Goodreads Description: Danny has been an artist for as long as he can remember and it seems his path is set, with a scholarship to RISD and his family’s blessing to pursue the career he’s always dreamed of. Still, contemplating a future without his best friend, Harry Wong, by his side makes Danny feel a panic he can barely put into words. Harry and Danny’s lives are deeply intertwined and as they approach the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that shook their friend group to its core, Danny can’t stop asking himself if Harry is truly in love with his girlfriend, Regina Chan.
When Danny digs deeper into his parents’ past, he uncovers a secret that disturbs the foundations of his family history and the carefully constructed facade his parents have maintained begins to crumble. With everything he loves in danger of being stripped away, Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him.
If someone ever asked me what it was like growing up as a first-generation Asian American in the San Francisco Bay Area, I would hand them this book.
At its surface, Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert was a story about high school senior, Danny Cheng, uncovering a family secret. But, peel it back, and the book had so many more layers.
Once upon a time, a *lonely middle schooler randomly plucked The Graveyard Book off the shelves of her school library. It was by an author named Neil Gaiman, the same man who wrote the scariest movie she had seen in her pubescent life, Coraline. The girl was temporarily transported to a cemetery in England where she fell in love with the ghosts, witches, and other mystical creatures who walked the grounds. The book became one of her most beloved memories.
For years, she told herself that she would visit further stories by the man who penned her favorite quote, “Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.” Finally, after a few years shy of a decade, she clicked play on an audiobook by the author in discussion and was once again immersed into a fantastical story that begun this time in… Florida.
*Lonely middle schooler was totally not me. I had level 10 people skills by the age of eleven that did not include hiding in the library during lunch 😬.
Ash Princess is the first book in its title series following Princess Theodosia.
Ten years before the start of the story, Theodosia’s mother, The Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes by the Kaiser—and her kingdom fell to the tyrant. For a decade, while her people were slaughtered and enslaved, Theodosia lived as a prisoner in her own palace, beaten and looked down upon by the Kaiser and his court. But after a traumatizing event, Theodosia’s heart is set aflame with vengeance for her mother and kingdom.
It appears the book blogging community has reached a general consensus that book reviews don’t gain as much views as other content.
I can attest to that, but it doesn’t stop me from writing them. I still find book reviews fun to create because it gives me a chance to form opinions on books I read and hopefully start discussions about them with others. I also find myself part of the audience that still reads and actively seeks book reviews. But, why?
Goodreads Description: The company says Otherworld is amazing — like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive — that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.
Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.
And it’s about to change humanity forever.
Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.
Two words that will guarantee me to pick up any book? Virtual reality.
The first book in the Last Reality series, Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kristen Miller was a dark, speculative rework of virtual reality fan favorites such as Ready Player One and Heir Apparent. It was the story of Simon, a troublesome, boarding-school boy, and his journey to rescue his best friend, Kat, through the relentless, digital landscape of the video game, Otherworld. I’ll spare you the details because this was one book that hinged on its numerous mysteries and tiny unveilings to keep the reader engrossed.
Goodreads Description: What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.
But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.
*APH = Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
This version of APH, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson himself, was one of my first forays into the realm of audiobooks. The format was better suited for me because my mind tends to wander when I read nonfiction. In fact, I once tried to read the physical copy of APH, but quickly abandoned it due to my short attention span 😅.
Goodreads Description: The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop.
The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives—the dark conspiracy behind the infected.
The truth will get out, even if it kills them.
If you told me ten years ago that I’d be a fan of zombie books, I would’ve told you that you must not know me. Turns out, I’m the one who doesn’t know myself (*cue the X-Files theme song*).
Feed is the first book in the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where zombies roam the United States and people have adapted to live not among, but around them. New age journalists like the main character, George, and her brother, Shaun, help people in their daily endeavors by providing unbiased and truthful media coverage through their blogs. As the U.S. gears up for their presidential election, George and her team of blogger-journalists are selected by up-and-coming candidate, Steve Ryman, to honestly cover his campaign. The already difficult job of journalism is made harder in this story as George’s team encounters zombies, targeted attacks, and dangerous conspiracies.
It’s the season for short, fluffy romances you can indulge in while being b u r n t a l i v e by the sun. Ahh.
I haven’t read too many romances this summer, or this entire year for that matter. In fact, the two novels I’m about the review in this post are the only books I’ve read from the genre in the past few months. Maybe I’m growing old and bitter, or maybe it’s just the mood reader in me kicking in (may-haps both?).
I think what I like more than summer romances now though are books that are marketed as such, but actually place more emphasis on other plot-lines. That’s what these two stories have in common and why I enjoyed them. So, here are two fluffy, (sort-of) summer romance reviews:
Ruby Red is the first book in the Edelstein series. It follows sixteen year-old Gwyneth who unexpectedly replaces her cousin Charlotte in a secret time travel society when it’s discovered that she has the female time traveling gene, not Charlotte. After being kept out of the loop of the society’s mysteries all her life, Gwyneth has to learn what the rules are of time traveling and her duties as a time traveler. She’s not alone in learning as she has Gideon, the obnoxious male equivalent of Gywenth from another family, to help her learn the ropes of time travel.