Posts Categorized: Discussion

The Dreaded Blogging Slump | A Call for Advice/Commiserating

May 5, 2017 Discussion, Personal 10


Hello!! Remember me!? I’m the person who you think fell off the Internet. I’m here! I’m just having trouble finding my blogging mojo at the moment. I’m reading, but I’m months behind on writing reviews. I’m staying on top of the Debut Author Challenge, but not as much as I’d like. What’s happening to me!?

We all know I’ve been in grad school the last 3.5 years, so the blog took a back seat in my life. But I graduated in December! But then I went to Hawaii and California for a month. But I’ve been home!! I’ve been reading!! What’s going on? I still love reading and blogging, so that’s not the issue. I’m not going anywhere, so it’s not like I’m phasing myself out.

What do I do?? Has this happened to you? Any tips for getting a handle on the reviews I still need to write? How do I make blogging a priority again? Every time I think of sitting down to write a review I go to Netflix or play Two Dots on my phone because I’m great at adulting and being responsible. I used to be so ON IT. Anyone else feeling this way? I need some help. Or a blogging intervention.

Throw your thoughts at me, and while you’re at it tell me what you’ve been up to!

29 Bright Candles | 50 Things About Jana

June 23, 2016 About Me, Discussion 3

Birthday cupcake

Yesterday was my 29th birthday!! I can’t believe it! So often it’s all about books or blog tours or the Debut Author Challenge here on the blog, so I thought it would be fun to post a little about myself today so you can get to know me better! So I interviewed myself with questions I found around the Internet.

1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I’d love to live in a little villa in Italy somewhere, probably in the middle of the countryside but close enough so that I can visit all the beautiful places there. I’d also want to be close to a town markets and bakeries so I can buy all the yummy foods.

2. What is your biggest fear?
Losing my mom too soon.

3. What is your favorite family vacation?
A few years ago, my family and I went on a transatlantic cruise that ended in Rome, Italy. We made so many amazing stops along the way, and then spent a few days in Rome. Then my dad and little sister flew home and my mom and I spent three more weeks traveling through Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and The Netherlands. It was amazing!

4. What would you change about yourself if you could?
My health. Definitely.

5. What really makes you angry?
Injustice! lol. I get so mad if something happens to me or anyone I’m even aware of really, that was just wrong. Or if someone gets away with something they shouldn’t have. I also get angry when someone is rude just for the sake of being rude. This happens a lot on the Internet and it bothers me so much.

6. What motivates you to work hard?
I’m a perfectionist, so my inner drive to do everything right is more motivation than I need.

7. What is your proudest accomplishment?
Wow, this is hard. I’m proud of myself for a lot of different things. I’ll be graduating grad school this December with a 4.0 GPA, I’ve got a blurb in a book and am mentioned in several acknowledgments pages, and I’ve made some choices regarding my church that were really big.

8. What is your favorite book to read?
This is hard, but it’s got to be A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. It was my first and only re-read to date!

9. What makes you laugh the most?
Lots of things make me laugh, so it’s hard to narrow it down. Funny/cute cat videos do it for me the most, probably.

10. What was the last movie you went to? What did you think?
I saw Finding Dory on Tuesday, and thought it was really cute! Baby Dory was cute, but that short called Piper at the beginning was amazing.

11. What did you want to be when you were small?
A teacher, because I wanted to write on a chalkboard all day.

12. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
Hmmm… Well, this might be cheating a little… but I’d love to have a day where booking travel arrangements was free. Like, all plane tickets, cruise fares, hotels, etc. are free. I’d book everything for the rest of my life!

13. What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?
I don’t really enjoy playing sports or watching sports on TV, but I do like going to the occasional football game.

14. Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house?
Vacuum the house.

15. If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?
Cleaning, for sure.

16. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pasta with chicken in it. I need my protein, but pasts is love.

