) I also have more reviews there than I have posted on my blog.

The Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins

It took me a while to finish this book (mainly because I had a lot going on and didn't make time to read). I kept hearing how GREAT this book was, and while I feel it was okay, it just didn't jump out at me as a great novel. Maybe it was too hyped up and I was just expecting too much.

I'll admit, I liked the concept of the story, which is why I wanted to read it. The book jumps around from three different POV- Rachel (the girl on the train), Megan (the missing girl), and Anna (the girl who stole Rachel's husband from her). There was a heading so you knew who was narrating (which was helpful because all three characters talked and sounded the same to me). 

The character of Rachel was super annoying (maybe she was supposed to be). I did feel sorry for her though, it seemed nothing was going right for her and her life was falling apart. She was an alcoholic, she lost her job, and her husband cheated on her and was now married with a new wife and baby. She couldn't control her drinking or her drunk phone calls to her ex. The only thing she has going for her is that she thinks something bad has happened to a complete stranger she passes by everyday. 

After thinking about it, I didn't really like any of the characters in the book- it seemed everyone was messed up and whiny about something. Towards the end of the book, I didn't care what happened to any of the three main women (usually I can sympathize with at least one character and want something good to happen to them- but I couldn't care less what happened to the characters in this one). 

Even though I didn't care for the story itself, the writing style was okay and I would be willing to check out something else written by the author.

Book summary:

Murder Ties the Knot by Christy Fifield

I like Christy Fifield and I think her books get better with each one that she writes. I believe this is book four of this particular series. They are fun, easy to read mystery books. If I had made time, I could have easily finished this book in a day or two (but life gets in the way of my reading schedule, so it took me over a month). 

I love Glory, the main character, as well as Bluebeard, the talking parrot who may or may not be channeling the spirit of Glory's deceased uncle. 

This book didn't have as much to the mystery as the other three, but it was still an enjoyable read.

I read somewhere that the publisher did not pick up another book of this series, but I really hope the author either self publishes or finds someone else to publish one. I really hope there are other mysteries for Glory to solve.

I also love that the author includes the recipes for the meals mentioned in the book. :) 

Book summary:

The Stranger by Harlan Coben

This was the first book I've read (well, listened to) by Harlan Coben and I will definitely be checking out some of his other novels. 

This book has everything- secrets, deception, and suspense. I really enjoyed it. I was guessing up until almost the very end. 

I listened to the audiobook version read by George Newbern and he did a fantastic job. :) I'll also check out some of his other audio work! 

Book summary:

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

First of all, I really liked this book- I spent an entire afternoon reading it (it is my first book read of 2017). I personally wouldn't compare it to Gone Girl (which I've also read), but that's just me. It seems lately any suspenseful novel with a female lead character is compared to Gone Girl. In my opinion, this book is nothing like Gone Girl, but it is still excellent.

This is another book full of secrets, deception, but also sadness. Obviously with the description of the book, you know that Amelia is dead (so that's NOT a spoiler), but it's still heartbreaking to read the story of what happened leading up to her death. I don't want to get too much into the story because I don't want to give anything away. 

The author did a great job developing the characters and with the story. I look forward to reading more books by the author.

Book summary:

Have you read any good books lately?