Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Author Archive: Jana

More things I wonder

I haven’t done a things I wonder post in quite awhile and although I had planned to write a post today correcting yet another asshole on the internet who is completely and utterly wrong, I decided to save that for another day and wonder out loud instead.

Because I do what I want.

  • I haven’t been to the library in like 6 weeks. Are the librarians sad? Happy? Have they noticed?
  • Why can’t the prices of drinks at Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts match the increments of the gift cards they sell? Who the fuck enjoys having 82 cards with like 9 cents on each one?
  • Why does my flexible spending company not believe that places with words like “orthodontics” and “vision academy” are medical providers? 
  • Can daylight savings time go away?
  • Am I the only one creeped out by Pinocchio?
  • Why does NetGalley take so damn long to tell you if you were approved for a book? PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW AND KNOW IMMEDIATELY.
  • Is there a way to care less about March Madness? Because if there is, I’d like to know it. I’m curious to find out just how far my indifference can go.
  • Do people actively avoid me like I avoid them? I mean, I’m sure the answer yes but I still would like to know. Maybe I don’t. Mark me as undecided on this one and forget I asked.
  • Can one own too many pairs of black yoga pants?
  • Why does my microwave heat things to boiling inedible hot or not at all? (Perhaps it’s time for a new one but I hate shopping for appliances. Are there personal shoppers for these things?)
  • I know I wrote two of these so why can’t I find the second?

How about you guys? What are some things you wonder?

Weekly six-pack, 2017, v11

Concise recap because this is coming to you direct from my phone and holy shit is typing a blog post on the phone annoying. I apologize for any weird formatting and autocorrects.

Reading. Finished Never Let You Go. Started Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. Picked up nothing from the library and nothing new from NetGalley although I did learn you can have a wish list and I promptly added Amy Stewart’s new book to that (third book in the Kopp sisters series). Thanks, as always, to everyone who participated in SUYB. 

Watching. American Crime. If you guys haven’t watched it yet, I implore you to do so. Seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix and if the season 3 premiere is any indication, this one is going to be a doozy.

Eating. These one pan shrimp fajitas. I added guacamole on the side because GUACAMOLE. We also had it with yellow rice instead of tortillas. 

Wondering. WHY??! This book fucking sucked and I can’t imagine the movie will be any good. I guess the upside is no one will think the movie ruined the book which, to be honest, is the big fear I have with the series adaptation of YOU. I’m not sure I want to see that but let’s be honest. I will watch it. Same with Dumplin’ and All the Bright Places. And good god, can all the books I like please stop being movies? 


Considering. This reading challenge I saw on the We Need Diverse Books IG account. It’s short and easy enough. Plus, it’ll force me out of my comfort zone. Anyone else interested in it?

Laughing

Hope you guys have a great weekend! Be safe if you’re going out for St. Patrick’s Day. See you back here on Tuesday!

Making my bed and other advice I do follow

Last month I wrote a post about all the advice I don’t follow. It’s not that it’s necessarily bad advice; it’s just not for me. Which is fine. Everyone is different and I think it’s important to listen to different perspectives and take from them what you need. But I figured it was a good counterbalance to that post to discuss the advice or suggestions that I do follow.

A qualifier: I don’t follow all of these to the T. I screw up, make changes, and sometimes flat out ignore them. But overall, this are a few tips and tricks I’ve accumulated along the way to make improvements:

