I’ve decided to start sharing the books I read each month with my thoughts on each book. Every year I try to read at least 52 books (one per week), so I can share at least four every month. I’m trying to do a mix of kindle, paperback, fiction, and non-fiction each month. I’m also forcing myself only to read books I already own and not buy new books this year! I own over 400 – I take advantage of my Prime membership and free/discounted books. I also have started buying used books. As long as they have no writing or highlighting. PLEASE STOP DOING THIS PEOPLE! No one else cares what you thought was an excellent passage. LOL

I’m also planning books based on prompts from three different reading challenges (since I couldn’t decide on just one). I’m using Goodreads ATR, PopSugar, and Book Riots Read Harder. I started a spreadsheet with all the prompts and the books that fit most of them. There’s some I won’t have books for unless and Amazon Prime Reading book fits (and I don’t have ten books out already LOL).

For January, I started with Influencer by Brittany Hennessy for the social media prompt. It was an easy, fast read. I would recommend this book only if you want to be a true influencer. I picked it up on Amazon Prime Reading, thinking I may get some tips for my business, but it’s more for beauty and fashion influencers. I did get a few ideas for this blog, but the goal isn’t to be an influencer, but rather to share my love of fitness, running, and books. The only thing I did not like about it was the influencer interviews got to be very repetitive. They pretty much all said the same things. I gave it three stars on Goodreads, which means it was an average book, not bad. Would I re-read it? Nope. Would I recommend it? Yes, to someone that wants to work at being an influencer.

Next, I read The Hunger Games (yup, little behind there) for the first book in a series prompt. I’ve had the first and third books for a while and finally bought the second book, so I figured it was time to read. I’ve watched the movies, so I knew the general story (plus knowing there are two more books in the series I kind of figure the main character will live). I gave it five stars which for me means it’s a fantastic book and everyone should read it. Even though I had seen the movie, I was on the edge of my seat and did not want to put the book down. I didn’t see Jennifer Lawrence but yet could picture my version of Katniss. I must admit I read all of Haymitch’s lines in Woody Harrelson’s voice. LOL If you haven’t read this one, I highly encourage you to pick it up.

The only non-kindle book I read this month.

The third book I read was Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style for the book by an LGBTQIA+ prompt. I was a little disappointed with this book. I had previously read his book Gunn’s Golden Rule and liked that one. I think there was some useful info in A Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style, but it felt contrived. Almost like he was trying too hard. I gave it three stars but not sure I’d recommend it. It had some basic advice and a lot of things I already knew, but it seemed to be a very surface-level look at style. I would have liked a more deeper dive in a few areas.

For my last January book, I decided to read The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane. I picked it up what feels like years ago on Amazon Prime Reading and never read it. It fits the prompt of an author with flora or fauna in their name (crane). It’s not as well known as The Hunger Games, so a brief synopsis: a young woman is the only survivor of a plane crash. She wakes up in the hospital with no memory from before the crash. This was a fast read. About halfway through, I started figuring out the story, but I still enjoyed the book. The ending wrapped up a little too quickly. Overall I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.

Since I had extra time in the month, I added an Ann Rule book I had on Amazon Prime. The End of the Dream: The Golden Boy Who Never Grew Up fit my a book you meant to read in 2019 prompt because I grabbed it in 2019 but never got around to reading my Prime books. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, but I rounded up from 3.5. The crime story was good, but I felt like Rule spent too much time giving the background of every single person involved. I think she could have gotten the point across with a little less information. I found myself skimming a few times because it was becoming long and repetitive. Rule is usually known for her wordy, murder stories, but this was a wordy bank robber. I had never heard of the case, and it was interesting to see her do something non-murder.

I still had time left in the month, so I started another Prime Reading book, How to be an Imperfectionist by Stephen Guise. For the prompt picked based on something you read in 2019 (Present over Perfect). I like how the book was set up. The first half was informative while the second half offered ways to work on letting go of perfectionism. The areas that I felt needed the most work on felt like a skim rather than a deep dive. I got some value from it but felt it could have been better. The examples he gave were relatable but repetitive (a lot about dating and talking to women). I felt there could be more examples besides dating. I gave it 3 stars. If you struggle with perfectionism it may be worth your time and it’s not a difficult read.

What did you read in January? Even though I have over 400 books I’m always looking for good ones to add to my Amazon wish lists.

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.