STEM Girl Reads for Your Nerdy Heart Needs

What’s this? A post that isn’t a review? Yes, friends, I’m finally getting back on my blogging game, and thought I’d kick things off with a post that’s been lingering half-finished in my “drafts” folder for a while.

Like many others, I’ve read and really enjoyed some of Ali Hazelwood’s books. The Love Hypothesis was great; Love on the Brain was okay; and while I didn’t love Below Zero, the popularity of the STEMinist novellas further speaks to the budding popularity of Science Girl stories. Women in STEM don’t get nearly enough credit or page time in books–especially not in fictional stories where they’re defined by more than just their academic careers. To that end, I’ve put together a list here of a few stories starring STEM women. They span quite a few genres, and while some are quite popular, at least a couple are (hopefully) a little off the beaten path, and/or not advertised as starring women in science. Enjoy!

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Dark Archives – audiobook review

Author: Megan Rosenbloom
Publication date: October 20, 2020
Genre: nonfiction
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

I must preface this review with a few disambiguations: Yes, this is a book about books bound in human skin. Yes, those actually existed. No, they were not purely a “Nazi thing.” No, they were not a product of bizarre serial killers; they were in fact often the work of doctors seeking to create valuable books. And yes, I found this book absolutely fascinating.

(Also, yes, this is the second nonfiction book review in a row from me–I promise, this is vastly different from the last one I posted, and there’s plenty of fiction coming soon!)

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Conversations with People Who Hate Me – mini-review + quotes

Author: Dylan Marron
Publication date: March 29, 2022
Genre: nonfiction
My rating: 4/5 stars

Hello, friends! (And internet strangers, too–hooray for parasocial relationships, I guess? Though I’m not exactly a celebrity who would engender such a relationship, so who knows.) Back again with another miniature backlog review of a title I read last year. Given how long it’s been since I first read the book, this review is on the shorter side, but my thoughts remain essentially the same. Clearing my old NetGalley queue, one title at a time.

All that said, while my thoughts may be brief, I do have a TON of quotes I highlighted in the ebook. To that end, I’m supplementing this review with a sizeable list of those, in hopes that it might further entice you to pick this one up.

Full disclosure: prior to reading this book, my only familiarity with Dylan Marron was his voice acting as Carlos the Scientist on the excellent Welcome to Night Vale podcast (a fictional sci-fi/horror/paranormal radio show–in other words, something not even remotely similar to this book). But of course, given my love of/respect for all the WtNV cast, and knowing this book was an outgrowth of Marron’s own podcast (which I’d heard ads for during WtNV binge-listens), I couldn’t help but want to pick this title up. And I’m so glad I did–Conversations with People Who Hate Me wasn’t my usual reading fare, but it was a valuable read for me, and it’s one I would definitely recommend, particularly for those of us who practically live online. Read on for my further thoughts!

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Iron Widow – review

Author: Xiran Jay Zhao
Series: Iron Widow (#1)
Publication date: September 21, 2021
Genre: YA science fiction
My rating: 5/5 stars

The first thing I’m going to say about this book is that I cannot believe it took me so long to pick it up. It’s been on my shelf since 2021 (I received it in my second-ever Illumicrate box), and yet I didn’t pick it up until the very end of 2022, at the urging of several good friends of mine. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Iron Widow has all sorts of great things: feminism, battle robots, characters with dubious morals, queer representation, revenge, sarcasm, Chinese historical references, and more. Often dark but never bleak, this is a page-turner that you don’t want to miss.

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Mysteries of Thorn Manor – review

Author: Margaret Rogerson
Series: Sorcery of Thorns (#1.5)
Publication date: September 17, 2023
Genre: YA fantasy
My rating: 4/5 stars

This is just a miniature review, as this was a miniature book! This lighthearted novella was a delightful follow-up to Sorcery of Thorns, a book which I (along with practically every bookworm out there) positively adored. Magical grimoires, a librarian warrior, a demon who likes to take the form of a cat, a potent blend of magic and adventure…needless to say, the strength of its predecessor set the bar high. And Mysteries of Thorn Manor certainly rose to the challenge; it was exactly the right mix of cozy and entertaining, with light drama and a splash of romance.

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