  1. No social media notifications on my phone. None. Not at all. Not email, IG, Pinterest. I don’t even have Twitter or FB on my phone (although I do have groups and messenger, mostly for communication with the child’s gym. These people hate email). I did, at one point, have notifications for all the apps turned on but it stole so much of my time and sanity that I got rid of it all. It has made a huge difference in my presence with people and eliminates distraction. One exception: MLB score updates on all Mets and Orioles games. 
  2. Prioritizing my time. I’m a huge advocate for the way Laura Vanderkam discusses time and time management and using her system has, well, I don’t want to say revolutionized because that’s too dramatic but drastically changed how I use my time. Basically, instead of trying to do everything, I’ve whittled down my core competencies and what’s essential and important to me and fit my time around achieving the goals within those. I might be mixing up messages from two of her books but whatever. It works for me. 
  3. Meal planning. I don’t meal prep. I discussed that last time. I do, however, meal plan. I’m not a good enough cook to look at a whole bunch of random ingredients and mix it all up into something palatable nor do I have a good enough memory to remember recipes or what I need to buy at a store (or have on hand). Meal planning makes me pay attention to what I’m buying (saving money FTW) and it also assures that I know what I’m cooking and how to do it properly. It also answers the question “what’s for dinner?” I hate that question. 
  4. Sleep routine. Confession: my sleeping habits are shit. I have a terrible time falling asleep, staying asleep, and all that jazz. It’s even worse when my anxiety hackles are up. I had tried everything but what’s really helped is having a routine. And not having electronics in the bedroom. True story: we don’t have a TV in our bedroom and I won’t even read an eBook before bed, no matter how good it is. The combination of those has led to me being able to sleep decently 4-5 nights per week which is a HUGE improvement. 
  5. Making my bed. I forgot where I saw this originally but it basically said that making your bed sets up the rest of your day. It helps you feel organized and put together and some other helpful shit like that. And you know what? It’s true! There’s something about making your bed that separates night from day and says “let’s get today going”. It also makes my room look neater (and, considering my husband is a class A slob, any little bit helps) and keeps the dogs off the sheets. Everyone wins!

So there you go. Some of the advice I DO follow. 

How about you guys? What are some tips or tricks you’ve learned along the way that have made a difference in your life? Which ones do you recommend I try? 

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Show Us Your Books, March 2017

Not only is today Show Us Your Books day, it also happens to be the birthday eve for Steph, my amazing friend and SUYB co-host. For those who don’t know, Steph and I have known each other since 1995 when we were freshmen at the University of Delaware, and with the exception of about an 8 year or so period where we lost touch, have been friends ever since. Many, MANY of my college memories involve her and now, as an adult, I could not be more fortunate to have such a fierce, smart, funny, and outspoken friend. Steph, I hope you have the happiest of birthdays and holy shit, how are we 40?

Now, onto the books!

As always, my reviews are copied and/or embellished from my Litsy reviews. You can follow me there if you want but as a warning: it’s boring. Even more boring than my IG account. 

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood. I cannot succinctly review this book. It’s too much, too big, too emotional. The writing is absolutely stellar and the characters’ pain was palpable. Even the annoying characters. The story was incredible and she used multiple POV and time jumping to further plot instead of as a gimmick. The abuse is hard to read and the pedophilia but also love but also still pedophilia is uncomfortable but both are necessary and not gratuitous. This is a strong, gritty book that’ll rip you but make it worth it. 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. If Looking for Alaska and The Messenger had a book baby, this would be it. A sad, haunting, engaging, sometimes rage inducing fast paced YA book that is a) impossible to put down; b) thought-provoking AF; c) one of those books you reference when people say YA books are just for teenagers; and d) insanely creative. You will feel all the emotions when you read it. Also, it was made into a Netflix series and it starts on 3/31.

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. I generally do not like horror or paranormal books in any form so reading this was completely outside my comfort zone. It wasn’t a terrible book; it just wasn’t for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the blog posts peppered throughout the book and the ending smacks you in the face–HARD–but the rest was just meh. It passed the time just fine but nothing spectacular. Plus, it became glaringly obvious what was going on and after that, it all seemed dragged out. Except the end. THAT was a surprise. 

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett. DNF. I picked it up and put it down and picked it up and put it down and repeat about 6 more times. I wanted to like this book but I couldn’t force it. The writing style wasn’t for me, I didn’t like the characters and I genuinely gave no fucks about what happened to them and there are too many others to choose from so I cut it off. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. You all know what a TJR fanatic I am so I was thrilled, stoked, dance out of my seat happy to get this from NetGalley. Hands down, this is her best book. It’s a love story, exactly what you’d expect from her, complete with stellar writing and storytelling. But not at all what you should expect. The story is more complex, the women stronger, and she tackles LGBTQ issues, particularly for those of an older generation. Most of all, I loved the statements she made about forgiveness, family, choices, and protecting who and what we love. 

Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano. Holding Smoke was one of my 2016 favorites so when I learned she has more books, I had to read them (sequel reviewed next). This one was a tightly written, smart, engaging thriller that completely threw me at the end. I loved and hated all the characters and I enjoy when a book does that. There were small mysteries within the larger mystery that could have been messy and annoying but weren’t. It’s a YA book, and some parts definitely felt like it, but overall, a great read. 

Nearly Found by Elle Cosimano. If you read The Hunger Games trilogy, you probably adored the first book and when you read the second, scratching your head thinking “I’ve read this before”. That’s how this one felt. Like a rehashing of Nearly Gone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good but this one had the same characters and same plot and same types clues and the ending wasn’t as shocking because you saw the twist coming. It was nice to have answers from the smaller mysteries in the previous book but I found myself caring less and wanting new. 

The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion. So, I loved The Rosie Project and DNF’d The Rosie Effect. This one fell in between. It’s chick lit, written by a man with a male protagonist, which is different. But I couldn’t help feel that had it been a female main character doing some of the stuff the male one did, there’d be huge backlash and that bothers me. The musical references and using people’s connections to music made it more interesting but I don’t recommend running out and getting this one. It counts for the Aussie author challenge and I got it from NetGalley. 

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. A collection of short stories. I don’t want to review this book because it’s everything you don’t expect and nothing you do and I want you to judge it for yourself. Her writing is simply spectacular and usually, when I read a collection of short stories, I can pick a few that stand out or a few I skimmed over. Not the case here. Read every single one and cannot choose a favorite. However, I will caution: if reading about sex makes you uncomfortable, pass on this one. 

TL;DR: Add The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Difficult Women, and All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. Add the others, too. Just not Imagine Me Gone

Now it’s your turn! Link up and show me your books! Nonbloggers, let me know in the comments what you’ve been reading!

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Weekly six-pack, 2017, v10

What a week. Not so much from the I got a whole lot done perspective but more in the wow, this week has gone by in a fog perspective. I have approximately zero clue what I’ve done, where I’ve been, or anything at all, really. But I guess it couldn’t hurt to try to figure it out. 

Reading. Finished Nearly Found and The Best of Adam Sharp. Started Difficult Women. Got one new book from NetGalley and none from the library. Still working on my priority list and once I get through the books mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m comfortable starting request library books to read along with the NetGalley ones. And don’t forget, Show Us Your Books is on Tuesday!

Attending. Meetings. A lot of meetings. Mostly over the phone, which is nice, but some have been in person and that’s no fun. Plus they leave me feeling drained and not wanting to talk to anyone. Even more than usual.

Celebrating. My kid. She had a hell of a week, starting with winning a bid to compete at Disney World in May and ending with straight As, yet again, on her report card. This was like the 4th or 5th consecutive report card with straight As. We don’t pressure her to do anything except her best so the fact that her grades are all self-motivated makes it even more amazing.  

Using. Remember how I talked about my introvert activism? Well now you can add lazy activism to the list. I learned about this website that will MAIL THE POSTCARDS FOR YOU. You type your message, pay a small fee for the postcard plus postage, and they do the work. There are now no excuses to not contact your representatives. NONE. 

Watching. Big Little Lies. When I found out they were adapting this into a TV show, apprehension took over. Liane Moriarty isn’t exactly a spectacular writer but this was an excellent book and we all know what can happen in that situation. But it’s on HBO, which is helpful, and wow! I’m pretty damn impressed at how good it is! It’s true to the book and incredibly well done and well acted. I’m glad it’s a limited run, though, because it would absolutely start to suck beyond the 7 episodes.

Laughing. 

That’s it for this week. Hope you all have a great weekend! I’ll be at a cheer competition on Sunday and doing absolutely nothing on Saturday except reading and sitting on my couch. Looking forward to seeing you all on Tuesday for Show Us Your Books!