What I Read: December & Giveaway

I mentioned on my accomplishments post earlier this week about completing my reading goal for 2014 of 100 books… so I guess it’s about time I recap the last chunk (and I do mean chunk… I read/listened to a lot this month!) of books I read/listened to in December.

What I Read: December

What I Read: December / hellorigby!

Pretty Little Liars: Wicked (#5), Killer (#6), Heartless (#7), and Wanted (#8) by Sara Shepard – ★★★ – I had forgotten that a few years ago I started this series and never completed it. I was shocked to see how many total books there are though. (16, really?!) Anyways, I liked the first 3 the best, and then after that these have been entertaining and quick reads, but not necessarily the most well-written books. I kind of equate these to the Princess Diaries, if you were ever into that series. They’re fun, short, and cute, but they get a little… worn with time if you know what I mean. I will finish off this series, I actually quite enjoy the audiobook version because I can read about one a day at work!

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell -★★★★ – Dave and I often listen to a “business”-y or “how-to” book on the way to and from work. He’s picked a couple from his Audible subscription, so this was his pick. We enjoyed it, but personally I prefer the Freakonomics series. If you have yet to pick up one of these types of books, it’s basically a collection of shorter stories that are data-filled, and Gladwell does an excellent job of making them very interesting and engaging for the reader.

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk – ★★★ – God, Palahniuk books are WEIRD. I have read quite a few, and they always leave me wondering about the guy behind them. Regardless, the stories are crazy and far fetched, yet weird enough that I wonder if they’re based on real life. As you could guess from the title, the main character, Victor, chokes on food at high-end restaurants to essentially con people out of money because he knows they will feel responsible for his life. He also cruises rehab clinics hooking up with sex addicts. Sounds intriguing? It will probably leave you shaking your head too.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion – ★★★★ – So to be perfectly honest, zombies aren’t my thing. However, love stories are. This was a sweet yet slightly creepy and disturbing book, and I love that the author is Seattle based.

A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages by Kristin Chenoweth – ★★★★ – This was a fun listen – Kristin narrates the novel and really brought a lot of personality and charm to the words. I’m sure her biggest fans have read this (which I’m not, though she seems like a very sweet gal) but I’d recommend this to those who just recognize her from TV too. :)

Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) by Janet Evanovich – ★★★ – This is another series I read many moons ago and recently picked back up. These books are a bit monotonous after… oh… you know the first 10. But they’re fun and quick reads, which is a nice break sometimes. If you’re not familiar, it’s based on a bond agent, and details her life trying to catch the “skips” all while finding herself stuck in awkward/dangerous situations, and lusting after two men.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman – ★★★★ – Alright, controversy time. I have heard so much about this book… mostly negative. But I actually really enjoyed it. I was a little disappointed that the author just didn’t finish the story off at the end, but whatever. I will read the second book, and hopefully not hate that one. ;)

Yes Please by Amy Poehler – ★★★★ – Amy Poehler is hilarious. She narrates the book in the audio book version (which I of course picked up via Audible. I have no patience to wait in line at the library.) and I really enjoyed some of the additional commentary that I assume wasn’t in the print version. If you liked Bossypants, you’ll like this.

Animal Farm by George Orwell – ★★★★ – I LOVED 1984 so I finally, finally picked this one up. What an odd but fascinating book. I feel like I need to read it again, because like 1984, there’s so much that you can easily skim over if you’re not reading closely, which I admittedly did not.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – ★★★ ½ – Eh. I’ve heard about this book for so long that I think I had super high hopes for it. I tried another Mitch Albom book earlier this year and didn’t like that one either, so maybe his style is just not for me.

Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner -★★★★ – I really enjoy the Freakonomics series, but I noticed a lot of the reviews said this book was unnecessary if you listen to their podcast. I do not, so it was new information for me, but if you’re not in the mood for reading, download their podcasts instead!

Fifth Avenue, 5 AM: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson – ★★★★ – After watching Sabrina for the first time a longggg time ago, I basically became obsessed with Audrey Hepburn. Not only was she a fabulous actress, but she was an admirable woman. I’ve read many biographies about her, and was happy to add this one to my Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge list too.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – ★★★★ – I’m not quite sure what to compare this to. I thought about Harry Potter at first, then it reminded me a bit of the Maze Runner. Neither is an accurate comparison, but if you like either of those, you would definitely like this.

