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How Diverse Was My Reading for 2019?

Hello everyone, for this post I’m going to be looking over the books I’ve read this year and seeing if I’m actually meeting my goal of reading diversely. I’ll be looking at different aspects of the books I’ve read and going over them here. If you want to consider how diversely you’ve read then maybe consider some of these questions too. I’ve read a total of 40 published books this year. Not all these books were fantasy book, but we’ll count them anyway to make it easier.

Gender

Men: This year I read 13/ 40 books with male leads

Women: This year I read 24/40 with female leads

Trans/nonbinary: This year I read 1/20 books with a trans or nonbinary lead.

N/A: This year I read 2 nonfiction books that really had nothing to do with gender.


Race

This is a bit tricky due to reading fantasy novels, but many of the books I read had fairly obvious coding. These will be very broad categories. The N/A category is for nonfiction books or a character with a race that doesn’t exist in the real world.

So, looking at this I realize about 50% of my reading still has white or non-realistic races. Honestly, I thought it would be a lot lower.


Sexuality

Some of these books weren’t clue on whether the characters were bisexual vs gay vs pansexual. For the sake of ease if it isn’t specifically mentioned in the book I put then in the category based on the relationship they have in the book. N/A is for nonfiction as well as those that involved no obvious relationships or mention of them.

This is a bit more what I expected. A little bit more lgbtq+ reading than just the normal hetero couple. I tried to be very mindful of my reading about this in particular.


Intersectionality

This is a category I expect to be relatively low. The more diversely I tried to read the more I realized that many books are just focused on one type of diversity rather than having a character with multiple diverse elements.

LGBTQ+ characters with mental health representation: 2/40

LGBTQ+ characters who are also characters of color: 9/40

Characters of color with mental health representation: 3/40


Diverse Authors

It’s important to represent diverse authors too! This is based on the information that these authors readily have shared with the public.

Authors of Color: 14 authors

LGBTQ+ authors: 8 authors

Own Voices: 14 authors


Overall, I feel like its a pretty good start. Most of my reading was at least 50% diverse in these categories. I could definitely read more diversely, but I think my goal would be to maybe try and find more stories with better intersectionality. I only read 3 books this year that were fiction with a focus on straight, white people. A very good run for me I’d say. No reason we can’t all read diversely!


How about you? Have you thought about reading more diversely? Have you made any efforts? What is your favorite diverse book and/or author? I always love recommendations!

Reviews

All the Feels – A Review of Heartsong by TJ Klune

Overall Enjoyment: 5/5

World building: 3/5

Characterization: 5/5

Diversity: 3/5

Goodreads Summary:

“All Robbie Fontaine ever wanted was a place to belong. After the death of his mother, he bounces around from pack to pack, forming temporary bonds to keep from turning feral. It’s enough—until he receives a summons from the wolf stronghold in Caswell, Maine.

Life as the trusted second to Michelle Hughes—the Alpha of all—and the cherished friend of a gentle old witch teaches Robbie what it means to be pack, to have a home.

But when a mission from Michelle sends Robbie into the field, he finds himself questioning where he belongs and everything he’s been told. Whispers of traitorous wolves and wild magic abound—but who are the traitors and who the betrayed?

More than anything, Robbie hungers for answers, because one of those alleged traitors is Kelly Bennett—the wolf who may be his mate.

The truth has a way of coming out. And when it does, everything will shatter.”

I have been waiting for the third book in this series for a while. I love these characters and I love reading about how these characters end up getting together. One of the staples of this series is that the focus couple always go through a struggle before they get together. We get that again in Kelly and Robbie’s story too although with a different spin on it than has been taken in the past two books. If you have like the first two books in this series, I believe you with like this one as well. It brings some parts of our story closed while opening open another. I can’t wait for the final book in this series!

The world building in this story is always tricky to quantify. It has paranormal elements within a modern world. I gave it an average rating because Klune really does a great job about giving us descriptions of not only places of interest, but the grouping of witches and werewolves all have a bit of culture and our characters have an explored backstory that I always enjoyed. There’s a lot of magic in this book that I feel like was a bit handwavy at points compared the previous books, but I didn’t feel like it took a ton away from the story.

