August: 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

Long Way Down, book cover

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

My Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars

To be honest I was really on the fence about this book. I kind of liked it and at the same time I felt like this story was completely unfinished. If you are the type of person that at the end of a book you like things to be wrapped up, nice and neat and you like when all your questions are answered, THEN THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR YOU! This book had the biggest cliff hanger ending. I believe the author Jason Reynolds wanted readers to come to their own conclusion about how the story would end. I personally hated this! I need all my questions answered or it will literally keep me up at night. In this novel a boy named Will is riding on an elevator, getting ready to shoot the man he thinks is responsible for this brothers death. As he rides the elevator down to where he knows the man is hiding the elevator stops on each floor and a different ghost gets on the elevator. Each ghost is somehow related to Will the main character's past. The ghosts tell Will how they were also gun shot victims the story of their own deaths. I found this book to be really repetitive, which I guess was the point... but I just found it to be boring and predictable. This book is written in short verse, so it was a relatively quick read, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. Like I said I like things to have somewhat of an ending and this book ended very much up in the air and as a reader you will receive no answers. I loved the writing style immensely, but I just didn't love the repetitive plot or the ending.

Pumpkinheads, book cover

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I really, really liked this book, but I have mixed feelings about the main character Josiah. Basically in this book Josiah and Deja have been working at this pumpkin patch year after year and Josiah has had a MAJOR crush on "the fudge girl" for 4 years. Josiah literally doesn't even know this girls name but he is convinced that they are soul mates, and they are meant to be together! I personally found this sooo creepy, he literally doesn't even know one thing about her personality but yet he has been completely obsessed with her for 4 years! In real life, that's CRAZY, but in this make believe graphic novel it works, it just made me think twice about how creepy this character would be in real life. Anyway that aside I really did love the pumpkin patch setting in this novel. I have been ready for fall and everything about this graphic novel screams fall/ autumn. I think this novel would be perfect to read around September or October to really get you in the fall spirit. There is pretty much a pumpkin or fall yellow leaf on every single page. It was a beautifully aesthetic book to read. This book literally made me want to sit in a pile of leaves and drink a pumpkin spice latte. Basic I know, but I was here for the setting alone! I also really loved the ending. I don't want to give any spoilers away but I really liked that Josiah grew as a person and realized that his obsession with the fudge girl was just NOT FEASIBLE! I really hope that this book gets a spin off. Deja and Josiah joke about getting jobs as "Santa's Elve's" next and I really just want to read an aesthetically pleasing Christmas graphic novel! I am obsessed with all things fall and Christmas, so I just think the world  needs a Christmas spin off from Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks.

I Know You Remember, book cover

I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson

Zahra Gaines is missing.

After three long years away, Ruthie Hayden arrives in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to this devastating news. Zahra was Ruthie's best friend--the only person who ever really understood her--and she vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Zahra vanished from a party just days before Ruthie's return, but the more people she talks to, the more she realizes that the Zahra she knew disappeared long before that fateful night. Gone is the whimsical, artistic girl who loved books and knew Ruthie's every secret. In her place is an athlete, a partier, a girl with secrets of her own. Darker still are the rumors that something happened to Zahra while Ruthie was gone, something that changed her forever...

As Ruthie desperately tries to piece together the truth, she falls deeper and deeper into her friend's new world, circling closer to a dangerous revelation about what Zahra experienced in the days before her disappearance--one that might be better off buried.

In her stunning follow-up to Lies You Never Told Me, Jennifer Donaldson once again delivers a propulsive thriller with a masterful twist, skillfully creating a world where nothing is quite as it seems.

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

Holy Cow I feel so lied to by this book!! This book had the most unexpected ending I have ever read! NEVER, never in a million years did I see this ending coming!  My jaw literally hit the floor as a read that final chapter. Basically in this book Ruthie and another girl named Zahra grew up in the same Alaskan trailer park. They were best friends until one day Ruthie's parents get divorced and she has to move away to Portland. A couple years pass and Ruthie's mom ends up dying and Ruthie is forced to move back into the trailer park with her dad. Ok, now bare with me this book starts off incredibly slow!!!! There was a lot of ground work that needed to be done in order for Jennifer Donaldson to write such a spectacular ending. I promise you this was such an amazing book, power through the first couple of chapters. Once Ruthie gets back to the trailer park it becomes shockingly clear that her childhood best friend Zahra has mysteriously vanished and this book has now become a riveting "missing person's case." As soon as Zahra goes missing get ready to hit the ground running because this book really takes off! Jennifer Donaldson did such an amazing job of writing this book, she really made me invest in all the characters and I absolutely loved the beautiful, yet dangerous Alaskan setting. There was a certain place in the book that if Jennifer Donaldson had just stopped writing this still would have been an A+ book, because this book touched on so many different topics like, poverty, systematic racism, drug abuse, child neglect, like anything you can think of, it was probably talked about in this book and it just made the story that much more enthralling. If she had just stopped there and given us the happy ending I was expecting I would have been happy, but NO Jennifer Donaldson had to knock it out of the ball park with that crazy unexpected ending! I honestly never would have seen that one coming. This book was mind blowing! I wish that I had written it, that's how much I LOVED this book. I highly recommend this book. I think its going to be my number 1 read for 2020, I don't see anything being able to top this.

