Books I’ve read this month

Hi everyone! So at the title states, this post is all about the books I’ve read this month. This doesn’t mean I necessarily started them this month though. At my work we get the end of the year off, from Christmas until after New Year’s Day, so I started reading then. I use Goodreads.com to keep track of a lot of books I read although I hadn’t really updated it in about two years. For this year I set myself a goal of 15 books for 2016, which I feel is a very low number but the truth is I really haven’t made reading a priority for awhile now. Because it’s something I enjoy, I want to commit to making improvements on this for 2016.

Here’s the books I’ve read so far and a short review of each one. I’ll try to avoid spoilers!

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The first book I finished was Help for the Haunted by John Searles. The book description states that the main character, Sylvie, is awoken in the middle of the night by a phone call made to her parents. Her parents are essentially mediums who assist haunted souls find peace and give lectures on their occupation. They go out in the middle of a snowstorm to a church in their town and Sylvie remains in the car while her parents go in. Sylvie eventually falls asleep and is later awoken by two gun shots in the church. A year later Sylvie now lives with her older sister and is having trouble adjusting to life and helping the police find her parent’s murderer. The book then goes back and forth between Sylvie’s life a year after the murders and her family’s life in the years leading up to the opening incident.

I really liked the beginning of this book and thought it had a lot of promise. The story was really interesting and moved along nicely at first. After awhile though the characters weren’t compelling and the story seemed to really drag along. I still went through this book very quickly because I don’t like to leave books half-read but I tried to go through the last third or so as quickly as possible so I could move on to the next book. Overall the story also wasn’t as scary or “haunting” as I would have liked for a book with this title, cover, and description. I can’t imagine that I would recommend this book to anyone else although I will keep my copy of it for now. It was interesting to read after all.

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The next book I read was The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin. This book is about Cora Cash, a wealthy American socialite who travels to England with her mother in hopes of finding a husband to give her a royal title. She quickly finds herself married to a Duke and starts learning to navigate the English social circles and establish herself even though she faces many obstacles, secrets, and betrayals.

At first I thought I would love this book. The description was intriguing, the cover was beautiful, and I thought it would be a nice leisurely read. It wasn’t. Right at Cora’s wedding at the beginning of the book it really started to drag and a lot of the plot seemed forced. I finished this book and would not recommend it at all.

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Another disappointing read was Operation – S.I.N.: Agent Carter by Kathryn Immonen. I picked this up hoping to get a good Peggy Carter story, and I assumed that’s what I would get because the cover feature’s Hayley Atwell as Peggy, from Marvel’s Agent Carter TV series. Instead, it gave me a confusing plot, artwork I didn’t really care for, and a blonde Peggy. In fact, it took me awhile to realize that the blonde woman was Peggy because on the cover she is clearly a brunette. Apparently I’m not the only one who realized this too late. In the Goodreads comments there are plenty of others who say they also fell into this trap. Apparently this comic features a version of Peggy known as Earth 616. Which is fine, except when the cover clearly features the Peggy from the TV show. I don’t know about anyone else but in my opinion the cover should match the story inside the pages, not be completely unrelated to the story. I would not recommend this comic unless you just want to read anything Peggy related – with the warning that this is not the same Peggy you’re expecting.

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And now onto a book I actually enjoyed reading, Harry Potter and History, by Nancy Reagin. Four years ago I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain and took a psychology class. We had to write a bunch of essays relating the culture in our new city to the culture back home. Once my professor found out that I loved Harry Potter she almost insisted I write all my essays about Harry Potter, which is exactly what I did. I hadn’t had my books with me at the time, so the essays weren’t as strong as they could have been without them to reference but I did very well in the class and my professor enjoyed the essays. So when I came across this book I was excited to see that someone had taken the Harry Potter series and related it to history as I had once done for psychology. It did not disappoint, for the most part. The essays are actually written by various authors and put together by Reagin so some were definitely better than others. There were also lots of inconsistencies, one of the most prominent would be the title of the first book. Some authors referred to the first book as “PS” (Philosopher’s Stone) while others used “SS” (Sorcerer’s Stone). Towards the end you also see a lot of repetition in the facts and events that are referenced. Still, I found it to be a fun read as I love history and Harry Potter. I would recommend this one for sure!

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The last book I read was The Once and Future King by T.H. White. King Arthur and his Round Table has had as strong a presence in my life as much as anyone else yet I somehow never read this book. It’s been on my “To Read” list since I heard it mentioned in the X-Men movie by Professor X at the very end when he’s talking to his students. I finally got my own copy for $0.10 at the public library that sells books that they either have too many copies of or are donated by the public but not needed by the library. I enjoyed the beginning a lot, particularly Merlyn (who ages backwards) and young Wart’s lessons. Sir Pellinore was a fun character as well. They were lovely adventures to read though and it was a nice read. Later in the book, after Wart encounters a certain sword and a certain stone, we start meeting other knights and learning about Arthur’s origins. After this the book is not quite as happy-go-lucky and to be honest, it does drag a bit at this point. It turns into a more serious and stern story as the knights go on quests, Sir Lancelot and Gwenever are introduced, and the rest of Arthur’s story develops. I enjoyed the journey I took with this book and would recommend it.

So those are the books I read in January this year! Because of all the time off I had before the year I did get a lot of reading done just in time for 2016. I likely won’t have as much time for reading in February but I’ll definitely do much better than I did in 2015 overall!

Thanks for reading!

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