Book Review: A Family Woman by T.B. Markinson

A Family Woman by T.B. Markinson

A Romantic Fiction Novel published by T. B. Markinson (12/13/17)

Summary:

Lizzie is back, and this time she has just a few short months until her pregnant wife gives birth to their twins. Lizzie has never had the greatest relationship with her family and would rather not see them, but Sarah has other plans. Lizzie will become a family woman.

Keywords:

 Romance,  Tension, Holding in Feelings, Chain, Parents, Soon-to-be-parents, twins, Lesbians, Sex, Family, Parenthood, Reconciliation, Secrets, Contemporary, Complicated Families, Pregnancy, Relationship

My Review:

The first half of the book – before the twins arrived – had quite a few sex scenes. They were very interesting to read because they were between two females, but there was quite a bit of it.

I loved how Lizzie and Sarah interacted with each other in their day-to-day lives. Lizzie’s devotion and love for Sarah, the mother of her unborn children, the love of her life, her partner in everything was amazing. I felt my heart patter every time Lizzie thought about Sarah before she spoke or went out of her way for Sarah. I want that deep, satisfying, unconditional level of love!

Lizzie’s relationships with her brother, her father, and her friends were so interesting to watch. The dynamics were fascinating. Especially as the subplots became more and more complex.

This book was humorous and fun, just like the first two in the series. I found the level of detail in the actual birth of the twins completely fascinating, as most movies and books gloss over birth.

This novel was published by T. B. Markinson 12/13/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.25

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

T.B. Markinson’s website

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All About the Donuts: Local Donut Shop Review – Daily Dozen Doughnut Company – Seattle, WA

Daily Dozen Doughnut Company

Seattle, WA

93 Pike St #7, Seattle, WA 98101

(206) 467-7769

Review criteria:

Most popular donut at the shop: the mini-donut!
Signature shop donut: maple bacon
Most popular US donut: Not available
2nd most popular US donut: Not available
Donut Hole: No

What I tried:

$5 for the assorted half dozen

What to expect:

A line. The daily dozen is well known and everybody wants a bite! There’s always a line and they only take cash – so come prepared! They are just around the corner from the fish-throwers. They only have plain, powdered sugar, cinnamon, chocolate sprinkles, maple, and maple bacon.

 

My favorite:

The machine that makes the donuts is super cool and you get to watch them getting made as you wait patiently in line for a fresh donut.

Book Review: EXOTIQA (YA Robot Cyberpunk Dystopia) (EXOTIQA WORLD Book 1) by M. Black

EXOTIQA (YA Robot Cyberpunk Dystopia) (EXOTIQA WORLD Book 1) by M. Black

A Sicence Fiction/Cyberpunk Novel published by Amazon Digital Services (03/01/17)

Summary:

The technology of the world in 2055 has given humans the ability to easily connect with others using integrated robotic parts. The technology has also created robots that are more human-like than ever. For Fione, as a human, she doesn’t think that the robots are still obeying their fundamental laws. For Maci, as a robot, she has found a way to elevate her consciousness outside of the parameters of the robotic laws. And now her creators are out to shut her down.

Keywords:

Cyberpunk, Robots, Dystopia, Technology, Canada, Human-like, Online, Consciousness, Artificial Intelligence, Identity, Self-Awareness, Politics, Life, Death, Living, Escape, Running, Futuristic

My Review:

The difference in thought, character, personality, and dialogue/speech patterns between the humans and the robots was very distinct. I loved the very different voice of Fione versus Maci and very much appreciated having both distinct voices in alternating chapters. I loved how even Pix differed in personality and thought process from Maci, even though both were robots. Not all ascended robots are equal and this novel does a great job layering in their personalities seamlessly with their voices and not overpowering the ongoing plot.

This book contained a lot of action. The setup for the main premise of the story happened a bit abruptly at the beginning, but the storytelling was fairly seamless from that point on. Fione does not jump at the chance to help Maci immediately and she has her doubts. Fione’s character is built on the mistrust of the robotic infiltration into her world. She is sympathetic to them, as her best friend is also a robot, but she distrusts them as a whole.

