December Wrap-Up and January TBR

What did I read during one of the most festive months of the year?

December Wrap-Up

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

A family with a lot of secrets is forced together. Movie shenanigans with real world reactions ensue. 3/5

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

So fantastic. So creepy. It’s long but none of it is wasted. 5/5

Mutts and Mistletoe by Natalie Cox

A sweet holiday romance that left a little to be desired in some spots. It was like a British Hallmark movie. 3/5

Krampusnacht edited by Kate Wolford

A fun indie collection of Krampus stories. 4/5

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

A Christmas Carol plays out every year at Project Scrooge with Holly, a failed Scrooge, as the ghost of Christmas past. A brilliant and emotional YA story about loss, love, and the human condition. 5/5

I’m starting this year with books I’m excited about. I’ve already started a novel, an anthology, and a nonfiction.

January TBR

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

A 2018 release that got an intense amount of buzz and praise. Books in the Freezer has a great interview with him so I hope it’s as good as it sounds

Fear by Bob Woodward

Started it and would like to finish. I took December off from political nonfiction but it’s time to get back in the game.

Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View

I’m one story deep but I’m hoping this will deepen my enjoyment of the series like the last Star Wars book did.

Out of the Ice by Ann Turner

It’s been offensively warm so I’m waiting for winter to properly hit before I dive into this Antarctic murder mystery

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2019 Goals

I dislike the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. Everyone has some bad history with them, including me. Instead, I have some things I’d like to accomplish.

  • Owe less
  • Own less
  • Eat more veggies
  • Read more of what I want

I’m keeping it simple and open so there’s no pressure. Life doesn’t go how you plan so leave room for error.

Insta Ads

I love watching YouTube videos of buying what’s advertised to you on social media. It’s interesting and very entertaining. I love the idea of it but definitely don’t have the money to do it myself.

I decided to see what was advertised to me and if I’d actually want to spend my limited funds on them.

My content on Instagram is mostly books but I follow a lot of random things. Capsule wardrobes, tiny houses, publishers, artists, participants of The Bachelor franchise, and various feminist accounts. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a third Insta account just for personal stuff but I don’t know if I want to be bothered to find the stuff to post.

It results in a hodgepodge of my interests so the advertisements should be interesting.

Ad #1 Sudara

In the ad was the Leela full lounge pants. They were $54 originally but the ad was about the big site wide 50% off sale. 100% cotton with an elastic and drawstring waist, $27 before shipping isn’t bad.

The company touts being ethically made in India so liberals with money to burn can feel good about their pretty trousers. Assuming their not fat because the brand isn’t size inclusive. These are also most likely a poplin type of cotton with no stretch. It would likely be a bust all around.

Ad #2 Icon Undies

This ad was hyping 30% off the Pumpkin Spice 3-pack of period panties. I like 2 out of 3 cuts and they’re somewhat size inclusive. The fabric is synthetic so likely wicking which works for me. If I needed these, this would be a solid contender. Good job Instagram.

Ad #3 Fit Fab Fun box

I follow a few alums of The Bachelor franchise. This is one of their favorite shills. I’ve done a few various boxes like these but one was for eco friendly and ethically made products, Cause box. I have a strict personal ban on cruelty free beauty products and I’m sure some of their contributors aren’t cruelty free.

I’m also sure I’d get at least one product that would be meant for someone with a smaller [head, body, whatever] and something I’m allergic to [perfumes, wool].

The ad gives you $20 off a one time $50 box or $200 annual subscription. That’s a good chunk of change for something I wouldn’t be satisfied with. Nice idea but I’d go back to Cause box first.

Ad #4 Me Undies

I’m familiar with this brand and am interested in trying them at some point. I’m at the upper edge of their sizing so calling them ‘size inclusive’ would be a stretch. I like their selection and fun patterns but there’s no discount.

Seeing the discrepancy between the member price and regular price is discouraging. If I’m going to get ripped of on price for trying it once when it probably won’t fit, why bother?

Ad #5 American Eagle

I’ve looked at Aerie a couple of times because I’ve owned a couple of items from them that I’ve liked. I’m on the upper end of their sizes so I haven’t bought anything in years.

I think the sweatshirt in the ad is the Cozy City Sweatshirt in the golden mustard color. It’s aerie, not American Eagle but they’re showing up on the same list. I kind of hate yellow and would never buy this color. I do like the idea of a sweatshirt with a pocket but it wouldn’t be as oversized as I’d like.

The price also feels like something they marked up to $50 just to mark it down to $30 and claim what a bargain you’re getting. They would have had better luck directing me to the ‘naughty’ sweatshirt I’ve seen in other ads.

Verdict

Out of 5 products, I’d only buy 1 item. I might click on some of these but only one had a shot at getting my money.

