Sunday, July 1, 2018

July 2018 TBR

New month, new TBR! Last month was such a good reading month, so I have high hopes for July. I'll be travelling a bit but aside from regular grad school lab work I'll be pretty free to read. That of course means another ambition TBR. I certainly have a habit of setting high expectations for myself. This month

I'll be participating in the Tome Topple read-a-thon, so I made a specific TBR for that. I'll mention those books here, but check out my TBR post for more details. I'm also planning on participating in the 24 in 48 read-a-thon. With both of these read-a-thons this month I really think I'll be able to get to all of these books, and possibly even more. I always like to keep my options open since I tend to be a mood reader.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

June 2018 Wrap Up

I started and ended the month on strong notes and I'm now *so close* to catching up to my Goodreads reading challenge goal. I really have a couple of read-a-thons for kicking my butt into gear toward the end of the month. I read seven awesome books, all of them coming in at 4 or 5 stars. I even kind of stuck to my planned June TBR!

This was also the month I came back to book blogging and it's been great coming back to a community that's grown so much in the past few years. I've been hanging around the bookstagram community and I've met and interacted with so many awesome people! In addition to my book review, I've also written about my TBR shelf, my latest obsession with books by and about women in STEM, and wrote up a spotlight on one of my favorite authors! I've also participated in Top 5 Wednesday a couple weeks out of the month, so check out my posts about my favorite fathers/father figures and the books I really want to get to before the year is over.

Read on to see the books I read in June, my ratings, and my reviews, if applicable.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Book Review || The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

Publication Date: June 16th, 2015
Publisher: Broadway Books
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Source: Library


A missing God.
A library with the secrets to the universe. 
A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.

Carolyn's not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts. After all, she was a normal American herself once. That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father. 

In the years since then, Carolyn hasn't had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient customs. They've studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.  

Now, Father is missing—perhaps even dead—and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation. 

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her, all of them with powers that far exceed her own. But Carolyn has accounted for this. And Carolyn has a plan. The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she's forgotten to protect the things that make her human.

Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters and propelled by a plot that will shock you again and again, The Library at Mount Char is at once horrifying and hilarious, mind-blowingly alien and heartbreakingly human, sweepingly visionary and nail-bitingly thrilling—and signals the arrival of a major new voice in fantasy.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review

I'm going to start off this review by saying I don't think anything I say can possibly do this book justice. I honestly don't even think the publishers summary on Goodreads does a good job of telling you what this book is about. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins is one of the strangest, and yet most beautiful stories I've read in a long time. It explores the depths of the human condition without being pretentious (just writing the phrase "the human condition" made me feel pretentious, please don't let that turn you off). I hope this somewhat short review can at least convince you to pick it up, because I don't think you'll regret it.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Book Review || American Panda by Gloria Chao

American Panda by Gloria Chao

Publication Date: February 6th, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Library


At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth--that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review

At first I was skeptical about a book featuring MIT, my alma mater, so prominently. How could someone who never went there accurately depict what life is like at such a unique university? And then I found out the Gloria Chao is an alum, class of 2008, and I was immediately sold. Mei is a  and a year younger than her classmates. She has parents that push her toward a career path she isn't sure she even wants to pursue. While I was blessed to have parents that were happy to support whatever path I chose, I knew too many people that had parents like Mei. I am no a few years removed from my time at MIT, but reading American Panda brought right back to those early days and I could empathize so deeply with Mei. It's been a while since I picked up a YA contemporary, but this one hit so close to home and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Top Five Wednesday || Books You Want to Read Before the End of the Year

It's Wednesday so you know what that means...Top 5 Wednesday! Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Each week there's a featured topic and I get to recommend some of my favorite books that fall within that topic. Check out their Goodreads group for more info!

Now that we're halfway through the year, it's time to take a look at that TBR shelf and figure out which books I want to get to before 2018 is over.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Tome Topple Round 6 TBR

It's finally Tome Topple time again! Tome Topple is probably one of my favorite read-a-thons because it always motivates me to get to those huge books that are sometimes a little intimidating. It's hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and a few other people. The main point of the read-a-thon is to read books that are over 500 pages long. You can check out Sam's announcement video for more information. There are also some extra challenges but I don't usually take them into account when figuring out my TBR.

I've pulled together a somewhat ambitions TBR for this round. I don't think I'll actually get to all of the books, but I like to keep my options open. Without further ado, here is my Tome Topple TBR:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Author Spotlight || Wendelin Van Draanen

If someone were to ask me who is my most owned author, you'd think I would say J.K. Rowling, seeing as how I have a shelf dedicated to Harry Potter, but I think it's actually
Wendelin Van Draanen.

I've been reading Wendelin Van Draanen's books since I was 10 years old. I've read almost everything in her cannon and I don't know too many other people who've read her books so get ready for a fan girl gush.

Wendelin Van Draanen generally writes middle grade and YA contemporary, both series and standalone books. Because she's written so many books I wanted to highlight some of my favorites out of her impressive body of work.