The characters and their bonds with one another are the true reason why I read these books. They have lots of jokes, but few books have characters that are so vocal about their love for each other outside of the romantic couple. These characters shine with love for each other and I feel like this book particularly focuses on the pack’s relationship to each other even more so than normal. Robbie finally gets his moment to shine in this book. It really is his story for a large part of the books so if you have been hoping for more of him then you’re in luck you really get the most of him. Kelly too. Oh, my goodness, the sweetest of the brothers in some respects or perhaps the softest. There is a letter in this book that will just melt your heart.  

The diversity is still minimum outside of the lgtbq+ element. Kelly is asexual. We have a latinx character that is given a bit more attention.  There is also a black woman introduced but her role is so minimal I’m not really sure why she was included at all unless she has more importance later on.

Overall, I’m just in love with this series. It has all the character feels that I crave in a book. The plot outside of the romance element is compelling and is great at keeping you on your toes. It’s the whole package really so if you like werewolves, close families, and beautiful love I couldn’t recommend this enough for you.


Have you ever read a novel in the Green Creek series? Have you ever read anything by TJ Klune? What do you think of this book? Would you put it on your TBR?

lists

Mood Reading List: Love- The Good, Bad, and the What is Even Happening?

Hello lovely readers, I toyed with the idea of doing some posts about mood reading for awhile now. I definitely go through stages throughout the year of what type of books I’m interested in reading and figured there were other readers out there who are similar. In these mood reading posts I will provide a list of books that are based on a certain theme. This posts theme is obviously love. Below, I have listed a variety of book based on the type of love you’re interested in. Each title has a Goodreads link if you want to learn more about the book.

If you want deep and beautiful love

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. Representation-lgbtq+ characters w/ focus on gay relationship. biracial character

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger Representation- none really. straight, white couple, but there’s time travel

If you want love is a hellscape or at least it doesn’t solve anything

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi representation- characters of color (African)

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan representation- women of color in lesbian relationship (Asian)

If you want super slow build

The Other series by Anne Bishop representation: not much, some light mental illness

If you want it hurts so good

The Green Creek Series by T. J Klune representation – gay men

If you want Do They Actually Like/Love Each Other?!

The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black representation – minor characters of color

The Fever King by Victoria Lee representation – biracial, jewish character, lgbtq+ men in gay relationship

If you want a more realistic romance in a fantasy setting

Olympus Bound series by Jordanna Max Brodsky representation – none, but greek gods/goddesses are cool

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy. representation – lgbtq+ characters, characters of color, nonbinary character, gay and lesbian main relationships

If you want slow and secret

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan representation – women of color in lesbian relationship (Asian)

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim representation – people of color (Asian)

If you want romantic elements, but maybe no quite a full romance

A Storm of Locust by Rebecca Roanhourse representation – people of color (Indigenous)

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia representation – people of color (Latinx)


What do you think of the list and the categories? Do you have any books you enjoy reading that have love as a large theme in the fantasy genre? I’d love to read your thoughts!

Reviews

Enthralling Indigenous Fantasy- Trail of Lightning Review

Overall Enjoyment: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

World building: 4/5

Diversity: 4/5

Goodreads Summary:

“While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.”

Review

So, I found this book at a Barnes & Noble months ago. I was interested in it though the vague mention of zombies made me skeptical. I don’t like zombie story lines generally. However, I read this during the Indigathon reading challenge and I fell in love with it. If you’re looking for diverse, adult fantasy then this is for you!

Let’s start with the world building simply because I was so taken with it. It’s set in a post Apocalyptic United States after some major environmental catastrophes. The whole book is set on Navajo land that was spared most of the natural disasters. Now, Roanhorse does an excellent job describing what life might be like if such events occur, but she also weaves in idea of clan powers as well as Navajo gods and spirits. They weave together so seamlessly I just feel in love with how it all fit together.