17. Who is your favorite author?
This is a rude question. Marissa Meyer.

18. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it?
I’ve had a TON from friends and family. Probably my favorite is “Squirtie Bird”, which is what my grandpa calls me.

19. Do you like or dislike surprises? 
I LOVE them!

20. In the evening, would you rather play a game, visit a relative, watch a movie, or read?

21. Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?
Hmm… Depends on the time of year. I love Alaska (been twice) and I’m going to Hawaii next year. I don’t love hot weather, so Hawaii in the winter would be very fun.

22. Would you rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job? And why?
I’d rather win the lottery so I can stop worrying about money and do things I love.

23. Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
My mom!

24. If money was no object, what would you do all day?
Travel. I’d love to spend my life traveling.

25. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
Hmm… I’d like to go back to Rome in 1508 and watch Michelangelo paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

26. How would your friends describe you?
I’ve asked this over the years, and people have described me as being doe-eyed, sweet, caring, a good listener, trustworthy, and funny.

27. What are your hobbies?
Reading, organizing, making jewelry, graphic design, shopping, traveling, watching movies, going to museums, playing games, book blogging, and so many more.

28. What is the best gift you have been given?
This is hard! I’ve gotten lots of great things, but those are not as important to me as the experiences I’ve had in my life and the people who are in it.

29. What is the worst gift you have received?
Oh wow. When I was a kid I got this weird pottery kit from a friend who came to my birthday kit that had a mold that you pour plaster into and then paint with pastel acrylics. It was the ugliest thing. lol.

30. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
Honestly, my phone. And that’s pitiful.

31. List two pet peeves.
Poor grammar/spelling and people who wander through stores oblivious to the fact that they are not the only ones there.

32. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Working as a librarian, possibly married?

33. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
I should know this since I just organized them all, but probably 40-50.

34. If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?
Teleportation, the ability to read minds, and the power to eat whatever I want and stay perfectly thin.

35. What form of public transportation do you prefer? 
Cruise ship.

36. What’s your favorite zoo animal?
Polar bears and penguins.

37. If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?
I never would have stayed at that one job that sent my health into a downward spiral.

38. How many pillows do you sleep with?

39. What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep (and why)?
I think it was roughly 24 hours when I flew home from Amsterdam. I don’t even know.

40. What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top of?
Empire State Building

41. Would you rather trade intelligence for looks or looks for intelligence?
Looks for intelligence. Dumb people bug me.

42. How often do you buy clothes?
One or two times a month.

43. Have you ever had a secret admirer?
I have! I had a couple in high school and one in college.

44. What’s your favorite holiday?

45. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
I’ve taken a lot of pictures

46. What was the last thing you recorded on TV?
The Bachelorette.

47. What was the last book you read?
I’m currently reading 738 Days by Stacey Kade. The last book I finished was Frayed by Kara Terzis.

48. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
I shower at night, so it takes me about 30-40 minutes to do my makeup and hair in the morning.

49. What’s your favorite movie?
Father of the Bride (the one with Steve Martin)

50. What language do you wish you spoke?

Thanks for stopping by to get to know a little about me! Pick a question (or a bunch) and answer it in the comments! I’d love to get to know you better as well. 

Discussion: Lauren Oliver’s Delirium Trilogy Gets New Covers

May 17, 2016 Cover Talk, Discussion 13

We’ve all come to expect that the trilogies we love might possibly get new covers. It’s kind of a thing that happens. I’m usually not ok with it. I was not happy when Stephanie Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss companion books were redesigned, I hate the new covers for The Winner’s Curse trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, and redesigning the covers of the Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier is a downright sin.

The Delirium trilogy has been redesigned three times now. I loved Delirium‘s original cover, especially on the hardback because removing the dust jacket gives you more cover detail of the woman’s face.

I’m not the biggest fan anymore (what can I say? Tastes change). But I like it much better than the “random girl on the cover” syndrome we have been exposed to with the most recent cover redesign.


