I started February off with Dumplin’ (yes, the book the Netflix movie starring Jennifer Aniston is based on). I used the prompt a book you picked because the title caught your attention because I was scrolling through Amazon Prime Reads, and it popped out to me. The title and cover were intriguing, and I knew Netflix had made it into a movie. Overall, I liked the story. I was a bit disappointed in the ending. I felt like a bit of a cliffhanger. (I know there’s a second book but from my understanding focuses on other characters). I gave it four stars. It was an easy read and had a sweet message about loving yourself and the struggle to accept yourself. I think no matter what size you are, we all have similar thoughts as Dumplin’. It also touched on how judgemental we can be, even when we are often judged unfairly. Dumplin’ had several judgemental thoughts about friends and knew it was wrong, yet she couldn’t help it. I think we’ve all been there.

Next up was The Camera by Ansel Adams. This isn’t a book I’d recommend to everyone. I chose it because Ansel Adams has always been a photographer I’ve looked to for inspiration, and I’m interested in learning more. The book was updated in 1980 (the year I was born), so a lot of it isn’t applicable unless you have older cameras. I have an old film camera, and it helped me learn more about it and learn about other cameras I’m interested in obtaining. I give this four (4) stars. I thought Adams did an excellent job explaining The Camera.

We bought an air fryer in December. We’ve been using it a ton for things like french fries and veggie tots, but I wanted to branch out a bit. Amazon was having a buy three (3) for the price of two (2) deal, so I got Skinny Taste’s air fryer cookbook. And yes, I read it cover to cover. I read all my new cookbooks. Without having to try any recipes yet, I would give it five (5) stars. It was well written and had a lot of useful information for using an air fryer. The recipes all sounded delicious, and several were naturally gluten-free. The rest are easily adaptable. I had to laugh at one of the only bad reviews I saw, though… she was complaining there wasn’t enough info for making these recipes in the oven because she didn’t have an air fryer. I’m not sure why you’d buy a cookbook for a specific appliance if you don’t have said appliance. But what do I know? LOL

Since I started The Hunger Games in January, I wanted to read Catching Fire this month. I gave it four (4) stars on Goodreads. There are two reasons it didn’t get five (5) stars. One, Katniss is so freaking dense it started driving me nuts from the start of the book. I don’t recall her being this dumb about it in the movie, but the book is all her point of view, and we get more inner dialogue. Second, it has the problem most middle books (and movies) have that it kind of drags a bit. First, it needs to retell us about characters and events from book one. I usually skim over those parts. Then it has to set up and leave a big cliff hanger for the third book. But as far as second books go, this is definitely strong on its own.

I thought my last book for the month would be The Alienist. It’s almost 500 pages, so I figured two weeks would be enough time. It took me about a week and a half. I gave The Alienist five (5) stars on Goodreads. I liked it, but I can’t say it would be for everyone. It’s very detailed, and it’s not one you can quickly skim. I enjoyed the story and plot. I watched the TV series but only remembered the very vague storyline and not whodunnit. I have to say I was on the edge of my seat, trying to figure it out (or remember). If you like historical fiction, psychology, and new crime-solving techniques (like fingerprinting!), this book might be for you. It’s a bit of a slow read and requires your attention. It’s not a beach read kind of book.

I finished The Alienist on my lunch break, so I needed a book for the commute home. I started No, No, No, No, No, Yes. Insights From a Creative Journey. I also finished it on my commute. It was VERY short. Very short. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I gave it a three (3) on Goodreads, but I think that was a little generous. The message behind it was good, but there wasn’t a lot to the book. It felt like a blog post or article. The premise is you will hear no a lot, but no isn’t forever, so keep going.

What did you read in February? What are you planning to read in March?

Categories: Books


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.