The Full Moon

People always say that strange things happen during a full moon. I firmly believe that the lunar cycle changes us, either temporarily, or perhaps more permanently. Children can begin acting wildly, interesting occurrences going bump in the night, maybe a mood shift for yourself; a new idea or hobby will develop, mental clarity for a tough situation, or it’s just your time to release some pent up physical/mental energy. Our most recent full moon brought on a desperate need for change.

This change came in the form of rebranding my blog to fit where my life is going, motivation to deep clean areas of my house that gave me stress, being more aware of how my words and feelings can affect others, especially my husband and kids.

So here we are, besties. I’ve got something brand new and I think being able to have a space I love to share all of my interests, not just my bookish ones, will give me more sense of peace and creativity than when this was just for books.

Come along with me and explore the darkest parts of the forest.

Nothing is too peculiar here.

~ Rachael

Mood Monday – What I’m Reading this Week

Today Kelli (@starlightfaerytale) and I are listening to Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco! This is a YA Historical Fantasy/Thriller that has just enough creep level for me. This is the final installment of the Stalking Jack the Ripper Quartet and I am so excited to HOPEFULLY GET SOME THOMAS AND AUDREY ACTION! (LOL)

Capturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #4)

Kelli and I try to buddy read at least one book a week, last week we buddy read Darkdawn and Serpent & Dove, both five freaking stars! I need to upload my reviews for the NN Chronicles one of these days. Anyways, We started reading the Stalking Jack the Ripper series last year, bleeding into this year so we didn’t have to wait very long for the conclusion!

Besides this, I will be continuing my read of Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson and I will probably pick up one or two more reads. I finished my re-read of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone last week, so I think I’ll pick up Chamber of Secrets and start on that. I’m listening to the audio for the first time and really enjoying Jim Dale’s narration (even though I secretly with it were Stephen Frye… boo)

I hope you all have a wonderful week! If you’ve read CTD, let me know in the comments if you liked it or not! When I’m done with the series I will (hopefully) review the series as a whole!


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Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 5 Stars

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)


Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned. Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union – holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made. And love makes fools of us all.

This book was purchased by me and read by choice. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own.

I don’t necessarily think this would classify as YA Fantasy; I feel like it has more of an NA or Adult Fantasy feel to it, mainly because it does have frequent explicit language and mature behavior within it.


I LOVED THIS BOOK! I buddy read this with a friend via audio and from the second that Saskia Maarleveld opened her mouth, I fell in love. Not only was the writing style rich and captivating, the voice acting was intoxicating. I knew from the start that this book had a lot of hype, and I always go into hyped books with reservation, but I knew plenty of people who both read and listened and they LOVED it. Well, add me to the list of people who are utterly obsessed with Louise le Blanc!

This story focuses on a witch being in a forced marriage with a witch hunter. Lou, the witch, is a sassy, sarcastic, and true to herself woman, while Reid is a very “by the book” religious man, following the teachings of the Archbishop without question. This book utilizes history and it’s treatment of women as one of the plot points and I loved every second of Lou being the QUEEN that she is! Using Lou and her best friend CoCo to defy the norms and carve their own path was so refreshing! This is definitely a hate to love, slow burn trope; your Slytherin badass Lou and her Cinnamon Roll Hufflepuff Reid thrown together in an unthinkable situation. The voice acting between Saskia and Holter Graham was perfect for this novel and I am thankful they chose these amazing actors to bring them to life!

There are also many more themes such as religion and it’s power/influence on society, royalty, and reclaiming one’s own identity, but I won’t go into much detail because I don’t want to spoil it! The development of the story was such a joy to experience. There were times where I did feel like it was TOO fast paced and I had to go back and clarify a few things, but that was part of the allure in my opinion. This book was a wild ride, full of twists and turns! This book is unPUTDOWNable and I will be thinking about this story for many more days to come. ALL THE STARS to one of my favorite books of 2019!

This book is available NOW to purchase, though I do highly suggest the audio!

PS: If you’ve read Six of Crows you will be able to make a connection and really get the story that we deserved for those characters (LOL)


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The Time Traveler’s Wife by Aubrey Niffenegger (+blog)

I surround myself with stories because I long for my own. I know this seems dramatic, and I know that people have it worse than I do, but I rarely see my husband. Sometimes I wonder what is worse; knowing they will be gone for an extended period of time with the date to when you will see them again, or never knowing when they will come and when they will go. Even when we are together, often times we are apart. I’m watching the kids play while he’s out back mowing. We are visiting my parents but he’s entertaining my Dad while I’m entertaining my Mom. We visit friends but really depending on whose friends it is, he’s watching the kids so I can enjoy my time or I’m watching so he can enjoy his. I know he has to go because he has to support us, but it doesn’t make it any easier. It doesn’t make it hurt any less.