Boy, did I hate these. At least the original cover stood out from the crowd. These ones look so generic and weird (who shoves flowers in their faces like this?), plus the model looks like she can only make one facial expression: “I’m going to seduce you with my slightly separated lips and my bedroom eyes,” which doesn’t even make sense because love is outlawed in this trilogy. To be honest, I’ve always loved random girls on covers because I like to picture my own characters, thank you very much.


But now… LOOK at this re-design. I love them! I want to re-buy these books with these covers, and this rarely happens to me! But these are so pretty! I love the minimalist design and the colors and the symbolism. SO great. I can see adults, teens, boys, girls, etc. reading these whereas the older covers make the series look so juvenile and geared towards girls. This is so much better, and I can see the trilogy popping back up on everyone’s radar as a result of these new covers. And the novella covers are pretty great too.


So! What do you think of these new covers? What do you think of cover changes in general? Do you usually like the change? Do you get mad having to re-buy books so your covers match? Do you care at all? Let me know in the comments!

(New cover images taken from the Epic Reads site.)

Discussion: What’s the Longest Book You’ve Ever Read?

January 16, 2016 Discussion, Personal 22

cat reading
With all the excitement of the holidays last month, it has taken me since Christmas Eve to finish Winter by Marissa Meyer (I finished it in the wee hours of yesterday morning, and it was everything a Jana could have dreamed of.). Of course, this means I’ve had pretty much no content for my blog. lol. And I swear, I felt guilty that things were so quiet over here while I took three weeks to read one book. But then…

I realized, Winter is the longest book I’ve ever read (824 pages)! So basically this is a huge accomplishment. I usually feel very overwhelmed by big books because they are a major time commitment. They latch onto your emotions and take you away from this world. I’m so glad I was willing to give myself the time to read such a long book. AND it was one I bought! I read it for me, and I rarely take the time to do that.

Anyway, I’m wondering… What’s the longest book you’ve ever read? 

Discussion: Favorite Books to Read During the Holidays

December 24, 2015 About Me, Discussion 4



It has been snowing up a storm over here in my neck of the woods, and now that I’m all ready for Christmas and Santa will be on his way soon tonight, I finally have time for some relaxing! I immediately knew I wanted to read Winter by Marissa Meyer. I have been so excited for this book, but with my Christmas event on the horizon I was busy reading Christmas books to post about this month! Now I’m done with those, so I finally have time! I always gravitate towards fantasy or dystopian books this time of year. My TBR for the rest of December and all of January is fantasy, actually. I don’t know what it is, but I think fantasy novels are so cozy! I love a book I can curl up on the couch with and spend my day all snuggly under a blanket while drinking hot chocolate. I’m planning to finish my very first Harry Potter read-through this winter as well! The first one was very magical and cozy, and I’m excited to continue.

Anyway, this all got me wondering what kinds of books you enjoy reading this time of year. What are you going to be reading tonight? Do you have a favorite genre or book that you read during the holidays? I’ve heard some people always read Pride and Prejudice or Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia. Then there are some friends of mine who love to read summery books to escape the cold weather. What’s your preference?

The Debut Dish: Natasha Sinel and Carol Riggs (+ Giveaway)

September 6, 2015 Author Interview, Debut Dish, Discussion, Giveaway 1

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

The Fix by Natasha Sinel
September 1, 2015 from Sky Pony Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

One conversation is all it takes to break a world wide open.

Seventeen-year-old Macy Lyons has been through something no one should ever have to experience. And she’s dealt with it entirely alone.

On the outside, she’s got it pretty good. Her family’s well-off, she’s dating the cute boy next door, she has plenty of friends, and although she long ago wrote her mother off as a superficial gym rat, she’s thankful to have allies in her loving, laid-back dad and her younger brother.

But a conversation with a boy at a party one night shakes Macy out of the carefully maintained complacency that has defined her life so far. The boy is Sebastian Ruiz, a recovering addict who recognizes that Macy is hardened by dark secrets. And as Macy falls for Sebastian, she realizes that, while revealing her secret could ruin her seemingly perfect family, keeping silent might just destroy her.

