Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thoughts For Thursday


My heart hurts with all the recent news stories about people committing suicide. It seems to be an unsettling growing trend (or maybe we are just now more aware of it). And it doesn't just affect a certain group of people. Military veterans, school-aged kids, celebrities- you have people who seem to have it all that end up taking their own life. And most of the time the loved ones left behind say they had no clue anything was wrong. If your social media feed is anything like mine, people usually post a suicide prevention hotline number when a story like this goes public (usually after a celebrity takes their own life- like today with Chester Bennington). While I understand their intentions are good in posting the number, I honestly don't think that helps (but it certainly doesn't hurt by any means). 

I'm afraid the people who need that help the most aren't going to ask for it. And that scares me. It scares me that I could have a friend battling some horrible demon that no one knows about and even though they know that I'm here (as well as other people), they aren't reaching out for help. They are struggling internally with whatever is wrong. I know because I've been there. Oh, and I'm not saying I have ever had suicidal thoughts or deep bouts of depression, don't misunderstand me. I just know what it's like to need help and not ask for it. When I was seriously struggling with my PTSD and anxiety, I tried my best to be "okay". And I wasn't trying to be okay for myself, I was doing it for everyone else. I would put on a brave face so much of the time and tried to be the person I was before my carjacking happened. I would be fine when I was out with friends but then I would be a basket case when I was home and alone with my thoughts. I have a lot of friends who to this day say they had no clue I was struggling so much, they thought I was doing perfectly fine. For the record, I'm doing MUCH better now (thanks to a great support system and an awesome therapist). And I really mean it, I'm not just putting on a brave face for the sake of this post.

People only let you see the part of them that they want you to see. A lot of you reading this post may have never met me in person. I'm just someone you follow on Twitter and you decided to click on my blog link. Or maybe you have been a follower of my blog for a while. You only know what I share (and granted, sometimes I overshare, but I won't apologize for that). I wish I had answers or even suggestions on how to help those who don't want (or think they don't need) help. But I don't. All I can say to them is be honest with your family and friends. Be honest with yourself. Don't be afraid to ask for help. 

I don't know why I decided to post all of this today (and I'm sorry that it's just a bunch of rambling that doesn't flow together, I'm writing in a hurry). It's not like I think someone is going to read it and all of a sudden a light is going to go off and they realize they need help. But I feel sometimes people who are struggling internally need to hear that they aren't alone- it happens to everyone. Don't think someone has their life together just because of what they post online or what you think you know about their life. If you are struggling today, just remember this: You are amazing. You are worthy of happiness. You are loved. 

XOXO!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What I'm Loving Wednesday!


I'm loving...

My new Steve Avery Braves shirtsey. My friend Paul lives in Atlanta and found this at the new Braves ballpark, so he sent it to me. If you are new to my blog, YES, he is the Avery behind my screen name on my blog, Twitter, and Instagram.


I'm also loving that Steve Avery commented on my picture when I posted it on Facebook. :)


I'm loving...

That I got to have lunch and go antique shopping with my folks last weekend. They were in town visiting my aunt (my dad's sister), so I met them for lunch one afternoon. We then went to a few antique shops in Waxahachie. It was a lot of fun!

My dad is so adorable in his hat
They had some cool hats at this one shop, but I didn't get one. I almost got this one, I thought it was cute
If this had been an Elvis purse, I would have bought it. But it was a CD holder, and the material wasn't that nice. Maybe it's for the best. Lol
I've seen way too many scary movies- this doll was SO CREEPY. I kept expecting it to turn its head and look at me. I would hate to be in this store at night by myself
I'm loving...

That I went to see the musical Finding Neverland last Friday night. It was AMAZING!! I noticed actor John Davidson's name in the program (he was in several Disney movies I watched as a kid. He also was a game show host for a while). He's a fantastic actor. After the musical, my friend and I went to the stage door and Mr. Davidson was nice enough to sign our programs and take pictures. 

