June: Books I've Read Recently

books on a light pink background

"Books I've Read Recently" is a series where I, Penelope Gomez, will do a monthly wrap up of the books I've read throughout the past month. In this series I will give a brief synopsis of the story and then give the book a rating of :

thumbs up emojiThumbs Up
thumbs down emojiThumbs Down
emoji hand forming 'okay' signJust Okay

I will then give a brief description of why I chose to rate a book a certain way.

So without further delay lets get into the "Books I've Read Recently," and as always leave a comment down below and tell me which of these books you've also read, or plan on reading next.

Books I've Read Recently

book cover "Lovely War" by Julie BerryLovely War by Julie Berry

It's 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She's a shy and talented pianist; he's a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it's immediate and deep--and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.
Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who's played Carnegie Hall, he's a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that's before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who's already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.
Thirty years after these four lovers' fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.

thumbs up emojiOk first off I highly, highly recommend listening to the Audio Book  version of this novel. It was so good, there was a whole cast of voice characters and piano music strewn throughout the background. I think the music just amplified my love for this novel! This book is told through the eyes of Aphrodite the love Goddess herself. She weaves an intimate tale of 2 of her most favorite love stories of all time. This novel is set during World War I where two young lovers meet for the first time, but are quickly ripped apart because of the war. The first couple Hazel and James must endure many trails and tribulations because of the War. This book touches upon Mental Health and PTSD caused by war, etc. It also touches upon Race Issues since the second couple Aubrey and Colette are an interracial couple. This at the time was very frowned upon and leads to a lot of hardships throughout their relationship. This book was heartbreaking in many ways and I started to worry that neither one of the couples would ever receive a happy ending, because of this cruel war. Julie Berry did a wonderful job of writing such a nerve wracking novel. I was constantly on edge wondering if James and Aubrey would make it home from the war, etc. This was such a good and bittersweet romance, this novel just had me in tears.

Book Cover "Three Truths and a Lie" by Brent HartingerThree Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger

A weekend retreat in the woods and an innocent game of three truths and a lie go horribly wrong in this high-octane psychological thriller filled with romantic suspense by Lambda Award–winning author Brent Hartinger.
Deep in the forest, four friends gather for a weekend of fun.
Truth #1: Rob is thrilled about the weekend trip. It’s the perfect time for him to break out of his shell…to be the person he really, really wants to be.
Truth #2: Liam, Rob’s boyfriend, is nothing short of perfect. He’s everything Rob could have wanted. They’re perfect together. Perfect.
Truth #3: Mia has been Liam’s best friend for years…long before Rob came along. They get each other in a way Rob could never, will never, understand.
Truth #4: Galen, Mia’s boyfriend, is sweet, handsome, and incredibly charming. He’s the definition of a Golden Boy…even with the secrets up his sleeve.
One of these truths is a lie…and not everyone will live to find out which one it is.

thumbs down emojiOk, this book was really disappointing... The title and the description really had me hooked and I thought this was going to be an awesome murder mystery! ...This book was incredibly slow! I got all the way to chapter 15 (almost done with the book) and I realized that NO ONE HAD DIED YET! Nothing had even happened yet! Bret Hartinger in my opinion completely dropped the ball on this one, He had the perfect set up, 4 teenagers stuck in the middle of the woods, no phone signal, no way of getting help, etc. he had the perfect set up for a really scary and suspenseful novel... but then he didn't do anything with it! When things finally started to happen around chapter 17 his attempts to 'scare' the teenagers and readers were really pathetic and anti climatic. (Spoilers) For example in the novel he wrote about a garbage can being lit on fire, in attempts to scare the teenagers... big whoop that's not scary!! That didn't say, 'kids you are in danger you must leave the woods now!' This Murder mystery kind of just missed the mark...there was no suspense and the ending was EXTREMELY PREDICTABLE! I will say that the ending was good and very unique but this book just lacked substance. It had a good beginning, nothing in the middle and a unique ending. If there had been more suspenseful and climactic scenes in the middle that ending would have just been a home run.This was a really quick read but really boring in my opinion.

