Diversity Spotlight Thursday · Weekly Themes

Diversity Spotlight Thursday – Indigenous/Native MCs!

diverse-spotlight1

Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly book meme that was started by my amazing, lovely friend Aimal over at Bookshelves and Paperbacks! The We Need Diverse Books movement is something that is incredibly close to my heart, so I hope to share some new books with you each week so you can diversify your reading. Each week will feature a specific theme, and I look forward to seeing recs from y’all as well!

Diversity Spotlight will take place every Thursday, and it will be featuring three books in any given week:

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not read
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released

This week’s theme is INDIGENOUS/NATIVE MAIN CHARACTERS!

A Diverse Book You Have Read And Enjoyed

 

lbbs&t1LOVE BEYOND BODY, SPACE, AND TIME: AN INDIGENOUS LGBT SCI-FI ANTHOLOGY by various authors, edited by Hope Nicholson

“Love Beyond, Body, Space, and Time” is a collection of indigenous science fiction and urban fantasy focusing on LGBT and two-spirit characters. These stories range from a transgender woman trying an experimental transition medication to young lovers separated through decades and meeting far in their own future. These are stories of machines and magic, love, and self-love.

This collection features prose stories by:
Cherie Dimaline “The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy,” “Red Rooms”
Gwen Benaway “Ceremonies for the Dead”
David Robertson “Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story,” Tales From Big Spirit series
Richard Van Camp “The Lesser Blessed,” “Three Feathers”
Mari Kurisato “Celia’s Song,” “Bent Box”
Nathan Adler “Wrist”
Daniel Heath Justice “The Way of Thorn and Thunder: The Kynship Chronicles”
Darcie Little Badger “Nkásht íí, The Sea Under Texas”
Cleo Keahna
And an introduction by Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair “Manitowapow,” with a foreword by Grace Dillon “Walking the Clouds”.
Edited by Hope Nicholson “Moonshot,” “The Secret Loves of Geek Girls”

A Diverse Book That Has Already Been Released But You Have Not Read

17946249KILLER OF ENEMIES (Killer of Enemies, #1) by Joseph Bruchac

A post-Apocalyptic YA novel with a steampunk twist, based on an Apache legend.

Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones — people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human — and there was everyone else who served them. Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones’ pets — genetically engineered monsters — turned on them and are now loose on the world.

Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozen’s powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun. As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero.

 

A Diverse Book That Has Not Yet Been Released

 

TRAIL OF LIGHTNINGTRAIL OF LIGHTNING by Rebecca Roanhorse

Pitched as “an indigenous Mad Max: Fury Road“, Trail of Lightning is set on a Navajo reservation in the near future, after the collapse of society. It follows a young Navajo woman who hunts monsters with the help of an untested medicine man.

Expected release: 2018


What books with INDIGENOUS/NATIVE MAIN CHARACTERS have you read and enjoyed? Which are out that you haven’t gotten to yet? Are there any you’re looking forward to?

Reviews for Already Published Books · Weekly Themes

Review: The Shock of Survival by Nicole Field

SUMMARY

31923110Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: November 9, 2016
Received From: Review copy from author

In the wake of the final battle against The Oppressor, Benedict, Ophelia and Dylan face their magical community in triumph. But that triumph rapidly loses its shine as they realise the war is not so easily left behind. Returning to, and relearning, the lives they had before proves to be more difficult than even they had anticipated.

GENDER SEXUALITY PAIRINGS

GENDER: presumed cisgender
SEXUALITY: bisexual, lesbian, heterosexual, polyamory
PAIRING: F/F, M/F

TAGS TROPES WARNINGS

TROPES: magical abilities, nonlinear timeline, friends to lovers
TAGS: young adult, new adult, fantasy, existing relationships
WARNINGS: alcoholism, PTSD, violence, mind control, war

REVIEW

“I… I can’t promise never to hurt you,” Ophelia said, her voice raw with honesty. “I wouldn’t, even if I didn’t like anyone else. But… liking Benedict more than I love you? Love isn’t like pudding—less for one if there’s more for another. My love certainly isn’t.”

