I read only ebooks this March because I wanted to hit all 15 Kindle Reading Challenges for the quarter finally. I usually switch between physical and ebooks, so I never hit all the challenges. I feel so accomplished. 😂

What did you read this month?

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The No Spend Challenge Guide by Jen Smith

This felt like a long, drawn-out blog post from someone who thinks they know more than you because they got out of debt! Many of us have gotten out of debt but don’t immediately tell people to “cut out coffee shop trips.” I will not re-read or reference this book in the future; most is common sense and nothing to really help do a no-spend challenge.

I was also turned off by the author offering no concrete examples of what she said she did to become debt-free. She claims she can’t show us her budget or rules because it’s not helpful, and we are all unique! Like, no shit, but some of us like to see a visual representation to get an idea of how to frame our own. 

It makes it harder to implement her ideas because there are no real examples, just a list of items you could try. It also undermines her credibility because she lists items anyone could give without showing anything to back up that these have worked or how she implemented them.

I would not recommend this to anyone. Do a Google search, and you’ll get much better ideas. 

Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vol 1 by Akiko Higasgumura

This was my first manga, and I really enjoyed it! The drawings worked well to help set the scene and tell the story. There was good pacing and enough tension to move the story forward. I wanted to hang around with the main characters at the bar. It would be a fun evening, and it would make a cute TV show. 

Ankle Snatcher by Grady Hendrix

I struggle with short story reviews. I liked this one, but I always want more from short stories. Hendrix did a nice job setting the scene and building the atmosphere. There was really only one character, and I felt he had a decent arc, but something was missing. Maybe I want to get to know the characters better.

ADHD For Smartass Women by Tracy Otsuka

Tracy Otsuka was someone I found when I was first diagnosed with ADHD. I joined her Facebook group, listened to her podcast, and tried her planning system. I’m still a member of her Facebook group, but I no longer feel the need to listen to her podcasts, and her planning system did not work for me. I was interested in reading her book when it came out.

Overall, I liked ADHD for Smartass Women. I thought it was well-written and easy to read. Because Otsuka isn’t a doctor or scientist, her dialogue is very relatable. She shared many personal stories of her life and those of her listeners/group members. 

It kept my attention because it was fairly short and to the point. It is also a book you could skip around and read what applies to you. You don’t miss anything by skipping the chapters or sections that don’t apply. 

The Mystery Writer by Sulari Gentill

Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

The Mystery Writer is set in Laurence, Kansas, but it could have been set in a small suburb of any town in the USA. Overall, I thought the story had good tension and resolution but did drag in some parts. There were definitely twists I did not see coming, which is rare. 

I didn’t like or dislike the characters. A few felt too flat and one-dimensional, while others were too over-the-top and unbelievable. I thought Theo came across as very naive for someone who was in law school, and Gus fell into the stereotypical “big brother” trope. 

I thought using Theo’s point of view was good; we only know what she knows. In the beginning, I was thrown by the conspiracist forum chats. I didn’t quite get what they were there for, and there wasn’t any differentiation between the chats and the start of the chapter. It was a bit jarring in the first few chapters until you got the flow. I would have liked to have seen these as a page between the chapters. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It hits a lot of genre tropes. I could see some filmmaker trying to make this into a movie (and it could be either really good or really bad, lol).

Murder Road by Simone St. James

The setting for Murder Road was well-described, and St. James made sure to build an atmosphere. The lore was literally given to the reader in the book (and it worked well). The book had great pacing and decent tension, although some of the tension felt forced/fake. The ending wrapped up all questions.

I thought all of the main characters had a nice story arc and changed appropriately for the story. Some of the dynamics between characters felt a little forced. I felt the main characters changed from the story’s start to end.

I finished this book in only a couple of days. I didn’t want to put it down. It followed genre tropes, and although I was pretty sure I saw the twists coming, there was enough there (or not there) to have me second-guessing. It was easy to read, with a consistent point of view, flow, and relatable dialogue. 

I would love to see this done as a movie!


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.