October: 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

What She Found in the Woods, book cover

What She Found in the Woods by Josephine Angelini

This is Magda's last chance. Recovering from a scandal at her elite New York City private school that threw life into a tailspin, she is shipped off to live with her grandparents in the Pacific Northwest for the summer.

Medicated and uninspired, Magda spends her days in a fog wandering the forest behind the house. But then she stumbles upon Bo. He's wild and free, and he can see the real her. Magda starts believing she might be able to move on from her past and feel something again.

But there's more to this sleepy town than she thought. And what Magda finds in the woods near Bo's forest home is the beginning of a whole new nightmare...

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I am absolutely obsessed with this book! When I tell you I COULD NOT put this book down its an understatement. I have not thoroughly enjoyed a book this much in a long time. This was the perfect mystery book to start the fall season off with. A lot of this book is set in the middle of the woods, so the setting of hiking and being in a deep blanketed forest really helped set the mood for this fall. Josephine Angelini did an amazing job with the setting of this book and the plot was absolutely phenomenal. In this book we follow Magda, a 17-year-old girl who has just suffered a serious mental break down. Her parents can no longer handle her and so they have shipped her off to live with her grandparents in Washington. Her grandparents give her free reign to do whatever she wants as long as she continues to take her medication. As a reader, Magda is a very unreliable narrator. She is unstable, and a known liar with a wild imagination and it becomes clear very quickly that she isn't taking her medication as she should be, because she is losing track of major chunks of time. Magda spends most of her time hiking in the woods behind her grandparents’ house and on one of her hikes she meets boy named Bo and he is living in the woods with his family. I spent the entirety of this book not trusting Magda and trying to figure out which characters were real and which characters were solely in her imagination! I have never been more hooked, trying to figure out this messy, convoluted mystery. Josephine Angelini gave out hints like one inch at a time and I spent the entirety of this book jumping to conclusions. Never in a million years would I have guessed the ending correctly. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery. This is definitely one of my top mystery reads ever! I need other people to read this book, so that we can talk about it. It was wild.

It's Not Summer Without You, book cover

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?

It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.

But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started—at Cousins Beach.

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This was book 2 in "The Summer I Turned Pretty" series, so If you haven't read book 1 in the series move along because I'm going to have some MAJOR SPOILERS! This book picks up the following summer after book 1 ends. At the end of book one Belly and Conrad have finally gotten together, Susannah was relatively healthy and in remission with her cancer, but at the start of book 2 Belly and Conrad have already broken up and Susannah has already passed away from cancer. Belly will no longer be attending the Summer home in Cousins Beach since Susannah and her mother's friendship is really what brought their kids together for the summer. Belly is getting ready to spend her first summer at home with her best friend Taylor and not near the beach. Only Jerimiah calls Belly asking for help finding Conrad. Conrad has disappeared to the summer home, so now the three of them are spending one final summer together alone without parental supervision. It’s hard being in the same room as your Ex let alone forced into spending an entire summer together pretending to be friends. I really enjoyed this book. Jenny Han has a way of building up first loves and then completely breaking them down. First loves hardly ever work out and Jenny Han has a way of capturing those heartbreaking and anguish filled feelings. No one writes about first loves quite as eloquently as Jenny Han does. This book was heartbreakingly good but it has a MAJOR cliffhanger ending so of course I already started book 3, the final book in the series, We'll Always Have Summer. Jenny Han really knows how to grab and hook her readers.

A Far Wilder Magic, book cover

A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft

When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. If Margaret wins the hunt, it may finally bring her mother home. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.

Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist--yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he's landed, his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret and her bloodhound Trouble. Margaret begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.

Although they make an unlikely team, Wes is in awe of the girl who has endured alone on the outskirts of a town that doesn’t want her, in this creaking house of ghosts and sorrow. And even though Wes disrupts every aspect of her life, Margaret is drawn to him. He, too, knows what it's like to be an outsider. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt - if they survive that long.

My Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I had the HARDEST time reading this novel. Although Allison Saft did a wonderful job with all of the world building and the character development in this novel, this book was just a little too "wordy" for me and I kept finding my mind wandering throughout the ENTIRE novel. I had to stop and reread things several, several times. I just couldn't focus on this story. This entire novel revolved around a tournament called the Halfmoon Hunt, where people from across the country would compete to kill the Hala, a mythical godlike creature. There was so much buildup around this tournament and the tournament didn't even start until the last 5 chapters. It wrapped up the entire tournament, 34 chapters into 2 tiny little chapters. It was completely anti-climactic. This terrifying mystical creature with god like power went down without much of a fight to be perfectly honest it was a little disappointing. Although I liked this book and the concept and the plot I had so many problems with this book. This book ended up being a "romance," but this book literally went from Weston, the male main character looking at Margaret the female main character and him referring to her as so plain looking, and just so unbeautiful and homely looking, to him wanting to marry her. It literally made no sense there was no chemistry there until all of a sudden there was. It felt very forced and unnatural. I was happy that the two main characters ended up together and everything wrapped up at the end of the story very neatly, but Allison Saft really set the bar so low when it came to "true" love. I did enjoy this book, I liked all of the characters, but a lot it was just very, very questionable. If it wasn’t for the impeccable world building this probably wouldn’t have come anywhere near a 4 star read for me.

The Secret Garden, book cover

The Secret Garden by Mariah Marsden & Hanna Luechtefeld

Ten-year-old Mary Lennox arrives at a secluded estate on the Yorkshire moors with a scowl and a chip on her shoulder. First, there’s Martha Sowerby: the too-cheery maid with bothersome questions who seems out of place in the dreary manor. Then there’s the elusive Uncle Craven, Mary’s only remaining family—whom she’s not permitted to see. And finally, there are the mysteries that seem to haunt the run-down place: rumors of a lost garden with a tragic past, and a midnight wail that echoes across the moors at night.

As Mary begins to explore this new world alongside her ragtag companions—a cocky robin redbreast, a sour-faced gardener, and a boy who can talk to animals—she learns that even the loneliest of hearts can grow roots in rocky soil.

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This was a Graphic Novel retelling of Frances Hodgson Burnett's Classic novel The Secret Garden, and I have to say it did not disappoint. In this novel we follow Mary a young girl who has just been orphaned and is sent away to live in an old estate with her Uncle. Her uncle has no intention of getting to know his niece. Mary is lonely and in a foul mood when she first arrives to the manor. She begins to explore the large estate and soon discovers a secret garden that has been locked away and abandoned for many years. Mary sets out on restoring this garden and bringing it back to all its original glory. This graphic novel was just so aesthetically pleasing and beautiful. I loved the dark and gothic aesthetic of the manor in contrast with the colorful and vibrant garden. I loved everything about the artwork and its color choices. This book was very "cottage-core" and just soothing to read with all the nature scenes and pretty pastel garden flowers. This Graphic Novel is definitely for readers who also enjoyed Graphic Novels like The Prince and the Dressmaker. If you just want an aesthetically pleasing book to read with a lot of pastels this is the book to pick up. There were so many pages in this graphic novel that should just be framed and hung up on my bedroom walls. This was such a soul soothing book to visually read.