April: Books I’ve Read Recently

"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 out of 5 stars. 5 stars being the best and 1 star being the worst!

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

Enchantée: All That Glitters, book cover

Enchantée: All That Glitters by Gita Trelease

Paris is a labryinth of twisted streets filled with beggars and thieves, revolutionaries and magicians. Camille Durbonne is one of them. She wishes she weren’t...

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille must find a way to provide for her younger sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on magic, Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille pursues a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Using dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into a baroness and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for magic. As she struggles to reconcile her resentment of the rich with the allure of glamour and excess, Camille meets a handsome young inventor, and begins to believe that love and liberty may both be possible.

But magic has its costs, and soon Camille loses control of her secrets. And when revolution erupts, Camille must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, reality of magic—before Paris burns.

My Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I found this book incredibly entertaining. It was unique and painted the Palace of Versailles in such an enchanting way. Basically in this book Camille, the main character, is extremely poor and is desperate to make some money. She wants to give her little sister a better life and doesn't want to have to steal bread just to have something for them to eat. Only Camille is special and she is capable of doing magic. Magic that comes at a heavy price, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Camille begins doing heavy magic in order to transform herself from a lowly pauper and into the appearance of a wealthy aristocratic. She begins going to the Palace of Versailles in disguise and attends Marie Antoinette's famous gambling parties, where she begins 'turning' cards with her magic in order to win large sums of money. I really loved reading this novel and seeing what the Palace of Versailles might have been like back when Marie Antoinette was alive. This book really helped me to imagine all the lavish parties that royalty could have attended back in the day. In the parties Gita Trelease did an amazing job of describing some of the games that people would have played to entertain themselves back before there were cell phones, so that was kind of intriguing to me. She really brought that time frame to life and really romanticized that time period for me with their lavish and fun ways of living. I really loved this book for that alone. It was very aesthetically written, like the descriptions were just on point.

Valiant, book cover

Valiant by Holly Black

When seventeen-year-old Valerie runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system.

But there's something eerily beguiling about Val's new friends. And when one talks Val into tracking down the lair of a mysterious creature with whom they are all involved, Val finds herself torn between her newfound affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.

My Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars

I didn't hate this book, but I didn't like this book. In all honesty I found the main character to be, "disgusting," for lack of a better word. She had low standards, lacked a lot of common sense, was a follower, and easily influenced by others. It was honestly hard to read this novel and watch this 16-year-old girl go from one poor decision to another. I don't think this book should be classified as "Young Adult." I think this book was very mature in content. I don't think this book was relatable to any 16-year old out there and honestly this book had nothing to do with book 1 in this series until the very last chapter! I don't think this book was at all necessary. I would recommend just skipping book 2. It was very well written, very descriptive, but I just kind of viewed it as a filler book. Plus, none of the characters from book 1 and 3, are even in this novel really. This book wasn't worth my time and throughout the novel I kept asking myself, "why am I even reading this?" That's how much I disliked the main character and her life choices. Basically in this hot mess of a novel, the main character Val catches her own mother sleeping with her underage high school boyfriend! I know, crazy right. So Val decides to run away to New York with absolutely no money. She ends up making friends with these other homeless teens and starts living in a subway station with a bunch of REALLY sketchy, much older MEN. These people are so suspicious, like sleep with one eye open suspicious. As a 16-year-old girl I would have been frightened for my life and would have gone straight back home at this point, or moved in with a high school friend, anything but this living situation, but surprise, surprise she doesn't! Instead she decides to stay and gets heavily into drugs, etc. In this MESS of a story things just keep getting worse and worse for the main character, there were so many instances where she should have just gone home and I couldn't deal with the lack of good judgment that was going on this story. Just skip this book, it had nothing to even do with the series.

The Girls I've Been, book cover

The Girls I've Been by Tess Sharpe

Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.

For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:

#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.

#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:

#3: Right after they enter bank, two guys start robbing it.

