Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Author Archive: Jana

Weekly six-pack, 2017, v24

My to-do list looks like this: 1. Get my shit together. That’s actually the only item on there. I am a mess lately and the harder I try to fix it, the worse it gets. Not sure why. I think I need a weekend to just get ahead and that’s not happening any time soon. So I’ll just settle for being a shitty, messy adult. It’s pretty much my only option. 

That being said, here’s some snippets from the past few weeks so you know what I have and haven’t been up to:

Reading. Finishing up Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions. Picked up 3 new ones from the library (The Locals, Janesville: An American Story, and Bird Box), got a couple from NetGalley that I probably won’t read until a year passed the pub date like all the other ones I have, and have a couple I need to buy. I think I need a readcation or readathon is in order. 

Watching. After bingeing the shit out of Rectify, I don’t have the emotional bandwith for another show right now but am looking forward to a few new ones, including two on Netflix, one of which stars Regina King who is one of my all-time favorites (it’s called Seven Seconds for those who are curious).

Planning. All the things I’m going to buy. Losing weight is an expensive thing. Not so much in the methods for losing it (calorie tracking and running are mostly free) but the end result means new clothes and bras and ring guards and I hate to shop because there’s a whole bunch of mental problems that going along with it. And I still have more I want to lose so everything right now is interim and I get to do this again in a few months. Awesome. I also have fun things like a Paperwhite and books and makeup I plan to buy, too. Those do not cause me stress or affect my mental health.

Needing. A change of scenery. I admit that the view from my backyard isn’t terrible and I’m not that far from the beach but I’m getting itchy feet and need to see somewhere new and different. I’ll be in Dallas in a few weeks and I hope that satisfies my need but I’m not convinced it will. When you need a change of scenery or your wanderlust kicks in and you don’t have the time or tons of funds available to actually go on a real trip or adventure, what’s your favorite way to scratch the itch?

Drinking. Obsessively consuming the maple pecan cold brew from Dunkin Donuts. You can have your PSLs. I take these any days over that shit.

Winning. Mother of the year. I told my child she is garbage chicken. 

 

This weekend I’ll be heading up to my parents’ house for the final visit to my childhood home. My parents are moving shortly and I need to say goodbye to the place they’ve lived for 32 years. It’s bittersweet but I know it’s necessary for them. Hope your weekend is less emotional than mine and I’ll see you guys back on Tuesday!  

Show Us Your Books, September 2017 edition

Although it’s been 5 weeks since our last SUYB and when we have an extra week in there I get an extra book or two read, such was not the case this month. The culprit? The TV show Rectify. I found it on Netflix and it proceeded to consume me for about 2 solid weeks. It’s not that many seasons or episodes but it left me emotionally spent. I’m not a crier but I cried MULTIPLE times, sometimes multiple times an episode, watching it. It’s a mystery, character study, and scathing indictment of our criminal justice system all at once and it centers around a man freed from death row after spending nearly 20 years on it for a crime he did not commit. You have to see it. I implore you. 

Anyway, you’re here for the books so that’s what I’ll give you. Don’t forget to visit Steph and the other bloggers who’ve joined us to talk books this month and if you’ve been on the fence about joining because you don’t feel like you read enough, I say fuck that and join us anyway. The average American reads less than 10 PER YEAR so at even one book a month, you’re above average. And we want to know what you’ve been reading! Share with us! Next one is on October 9 and we’ll be celebrating 3 years. It’s a big deal.

Reviews copied and/or embellished from Litsy.

The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose. This book just didn’t do it for me like I’d hoped. It started off interesting enough but the level of detail about art and conspiracy theories I had to retain in order to follow half the plot was simply too much. It became distracting and it felt like this was an art version of The Following but less good. Lee’s story and subplot were engaging enough but overall, I struggled with this one. However, I can absolutely see why people would love it. But I did not. 

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. My god, what a book this was. It was beautiful and haunting and not at all what I was expecting. Sometimes when a modern book takes place in the 70s or 80s, it feels gimmicky but in this case it was perfect. Given the storyline around AIDS, it would not have been as powerful if it had taken place now. This book also had a central theme around art but unlike The Readymade Thief, this one connected with me. 

