Category Archives: reviews

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

book coverThe Disappearing Spoon: and other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements is a history of the development of our modern periodic table and the discovery and uses of some elements on that table. The book is divided up based on themes, for example; elements during war, politics, money, art and mental health. Elements are the building blocks of the universe, so it would have been easy for this type of book to bogged down in trying to cover too much, however I thought Kean balanced it well. It isn’t necessary to have a lot of chemistry knowledge to understand this book, as he gives an introduction to reading the table in the beginning. I recommend this book for people who are interested in chemistry, physics and science history.

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI, SMCM
Review Submitted by:  Joanne Hoppe
Rating:  Highly Recommended

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
is a story of family hardships, betrayal, and love. The moral of this story is that love transcends all bounds, and I highly recommend that you read it to find out why.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Sarah Gleason
Rating:   Recommend

Normal People by Sally Rooney

book coverBased on the hype around this novel, I had fairly high expectations. However, I don’t feel that those expectations were met. I was unprepared for the heaviness of the novel, with topics of toxic relationships, abuse, and mental health; and felt that the novel took an unhealthy side of these topics, rather than creating beneficial conversation around them. Personally, this book was not my cup of tea and I would recommend reading a few reviews before diving into it.

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Sarah Gleason
Rating:  Recommended with reservations
Challenge: Book made into TV show

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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A fantasy novel, Six of Crows follows a crew of seven characters who decide to take on a dangerous heist. Set in the city of Ketterdam, the novel switches between the perspectives of the characters as it goes through the heist as well as their own backstories and interactions. It has a really good found family aspect with well written and diverse characters and relationships, and all of the heist and action scenes are incredibly interesting as well.

Availability: COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by:  Esther Markov
Rating:  Must Read
Challenge: Book to TV

Interpreter of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri

Interpreter of Maladies

This was just the book I needed after tiring days in the heat of the summer. These stories are witty, heartfelt, and though provoking. If you are in need of an easier read, I highly recommend picking this up.

Availability: COSMOS, SMCM, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Sarah Gleason
Rating: Recommended
Challenge: Short story collection

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

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One Last Stop
is a romantic comedy set in the modern world with magic elements and time travel. It centers around August, a cynical college student who moves to NYC and falls in love with a girl on the train, only she ends up finding out that the girl Jane is actually displaced in time from the 1970s. It has well-written LGBTQ+ and BIPOC characters and beautiful friendships and romantic relationships, as well as an extremely interesting plot.

Availability: COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by:  Esther Markov
Rating:  Must Read

She of the Mountains by Vivek Shraya

book cover I picked up this book, not knowing what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised. Vivek Shraya takes the reader on a very short and concise journey of a queer individual finding their way, while using Hindu Mythology to guide the story. I enjoyed the brief education on mythology and queer theory and would recommend to anyone searching for a brief read.

Availability:  COSMOS,
Review Submitted by: Sarah Gleason
Rating:  Recommended

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

book coverA modern retelling of Peter Pan, the book focuses on Wendy, who went missing with her two brothers in the woods, only to return months later by herself (and with no memory of what happened). Now five years later as other kids are starting to go missing, Wendy has a chance to get answers when she runs into a boy in the road, a boy Peter who she thought lived only in stories. The book is incredibly interesting as it combines the childhood story we know with a sinister mystery. Both the characters and the relationships are good, and it’s definitely a book that will keep you on your toes and eager to find out what happens next.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by:  Esther Markov
Rating:  Highly Recommended

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

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I absolutely loved this book. I was hooked from the first page! The author tells a beautiful and emotional story while educating readers on difficult topics of racism, specifically within and between minority groups.

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI, SMCM
Review Submitted by: Sarah Gleason
Rating:  Highly Recommend
Challenge: Tournament of Books

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

book coverSet during the events before and after the Trojan War, TSOA is about the love story of Patroclus and Achilles, and their tragic ending. It is incredibly written in a way that makes you feel for the characters, and it will definitely make you want to keep reading. This book is perfect for Greek mythology and Ancient Greece fans, as well as those who want to read books with LGBT romances and don’t mind endings that will make you cry.

Availability: COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by:  Esther Markov
Rating:  Must Read

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

book coverI wasn’t ever going to read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes on the assumption that, like many books written as late additions to an already stellar series, it wouldn’t hold up. I decided to give it a try and this book is a wayyyy better end than Mockingjay. I 100% recommend this book to anyone who liked the Hunger Games, since previous knowledge gives you more of those “omg I get what’s happening!” moments, but honestly you could read this as a solo book as well. Totally gripping and creepy.

Availability: USMAI and COSMOS
Review Submitted by:  Izzy Lott
Rating: Recommended
Challenge: YA with diverse cast of characters

206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

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One last review to toss into the ring–an interesting series (as long as you can replace the image of the TV show Bones character). As a recovering archaeologist myself, I thoroughly enjoy these types of books, with plenty to learn from forensic science. And not an eyebrow was raised suggestively!

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating:  Highly Recommended
Challenge: Book to TV