Forgive

I’ve never been a forgiving person. I’ve been taught that you’re supposed to forget they did wrong, let it all go, and carry on as if nothing happened. In my experience, this just means giving the other person a free pass to make the same mistake.

When every second chance turns into a ‘fool me twice,’ you decide it’s not worth it. I decided I would not forgive someone if 1) they weren’t sorry and 2) I knew they were going to do it again.

But then I was asked to think about what forgiveness really meant in general and to me. First stop, the dictionary.

Forgive – To cease to feel resentment against

That’s it. The definition is really that simple. I had to sit with that for a while since this changed some things for me.

Forgiving the crimes of your cheating ex or backstabbing friend doesn’t mean calling them up and saying, “I forgive you.” They are not a necessary part of the process. If you want to keep it between you and yourself, you can!

This was very revelatory for me.

In my previous mindset, I came to believe the only person you owe forgiveness is yourself. We all make mistakes and harboring that guilt and regret serves no good purpose. But forgiveness doesn’t really refer to that. It’s about letting go of resentment.

Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. It gives someone valuable real estate they don’t deserve. I’m not awesome at getting rid of it but I know it will never serve or satisfy me.

Based on the dictionary definition, forgiveness can serve you and does nothing for whoever wronged you. Forgiving them means letting go of resentment which feels a lot like forgiving yourself.

The problem comes when people conflate forgiving with absolving.

Absolving – To set free from an obligation or the consequences of guilt

Putting down the poison of resentment doesn’t mean welcoming back the person who gave it to you. Forgiveness serves you; absolution serves them. When someone demands forgiveness, they’re demanding absolution. You never owe someone absolution.

Forgiving someone means you let them stop hurting you for what’s already been done. Absolution means letting them do it again.

I am allowed to forgive someone and want nothing to do with them. I can let go of resentment without letting them back in. I still need to figure out how to apply this and let it all sink in but that’s why I’m paying my therapist. I hope this helps someone in addition to me.

November Wrap-Up and December TBR

I participated in Nonfiction November and posted several photos on my Insta (@JesseJaneReads) in honor of it.

November Wrap-Up

Born Trump by Emily Jane Fox

Part recap of Twitler, part story of his spawn. Well written, well reported, but lacking in some places 4/5

Getting Married and Other Mistakes by Barbara Slate

A semi-autobiographical comic about getting married for the wrong reasons and the aftermath. 4/5

Our Super Adventure by Sarah Graley

A fun and silly diary comic about geeks with too many cats. 4/5

Everything that Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn with Ryan Nicodemus

A memoir in line with what I expected from the podcast and documentary. Meandered a bit on the second half though. 4/5

We Can Fix It by Jess Fink

Fink imagines revisiting her past self and trying to change things. It does go as planned. 4/5

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Horman

A family with terrible communication and lots of secrets has to spend 7 days in quarantine. Shenanigans and feels ensue. 4/5

December TBR

I’ve spent December reading Christmas books for years. I have no desire to stop this year. However, some of the worst times of my life happened around the holidays. Death and multiple instances of emotional abuse has a way of killing the magic. For obvious reasons, I prefer my holiday reads a little darker than most.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

A fast-paced Christmas horror story? Yes please!

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden

A Christmas horror anthology? Yay!

The Twelve Doctors of Christmas

An anthology of Whovian Christmas stories I started last year. Perfect time to finish it.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

For some reason, YA has cornered the market on Christmas reading that’s less saccharine. A Scrooge redemption with a more modern spin.

Mutts and Mistletoe by Natalie Cox

Standard Christmas fluff but it has dogs.

Fear by Bob Woodward

I started it in November but I’m trying to go light on political nonfiction to avoid the burnout I felt coming on.

End of the Year Book Tag

It seemed a good time for a book tag.

Are there any books you started and need to finish?

Fear by Bob Woodward. I started it for Nonfiction November but am trying to give myself a break since I was feeling political fiction burnout.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition to the end of the year?

Not really. I joined in on Nonfiction November so nothing felt especially transitional.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Nope. I’m good with the backlist.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Twelve Doctors of Christmas anthology, NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, and The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Is there a book that you think could still shock you and become your FAVORITE???

Probably not. I’m looking forward to everything on my TBR but I’m not expecting anything to knock it out of the park.

Have you already made reading plans for 2018?

The plan is no plan! I’m not doing a home brewed challenge but I will still be participating in several challenges casually.

2019 Book Challenge

I’m not doing one.

With the world burning, I’ve been reading more political nonfiction to stay informed. Other library holds came in, I got busy and tired with work. It got to the point where all of the challenges for 2018 fell by the wayside. I stopped trying and just started reading what I wanted.

Why can’t I do that for all of next year?

Things are stressful enough without me turning something I love into adult homework. I create the challenges so I decide what they are, how they go, and what they entail. There’s no reason I can’t make a list of goals that I treat as casually as I do the casual reading challenge. I’ll be back with my 2019 goals in December.