What I Read Last Month: June

What I Read Last Month: June 2015 >>> Seriously, Sarah?
I worked a little bit on my Summer Reading Challenge and TBR Pile Challenge this month. Also, I decided to read a few classics and fun novels. Basically, I was all over the place!

Life After Life

Life After Life

Honestly, a few weeks after reading this novel, I barely remember it. I know it got a ton of awards and lots of people love it, and maybe it was too difficult for my brain to understand during that time period, but… it didn’t stick with me.

The Kind Worth Killing

The Kind Worth Killing

The story was simple and an exploration of moral dilemmas, but I think it was overrated.

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

The Plantagenets

This was a looooooooooooooooong one. However, I really liked it. I don’t read/listen to a lot of non-fiction history books, but this one was really helpful. I’ve read historical fiction novels about the beginning of the Plantagenent family through the end of the reign of Richard the Lionheart and then novels that pick back up with the War of the Roses, but there are several hundred (almost a thousand) years of history that I didn’t know about. This book filled that in for me!

There is a sequel to this book. I am thinking about listening to it. Reading? No way.

Where They Found Her

Where They Found Her

I found this novel more “adult” than the author’s first novel, Reconstructing Amelia, which seemed more young adult. It wasn’t the best novel that I’ve ever read, but I liked it. It kept me guessing until the end. I read the hardback instead of listening, since I read that the novel would be told through several mediums – like Reconstructing Amelia, which used text messages, instant messages, emails, and many types of prose. There weren’t as many in this novel, but I still liked it.

Recovery and Renewal:

Your Essential Guide to Overcoming Dependency and Withdrawal from Sleeping Pills, Other ‘Benzo’ Tranquillisers and Antidepressants

Recovery and Renewal

I found this book extremely helpful. I am always being switched around on my medications, so it is no secret that I have gone through withdrawal a few times. I’m not addicted, but physically dependent. As the author of the book points out, the people who post on the internet about their withdrawals are usually the ones with horror stories or who did not cope well. The author actually had an extremely horrific withdrawal, but as a counselor, she utilized her formal training on herself (the author is also in the UK where the medical system is different). Anyway, I recommend this for anyone who is tapering or going to be tapering off of a benzo.

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

Lessons from Madame Chic

I read this for the Summer Reading Challenge. I picked it up as a book that I had never heard of before. It seemed interesting. While it would be really easy to make fun of, I still didn’t mind it terribly. I did think it was interesting to read about an entire society of people who live with “capsule” wardrobes. [I’ve never been to France and cannot vouch for the validity of any of the book.] I hardly have one, but my closet has been whittled down due to the fact that I’ve lost weight, so a lot of clothes went upstairs because they were too big and don’t need that many different outfits anymore, anyway.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before.]

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

I chose this novel because it has alliteration in the title. It was the shortest one I could find – I am kicking myself for reading Dear Daughter before the start of the challenge! It was funny and fit. Not to spoil a book that came out 20 years ago, but I don’t think the ending was very realistic, but I’m not a professionally trained counselor.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it’s worth the most points!)]

Second Life

second life

It took over half of the novel for the story to start to “come together.” And by “come together,” I mean that the torrid affair scenes cooled down enough for the story to move forward. In the end, Watson made a good point about life, but it got lost in pandering to trendy literature.

[Note for other readers: This book is not PG-13. It might test the limits of R ratings, if you’re not comfortable with reading that. And some of it was gratuitous, whereas some added to the plot.]

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1)

maisie dobbs #1

Solid 3.5, so I’m rounding up, since I rate everything a 3!
I put it down a few times, so it wasn’t as compelling as I would have liked, but I’m kind of burned out on books that take place during the World Wars.
The “mystery” wasn’t as much of a mystery as I would have liked, but I think it introduced readers to the main character and her background, nicely. I intend on reading the next book in the series!

[Summer Reading Challenge: 25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books. There are at least 11 novels in this series so far.]

The Black Album

The Black Album

I purchased this novel with the short story at the end back in 2010 or 2011. I really bought it for the short story. I read that. So, for the summer reading challenge of reading something that’s been on my shelf for 2 years, I chose this novel.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you’ve had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.)]

Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How & Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications

your drug may be the problem

This book mostly focuses on antidepressants, but I picked it up with the hopes that it would talk more about benzodiazipines. However, some medications marketed as antidepressants have been given to me over the years as neurological medications, as well as the benzos. I guess it is obvious from what I’m reading that I am trying to educate myself more on what medications could be doing to me. I’m just an English major, but as a professional patient, who has been reading medical literature online for years, I decided to graduate to books.

Modern Romance

Modern Romance

I laughed, I learned, and how the heck did I end up married? I listened to the book (so I didn’t get to see all of the funny charts that Ansari was putting on Instagram), but his asides to the listeners were hilarious. It seemed well researched and even if it wasn’t, the excerpts from the focus groups were hilarious.



I think there was a lot to learn from this story, but the ending left me wanting more concrete details. Like Second Life, I think a lot of the story was obfuscated by the endless affairs for me, but unlike Second Life, this novel did a better job of actually getting to “the point.” Essbaum is a wonderful writer who wove the main character’s therapy sessions (and psychological theories) with language, how we use it (and how it might reflect our personalities – I loved that part), and just more than I can fit in this review.

The Rule of Four

The Rule of Four

I really enjoyed this novel. It was a less complicated and less adventurous DaVinici Code or National History [I only watched the movies… and National History was just a movie I liked. Don’t judge 😉 ].



Why so many sad stories for the Victorians? Hardy? Wharton? Stop it. I liked this right up till the end. Ruth, I love you.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 15 points: Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.)]

Where Angels Fear to Tread

where angels fear to tread

I didn’t love this novel, but I didn’t hate it. It was kind of sad.

The Reluctant Widow

the reluctant widow

This novel had a lot more murder and intrigue than I’m used to in Heyer novels!

The Nonesuch
the nonesuch

A typical Heyer novel, but in a good way.

Drumroll… it took me two months this time…

finished summer reading challenge

You can read my projected list here, but my actual list is here! They aren’t very similar, like my winter lists. I want to thank Megan for hosting these seasonal challenges because they stretch me, and I look forward to them!

read theseThe Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England – If you like historical fiction, this was a wonderful companion to help make sense of the novels, but it is not a light read.

Modern Romance – Listen if you can!

if you have time

Where They Found Her

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1) – if you like “cozy mysteries.” (Apparently this is a genre).

don't bother smaller

The Kind Worth Killing

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

May 2015
April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations  based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading? 

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

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