I loved the subtle hinting of a potential romance between Fione and her best friend Pix, as if he really is a human.

I did feel that Fione’s overpowering of her mother was a bit off-putting and her mother’s inability to think for herself made her a flat character, but other than that this book was a sound and juicy addition to science fiction and cyberpunk in particular.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services on 03/01/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Rachel’s Recipes throughout 2017!

Healthy No-Bake Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients (3314 calories total)
• 1 cup peanut butter (1680)
• 6 tablespoons cocoa powder (72)
• 1/2 cup of coconut oil (940)
• 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey (258)
• 2 teaspoons vanilla (24)
• 2 cups Gluten-free quick oats or 1 cup steel cut oats (339 for oats and 340 for steel cut)
Instructions
1. Combine peanut butter, cocoa powder, and coconut oil in a sauce pan
2. Heat over low heat until oil is melted
3. Remove from heat and add honey or syrup
4. Stir in vanilla
5. Add oatmeal and combine well
6. drop by the spoonful onto parchment paper
7. Let cool until they set up
8. Store in a lidded container in a cool place


Butterbeer Jello Shots

Ingredients
1 cup creme soda
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup vanilla vodka
2/3 cup butterscotch schnapps
Colored large crystal sugar, for garnish, if desired

Directions
• Pour soda in a medium saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to soak for a minute or two.
• Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
• Stir in the vodka and schnapps.
• Pour into standard loaf pan (non-reactive metal or glass, approx. 9 x 5). Refrigerate until fully set (about 3 hours).
• To serve, cut into desired shapes.
Immediately before serving, dip in colored crystal sugar, for garnish, if desired.

2017 Physical Activity – Dance/Volleyball/Running/Bootcamp

2016 Physical Activity Blog Post Breakdown

2015 Physical Activity Blog Post Breakdown

How do you work out?

Pole Dancing Highlights:
1. I performed three times in three distinct routines (Here’s my Risky Donetta routine and Here’s my Prohibition Donetta routine)
2. I took 139 classes total
3. I spent $2594 total
4. I spent 226 hours in class
5. I worked with 20 different instructors

Lifetime money spent (just for pole classes): $4882.84
2014 – $90
2015 – $422.21
2016 – $1777
2017 – $2594

Lifetime total pole classes:
2014 – 6
2015 – 19
2016 – 109
2017 – 139

Total time spent poling:
2014 – 10.5 hours
2015 – 37.5 hours
2016 – 173.5 hours
2017 – 226 hours

Class Breakdown at different studios for 2017
Divine – 72/139 = 52%
Spinderella – 35/139 = 25%
P3 – 19/139 = 14%
Pole Camp – 9/139 = 6%
Writhe – 3/139 = 2%
Polelattes – 1/139 = 1%

Class Type breakdowns for 2017
Intermediate Inversions = 30
Basic Inversions = 19
Intermediate/Advanced Spins = 20
“Intermediate” classes = 18
Level 3-1 = 14
Level 2-2 = 11
“Advanced” classes = 7
Level 2-1 = 5
Open level drop ins = 5
Other = (pole power hour, Open choreography session) = 3
Basic Spins = 2
Level 3-2 = 2
Ayesha workshops = 2
Boudoir Classes = 1

In other fitness accomplishments:
1. I went to 51 bootcamp classes
2. I went to a single Thriller refresher class before the Flashmob dance
3. I went to only 4 volleyball drop ins
4. I went to 6 KokoFit sessions (cardio and strength in a modern gym)
5. I went to 13 Bar Method classes
6. I ran 64.2 miles and spent 11.78 hours running with my fastest mile at 9:26
7. I took my bike out twice for 24.5 miles (and commuted from my house into work once)
8. I went to 24 stretch classes
9. I went to 7 KJC Booty Dance classes
10. I took a pole silks class

 

Fitness stats:

 

My favorite fitness photos:

   

 

Author Goals and Accomplishments from 2017 and Future Goals for 2018

Goals list of 2014

Goals list of 2015

Goals list of 2016

Goals list of 2017:

