Venus Trapped in Mars Sports and Lifestyle Blog Dallas

16 December 2015

What I Read This Year

Hmmm, about that post title....

I should probably clarify that I don't actually read, I listen to books.

It's horribly embarrassing for me to admit that I've never been a reader. I always saw blog posts, Pinterest pins and articles filled with exciting beach reads and can't-put-down thriller recommendations, but I just blew right past them because I was just never interested in reading.

I've tried so many different times to start a book, but I never finish. I think the last time I voluntarily read a book, from cover to cover, was when I was 19 years old. I read The 5 People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, and it pulled me in right from the first page. I was so enthralled by that book because I had just lost my Dad and it was just one of the only books that completely held my attention from start to finish. 

I've tried reading easy beach reads, I've tried the classics, I've tried mysteries... nothing seems to hold my attention. Instead of focusing on the words printed in front of my face, I instead start thinking about if I should start Drew Brees or Matthew Stafford in fantasy that week,  or what I should wear to my birthday party, or worrying if the tide is gonna reach my chair. I just couldn't focus on a book to save my life. 

That was until I did the trial membership for Audible earlier this year. I had just finished binge listening to the Serial Podcast, and I had enjoyed that so much that I thought, heck, why not give Audible a go?

I listen to books every single day on my way to and from work, and on my lunch break. Yes, for those wondering, I like to eat my lean cuisine in my car while listening to an audio book. Tis the life of Sarah. Shhhhhh... Sometimes I switch it up and listen to the Dr. Laura podcast, don't tell anyone that though, k? 

After nearly a year of downloading and listening to audio books, I'm excited to finally make a list of my own favorites. Here are my favorite books that I couldn't put down (so to speak), some of the books I hated and some of the books saved on my list for future purchase!

The best part about Audible? When you read a biography or memoir, it is likely to be read by the person who actually wrote the book. Mindy reads her book to us and her charm is very easy to fall in love with. She tells stories that are so relatable I forget if I'm reading a book about me, or a book about her. Her writing is so funny and so effortless that, as a blogger, I find her inspiring. I started reading, "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me" and when I finished I immediately downloaded "Why Not Me" right after.  

Oh my gosh y'all, this book. I'm currently about halfway through and I'm so enthralled that I've considered sneaking off to the bathroom to listen at work. If you liked the Serial podcast, or solving mystery novels, you'll need to stop everything you're doing and download this book. Don't tell me what happens though, I'm not done yet!

Here's the review:
More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia's teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss- a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago ... and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

3. The Kind Worth Killing || Peter Swanson
The narrator on Audible can make or break a book for me. There are 3 different narrators in this book, and they're all very distinct voices that do a great job of painting the picture of the character you're listing to. I actually got really excited when I started listening to the book listed above, Pretty Girls, and found out it was the same female narrator that read this book, The Kind Worth Killing.

If you like total, unexpected plot twists and turns, you'll like this book. If you like strong, intelligent female lead characters, you'll like this book.

Here's the review:
On a flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning Lily Kintner. Over martinis, the strangers play a game in which they reveal intimate details about themselves. But what begins as playful banter between Ted and Lily takes a turn when Ted claims, half-seriously, that he would like to kill his wife. Then Lily surprises him by saying that she’d like to help.

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily forge an unusual bond and talk about the ways Ted can get out of his marriage. But Lily has her own dark history she’s not sharing with Ted. As Ted begins to fall in love with Lily, he grows anxious about any holes in their scheme that could give them away. And suddenly the two are pulled into a very lethal game of cat and mouse, one in which both are not likely to survive when all is said and done.

4. Yes Please || Amy Poehler
I'm sure you've heard of this book by now, but even if you've read it before, I'd recommend listening to it on Audible. Amy's narration is so great because she adds in commentary that is not included in the physical copy of the book. Plus, she brings in her friends to read portions of the book, like Seth Meyer and Carol Burnett.

5. Not That Kind of Girl || Lena Dunham
Ok so I feel like some of you guys are going to disagree with me, but I hated this book. Well, hate is a strong word... let's rephrase that to say that it just wasn't my cup of tea. I love Lena, but this book just didn't do it for me. I loved Mindy and Amy's books (yes, first name basis) because they wrote like they spoke, simple and easy.

I can't stand books that are trying too hard to sound what I like to call, "writery." Extra, totally unnecessary words, and using "writery" imagery simply to show off is very annoying to me. I like simple and undeniably funny, which is not what I got from this book. I had such high expectations for this one, so it really hurt when I ended up not liking it.

6. The Girl On the Train || Paula Hawkins
YAAAAS girl. YAS. When I first downloaded this book, I had to turn it off because I was having a hard time keeping focus with the narrator's British Accent. After restarting it a few times, I was eventually sucked right in. Man did the ending blindside me, I did not see that one coming. This book was a total winner that I might even listen to again.

