Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Show Us Your Books: January edition

It’s my favorite day of the month because it’s the day we all talk about books! Yay for books!

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Let’s get right to it.

For this month’s review, I’ve got 6 books for you. I’m in the middle of both As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of the Princess Bride and The Journalist and the Murderer but I didn’t finish either of them in time for today’s post (because naps and football and weekend laziness and I watched Apocalypse Now on Saturday so there went my whole life because holy fuck is that a long movie) so we’ll talk about them next month.

Here’s what we’ll be reviewing today

january books

 

Yes Please by Amy Poehler. Jana Says: Like basically everyone everywhere, I love Amy Poehler. She’s pretty much the best. Same with her book. It was filled with all kinds of personal stories and sound advice and it’s broken it up into sections that sort of made sense together and famous people names but what I loved most about the book was a) she refused to bad mouth her ex-husband and b) the love and passion she clearly has for her family, friends, and career. She comes across just as you’d think she would–confident and humble and hilarious. It’s a great read with one huge downfall. The book weighs about 2390478 pounds. It’s printed on photo paper and it’s freaking heavy. Be careful when picking up this book.

QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life by John G. Miller. Jana says: I read this at the recommendation of my friend Nick who I respect a lot. However. I did not enjoy this book at all. I mean, it’s well written and ridiculously short and has so much potential but rather than full of practical advice, I found it filled with short anecdotes, motivational quotes, and platitudes. Kind of like what you would get at a one day seminar your day job sends you to. There was no depth to the book, even in the chapters that seemed the most promising. I’m upset because the author seems like a genuinely nice guy who wants to help people but for me, the book fell completely flat.

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Jana says: I finished this book in a day. Correction. A few hours. I love the premise behind the book–a married couple fall out of love with each other and seek to figure out their marriage not by divorce or by affair but by separating and cutting off communication with each other entirely. Or do they? Marriage is freaking hard work and I enjoyed how the book tackled that head on. It’s not always popular to dispel the fantasy of fairy tale marriages or ones that end in disaster and while the ending wasn’t my favorite, the rest of the story made up for it.

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson. Jana says: I don’t even know how to review this book. If we’re friends on Goodreads, you’ll notice I gave it no stars. That’s not because I hated the book. Not since The Story of Edgar Sawtelle have I both loved and hated a book so much at the same time. I mean, it is an incredibly detailed, intricate, interesting story of a social worker in 1980s Wyoming who is simultaneously trying to find his runaway daughter, deal with a mess of teenage client, and save a survivalist and his son. Completely engrossing. But sometimes, it got to be too heavy, too tedious, too long winded to read. And honestly, I don’t get the 1980s setting. It could have easily taken place in any decade. And as a former social worker type, I truly don’t understand how Pete wasn’t fired for some of the shit he did. 

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. Jana says: Oh, Jodi Picoult, how I want to quit you. And I almost did a few books ago. But then you churned out The Storyteller and now you gave me Leaving Time and I can’t let you go. What a great story you wove with this one. The ending was the first time one of your books actually caught me by surprise with your formulaic and expected twist and using a teenager, a real, complex teenager, as the narrator means that the next book you write will be on my to-read list. The only part of this book that got a bit tedious for me was the almost preachy tone about the elephants. I get raising awareness but it was too much at times. 

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. Jana says: I had high, high hopes for this book after reading Me Before You a few months ago, which was probably unfair to the book and the author. And I did enjoy the first part of the book with Sophie and the painting and France and World War I (as a reader, I liked that she chose to set the beginning of the book during WWI. WWII is getting to be an overused setting and it’s almost too easy) and Liv’s sadness and loneliness in the present day are heartbreaking. The back and forth between present and past made for engaging reading but like After I Do, the ending was too easy, simple, and clean. I would have preferred a messier ending to a story like this. 

Now it’s your turn. What did you read this month? Link up below or, if you’re not a blogger, tell me in the comments: 

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37 Comments

  1. Kerry

    I now want to read After I Do, thanks. Picoult is a weird one for me too, she has some good ones but it hit or miss at times too. I liked the Girl You Left Behind but I felt the same about the second half and most of the court scenes could have been cut out.
    Kerry recently posted…December Books Iโ€™ve ReadMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      The court scenes were mostly annoying. I definitely could have done without them.

      Reply
  2. Nichole

    I go back and forth on Jodi Picoult, myself. But I loved Yes Please! Liked loved it!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      It was such a great book, wasn’t it? Jodi Picoult’s books are just too formulaic and predictable at this point but she can weave an interesting story.

      Reply
  3. Amos

    I am not a book warm, but I am glad you shared the books with us. I will surprise myself with one soon.
    Amos recently posted…New Yearโ€™s Money ResolutionsMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I share my reads every month so hopefully you’ll find one that interests you!

      Reply
  4. Kay R.

    Not a Picoult fan but Ill read it. That Amy Poehler book was a really good one. Better than I expected!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Of her 20 odd books, it’s in my top 5. I hope you enjoy it!

      Reply
  5. Nadine

    Yes Please and The Girl You Left Behind are on my to read list. I can only read books like Yes Please every once in awhile and Bossypants is on my list too. I am not sure which one I want to start with…
    Nadine recently posted…Chicken Fettuccine AlfredoMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I like the way it was a combination advice/memoir. Celebrity advice books do nothing for me but I do like a good memoir. And she’s hysterical and awesome so that helped.

      Reply
  6. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    I felt the same about Amy’s book for the same reasons. I loved the love and respect and admiration she has for her people. The photo paper was insane.