  1. Publish Seize the Donut (for the Love of Donuts Book 2) on National Donut Day – June 2nd, 2017
    1. Nailed it! 
  2. Edit my short stories – Celebrity Dreamscapes, Smart Fraud, The Man Who Never Slept
    1. I submitted these stories to Norwescon’s Fairwood Writer’s Workshops and then only actually edited one of them…
  3. Send out my short stories for publication!
    1. Nope. Not at all
  4. Version 2 of At One’s Beast (edit, revise, re-release)
    1. Didn’t even look at this
  5. Find an agent for Flora’s Last Chance for Magic
    1. I sent Flora out to three agents… And all of them said no.
  6. Find a publisher or artist for my children’s picture book
    1. Nope.
  7. Write and art for children’s picture book about pole dance
    1. This was an idea I had?
  8. Write a children’s picture book about dad catch phrases or dad puns
    1. You can see where this is going… Nope.
  9. Revise Aster & Tilde
    1. I want to collaborate with someone on this (hey sister!)
  10. Write Aster & Tilde book 2 and plan out the series
    1. Nope.
  11. Review 1 Indie book a week
    1. Almost! I reviewed 49 books this year 🙂
  12. Go to Emerald City Writer’s Conference again
    1. I decided to save my money for a vacation outside the country instead.
  13. Start editing Dollars to Donuts (for the Love of Donuts book 3)
    1. I decided that I might not even publish this book and focus on my romance series instead
  14. Publish Nichole’s Book of Awesome Things (for the Love of Donuts accompaniment 2) for release with Seize the Donut
    1. Yes! And it was done. Practically Done.
  15. Create a coloring book of donuts (for the Love of Donuts accompaniment 3) for release in the winter
    1. Woohoo I did this too!
  16. Create an audio book of my poetry book
    1. Nope. Didn’t even try.
  17. YouTube video 1x/month
    1. Yeah… I don’t care for video editing – but I am posting on social media more.
  18. Get 500 Instagram followers
    1. Nope.
  19. Reach 250 Facebook likes on author page
    1. I’m at 189 likes
  20. Reach 250 Facebook friends
    1. I did this!
  21. Mile in 10 minutes
    1. Fastest mile time was 9:26
  22. 50 push-ups in one go
    1. Yes!
  23. Inversions other side solid
    1. Done!
  24. Shoulder mount
    1. Oh yeah!
  25. Level up inversions at Divine
    1. I’m now in intermediate inversions and almost ready to pass to advanced inversions
  26. Dance performance
    1. I performed three times!
  27. 200 pole classes lifetime
    1. I’m up to 279 pole classes lifteime
  28. 10 pull ups
    1. I never tested this, but I’m probably only able to do 5-7 on a good day

2018 Goals!!! Writing and Beyond:

Writing:

  • Finish one novel writing project
  • Plan and execute my children’s picture book I’ve put on hold for years
  • Submit to the PNWA contest
  • Send Flora’s Last Chance for Magic to 20 publishers/agents/editors
  • Create Rachel’s guide to donuts in and around Seattle

Physical:

  • Handspring to Ayesha
  • Create a demo reel
  • Learn a breakdance party move
  • Level up inversions at Divine

Book Review: The Universe is a Very Big Place by April Aasheim

The Universe is a Very Big Place by April Aasheim

A Romantic Comedy Novel published by Dark Root Press (07/28/12)

Summary:

Spring is having a mid life crisis and she’s only in her thirties. She’s settled for the life that she thinks is what she wants: normal. She has her boring fiance, her two rambunctious twins, and a job she doesn’t like. Everything is perfect. Except that life has other plans for Spring. First her mother moves in and then she meets a nice stranger who can’t forget her.

Keywords:

Comedic, Fortune Teller, Family, Disaster, Chaos, Love, Karma, True Love, Responsibility, Twins, Kids with ADHD, Live in Grandparent, Pig, Bad Boss, Art, Control

My Review:

This book was a fun and easy read, but it also contained an interesting and not your run-of-the-mill main character. The dialogue was super fun and sometimes really cheeky. I loved every scene where people talked to each other. Everything they said was realistic and entertaining. I would love to see a play written by this author.

