January: 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

All I Want for Christmas, book cover

All I Want for Christmas by Wendy Loggia

Bailey Briggs is counting down the days to Christmas: she lives for holiday music, baking cookies, going on snowy sleigh rides, and wearing her light-up reindeer ears to work at Winslow's bookstore. But all she really wants this year is the one thing she doesn't have: someone special to kiss under the mistletoe. And she's 100 percent certain that that someone isn't Jacob Marley--athlete, player, and of questionable taste in girlfriends--and that Charlie, the mysterious stranger with the British accent, is the romantic lead of her dreams. Is she right? This will be a December to remember, filled with real-life Christmas magic . . . and, if she stays on Santa's nice list, a wish that just might come true.

My Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

This was the perfect book to get me through the holidays! I couldn't have picked a better light hearted and Christmas themed read. Every single chapter was devoted to a fun holiday activity. It was like Wendy Loggia came up with a winter to do list and made sure to cram every single thing on her list into this romantic read. There was ice skating, snow sledding, baking Christmas cookies and kisses underneath the mistletoe. This was one of the most aesthetic books I have ever read. It was very on brand for Christmas and better than I expected this book to be! I was pleasantly surprised because I was not expecting this book to be good at all. I think the reason why I liked this book so much was because there was an unexpected love triangle that I wasn’t expecting to really ramp up the holiday drama! In this book Bailey has not one but two boys vying for her attention. First we have Charlie a handsome adventurous boy with a British accent and Jacob, the most popular boy at Bailey's school. Honestly Bailey had the hardest time deciding between these two boys, but quite frankly so did I! I couldn't decide who I wanted her to end up with. This book was a Christmas themed roller coaster and I highly recommend it, if you want to leave it on your TBR list until next December. It’s one of the better Holiday books that I’ve read.

The Betrayed, book cover

The Betrayed by Kiera Cass

Can you follow your heart when it’s already broken?

After fleeing Coroa and leaving the memory of her beloved Silas behind, Hollis is unsteadily adjusting to life in Isolte. The Eastoffe family’s affection is a balm on her weary spirit, though Etan, a surly cousin with a deep distaste for Coroans, threatens to upset the uneasy peace she’s found.

While tensions at home ratchet up, disquiet in the kingdom of Isolte is reaching a fever pitch. The Eastoffes may have the power to unseat a tyrannical king—but only with Hollis’s help.

Can a girl who’s lost it all put the fate of her adopted homeland over the secret longings of her heart?

My Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

Was this book predictable? Yes, but I'm okay with it! If you haven't read book 1 in this series "The Betrothed," then I wouldn't read this review since I'll be including some SPOILERS! In this book we follow Hollis hours after her entire family has been murdered and her husband of only a few hours was killed. My only pet peeve with this book was that 3 of the most important people in Hollis's life have tragically, and unexpectedly died and in the most TRAUMATIC way possible and this book just completely glossed over it. Hollis bounced back like she had only failed a math quiz! Call me crazy but I don't think that’s normal! Anyway if we just ignore the fact that the main character Hollis is emotionally dead inside, this was an okay book. I actually really liked this book and I admired Hollis's ability to persevere in the face of tragedy. Was this book even remotely realistic? Not even a little bit. Hollis is the luckiest girl in the world because after her family’s tragic death she quickly finds true love again and moves on with her life in a matter of a few days! Everything in this book just went smoothly and without a hitch. This book was very much written for a young adult audience in the sense that Kiera Cass just sort of forces a happy ending in the most unrealistic way possible. If you don’t think about this book too hard, it’s a very good book, just don’t question anything. In a Kierra Cass world, it’s always rainbows and butterflies and things always work out. This book was very on brand for her.

Blue Flag by Kaito

Blue Flag. 1, book cover
Blue Flag. 2, book cover
Blue Flag. 3, book cover
Blue Flag. 4, book cover

An unexpected love quadrangle with a dash of unrequited love as two classmates, a boy and a girl, begin to fall for each other when each of their best friends have already fallen for them.

