Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Show Us Your Books–August edition

BOOKS! ALL THE BOOKS!!! 

In the interest of keeping things rolling because I know you all have many, many posts to read and even more books to add to your TBR, I’ll just say thanks for linking up with me and Steph, leave your links after my reviews, and happy reading!

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Quick summary:. This was the month of average books. It started off strong and then, by the end, took a turn into Meh Town which included a stop in Oh God Please Make it Stop-ville featuring The Rosie Effect (the sequel to The Rosie Project, which I loved) and that ended in me storming out in a big DNF huff. I was pissed at that book, and more pissed with the author who managed to turn two quirky, likable characters into two people I could give zero fucks about. 

That out of the way, here’s the rest of what I read: 

Dirty Rush by Taylor Bell. I knew I was going to hate read this book and I most definitely did. It was offensive in ways I didn’t know were possible, perpetrated every single stereotype of the Greek system ever created, and took such a bizarre, ridiculous twist, I didn’t even know how to process it. As a sorority girl at an actual college in Delaware (where the book takes place, which I wasn’t sure was an attempt to make fun of Delaware or simply such a nondescript place no one would question anything), I did not experience anything like she describes. Then again, I am old and maybe things have changed in 20 years. That said, whoever wrote the book is a great writer and definitely has a flair for language. 

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. Easily my favorite book of the month. I don’t know what it was, exactly, that made me love but you know how sometimes you just read a story and fall in love with the characters and the plot and the setting and the whole thing just makes sense to you? That’s how this book was for me. The only problem I had–and it’s a Jana problem, not a book problem–was that I kept confusing Jojo Moyes with Liane Moriarty and found myself often wondering why the book was taking place in England and Scotland instead of Australia. Once my brain reconciled that, we were all good.

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin. Having enjoyed The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, I was excited to read another one of her offerings. I liked the book well enough, and the story definitely grabbed me, and I found myself rooting for the characters at times, and her description and portrayal of depression was heartwrenching and accurate (although nothing along the lines of All the Bright Places), but it just didn’t grab me like AJ Fikry did. I will read more of her books because I like her as a writer. 

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler. What a great book this was. Beautifully written and happy and sad in all the right places with imagery that immersed you in the setting. It reminded me of a Dean Bakopolous book which is funny because in the acknowledgements, the author thanks Dean, who he had as a teacher (yes, I read the acknowledgements. I know. I’m a huge dork) so it all made sense. My only issue with the book is that one of the characters, Ronny, needed more page time, and I would have liked a little less page time for Beth. Second favorite of the month.

My American Unhappiness by Dean Bakopolous. After falling in love with the first two books of his that I read (check out last month’s post for my reviews), I had high hopes for this book. It disappointed me. The main character, Zeke, is a douchebag asshole and completely unlikable in every sense of the word. I found myself literally cringing when he spoke and, towards the end, pitying him in a way that probably isn’t healthy for a fictional character. However. I’m intrigued by the whole premise of the study of unhappiness and I want it to be a real thing. Also, Dean Bakopolous, I still love you. We’re all allowed one mistake. 

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. Let’s never speak of this book again. I’m not even linking to it. 

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. I got this as an ARC from NetGalley. So, this book had so much promise. I’ve read fictional accounts of school shootings before (Nineteen Minutes, The Hour I First Believed) but nothing like this. The story is set inside the 40 something minutes the shooting takes place, told from the perspective of 4 different characters. Unfortunately, the storytelling was completely disjointed and hard to follow at times, and the characters were fairly underdeveloped. The author pulled it together at the end, mostly, but it took a lot of work to get there. That said, it’s a short, quick read and probably an important one. 

I Know How She Does It: Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time by Laura Vanderkam. Let me say up front that I love Laura Vanderkam’s in-depth study into time management. I think it’s important research and, if you’re a poor time manager, she provides highly valuable information. However, she comes at everything with a very privileged, educated, upper middle class perspective, and it shows in her suggestions. So if you’re a working mother of 4 making an average income at a non-flexible job or a single mother of 2 working second shift and a part-time job, her solutions might not work for you but you might pick up some valuable information. But just beware of the perspective. 

In line for next month: I Regret Nothing, A Little Life, Girl Waits with Gun, Remember Mia, Confess, and two more whose titles have left my brain right now, plus a bunch of books for work. 