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. This is a good book. Not amazing but a solid read. The separate yet connected plots kept me intrigued and I had no interest in putting the book down. She’s a strong writer who knows how to tell a complicated story without being obnoxious about it. The characters are complex, she doesn’t tie up all the loose ends, and she smacks you hard with the unexpected that’s balanced with the easy to guess and it’s just the right about of fucked up. WAY less fucked up than Pretty Girls. So that was nice. 

The Cleaner by Paul Cleave. This was my 3rd book of his and he does not disappoint. He has quickly become my go-to for a violent psychological thriller because: he’s a great writer who messes with your head, knows how to develop a fucked up plot and characters, and he’s darkly funny. The only thing that bothered me about this book was that Joe, the main character, reminded me so much of Joe from YOU with the ego and narcissism and sociopathy and murder that it was hard not to think of them as the same character. But like I did with YOU, I read the sequel and I will read the sequel to this one as well. 

A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave. If I read two books by the same author in one month, you know I like them. He is such a phenomenal storyteller and writes about fucked up things in such a different way and it makes it difficult to not stay up until 3AM reading. This one is WEIRD and so so unique for a thriller because it’s thrillery with twist after twist and such a blurring of good and bad and morals that you don’t actually know who is responsible for anything. I mean, you do, but not in the way you normally think about it. 

The Dinner Party and Other Stories by Joshua Ferris. Short story collection so if you don’t like short stories, this should be a hard pass for you. I have loved all of his books I’ve read. They’re weird and interesting and I appreciate the elements of realism. And I felt that way about some of the stories in this collection but after awhile they all felt like a rehashing of the same story with the same characters and it became repetitive and uninteresting. However. Any book that pays homage to Coach Taylor is okay by me.

TL; DR: The Paul Cleave and Karin Slaughter books are must reads for my fellow thriller lovers. Tell The Wolves I’m Home is outstanding. Maybe don’t read The Dinner Party and The Readymade Thief.

Currently reading: Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions. I’d hoped to have it done by today but life happens. 

Now it’s your turn. Link up below and Show Us Your Books!

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The Child’s First Book Review

You’ve all read my book reviews at some point. Mostly in Show Us Your Books. So you know that they’re pretty short and to the point. I typically don’t mince words. Apparently that’s a family trait because The Child is pretty concise herself. I should probably explain. She had a summer reading assignment that involved reading a book and writing about it. She didn’t want to do a poster and since The Armchair Librarians is on an extended hiatus, we decided that this year she’d contribute a post discussing one of the books she read. Fun fact: it’s a Babysitters Club book. I cannot tell you how freaking excited I am that she is enjoying the series. And not the newfangled graphic novel versions, either. The real, old school (as in, some of my copies) books. 

That said, this is her review. I’m not sure how much she adhered to the assignment guidelines but it seems okay to me. I didn’t fix any spelling or punctuation or grammar or anything (and y’all know how much that killed me) so this is legit her work. Feel free to ask her any follow up questions and when she gets home from school I’ll have her answer them.

Welcome, today we are going to be talking about a book in the series The Babysitters Club called: Mary Anne and Too Many Boys. But instead of talking about Mary Anne or Stacey  we are going to be talking about Vanessa. Vanessa is the 9 year old poet who is the sweet, kind, calm and creative one in the Pike family. She makes the story a lot more interesting because she in the story she has a crush on Chris a boy from the Ice Cream Place in Sea City the Pikes vacation spot. Why she is so important to the story is because thru out the book Mary Anne has to deal with her and Stacey’s old boyfriends,Vanessa’s crush and Babysitting 7 kids too. So this is just one of all the main 3 events. So what winds up happening is Vanessa writes a poem for him but he thinks that his crush Mallory wrote it for him. So the main important’s of Vanessa is that she is a little drama in the huge Drama fest that is this vacation.

Add It To My List: Escapist edition

Remember last week when I ranted about needing to protect my sanity because of the chronic shit 45 puts this country through? I figured that maybe some of you guys are going through something similar and so, for this month’s edition of Add It To My List, I’m giving you my recommendations for when the news is too much and you need an escape. 

Podcasts

Seriously. Listen to these even if you’re not a podcast junkie.

