Recent Reads #51

Last year, I renamed ‘Weekly’ Wrap-Ups to Recent Reads, as I feel like that reflects the timescale between posts more accurately!

As ever, today I will be briefly reviewing all the books I’ve read since my last post in approximately fifty words. This post also explains my concept of ‘The Chosen Ones’ to highlight my favourite books in each post! Today’s post features some books that I read in August, as I just missed them off my last Recent Reads. 

Some of these books either aren’t released yet or I want to write a full review of in the future, so I’ll just have a quick thought with the full review to come!


Gut Feelings by C. G. Moore


TW: chronic illness, surgery, homophobia, bullying

Gut Feelings cut deep. This was such a powerful, eye-opening read that felt so poignant and beautiful. 

This is a deeply personal story and it’s incredibly brave of Chris to be sharing such intimate details of his life, but I truly feel like this is a book that could change people’s lives. It examines living with a chronic illness and hidden disabilities through searing language that you can’t help but deeply emotionally connect with. Chris perfectly utilises the sparsity of the language here for maximum effect.

Full review here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Island by C. L. Taylor


TW: depression, death, fire, grief, violence and suicide references 

This was a fast-paced, thoroughly enjoyable wild ride of a book. It took some unexpected twists and turns, invoking the essence of Lord of the Flies while exploring the lasting effects of grief.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney

🏳️‍🌈 (side character)

This was a genuinely funny book. Very, very few books have made me laugh out loud, but Meaney succeeded. I really appreciated the empowering, feminist stance the book takes and how Alex learns that there isn’t a catch-all type of feminism.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Beyond The Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald

TW: blood, violence, abuse, death, murder, eye horror, stabbing, self-harm (full list here)


I absolutely fell in love with this dark gem of a book. It’s unapologetically brutal and bloody, populated with ruthless, complex characters that are often unlikable.

Basically, this was the dark, stabby sapphic book I craved. I felt so immersed in this blood-drenched story and wanted to uncover every last piece of the intricate story. I’m hoping Fitzgerald has more to come, especially after that open ending.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas


TW: gang violence, gun violence, drug dealing, racism, murder, grief, mention of postpartum

This may be my favourite Angie Thomas yet. She just has such a skill of capturing these incredibly engaging voices to tell these sadly vital stories that need to be heard. Through Maverick, she explores fatherhood, grief and masculinity, specifically that of Black men. It’s an extremely powerful and compelling book that gives a voice to representation rarely seen in YA.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

TW: death, drowning, murder

Now, I didn’t dislike this book, instead it just wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. I would’ve preferred to hear all about the wild, wonderful stories of the Walker women, but instead I got an insta-love story with a twist that I saw coming from miles away.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings


TW: death, grief, murder, war

I’ve said before how tricky anthologies are to review and this is one that I’ve read over and over again. I just really like the different interpretations of mythology and how Asian culture is celebrated and explored. It makes such a refreshing change from the predominantly white, Eurocentric fantasies you often see dominating the shelves.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Forever Ends On Friday by Justin A. Reynolds


TW: death, grief, drowning

This was so deeply moving and affecting in its heartfelt, beautiful and utterly unique portrayal of grief. Its unique premise is morally thought-provoking and leaves you really thinking about what you would do in that situation. It’s also funny, providing a celebration of life and a reminder to treasure every minute.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson


I haven’t sunk my teeth into an adult thriller for a little while, but this was definitely worth the switch. A darkly enthralling, gory cat and mouse game around London with interesting perspectives and the potential for more explosive stories to follow.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman


TW: racism, abuse, homophobia, hate crime, mentions of animal cruelty, sexism

This is not how I thought this review was going to go. I really loved the Scythe series, so I was desperate to get my hands on Neal’s new book. However, it completely fell flat for me. While I can greatly appreciate what he was trying to achieve, it just came across as a preachy, white saviour narrative. It felt condescending and just didn’t work for me.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Horrid by Katrina Leno


TW: death of a parent, pica, death of a child, death of a sibling, bullying, child abuse, murder

Between that immensely creepy yet compelling cover and that synopsis, I was ready to be utterly bemused and chilled by Leno. While I really enjoyed the exploration of familial grief and inherited trauma through abuse, I just slightly struggled to connect with Jane. However, I enjoyed Leno’s style of writing and that ending was just exquisitely ambiguous, which gave it a little Gothic flair.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Project by Courtney Summers


TW: religion, graphic abuse, cults, suicide, graphic violence, death, manipulation, suicide, pedophilia, abuse, miscarriage, assault, torture

When you’re as big of a fan of Sadie as I am and hear that Summers is writing a new book, you have to have it.

This was a dark, twisty and thrilling exploration of manipulation and cults in a distinctly Summers style. It delves into loneliness and what pushes people into falling into a web of abuse and manipulation from which they cannot escape. While I don’t believe this is Summer’s strongest work, I still can’t wait to add it to my shelf.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery


Well, this was an emotive and beautiful story, heart-wrenching yet simply told. I loved the mix of prose and poetry to explore the past and present. Drewery’s writing just made me fly through the pages, in fact I ended up reading it all in one sitting. The illustrations by Natsko Seki are just so stunning and powerful to boot. This is a book that feels well researched and educational, reminding us of the not too distant atrocities.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Chosen Ones:

6 thoughts on “Recent Reads #51

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