September: 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

Our Crooked Hearts, book cover

Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert


Seventeen-year-old Ivy’s summer break kicks off with an accident, a punishment, and a mystery: a stranger whose appearance in the middle of the road, in the middle of the night, heralds a string of increasingly unsettling events. As the days pass, Ivy grapples with eerie offerings, corroded memories, and a secret she’s always known—that there’s more to her mother than meets the eye.


Dana has always been perceptive. And the summer she turns sixteen, with the help of her best friend and an ambitious older girl, her gifts bloom into a heady fling with the supernatural, set in a city of magical possibilities and secret mystics. As the trio’s aspirations darken, they find themselves speeding toward a violent breaking point.

Years after it began, Ivy and Dana’s shared story will come down to a reckoning among a daughter, a mother, and the dark forces they never

should’ve messed with.

My Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

This was such a spooky read! Perfect for Halloween time. In this book we follow a 17-year-old girl named Ivy. Ivy is a typical teenager, going to parties, fighting with her boyfriend and fighting with her mom. Everything about Ivy seems normal until one night an accident sends Ivy spiraling and searching for answers. There are huge chunks of her childhood missing and she can't understand why. This story jumps back and forth between Ivy and her mom, Dana as a teenager. Dana used to be a wild teenager talking back, skipping school, stealing money and getting into fights on the local pier. Dana was the definition of a "teenage dirt bag." How did the local delinquent turn into a suburban stay at home mom? Dana has secrets, secrets she's willing to kill for and secrets Ivy is determined to uncover years later. This was a great mystery, with a little bit of witchcraft strewn in. I couldn't get enough of the storyline, but I will say the back and forth time jumps did take a little bit for me to get used to, hence the 4-star rating. I think if you can manage to get through the first couple of time jumps this story is so worth the read this Halloween. Melissa Albert really knows how to build suspense. I couldn't wait to read the next chapter and unravel more of the mystery. Also there was a little bit of a love story between Ivy and the boy next door inter woven and I was really invested in that subplot as well. I wish there had been just a little more romance in this novel, it was so perfectly written, I think Melissa Albert should definitely write romance novel next! I think romance is her real calling.

The Summer I Turned Pretty, book cover

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

When each summer begins, Belly leaves her school life behind and escapes to Cousins Beach, the place she has spent every summer of her life. Not only does the beach house mean home away from home, but her favorite people are there: Susannah, her mother's best friend, and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been chasing Conrad for as long as she can remember, and more than anything, she hopes this summer will be different. Despite distractions from a new guy named Cam and lingering looks from Conrad's brother, Jeremiah, Belly's heart belongs to Conrad. Will he offer his to her? Will this be the summer that changes everything?

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This was such a great coming of age story. I want to say that every female has had this "transition phase" between girlhood into teenager. Belly wants so badly to not be seen as a kid anymore she wants to be seen as an actual girl! She wants boys to notice her. More specifically she wants Conrad to notice her! Belly has had a crush on her older brother’s best friend for as long as she can remember. Growing up she's always felt "left out," because she's always been “just a kid," she's always been just a "little sister." Not this year though, Belly is determined to finally be noticed! She is going to turn heads, wear a "grown up" bikini and finally get a first real kiss. I think Jenny Han did a perfect job of really capturing that transitional phase in between "girlhood" and "teenage hood." This book was the perfect end of summer read. The setting of cousins’ beach was absolute perfection. Jenny's descriptions of jumping into swimming pools, and attending bonfires on the beach just perfectly embodied all things summer. I absolutely love Jenny Han as a writer, she has a way of really capturing youth and writing the most relatable characters. I feel like any girl can read this novel and find something she can relate to in the character Belly. 

Boys I Know, book cover

Boys I Know by Anna Garcia

June Chu is the “just good enough” girl. Good enough to line the shelves with a slew of third-place trophies and steal secret kisses from her AP Bio partner, Rhys. But not good enough to meet literally any of her Taiwanese mother’s unrelenting expectations or to get Rhys to commit to anything beyond a well-timed joke.

While June’s mother insists she follow in her (perfect) sister’s footsteps and get a (full-ride) violin scholarship to Northwestern (to study pre-med), June doesn’t see the point in trying too hard if she’s destined to fall short anyway. Instead, she focuses her efforts on making her relationship with Rhys “official.” But after her methodically-planned, tipsily-executed scheme explodes on the level of a nuclear disaster, she flings herself into a new relationship with a guy who’s not allergic to the word “girlfriend.”

But as the line between sex and love blurs, and pressure to map out her entire future threatens to burst, June will have to decide on whose terms she’s going to live her life—even if it means fraying her relationship with her mother beyond repair.

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. If "The Summer I Turned Pretty," was about the transitional phase from girlhood to teenager, this book was about the transitional phase from "Teenager" to "Woman." In this book we follow Jun, a 17-year-old girl go through multiple different sexual relationships. Jun is a senior getting ready to go away to college. Jun is a little bit naive at the beginning of this story. Like many other teenagers Jun believes that sex equals "love." Jun believes that the only way to receive love from boys is to give "love" aka sex. As a reader we watch her go from one bad relationship to another, to another, to another until this sort of "naivety" essentially gets beaten out of her. I think this was such an amazing coming of age story and it’s about a subject that I don't think gets talked about enough. Teenagers face all kinds of pressures on a daily basis, whether its making our parent's proud, getting into a good college, navigating interpersonal relationships and of course the pressure to have sex. This was definitely a book I wish I had had growing up; I think Anna Garcia could have easily ripped a page out of my diary from when I was 17. I think Jun was an incredibly relatable character and I loved following her on her journey to womanhood and finding herself as a person as well as finding self-love. I think every teenager could probably learn a little something from Jun’s story. I think this is going to be one of my top reads for 2022.

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight by Rin Mikimoto

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight 7, book cover
Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight 8, book cover
Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight 9, book cover
Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight 10, book cover
Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight 11, book cover
Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight 12, book cover

Hinana prizes her reputation as a serious high school student, too focused on getting into college to pay attention to boys. But she's a secret fairytale romance freak, sneaking away from her studies to see A Roman Holiday and tucking pop idol magazines into her textbooks. When her celebrity crush comes to her school to film a TV episode, she has to pretend to be totally uninterested even as she desperately tries to get close to him. However, she's not the only one who's not what she appears... her dreamboat isn't just a pretty face either!

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

This was such a cute series. Basically in this story we follow Hinana a "model" student. She prides herself on getting the best grades and being the best daughter. Hinana is adopted so she does her best to never "rock the boat." One day she happens to run into a celebrity, Kaede and the two of them quickly strike up a relationship. Only they have to keep their relationship a secret so that Hinana can keep her life at home peaceful for her family. I really loved this story, although I would say that Hinana and Kaede's relationship was very smooth, there wasn't a lot of drama for a "drama" romance novel. Everything for them was incredibly easy from start to finish. I loved this series but I'll be honest the artwork is what really made this series great for me. If the artwork had been bad, I don't know if I would have gotten as invested in this series as I did otherwise. If you want just an easy romance manga with a feel good happy ending, then this is the comic series for you. I loved the artwork, I loved the amount of time Rin Mikimoto put into the fashion that these characters wore. This series was aesthetically pleasing from start to finish. The artwork was superb and it really cinched this story for me and I love when a manga series isn’t too long. This was only 12 books long, any longer and I probably wouldn’t have bothered finishing it.