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

This Golden State, book cover

This Golden State by Marit Weisenberg

The Winslow family lives by five principles:

1. No one can know your real name.
2. Don’t stay in one place too long.
3. If you sense anything is wrong, go immediately to the meeting spot.
4. Keeping our family together is everything.
5. We wish we could tell you who we are, but we can’t. Please—do not ask.

Poppy doesn’t know why her family has been running her whole life, but she does know that there are dire consequences if they’re ever caught. Still, her curiosity grows each year, as does her desire for real friends and the chance to build on something, instead of leaving behind school projects, teams, and crushes at a moment’s notice.

When a move to California exposes a crack in her parents’ airtight planning, Poppy realizes how fragile her world is. Determined to find out the truth, she mails in a home DNA test. Just as she starts to settle into her new life and even begins opening up to a boy in her math class, the forgotten test results bring her crashing back to reality.

Unraveling the shocking truth of her parents’ real identities, Poppy realizes that the DNA test has undone decades of careful work to keep her family anonymous—and the past is dangerously close to catching up to them. Determined to protect her family but desperate for more, Poppy must ask: How much of herself does she owe her family? And is it a betrayal to find her own place in the world?

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This was such a good and very unique read for me. Basically in this book there is a girl named Poppy. Poppy and her family have been on the run for as long as she can remember. They each go by fake names, have fake ID's and Social Security cards and every once in a while her whole family must get uprooted and take up new fake names in a brand new town. They aren't allowed to keep in contact with anybody from their previous lives so as not to get tracked or discovered. It's because of this that Poppy has never had a real friend. She is not allowed to hang out with anybody outside of school or exchange contact information. She can never even tell anybody what her real name is. One day the family gets uprooted again for the millionth time and the family ends up in Palo Alto where she meets a boy she truly likes for the first time in her life. Poppy is months away from turning 18. She needs to decide if she will stay behind or continue to keep running with her family for the rest of her life. She also has no idea why her family is in hiding. This was a very well thought out and unexpected mystery without being too 'heavy' of a read. I really enjoyed this book and Poppy was such a relatable character, this book really had me rooting for her and her new found first relationship. Marit Weisenberg did such a good job of character development. I want to say this was a very character focused book, and not so much focused on the setting. I believe that this book could have taken place anywhere and it wouldn't have made a difference to the storyline or plot. I liked that this book was set in the Bay Area but other than mentioning "the golden gate bridge" a couple of times, I really couldn't tell where this setting was taking place. I want to say the characters really carried and made this story. It was different. I really liked this books uniqueness.

Summer of Salt, book cover

Summer of Salt by Katina Leno

A magic passed down through generations . . .

Georgina Fernweh waits with growing impatience for the tingle of magic in her fingers—magic that has been passed down through every woman in her family. Her twin sister, Mary, already shows an ability to defy gravity. But with their eighteenth birthday looming at the end of this summer, Georgina fears her gift will never come.

An island where strange things happen . . .

No one on the island of By-the-Sea would ever call the Fernwehs what they really are, but if you need the odd bit of help—say, a sleeping aid concocted by moonlight—they are the ones to ask.

No one questions the weather, as moody and erratic as a summer storm.

No one questions the (allegedly) three-hundred-year-old bird who comes to roost on the island every year.

A summer that will become legend . . .

When tragedy strikes, what made the Fernweh women special suddenly casts them in suspicion. Over the course of her last summer on the island—a summer of storms, of love, of salt—Georgina will learn the truth about magic, in all its many forms.