Now it’s your turn. Show us your books! Nonbloggers, let me know in the comments what you’ve read recently and if you recommend them or not. 

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58 Comments

  1. lisacng @ expandng.com

    Shotgun Lovesongs is going on my list! And I haven’t read any of the Rosie books. Sorry the second one didn’t do it for ya. Sucks that the loveable characters became unloveable.
    lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted…Tweetviews – book reviews in 140 charactersMy Profile

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  2. Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand

    Funny…I think Beth was my favorite character in Shotgun Lovesongs.
    The Rosie Depacle (I’ve just given it a new name; should I trademark it?)…well, we definitely agree on this one. Although I did finish it, I regret it.
    I added a couple, and a couple of others reminded me of books that I need to get to readin’.
    Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand recently posted…I show you my books, you show me yoursMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand

      Well…no, I should NOT TM “The Rosie Depacle” because there is no such thing as a “Depacle”. See, I got so upset remembering the book that I mis-spelled DEBACLE!
      Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand recently posted…I show you my books, you show me yoursMy Profile

      Reply
      1. Jana (Post author)

        Hahahaha! It was so awful it messed up your spelling!!

        Reply
    2. Jana (Post author)

      I actually wanted to know more about Kip. I feel like he could be his own book. Ronny, too. I hope the author writes more books or has written more books because I like his style.

      Reply
  3. Linda sheridan

    I am going to look for the book The Way of the Owl by Frank Rivers -succeeding with Integrity in a Conflicted World. It caught my eye because our new baby due in September has an owl theme in the nursery! I can always use some words of wisdom!
    Love, Steph’s Momma

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I’ve never heard of that book. Either, actually. But I like how you picked them!

      Reply
      1. Linda Sheridan

        It’s just one book-with an extended title on the cover of the book. I saw it in one of the
        magazines Steph gave me and it caught my eye! #wiseoldowls

        Reply
  4. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    it annoys me when sequels to books fall flat! i have the rosie project on hold (damn, it’s been on hold since feb) so i’ll know not to read the 2nd book!
    kathy @ more coffee, less talky recently posted…book bonersMy Profile

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  5. Heather @ My Little HEA

    Confess by Colleen Hoover? Love. She’s one of my favorite authors, always giving me something new. This is Where it Ends is on my TBR from Netgalley too, but it doesn’t come out until next year so I pushed it pretty far down the list. I hate it when a sequel severely lets you down like that, had that happen to me this month too.
    Heather @ My Little HEA recently posted…All About the Books – AugustMy Profile

    Reply
  6. Kerry

    Sorry it was such a meh month of reading. Shotgun Lovesongs and One Plus One is on my list of books to read soon. Hope next month is better!
    Kerry recently posted…July Books I’ve ReadMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I think these months are normal. I’ve read so many great books this year it was bound to happen.

      Reply
  7. April

    I just can’t with the school shooting books anymore. Sigh. However, One Plus One sounds like something I’d really like. I’m gonna check it out!
    April recently posted…Show Us Your Books: What I Read in JulyMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      The subject doesn’t bother me but this one wasn’t very well done, unfortunately. It had potential it just didn’t live up to.

      Reply
  8. Kelli

    I’m with you on The Rosie Effect, the characters were completely different even though they were supposed to be the same. How does that happen? I didn’t finish it either, such a waste!

    My library only has Shot Gun Lovesongs in audio and I don’t do audio books. 🙁
    Kelli recently posted…It’s All About The Books – Vol. 6My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I don’t know what he did to them this time but I actually loathed them, especially Don. He was insufferable to read.

      Can you do an interlibrary loan? I know when my library system doesn’t have a book, they reach out to other states. Maybe that’s an option?

      Reply
  9. Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad

    I definitely need some time management tips in my life, and I might even be prepared to put up with some middle-class privilege in order to get there. I’m also adding Shotgun Lovesongs and One Plus One to my list. Now I just need to read quicker…!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      She does give some good pointers. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, also by Laura Vanderkam, might be better for you.

      Reply
  10. Jenn @ Optimization Actually

    So now I’m super curious – what did the book say about Delaware?! I don’t actually know anyone who’s been in a sorority, but both my sisters attended UD and I’ve been on campus plenty of times (and at the local bar scene). My guess would be that DE was a nondescript place; I feel like we’re too small to be worth making fun of.

