Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Monthly book chat: December edition

 It’s my favorite time of the month. The day we all talk about what books we read! 

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After last month’s book reading blitz, I slowed down for November, only finishing 4 (well, 5 but I’m not reviewing one of them). It averages to one book a week and I’m quite pleased with that. 

Last month, I also told you that I’d review Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think because I wanted to work through some of the exercises she recommended. While I fully intended to do those, I maybe sort of definitely didn’t do them, although if I want to prioritize how I spend my time next year, I will (specifically the list of 100 dreams and a time study). But I wanted to share my thoughts on the book.

So, Jana Says: The book is loaded with fantastic ideas and concepts for thinking about how to manage and use your time. After reading this, there’s really no excuse for complaining that you can’t get everything done. It’s all about how you choose to manage your time and being realistic with your goals, plans, and how you’re really spending your days, and it’s essential to figure where you’re spending your time. Does it match with your core competencies? Are you as busy as you think? Questions to think about and answer. However. Many of the ideas and concepts are presented with a very middle to upper class privileged bias, and sometimes it’s hard to see past her entitled attitude. Also, she believes exercise is crucial and as non-negotiable as sleep and eating. She has a point but I felt like she harped on it too much and almost went out of her way to make those who don’t have a regular exercise regimen feel like shit. Recommendation level: High. Even if you don’t read the book, check out her website or Facebook page for related information and downloads for the time study.

Moving on to the books I read this month.

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. Jana Says: My Rainbow Rowell binge read is finished for the year as this was the last book of hers I needed to read (she’s written 4). This lands as my second favorite, after Eleanor and Park. It turned out to be a very cute, very creative love story that kept me reading long after I should have put the book down and I adored that it took place in the late 90s around the time of the Y2K obsession. I found myself liking all of the characters in the book, which almost never happens, and I want Lincoln to be a real person. Actually, thinking about it, he sort of reminded me of Jim Halpert. John Krasinski would be the perfect person to play him if this book ever becomes a movie.

The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard. Jana Says: After reading her book Reunion, I had high hopes for this book. I should have lowered my standards. Told from the first person plural perspective of a group of boys obsessed with a girl gone missing and her younger sister (which continued into adolescence), I found the book boring and tedious at times and some of her depictions about teenage (and later, adult) boys were stereotypical and cliche and annoying to read. At other times, though, it was weird and engrossing and made me glad I picked it up. I’m glad I read Reunion first because if this was the first book of hers I read, I wouldn’t read any more.

Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little. Jana Says: This was a fun little book. If you’re looking for an intriguing mystery along the same lines of Gone Girl, this is not it (despite what people say). The writing is more immature than Gillian Flynn’s, and the plot gets convoluted, and you don’t feel the same emotions but it’s still a good read for a Sunday afternoon while your husband is watching football and you need something else to do. I liked the almost real-time element of TMZ updates and blog posts and “breaking news” and the submystery of “where did Janie go”. I hated the ending, though. Not in the Gone Girl “I hate this” but I genuinely hated it. I definitely rate it lower because of it.

The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley Jana Says: I genuinely don’t know how to review this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, even if the pro-life agenda hidden in the story line bugged me from time to time (it was kind of preachy) but within the context of the story, it makes total sense so I’m willing to let it slide. The backstory between the two main characters was incredibly touching but I found myself getting annoyed with almost all of the characters at one point. The author did a wonderful job of handling the subject of infant loss, giving it the respect it deserves, and the controversial nature of the plot reminded me of Me Before You and some of Jodi Picoult’s books that deal with morally ambiguous (I can’t think of the actual word I want to use), and that makes for interesting reading.

On the December/January list: Yes Please, Leaving Time, Fourth of July Creek, and Why We Broke Up, among others. 

Now it’s your turn. Link up below and share what you’ve read:



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  1. Pingback: My November Reads - The Family Bucket List

  2. Linda sheridan

    The Promise of Stardust is such a lovely book title! Enjoyed your reviews of all of these books.
    I will be visiting Laura’s website. I have more time than I have ever had. I seem to enjoy getting done what is necessary and what I want to do! I used to do so much more and ran around like a loon.
    I am stubborn as an ass about exercising!
    Nice post!
    Love, SMD’s Momma

  3. Kerry

    The 168 hours book sounds interesting. I think there is time where we choose to waste time and ways we can be more effective. Sometimes you just gotta veg and watching Lifetime though. 😉 Attachments was so good and I love the idea of Jim for casting of Lincoln. Spot on!
    Kerry recently posted…November Books I’ve ReadMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I agree! You can’t be productive every minute of every day. She seems to forget that at times but she does make you feel like you’re able to balance more of the fun with the productive so that you don’t feel like any time is wasted time (if that makes sense).

      I love pretending to cast actors in movies adapted from books!

  4. Kelli

    Does 168 hours include how not to procrastinate? I have LOTS of time, I’m just lazy and have a tendency to push it off until whenever.
    Kelli recently posted…What I Read: NovemberMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      She gives great tips for balance the fun stuff with the work stuff but she doesn’t address procrastinating as a thing itself. That would be a good book, though.

  5. Analisa

    I loved Dear daughter! I read half of the promise of stardust and my heart couldn’t handle it. It hit way too close to home and even though I wanted to see what happened I just couldn’t.

    That Rainbow Rowell is going on my lost! Thanks for your recommendations!

    1. Jana (Post author)

      Definitely read Rainbow Rowell’s books. I didn’t love Landline but I did love the rest of her books! The Promise of Stardust was not an easy read, for sure. I’m glad I kept going, though.

  6. lisacng @ expandng.com

    Glad to hear that Attachments was a second favorite next to E & P! I hope she keeps writing! The book about time management sounds interesting, though the parts that bugged you would probably bug me as well. I am not currently exercising regularly, or at all.
    lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted…Tweetviews – book reviews in 140 charactersMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      If you go into the book knowing that she’s pretty elitist and she comes at her point with an educated, upper class perspective, it’s easier to ignore those parts and focus on the helpfulness.

      Attachments was SO good. I highly recommend it.

  7. Kate

    I liked Dear Daughter but also hated the ending. I’m going to check out the time management book!
    Kate recently posted…Books- love ‘em or leave ‘emMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      Right? Such a bad ending. Made me angry.

      I hope you like 168 Hours!

  8. kristen

    The Promise of Stardust is on my list, thanks for the warning about the pro life preaching.
    I really liked Attachments when I read it (so agree about John Krasinski) but E&P is definitely my fave of hers!
    kristen recently posted…More Books LatelyMy Profile

  9. Amber

    I love reading. I’ll have to check out these books. I did read Attachments.
    Amber recently posted…Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday!My Profile

  10. Nadine

    I absolutely adored Attachments and loved all the characters as well! So glad you got to read it. I am so far behind on reading this month, only finishing two books in my series…so I didn’t link up because I think people are tired of me talking about these books haha! I have so many on my to read list, so I need to get moving!
    Nadine recently posted…11 Answer You’re Dying to KnowMy Profile

  11. Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage

    I haven’t read any of these. I added Attachments to my to-read list. I’ll have to look into the 168 hours book, sounds interesting.
    Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage recently posted…Show Us Your Books~November EditionMy Profile


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