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Jana

Jana

Joined April 2016

I read books. Then sometimes I write (http://janasays.com) about them.
review
Jana
Sadie | Courtney Summers
Pickpick

This book is excellent. Disturbing and terribly sad and violent but excellent. Probably the best thriller I‘ve read this year. The podcast was a great add, creative and relevant and different, and I loved listening to the actual one they did.

review
Jana
Pickpick

This book is generally everything I hate and actively avoid but I wanted something light and fluffy and that‘s what I got and what I needed. It‘s quick and quirky and predictable and perfectly fun. I probably won‘t read more of her books but this one was not a waste of time. However, if sex in books bothers you, though, then pass on this one.

review
Jana
Daisy Jones and The Six | Taylor Jenkins Reid
Pickpick

Every book she writes is better than the last and that was a tall order after Evelyn Hugo but this one did it. I loved everything about this book. The writing, the main plot, the ancillary storylines, the twist at the end. Just amazing. But what I liked most is how this is unlike any book I‘ve read in the last 5 or so years, and including the song lyrics in the epilogue was brilliant. Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

review
Jana
Evidence of the Affair | Taylor Jenkins Reid
Pickpick

I love TJR. I have read and will read everything she writes. This is a fantastic short story that ends satisfactorily, although there definitely could have been more added. If this were a full length book, I would have devoured it in one sitting. My favorite part, though, was the mention of Daisy Jones who is the main character in her next book. That was a great little Easter egg.

review
Jana
Pickpick

I. Loved. This. Book. So much. It is everything I prefer in my nonfiction and, more than that, it makes such a strong case for the societal value of libraries that if anyone says libraries don‘t deserve funding or are outdated institutions or do nothing for their communities, they should be locked in a room with nothing but a library copy of this book. THEN we can have a chat.

review
Jana
Cherry: A novel | Nico Walker
Mehso-so

If the Heroin Diaries met fiction met also non-fiction b/c apparently parts of this story are true, it would result in this book. It‘s a fucking mess that reads like stream of consciousness inside the mind of an addict with PTSD but it‘s also what made it fascinating to read. I didn‘t love it but I liked it a lot. It‘s got a lot of graphic descriptions of drug use and murder and many dogs are killed in the story so if you read it, read w/ caution

review
Jana
Mehso-so

This was not a great book in the sense that it really didn‘t cover, at least in the way I‘d hoped and that the title described, what I expected. It was, however, a very in-depth history of the klan and white supremacy in the south. I didn‘t want that and I don‘t feel better that I know it. The main story was glossed over in favor of the history and logistics and tensions and I wanted less of that and more of what I was promised. Frustrating.

review
Jana
Gun Love | Jennifer Clement
Mehso-so

This book was great on so many different levels but at the same time, it felt rushed and incomplete. I wanted her to explore more of the situations she described, particularly the foster care part because she just sort of rolled over that as a means to an end when it could have been much more. I liked the way she approached gun violence and gun culture and family and homelessness but it felt...lacking.

review
Jana
French Exit: A Novel | Patrick DeWitt
Mehso-so

This book is weird, quirky, and so amazingly written but I don‘t think I‘m smart enough to understand what he was trying to do. I mean, I get the basic plot and satire (sort of) but it left me feeling like I missed the joke. He makes light of some serious topics which I guess is also making a point that I don‘t get. As far as recommending the book, it‘s short and fast so yes but if you don‘t like oddball, weird books, then pass.

review
Jana
How to Walk Away | Katherine Center
Panpan

This book is a mess. It went in 40 different directions, only finishing about 1/2 the plot lines (um...she had a suicide calendar and that was briefly discussed. Why did we not come back to THAT particular thing? Seems like maybe we should have), and every single character was a gigantic asshole. I can read unlikeable characters but OMG, all of these people sucked. Plus, it was 100% predictable. Or maybe these kinds of books just aren‘t for me.

ShelbyA7 Fresh off reading this - they did come back to the suicide calendar. At 300 days when she was planning the camp, she threw it away. 1y
8 likes1 comment
review
Jana
Less: A Novel | Andrew Sean Greer
Bailedbailed

A very fine, well-written book that I did not care about finishing. I wanted to like it but couldn‘t force myself to do it. Even with the main character hailing from Delaware. While I‘m at it, though, can we stop using Delaware as this obscure place people come from? It‘s a stupid trick. We have Joe Biden, dammit.