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      It’s not that she picked on Delaware on the whole, it’s just that, having gone to college at UD and being in a sorority, it seems like she picked it because no one would question what she’s saying. And from my personal experience, it was nothing like what she wrote.

      Reply
  11. Nancy @ NY Foodie Family

    I read The Rosie Effect last month as well. It was disappointing after the first read, though my feelings definitely aren’t as strong about it as yours! LOL!! Not sure how I missed One Plus One since I’ve read a couple of her others. Just added it to my to be read list.
    Nancy @ NY Foodie Family recently posted…July ReadsMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      YES! Glad you added it!

      I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who disliked it.

      Reply
  12. Gwen

    I enjoyed Dirty Rush even though I also never experienced any of those things nearly 30 years ago (gulp). I found myself thankful that we didn’t have cellphones and texting back then, and also that we didn’t call each other bitches and c***s. I’m excited to read One Plus One, and while The Rosie Project is on my list, I already know I’m not even bothering with the sequel-that-shall-not-be named.
    Gwen recently posted…Books, Books Everywhere!My Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      There was an awful lot of the c-word in this book, which is why I think the chick who wrote the forward actually wrote the book. She is masterful at language even with that overabundance. It’s why I finished the whole thing. She knows how to write.

      Reply
  13. Lauren

    I couldn’t agree more on the The Rosie Effect. Why can’t two married people just communicate? Didn’t they learn anything from the first book? So frustrating. Shotgun Lovesongs and One Plus One are both already on my list so I’m happy for another endorsement. And now I need to look into this Barkopolous fellow because his name alone makes me think he’s my kind of author. So much for not judging a book by its cover!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      OMG, I am so in love with Dean Bakopolous as an author it’s not even funny. Definitely read his books.

      Reply
  14. Amanda

    I have so many JoJo Moyes books on my to read list. She’s everywhere lately! I have yet to read one but I get more excited each time I see a review!
    Amanda recently posted…Because I’m HAPPYYYYYYY!My Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      DO IT ALREADY, AMANDA!!!

      Reply
  15. Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage

    The base premise of My American Unhappiness sounds really good, the whole finding a wife side does not appeal to me so much. Sounds like it may be a pass 🙁 I find a lot of “self-help” books are written in a perspective from “upper” social class. I guess though that is their target market and well most people who write them are better off and educated, but it is something I think so often when reading books like that.
    Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage recently posted…Show Us Your Books: JulyMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      The finding a wife part is part of the larger story but not actually the story, if that makes sense. Read his other books even if you don’t want to read this one. He’s a wonderful author.

      Reply
  16. Brittany Pines

    I’m so sorry you had a crappy book month! Those are the worst.
    Brittany Pines recently posted…Show Us Your Books: What I Read in July 2015My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I read so much it was bound to happen sooner or later!

      Reply
  17. kristen

    LOL at getting confused at jojo moyes and liane moriarty. i really loved one plus one 🙂
    dirty rush is on my list, but i didn’t even go to a US college (duh) let alone be in a sorority so i wouldn’t know what was real and what wasn’t, so i’m kind of curious.
    i know you said not to speak of it, but i read the second rosie book, i think i got it from netgalley (i almost wrote netflix lol no) so i felt like i had to. i really felt like i was reading about 2 completely different characters and not the ones that were in the first book.
    kristen recently posted…Books LatelyMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      They were not similar at all. They were awful and unbearable this time around. It made me angry.

      If you take Dirty Rush as fiction, you’ll probably enjoy it. There are some parts that smack of truth but for the most part, it’s hyperbole.

      Reply
  18. Teh Megan

    Shotgun Lovesongs has been on my TBR list for a few months now. I definitely enjoyed One Plus One and I’m glad I’m not the only one who sometimes experiences setting issues.

    I didn’t realize that “hate read” was a term, but I’m totally using it for my Guantanamo Bay book from now on. Thanks 🙂
    Teh Megan recently posted…What I read in JulyMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I hate-watch things, too. Definitely a term 🙂

      Reply
  19. Kate

    I sometimes mix up authors too- too funny!