The characters are also great. Maggie, our main character and monster slayer, has had a rough go. She’s definitely experienced some trauma that she is still working through. Actually, all of the characters you encounter have had a rough go. Maggie is tough with a no nonsense attitude, but isn’t as heartless as other would assume. Then, Kai. Oh my goodness this boy. He’s the perfect counterpoint to Maggie. Charming and a healer. He’s experienced so trauma of his own, but where it has made Maggie standoffish it has made Kai pull people close.There are of course other characters, but the main story focuses on these two. I would say that this book is truly Maggie’s story though. We get parts of Kai and they’re glorious, but this is a book about a badass indigenous woman and Roanhorse doesn’t let you forget that.

This book is fairly diverse. You have Maggie and Kai who are both indigenous. You have Clive and Rissa who are biracial. I believe Clive is gay or bi. It’s a good mixture.

Overall, I fell in love with these characters. Everyone has a story and is struggling to make it through what they’ve seen and had to do. If you would like to read about complex, diverse characters who are set in a world full of Navajo deities and spirits I think you’ll be hooked. There’s already a sequel out! I’ve already read that too so look for the review soon!


Have you read Trail of Lightning? Is it on your TBR? Let me know what you think!

Fun Stuff

November’s Indigathon Wrap-up

So, November is over and so is Indigathon. This posting is way later than I wanted it to be and I didn’t participate much on twitter due to trying to also complete nanowrimo. I loved these books and I think I am better for having read them. Below is my board as well as the books I read to complete each one. I have checked off more boxes than the categories I have below my board. Many of these books check multiple boxes and so I have decided to be kind to myself by checking all the boxes that are elements in the stories I’ve read. I have placed a Goodreads link on the title if there was one available so that you can look into the books if they’re of interest to you.

The group read: The Break by Katherena Vermette. This was a hard book for to me read. These women have obviously been through a lot. The whole book was based around the investigation of a raped young girl, but also the stories of the women of the family. This is not what I would call a happy book, but a real book that discusses the hardships of life and how a family can help you find the strength to get through it all.

Poetry Collection: How to be an Indian in the 21st Century by Louis V. Clark 111 (Two Shoes). I truly enjoyed this poetry collection. It had a rhythm to it that I really enjoyed. I also felt it was an open and honest poetry collection about his experiences in life good and bad. It was easy to read and understand. Would highly recommend.

SF/F: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. I loved this book. I love when you take bits of beliefs and put them into a story. It was so beautifully done. I love Maggie and Kai. You should definitely read this book! There’s even a sequel already!

Other than 5 CT: The Beadworkers stories by Beth Piatote. I struggled reading this book. I enjoyed reading the different types of writing in this book. I think it’s an interesting and unique way to put a book together, but I was just kinda bored the whole time and parts of it were hard for me to fully understand.

Books that were on my TBR

I truly wanted to get to these books and I am definitely still going to read them, but I just could get to them in November.

Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead. This is a story is about a two-spirited queer character who is living and struggling through life and what it all means

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith. A high school girl who is growing up and learning what it means to be true to yourself while finding love

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson. The summary kinda of gives me an indigenous percy jackson vibe only cooler. I’m excited to read it, but I couldn’t get my hands on a copy of it

Pemmican Wars (A girl called Echo #1) by Katherena Vermette and Scott B. Henderson. This is a comic book where a girl is transported into the past. I’m generally a sucker for time travel stories and the drawing looks beautiful.


I’m not sure if anyone has participated in the IndigAThon, but if so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Even if you didn’t participate did any of these books sound appealing to you?

Fun Stuff

Blog Tour- Seduced by a Soldier by Melia Alexander

Hello, welcome to my stop on the Novel Take PR Blog tour for Seduced by a Soldier. A recently published RomCom novel. Check below for book blurbs, author info, a book teaser, and review.

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC

Release Date (Print & Ebook/Audio): November 18, 2019

Length: Approximately 57,000 words

Subgenre: Romantic Comedy

Order:https://entangledpublishing.com/seduced-by-the-solider.html

Book blurb: Zandra York just got her big break, photographing a major project for a travel magazine. So what if she’s never traveled out of the country before? Or that she’s more adept at deciphering fraudulent financial statements than reading German train schedules? Her brother Jackson is on his way to act as her guide, and she can’t wait to experience Europe with him.

But when Jackson’s overprotective best friend gets off the plane instead, Zandra knows this will not end well.