Notafraidofwords lol love this 1y
8 likes1 comment
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Jana
Vox | Christina Dalcher
Pickpick

I loved this book as a maddening, all-to-plausible dystopian novel. I wanted to scream after every page because this shit could actually happen. For real. And some of it already does happen in certain subcultures. But the end. Yuck. It was super satisfying but also kind of a predictable cop-out and that made me sad. It didn‘t detract from me liking the book (even with the confusing science) but I wanted something different. That‘s on me, though.

Lel2403 Great review.. 1y
10 likes1 comment
review
Jana
Sunburn | Laura Lippman
Pickpick

I liked this book a lot. It was a mess, but an organized, mind-twisting mess. Lots to keep track of but it actually made sense in the context of the plot because...well, I can‘t say why without giving too much away. AND. It took place in Delaware. Which is where I live and books are infrequently set here. I did struggle with the inaccurate geography but that‘s nitpicky. I also liked the 1995 setting. Making it modern would have ruined some stuff.

MaGoose I haven't read the book, but maybe the geography was changed to keep everyone guessing? 1y
12 likes2 stack adds1 comment
review
Jana
Pickpick

Funny, smart, honest, and I felt like I was listening to her tell stories rather than reading a book (which I guess if I listened to the audiobook, I would have). I love how she is 100% herself and stays true to that, regardless of how it makes her look. I want her as my new BFF stat. My favorite chapters were the ones on body confidence and her childhood and I want her to be on all the shows.

review
Jana
Mehso-so

I don‘t know how I feel about this book. On the one hand, it was a crash course on Russia and Russian culture in the context of the 2008 financial crisis and a magnificent story but on the other hand, it was a tedious boring overwritten plot. I guess they‘re not mutually exclusive, though. Doesn‘t help me figure out how I feel but it wasn‘t terrible. Keep it on your radar but not necessarily a can‘t miss and get it today kind of book.

MicheleinPhilly Ugh. This book. I read it a few months ago as part of some BOTM early reader program. I found it tedious and pointless. It wasn‘t badly written it was just steeped in sad sack dudebro mediocrity. (edited) 1y
Jana @MicheleinPhilly YES! That is the perfect way to describe what I couldn‘t stand about it (edited) 1y
10 likes2 comments
review
Jana
Florida | Lauren Groff
Mehso-so

Meh. A fine book of short stories. A couple were excellent, the rest were take them or leave them. I didn‘t really like Fates and Furies but wanted to give another one of her books a chance. I don‘t think she‘s for me.

Jason7 Don‘t think she‘s for me either, though I should probably give her one more chance. The only one of hers I‘ve read is Arcadia. I didn‘t really care for it. 1y
Jana @Jason7 I would try this one before F&F. At least you can skip a story if you don‘t like it without it impacting the rest of the book 1y
Jason7 Thanks! might give it a shot, though I rarely read story collections these days. It‘s mostly novels for me. 1y
7 likes3 comments
review
Jana
1984 | George Orwell
Panpan

I finally got around to reading this (don‘t judge. I just never cared to) and I admit, I hate-read it and mostly forced myself to finish (part 3 was good, though). I appreciate the point he was making and the talent it took to write the book, particularly the book inside a book, but I hated the whole story. And I hate that so much is real right now. That‘s more terrifying than some of the thrillers and horror novels I‘ve read lately.

Nebklvr I found it ok except about 3/4 of the way through when it sloowwed way down 1y
Jana @Nebklvr The middle section was THE WORST. I *might* have skimmed it to save my sanity 1y
Nebklvr @Jana Dang it! I couldn‘t remember when I lost it. Now it all makes sense. 1y
9 likes3 comments
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Jana
The Dime | Kathleen Kent
Mehso-so

I love Betty as a character. More female main characters should be Iike her. Other than that, this was a very good, very standard mass market thriller, perfect for a rainy day, plane ride, beach read, stuff like that. It became kind of a mess towards the end and had me questioning how this made any sense but the rest made up for it. I‘d absolutely read more if this becomes a series but it‘s not at the top of any list I have.