    Definitely going to read Shotgun Lovesongs.
    Kate recently posted…Summer readingMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      YES! And please add Dean Bakopolous to your list as well. Very similar to Nickolas Butler and the book I read this month is not indicative of what he can do with a story.

      Reply
  20. Rebecca Jo

    I want to read that one by JoJo … I read one of her books & totally loved it.
    Rebecca Jo recently posted…Book Chat: Dancing… crazy Oz… & one of the best books EVER!My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      This was my third book of hers that I’ve read and probably my favorite. Me Before You was outstanding as well.

      Reply
  21. Michael

    Was The Rosie Effect really that bad??? I heard some positive reviews from others.
    Michael recently posted…Booked Vol. 1My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I loved The Rosie Project. Hated this one. It might not be that terrible but I stopped halfway through because I couldn’t do it to myself anymore.

      Reply
  22. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    So I read all of the links off of your blog today but never actually read your post. When I was finished I was like wait what did Jana read? LOLOLOL

    I’m still waiting for a Bakopoulos to come in at the library.

    I was anxious to read about your Dirty Rush experience even though we already discussed it in person. She really does have a flair for language and cursing. Which I do admire.
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…Show Us Your Books – What I Read in JulyMy Profile

    Reply
  23. Amber

    One Plus One was a good book. I love Jojo Moyes!

    I’m with you on The Rosie Effect. I LOVED The Rosie Project and this one just fell flat to me.
    Amber recently posted…Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday!My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      It was a terrible book. Awful.

      Reply
  24. Julia @ Grace Makes New

    Definitely want to read One Plus One! Thanks for the warning on The Rosie Effect, I’ll be sure to avoid that one, lol!
    Julia @ Grace Makes New recently posted…Why I Love FootballMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Yeah, I can’t tell you to read The Rosie Effect. It’s just not good. The complete opposite of One Plus One.

      Reply
  25. Julie @ Say Yes to Happy

    Thanks so much for hosting! I’ve been wanting to read I Regret Nothing and One Plus One. Thanks for the recs!
    Julie @ Say Yes to Happy recently posted…Monthly Book Chat: AugustMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I’ll be reviewing I Regret Nothing next month but it’s definitely standard Jen Lancaster fare but this time there’s just a smidge less snark, entitlement and bitchiness and actual self-discovery and adulting going on. It was refreshing.

      Reply
  26. Nadine

    I hate when a follow up book sucks. Why bother writing it then, you know? I haven’t read any Jojo Moyes yet but I have a few on my to read list that I have got to get to!
    Nadine recently posted…Tailgate TuesdayMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      Yes, definitely move her books up the chain. Make this one first, though. Then Me Before You.

      I feel like he wrote the second book simply to capitalize on the popularity of The Rosie Project rather than to write a good story.

      Reply
  27. Christina

    LOL! I love your review for The Rosie Effect! I totally agree about Ronny in Shotgun Lovesongs. I am still surprised by how much I loved that book and can’t wait to read more by Butler. This is Where it Ends intrigues me and I’m also adding Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac. Good books this month!
    Christina recently posted…What I Read In JulyMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I really hope he writes more books. I’d absolutely read them.

      Reply
  28. Nicole

    I was not a fan of Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac. I even have my teens in our book club read it and they didn’t really enjoy it either. It was an okay story, it just didn’t click with me.
    Nicole recently posted…What I ReadMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      That’s kind of it. Overall it was an okay story, a pleasant read, but nothing spectacular. Zevin is a good writer, though.

      Reply
  29. Kristin

    So glad you liked One Plus One!
    I was thinking of looking for The Rosie Effect. That bad?
    Kristin recently posted…July BooksMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Yes. For me it was that bad. I just can’t in good conscious recommend it.

      Reply
  30. Kristen

    Everyone seems to really like Jojo Moyes, and I’ve yet to read any of her novels. I’ll add One Plus One to my list!

    I’m also adding Shotgun Lovesongs and My American Unhappiness. I added the other Dean Bakopoulos novels you mentioned last time as well, but I haven’t picked any of them up yet. I don’t mind books featuring asshole characters as long as they’re well written. I actually reviewed a book this time around in which pretty much all of the characters are horrible people, but I loved it and gave it 5 stars on Goodreads.
    Kristen recently posted…From the Bookshelf: Recently Read – August 2015 EditionMy Profile

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