Outside the Winspear Opera House

My friend Mel and I have seen so many musicals/plays together. 
My friend Beks saw on Facebook that I was there and came over to say hi!
Actor John Davidson- such a honor and pleasure to meet him!
I'm loving...

That I cleaned out my closets last Saturday. I spent about about 9 hours cleaning my apartment and was able to donate all of this to the Salvation Army. I'm slowly getting rid of the clutter!


What are YOU loving today?

XOXO!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Book Reviews 2017: The Unseen

**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.**

The Unseen by Heather Graham


This was one of the earlier books in the Krewe of Hunters series and I have to say, I really enjoyed the earlier books more than the recent ones in the series. This book seemed to draw me in more than the newer ones. There seemed to be more plot depth, a few of the recent ones have been all over the place. 

Since I've read the series out of order, I recognized characters- Jackson Crow, Logan Raintree, and Tyler Montague. I'm a Texas history nerd, so I enjoyed that this one took place in San Antonio and that the author threw in some Texas history facts. Nit picky: when the author was describing the Riverwalk in San Antonio, I felt she made it seem like it was a real river and not a man-made tourist area. But that doesn't take away from the story. That's just me being snobby. :)

I liked the characters Logan and Kelsey, I felt they worked well together. If this series continues, I hope the author gets back some of that early book magic!

Book summary:


I finished this book on July 1, so it goes towards my 40 by 40 challenge.

XOXO!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Book Reviews 2017: Playing For Pizza

**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.**

Playing For Pizza by John Grisham


I've read a good number of John Grisham books and have liked most of them, but I just wasn't a fan of this one. I love football (and anything to do with Italy), but this book just didn't do anything for me. 

It took me four months to read it. I finally forced myself to finish it just because I was determined to just get through it.

The concept of the story was a good idea, but I felt he spent too much time going into details over EVERY SINGLE football game. Again, I like football, and I don't mind reading a recap of a real game, but I didn't feel it was needed for this novel. He could have spent more time on character development and the plot. He also spent so much time going over the food and culture of Italy, I felt like I was reading a tourist guidebook of Italy. Again, not something so terrible if that is what I wanted to read, but I wanted a fiction novel, not Italy Tourism 101.

Unless you are just strongly devoted to John Grisham, I would recommend just skipping this one and pick up one of his legal thrillers. 

Book summary:


I finished this book on June 27, so it goes towards my 40 by 40 challenge.

XOXO!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What I'm Loving Wednesday!


I'm Loving...
That I got to dog-sit a few weekends ago. Holly is such a sweet girl, she has to put up with Aunt Rachel taking so many pictures of her. Lol.



I'm Loving...
That I get to hang out with friends at the Ballpark. It hasn't been the best season for the Rangers, but we have fun regardless of the outcome of the game.



Former Rangers great Will Clark
I'm Loving...
That my almost 83 year-old father always stands for the American flag during a parade. My grandfather served in the US Coast Guard during WWII. 


I'm Loving...
That a friend gave me this sweet card last week. Life has been kinda crazy lately so these were the best words I could hear.


I'm Loving...
That I can never seem to leave Half Price Books without a book (or two...or five...okay six).


What are YOU loving today?

XOXO!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Book Reviews 2017: The Woman In Cabin 10

**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.**

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware



This was the first book I've read by this author- and I can't wait to read others. I like her writing style and I was hooked from the moment I started reading. It kept me entertained and guessing throughout the whole book (I suspected everyone at some point).  

Lo Blacklock is a travel journalist on assignment to review a new cruise line and gets to spend a week on an all-expenses paid cruise (can I please have that job?) It's a small cruise ship so there aren't that many guests on board. As she is getting ready for dinner the first night, she realizes she forgot to pack mascara so she goes to the cabin next door to ask if she can borrow some (first of all- ew, I wouldn't borrow my friend's mascara, much less a stranger's, but that's just me.) The woman next door ends up giving her a tube of mascara, insisting that Lo just keep it. While lying in bed later that night, Lo hears a commotion from the cabin next door and then a sound like someone jumping (or being thrown) overboard. (Randomness: When I went on my cruise earlier this year, I had an unrealistic fear of falling overboard.) When she mentions her concern for the woman in that cabin, she finds out that no one was staying there, and that no one has a clue who this mystery guest could be. Just when she thinks she might have imagined the woman, she remembers the tube of mascara the woman gave her. That tube of mascara is the only proof she has that the woman existed. 

