My IRL book club met on Wednesday evening to discuss April’s book. We met in-person and it was fun to get out and see people. We discussed DREAD NATION by Justina Ireland. There were eight of us who met together and all of us read the book. Here are some highlights of our discussion:

  • One person disliked the book. A couple of people thought the book was enjoyable and they won’t read the second book. The rest of us really enjoyed the book and are interested in reading the sequel DEATHLESS DIVIDE.
  • One person already read the sequel and it disappointed her. She’s the same person who disliked DREAD NATION. (I’m not sure if she disliked DREAD NATION because of the sequel or if she was hoping reading the sequel would help her like DREAD NATION more.)
  • A few of us said we really enjoy books, movies, and tv shows with zombies. A couple of others said they were indifferent about them. The others said they hate zombies and they don’t think they’re plausible.
  • One person was really interested in the science of it all–what caused the dead to rise, would a vaccine really work, could zombies evolve, etc.
  • Most of us liked the setting and how Ireland used it as a platform to address racism, oppression, and inequality.
  • Some of us wondered how the rest of the world fared in the story since the book focuses on Civil War Era United States.
  • View Spoiler »
  • View Spoiler »
  • One person thought Ireland started the duology with the dead rising in Gettysburg because it allows her to write a prequel if she wants to.

We had a really interesting conversation about zombies. After we talked about whether we liked the idea of zombies or not, we talked our preferences in types of zombies, favorite reason they could exist, the plausibility of an actual zombie apocalypse, and who’d survive. It was a lot of fun.

I gave everyone the bookmark I made for our upcoming list of books that we start reading for June’s meeting. I think, other than our Christmas party, getting our yearly bookmarks is the highlight of everyone’s year.

Next month’s book is CARVE THE MARK by Veronica Roth. I’m looking forward to reading this one. I’ve heard mixed reviews and I’m not sure where I’ll fall in the mix of opinions. I really liked the Divergent trilogy, including the ending, which I know was very controversial.

Anyway, have you read DREAD NATION? If so, what do you think about my book club’s discussion about it?

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Bookish Presents I’d Like for My Birthday

This week’s prompt is “Bookish Merchandise I’d Like to Own.” This is a really fun prompt and I’ll do it when there’s another freebie week.

I’m changing things up this week because today’s my birthday! If you know me IRL, then you know my birthday’s my favorite day of the year, even if I’m *cough* forty-four *cough* this year. The prompt I’m doing today is bookish presents I’d like for my birthday. Here are my top ten (click the picture for more details):

New Scholastic Covers for the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter

New Bloomsbury Covers for the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter



The Winternight Trilogy


Just One More Chapter T-shirt

This Weekend is Gonna be LIT-erary Mug

Neko Pendant Bookmark

Bookwyrm Enamel Pin

I already own four complete sets of the Harry Potter series, two editions of Sorcerer’s Stone, six editions of Philosopher’s Stone, and five editions of Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Goblet of Fire. IMHO, you can’t have too many editions of Harry Potter.

What about you? What bookish things would you like as presents for your next birthday?

I’ve been learning in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) that life is full of dialectics, or two opposing truths. In this case, the two opposing truths are: 1) I don’t agree with JKR’s stance regarding trans people, and 2) I still love Harry Potter.

Review: Dread NationTitle: Dread Nation
Author: Justina Ireland
Series: Dread Nation #1
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Horror, YA
Pages: 455
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Sexual Content: 0 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville--derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities--and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

My Thoughts

DREAD NATION was my IRL book club’s pick for April. I was really excited to read it as I’ve wanted to ever since I first heard about it. A zombie apocalypse during the Civil War? Yes, please. A strong black female character fighting to not only survive the dead, but also for freedom from the oppression during Reconstruction Era America? I say again, yes, please!

DREAD NATION is the first zombie novel I’ve ever read and I loved it. I loved how the “Shamblers” worked and how they changed the outcome of the Civil War and society in general. The Shamblers were so much fun to read about. I especially loved reading the fight scenes with all the different weaponry used against the dead.

There’s nothing white folks hate more than realizing they accidentally treated a Negro like a person.

The thing I liked the most about DREAD NATION, however, was the time period and how Ireland used the setting to discuss the oppression of black people not only during Civil War era United States, but in general. Even though the themes are blunt, DREAD NATION isn’t preachy. Ireland skillfully addresses issues of racism and inequality while delivering a complex, enthralling story.

Reading DREAD NATION was very eye-opening. I know I’ve lived a very sheltered and safe life (and I’m not talking about a life free of Shamblers). I felt like DREAD NATION wonderfully illustrates the perseverance and strength black people have while enduring horrific abuse at the hands of those who see them as lesser.

I’m glad I finally got a chance to read DREAD NATION. It was a powerful, entertaining story. I look forward to reading the sequel DEATHLESS DIVIDE.

