Recent Reads #71

As ever, today I will be briefly reviewing all the books I’ve read since my last post in approximately fifty words. 

I want to share my full thoughts on some of these books in the future, so I’ll share a brief idea today with the full review to come.


For The Wolf by Hannah Whitten

TW: self-harm for magic use (cutting), parental neglect, emotional abuse, emetophobia, anxiety/panic attacks, parental death, gore, audio and visual hallucinations, religious abuse

🧠⭐️ (side characters)

I loved the darker, Gothic overtones of the story and Whitten’s intoxicating, beautifully rich prose with just a touch of something evil beneath the surface. However, I slightly struggled to connect fully with the characters and found some parts dragged a little for me. This took away some of my enjoyment, hence the marginally reduced rating. The magic system was really intriguing and ethically ambiguous though.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

TW: psychological trauma, blood, death of a parent, mass-shooting, death of a loved one , drug use, anxiety, kidnapping, suicide and suicidal thoughts, emotional/mental abuse, manipulation, blood, gambling, cheating, degenerative disease, sacrifice 

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

The Atlas Six is a book that lives up to the hype. It’s magical, devious and tinged with darkness. 

The entire setting and premise of this book is so cleverly done. I really enjoyed trying to work out all of the secrets and with the constant changing of narrative voice, I was thrown for a loop several times. It is a place shrouded in mystery and layers upon layers of hidden truths. This made for a fascinating reading experience, as you try to piece together everything before the characters do. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Take Your Breath Away by Linwood Barclay

TW: blood, violence, murder, stalking, cheating, obsession

Barclay keeps that tension razor-sharp and constantly raises the stakes. The book feels like lightning in a bottle, with that charged atmosphere and pacing that keeps you constantly engaged and intrigued. It is so tightly done and constantly fast paced. However, at the same time, Barclay makes sure he creates nuanced and three-dimensional characters with far more to them than may be obvious at first glance. This is a deeply intimate and fascinating story about the effect of the past on the present, that delights in the moral ambiguities of life.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rock Paper Killers by Alexia Mason

TW: murder, blood, death violence, parental death, reference to child death, bullying, homophobia

🏳️‍🌈🧠

This is a book that is essentially a masterclass in manipulation. The entire time, you are not quite sure who to believe and Mason keeps throwing you off with diversions and extra details. All of this builds such a complex and interesting storyline, with plenty of good twists and turns in store. For me, this made it such a quick, pacy and thoroughly readable story.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross

TW: violence, physical assault, kidnapping, raids, armed conflict, loss of a parent, death, grief, mention of stillbirths, loss of children, cutting

🧠

 It’s completely immersive and captivating, allowing you to visualise Cadence and just surrender yourself to Ross’ prose. Her writing was almost melodic and languid in its beauty. 

Above all, I would say this book is about different forms of love from blood family, found family, platonic relationships and romantic relationships. It’s about trust and identity in a way that I really enjoyed. I also really, really loved the way Ross wove in elements of Scottish and Gaelic mythology. It was truly sublime and felt natural, with those aspects feeling like the whispers of magic just beyond mortal eyes. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder

TW: injuries, death of a friend, animal injury, abusive relationship, violence, blood, drowning

🏳️‍🌈

I love a good fairy-tale retelling and Vedder has crafted a great one here. Essentially, this is a gender flipped Sleeping Beauty that also features a key sapphic relationship. It’s just an incredibly fun read, with plenty of hijinks and adventures to follow along. I loved Fi and Shane’s differing approaches to treasure hunting, with both of their skill sets meshing together really well. 

A special shoutout has to go to Shane, who was easily my favourite character. She was brave, bold and determined in her willingness to stick by Fi. Their relationship really cemented my love for this book as although it was platonic, you know they’d go to ends of the earth for each other. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Book of Living Secrets by Madeline Roux

🏳️‍🌈

TW: violence, blood, death, emotional manipulation, gaslighting, suicidal ideation, mind control

The concept for this book was absolutely fantastic and I loved the way Roux twisted this romance into a Gothic horror dystopian, full of monsters and bizarre landscapes. Roux’s exploration of blind faith and resistance was fascinating and that ending was so well-executed. However, I just felt like something was missing and could not get as invested as I wanted to.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Men Who Hate Women by Laura Bates

TW: misogyny, murder, alt-right, racism, terrorism, sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape, domestic violence murder, misogyny, white supremacy, gun violence

This is one of those books where I had to step away for a little while in order to fully digest the scope and scale of Bates’ research. It is a genuinely pit in stomach moment, but one that informs and educates you. I left this book knowing a lot more, but also being slightly hopeful in the future through education and societal change.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie

🏳️‍🌈⭐️🧠

TW: homophobia, racism

This was such a wonderful coming of age tale, complete with an exploration of identity and sexuality. It was just so joyful and inclusive. I loved how on the face of it, this is a romance novel and the romantic elements are excellent, but this is really about Ophelia herself and her journey.

Full review here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

These Deadly Games by Diana Urban

TW: murder, death, cyberbullying, violence, gaslighting, blackmailing, blood, panic attacks, domestic abuse, anorexia, racism, grief

🧠🏳️‍🌈⭐️(side characters)

I really enjoyed All Your Twisted Secrets and was excited to delve into Urban’s latest offering. Yet again, this was an engrossing and well-plotted mystery, with so many twists and turns up Urban’s tricksy sleeve. The stakes are constantly being raised, as the book delves into darker and darker territory.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Chosen Ones:

2 thoughts on “Recent Reads #71

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