Recent Reads #81

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.


Gleanings: Stories from the Arc of a Scythe

⭐️🏳️‍🌈

TW: death, violence, murder, grief, mass murder, blood, gore, suicide, suicidal ideation

Gleanings was a stunning anthology, allowing us to revisit beloved and hated characters from the series, but also expanding this endlessly engaging world. It is no secret that the Arc of a Scythe is one of my all time favourite series and I loved being immersed back in this twisty, morally complex world. The sheer variety of ideas and locations in this collection of stories was mind blowing and genuinely a treat to read.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: death, violence, murder, kidnapping, parental abuse, claustrophobia, fire, misogyny, ableist language

I really love how much this book feels like an intricate puzzle – with all the pieces slowly slotting into place. It’s such a twisty and interesting story with unexpected elements and some academic flourishes that make my heart sing. Also, you get a chance to really delve into everyone’s psyches through their perspectives and analyse their actions, while their changing dynamics are fascinating and multi-layered.

Full review here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang

⭐️🧠💙

TW: racism, ableism, classism, revenge porn, knife violence, infidelity, claustrophobia, child abuse, blood  

I absolutely adored this incredibly addictive, immersive and thrilling read. This is academic rivals to lovers excellence, mixed with a searing exploration of power and privilege. Invisibility has often been a concept that fascinates me and seeing it monetised here was such a clever twist on the trope. Alice herself has always felt invisible, unseen by her peers and unacknowledged for her prowess in the same way as her male, highly wealthy rival. This speaks to the inherent classism and sexism at the base of this academic structure and reflects wider society.

Full review here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrew

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠💙

TW: body horror, gore, violence, blood, death, murder, drowning, posession, ableism

This is the encapsulation of those sleepless nights characterised by darkness and the foreboding sense of something just outside of your senses watching you. the way Andrew intertwines Delaney’s deafness with the supernatural abilities and forces surrounding her is exquisite. The ability to interact with the dead is a fascinating, yet morally complex one. It really opens up so many intriguing questions here, combined with an intensely compelling magic system and world-building. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: blood, violence, death, murder, bloodletting, drug use, drug abuse, domestic abuse, gore

This is the type of book you simply sit back and let unfurl around you. Henderson’s writing slowly seduces and engulfs you. The lush prose is thick with thorns and ready to bite. I loved how evocative every page was, full of enticing descriptions and sensory writing. This is a book constantly teetering on the edge of ruin. You know something is definitely wrong but cannot quite place your finger on what. I loved how Henderson really leans into the shadows and vagaries of this life, ensuring there is always a tense atmosphere of paranoia and despair. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Flight 171 by Amy Christine Parker

🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: death, murder, violence, hit and run, self harm, suicidal ideation, sexual assault, drugging, blackmail, cheating

I genuinely flew through this book in one heart-pounding sitting. Just from that premise, I was ensnared. The hint of Final Destination meets I Know What You Did Last Summer and that classic horror movie curse thread woven in sounds like it’ll make for a frightening and challenging story, all of which was served up to me. This was an intense and incredibly atmospheric book, all hinging on that fateful and bloody Halloween night. The variety of secrets bubbling to the surface and other actions that increase the stakes serve to create a sense of constant paranoia and mistrust. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

She’s Gone by David Bell

🧠🏳️‍🌈

TW: death, murder, blood, violence, sexual harassment, stalking, emotional abuse

This is a book you will race through. The short chapters, pacy writing style and drip feed of information makes the pages just fly past. I love it when a thriller is all-consuming and you just have to binge your way through it. This is definitely that style of book, keeping the tension thick and the stakes rising ever higher. The pacing was spot on, never truly allowing you to pause for breath. Instead, you get bogged down in this dark web of secrets and lies. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel

⭐️🏳️‍🌈🧠

TW: war, gore, death, rape, domestic violence, emotional abuse, manipulation, trauma, fertility issues, child death, sexism

Kaikeyi was a book that I sat with for a couple of days and allowed this epic to unfurl in front of me. This is a sprawling and immensely complex retelling of a character from the Ramayana. On one hand, this is an epic fantasy tale of politics, magic and kingship. Yet at the same, this is a deeply intimate retelling of a nuanced character, focusing on the role of a woman in this world, family and those connections we hold with one another. 

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Friends Like These by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

🧠

TW: death, murder, violence, sexual assault, drugging, manipulation, abuse

This is a book that constantly surprises and took the story into incredibly dark and somewhat unexpected territory. The way Alvarez ultimately spins the story around toxic relationships and widens the scope to show the destructive impact of this on everyone around them. This is heightened by the claustrophobia of the setting and the suffocating intensity of the sharp focus on our central characters. They are both implicated and dragged into the central mystery from very different initial emotional entanglements, only for it to spiral so much further from there.

Full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Chosen Ones:

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