Here's the review: 
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

I also read Gone Girl and Bossypants, both very popular books that I totally LOVED. I won't go into detail on those because I'm sure you have already heard all about them. Next on my list to read: The Good Girl, Where'd You Go, Bernadette, The Liar, Luckiest Girl Alive, A Hundred Summers, Cartwheel, To All The Boys I've Loved Before.

As you can tell, I love modern murder mysteries... what would you recommend for me that I might like? What books have you read this year that blew you away??

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  1. Going to check out The Kind Worth Killing - hadn't heard of it. Thanks!

  2. I will definitely check out The Kind Worth Killing and Pretty Girls. I LOVED The Girl on the Train. I couldn't put it down!

  3. I don't have a commute anymore, but I used to listen to audible books and I HATED anything with an accent. After three in a row I started paying attention to the setting of the book to make sure it was in America. British accents are cool on hot dudes, but not cool when you have to listen to them for 15 hours.

  4. I listened to Where'd You Go Bernadette and it was pretty good! I love the option of an audiobook if you're not a big reader. So easy to use and access books, too!!

  5. Totally thought about sending you an email about all of the books I read this year. LOVED 'Pretty Girls' and just wait for the ending. 'Yes, Please' is basically my bible now. Amy Poehler is a genius and I'm determined to meet her or become her new BFF. 'The Girl on the Train' was really good and fit right into my whole murder mystery theme I have going on. Apparently I'm drawn to them without even knowing so. I read 'The Heiresses' which you might also enjoy. 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' and 'To All The Boys I've Loved Before' will keep you up until you finished them. I think I stayed up until like 2am to finish 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette'. Hoping you enjoy 'To All The Boys I've Loved Before' because I did and am reading the sequel, 'PS. I Still Love You'. 

    I could literally go on and on about all of the books I've read. If you're not on it already, Goodreads is perfect for discovering new books. Here's a link to my page (, I feel like we share the same interest in books, so you may find more to add to your list. I haven't ventured into audio books since I take NYC transit so my commute is dedicated to reading (not on an e-book either).

  6. I also hated Not That Kind of Girl. It was just... bad. I still haven't read Yes, Please. Then again, my to-read pile grows mush faster than my read pile so there's that.

  7. Everyone told me that Amy Pohler's book was much better on audio book. I wish I was a listen and retain more than a read and retain. There are few things that are just spoken word that hold my attention long enough to listen to the entire thing.

  8. I also didn't really like Lena's book! I'm currently on the waitlist for Pretty Girls at the library and I'm getting antsy to start it.

  9. Where'd You Go, Bernadette? is a great book! Loved it!

  10. Okay, I'm totally with you on Lena's book (again, first names here). I thought she tried too hard to be philosophical..or something? Which, girl..I've seen your show..funny? yes. But philosophical, you are not. Anyway, I wrote down some of your other picks and am going to add them to my must read list!

  11. My reading this year has been pathetic to the point of embarrassing. As in, I've barely gotten through a couple of books and most of them weren't good.

    I'm definitely going to check out that Pretty Girls book, though! That sounds interesting.

    As for you, I would recommend Jenny Lawson's books. She is so hilarious!

  12. Adding pretty girls to my list! Confession: I didn't like girl on the train. just seemed WAY too far fetched.

  13. Oh thanks for the recommendations girl! Def gonna read some of these!
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

  14. I listened to Why Not Me audio book and loved it! Mindy is the best and her narration makes it even better

  15. Yes Please is on my to-read list! I love Amy. To all the Boys I've Loved Before is def a favorite.. you'll love it! Couldn't put it down.

    I'm the total opposite of you: I'm not an audio book person. I feel like I get more into it if I'm actually seeing the words ha. To each her own! :)

  16. I think I may have to try audible.. Finding time to sit and reading had become increasingly difficult. If you like murder mysteries I recommend anything by Kate White. She has a series as well as stand alone thrillers. I can't put them down when I do actually have a chance to read. Happy Reading and as always thanks for sharing :)

  17. I think I may have to try audible.. Finding time to sit and reading had become increasingly difficult. If you like murder mysteries I recommend anything by Kate White. She has a series as well as stand alone thrillers. I can't put them down when I do actually have a chance to read. Happy Reading and as always thanks for sharing :)

  18. the kind worth killing is on my list! Glad to hear you're a fan! I completely agree with you about Lena Dunham's book, I actually didn't even finish it because it was mehhhhhhhhh

  19. I've wanted to try Audible again but I've always been more of a reader than a listener. Buuuuut, these are books so I could always get the actual book. I love Karin Slaughter, she's awesome. Not a fan of Lena Dunham - at all - but the other memoirs are on my to-read list.

    Overall great list :)


  20. I don't really like audiobooks, but I love ebooks. Are you on Goodreads? I love keeping track of my books that way and you can also make a goal of how many books you want to read in a year (this is convenient since the year just started, if you are new to it) lol. Anyway I have read some of these and others are on my to read list! I also read a LOT of young adult books....because I'm 12 obviously. haha.

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