Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Author Archive: Jana

Weekly six-pack, v20

I don’t even know if I can fill up 6 categories this week but we’ll try.  Again, I’m not touching the horrendous dumpster fire of our government because I still just can’t.

Reading. A Brief History of Seven Killings. Picked up nothing from the library but added Artemis to the ever expanding NetGalley queue. Thanks to everyone who participated in SUYB. Next one is August 8.

Watching. Well, hate watching. American Ninja Warrior. This show makes me crazy and the announcers are obnoxious and the sideline “reporter” is a fucking idiot but my family enjoys this show so I watch and snark the whole time.

Buying. Things on Amazon prime day. Pre-ordered the newest Kopp sisters, bought some Babysitter’s Club books for the child, and a neck pillow for our painfully long drive to Myrtle Beach next week. Thought about getting some other things but I get purchase paralysis and always wind up not getting anything frivolous. I don’t know how to make this stop. 

Loving. That my kid went to camp this week. Even if it was just in the afternoons it was the best money I’ll spend all summer. It was good for all of us. 

Not loving. My dog’s new need to go outside EVERY SINGLE NIGHT at like 1AM. He’s old so I know he can’t help it but good lord is it annoying. And he does it even if he gets a walk before bed. 

Laughing.


Have a great weekend and week! I’ll see y’all when I get back from vacation!

Three things

Steph started this idea. I’ve copied it before. And even though I planned to do a Judging Covers today, that didn’t happen so instead I bring to you another installment of Three Things. 

Three books I’ve loved this year

  1. The Hate U Give
  2. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
  3. (tie. I do what I want) Confessions and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Three books I’m looking forward to reading

  1. Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions (Amy Stewart)
  2. Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng)
  3. Artemis (Andy Weir)

Three podcasts I enjoy

  1. True Crime Garage
  2. Homecoming
  3. Alice Isn’t Dead

Three podcasts I want to try

  1. Conversations with People Who Hate Me
  2. My Favorite Murder
  3. Mogul

Three current regular TV shows I love

  1. Better Call Saul
  2. Fargo
  3. Orphan Black

Three current Netflix/Hulu/Amazon shows I love

  1. Sneaky Pete
  2. The Path
  3. (tie) Stranger Things, Longmire

Three shows worth a binge

  1. The Wire
  2. The Shield
  3. Sons of Anarchy

Three places I’m excited to visit this year

  1. The Strand bookstore
  2. Dealey Plaza
  3. Steph’s beach house

Three recipes I want to try

  1. This slow cooker Mediterranean eggplant salad
  2. This pina colada chicken salad
  3. This Greek pasta salad with crab and feta although I’ll use real crab. None of that imitation shit for me

Three apps I’m loving

  1. Duolingo
  2. At Bat (how I keep up with my beloved Mets)
  3. Lose It! (a calorie tracking app)

Three things I’m glad I’ve done this year

  1. Started boxing
  2. Learned to make cold brew coffee
  3. Donated to causes I believe in

Your turn! What are three things going on in your life?

Show Us Your Books, July 2017 edition

Guys. I am doing this post from my phone because I somehow got locked out of my blog on my laptop and until I can get somewhere with a different IP address and unlock myself, I have no access. And since that will not happen before I have a chance to post, I’m pretty much fucked. 

That said, I apologize if anything is screwy or unclear and I won’t be able to link the books to Goodreads until I get this shit fixed. 

Now. Books. There were 10 this month which is high even for me. Not really sure what happened. I don’t even think I had a DNF even if two came close. 

As always, my reviews are mostly copied from Litsy. Books from NetGalley are designated otherwise I borrowed from the library. 

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison. This is not an easy book to read. At all. It wasn’t as violent or graphic as I had expected based on some descriptions, which was nice, but those scenes were incredibly difficult to get through especially once you remember how old Bone actually is (I kept thinking she was WAY older). There’s some nonsense and parts I skimmed a bit but overall, it’s a powerful story about choices, abuse, poverty, desperation, family, love, survival, and humanity. Also, if anyone can find the movie version of this, please let me know. I can’t find it anywhere that’s not purchasing it. NOT EVEN THE LIBRARY.

