I’m testing new names for my Book Corner series. Book Corner is dull and has no connection to coffee. Cafe Noir is black coffee, and noir is a novel genre, so it seemed to fit. I’ll let it brew and see if I like it or come up with something better.

December was a bit slow for reading. I had already hit my goal for the year, so I only tried to finish my book club book and a book someone lent me.

Atomic Habits by James Clear 4 stars
This was my book club book. Atomic Habits is all about building habits and breaking the ones you no longer want to do. You know, the bad ones. It was an effortless read. Many of the points were things I already knew or built on my knowledge.

I would recommend it to everyone. Even if you know a lot of the info, it’s a great refresher. I think most people could finish this book in a week. There are six sections, and each section can be read in a day.

I didn’t give it five stars because I don’t think there’s enough there. I think the author could have gone more in-depth with some sections. I wanted more from some of the areas.

The End of October by Lawrence Wright 3 stars
The End of October was very fitting for 2020. The premise is a global pandemic. It follows a CDC scientist and his family during the outbreak. A lot of it mirrored covid19. It was a little weird.

The book started with a bang and really pulled me in. The middle, though? I could have done without about half of it. Some chapters were weird vignettes that were about the pandemic but didn’t add to the plot. They were like side stories and didn’t really add to the novel.

The ending seemed to wrap up a tad too quickly. It was like there was a page limit, and the author suddenly realized he needed to wrap it up. A few things leave you going ok, but how did we get from A to B?

I looked at the author’s list of works, and it appears he has written a lot of non-fiction, and this was his debut novel. I can tell he researched pandemics and diseases very well. He has potential as a fiction writer but needs a little work and maybe some help from an editor. There were a few chapters from the main character’s children. They kept referring to their parents by their name. I can see where that might happen in more non-fiction, but it felt odd and didn’t fit for the characters in a fiction novel.

Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle 4 stars
Tequila Mockingbird is a fun little drink recipe book. The author pairs drinks with classic novels (ok, some not so classics). He writes a bit of the book and includes a fun reference to the book in the recipe.

I didn’t give it five stars because I was a bit disappointed in the drink recipes. I was hoping for fun cocktails, and these were mostly basic drinks.

Overall, it was fun, and someday I hope to pair some of the drinks with books. Once I get my shit together. haha

What did you read this month?

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.