Spring is a loveable mess. Sam is boring on the outside, but has his interesting secret quirks. Sam treats her like a fixer upper and their exchanges are hilarious. Even the ex from Spring’s carnival upbringing had his own distinct personality. Spring’s mother was a hoot and so was the neighbor.

Every character had a full personality. The attention to detail for the characters’ backstories and quirks and little tics was amazing.

This novel was published by Dark Root Press on 07/28/2012 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

April Aasheim’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Catalyst by Kristin Smith

Catalyst by Kristin Smith

A Dystopian YA Novel published through Clean Teen Publishing (11/21/16)

Summary:

Sienna lives in a world where almost everyone around her has been genetically upgraded. She is shorter, plainer, and all around normal. But her normal world gets shattered when her she finds out her father didn’t die of natural causes. It is up to her to support her family – her mother and young sister – as she tries to figure out who was behind her father’s death. Before she can even begin to uncover these secrets, one of her side jobs goes awry and she’s in hot water with the government. Her life goes from barely manageable to disaster when her mother is taken away by the government and the only way to get her back will be to join forces with an extremist group.

Keywords:

Runaway, Dystopian, Values and Virtues, Science Fiction, Futuristic, Female Main Character, Adventure, Romance, Deception, Las Vegas, Technology, DNA, Family, Lies

My Review:

This book was a nonstop adventure ride with a lot of action packed scenes. It was the Chosen One crossed with a Love Triangle mixed with some Dystopian thriller goodness. That being said, I did think it was too easy for Sienna any time she faced adversity. She was always getting out of any situation! Her triumphs, especially against an organized body like the government, seemed a bit too easy.

I loved Sienna’s spunk and positive attitude. She never had negative thoughts regarding her own possible failure and she never dwelled on the what ifs because she was a woman of action! She was always brave and fearless. In her last year without her father she had to learn to be self-reliant and resilient, because her mother was not able to provide and support the family. We don’t see Sienna grow during this time period, but we do see her on the other side as she faces all sorts of problems and difficulties.

I liked that Zane existed, even though he didn’t feel fully formed. I liked that there was a love triangle in this book because it added some more complications to Sienna’s already complicated life.

YA literature needs more red heads like Sienna.

This novel was published through Clean Teen Publishing on 11/21/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Kristin Smith’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Her Thin Blue Lifeline: Indigo Knights Book I by A.J. Downey

Her Thin Blue Lifeline: Indigo Knights Book I by A.J. Downey

A Romance Novel published by Second Circle Press (06/28/17)

Summary:

Chrissy Franco just won a major case, but not everyone is happy about her success. Someone posts her home address online and it only takes one nut job to take everything away from Chrissy. Tony McCormick is the police detective called to the scene and the one to find Chrissy barely alive. Chrissy won’t be able to feel safe again until the culprit is caught and Tony won’t rest until he finds the man terrorizing Chrissy.

Keywords:

MC, Bikers, Lawyer, Courtroom, Victim, Shooter, Apartment, Defense, Clients, Innocence, Romance, Blame, Guilt, Recovery, PT, Cop, Damsel in Distress, Strong Female Character

My Review:

I felt for Chrissy. She is the woman everyone relates to at night walking home alone. Or on a dark street alone. Her story is why some people lock their doors at night. She is the woman with the target on her back for no reason other than because she hit a man’s ego. I felt for her and her feelings of terror and PTSD. I wanted her to recover and to pick up the shattered pieces of her life in a happy ending.

This book is such a true reflection of what people and women go through in this world where we are never truly safe. When something so terrible happens, like it did to Chrissy, the person might never fully recover – physically and mentally. Chrissy is so brave to stay in that city and to work as hard as she did in her physical therapy. She did nothing to deserve what happened to her. The author gave so much life and power to Chrissy. She wasn’t your typical damsel in distress.

I liked seeing a different kind of motorcycle club than the Sacred Hearts series and can’t wait to see where AJ Downey goes next.

This novel was published by Second Circle Press on 06/28/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

A.J. Downey’s Blog

Goodreads

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