A few months back, I saw the author offering up review copies on twitter to anyone who was willing to post a review for it. Happily, I accepted a copy of the book. The premise sounded interesting, and I knew it had an F/F pairing, so I was excited to read another story with an F/F pairing. (I didn’t know there was an M/F as well, but surprise polyamory is always acceptable in my book.)

I did enjoy this story, but I don’t believe it quite lived up to it’s potential. The writing was a bit choppy and stilted, and there were multiple occasions where the dialogue and narration were very awkwardly phrased. There were nonsensical inconsistencies within the larger text (why did she put cream on her new tattoo right before getting in the shower?) as well as in the dialogue. Additionally, there was a lot of head hopping. I liked that there was multiple points of view for all three main characters, but it was difficult to get a real idea of their individual voices when they kept overlapping so thoroughly.

I also found certain aspects of the plot a bit strange. The three main characters are magicians who’ve lived amongst humans their whole lives, as have magicians before them, but these 19 year old main characters were clueless about modern technology. I just can’t see how that is plausible, even if magician society did try to seclude itself with secrecy. And then, there were a few moments, after the existence of is exposed, that Benedict references the Salem Witch Trials. Contextually, it made a sort of sense. However, the story takes place in England and all three of the main characters are from Great Britain, as well as the characters Benedict was speaking to. It didn’t seem to make sense that he would reference something like that from American history when a reference to European, and British specifically, history would’ve made geographical sense.

One thing I really did like, other than the queer rep, was how the PTSD of Ophelia, Benedict, and their friend Dylan was handled. The author did a wonderful job of exploring and showing that PTSD can affect everyone differently. There’s no one way to have PTSD , and there’s no one way to handle PTSD.

Overall, this was a good story, but it would have been better served with more editing and more length.

RATING

3 STARS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

6878229Nicole writes across the spectrum of sexuality and gender identity. She lives in Melbourne with one of her partners, two cats, a whole lot of books and a bottomless cup of tea.

Co-creator of Queer Writers Chat and reviewer for Just Love: Queer Book Reviews. Also likes tea, crochet and Gilmore Girls.

Her books are available on: Amazon | Publisher | B&N | Smashwords | Netgalley

BUY LINKS

Less Than Three Press
Amazon
Kobo

REVIEW BY LEAH

Saturday Tea & Romance · Weekly Themes

Saturday Tea & Romance (May 27)

SATURDAY TEA & ROMANCE

The Tea

31340_earlgreycremerteaEAR GREY CREME BLACK TEA by Teavana

D E S C R I P T I O N
Smooth infusion with bergamot overtones and a creamy vanilla finish
High tea is further elevated with tart bergamot orange tastefully tempered by creamy vanilla then blended with the classic pomp of an Earl Grey black tea. A majestically smooth confection that is now available any time the senses desire. Sprinkled with sunny yellow marigold petals, this full leaf wonder is divinely delicious with a silky sweet finish.
T A S T I N G ~ N O T E S

Smooth infusion with bergamot overtones and a creamy vanilla finish

I N G R E D I E N T S

Black tea, natural flavor, marigold petals.

The Book

28796198APPLE POLISHER (Rear Entrance Video, #1) vy Heidi Belleau

Christian Blake dreams of being a kindergarten teacher, but making the grade means maintaining a squeaky clean image: no drinking, no drugs, no swearing, no sex. And definitely no falling for his new roommate-tattooed bad-boy Max, who may or may not be a drug dealer.

Most of all, it means no working at a porn store. But Christian’s aunt has cancer, and her beloved Rear Entrance Video will go bankrupt if Christian doesn’t take over managerial duties. Soon enough, Christian finds himself juggling sticky twenty-five cent peep show booths, a blackmailing employee, and a demanding professor who likes to make an example of him.

And then there’s Max, who doesn’t know anything about the store, but hates Christian’s preppy sweater vests and the closet Christian forces him into when they’re together. Max just wants Christian to be himself-even though Max is keeping secrets of his own. Christian struggles to find the impossible balance between his real life and the ideal one he thinks a teacher needs to live . . . all while trying to keep his aunt’s dream alive without losing his own.