2BR02B I really dug this one, but... 1y
2BR02B The description of her "operation" gave me nightmares. ? 1y
Jana @2BR02B It was pretty gross. Not the worst I‘ve ever read. But definitely gross. 1y
5 likes3 comments
review
Jana
The Great Alone | Kristin Hannah
Pickpick

I don‘t often believe hype about a book but this one lived up to very good word, glowing review, and emphatic recommendation. It is full of gorgeous writing, complex characters, and every emotion possible. It should come with a trigger warning about domestic violence so be warned if you haven‘t read it yet. The book isn‘t perfect, there are some parts that felt unnecessary or rushed, but it‘s without a doubt one of the best I‘ve read this year

review
Jana
Pickpick

I don‘t think I‘ve ever read a nonfiction book that had me nodding in agreement the whole time. Maybe b/c I see pieces of myself in every single chapter, as I assume most people would. This book is dead-on-balls accurate about the middle class, working class, and everyone else struggling. It‘s timely, relevant, thorough and as an added bonus, she makes no secret about her disdain for and the role 45 plays in this mess. I need more room to discuss

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Jana
In Cold Blood | Truman Capote
Pickpick

I‘ve been a true crime fan as long as I can remember and I finally read this. I 100% get why it‘s groundbreaking and also, it‘s timeless. It holds up as well today as it did when it was written and honestly, it seems like all true crime books are chasing what it is. Is it my favorite? No. Is it worthy of its place? Absolutely. It‘s factual and sympathetic but also straightforward and mostly unbiased. Droned in some places but nothing is perfect

blurb
Jana
post image

I stopped my #24in48 clock at 11:35. Four books read, one book started and currently reading. I didn‘t expect to get to 24 hours and I am happy with what I did, especially for my first time participating. It‘s an overwhelming challenge but I‘m glad I gave it a try.

Reggie Great Job!!! 2y
15 likes1 comment
review
Jana
The Golden State: A Novel | Lydia Kiesling
Pickpick

This is a book about a woman in the midst of a severe depression who runs away from her life to forget everything that‘s affecting her. She‘s functional and manages but her depression is deep. She‘s sympathetic and sad and you feel for her situation — all of them. It‘s written in an almost stream of consciousness which makes it a bit annoying to read at times but also gets you inside her head and the writing is gorgeous. ARC from NetGalley

review
Jana
Mehso-so

This book is a FAST read. It‘s definitely a memoir and ode to her father more than an explanation of her mother‘s murder but it was pretty interesting. I listened to Crimetown and since she grew up in Rhode Island, it was cool to see how some of those people factored into her circumstances (at the least, I knew how to pronounce their names). I wanted to hear more about her investigation but the memoir-heavy parts made a lot more sense overall

review
Jana
Pickpick

The best part of this book was the fact that it gave me some rabbit holes to go down. I want to know more about time poverty and how it‘s connected to social capital. It also gave me some lightbulb moments that explain why time is the most important thing someone can give me. This book, like all of her books, comes from a place of immense privilege and makes it a little unrelateable. But, like all of her books, I get some applicable takeaways.

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Jana
Body | Stephen King
Pickpick

It‘s the source material for Stand By Me. That is all. Nothing else needs to be said.

blurb
Jana
post image

I have no clue what I‘m doing but I figured I‘d go ahead and try the #24in48 this weekend. I generally don‘t read this much nonfiction at once so I have some backup fiction on my Kindle just in case

review
Jana
Pickpick

This is an excellent case study with tinges of ethnography about the other side of van dwelling. Usually we hear about the privileged who eschew materialism and embrace minimalism to travel and simplify their lives while earning a good living. This exposes the opposite side of that, focusing on older people, low wage seasonal workers forced into van life for survival. It‘s a fascinating look at the culture, how it came to be, and why it persists.