Book Cover "Sadie" by Courtney SummersSadie by Courtney Summers

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she's left behind. And an ending you won't be able to stop talking about.
Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.
When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.
Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

thumbs up emoji100% listen to the audio book version of this novel. A huge chunk of this novel is set up almost like an interview/ podcast show, so the wide range of voice actors just bring this novel to life. Also the main character Sadie has a speech disorder, so the audio book just really grasped and brought her character to life! If you are a fan of murder documentaries like "Unsolved Mysteries," then you will LOVE this book. The whole book is filled with 'interviews' and flashbacks, etc. just like a true crime episode. I will say that this novel is about a very hard topic. The main theme around this book is Child Molestation. The main character Sadie is molested as a child by her mother's boyfriend 'Keith' and years later when her sister Mattie turns up dead, she is hell bent on getting revenge. This leads her on a cross country trek trying to track down the man named 'Keith.' Sadie knows it in her bones that he is responsible for Mattie's death. When Sadie never comes back home, West McCray a Podcast host is determined to follow the clues and to find Sadie. ...This book deserves ALL THE STARS! Everyone should read this novel. More people should be talking about this book! Someone read it so we can talk about that stunning and justice filled ending! I will say that I have never read anything like this, it had such a unique plot line and writing style. This book was a psychological thriller and it was tragic and riveting in so many ways. I wish I could go more into detail, but I just don't want to give too much away!

Book Cover "Fangirl" by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan..
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

thumbs down emojiI was not a fan of Fangirl... honestly I had to do a lot of rereading because I kept falling asleep while reading this book. I think this book was kind of boring, but really well written. Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorite writers, but honestly alls this book did was make me want to read her book "Carry On." The main character Cath is a super Fangirl of Simon Snow a character in the novel "Carry On," a lot of the scenes in this novel were scenes Cath writes as an "expansion" of that novel, so that the world of Simon Snow can never end. Cath is so wrapped up in this pretend magical world of "Carry On" that she forgets to live her life. This is the main point of the novel Fangirl, but it made the actual story of Cath kind of boring. It was all English literature classes, editing papers, group assignments and writing more Simon Snow stories. This book really brought me back to college, and it made reading this book feel like actual homework... I honestly didn't want to finish this book, but I did hoping that the potential love story between Cath and Levi would pick up the pace of this story. It was a very slow love story. (SPOILER) The first romantic scene revolved around Cath needing to read the book "The Outsiders" aloud to Levi. This 'love' scene although sweet, it literally revolved around HOMEWORK! I'd rather get teeth pulled, then have to ever write another essay again, so the fact that this entire book was like reading an essay just made me DREAD finishing this book. I really feel like I'm going to be the only person with this opinion on this book?! Everyone on Goodreads ranked it 5 stars... If you want a really honest interpretation of college and all its classes, then read this book. Let me know in the comments down below if you've read this book, and what your thoughts were. I'm curious to see if anyone had similar thoughts about this novel.

Book Cover "Crank" by Ellen HopkinsCrank by Ellen Hopkins

In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the "monster," the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or "crank." Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne'er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: "there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree." Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won't, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.

thumbs up emojiOk, first off I want to say that this book should not be categorized as a Teen novel, this is very much Adult content. I remember this book came out when I was in the 8th grade, and I am so glad I never picked it up. Something about the cover thankfully just wasn't appealing to me at that age. I honestly was never planning on reading this book until a coworker recommended it. So now 15 years later I am shook! There is a lot of drug usage, sex scenes and a ton of other adult content/ themes, that I honestly would not have understood if I had read this at 14. I'm really happy I waited to read this novel because there is a lot that would have just flown over my head, and I wouldn't have loved this novel back then, the way that I do now reading it at this age. I will say this book should have a TRIGGER WARNING for Rape... If you liked the book "Go Ask Alice," then you will love this book. This book does not shy away from talking about what drug usage can lead to, how it can wreck a family, ruin lives, etc. Ellen Hopkins used her daughters real life experience with substance abuse as a warning for her young readers. She really emphasized how addicting drugs can be and described the 'lows,' of drug usage, I assume very accurately and with a lot of detail. The thing I loved most about this book is the way Ellen Hopkins chose to write this novel in short verses. It was an incredibly quick read and took me a total of only 5 hours to read this novel! I feel so accomplished. This is also a series, so I'm curious to read what else happens to Kristina/ Bree. This novel only covers her teenage years and her induction into the substance abuse world. 5 star read for sure.

 

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