June: 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

Fire With Fire, book cover

Fire With Fire by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian


Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan: work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But after the disastrous events of the homecoming dance, they realize they may have gone too far. Well, Lillia and Kat do, but not Mary. She wants more. There is something not quite right about Mary, and if she can't figure out what it is, someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve. Reeve, who hurt her so many years ago. Reeve, who still needs to pay for what he did.

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls agree to one last act of revenge: make Reeve fall in love with Lillia, snd then she will crush him. It's the only way he'll learn.

My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

This book is the second book in the “Burn for Burn” trilogy. In this book we follow three teenage girls living on Jar Island. These teenage girls, Mary, Kat and Lillia, all have a beef with the popular group of kids at school. In the first book, they band together to plot some secret revenge on their school bullies. Everything was perfectly planned in book one until everything blows up in their faces on Homecoming night. Their secret revenge plot has ended up with somebody getting seriously injured. This is where the SPOILERS start so skip ahead if you’d rather be surprised. This book picks up moments after the revenge plot goes array. Reeve one of their main targets ends up breaking a leg and that ends all chances of him getting a football scholarship and going away to college. He can’t afford college otherwise. Lillia, Kat and Mary only wanted to embarrass him, not seriously injure him and ruin his entire future! The three girls agree that they’ve taken things too far and stop all of their plots for revenge. This whole book takes place during the holidays, so it goes through Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s, which I loved. This whole book just embodied Fall, especially living in a small town. Anyway, Reeve ends up doing something vile to Mary on Halloween night, and the group decides maybe they didn’t ruin Reeve’s life enough and they decide that revenge is back on the agenda. Only this time they don’t want to just break his bones, they want to break his heart! The goal is get him to fall in love with Lillia and Lillia completely crush him by New Years. Only, like all fake relationships, this becomes real and Lillia ends up falling hard for Reeve. Can she still keep her promise to her friends and CRUSH him or will she follow her heart? I was absolutely obsessed with this plot and the romance was top tier. I can’t wait to read the last book in this series, “Ashes to Ashes.”

The Killing Woods, book cover

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary, the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

Lucy Christopher has done it once again! If my top books of 2022 are all by Lucy Christopher, I apologize, but her writing style and plots are just epic! In every single one of her books, Lucy always imagines and describes these intricate settings in such a rich and realistic way. In this book much of the setting is set in the woods. She describes such crisp autumn leaves crunching underfoot and the sounds of little animals scurrying underfoot through the forest. This was an amazing read. I will say that this book is geared towards an older teen reader just because some of the content was very mature. This book was incredibly cunning though. This book is a murder mystery and I have never read a book where I haven't trusted a main character before! I literally spent the entire book thinking that Damon was a murderer and was only gaslighting himself by pretending not to remember what happened to his girlfriend, Ashley, in the woods. This book was thrilling to read there were so many twists and turns I really had no idea how this Murder mystery would evolve. I loved the setting, I loved the plot. This book was absolutely riveting. It was a 5 star read for me, without question. There wasn't a single thing about this book that I did not like, or question. This was literary art, a bold claim probably, but I'm obsessed with Lucy Christopher's genius. She has easily become one of my favorite authors.

The Golden Sheep by Kaori Ozaki

The Golden Sheep Volume 1, book cover
The Golden Sheep Volume 2, book cover
The Golden Sheep Volume 3, book cover

Winter of junior year. Not quite able to become adults, we couldn’t stay as we were as children, either.
Our tale explores a group of teenagers and their impatience and rebirth.

“They say if you write down your wish, bury it under Sheep Tower and then dig it up after 7 years and 7 months, your wish will come true…”

Tsugu Miikura, a high schooler who loves to play guitar, due to family circumstances, moved away from the rural town where she had spent her childhood. After several years, she’s back in her old hometown. She reunites with her childhood friends—Sora, Yuushin, and Asari—the friends she’d buried a time capsule with back in elementary school. Tsugu is overjoyed to be with her friends once more, but the bonds that she thought would never change have in fact started to grow major cracks... 

My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. Kaori Ozaki has a knack for writing some emotionally charged and darker themed books, without being overwhelming. In this book, we follow a high school student named Tsugu. When she was younger she had a very tight group of 4 friends - 2 boys and 2 girls. In her mind they were all going to be friends forever! Tsugu ends up moving away and years later after her parents get divorced she has the opportunity to move back to her small town and back to her close knit group of childhood friends. Only everything has completely changed in the years she’s been away. Her friend group has completely broken apart! Yushin has become the school bully and actually bullies their old friend Sora badly. It’s to the point that Tsugu catches Sora trying to commit suicide just to escape all of the bullying. Asari is not happy that Tsugu is back. She has secretly been in competition for Yushin's affection all these years and now that she’s back she decides to get their whole classroom to give Tsugu the silent treatment. Moving back was not the happy reunion Tsugu has been dreaming of for years! She is at her wits end on what to do, she just wants everyone to go back to being friends. This series only spans 3 graphic novels so I was able to finish it relatively quickly, but this manga series was so good. I definitely grew attached to all of the characters. Each character was going through so much emotional turmoil individually, it was hard for any of them to come back together. It was an interesting read about friendship. I didn't want this series to end. I wish that there had been just a little bit more. I felt like this series was perfection but I would have loved to have gotten just one more chapter just to see how their friendships developed even further into adulthood.

A Sign Of Affection by Suu Morishita

A Sign Of Affection Volume 1, book cover
A Sign Of Affection Volume 2, book cover
A Sign Of Affection Volume 3, book cover
A Sign Of Affection Volume 4, book cover

Yuki, who's always been deaf, is used to communicating with sign language and her phone. But she's not used to English, so when a tourist from overseas asks for directions, she nearly panics...until a handsome stranger steps in to help. His name is Itsuomi, and it turns out he's a friend of a friend. A charismatic globetrotter, Itsuomi speaks three languages, but he's never had a deaf friend. The two feel drawn to each other and plan a date on a romantic winter's night...but Yuki's friend is afraid that she might be setting herself up to get hurt. Could this be something real? Or will these feelings melt away with the snow? 

My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

This was another great manga series I was able to get ahold of this month. In this manga, we follow Yuki, who is deaf. It was really interesting to see how she manages to navigate the world around her through sign language and text messages. It was interesting to see how she communicates with the people around her. She is a very sweet and innocent character. She's never had a boyfriend and only has one really good friend even though she’s older and already in college. One day she ends up meeting a really cute boy named Itsuomi. Itsuomi is worldly and well-traveled. He's incredibly handsome and smart and speaks multiple languages. He is so popular amongst the girls at their college Yuki doesn't even think she stands a chance, especially when she’s deaf and there’s a huge language barrier in between them, which makes it difficult for them to even get to know each other. This manga series was cute. Yuki is such a sweet character you can't help but root for her on her journey to finding love. This was such a captivating read and I can't wait to finish the rest of this series. The artwork was amazing and the plot line was unique and superb. I really enjoyed this manga series and its unique characters and plot.