The Curses, book cover

The Curses Laure Eve

Picking up the pieces after the chilling events of the previous year isn’t easy, but the Graces are determined to do it. Wolf is back after a mysterious disappearance, and everyone’s eager to return to normal. Except for Summer, the youngest Grace. Summer has a knack for discovering the truth—and something is troubling her. After a trail of clues leads her to what could be the key to both her family’s mysterious past and the secret of Wolf, she’s determined to vanquish yet another curse. But exposing secrets is a dangerous game, and it’s not one Summer can win alone.

At Summer’s behest, the coven comes back together, reluctantly drawing their erstwhile friend River back into the fold. But Wolf’s behavior becomes unpredictable even as Fenrin’s strength fades, and Summer must ask herself whether the friend she so loves is also planning her family’s ultimate, cursed demise.

This riveting sequel to The Graces is saturated with magic, the destructive cost of power, the complications of family, and the nature of forgiveness.

My Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I really liked this book, but since this was the second book in the series I felt like the writers tone was a lot different from book one. In book one we followed River's perspective as the main character and in this book the main character switches to Summer and is told from her perspective, which really threw me off! I had picked up this book last year, because I loved book one so immensely but the change of tone was so drastic I just couldn't get into it. A year later I thought I'd try again. It was still a really good book but the main character summer changed so drastically from book 1 to book 2 it was like she was a brand new character. I believe in book 1 she was pretty girly with long blonde hair and a mean girls attitude. Then in book two all of a sudden Summer chops off all her hair, boy short and dyes it black. She completely gives up the color pink and with it, it I felt like she lost a lot of her self-confidence? She completely went from the most popular girl in school, to a complete introvert in book two. Which was a really drastic change. There wasn't a lot of character development leading up to those changes so it was really jarring. All the other characters stayed the same though, so it was still really good and had the same witchy tones from book 1. I think this would be a fun series to read for Halloween. It's not scary it just has little bit of a spooky atmosphere. Although I did really end up liking this book and giving it 5 stars I think book 1 was just amazing on its own and didn't really need this sequel. I would have been okay if I never read this book.

Splendor, book cover

Splendor by Anna Godbersen

New Beginnings.
Shocking Revelations.
Unexpected Endings.

As spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new roles as a young wife, while her sister, Diana, searches for adventure abroad. But when a surprising clue about their father's death comes to light, the Holland girls wonder at what cost a life of splendor comes.

Carolina Broad, society's newest darling, fans a flame from her past, oblivious to how it might burn her future. Penelope Schoonmaker is finally Manhattan royalty - but when a real prince visits the city, she covets a title that comes with a crown. Her husband, Henry, bravely went to war, only to discover that his father's rule extends well beyond New York's shores and that fighting for love may prove a losing battle.

In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away or will they shine ever brighter?

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

First off this is one of my favorite young adult series of all times... but that ending! I feel like Anna Godbersen did me so dirty! I feel so betrayed, it just wasn't the ending I was expecting... the ending that the WHOLE ENTIRE book was leading up to! She just did her own thing and completely went off script with that one. It was kind of devastating but fitting of the characters personalities, but just really unexpected. I don't know... I don't know if I can get over that one. You'll just have to read it if you want to know what I'm talking about. This series as a whole is so scandalous and drama filled. Its an excellent time period piece. I highly recommend this series for people who enjoy reading book series' like The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead or The Selection series by Kiera Cass. I want to say they have similar themes of strong female characters having to make favorable marriage alignments. Making books with a lot of romance and drama as well as pretty ball gowns and scandals. I think I've said this multiple times about this series but if you want a book that reads more like a soap opera then this is the series for you, there was never a dull moment and each character had their own scandals and dramas to deal with making every character perspective interesting to read.