The Fix follows two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It’s also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets and the hope and fear that comes with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Love can make you brave.

Why should readers pick up your book?
I think we all hope to meet someone who just sees us from the inside out, and understands. When Sebastian becomes that person to Macy, he breaks her world wide open, and she can’t continue to hide herself and her painful secret anymore. THE FIX tells the story of two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It’s also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets, and the hope and fear that comes with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
So far, the best thing is seeing how proud the people close to me are—my family and friends, critique partners, and agent. They’ve been with me every step of the long journey to get here.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Mild duds.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Tarot cards! At the amazing Writing Yoga Retreat ( last summer, I had an amazing one-on-one session in which we used Tarot to dive into my character’s motivations and feelings. The cards that came up were so perfect for my character, I almost heard the eerie Twilight Zone music playing. As soon as I got home, I bought my own deck, and I now use it whenever I need inspiration for character development.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Body Institute by Carol Riggs
September 1, 2015 from Entangled: Teen
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl’s body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body—leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches…

For one, Morgan won’t remember what happens in her “Loaner” body. Once she’s done, she won’t recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she’s been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it’s all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start…

Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan’s mind. She’s feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti–Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she’ll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul…

Describe your book in five words or less.
Downloading minds for weight loss.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Haven’t we all wondered what it’d be like to BE someone else? Morgan, the main character, gets to do just that. It’s a story of identity and body image: who we are inside as well as outside. How society’s expectations of our appearance—especially as it relates to weight—makes a difference to our sense of self. Served with some sinister conspiracy stuff on the side.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Getting to know other writers and readers (like-minded souls), and sharing my writing with them. It’s nerve-wracking and exciting in the BEST way.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
I never buy movie theater candy, but if they sell Almond Joy candy bars, I’d vote for those!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A gossamer-winged dragon figurine perched on an open book. There’s a photo of it on my website if you’re curious, under the “About” tag.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I Can’t Handle Scary Things!

August 28, 2015 About Me, Discussion 21

Scared-VintageGraphicsFairy1(Image Source)

I can’t read scary books at night because I’m a wimp! For example: Shadowlands by Kate Brian. I read this book over the summer, and it was SCARY. I chose to read it when I did because I was on a road trip with my mom and sister, and I knew I would be sleeping in the same hotel room, driving in the same car, and basically not being alone ever. I read all my mysteries on a cruise ship for the same reason. I’m never alone. I’m this way with a lot of books, hence the reason I pretty much never even touch the horror genre. I was a wimp reading Rebecca last October, and it wasn’t even that scary! Same with The Caged Graves! I’m a total baby. Once upon a time I watched a scary movie and slept with my bedroom door locked. To be extra safe, I made my boyfriend at the time sleep on the couch downstairs by the front door. I love scary, but I can’t do it!

October is coming soon. I love the idea of reading eerie, atmospheric, slightly creepy books during October because it’s getting cold and it’s fall and Halloween is coming. This is why I read Rebecca during this time last year. But I just. Can’t. Handle it! What do I do!? I just finished Daughter of Deep Silence last night and was scared to walk down my dark hall to go to the bathroom. So I didn’t. I just went to sleep buried under all my blankets. COME ON JANA. Suck it up!

What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read? And how do you HANDLE them? Teach me your ways! Not Being a Chicken 101 begins now.

Discussion: Is a book blogger’s worth determined by how many books they read?

June 19, 2015 Discussion 25

This is a topic that has been bugging me probably since I started blogging six years ago. I’m not the fastest reader in the world. I’m not SLOW, but I can’t possibly read as quickly as many of my friends do. I can’t do a book a day. I can’t even always do a book a week because I have a lot of hobbies aside from reading. I also like to take time between books to absorb what I read and reflect on the experience I had. It’s kind of like breaking up with someone. I can’t just start dating someone else immediately. I need my time!