review
Jana
Pickpick

This is a very good, very fast-paced psychological thriller. Anna is an asshole but unlike other unreliable narrators, you understand exactly why she‘s that way and it makes her sort of sympathetic. The book reads like one of the old-time movies referenced throughout, and I like that kind of self-awareness from the author. The plot was engaging, I second guessed myself at times and while I recommend the book, I don‘t think it lived up to the hype

review
Jana
An American Marriage | Tayari Jones
Pickpick

The writing, the storytelling, the plot, the characters...everything about this book is marvelous. It wasn‘t anything I expected it to be and it was exponentially better. I felt the gamut of emotions while reading it, and I know it will stick with me for awhile. My only complaint is the ending felt a bit rushed but given everything else, I‘m willing to let that part slide

review
Jana
Free Fire | C. J. Box
Pickpick

This is a very good, very standard mass market thriller filled with all the things you‘d usually get in such a book. What drew me to it was the premise, a very real legal loophole that allows someone to commit the “perfect crime”. I learned a ton about Yellowstone and its laws and also, now I kind of want to visit there again. I did like Joe Pickett as a character and will definitely read some more books in the series.

review
Jana
The Suffering Tree | Elle Cosimano
Pickpick

If you are triggered by self-harm, do not read this book or proceed with caution. This is a very good, well-researched supernatural-ish YA thriller. I found myself vested in the characters and what happened in both the past and present but some parts felt rushed and incomplete -specifically the end- but I like her writing and her books are kind of their own genre which is cool. Not the best book but I do recommend. NetGalley ARC read very late

review
Jana
Mehso-so

If you want a meticulously researched, dry, statistics-driven, anecdotal book explaining why and how it is expensive and criminal to poor, you will love this book. This is perfect for a classroom setting but as a read for someone who is non-academically interested in this topic, both policy-wise and sociologically, I was hoping for something a little more...human. He discusses success stories and how they can be replicated but it‘s all business.

review
Jana
Unbury Carol: A Novel | Josh Malerman
Mehso-so

This isn‘t necessarily a bad book. Some might even love it. For me, though, it was all over the place, couldn‘t decide what it wanted to be. A western? Thriller? Sci-fi? And why was the end more like chick lit? I don‘t mind multiple layers but this was a messy, tedious read that didn‘t work in some places. Others were great. I would have read a whole book about Smoke or Carol‘s mother. He‘s not a terrible writer but he‘s not for me. NetGalley ARC.

RadicalReader @Jana loved his novel bird box and glad I encountered another novel written by this wonderful author can‘t wait to check it out for myself 2y
7 likes1 comment
review
Jana
Mehso-so

This book is to guaranteed basic income what Hillbilly Elegy is to understanding 45‘s voter base. Well-researched, well-written, but so full of privilege and arrogance that it‘s hard to take it seriously as a policy book. It‘s a memoir that heavily relies on personal experience to make him “relatable” and explain why he feels and believes the way he does but, save for a few chapters, minimally addresses it. I wish I had more characters to discuss

review
Jana
Pickpick

This is a sad, touching, mildly optimistic book about family, tragedy, secrets, mental illness, small town prejudices and what happens when they all intersect. It‘s a well-written book, takes care and honesty when discussing mental illness, and the characters are sympathetic and strong. But it felt like there were plot holes and details that were built up and then left out or glossed over and that was annoying. Good book, though. NetGalley ARC.

review
Jana
The Chteau: A Novel | Paul Goldberg
Bailedbailed

This is should be a book I like. But it was awful. Straight up awful. It wasn‘t funny, the satire was lost in the tedious writing, the characters sucked. To its credit, though, it has some marvelous insults directed at 45 and those were the only things that kept me reading as much as I did. But after awhile, even those weren‘t enough and I had to dump it. Thanks anyway, NetGalley, for the ARC

review
Jana
Pickpick

I liked this book. It was a wonderful tribute to his son, and learning about his thought process to not run for president was interesting. The foreign policy stuff was boring but it was necessary for context and memoir purposes. Beau meant a lot to Delaware (I say that as a long-term resident) and I wish he had touched on that a bit more but that wasn‘t necessarily the point of the book. I wouldn‘t say it‘s required political reading but it‘s good

review
Jana
Pickpick

This book is a mindfuck. Even when I thought I figured out what was happening, I still doubted myself which is unusual. And the way Boudelaire was woven in reminded me of the way Poe was woven in to The Following and that connection is way too coincidental for my liking. I didn‘t love the unreliable narrator trick or the way the dialog was staged like a play but it all made sense in the context. Excellent plane or vacation read. ARC from NetGalley

5 likes1 stack add
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Jana
Puddin' | Julie Murphy
Pickpick

The best part of her books is that she writes characters I wish existed when I was a teenager and it‘s refreshing to know that they exist now. More diverse girls need to be in novels, and loving themselves as-is instead of what other people want them to be. This one is a little preachy but that‘s okay. Maybe we need that now. She is a role model, a great writer, and I‘m looking forward to when my daughter is old enough to to read these books.