Love is already hard enough, but it becomes an unnavigable maze for unassuming high school student Taichi Ichinose and his shy classmate Futaba Kuze when they begin to fall for each other after their same-sex best friends have already fallen for them.

For some reason, Taichi Ichinose just can’t stand Futaba Kuze. But at the start of his third year in high school, he finds himself in the same homeroom as her, along with his childhood friend Toma Mita, a star athlete. But one day, Futaba opens up to Taichi and admits she has a crush on Toma. She then asks for his help in confessing to him! There’s just one problem—Toma seems to already have a secret crush on someone else.

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This was a very unique manga, but I don't know if I loved all of the characters. In this book we follow Taichi a high school boy who is kind of a negative person... He for whatever reason ostracized himself from his middle school best friend Toma. Toma is super athletic, captain of the baseball team, good looking, nice and overall really popular. Taichi for whatever reason decided he was no longer cool enough to be Toma's friend and self-labeled himself a 'looser' when they reached high school. Toma on the other hand is secretly in love with Taichi and has never once considered his friend a 'looser.' In fact, he's determined to make him be best friends with him again. Senior year of high school Taichi and Toma end up being in the same classroom again, along with a girl named Futaba. Futaba has a huge crush on Toma and asks Taichi for help catching his attention. I liked this manga in the sense that everyone's love interests were very unpredictable. The love Quadrangle was very irregular and a unique plot line. Although I do wish that this story had followed Toma or Futaba as the main character instead of Taichi. Taichi was kind of an unlikeable character at first. His character does grow and develop and he ends up being a really nice and considerate person throughout the series, but quite honestly I couldn't stand him in the beginning. He was just a little too self-deprecating, rude and overly negative in my opinion and he didn't seem to appreciate the 'looser' friends that he did have. Taichi comes off as having very low self-esteem and I didn’t enjoy reading from his perspective when he’d get stuck in his own head about something... This was a little bit of a slower paced manga then I would normally read, but I really did enjoy this story and the characters the further it progressed into the series.

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight by Rin Mikimoto

Kiss me at the stroke of midnight. Volume 1, book cover
Kiss me at the stroke of midnight. 2, book cover
Kiss me at the stroke of midnight. 3, book cover
Kiss me at the stroke of midnight. Vol. 4, book cover
Kiss me at the stroke of midnight. 5, book cover
Kiss me at the stroke of midnight. 6, book cover

Hinana prizes her reputation as a serious high school student, too focused on getting into college to pay attention to boys. But she's a secret fairytale romance freak, sneaking away from her studies to see A Roman Holiday and tucking pop idol magazines into her textbooks. When her celebrity crush comes to her school to film a TV episode, she has to pretend to be totally uninterested even as she desperately tries to get close to him. However, she's not the only one who's not what she appears... her dreamboat isn't just a pretty face either!

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I wasn't able to finish this whole series, but from what I read I really enjoyed it. In this book the main character Hinana is a romantic at heart. She wants to fall madly in love and be swept away by a knight in shining armor. One day this popular idol is filming a TV show at her school and she happens to be cast as an EXTRA. Hinana happens to run into him off set later that same day and the rest is history. They start dating, but dating a celebrity is anything but a fairytale. Their relationship quickly hits turbulent waters especially after a secret love triangle is revealed. The artwork in this series was superb. I am kind of wondering if it hadn't been for the cutesy artwork in this series if I would have liked the plot as much as I did. I want to say the artwork completely made this series for me. There was some drama in this novel, but it was all very surface level. I don't think this couple had a "serious" fight throughout the entire series. It was a very lighthearted read, and more of a comedy then a really deep or realistic love story. It was a very easy relationship with no challenges. It was a good read, but don't expect anything jaw dropping. This was the least dramatic "DRAMA" book I've read. It’s just a light hearted and cutesy read.