Smart Girl, Dumb Love by Kelsye Nelson – ★★½ –  This was a collection of 3 (very) short stories. I can’t say the subject matter was particularly enjoyable (basically about failed relationships, and sexually explicit in nature), but it was quite different from what I normally read so there’s that.
c/o Library Thing

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson – ★★★ – Apparently this is what the movie Frozen was based on. I guess I can see that a bit… but honestly didn’t enjoy this much. Audible was giving this away for free during the holidays, so it was worth a shot.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – ★★★★ – A festive listen and one of my favorite Christmas stories. Growing up, my favorite Christmas read was the Mickey Mouse version of A Christmas Carol, so it was fun to listen to the classic this year.

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk – ★★★ – Basically the same as the last Palahniuk book… so bizarre, yet so weirdly interesting. The book is basically going in reverse, and it’s a fun plot twist to wrap it all up for you. I think my biggest pet peeve about Palahniuk’s books is that they all sound the same. They all have exactly the same hurried pace and frantic characters that feel very one-note over time.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry -★★★★ – Somehow I never read this when I was younger, though I obviously had read The Giver (which I’m re-reading now. Love.) I really enjoyed this one, even if it was a bit melancholy to listen to around the holidays.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – ★★★ ½ – This is my third attempt through this book. I’m not sure what it is about it, but something about Vonnegut’s writing is really hard for me to get into and enjoy. Maybe it’s just this particular book, I really don’t know. For the Vonnegut fans, I will try again.

My Reading Updates

Total Books this month: 22
Total Books read this year: 102100
Total Books read for the Reading Pile Challenge: 40 / 40 Completed in October!
Total Books read for the Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge:
4 / 13

And on another note… six other bloggers and myself have teamed up to bring you a little jump start to the year 2015–$80 PayPal cash is up for grabs! Wouldn’t it be lovely to start the year off with a little extra cash saved up? Use the Rafflecopter below to enter and be sure to thank the lovely ladies who helped make this possible!

Life Could Be a Dream // An Uncomplicated Life // Health, Love & Fire // Blooming in Bedlam
A Little Too Jolley // Hello Rigby // Simply Free

The giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST on December 31st until 11:59 pm EST on January 5th. Entries will be verified, so please be honest with your entries. The winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before a new winner will be selected. Thanks for entering and good luck!

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110 thoughts on “What I Read: December & Giveaway

    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Alanna! I got pretty behind towards the end so had to do a lot of reading/listening in December to make up for it. Good luck on your goal!

  1. Carly Blogs Here

    It looks like you read so many great books this month! I started David & Goliath, but wasn’t able to finish it before my library loan was up & I really need to request it again- I’ve heard such good things about Gladwell’s books. Congratulations on making (and surpassing) your reading goal for the year :)

    1. Jenn Post author

      I really like Gladwell’s books, though David & Goliath wasn’t my favorite. I liked Blink better, but it’s still worth finishing! Thanks Carly! :)

    1. Jenn Post author

      Vacations are so much fun – sounds like your destinations last year were awesome! Hope you have a good one, and thanks for entering! :)

  2. Catherine R.

    I am looking forward to so much about 2015. This year has been so wonderful and full of such blessings that it has me really looking forward to 2015. I think I am most looking forward to trying to add a new addition to our family.

  3. Christine

    You read ALL these books this month!? I’m lucky if I make it through one. I’m trying really hard to finish my current read today so it counts for 2014. There are quite a few on this list I would really like to read, especially that one with Audrey Hepburn. I love her so much! I don’t know why you read Animal Farm though. I hated life when I had to read that in high school. It wasn’t a teenager thing either because I was the nerd who liked all but five books total she’s ever read in school.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Jenn Post author

      Haha, I thought Animal Farm was pretty interesting, but you’re right, it’s definitely not the most enticing or exciting read. At least it’s short (which is what I was going for towards the end!)

      Hope you finished up your final book for 2014, and Happy New Year, Christine! :)

  4. Cat

    I absolutely love Malcolm Gladwell, although admittedly David and Goliath was perhaps the weakest of his books so far. Also, aren’t audiobooks a great way to “read”? I listen to them at work too when I’m doing tasks that require little brainpower, as well as when I’m driving, walking the dog, etc. I feel like I should put together a list of the incredible audiobooks!


  5. Kati Rose

    I really enjoyed If I Stay Too – so it’s nice finding someone who did too because everybody seemed to be critical of it. I’ll have to check out audiobooks driving to and from work – that’s an idea I’ve never really thought of before!

    1. Jenn Post author

      I know right? I was really scared to read it, but ended up really liking it. Audiobooks definitely help make commutes much more enjoyable!

  6. Tami

    Great job on completing the challenge. I haven’t read nearly as much books as I would have liked too, but hoping that would change in the coming year.

