Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Author Archive: Jana

Weekly six pack, 2017, v15

Reading. Still plugging through Searching for John Hughes. Picked up a book from NetGalley and nothing from the library. Thanks to everyone who participated in Show Us Your Books and I plan to finish up commenting on all your posts in the next few days. The next one is May 9. 

Watching. Better Call Saul and The Son. I’m not a huge TV watcher but for some reason, all the shows I like to watch will be on and/or available within the next couple of months (see: OINTB, House of Cards, Kimmy Schmidt, Silicon Valley, Fargo, and something else that’s not in my brain right now).

Listening. In the Dark. It’s a true crime podcast, with season one focusing on the kidnapping and murder of Jacob Wetterling. Season 2 is in production and I’m excited to find out what they’re covering. 

Loving. The spring weather and the fact that it’s baseball season and my Mets are starting strong. They swept the Phillies this week and they’re currently in first. Granted it’s a long season and anything can happen but for now, I’m enjoying the look from first. 

Trying. To wrap my head around what an absolute fucking shitshow this administration is. I am sickened–SICKENED–by the comments by the White House mouthpiece and I’m sickened that his boss does nothing about it. Then there’s Syria, the bombing of Afghanistan, the changes to internet privacy, EPA cuts, the utter bullshit that is effectively defunding Planned Parenthood, DeVos’s changes to student loan practices, nepotism, and all the rest that supports the evidence of 45’s desire to change our country from a democracy to an authoritarian state. It’s been talked about but for fuck’s sake, how much more has to happen before it’s legit? We’re supposed to be better than this. And as a country, we are. Just not our government. It feels like a Sisyphean and Herculean battle to get those responsible to realize it, and I’m frustrated and angry and my God, please make it stop. 

Laughing. I saw all of these magnets when I was in Baltimore last weekend. I didn’t buy any but thinking I probably should have.  I hope you all enjoy your Easter weekend! I’ll be taking next week off for my daughter’s spring break so I’ll see you back here the following week!

resized signature 2

Show Us Your Books, April 2017

The timing of SUYB this year has been impeccable. In February, it fell on Valentine’s Day. This month, it falls during National Library Week. No joke, I would be lost without my library. At the very least I’d be broke and living in a book fort (which, admittedly, does not sound bad). And it’s not just me. Libraries are an invaluable community resource providing everything from books and movies and music to wifi and computer access to educational, family, and fitness programs (mine offers yoga twice per week!) to a shelter from the cold or heat to pretty much anything else you can imagine. Communities are stronger and more informed because of libraries so please, support yours in any way you can. 

Moving on to the books I read last month in no particular order except the order in which they were read. As always, reviews are copied, with some embellished, from Litsy. Don’t forget that when you’re done here, visit my co-host Steph and some of the other bloggers who linked up with us today. 

I read a disproportionate amount of fucked up books this last month. I’m currently on a three book detox that started with Dave Holmes’s book. It’s been glorious. But I plan to resume all the fucked up when I’m finished with them. 

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens. What I like most about Chevy Stevens is that you can always count on her for a fast paced, engaging read. There’s simimlar themes throughout her books but they’re reliable and don’t disappoint. That’s how I felt about this book, too. I sort of figured out the twist but it was okay; I didn’t want to quit the book as a result. I liked the strength of the characters, the mother-daughter relationship, and there’s a dog! If you’re sensitive to domestic violence, maybe this isn’t for you, though. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan. I thought this would be a cute little cozy mystery but it turned out to be a dark, twisted mystery filled with fascinating characters, a tightly woven, well written and constructed plot, and a hell of an ending even after I figured out the whodunit part (I’m pretty good at that, unfortunately). It was exceeded my expectations, I read it in 2 days, and I’m glad I requested and received it from NetGalley. This a great vacation/plane/rainy day read. 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I struggled with processing my thoughts on this one. I’d never read it before but I almost wish I had in school because this is definitely a “let’s talk through it as we read it books” as there’s just so much. The dystopian society is not far from what could be reality; it’s why it’s horrifying. As a feminist, obviously I spent the book outraged. The historical epilogue was cool AF, the writing is amazing, and I get its significance in literature. 