10 likes2 stack adds
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Jana
Ohio | Stephen Markley
Pickpick

I don‘t even know what to say. It‘s crude and vulgar and violent and political and sad and emotional and gorgeous and so damn amazing I am stunned by what I read. The storytelling is meandering and time hops and uses multiple POVs, which I ordinarily hate, in such a way that I enjoyed the different yet connected storylines. He is a magnificent writer, I hated and loved almost all of the characters and please read this book. ARC from NetGalley.

10 likes1 stack add
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Jana
Bring Me Back | B A Paris
Pickpick

The book definitely had the same structure and similar plot as The Breakdown but with a male protagonist instead. It was reading like a very standard thriller but then it shifted and went in a direction I definitely didn‘t see coming. Even when I thought I figured it out, it still twisted. So that was nice. I like her books and will keep reading but it‘d be great if she strayed a bit from her formula. Shake things up a bit. ARC from NetGalley

review
Jana
Five Hundred Poor | Noah Milligan
Mehso-so

This was a very fine collection of short stories. He does an excellent job of showing and making you feel for the MC of each story, even if they‘re despicable or do despicable things. It‘s a decent commentary on debt and the working poor but definitely not was I was expecting or what the collection is billed as. That said, it‘s relatively quick read & hopefully all of the formatting issues are fixed by pub date b/c DISTRACTING. ARC from NetGalley

review
Jana
The Cuban Affair | Nelson DeMille
Mehso-so

I have been reading Nelson DeMille FOREVER and I think I‘m done. All the books are starting to sound the same and all of his male protagonists are copies of each other. Mildly misogynistic, damaged war hero, but super badass, smart, and crucial to everything. The insufferableness of Mac overshadowed a very well-researched book. The writing is what you‘d expect from a mass market thriller by an older white dude. It‘s a fine book but fine to pass up

review
Jana
Pickpick

I love Paul Cleave and I love how his books are right in my wheelhouse. This one wasn‘t my favorite but it did mention Joe Middleton quite a bit so that made me happy. I also like how he spins the whole thriller thing in its head by telling you the who, how, and why up front and then the rest of the book is watching the characters figure it out. It‘s equal parts graphic, funny, and intriguing. This one had some annoying plot points but that‘s okay

review
Jana
Bailedbailed

I couldn‘t even make it past the first chapter. I wanted to but it just didn‘t connect for me. This is one of those rare times where I‘ll just watch the show adaptation and have it be good enough. Because I can see how this will make good TV.

rebeccarvincent I also bailed on this one. Couldn‘t get past the teenage years 🤷‍♀️😕 2y
9 likes1 comment
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Jana
Girls Burn Brighter | Shobha Rao
Mehso-so

Initially I thought I was going to love this book about female friendship and the depth and strength of the bonds. My heart BROKE from the abuse and violence these two women endured. Then it became repetitive, plot-wise, the abuse, loneliness and longing to find each other and I skimmed some parts. The ending made me furious because sometimes you just want a solid conclusion not a choose your own. The writing is gorgeous, though. ARC fromNetGalley

review
Jana
Panpan

This book started off strong and then became terrible, tedious, and tiresome. I thought it was going to be a quirky personal finance memoir but instead it was an annoying, self-important snobfest filled with WAY TOO MUCH detail on goat mating and chicken raising. The author comes across as pretentious and overbearing, and while she is a good writer, she mentions that she teaches composition writing so often the book felt like a job application

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Jana
Homegoing: A novel | Yaa Gyasi
Pickpick

I have no words for this book except to say that it was magnificent

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Jana
Still Me | Jojo Moyes
Mehso-so

Much better and less busy (but still busy) than After You but I am done with Louisa. She‘s quirky and interesting but for me, her story is complete. I don‘t need any more books about this woman trying to find herself both in and out of the context of romantic relationships. I like the way she struggles; it‘s real and honest but the rom-com subplots and endings are frustrating and annoying. Moyes is a great writer but I can‘t do this series anymore