BUY HERE

Flashback Friday · Weekly Themes

Flashback Friday (May 26)

FLASHBACK FRIDAY (BLUE)

This week’s Flashback Friday trilogy is a recent backlist item for Rebekah Weatherspoon that I think y’all should pick up!

The main character, Kayla, is a fat, bisexual, black woman who knows what she wants and rarely hesitates to go after it. She’s intelligent as hell, funny, sarcastic, and creative. She’s a loyal friend, and always makes time for those she loves and trusts, and the relationship between herself and her young sisters is the most adorable.

The love interest, Michael, starts out as her Sugar Daddy, a mutually beneficial agreement they come to when they meet during a time when Kayla is recently down on her luck, but it soon turns into more. He’s sweet and gentle, but firm when called for, and unfailingly honest. He cares for Kayla so tenderly that you can’t help but fall for him a bit yourself.

Their relationship moves fairly quickly, due to the length of the books, but the speed with which they date, fall in love, and marry is not a detriment to the story. Where in some cases it might be difficult to reconcile, with these two, you can just feel how right it is for them. They’re so sweet and loving you’ll feel like you need to hit up the dentist to get cavities taken care of.

The Books

26209241SO SWEET (Sugar Baby, #1)

Desperate times call for desperate measures…

And desperate is the only way to describe Kayla Davis’s current situation. Out of work and almost out of money to cover her bills, Kayla finally caves to her roommate’s nagging and follows her to Arrangements, an online dating site that matches pretty young women with older men of a certain tax bracket.

Convinced this “make-rent-quick” scheme will surely fail – or saddle her with an 80 year old boyfriend – Kayla is shocked when Michael Bradbury, Internet billionaire and stone-cold salt and pepper fox, offers her a solution to all her financial troubles.
It’s hard enough for Kayla to accept his generosity, but what’s a girl to do when the wealthiest man she’s ever met is a dream in and outside of the bedroom?

30070753SO RIGHT (Sugar Baby, #2)

First comes love. Then comes…the most ill timed proposal in history?

Kayla Davis never dreamt she’d meet sexy, considerate, and seriously sweet Internet billionaire, Michael Bradbury, but ten months after Michael went from Sugar Daddy to for real boyfriend she can’t imagine spending another day without him. Cohabitation is totally working—throw in a puppy or two and Kayla has her happily ever after wrapped up in a perfect little bow.

Until she finds out Michael might have bigger plans for their future, like marriage, kids, and ownership of a professional sports team. Kayla is more than ready to join Michael on this amazing ride through the next chapter of their lives, but first she needs to catch her breath and see if Michael is ready to be a part of a team and not just the boss.

31552639SO FOR REAL (Sugar Baby, #3)

Even the best laid plans can go completely off the rails…

After pulling off the perfect wedding, Kayla Davis, now Kayla Bradbury, need only sit back and enjoy her wonderful life with her amazing husband, internet billionaire and NBA franchise owner, Michael Bradbury. The two are so head over heels for each other that finding creative ways to extend their honeymoon a whole year seems likes the only logical next step in their fool-proof plan for happiness.

Too bad life has other ideas for the newlyweds. With personnel hiccups in her small business, a husband balancing dual CEO responsibilities, and news that there will be not one, but two unexpected additions to the Bradbury crew, Kayla needs to totally reconfigure her life if she has any hope of keeping things afloat.

Diversity Spotlight Thursday · Weekly Themes

Diversity Spotlight Thursday – Latinx MCs!

diverse-spotlight1

Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly book meme that was started by my amazing, lovely friend Aimal over at Bookshelves and Paperbacks! The We Need Diverse Books movement is something that is incredibly close to my heart, so I hope to share some new books with you each week so you can diversify your reading. Each week will feature a specific theme, and I look forward to seeing recs from y’all as well!

Diversity Spotlight will take place every Thursday, and it will be featuring three books in any given week:

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not read
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released

This week’s theme is LATINX MAIN CHARACTERS!

