November: 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

Beautiful Creatures, book cover

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything

My Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars

This honestly wasn't my favorite book. I unfortunately listened to the audiobook because this book is so thick! That was a mistake! I think I would have enjoyed this book just a tad bit more had I read a physical copy of the book. Basically in this book Lena Duchanne moves to a small Southern town where she falls in love with a perfectly normal and extremely boring boy named Ethan. Ethan is non-magical, and rather ordinary. Anyway Lena is a witch, but she is cursed. On her 16th birthday she will be claimed as a good witch or a bad witch. She doesn't have a choice in the matter. Lena believes that she will be claimed for the "evil" side, since her magic is erratic and out of control and has caused some pretty bad accidents around her, without her control of course. In this story a song keeps playing over and over, "16 moons" as a sort of warning or clue to break the curse throughout the entire novel, because I listened to the audiobook they actually sang the song OVER and OVER AGAIN about 100 times throughout this book. It was the most annoying song I have ever heard in my life. Some things are better left to the imagination. I DO NOT recommend the audiobook! I think my hate of this novel stems solely from this song. Kami Garcia could have just cut this song completely out of the novel and it would have jumped up to maybe a 4 star read... but that's kind of pushing it. I don't think I will be finishing the rest of this series. This book is up there with Twilight by Stephanie Meyer as my top most hated novels. If you do not agree I apologize in advance, but I can not retract this statement.

Watch Over Me, book cover

Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour

Mila is used to being alone. Maybe that’s why she said yes to the opportunity: living in this remote place, among the flowers and the fog and the crash of waves far below.

But she hadn’t known about the ghosts.

Newly graduated from high school, Mila has aged out of the foster care system. So when she’s offered a job and a place to stay at a farm on an isolated part of the Northern California Coast, she immediately accepts. Maybe she will finally find a new home, a real home. The farm is a refuge, but also haunted by the past traumas its young residents have come to escape. And Mila’s own terrible memories are starting to rise to the surface.

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

First off I definitely would not classify this book as a "Teen" novel. I felt like this book was a little more mature in content and I personally would want to classify it as an "Adult" novel. There was some sexual content and I want to say there should be a TRIGGER WARNING for mental/physical abuse. This book wasn't overly Adult, but its definitely not for a younger teen reader. Anyway I ended up really loving this novel, although if I'm being honest it is not AT ALL what I expected. I personally thought that this was going to be a great paranormal/ Halloween themed read, but the summary is so far off from what this novel really is about! First off all the Ghosts in this novel were actually metaphors for the ghosts in the characters pasts, and the characters past traumas, etc. Which I feel so lied to, because this book starts off so eerie and chilling, a perfect set up for a spooky paranormal read, but it wasn't even like that...RUDE! Although it took me a long time to figure out this was a metaphor... so I thought the main characters were actually being haunted! In this novel a bunch of kids end up getting adopted by this family who lives on a farm out in the middle of no where. Every child adopted has been through some serious trauma in their lives and have been taken away from their "biological parents." They have all ended up on this farm creating a rather interesting family. Each child has a "ghost" who haunts them. It was a very interesting preface for a novel and I found myself very intrigued by the characters and their pasts. I really liked this novel too, because it wasn't just surface level and made me think a little more in depth about the plot line, but I do wish we had gotten to know the other characters in this novel just a little bit better. We really only got to learn about Mila and how she ended up on this farm and I was very intrigued by the other characters, so I really felt like that was the only thing this novel was lacking. It was a really good read.

The Wicked Deep, book cover

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This book was a tad predictable if I'm being honest, but it was still really entertaining and had a unique plot line. I personally think this book would have been perfect to read around Halloween time. I got a lot of Hocus Pocus vibes while reading this novel. Basically in this book there are three sisters, who back in the late 1800's were condemned as witches. They were drowned in the Harbor of Sparrow and so every "Swan Season" these three witches comeback and plague this town that drowned them. Every summer these witches possess the bodies of teenage girls and go on a rampant killing spree, drowning as many local boys in the harbor as they possibly can before the summer solstice. Then they again become dormant in the ocean until the following summer. In this novel we follow a young girl named Penny Talbot, Penny is the only girl in town who can see the three Swan Sisters ghosts and knows who they've possessed. Penny ends up falling in love with a boy named Bo, who is just passing through town at the completely wrong time of the year! Penny takes it upon herself to keep this handsome boy out of trouble. Why is Penny the only one who can see the sisters ghost? I don't want to spoil anything, but it was extremely predictable! The reason was supposed to come as a SHOCKING reveal, but I had already figured it out like 15 chapters back. This book was really entertaining though, so I didn't mind its predictability so much. Although I will say I found the lack of adult supervision through out this novel to be a bit problematic... but like with any other young adult book, just don't question it! I also did thoroughly enjoy the ending of this novel, it was unexpectedly bittersweet. I really loved this novel and its' characters and I especially loved the town of Sparrow. It was a beautiful setting for this novel.