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This was such a good read; I don't think I've enjoyed a book this much in a long time! I believe the author Katrina Leno said she got a lot of her inspiration from the movie, Practical Magic, which is one of my all-time favorite movies for Halloween. In this book we follow two witch sisters, Georgina and Mary. Georgina and Mary are twins, and inseparable, especially because they live on a small beachy island with a population of less than 300 people. Their family runs an inn on the small island where birdwatchers flock to every summer to observe a small and rare bird named Anabella which inhabits the island once a year. It's always the same few people visiting the island for birdwatching. Everyone is like family here. Only this year there are two new comers and when Anabella mysteriously ends up murdered, everyone breeds suspicion. This book had such an incredible setting. It was such a picturesque and idyllic town with its historical looking inn and beautiful beach front properties and it’s only one ice cream parlor downtown. This book’s descriptions were perfect for fall and I loved Katrina Leno's description of the island. I wish this was a real place, and that I could actually live on the island of By-the-Sea. The setting completely made the story for me and the plot was so incredibly good as well, with just the right amount of witchcraft strewn in. This has easily become one of my favorite books. I don't like to reread books, but this is definitely one I could reread over and over again and still enjoy it each time.

Ima Koi Now I'm In Love by Ayuko Hatta

Ima Koi Now I'm In Love Volume 1, book cover
Ima Koi Now I'm In Love Volume 2, book cover

After missing out on love because she was too shy to confess her feelings, high school student Satomi blurts out how she feels the next time she gets a crush--and it's to her impossibly handsome schoolmate Yagyu! To her surprise, he agrees to date her. Now that Satomi's suddenly in a relationship, what next? Given how fast everything has happened, Satomi is still clueless about how dating is supposed to work. How will she forge ahead in her relationship with Yagyu?

My Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars

I'll be honest I wasn't a huge fan of this manga series. I personally "love, love," but I just wasn't feeling the romance in this series. This romance to me felt very "forced" and it didn't make sense to me as a reader in the slightest. Basically in this novel Satomi was getting sexually harassed on the train and Yagyu, a boy at her school who she's never seen before, steps in and saves her. Satomi immediately falls in love and sets out on a mission to make Yagyu hers. She knows nothing about him, has hardly ever even said two words to him, but she is somehow madly in love. I felt like she could have fallen in love with a brick wall for all she knew about him. Yagyu is intrigued and agrees to date Satomi but states that he has NO FEELINGS for her, but will still give her a trial run! Satomi is overjoyed with that rude slap in the face and is just happy to finally have a boyfriend... There were so many things wrong with this plot line... I just wasn't a fan. I'm not sure how this got categorized as a "romance" because it was just sad to watch this story line play out. Like the "standards" for love were so incredibly low in this manga series. I didn't like either of the main characters and frankly there was zero chemistry between these two characters. The artwork was really good though.

Lovesick Ellie by Fujimomo

Lovesick Ellie Volume 1 , book cover
Lovesick Ellie Volume 2, book cover
Lovesick Ellie Volume 3, book cover
Lovesick Ellie Volume 4, book cover

Eriko Ichimura spends her high school days in complete obscurity. Her sole hobby is staring at handsome, smooth-spoken Akira "Omi-kun" Ohmi, and tweeting her daily fantasies under the screenname "Lovesick Ellie." One fateful day, she accidentally bears witness to Omi-kun's true self—and if that weren't enough, he sees her mortifying Twitter, too! Follow along with a plain, perverted girl, a two-faced boy, and their curious romance! 

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This manga series was absolutely hilarious! In this series we follow Ellie, a high school girl who lives in her own little make believe world. She spends most of her time pinning over the hottest boy at her school named Akira. In her make believe world, Akira and her are dating and madly in love. She spends her days writing the cringiest love obsessed posts on Twitter. Akira seems like the perfect boy, he's beautiful, nice to all his classmates and gets along well with all of his teachers. He seems like the perfect boy which only fuels Ellie's love obsession. One day, while casually spying on her crush, she realizes he's actually not perfect at all! In fact, he's the complete opposite. He also happens to find her cringey love obsessed Twitter about him - talk about embarrassing! Will Ellie fall in love with the real Akira or will she come back down to earth and move on to someone else? Honestly everything about this manga was so funny to me. Ellie is such a funny and relatable character and the fact that Akira isn't the cool guy he pretends to be, he's actually really uncool and shy and bad at talking about his feelings, all of these things just made him even more loveable as a character in my opinion. I'm obsessed with this manga series. It was a really light hearted and not too serious read, guaranteed to put you in a good mood. This book had me laughing the entire time and I can't wait to read the rest of it.