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

I Must Betray You, book cover

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.

Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.

Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?

My Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I'll be honest this wasn't my favorite read. I am not a fan of anything political, it's my least favorite subject in life. I will say this book was very interesting though because it had to do with "Communism" specifically in Romania in the 80's. I don't know too much about communism, but this book did a pretty good job of depicting what it must be like living under a communist regime. In this story we follow Cristian, a 17-year-old boy living in Romania. One day Cristian gets caught with illegal contraband when he gets caught selling a stamp to an American boy and the boy gives him an American dollar in exchange. In Romania at the time is was considered illegal to be in possession of any foreign currency. Cristian's family is threatened because of this single US dollar. He must join the secret police and help Romania spy on the same American boy who purchased his stamp or risk losing his family. This American boy is a politician’s son from the US and Romania likes to keep a close tab on foreigners, especially ones from high standing families. This book takes place during a time where there was a lot of political unrest in Romania and it was interesting to read about, but again not my favorite subject. If you do like reading Political themed books specifically on communism this book was good, and Your Heart, My Sky, is another good one, with similar themes, but just set in Cuba. This book was well written; the plot was superb but again it just wasn't my cup of tea. I do think this book would make a good movie though!

Ashes to Ashes, book cover

Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

New Year's Eve ended with a bang and Mary, Kat and Lillia may not be prepared for what is to come.

After Rennie's death, Kat and Lillia try to put the pieces together of what happened to her. They both blame themselves. If Lillia hadn't left with Reeve... If Kat had only stayed with Rennie... Things could have been different. Now they will never be the same.

Only Mary knows the truth about that night. About what she is. She also knows the truth about Lillia and Reeve falling in love, about Reeve being happy when all he deserves is misery, just like the misery he caused her. Now their childish attempts at revenge are a thing of the past and Mary is out for blood. Will she leave anything in her wake or will all that remain be ashes?

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I have never loved a book series more to just have it be completely ruined in the final 2 pages!! This is book 3 in the "Burn for Burn" trilogy so if you don't want SPOILERS skip to the next review because I'm about to spoil EVERYTHING! Book two ended with a bang, and we find out that Mary is actually a ghost and she has been dead this entire time! In book 1, Mary seeks revenge on a boy named Reeve. She tells Lillia and Kat that Reeve was her middle school bully. She tells them he bullied her so badly she attempted suicide... only she left the part out where it wasn’t an “attempt” and that she actually died! Mary has been haunting Reeve ever since wanting revenge. Kat and Lillia are clueless because why should they ever think Mary is a ghost they can both see her and feel her. As a reader I'll be honest I didn't even have a clue. That plot twist really came out of nowhere for me. I knew things were turning a little "paranormal" in the story line, but I was thinking super powers, not paranormal activity! Anyway the romance between Reeve and Lillia was superb - not since A Clockwork Angel, have I shipped a couple more! I loved this book series and everything about it. I wanted Lillia and Reeve to be together forever but those final 2 pages slapped me across the face. Never has a ship sunk faster than the Titanic. Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian killed all my hopes and dreams in less than a page and half. We didn't need that ending and I demand a rewrite.

My Love Mix-Up! by Wataru Hinekure

My Love Mix-Up! Volume 1, book cover
My Love Mix-Up! Volume 2, book cover
My Love Mix-Up! Volume 3, book cover
My Love Mix-Up! Volume 4, book cover

In this warmhearted romantic comedy, mistaken identity leads to a blossoming romance between two boys.

Aoki has a crush on Hashimoto, the girl in the seat next to him in class. But he despairs when he borrows her eraser and sees she’s written the name of another boy—Ida—on it. To make matters more confusing, Ida sees Aoki holding that very eraser and thinks Aoki has a crush on him!

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This book series was so cute and heartwarming. It's not your typical romance manga. I want to say this was one of the most hilariously funny and unique romance plot lines that I've read in a long time. Basically in this book we follow Aoki a typical teenage boy. He has this idea about what a "perfect female" is supposed to be, demure, cute, nice and with short black hair. Lucky for him the girl who sits next to him, Hashimoto checks all of his boxes. One day he borrows an eraser from her and on it there's a little heart and a boy's name "IDA." Ida just so happens to sit directly in front of Aoki and when he turns around to ask a question, he sees the eraser on Aoki's desk and automatically assumes that Aoki is gay and in love with him! Talk about bad timing. The two boys agree to talk on the roof after school and Aoki trying to be chivalrous and not wanting to out Hashimoto's secret crush, pretends that he is in love with Ida and somehow manages to confess his FAKE feelings for him. Ida not wanting to flat out reject Aoki agrees to get to know him better before giving him an answer! Aoki has no idea how he managed to get himself so deeply into this mess! As Aoki gets to know Ida, he turns out to be a great person and even though Aoki has NEVER even thought about boys before, maybe by the end of this mess his feelings for Ida might not be so "FAKE." I loved everything about this series I've only read books 1 through 4 in the series but I am dedicated and I need to find out how this romance develops or fizzles. I can't wait for the library to get the rest of this series! This series was hilariously chaotic.

Zom 100 by Haro Aso

Zom 100 Volume 1, book cover
Zom 100 Volume 2, book cover
Zom 100 Volume 3, book cover
Zom 100 Volume 4, book cover
Zom 100 Volume 5, book cover

After spending years toiling away for a soul-crushing company, Akira’s life has lost its luster. But when a zombie apocalypse ravages his town, it gives him the push he needs to live for himself. Now Akira’s on a mission to complete all 100 items on his bucket list before he...well, kicks the bucket.

In a trash-filled apartment, 24-year-old Akira Tendo watches a zombie movie with lifeless, envious eyes. After spending three hard years at an exploitative corporation in Japan, his spirit is broken. He can’t even muster the courage to confess his feelings to his beautiful co-worker Ohtori. Then one morning, he stumbles upon his landlord eating lunch—which happens to be another tenant! The whole city’s swarming with zombies, and even though he’s running for his life, Akira has never felt more alive!

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This manga series was hilarious! Akira Tendo is my absolute spirit animal. Basically in this series Akira is working his typical 9 to 5 job and then some. His whole life basically revolves around work. The only thing he does is eat, sleep and work. Welcome to adult life. Being an adult is hard and I am not a morning person, I literally have had this thought multiple times in my life as a drag myself out of bed, "I wish there was a zombie apocalypse, so that I wouldn't have to go to work today." I feel like Haro Aso and I are telepathically linked because that's exactly what this book series is about! Akira Tendo is basically living his life as a zombie, his life is on constant repeat, every day is the same work, eat, sleep, repeat. He no longer has time for his friends, hasn't dated anyone. Work is his life. Then one morning he's running late to work and he realizes that Japan has been taken over by zombies. This is Akira's happiest day of his life, because he realizes he no longer has to go to work anymore! It’s like he’s been zapped back to life and he no longer wants to waste time. Akira decides that he wants to live his life to the fullest before he gets eaten by zombies, and thus the Zom 100 bucket list is born. This book series is absolutely hilarious and it was interesting to see what a 24-year-old boy would add to his bucket list. This book was so unique and unexpected but in the best way possible. I will say this graphic novel is for an older teen audience since there are some gory scenes and partial nudity, but the plot line was definitely worth the read. I pretty much love all things Zombie; Zombies are never a miss.