Recent Reads #53

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!  

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!

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé


TW: racism, homophobia, forced outing, sexism, car accident, revenge porn, infidelity, drug use, strangling, fire, death, implied sexual assault, mention of past suicide attempt, blackmail, stalking

I’m calling it now, this is going to be one of the books of the year. It’s just exceptional in every way and needs so much love. This is the step-up dark academia needs, infused with mystery and Gothic touches. Also, the representation of two Black LGBT+ protagonists is just exceptional. If you haven’t done so already, preorder or you’ll be missing out on one of the best books of the year.

Full review here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

⭐️🏳️‍🌈 (side character)💙🧠

TW: ableism, past physical & emotional abuse 

I know I’m super late to board the Brown sisters hype train, but here I am. I flew through this funny, sweet and achingly romantic story in pretty much one sitting. Hibbert creates such great chemistry and well developed characters. Also, the representation of chronic illness was just done so, so well. Finally, I just adore the Brown sisters.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Like Home by Louisa Onomé


TW: gentrification, vandalism, mentions of gun violence and death

This was a really interesting contemporary coming of age story, which explored themes of gentrification and community. Onomé’s writing flowed so well, allowing me to just get wrapped up in the story.

Nelo was a great protagonist and I really felt like the teenage characters spoke authentically and acted like real teens.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert


TW: death of a parent, death of a sibling, anxiety, panic attacks

This book left a warm glow in my heart. It just felt so lovely and a complete tonal shift from what I might normally pick up. Yet again, Hibbert nails the chemistry and character dynamics within the book, while also providing really important discussions. This is a fun, flirty and steamy read, perfect for losing yourself in.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

TW: suicide, self harm, drug use, rape, murder, bullying

Flynn didn’t hesitate to go dark here in this psychological, twisted and disturbing exploration of possibly the most toxic friendship you’ve ever heard of.

It’s a dark and addictive mystery about toxic friendship, mixed with a bit of murder. I liked how Flynn didn’t shy away from making her characters truly unlikable, though they often stayed morally gray, allowing for nuance and discussion.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Coven by Lizzie Fry


TW: imprisonment, torture, death, parental death, sexism, racism, self-harm

The Coven was an empowering, fast paced and deeply interesting book. I really liked the magic structure and characters. Fry’s use of multiple perspectives helped create this rich tale, with layers of thought-provoking discussion points intertwined with a compelling narrative.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

⭐️(side character) 🏳️‍🌈 💙

TW: child abuse, both physical and psychological; parental death, imprisonment mind control, pregnancy and childbirth, forced hospitalisation, abortion, racism, sexism, homophobia, threat of sexual assault, torture, attempted execution, child abandonment

This book just really wasn’t for me. It felt like the epitome of white feminism, with little thought for intersectionality and inclusion of different experiences. On top of that, I just didn’t care about any of the characters and found the inclusion of modern language and historical slurs incredibly jarring.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand


TW: homophobia, acephobia, reference to sexual assault, parental abuse, animal death, sibling death, child death, gore, religious cult, murder

This was another reread that passed the test for me. I still love the magical touches to this sapphic YA horror story and Legrand has crafted three incredibly strong and nuanced protagonists. You can find my previous thoughts here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland


TW: kidnapping, graphic descriptions of murder, descriptions of dead bodies, suicide, attempted assault, body horror

I jumped straight from one strange, dark and magical read to another. House of Hollow is the kind of book that is steeped in mystery and hiding a tragic, gory secret at its core.

Full review here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Phoenix Flame by Sara Holland


This was a fast-paced, action-packed read that easily matched Havenfall for me. It provides a mostly satisfying conclusion to the duology, though I wish some plot points had been slightly more clarified. This is such an interesting and intriguing world that Holland has crafted.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Malice by Heather Walter


TW: child abuse, neglect, xenophobia, torture, emotional abuse, manipulation, death

This was absolutely everything I wanted it to be and so much more. Alyce was a formidable, complex and morally gray protagonist caught up in the trappings of a world that has only ever used and abused her. Malice is the tale of her beginning to craft her own narrative and define her identity.

Full review here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Chosen Ones:

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