July: 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

The Queen of Nothing, book cover

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

Ok, so even though I am giving this book a 5 star rating, this was still my least favorite book in the series, but for totally biased reasons, because this book series is beyond amazing. I want to say that unlike a lot of other cheesy Young Adult romance novels, this books romance is actually believable! Where most Young Adult romance novels span a few days or fall in love instantly after bumping shoulders in a hallway, the romance in this novel was actually YEARS in the making. Holly Black wrote an incredible background story of how Jude and Cardan's romance came to fruition. This romance feels so destined to be, without being incredibly EASY as many Young Adult novels tend to be. It was really refreshing to read. I hate to give any spoilers away but my big bias of why this was my least favorite book in the series is because Jude spent the majority of this novel in the "human world" and away from Cardan. I am obsessed with this couple so this plot line was just unacceptable! This book has seriously become one of my favorite reads. I think this is going to be my number 1 read for 2020, we'll see, but I don't think anything is going to top this series for me this year.

Lola and the Boy Next Door, book cover

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion... she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – the more sparkly, more wild – the better. And life is pretty close to perfect for Lola, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend.

That is, until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket return to the neighbourhood and unearth a past of hurt that Lola thought was long buried. So when talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally face up to a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. Could the boy from Lola's past be the love of her future?

Fall in love with the international bestseller from queen of young adult fiction, Stephanie Perkins.

My Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

Stephanie Perkins is one of my favorite authors. Anna and the French Kiss by her is by far one of my favorite romance novels. This is technically book 2, and the main characters Anna and St. Claire do make multiple appearances in this novel, but If you skipped Anna and the French Kiss and just started with this book. It really wouldn't take anything away from the story because they are only side characters in this novel, that really don't make a huge impact on this story at all. Ok, so back to Lola and the Boy Next Door, I really did like this novel. The character development was great Lola is a quirky high school student living in San Francisco and like every other teenage girl she is obsessed with fashion! Her clothing statements are out there and I found it rather enjoyable through out the novel, for her character to be so uncaring and incredibly EXTRA with her fashion sense. I did rate this book down just because Lola had one huge character flaw I just couldn't ignore. I couldn't help but find her character to be a little...selfish and self absorbed! She was mean and disrespectful to her parents. Cheats on her boyfriend and then strings both boys along! I just didn't like that her character had no regard for anyone else's feelings but her own. It's hard to like a book when you don't even like the main character, but Stephanie Perkins just has such an attention grabbing writing style. Not everyone's perfect, so I guess she just made Lola's character really REAL.

Late to the Party, book cover

Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen

Seventeen is nothing like Codi Teller imagined.

She’s never crashed a party, never stayed out too late. She’s never even been kissed. And it’s not just because she’s gay. It’s because she and her two best friends, Maritza and JaKory, spend more time in her basement watching Netflix than engaging with the outside world.

So when Maritza and JaKory suggest crashing a party, Codi is highly skeptical. Those parties aren’t for kids like them. They’re for cool kids. Straight kids.

But then Codi stumbles upon one of those cool kids, Ricky, kissing another boy in the dark, and an unexpected friendship is formed. In return for never talking about that kiss, Ricky takes Codi under his wing and draws her into a wild summer filled with late nights, new experiences, and one really cute girl named Lydia.

The only problem? Codi never tells Maritza or JaKory about any of it.

From author Kelly Quindlen comes a poignant and deeply relatable story about friendship, self-acceptance, what it means to be a Real Teenager. Late to the Party is an ode to late bloomers and wallflowers everywhere.

My Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I really did like this book, but I honestly feel like everything in this novel was just too easy-peasy for me. It starts off with 3 best friends who ALL end up "coming out" to each other. They have all been glued to the hip since middle school and do everything together. Codi the main character I'm not sure if she all of a sudden just out grows her friends, or just jumped at the chance of being popular and sort of leaves her friends in the dust. She starts hanging out with a new group of friends who like to "party." Meets a new love interest and just completely keeps her old friends in the dark. She starts telling lies like she's, 'unavailable' so she can hang out with her "popular friends" over her "old friends." I don't want to say Codi was an awful friend, but she kind of was! This is a coming of age story and Codi I felt like for a long time just used her old friends as a security blanket. She used them as an excuse to never have to put herself out there. She would never have to make new friends, and would never have to "come out" to anyone else ever again, if they could just keep things the same forever and always. Its easy to call Codi a bad friend but I think she was just trying to find her own identity outside of this friend group. I was going to give this book a 3 star rating but the more I think about it and dissect this novel the more I like it, so I'm going to give it a 4 star rating. This book when you read it, there doesn't seem to be a lot "surface level" wise, but this book would actually be a really fun book to dissect as part of a teen book club. Plus it also has a great cast of LGBT+ characters and I think some of the issues are so relevant to teens today and trying to find themselves as they mature into adults.

With Malice, book cover

With Malice by Eileen Cook

It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

Holy Cow, I never in a million years thought this book was going to end the way that it did! Basically in this book a high school student named Jill and her best friend Simone go on their senior school trip all the way to ITALY! I don't know what kind of rich school these kids are attending but that was not even an option when I was in high school. I would have loved to go to Italy with my best friend and had little to no adult supervision. Anyway Jill wakes up in the hospital after a horrible car accident that happened while she was in Italy and she has NO memory of ever even going to Italy! The entire school trip has been completely erased from her memory. Basically they find out that Simone had been stabbed before the car accident and that Jill had been driving when the car rammed off a cliff. This makes Jill the number one suspect in the "murder." I kid you not while reading this book I kept thinking, 'wow this is so predictable,' but I was so incredibly wrong! With every new piece of evidence I thought that I knew who the murderer was. I came up with every single scenario you could possibly think of no matter how far fetched and I blamed every single character in the book at some point in time. I really thought that I had this book figured out. I kid you not with every book I've read by Eileen Cook I am more and more convinced that she is a criminal mastermind! Sometimes the most obvious option, just isn't even on your radar. This was a truly unique and unpredictable psychological murder mystery. 5 stars, I loved it, I'm curious to know people's thoughts on the ending. This book left me in shock! An incredible read!

My Calamity Jane, book cover

My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

Welcome ​to 1876 and a rootin’-tootin’ America bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and garou.

JANE (a genuine hero-eene)
Calamity’s her name, and garou hunting’s her game—when she’s not starring in Wild Bill’s Traveling Show, that is. She reckons that if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one.

FRANK (*wolf whistle*)
Frank “the Pistol Prince” Butler is the Wild West’s #1 bachelor. He’s also the best sharpshooter on
both sides of the Mississippi, but he’s about to meet his match. . . .

ANNIE (get your gun!)
Annie Oakley (yep, that Annie) is lookin’ for a job, not a romance, but she can’t deny there’s something about Frank she likes. Really likes. Still, she’s pretty sure that anything he can do,
she can do better.

After a garou hunt goes south and Jane finds a suspicious-like bite on her arm, she turns tail for Deadwood, where there’s been talk of a garou cure. But things ain’t always what they seem—meaning the gang better hightail it after her before they’re a day late and a Jane short.

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This book was incredibly hilarious. I actually caught myself laughing out loud multiple times while reading this novel. I honestly didn't know Calamity Jane was a real person until I read this novel. Was she friends with Annie Oakley in real life? Probably not, but as we've learned with the past books in this series, these 3 writers like to take some "liberties" with their story retellings. I personally love this series. Each book in the series is it's own story so you can start with any of the books and read them completely out of order if you'd like and not miss out on anything. I personally don't like ANYTHING to do with the "wild west," I am not a fan of cowboy westerns, but this book did it in such a fun and hilarious way that I was totally okay with the western setting. Plus the authors added werewolves aka 'garous' just to make things a little more interesting for the main characters. This is not a scary story at all, I know we hear werewolves and tend to think spooky / Halloween, but this was 100 percent an action packed comedy! I have yet to hear if "The Lady Janies" series will continue. This was book 3 and I am so hoping for a book 4. This writing trio is spectacular and I always laugh through their novels. If you are in need of a rootin'-tootin' good time then read this book, it is guaranteed to brighten your day and make you laugh. Definitely one of my favorite series.