Bottomland by Michelle Hoover. This is a depressing story of family, loss, pain, and hardship told through 6 different POV. It’s beautifully written but it begins super slow and stays slow but the plot gets stronger as it moves along. The characters become more interesting, tragic, and engaging and I found myself caring about them and what happens to them more than in the beginning. It’s a good book, not a must read or a read in one sitting book, but it didn’t feel like a waste.

Brother by Ania Ahlborn. A local bookseller gave this book to me for free because she thought it sounded like something I’d like. After reading it, I really need to change how I describe the books I like as this is the most disgusting, gruesome, twisted, horrifying book I have ever read. It wasn’t bad; it kept me interested but OMG IS IT DISTURBING. I almost threw up at one point. If you like horror, this is a good one for you. If not, HARD PASS. 

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. Disclaimer: I read this immediately after Brother. DO NOT DO THAT. This messed up, disturbing book about a really unpleasant topic was unputdownable. Seriously. It was engrossing despite being gross (I don’t want to give anything away but if you read it, the main “issue” is pretty obvious in the first 20 pages or so and I want you to decide if you can handle it without input from me) and a good, strong story. I don’t even know how to properly describe what I read and I apologize but I liked the shit out of it. Thanks again, NetGalley.

Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes. Usually a celebrity memoir feels like there’s an air of fake modesty and made up awkwardness to give that relatable feel. Not with this one. Nothing felt fake. Just an honest, open recap of his struggle with himself and how he overcame that (he’s gay so a lot of his struggle relates to accepting himself and choosing to be out publicly), all set against the backdrop of music. The lack of humblebrag was nice, too, even when he discussed his time at MTV. The best part is the musical interludes. If GenX lit ever becomes a genre, this is going to be one of the books that makes it so. 

TL; DR. All except Brother and Bottomland are highly recommended. Bottomland should be a someday book. NEVER read Brother unless you love horror and have a strong stomach. Please trust me on that last part.

Now it’s your turn! Show Us Your Books! And mark May 9 for the next one.

 Loading InLinkz ...


resized signature 2

Weekly six pack, 2017, v14

This week was filled with drama to the 2873th degree, both personal and political, and I’m too drained to rant about either one. But I cannot anymore with this shit Congress or administration of ours and about to lose my fucking mind and it’s best if I don’t even start so my head doesn’t explode. 

Let’s move on to the mundane instead. Oh, and it’s only a 5 pack this week. Sorry about that. 

Reading. Finished Party of One. Started Searching for John Hughes. Requested a couple from NetGalley and picked up two (All Grown Up and I Fired God) from the library. Show Us Your Books on Tuesday!
Watching. The Netflix adaption of 13 Reasons Why. I don’t want to say too much about it but I’m curious what others think. Also, after waiting for a year, Prison Break! Let me be clear. I get it’s not that great and absolutely absurd but I love it anyway. And Wentworth Miller. *swoon*

Listening. Do you guys listen to True Crime Garage? If not, you should. Anyway, they just did a 4 part series on this one case and it was absolutely the most fascinating and interesting one they’ve done in all their episodes. It’s called The Boys on the Tracks and it has drugs and murder and corruption and Bill Clinton. If you have 4 hours, give it a listen. 

Trying. Hand lettering. I actually did practice some. The results? Shameful. I need a lot more practice before I share anything publicly. I did buy some brush marker things and my art teacher neighbor said he’d help me with some techniques. I might actually be able to do something artsy! This is very exciting news!


Hope you guys have a great weekend! I’ll be in Baltimore for our last competition before Disney and I am thrilled that it’s the last regular one. So is my bank account. 

Don’t forget about Show Us Your Books on Tuesday! Can’t wait to see what you’ve been reading!