Back in January I set a goal to read a book every 4.5 days. I was doing really well for a while, but I’ve fallen behind. Required reading for my YA lit class in my grad program took up all of my reading time for a few months. I went on vacation for a month, and even though I like to think I read a lot on vacation I don’t ever have as much time as I plan on having. I love sightseeing and shopping, too!

So I guess this all boils down to one question. Is a book blogger’s worth determined by how many books they read? Do people get more followers if they post reviews almost every day? Do publishers trust the bloggers who read 200-300 books a year more than those who read 70-80? I’ve always been a firm believer in the quality versus quantity concept, but I’m not so sure that’s the case here.

What have you noticed? Do you feel like you don’t read enough? How many books did you read last year? How are you doing on your Goodreads reading challenge so far?

When Do You Decide to DNF?

September 11, 2014 Discussion 38

i can't


So, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. A LOT more than usual. And I’ve been reading books I worried I might not like. I do my best to request books that I think I will love, but so often I only have a small summary to go off of and no reviews from my trusted friends. And then the reviews start to roll in and I begin to regret requesting. But since I did, I feel I owe it to the publisher and the author to give the book a fair shot regardless of what I’ve read about it. You know what it’s like. They spent money on me to send me a book, fully expecting that it would benefit them. Unless I read something super extreme about a book (like it contained brutal violence, lots of swear words, or animal cruelty), I will do my best to give it the shot it deserves.

So often, my book lover’s intuition is correct and I know pretty quickly that I’m reading a book that will ultimately end in DNF. Once I feel that way, I’m pretty positive that reading 20-50 more pages will not change my mind. I’ve been known to DNF as early as 20 pages in. And I feel like that’s fair. I read until I knew I would not be finishing it. In doing this, I can end a happy person instead of an annoyed person who wasted their time. I’ve seen, though, that some people mention in their review policies that they will read a book until they are halfway through, no matter what. And I wonder why they torture themselves. So I figured I’d ask you to weigh in on this.

Do you have a DNF policy? If so, what is it? When do you feel it’s ok to quit reading a book and move on?

A Weird Paradox: Library Books Scare Me

July 18, 2014 About Me, Discussion 21

Ok, this is going to sound really weird, considering I’m going to school to become a librarian… but library books scare me. A lot. I can’t really help it! Each time I go into the library and rummage through books, I leave feeling this strong urge to wash my hands. I have always hated the idea of taking a library book to bed with me because of all the germs! I’ve told you before how I can’t read when I’m sick, but I know so many of you who get your best reading done when you’re cooped up in bed for a week! What if you’re reading a library book while you’re sick, sneeze or cough on it, return it, I check it out, I scratch my eyelid while reading, and BAM!!! I’ve got a nasty cold. It’s a scary, scary thing to think about! What about those people who read on the toilet? *shudders* Or what if someone’s cat coughed up a hairball on the shiny plastic cover and the cat’s owner cleaned the book off with a tissue and returned it? I’m seriously grossing myself out here.

I guess this comes from my plain old fear of germs. I do have OCD, and have struggled with a fear of germs since I was 14. I used to wash my hands until they cracked and bled in 40-50 places (I’ve counted). I remember in my high school PE class I had to wear gloves during volleyball because my hands were so dry and cracked that I did not want to bleed on the ball. I’m much better now (it happens when you decide holding hands with and kissing boys is just too much fun) and do not wash my hands all the time or irrationally freak out when someone is sick. I’m just sensible and wash my hands at the normal times as dictated by social convention. Even though I have “cured” myself of this irrational fear, though, I do struggle with resisting the urge to slip back into my old ways.

Anywho, you’ll be very proud to know that I checked out my very first library book for pleasure reading (not research books or books for school) last month and even read it in bed! And I did not get sick and/or die! So I’m making progress. :)

How do you feel about library books? Have you ever worried about their cleanliness, or is that just something you’re not concerned with?