Some Kind of Animal, book cover

Some Kind of Animal by Maria Romasco Moore

For fans of Wilder Girls and Sadie comes a new story about two girls with a secret no one would ever believe, and the wild, desperate lengths they will go to protect each other from the outside world.

Jo lives in the same Appalachian town where her mother disappeared fifteen years ago. Everyone knows what happened to Jo's mom. She was wild, and bad things happen to girls like that.

Now people are starting to talk about Jo. She's barely passing her classes and falls asleep at her desk every day. She's following in her mom's footsteps.

Jo does have a secret. It's not what people think, though. Not a boy or a drug habit. Jo has a twin sister.

Jo's sister is not like most people. She lives in the woods--catches rabbits with her bare hands and eats them raw. Night after night, Jo slips out of her bedroom window and meets her sister in the trees. And together they run, fearlessly.

The thing is, no one's ever seen Jo's sister. So when her twin attacks a boy from town, everyone assumes that it was Jo. Which means Jo has to decide--does she tell the world about her sister, or does she run?

My Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars

Ok, first off this book was not what I expected AT ALL! I just made some very wrong assumptions while reading this book. In all honestly the way that Maria Romasco Moore described Lee one of the twin girls in the book I thought this book was going to be about Vampires... but its actually just about a feral teenager who has been living in the woods her entire life... Basically in this book there is a pair of twins named Lee and Jo. Jo lives in the suburbs in a small town. Her twin sister Lee for whatever reason has been abandoned and has been living in the woods alone or so Jo thought for years! Nobody knows Jo even has a twin. Slowly throughout the novel the mystery of Lee and why she is living in the woods gets revealed, but at the start of the novel Lee is described as a ravenous "creature" who sleeps all day, and only comes out at night to "feed." She also goes around biting people on multiple occasions, so I'm not sure how I wasn't supposed to jump to the "VAMPIRE" conclusion! Read the start of this novel and tell me I'm wrong! It starts off totally eerie and just got more and more mysterious, how could anyone not jump to these conclusions!? Anyway aside from that misunderstanding the farther along I got into this novel the less interested I became. The back story for Lee's character got more and more out of frame as things got revealed! I feel like I just watched the most bizarre episode of unsolved mysteries... I really want to know where Maria Romassco Moore got the idea for this novel. It has to be based on a true story, no way Maria Moore is that IMAGINATIVE! I'm really on the fence about this novel, it was a REALLY entertaining story and extremely well written, but I just couldn't get past the plot line. The more I think about it, the more MESSED UP I found this novel. The plot line was just not my cup of tea. I didn't hate, but I didn't love it.

Orange by Ichigo Takano

Orange, book cover
Orange, book cover

On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. Who is this mystery boy, and can Naho save him from his destiny? This is the heart-wrenching sci-fi romance that has over million copies in print in Japan!  

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This is easily the saddest manga I have EVER read! There were so many moments in this manga that I caught myself tearing up! I am not a crybaby but this manga kind of just broke my heart. In this manga a group of 5 friends all receive mysterious letters and they are signed from themselves, but only 10 years in the future! In these "time travel" letters they warn themselves of a new boy transferring into their class. They are all destined to make friends with him. This boy ends up completely changing their lives for the better and completes their friend group perfectly. The only problem is the letters say that he is going to commit suicide and it is their responsibility to save him. They have been beating themselves up for the last 10 years wondering what they could have done to change the events that happened in their 11th grade year of high school. This book is absolutely heartbreaking. I could full on sob just thinking about this book and its storyline. I want to say that this manga should definitely have a TRIGGER WARNING for suicide. Just be prepared to ugly cry. Its a really good book regardless! I think Ichigo Takano knew that he was totally going to make people ugly cry so at the end of book 2 he added a 4 chapter short story called "Haruiro Astronaut." I'm giving that short story a 5 STARS also. It was the cutest little romance short story. That totally cheered me up and had such a happy ending. It was just what I needed after finishing Orange. In this short story their are 2 twin girls named Mami and Chiki. Even though they look alike everyone always falls in love with Mami. Its okay because Chiki is used to it and she believes that one day she will find her own "shooting star" romance. SPOILER She does, only is gets really, really complicated! This short story was absolutely hilarious and it had the cutest cast of characters. I only wish it had been a little longer! I honestly liked this short story more than I liked Orange, but they were both so different its like comparing apples to oranges. They both deserve 5 stars though.