Things that make me feel put together

I’ve mentioned this before but I have been struggling hardcore lately. I know it’s the depression talking and I’m fighting it off the best I can but some days it gets the best of me and I can’t muster the energy to do anything beyond the necessities of life. And sometimes it’s hard to even do that. But I keep trying and plugging away the best I can. 

It’s on those days that I think about the things I can do to make me feel like I have my life together. I don’t believe in fake it till you make it but I guess this all falls under that. I suppose this list can work even when I’m feeling like my best self because who doesn’t want to feel like they have it all together? 

  • Dinner in the crock pot
  • Wearing a matching bra and underwear
  • Bills paid, grocery shopping done, full tank of gas, and no looming laundry mountain
  • All the DVRd shows watched
  • All the podcasts current
  • All the open tabs read and closed
  • Seeing the living room and kitchen completely clean with no stray items anywhere and everything in its place
  • Fresh manicure and pedicure, either DIY or paying someone else to do it. Polish colors don’t need to match
  • Going a day without running an errand because everyone has everything they need
  • The cat spending the whole day in the house without begging to go outside (this is more of a personal victory than feeling put together but it still counts)
  • Crossing off all the items on ye old to-do list
  • Getting everything I need at one store (unless that store is Walmart, which is the bane of my existence. I hate that fucking place. I sometimes purposefully drive to four different stores simply to avoid our local Walmart)
  • Wearing lip gloss even when I know no one else will see me

For the record, these don’t all have to be accomplished on the same day. If even one of them is done, I feel like I’m put together. 

What makes you feel like you have it all together?

resized signature 2

March results and April’s challenge

For those of you who are new, I decided that I wasn’t setting goals for 2017. Rather, I decided to focus on habit changes, month by month. In January I did a spending freeze, in February I did a library diet, and in March, I decided to pare my makeup and nail polish down to just a few choices. To practice the minimalist life. Honestly, it was a stupid, easy, copout challenge that I picked because my brain froze with any other ideas and also, I knew I’d pass because I spend most of my time at home, not wearing makeup (hell, I barely wear real pants anymore), or at the gym, also not wearing makeup. As for the nail polish, I don’t know why I added that in. Well, I kind of do. I like the idea of having a signature color or look because picking a color more overwhelming than it ever needs to be. 

So how’d I do? Surprisingly, WAY WORSE than I thought I would. First, my nails went to shit and the one week they weren’t splitting, peeling, or breaking (they do this almost seasonally, like a snake shedding its skin) and I could apply nail polish, I did not feel like using the colors I picked. So I didn’t. Because I do what I want, habit changes be damned. 

The makeup part went slightly better. I picked a palette so I had more than one option and I was exclusively using it but then a palette I’ve been wanting for awhile (Too Faced Cat Eyes) went on sale for 50% off. I promptly bought it and starting using it instead. Because again, I do what I want. 


I don’t want to say this month was a fail (even though it was in the most conservative sense) since there were still habit takeaways. For instance, I learned that I can’t limit myself in terms of makeup and nail polish since my moods vary and I like wearing what matches my moods. I like knowing that I can change things on a whim and also, no one except me really cares how much or little I have or if I wear or don’t wear the same thing all the time (this goes for clothes, too). While minimalism is good in theory, when it comes to me and makeup, I just have to accept that it’s not a habit I’m going to pick up. At least not now. 

Moving on to April. 

One thing I am completely terrible at is finishing projects. Not like big home improvement projects but little ones like organizing my bookshelf or actually taking things to Goodwill after a purge or redoing my recipe binder or sorting pictures. Simple stuff that I can finish in less than a day or even an hour. It’s a terrible, annoying habit to have half-finished projects all over the house (ask my daughter about the one I started for her 2 summers ago) and I’d like to fix it. So, in April, that’s what I’m doing. I’m working through all the projects I’ve started and never finished. I know it’ll help with my mental health (which has taken a dive lately) and as a side effect, clean up and organize my house. 

I don’t have a specific list of projects I’m tackling but I do know the ones I mentioned above are high priority. I’m sure that as I finish them, more will appear. I’m glad I have that to look forward to. 

What are you working on this month?

resized signature 2