Have you read DREAD NATION? If so, what did you think?

Sunday Post and Sunday Salon are blog news memes hosted at Caffeinated Reviewer and Reader Buzz, respectively. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and other things.

I was feeling a little bit sad on Thursday and Friday. I’m pretty sure it was because I hadn’t hung out with any of my friends for about a month. (I need to be around people other than my husband every once in a while.) And, when I tried to set up a lunch for my and another friend’s birthday this month with my friends (going to lunch is our tradition), I only got a response from two people; there are seven of us. I felt sad that the others didn’t make more of an effort. I know people have their own lives and they can’t always do things with friends. I just wish they had at least responded.


This week on the blog:


I finished reading A RIVER ENCHANTED by Rebecca Ross this week. I actually stayed up until 4am last Sunday night.

I’m now reading DREAD NATION by Justina Ireland. It’s very interesting and eye-opening. I’m about 75% of the way through it. I’ll finish it today.

Tomorrow, I’ll start reading STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco. I’m so excited! I’m fascinated by Jack the Ripper and I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since it was published.


I’ve been listening to “Singing with the Wolves” by Anica. I discovered it while Corey was watching something on TikTok. It was playing in the background and I instantly fell in love with it.


I haven’t been watching anything new this week. I’ve just been watching my weekly episodes of Spring Baking Championship, Domino Masters, Masterchef Junior, and Star Trek: Picard.

The wait between episodes for Star Trek: Picard kills me every week! This season is so amazing.

I’m thinking about watching Roar on AppleTV+. It looks intriguing. I just want to spend more time reading and since this month is crazy with school work because the semester’s almost over, I’m being more selfish with my freetime.


Last week I said I loved my new hair color, but didn’t post a picture because I didn’t have one. I have one now. I thought I’d share it this week. This is my new profile picture everywhere and I love it.


I want Corey to know how much I love him. He knows my birthday’s very important to me. We can’t afford to do much this year and what he did means the world to me. I thought we were just going to celebrate by going to see the new Fantastic Beasts movie on Tuesday, which is my actual birthday. We still are and that would’ve been just fine if we had only done that. However, he also organized a small party yesterday with our really good friends and their kids (more family than friends). We had pizza and dessert and played games. It was the best way to celebrate my birthday.


I need to get out more. This semester has been hard because it’s been online and isolating. I’m glad my classes in the fall are going to be in person. Until school starts in the fall and even while I’m in school, I think I need to get a part-time job so I have a reason to leave the house for a few hours each day/week. I’ll be graduating from my DBT therapy in four weeks so I won’t be doing that twice a week anymore. Maybe, I can get a job at Barnes & Noble or the local library. That would be awesome.

How was your week? Anything exciting happen?

Book vs. Movie is a feature here at JenniElyse. I do a side-by-side comparison of the book and movie (or tv show) and which I like better. There may be minor spoilers.

As I said in my review of NINE PERFECT STRANGERS, I was really excited to read the book because I love Liane Moriarty. I ended up really liking the book. I connected strongly with a few of the characters and I thought Moriarty did a great job of writing about depression, suicide, suicidal ideation, grief, psychedelic therapy, and the way we deal with trauma and setbacks in our life. I did think some of the plot was a little far-fetched, but the story and the characters were so compelling that I didn’t care.

I decided to watch the Hulu series with Corey because we were both such huge fans of the HBO production of Moriarty’s BIG LITTLE LIES. I didn’t tell him anything about the book when we started the first episode. We binge-watched all eight episodes in two sittings.

I thought that Melissa McCarthy was the perfect Frances Welty and that it was fun to see her real-life husband play Paul Drabble. I also really liked Samara Weaving as Jessica, Bobby Cannavale as Tony, and Manny Jacinto as Yao. I hated that Nicole Kidman was cast as Masha at first. She grew on me, though, especially the Hulu version of Masha which was very different from the book version of Masha. I didn’t like what they did to Carmel’s character. Regina Hall did a great job as Carmel; I just really hated the changes to her character. Everyone else was fine.

The Hulu series is SO different from the book that even though I knew the main story, I was mostly in the dark the entire time. I understand why the story was changed. Most books are when they’re adapted for the screen. I just don’t get why NINE PERFECT STRANGERS was changed as much as it was. View Spoiler »

I did like how the show explored depression, suicide, suicidal ideation, and grief. I think the psychedelic therapy aspect of the story was handled a little too cavalierly for my taste in the show vs. how Moriarty wrote about it in the book.


The Hulu production is so different from the book, but the spirit of the story’s still the same. Most of the time, books are way better than their adaptations. In this instance, I think that’s still true. While the series was good and the actors were phenomenal, I think the original way Moriarty wrote the story is the better way.

Have you read NINE PERFECT STRANGERS? Have you seen the Hulu series? Do you like the book or the series better?