My husband pays the ultimate price for my emotional turmoil. The times we do spend together, I’m so worn out mentally that all I can do is let out anger because I don’t want to cry from exhaustion and feel weak. I hate feeling weak. I have a natural reaction of lashing out to protect myself and my feelings, because it’s so easy to be angry to mask how sad I am. He does an amazing job at loving me even when I’m being unlovable. He does an amazing job of staying when my words are screaming at him to go. So backwards, right?


I started getting back into books when I found myself longing for something more. I needed ways to connect with my emotions other than the anger boiling inside me. It’s hard being alone with the kids day in and day out. A mother’s job is never done. Most days I operate with the assumption that I will wake up without him and I will put the kids to bed and go to sleep without him. I may catch rare glimpses of him if I wake up as he’s shuffling out of bed for work, or maybe he’s off early and comes home to kiss me before he leaves to go to his coaching job at his Alma Mater. My husband can only do so much; it pains him to leave and watch me stay. I miss him every moment that he’s gone. Our life of comings and goings reminds me so much of The Time Traveler’s Wife by Aubrey Niffenegger. I wonder if she wrote this book for future me.

I read this story a long time ago in college and it broke me apart. I fell in love with the star-crossed lovers trope but never actually knew the gravity of the story and what it would mean for my life when I reflected back. The prologue is depressing, mainly because I can see myself in Clare and I can see Chuck in Henry.

Clare says, “It’s hard being left behind. It’s hard to be the one who stays. Why has he gone where I cannot follow?”

Henry says, “I hate to be where she is not, when she is not. And yet, I am always going, and she cannot follow.”

After I read the book I heard a movie was coming out – the movie is just as good and just as heartbreaking. If you’re looking for a book that tip toes the line between fantasy and reality, that is so cathartic and will make you hold tight to the ones you have, this story is for you. I’m thankful something this emotionally taxing exists. It validates my feelings of Chuck’s comings and goings. It makes me feel like someone somewhere felt this loneliness in a world full of people. When I’m feeling sad, I enjoy reading sad books. I like connecting with those raw emotions. Not everyone is this way, some people don’t like to read about trauma when they are going through it – but I do and I am thankful for this books existence.

You may know me from my silly cooking stories, my kids being wild, my house full of cats, and my dogs who can’t catch treats worth a shit, I am very quiet. The photos I take reflect the feelings I have; I shift with the seasons. The darker outside it gets, the darker my photos get, the darker my mood gets. Some days I feel myself slipping away. I am eternally thankful for the Bookstagram community and the love and kindness they have shown me. Time and time again you all pull me from the depths and make me laugh, send me funny messages, engage in my content, and it just makes me feel *seen*. I hope that I give as much as I get, I hope that whoever you are reading this knows that I will be there for you, too. Just send me a message. You are not alone.


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The Severed Moon – Day 6


“What stories do you tell through your attire? Are those stories true?”

The first moment that I start to wake, it’s usually because my fingers are numb. The baby sleeps in the crook of my arm all night and his head is heavier than you’d expect. I push down into the mattress and drag my arm out from under him and make my way out of the room. I avoid the creaking boards as I walk by Chase’s room and I look in the mirror.

I am tired. This is most definitely true.

I check my face for signs of sleep, brush my teeth, fix my hair back into a bun on the top of my head and then get him ready for school. I know I’ll be dropping him off so I’m not scared about what I look like. No one will see the fact that I don’t have socks on and it’s freezing temperatures outside, or that my hoodie I threw on has stains from doing the dishes last night.

I just can’t find the energy to care.

Some days I go to the grocery stores, I do try and at least wear clean clothes there. Most of the ladies know me and have seen me come in after dropping Chase and have watched Xander grow – they know he doesn’t sleep.

They know… they know I am so tired.

I go home and stay in the same clothes. I wait for my husband to get home and then sneak into the shower. I am renewed. The hot water scalds my scalp as I scrub with shampoo. I drag the razor along my skin in efforts to feel like I actually care about what I look like. I get out, I dry off, I twist my hair a top knot so that by the time it dries, it falls in loose waves.

That makes me feel beautiful.

I put on some new leggings, fresh underwear and a bra, a new shirt… depending on the weather, maybe a sweatshirt. It feels so good. I love the way that I feel. I love the confidence even a simple shower gives me. I tell myself that I’ll do this every day even though I know in the back of my mind that I won’t. It’ll be days of slow deterioration with my hygiene before I get the energy  to shower again. It’s hard to be truthful about it. You’d think it’d be easy  to hop into the shower every single day and feel this good about yourself but time slips away in the rush of having a family.

I slip away.


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