In the Shadow of Alabama by Judy Reene Singer. I wanted to like this book. I did. It tells an important story about family, race, war, and how we’re all haunted by something or someone. But OMG was it boring. The writing didn’t do it for me and I really don’t like horses so those parts were an absolute waste. This would have been a DNF but since it’s based on a real story I kept going mostly to fill in some gaps in the way the narrative was told. Others may like this book but it wasn’t for me.

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane. I like his storytelling and way with words but this felt like 2 different stories smashed into one. The second half was intense and action packed and thrillery while the first felt more like something I can’t quite describe but definitely not a thriller. While I liked the book and characters, it didn’t turn out at all like it was set up at the beginning, which is fine, but it felt unnatural. Like I was conned. Which is oddly relevant to the plot.

The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins. I love Ellen Hopkins and her ability to write a story and characters you can’t put down, even when the size of the book starts to hurt your hands. Her rawness, her emotions, and her willingness to share her life, even in a fictitious way, makes me admire her bravery even if the poetry thing is old. I did like how she wove prose into this book, and her opinions on Planned Parenthood and Scientology were also a bit unusual for her but very welcomed. And thanks to whomever first mentioned her books. I found her through this linkup and I’m now a huge fan.

The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tale of Life on the Road by Finn Murphy. This book reminded me of Hillbilly Elegy in the sense of it being a sociological study but with the lens of a memoir. It combines trucking history, personal stories, and industry information, touches on some modern issues like sprawl and racism and our accumulation of cheap stuff, and overall, is just a good book. Even if you don’t have truckers in your family, it makes for a fascinating read. Fun fact: my husband read this right after I did and finished it in 4 days. He NEVER reads books that quickly.

Small Hours by Jennifer Kitses. I received this as an ARC from NetGalley. This is a perfectly fine book that passes the time just fine. The writing is good, the plot is strong, the characters are horrible in a likable way even when you want to punch them in the face. I liked the concept of parallel stories about secrets and lies taking place over a single day and told from alternating POV but the ending stunk. Cliffhangers have their place. This was not one of them. 

The Dinner by Herman Koch. I did not like this book at all. I didn’t find it amusing or smartly satirical or a commentary on anything other than a shitty plot with horrible characters. It reveled in the mundane and useless and skimmed over and rushed through the few parts that were actually enjoyable and kept it from being a big fat DNF. The ending sucked, too, which was disappointing because I was hoping for some sort of big payoff for the rest of the crap I read.

Penance by Kanae Minato. While this book wasn’t quite as good as Confessions, it was still an excellent, dark book about murder and choices and actions and consequences and responsibility and the effects of trauma and words on children and adults. I loved the way each chapter built on the one before and how she wove each girl’s story into the others’. The narrative felt natural and progressive and I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. It feels like I’m the last person to read this. It reminded me of a lighter, quirkier The Fault in Our Stars. Similar premise but definitely its own book. I definitely had feels even when I figured out what exactly was going on so that’s telling and her storytelling was unique and made the book fun to read. However, it felt like a typical YA book and there could have been some more developed parts that were glossed over instead. Still, I recommend. 

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. Her ideas and theories about habits are fascinating to me and I loved reading through the book with an idea (I took the quiz) of my Tendency (Rebel with Questioner leanings. This should not be a surprise to anyone who knows me). It put so much into perspective and thinking about how I approach habit changes is different now. That said, this is not a book to be read once and absorb everything. To fully get what you need, this is one that requires several rereads or a binge of her blog because there is so much information. Also, and if I’m being completely honest, I feel like if I knew her in person, I wouldn’t like her. She is not any fun. Like, at all and I definitely read the book with that in mind. But to her credit, she owns it. OH! And did anyone else get RAGE-INDUCING ANNOYED with how often she mentioned her sister is a TV writer? WE GET IT, GRETCHEN. 