  1. Homecoming. I might have mentioned this before (in fact, I’ve probably mentioned all of these before) but this one is fucking spectacular. It’s got a celebrity cast (no joke. Catherine Keener and David Schwimmer and Amy Sedaris and more), the writing is incredible and, for season 2, there’s even a book to go along with each of the 6 episodes. It’s a dual escape!
  2. Conversations with People Who Hate Me. Hosted by Dylan Marron, these are the civil conversations we need to be having with people who disagree with us. There’s only 4 episodes so far so you’re not too far behind. 
  3. All the Books! Need more books in your life? Want to know all about new releases? Then you need this podcast. Liberty and Rebecca are book enthusiasts to the zillionth degree and they’re entertaining as hell. Also, Liberty has a spinoff podcast called All the Backlist! that’s about older books. It’s a good one, too. 
  4. Alice Isn’t Dead. Listen before it’s a book and a TV show! Seriously. It’s weird and crazy and surreal and satire and hard to follow sometimes but it’s quite excellent. 

I’ve left off all my true crime podcasts (there’s a lot. A LOT) because maybe you’re not in a good place to listen to murder and stuff like that but if you want some recommendations for that genre, let me know 

Instagram

Who doesn’t like to look at pictures? These accounts provide some of my favorites.

  1. Happy Tails Resort. It’s a boarding facility in Norfolk and they have a pool and watching all the dogs swim is basically the highlight of my days
  2. Introvert Doodles. Marzi is smart and funny and she really really gets me and the introvert life (even if I am more of an ambivert). I want her coloring book!
  3.  Quincy. He’s a dog. A Bichon, specifically, and he used to be insanely popular when Vine was a thing. Now I follow them on IG. You should, too.
  4. Katie Ryan. Well, it’s more for her kid (Ava) but the kid is fucking hilarious. Please, please watch some of the videos. This kid is a like a next-generation Kate McKinnon, I swear. 

I also follow lots of publishing houses and authors so let me know if you’d like some of those. It’s how I learn about many of the books I read. 

TV Shows 

Going with some old friends this time around. 

  1. Roseanne. My favorite sitcom of all-time and I can watch every episode forever and ever. 
  2. The Golden Girls. If you don’t love them, you have no soul.
  3. The Wonder Years. Fundamental viewing for this 80s kid
  4. That 70s Show. It’s so stupidly funny but I can’t not laugh all the time. 

Songs

This was the most difficult to narrow down because of the playlists that Erin and I have but I tried to pick songs that have never been represented and aren’t exclusively from the hard rock category. 

  1. The Anthem by Good Charlotte
  2. Cry Tough by Poison
  3. Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard
  4. Ain’t It Heavy by Melissa Etheridge

What would you add to my list? 

Linking up with Lauren and Bre

Weekly six pack, 2017, v23

Trying to get back into the swing of things. It’s not going well but at least I get an A for effort. Hell, I’d settle for a C at this point. And average is good. 

Reading. Definitely not blogs but most certainly books. Plowing through The Good Daughter, picked up The Cleaner, and have only two more before I start to tackle the NetGalley queue. 

Watching. Um…nothing? I have this habit of bingeing on a few shows at once and then barely turning on the TV for weeks.  I have a few shows I DVR and then watch all on one day (currently: Ray Donovan, Snowfall, John Oliver) but that’s it. I couldn’t even tell you when a few of the shows I like to watch are starting and I know there’s one new one but if you gave me money I couldn’t name it. 

Eating. Now that I’ve finally detoxed from Twizzlers and Sour Patch Kids, I’m on the cheese and tomato train. And cashews. 

Raging. At the Mets. I have accepted that this year, they suck balls. Big time suck balls. It’s fine because it comes with the territory of being a Mets fan. It’s heartache and rage wrapped in a awesomeness and delight. HOWEVER. WHY ARE THEY TRADING AWAY EVERYONE WHO HELPS THEM BE BETTER ? They’ve majorly unloaded and it’s a horror show and I’m having a really hard time liking them right now. 

Running. No, that’s it. I’ve been running. I hate every single step and every single minute but my weight loss has stalled a bit and my boxing instructor said that running is a good way to kick it back in the ass (my words, not hers. She was more polite) and it seems to be working for the most part. We’ll see what happens. 

Wanting. All the things. I have a list of like 46 items I plan to buy as money allows because I am a girl whose wants are currently bigger than her budget. Why couldn’t this have happened back in June, when it was my birthday? Oh, well. Hanukkah and Christmas are soon.  

Quick admin note: in a few short weeks, they’ll be some aesthetic changes around these parts. I’m excited for them. Tanya fucking rocks!