Recent Reads #75

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.


Family of Liars by E Lockhart

🧠🏳️‍🌈 (side character)

TW: death, drowning, grief, addiction, murder

As a huge fan of When We Were Liars, as soon as I knew there was a prequel coming out, I was absolutely sold. Lockhart has taken every element of the original and developed it even more. This is a slick and mature addition to the underlying story. Something I particularly loved in this book was the heartfelt exploration of grief. This is a book that digs deep into the nuanced and splintering heart of death and loss. Lockhart really showcases the differing ways it affects each character, particularly in this environment of silence and stifling emotions. The pretence must be upheld at all costs. This fosters such a suffocating and tense environment, with every action fracturing something deep. That being said, I do not want to give anything away about this brilliant book. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Only on the Weekends by Dean Atta

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: racism, fatphobia, homophobia, mention of parental death, mention of cancer

 Mack is torn between two places and two people, embodied in his relationship entanglements. Both Finlay and Karim are such interesting people and their respective chemistry with Mack is wonderful to watch. Seeing queer joy on the page is still such a thrill to see and a refreshing change of narrative. However, the story is not without drama. Atta deals with the ethical dilemmas of these burgeoning loves in such a fascinating way. It becomes an impossible choice for Mack and I appreciated how emotional cheating was really explored. There are no simple answers here, because it is life and life is inherently messy. Atta leaves those little details and nuances completely open here, choosing to prioritise Mack himself above all else. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Glorious Poison by Kat Dunn

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: death, violence, murder, torture

This is a book that revels in its central cast of lovable, roguish and complex characters. Their morality is complicated, but they are united in their pursuit of justice and liberty. After that plot twist and cliffhanger at the end of Monstrous Design, I was chomping at the bit to be reunited with our Battalion of the Dead. This was the best ending to a fantastic, emotional and constantly challenging trilogy that combines historical fiction with science fiction. Dunn has created an explosive conclusion that will tug at your heartstrings and leave your jaw dropped. On top of that, the world-building is even more sublime here. I loved the way the political landscape has shifted and how that factors into the perception of our characters and their world. This is not the same France we first saw in Dangerous Remedy and our central cast is fundamentally changed. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Drowning Summer by Christine Lynn Herman

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: death, murder, violence, kidnapping, gaslighting, emotional manipulation, child death

This was an incredibly interesting and intriguing YA murder mystery that combined a thrilling plot with an exploration of the supernatural and fractured family bonds. I loved the way the medium powers were presented and how they directly influenced the plot in numerous and often unexpected ways.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Merciless Ones by Namina Forna

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: graphic violence, sexual violence, homophobia, blood, violence, death, sexual assault, trafficking of a minor, PTSD

The Gilded Ones really caught my eye last year with its empowering, feminist and rich story-telling. This was a YA fantasy unlike any other. Forna kicks it up a gear here, delving even more into the graphic realities of war, oppression and manipulation. Everything you thought you knew, you do not. This is a constantly surprising and engaging book and I am excited to see how the story continues.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Empress Crowned in Red by Ciannon Smart

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠💙

TW: death, murder, violence, suicide

Witches Steeped in Gold was one of my favourite reads last year and Smart deftly wraps this compulsive duology up with an even more rich, layered and detailed story. I loved the continued exploration of morality and your allegiances will shift time and time again as the full extent of the treachery is unveiled. This is an imaginative and deeply fascinating duology.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Glitterati by Oliver K. Langmead

⭐️🏳️‍🌈

TW: violence, kidnapping, blood, death

Glitterati was a cocktail of petty drama, satirical bite and a boatload of fabulousness. This is a twisted little gem, giving you a peek behind the curtain in a brutally dystopian world gilded with glamour.Much like the world Simone inhabits, Langmead disguises his sharp satirical cuts with pretty, shiny things. The descriptions of the outfits, makeup and general environment in this book are gorgeous and so evocative to read. You can picture every stunning detail. You come to realise this is all just an elaborate spectacle to distract you from the incisive commentary Langmead is making on appearances, illusion and class.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Gay Club! by Simon James Green

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠💙

TW: homophobia, hate crime, bullying

Simon James Green is one of those authors that always puts a smile on my face. My heart leaps a little with joy every time I hear he has a new book coming, as I know exactly what I’m signing up for. This is no exception, turning a school LGBTQ+ President election into a highly dramatic, hilarious and entertaining rollercoaster ride. It has it all, betrayals, love and flashmob performances of Katy Perry. I found myself belly-laughing as some of these scenarios got more and more bizarre and elaborate. That sheer sense of spectacle really meshes well with Simon’s unique brand of humour. He really squeezes every last drop of awkwardness possible from every situation. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Bunny by Mona Awad

🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: graphic violence, gore, sexism, grooming, body horror, self-harm, suicidal ideations, bullying, slut shaming, animal abuse

This was an utterly wild ride. A hedonistic, incredibly evocative book that flipped every one of my expectations upside down and constantly confused and intrigued me. For me, it was like Heather meets AHS: Coven, amped up to the max. There’s blood, gore and a real exploration of female friendship and that desperate, all-consuming loneliness. I do not think words can adequately describe the sheer rollercoaster ride you experience from reading this.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Juniper & Thorn by Ava Reid

🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: gore, body horror, child sexual abuse, pedophilia, physical and psychological family abuse, incest, death, bulimia and graphic depictions of vomiting, animal death, cannibalism, self-harm, suicidal ideation, antisemitism and xenophobia

From the list of trigger warnings, you know this is a dark and heavy book but it is one that I will hold dear to my heart. Reid stunned me into complete silence with this gory, gruesome and nuanced depiction of trauma wrapped inside a pitch-black fairytale. The writing was just so enrapturing, with a hidden monstrosity to it as well.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Chosen Ones:

4 thoughts on “Recent Reads #75

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s