I don't want to go into much more detail because I don't want to give anything away, but this is definitely a good, suspenseful book. I highly recommend it if you are a fan of thrillers and suspense. 


I finished this book on June 8, so it goes towards my 40 by 40 challenge. :)

XOXO!

Wednesday, July 5, 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.**


I read earlier this year but never got around to posting my reviews. These were read BEFORE I started my 40 books by 40, so they don't count against my list.

The Cursed by Heather Graham



Once again- Luke Daniels made this book so enjoyable. He makes each character come to life. I will sing his praises in each review I do on a book he has narrated. 

I liked this book more than the most recent ones I've read from the series (I'm reading them out of order). I enjoyed the ghost story and mystery portion a lot. I like Dallas and Hannah together, although for once I would like the romance to actually take time to blossom and people not fall in love in a matter of weeks, but that's just me being nit-picky. And this isn't a spoiler. You can tell from their first meeting they will end up together, it's not that big of a surprise.

I won't ruin it by saying what happened, but I didn't like the epilogue of the book. I would have preferred another ending but it didn't ruin the book for me. As always, I look forward to reading another book by Ms. Graham.

Book summary:


Darkest Journey by Heather Graham



I'm giving this a generous 2.5 stars (and mainly because I love Heather Graham and can't bring myself to give anything she writes anything lower). I'll start with the positive: I liked the main characters of Charlie and Ethan. I like how they at least had a past together, so their romance wasn't as off the wall as some of the relationships in the other books in this series. Usually the romance part of these stories bothers me, but I was actually okay with these two as a couple. 

I'm a history nerd and I usually enjoy the historical tidbits that Heather Graham throws into her stories, but this one didn't do much for me. I couldn't get into it mainly because I think the plot didn't flow as well as it has in her other books. And the scene where everyone was giving a speech about safe sex and STDs reminded me of those horrible movies we had to watch in school. It sounded too "textbook". People don't talk like that. 

I saw in a few other reviews that people noticed grammatical errors and typos. Since I listened to the audio book, I can't comment on that. BUT, Luke Daniels did a fantastic job narrating this one (so if you are interested at all, I highly recommend listening to it). As much as I've enjoyed the Krewe of Hunters series, I'm sad to say that I think it might be time for it to come to an end if this is how they are going to be. The past few that I've read (well, listened to) just haven't been the same as the earlier ones in the series. 

Book summary:



Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver



I went back and forth wondering if I wanted to give this 3 stars or 4 so I decided on a 3.5. The ending is the one thing making me debate my star rating (no spoilers about it). This is a book that as you are reading it, you can't put it down. That happened to me. I read over half of it on a plane ride from TX to PA. 

I liked the characters, even the horrible, mean ones. The character development was fantastic. I've seen it described as Mean Girls meets Groundhog's Day, and in a way it is. It was an interesting story line. 

As far as YA fiction goes, it's a very good read. I definitely knew people like the characters in the book. I can't honestly say that I personally related to any of them (I wasn't a "mean girl" and I wasn't really picked on by mean girls). I would recommend this one.

Book summary:


Landline by Rainbow Rowell



I really enjoyed this book- so much that I read it in a day. I liked the characters because none of them were "perfect". It seems in so many books the main characters are always overly attractive and have the perfect life. These characters seemed real. Were some annoying? Yes, but annoying people exist in real life. We all have annoying people in our lives (even if we love them dearly, they may be annoying at times). 

I enjoyed the story line- I'm always fascinated with "time travel" type stories. This made me think who I would want to talk to if I had a phone that called the past. This was the first book I've read by this author but I plan to check some others out soon.

Book summary:



XOXO!