    While I liked the elephant knowledge and storyline in the Picoult book, at some points it was like DUDE WE GET IT, they are magical fragile creatures that we are abusing because we are humans who suck.
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…Show Us Your Books! – What I Read in DecemberMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      At one point I looked at Scott and said, “If she writes any more about elephants, I’m going to stop reading this damn book. It’s ridiculous.” She really got preachy and soapboxy this time.

      Reply
  7. Kristen

    oh i loved the girl you left behind. i did think the ending was a bit anti climatic but i did love it still.
    oh thank goodness i got yes please on audiobook lol – not heavy for me!!
    i have only read a couple of jodi picoult books but the storyteller and leaving time are on my list!
    and i really want to read that as you wish book!
    Kristen recently posted…Books LatelyMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      OMG, The Storyteller was fantastic!!! So is As You Wish. It’s fun to watch the movie now that I know some of the beyond the scenes stuff. Makes it way more interesting.

      Reply
  8. Nicole

    I’m in the middle of Yes Please and while I love Amy Poehler, I’m kinda annoyed by the number of times she whines about writing a book and how hard it is. Once in the intro would have been enough. Otherwise, I’m enjoying it so far.
    Nicole recently posted…Beauty FavoritesMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      Yes. That did get annoying after awhile. I had forgotten about that but I think it probably contributed to my 4 star rating on Goodreads.

      Reply
  9. Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout

    I’m about 2/3rds of the way through the audiobook version of The Girl You Left Behind. I was soooo happy when the modern day storyline started, because the narrator of the French sisters has a horribly annoying voice. If you enjoyed the WWI setting and you like mysteries, you should try Maisie Dobbs.
    Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout recently posted…Welcome to the parsonageMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Thanks for the recommendation! That’s exactly why I can’t listen to audiobooks. If the narrator’s voice bothered me, I’d quit listening and then I wouldn’t get to enjoy the story because I’d be annoyed the whole time I did listen.

      Reply
  10. Julia

    I want to read Jojo Moyes, I haven’t read any of her books yet, but they are on my list! Right now they are all checked out at my library though and I am cheap so I don’t want to buy them. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I want to read Yes, Please too!
    Julia recently posted…Weekend RecapMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      This was my second book of hers and I’ll most likely read the rest of them once I finish the pile I currently have. I rarely buy books, too. Library books FTW!

      Reply
  11. Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage

    I have three of these already on my to-read list ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not huge into Jodi Picoult , I read a few of her’s but to me the characters always seem somehow too similar to each other…same with Nicholas Sparks books. I know I’m going to get kicked out of blogland for admitting such ๐Ÿ™‚
    Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage recently posted…Show Us Your Books~December EditionMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Using the same formula for each book gets a bit tedious to read. I agree. But sometimes she picks a topic or writes it in such a way that I’ll forgive her. I’ve only read one Nicholas Sparks book, The Notebook, and that was enough. Based on the jacket descriptions, they all seem the same.

      Reply
  12. lisacng @ expandng.com

    I didn’t finish any book in Dec. because of the holidays and then our library’s system was down during the holiday so I couldn’t read any of the ebooks! No worries, I’m doubling down for Feb. and definitely going to finish Eat Pray Love this week. I want to read that marriage book because I’d hope to learn more about mine and how to make it even better. It’s good to know that me and Alan are in for the long haul and want to work at it.
    lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted…Page Turners: Februaryโ€™s bookMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      After I Do is a fiction book so I don’t know that I learned too much about my marriage as a result but I liked that it didn’t paint a shiny picture. Much more realistic.

      Reply
  13. Meagan

    I read Leaving Time recently too and really loved it. After I Do looks interesting and I’ll definitely add it to my list ๐Ÿ™‚ I have the two Jojo Moyes books and plan on reading them soon!!
    Meagan recently posted…Books LatelyMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      She’s going to be a binge read of mine once I finish a bunch I already have on my nightstand and on hold. I like that her books are quick enough but have substance.

      Reply
  14. jennifer

    I totally agree about the girl you left behind … I loved me before you! I’ll definitely be checking out some of these books!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Happy to help with recommendations and suggestions! I love Me Before You as well.

      Reply
  15. Kate

    I didn’t really love Leaving Time although I did like it. Same with The Girl You Left Behind. These authors give me such high expectations!
    Kate recently posted…And the winner of Best Book of the Last Month (or so) is…My Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I know. Me, too! And I feel like sometimes it’s unfair to have such high expectations because they can’t be perfect all the time. Take Rainbow Rowell. I love her but I am not looking forward to her next book. From what I understand of it, it’s not for me. Disappointing.

      Reply
  16. Amber

    I enjoyed Leaving Time. But I love Jodi Picoult.

    I need to check out After I Do. Sounds interesting.
    Amber recently posted…Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday!My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I think you’d like After I Do. If you read it, let me know what you think!

      Reply
  17. Erin

    I’m intrigued with Fourth of July Creek…….

    I’ve actually never read a Jodi Picoult. Weird, I know.
    Erin recently posted…List #16 – Aussie Author Challenge 2015My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      No Jodi Picoult book ever?! I’ve never met anyone else who can say that! Except my husband ๐Ÿ™‚

      Fourth of July Creek was an extremely intriguing book. I’d recommend it but I definitely have a severe love/hate relationship with it.

      Reply
  18. Nancy @ The Family Bucket List

    I read Leaving Time this month and loved it! So glad you liked After I Do….read it last month. I am on the hold list at the library for Yes, Please and have been wanting to read The Girl You Left Behind.
    Nancy @ The Family Bucket List recently posted…December ReadsMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I hope you like Yes Please! And definitely get your hands on The Girl You Left Behind. It has some minor flaws but was overall, a great read.

      Reply
  19. Christina

    I’m adding Leaving Time to my list! Everyone loves it!
    Christina recently posted…That Time I Went To The Movies AloneMy Profile

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