I set another goal to read 52 books this year. I find I can usually read about a book a week, usually, I end up reading between 52 and 60. So I like to keep it simple with 52. Here are the books I read in January.

The Cold Vanish by Jon Billman 


I received a copy from Netgalley for free in exchange for my review. 

The Cold Vanish is a study in missing people but not just any missing people. It looks at those who go missing in National Parks and other wilderness areas.

The main focus of the book is Jacob Gray who went missing in Olympic National Park. In between the story of the search for Jacob the author covers other missing people. I enjoyed the format but it may be off putting to others as the main story does bounce around.

Billman does touch upon psychics and cryptids such as Bigfoot. He mentions them because they do come up in every missing person case but it’s clear he doesn’t think Bigfoot is kidnapping people. It seems it’s mentioned only to highlight how things can appear strange when a body is found months or years later in an area previously searched. 

Yes, it is strange but mother nature has a way of hiding things. Recently during a search for a missing hiker at the Grand Canyon another body was found of a man who went missing in 2015. His body was found at a popular point on the south rim. His clothes and the angle made it difficult to see. Strange? Yes but definitely not Bigfoot. 

Families often want an answer but unfortunately there isn’t always one. 

Being a trail runner and hiker, I understand how easy it is to get disoriented or lose a trail. How one could be out longer than expected and run out of food and water. To not be prepared for the elements. Living in Phoenix, I see the tourists that don’t get the summer heat and think they can hike at 10 am with a small water bottle. Even locals sometimes underestimate the power of nature.

The important thing about this book is it highlights the issues around wilderness search and rescue plus our law enforcement’s general attitude of adults who go missing. Yes, adults can choose to walk away from their lives but how many really do? 

The National Park Services has a list of missing persons on their website. The Park Predators podcast highlights true crime in National Parks. Some unsolved. Some involving missing people, including a park ranger. 

I have read many of Billman’s articles before. I have always enjoyed his writing. He writes beautiful passages but also presents the facts. He brings attention to missing persons cases, which to me is always a good thing. The more we are aware, the more we can change how things are handled and hopefully find more of the missing. He makes you care.

I would recommend this book to people who like true crime and have an avid interest in the outdoors. 

Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom: Discovering the Power of Pictures by Rick Sammon


A photo book without photos and guess what? It’s awesome! I really enjoyed this book. Each chapter is a look at how photography can be used as therapy and/or tips to improve your photography. At the end of each chapter is an assignment. Some involve photography, others are more internal work or thought provoking. 

I will admit I am a fan of Rick Sammon’s photography and teaching but I really do think this book is a great read for anyone interested in pushing their own photography skills.

Later by Stephen King


Oh boy, how to write a review for this without giving anything away! There is so much I want to say but everything I write I keep erasing because it starts to give away the plot. 

A basic summary… our young protagonist can see and talk to ghosts. Hijinks ensue. Think Sixth Sense but not.

Sorry, I want to give you more but then I veer into spoiler territory! 

If you’re a King fan, definitely worth the read. It’s actually a short book so if you’ve been intimidated by the length of some of his other books, give this one a try.

Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess by Rachel Hoffman


I actually liked this book. Hoffman doesn’t really give me anything new but I enjoy her writing style. 

Basically, her method is 20/10. 20 minutes, 10 times a day. Or you can do 5/1. Or whatever you can do each day to get sh*t done.

Last month I read Marie Kondo’s book and hated the concept. You can read the review here. I much prefer Unf*ck Your Habitat. I totally get it won’t be for everyone one but it clicked for me. Maybe you’d prefer Marie Kondo. That’s cool. That’s why I love books! Everyone can find what works for them. 

Have you read any good books lately? Drop ‘em in the comments!

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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.