Recent Reads #72

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.


A Far Wilder Magic by Alison Saft

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: antisemitism, death threats, racism, animal injury, animal death, gore, parental neglect, emotional abuse, panic attacks

Saft has crafted this delicately beautiful and gorgeous story, complete with such an original magic system and mythology. I loved the way she wove in elements of the real world into this immersive and well-crafted world. It’s such a rich and creative story. I just got lost in this imaginative, immersive world. For a little while, Saft took me away to this Gothic tinged world to tell me a softly wonderful love story hidden in a world of shadows and monsters. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mark My Words by Muhammad Khan

⭐️🏳️‍🌈💙

TW: racism, classism, homophobia, drug abuse, corruption, violence, attempted mugging

This is very much a character-focused book, as you get to know and love Dua. I loved her passion and dedication to exposing the truth, though she is also fairly stubborn and insular. Her voice was so sparky and true to teenagers, with plenty of humour and heart to it. This is very much a story of her growth and coming into herself and her voice. She is nowhere near perfect and makes substantial mistakes, but these are challenged and addressed within the story. The friendship group and paper team around her are also really fun to read about, with all of them getting development and a sense of insight into their own struggles. In particular, I loved the intersectional approach Kahn took, ensuring that many different aspects of prejudice are challenged. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠  

TW: parental abuse, homophobia, racism, sexism, manipulation

This is a slower, very character-focused story that gradually builds its intricate emotional connections and relationships. Lo weaves this choking, cloying atmosphere of secrecy and glimpses of love and hope. This is fundamentally Lily’s coming of age story as a lesbian Chinese American teenager in 1950s San Francisco and so Lo just allows us to sit with Lily’s story as it slowly unfolds around us.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando

TW: racism, domestic abuse, murder, violence, mugging, care experiences, police brutality

⭐️🧠

When Our Worlds Collided takes on several heavy topics, but always with Jawando’s characteristic sensitivity and nuance. It particularly talks about being Black in Britain today and the intersections of this with class. The way Shaq’s stabbing gets reported, sensationalised and miscommunicated is horrific, but all too realistic considering recent headlines. This is repeated and reflected on further throughout the book and this makes for essential reading. Jawando’s writing burns with the sense of a fury simmering and boiling over at this broken system and society. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

TW: violence, blood, gore, death, racism, sexism, homophobia, sexual assault

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

I adored The Chosen and the Beautiful when I read it last year, with Vo’s magical and ethereal writing completely immersing me in this gorgeously created world. Vo brings that same intangible magic to Siren Queen, with gorgeously evocative and cinematic writing. It is a short book, but it is jam-packed full of lush descriptions and layers. This type of writing for me is like smoke, with the vagueness and enshrouded nature creating a stream of consciousness style at times. I loved the romantic glamour we encounter occasionally. The central relationships are tangled and fragmentary, often with a mercenary glint of ambition. Yet you still want them to succeed and get caught up in the heady atmosphere. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

⭐️🏳️‍🌈

TW: murder, death, violence, homophobia, suicidal ideation, immolation, self-mutilation, familial abuse, body horror, drug use, fire

I love a good morally gray, diverse and intensely charged story and The Jasmine Throne delivered me all that and so much more. This is fundamentally a book about power and the perception of feminine monstrosity in a patriarchal society. What constitutes monstrosity and what is actually agency and trying to survive & thrive in a world that would like nothing more than to see you fail?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Extasia by Claire Legrand

TW: violence, death, murder, sexual assault, torture, religious trauma

🏳️‍🌈🧠

This is a book that completely takes over your mind and soul until the final page. Legrand has crafted such an intense, atmospheric and thrilling book that you genuinely cannot tear yourself away from. It is just so immersive and captivating, fully entangling you with Amity’s headspace.

Full review here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Sisters of Reckoning by Charlotte Nicole Davis

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: human trafficking, physical abuse, sexual abuse, PTSD, transphobia, torture, racism, sexism, violence

I really enjoyed The Good Luck Girls, particularly Davis’ world-building, as it never felt like she was overpowering the reader with information, just drip-feeding it as and when it was needed for the plot. She massively expands on this here, weaving yet another fiercely feminist and dark story of revolution, revolt and reclaiming your own power. This duology is one that challenges you and makes you invest your heart into these nuanced, complex characters.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Very Bad People by Kit Frick

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: racism, sexual assault grooming, abuse of power, murder, death, drowning, car accident, traumatic flashbacks

This book has such an excellent and intriguing premise, which Frick exploits to its fullest potential. Very Bad People is a thought-provoking book that questions the line between justice and revenge, with a fascinating secret society centered around social activism and justice. It’s an intense and thrilling read from start to end.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: death, murder, abuse, violence, self-harm for magic, domestic violence, child abuse, blood, rape

Honestly I was sold as soon as I heard sapphic, witchy retelling to The Great Gatsby. May infuses this book with so much style and bewitchingly dark threads, to the extent that it just oozes glamour and something much more terrifying. This is a bloody, dark and enticing book that lives up to the hype of its fantastic premise.

Full review here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Chosen Ones:

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