The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage…

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

Wow this book just came out recently and it is already set to be adapted into a Netflix original movie featuring Milly Bobbi Brown (known for her role in Stranger Things). She will be playing the main character named Nora. Anyway that's how good this book is, that its already being adapted even though this book was barley published! I am so excited for this movie after reading this book. Its action packed, it’s thought provoking and I've honestly never really seen any books touch on this subject. This book was so interesting! In this book Nora's mother is a Con Artist, she likes to steal from men, but not just any men she likes to steal from BAD men. This puts her daughter in a lot of danger because Nora has had to be in on and help out with all of her mother's cons. From a very young age Nora has been taught to lie and pretend to be other people in order to help her mother trap her "Mark." This book is told in a series of flashbacks and it was just so captivating. I loved all of the characters in this novel. Tess Sharpe did an amazing job of creating the ultimate, kick butt heroine, Nora. I loved her. There was never a dull moment in this novel. I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish. Every time I put this book down, I could not wait to pick it back up again and I think it's going to make an amazing action packed movie. Literally each chapter was like a cliffhanger, and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time! A+ read.

What Big Teeth, book cover

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds.

Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together — in order to save them all, Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her.

Exquisitely terrifying, beautiful, and strange, this fierce gothic fantasy will sink its teeth into you and never let go.

My Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars

This book was really out there, and I know it’s not going to be everybody's cup of tea, but I for the most part enjoyed this book. As a reader you very much have to accept the characters and realize that supernatural creatures are just a very real thing in this book's world. There are werewolves, there are monsters, there are witches and this book involves bringing people back from the dead. There are people who can live forever. This book was very much all over the place when it came to all things supernatural, but in the best way possible. It was kind of a longer read but I think it was worth it for the most part. I'll be honest there were times where I thought, "ok that was little too much," like this author really just threw a lot out there supernatural-wise and at times it was a lot for me to process, but at the same time it was also a lot for the main character, Eleanor, to process as well. Eleanor knows that she comes from a family of werewolves and that her family isn't exactly "normal." Eleanor has been away in the real world attending boarding school and has been away from her terrifying family for most of her life. So when she comes back from school to a town where her family is feared by the entire town! It was a lot even for her to process and a big adjustment for her. I think if you like fairy tales and supernatural reads like, "The Vampire Diaries," then you will probably like this book as well.

The Magic Fish, book cover

The Magic Fish by Le Nguyen Trung

Real life isn't a fairytale.

But Tiến still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It's hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn't even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he's going through?

Is there a way to tell them he's gay?

A beautifully illustrated story by Trung Le Nguyen that follows a young boy as he tries to navigate life through fairytales, an instant classic that shows us how we are all connected. The Magic Fish tackles tough subjects in a way that accessible with readers of all ages, and teaches us that no matter what—we can all have our own happy endings.

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I cried literal tears over this book! It was such a heartfelt read. In this book a boy named Tien is having a hard time coming out to his immigrant family. Even though Tien is young and still in middle school, he knows without a doubt that he is gay. I'm not sure what time period this book was set in, maybe the 70's? I'm not 100% but in this time period it's still really taboo to "come out." Tien is constantly hearing about hate crimes happening on the news, so it's a very scary time period to come out in. I really felt his anxiety and fear while reading this book. It was such a good story line. I don't want to give too much away but I think Tien was forcibly outed in this book in such a traumatic way, but this book has such a happy ending I was literally bawling at the end of this graphic novel. This book was definitely an emotional roller coaster. The author Trung Le Nguyen also added in short fairytale retellings throughout the novel, I think to kind of break up the tension in the novel leading up to Tien coming out, but I really loved those short stories. I honestly wish this graphic novel had been longer. I just loved everything about it. The storyline was A+ and the art work was absolutely stunning. I 100% am going to buy this book. I highly, highly recommend this novel.  If you read anything from this list today, it should be this one.