TL; DR. Penance, Since We Fell, The You I’ve Never Known are all must reads for me. I’d say the Gretchen Rubin book but I’m like the last person to read it so no need. Avoid The Dinner because the place has rats and will give you food poisoning. 

Currently reading: A Brief History of Seven Killings. On the list for the next month: Ramona Blue, August Snow, Saint Maybe, and some NetGalley books before NetGalley disowns me.

Now it’s your turn! Let me know what you’ve read and make sure you visit Steph and some other bloggers. And brace your Goodreads TBR.

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Add it to my random list

I haven’t linked up with Lauren and Bre in awhile and I don’t even know if they still have the linkup but I had it on my calendar so here we are.

Ordinarily I like to have a theme for my recommendations but this month is just a collection of random things I like that I think you should, too. 


Not hotdog. It’s an app and honestly, it’s pretty fucking stupid but if you’re a fan of Silicon Valley on HBO, then this is the best app you will ever use. If you’re not a fan, this should sort of give you an idea as to what it does:

Blue Lizard sunscreen. Our pediatrician recommended this to us when the child was a baby and we have used almost nothing else since. It has a UV sensitive bottle that changes colors so you know when you should apply (to be fair, if you’re at the beach, it will be blue the whole time unless you’re in the shade or later in the day. Then it’s a light blue instead of raging angry blue) and it’s super thick so a little goes a long way. It’s not the cheapest you’ll buy but it’s worth every penny.

Tervis cups. I have an entire cabinet of these and if it were up to me, all of our glasses would be replaced with them. They’re basically indestructible (which is awesome when you’re clumsy), you can get them in just about any theme or pattern you can think of, some are insulated, and I will love them forever.

Spotify Daily Mix. Use Spotify? Then you need to check out your daily mixes. They’re playlists that the app picks for you, there’s like 6 to choose from and it’s different every single day. Mine are typically a combination of some favorites, some forgotten songs, and ones I’ve never heard. And sometimes, they just get me.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I know. I raved about it during Show Us Your Books. And on IG. And in a Friday six pack post. But in case you missed all of those, I am STRONGLY recommending you read it. Even if you’re not a big reader. Please. Read this book. 

What are you recommending this month?

Weekly six pack, 2017, v19

Quick apology. I know I’m not addressing the horrifying events going on in my country (see: the Philando Castile verdict, Nabra Hassanen, Charleena Lyles #saytheirnames or Missouri SB5 or all the health care bullshit just to name a few things) because I can’t. I simply can’t. Not without setting everything around me ablaze from rage a la Firestarter. I have so many thoughts and feelings and opinions and if I start, I won’t be able to stop. So it’s not that I don’t care. I care probably too much and maybe one day I’ll be able to sort it all out into cohesive thoughts. 

And now, the other stuff. 

Reading. Since We Fell. Picked up The Dinner and Everything Everything from the library (finally!). Got approved for a new NetGalley book that I probably won’t get around to until 4 years after it’s pub date. 

Watching. Nothing new but finishing up Bloodline and season 4 of Orphan Black and Fargo and waiting for Snowfall to start next month (that sounds weird but if you don’t know what the show is, it’s about the beginnings of crack).

Eating. Shrimp with zoodles and pesto. I genuinely have to stop myself from eating it 3 times a day.

Wanting. This tank top, if I wore tank tops. A friend from the gym found it and shared in on my FB and it’s very reflective of how much things have changed for me over the last 9 months. 

Wondering. Why the hell people feel the need to gossip and spread rumors about shit they know nothing about. I get it’s for your own sick enjoyment but really, leave me and my kid out of it. Because if you’re talking about us, you must be REALLY FUCKING BORED. Also, if you want to know why she missed a practice, FUCKING ASK ME. Don’t wonder aloud to people who don’t know us or make up stories. To quote Pink, I’m not here for your entertainment. The people who need to know know and if you don’t, then clearly you’re not one of those people. So shut the fuck up.

Loving. The person I drove behind with a “Ruth is the Truth” bumper sticker. Because as well all know, she is. 

That’s it for this week. Hope you guys have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Tuesday with my recommendations!