A Diverse Book You Have Read And Enjoyed

27969081LABYRINTH LOST (Brooklyn Brujas, #1) by Zoraida Córdova

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

 

A Diverse Book That Has Already Been Released But You Have Not Read

 

26594801THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ by Lilliam Rivera

Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

A Diverse Book That Has Not Yet Been Released

33158561WILD BEAUTY by Anna-Marie McLemore

Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

 


What books with LATINX MAIN CHARACTERS have you read and enjoyed? Which are out that you haven’t gotten to yet? Are there any you’re looking forward to?

Weekly Themes · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday (May 24)

www wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly theme/meme originally created by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam Ann Elizabeth over at Taking On A World of Words. I will being doing this every other week, with the Wednesday in between dedicated to Waiting On Wednesday.

The Three Ws are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

34810880KEEPER OF THE DAWN by Dianna Gunn

Sometimes failure is just the beginning

All Lai has ever wanted is to become a priestess, like her mother and grandmother before her, in service to their beloved goddess. That’s before the unthinkable happens, and Lai fails the trials she has trained for her entire life. She makes the only choice she believes she can: she runs away.

From her isolated desert homeland, Lai rides north to the colder, stranger kingdom of Alanum—a land where magic, and female warriors, are not commonplace.

Here, she hears tales about a mountain city of women guardians and steel forgers, worshiping goddesses who sound very similar to Lai’s own. Determined to learn more about these women, these Keepers of the Dawn, Lai travels onward to find their temple. She is determined to make up for her past failure, and will do whatever it takes to join their sacred order.

Falling in love with another initiate was not part of the plan.

Keeper of the Dawn is a tale of new beginnings, second chances, and the endurance of hope.

Recently Finished

29960675MASK OF SHADOWS by Linsey Miller

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

Planning to Read Next

34807144LOVE AND OTHER HOT BEVERAGES by Laurie Loft

After a rough breakup, Todd Addison wants time alone to grieve. While still dreaming of winning back his ex’s love, he moves across the country and finds work with a construction company. The last thing he needs is the cute office boy developing a crush on him, especially since he’s back in the closet.

Sebastián Nye can’t help feeling sorry for the obviously brokenhearted Todd. Though rebuffed repeatedly, Sebby chisels away at Todd’s resistance, determined to help him forget—a task potentially beyond anyone’s capabilities. He never meant to fall for the poor guy, but he does. Hard.

Desperate to hold on to Todd, Sebby hatches a sneaky plot guaranteed to end Todd’s heartbreak—if Todd doesn’t bail and ruin everything. Just when things can’t get more complicated, Todd’s ex wants him back. And Sebby’s abusive ex is just waiting to catch Sebby alone. Todd and Sebby must decide what’s worth fighting for, what’s worth sacrifice, and what’s worth compromise, or their relationship will begin and end with a broken heart.

What are your WWW WEDNESDAY books?

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday · Weekly Themes

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday (May 23)

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First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday is hosted by Diane @ Bibliophile by the Sea, and the goal is to share the first paragraph or two from the first chapter of a book you’re either currently reading or planning to read next.

Back again with another ARC I’m planning to read soon! This time it’s LOVE AND OTHER HOT BEVERAGES by Laurie Loft.

34807144The office boy smiled at Todd. “That coffee’s shit.”

Hard hat under one arm, Todd stared at the coffeepot in front of him. He waited impatiently for the drip to stop, conscious of several teammates waiting their turns. They jostled one another as they laughed and joked. The men with their hard hats seemed to take up more space than necessary in the confines of the mobile office. Todd itched to get his coffee and get out into the fresh air.

“You look like someone who would appreciate good coffee,” the boy continued, and Todd knew a fishing query when he heard one. What the boy meant was, You’re gay, aren’t you? Because everyone knew that gays liked gay coffee. Todd tried to remember the boy’s name. They all called him office boy.

“I like shit,” Todd said with a feral grin.

What do you think? Would you continue reading?