    Happy New Year!! :)

  7. Sarah

    I loved If I Stay. I didn’t like the movie as much as the book…. but that’s not abnormal, and it’s kind of a hard concept to put into visual affects so that everyone can understand what’s going on…

      1. Sarah

        I think it’s worth seeing, it still had me in tears, but if you hadn’t read the book the movie would be confusing and not NEARLY as emotional.

  8. Kassie

    I’m just looking forward to new opportunities. Trying new things and experiencing different things are on the top of my to do list!

  9. Barbara Montag

    I’m looking forward to getting back to my clean eating and workouts.
    I feel like a million bucks when I do this!
    thank you

  10. Heather B

    I LOVED Bossypants so I was thrilled when I received Yes, Please for Christmas! I also got Mindy Kaling’s book, too, so I guess that means I have a thing for these hilarious actresses. I can’t wait to crack them open :)

    Heather | Style Prescription

    1. Jenn Post author

      I still need to read Mindy Kaling’s book! I picked it up free with a Birchbox order a few months ago… maybe I’ll try to read that one next. :)

  11. Malissa W

    Getting back to running! I broke my foot in November and cannot wait to be fully healed and start running again! Thanks for the giveaway.

  12. Betsy Barnes

    I am looking forward to doing some upgrades in my home decor. I want to change the colors in my living room, adding a brighter feel. :)

  13. kristen

    wow, so many books! way to go girl! i am adding a couple of these to my list.
    i totally agree about the stephanie plum books. i binge read up to #10 recently and had to take a break because i was skimming and not paying attention because they were so monotonous.

    1. Jenn Post author

      Thanks Kristen! Yep, feel the same way. I still like them, but I definitely can’t binge read them like I used to. Kind of a bummer, but I feel like I have to finish the series.

  14. Olivia Hamilton

    The one thing im looking forward to most this year is MOVING!!! Right now we are living in a two bedroom house and there are 2 adults and 2 kids. Our youngest is 3 and he sleeps in mommy and daddy’s room. I can tell you that we are soooo ready for our own space again :)

  15. Mar

    I’m looking forward to seeing my little sister, who’s been living out in British Columbia. I haven’t seen her since August.

  16. Christy Peeples DuBois

    I honestly do not know what I’m looking forward to in 2015. My youngest daughter is a senior in high school this year and I’m looking forward to her graduation for her sake but I’m not looking forward to her being 3 hrs away at ole miss in the fall. Come to think about though I guess I could look forward to the cute cute shops to shop in Oxford.

    1. Jenn Post author

      That’s a good way to look at it! I know my mom had a hard time when I went off to college 5 hours from home, but it made the visits that much more special! :) Thanks for entering, Christy!

  17. Kelly Minyard

    Graduating from my Master’s Program! And a year without wedding planning ;) As amazing as 2014 was, I’m so glad I can relax with my husband rather than argue about our wedding party’s outfits with my fiance ;)

  18. Jae

    I had the same exact reaction re: Warm Bodies! It’s weird, but the main characters made me gush like a teenager! Oh, and I’ve seen the film adaptation of If I Stay on the plane, and I cried! It’s not as painful to watch as The Fault In Our Stars, but still.

    P.S. I loved Where She Went more than the first book. I have a thing for books written in the guy’s perspective. ;)

    1. Jenn Post author

      I still haven’t seen The Fault in Our Stars! I’m so behind, I read the book awhile ago and loved it so I really need to. Interesting you loved the second in the If I Stay series more than the first! I’ll have to pick up the second soon then! :)

  19. Shannon F

    My husband is FINALLY graduating from college this year and then we’re going to buy a house so I’m really looking forward to that!

  20. Amanda Sakovitz

    I am looking forward to running and also to trying to better myself emotionally. I’m thinking yoga maybe. Happy new year!

  21. Rachael

    Girl, you’re cray! You read so much this month! haha. We are actually reading ACC now in English and read Animal Farm earlier this year. Maybe you should come teach my class with me? ;) haha.

    1. Jenn Post author

      Well, I don’t like goals that are close to being completed to go uncompleted! Haha! :) While I would love that, somehow I think my lack of a degree in secondary education might be problematic!

  22. Martha

    I just finished the whole 16-book run of PLL, and I guess I would say–if you can stop after book 8, do so. The second set of 8 books is pretty sub-par and you’re not missing out on anything by skipping them. I was honestly pretty disappointed. :(

    I haven’t read anything by Chuck Palahniuk but his book descriptions always sound so, so weird. Not sure if I could get into any of them!

    1. Jenn Post author

      Oh that’s good to know! I caught up on them mostly because I knew I could get through them pretty quickly and make my reading goal last year. :P

      They are SUPER weird, but they’re kind of interesting too. I’d recommend trying one and seeing what you think… definitely not for everyone though!


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