There isn’t a damned thing Special Forces instructor Blake Monroe wouldn’t do for his best friend, but babysit Zandra when Jackson is unexpectedly called away on a mission? Nope. Not on the list. Especially not when she proves to be more trouble than he can handle—and far too tempting.

Between accidentally hiring a hearse as their rideshare, an unprovoked goat attack, and photographing erotic-shaped chocolates, Blake and Zandra can’t keep their hands off each other. But Zandra’s new career is about to send her all over the world and Blake is finally ready to settle down after his next deployment.

He’ll never ask her to give up her dreams. And she’ll never ask him to give up his.

Author

Melia Alexander is the author of sassy, sexy, fun contemporary romances, but is also fortunate to spend her week days at The Male Observation Lab (a.k.a. her job at a construction company) where she gets to observe guys in their natural habitat. Though they often behave like typical alpha males, she’s often seen through their personas to the heart of who they really are – the heroes of their own stories. A native of Guam, Melia traded in warm, tropical breezes for the rainy Pacific Northwest. She’s an avid reader who also loves romantic comedies – preferably with a glass of Cab Sauv and a box of dark chocolates nearby. In her free time, she’s busy conquering her CrossFit fears: ring dips, power cleans, and the dreaded 800 meter run.

Connect with Melia: WebsiteNewsletter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Book Teaser

“What’s happening here?”

          Zandra hadn’t meant to ask the question. Really, she’d figured that if she played her cards right, she’d skate through the next week with Blake and then head for home. Hell, they weren’t even on the same flight, so there’d be no awkward airplane good-byes, but maybe a friendly hug at the airport.

          At least, that had been the plan, only now…

          There was an undercurrent of tension between them, and not the bad kind, either. No, this tension electrified, practically crackled the air around them. Judging by the quiet intensity in Blake’s gaze, he wasn’t immune to it, either.

          “I’m not sure I know,” he said. He blew out an audible breath. “This wasn’t exactly something I’d counted on.”

Review

This book was not for me. I’m generally not a huge romance person, but I can sometimes get behind a good RomCom and the idea of a soldier and a photographer together was interesting. Honestly though it just didn’t sell me. Zandra and Blake are characters with their own goals and dreams which I can respect and enjoy. However, the situations these two managed to get themselves in seemed a bit far fetched or Zandra was so clueless it made me embarrassed for her. All Blake could think about was his attraction to her usually based on her physical characters rather than her personality. If you like cooky romances that are a bit more on the smutty, sexual tension side of things you could very well enjoy this book. Which I think is the intended audience, but if you want something deeper with real developed feelings and a strong female lead this wouldn’t be your cup of tea.

Reviews

Marvelous Storytelling- The Name of the Wind

Overall Enjoyment: 4.5/5

Characterization: 5/5

Worldbuilding: 5/5

Diversity: 1/5

Goodreads summary:

MY NAME IS KVOTHE
You may have heard of me. 
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. 

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature–the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.”

Review

I read this book because one of my friends has been bugging me to read it for a long time now. He even let me borrow his copy. The summary sounded interesting, but I was pretty ambivalent. It’s the usual European-inspired fantasy world that has been classically done. But, I gave it a shot and while there is really no diversity to speak of in my opinion the worldbuilding; especially, the magic system was so good that I thought I’d share this book with you all anyway.

Characters are relatively few in this book when it comes to the ones we hear about more than once and I really appreciated it. Kvothe is fully developed with his whole back story playing out for us to read so that we really get to know who this man is and why. The other characters while not anywhere near as closely explored still manage to seem unique with their own personalities and habits. Truly enjoyed them!

The worldbuilding while maybe nothing new in the sense that it is Euro-centric is very detailed. There is a magic system that is created and describe that I’ve never read something similar to before. The lore of this world is truly beautifully done. I’m a sucker for well-written lore and world history.

Diversity is basically nonexistent in this book which is pretty disappointing. There may have been some brief mentions/alluding to gay men and perhaps some characters of color, but you’re following around a white, red haired man for the book.

Overall, if you’re looking for some diverse fantasy this is not the book for you. It’s Euro-centric and follows a white man. If you don’t mind that on occasion though I would say this is definitely a fantasy book you would enjoy!


Have you read this book? Have you heard of it? What do you think?