Let’s Talk Bookish: What is the meaning of diverse books?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on October 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us about:

what is the meaning of diverse books?

(SUGGESTED BY RUKKY)
Examples: We talk a lot about diverse books and reads, but what really makes a book diverse? Are books written by authors or about characters from Eastern Europe (Lithuania, Ukraine, Hungary, etc) considered diverse? Would you consider a book set in Spain about a Spanish main character diverse? Why or why not? Does diverse mean characters or authors from South America, Asia, and Africa, or from different religious, sexual, ability, etc backgrounds only?

This is a great question and very relevant topic as more readers continue to look for diverse books, and as more diverse books also get published. I’ve been trying to consciously diversify my reads for a while now and 2020 has been my most successful year doing that! I’m a little intimidated about answering this week’s prompt because I think there are quite a few layers to the topic, and I don’t feel comfortable going too in-depth as I’m not that “knowledgeable” about it. But this post is about sharing my thoughts, so I will do that and hopefully I make some sense and don’t come off as (too) uniformed or ridiculous!

defining diversity

Diversity (noun)
: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : VARIETY
especially : the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.

: an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities

Diversity as defined by Merriam-Webster

HOW DO I CLASSIFY DIVERSE BOOKS?

When I think about diverse books, I immediately think of stories with characters who are marginalized, BIPOC, and/or LGBTQ+. Or are written by authors of colour or LGBTQ+. I also count books that have representation for different religions, ethnicities, mental health, disability, and chronic illness (among other topics) as diverse too. However, I only classify books as diverse when:

  • The main characters are BIPOC/LGBTQ+. I don’t consider it diverse when you have one or a few side characters that fall into these ‘categories’ but are barely represented. But I don’t consider stories written by authors of colour or LGBTQ+ authors as diverse if the story focuses on mainstream “straight and white” characters.
  • Same as above, the rep should concern or be focused on the main character(s) and is not used or identified as a minor sub-plot or anything like that.

is there a line and where do we draw it?

This prompt included a few guiding questions that really made me think whether I would classify certain reads as diverse. For example, if I read a book about Eastern Europe, is that considered diverse? I think if it’s set there and the story is about a straight white character, then no, I wouldn’t. But what if it’s about religion or ethnicity—would I consider it diverse then? I think I probably would because it includes people from different backgrounds. What about a book set in Spain with a Spanish cast—is that diverse? It made me think about a book I read earlier this year called Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova. It’s set during the Spanish inquisition period but in an alternate reality, and I considered it diverse because Cordova is AOC and the characters, including the MC, were diverse.

As I write this I realise that perhaps how I consider books diverse is pretty simplistic? But ultimately, I do think it’s subjective because I don’t believe diversity can be so neatly packaged into a box where it means exactly the same thing for everybody. There are many factors to consider, including our individual backgrounds and experiences, and it also depends on the book/author too.

Is it enough to consider a book diverse if it teaches you about different people, cultures, etc.? Is it enough to consider it diverse if it broadens your world view?

Sorry, I know I haven’t really answered anything in this post and it’s mostly just a bunch of brain blah and word vom that I’m not even sure makes any sense–but it has definitely got me thinking!

Now I’m really curious to know what you think. What makes a book diverse in your opinion? Do you think it’s a strict definition or do you think it’s subjective? I’m keen to know your thoughts if you’d like to share them with me!

#5OnMyTBR: Historical Fiction

Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!

This week’s prompt is: Historical

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#5OnMyTBR: Books with Magic

Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!

This week’s prompt is: Magic

Continue reading “#5OnMyTBR: Books with Magic”

Review: Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Get A Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:


Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorbike.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written out step-by-step guidelines. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job: Redford ‘Red’ Morgan. With tattoos and a motorbike, Red is the perfect helper in her mission to rebel, but as they spend more time together, Chloe realises there’s much more to him than his tough exterior implies. Soon she’s left wanting more from him than she ever expected . . . maybe there’s more to life than her list ever imagined?

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ARC Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The House in the Cerulean Sea
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication date: 17 March 2020
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Panda Rating:


A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.

Continue reading “ARC Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune”

Top 5 Saturday: Recommended Reads

Welcome back to another Top 5 Saturday! Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is actually: recommended reads.

For today’s prompt on recommended reads, I’m going to look at five books on my TBR that have been recommended to me and I’m going to use the term “recommended” pretty loosely here because I consider the books that I see on blogs as recommendations, so there’s definitely no shortage of that! 😂 I don’t think I’ll be focusing on any particular theme either so it’s just going to be the first ones that come to mind…

(book covers are linked to the Goodreads pages!)

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#TopTenTuesday: Summer Vibes

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: Books that Give Off Summer Vibes (submitted by Kristin @ Lukten av Trykksverte)

Prompts to do with seasons are always a bit tough for me since I live in the tropics and it’s basically summer the year round 😂 But I can get on board with the idea of summer! Thinking of books that give off summer vibes obviously means a lot of cover judging, right? I mean, what catches my eye when I think of summer vibes are bright and vivid splashes of colour leaning towards pinks, yellows and blues. Maybe some flowers, palm trees, beaches (this is sounding cliche, isn’t it? LOL)… In terms of the plot, I think lighter and maybe even shorter reads would do the trick. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with more serious topics being discussed of course but just thinking of that blazing sun slowing down my brain waves definitely has me thinking the lighter the better!

So after a little bit of digging through my TBR and this slightly long-winded post introduction 😂 I’ve come up with this list of 10 books on my TBR that give off summer vibes:

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The Disney Parks Book Tag!

Ah, Disney. Who doesn’t love Disney and the Disney parks? It’s been a freaking long ass time since I went to one of the parks but it’s definitely on my bucket list to go back and experience it as an ‘adult’! A few years ago I discovered some childhood photos taken at Disney (world or land I can’t be sure) and well, while you can’t say much about my fashion sense (coz clearly I didn’t have any and neither did my brother), you can definitely tell these were happy times!

But back to this tag… I was tagged to do the Disney Parks Book Tag by the wonderful Kay @ Hammock of Books and awesome Brittany @ Perfectly Tolerablego check out both their blogs because they have great content and they’re lovely people to follow so you won’t regret it! Thanks for tags, lovelies and I’m sorry its taken so long for me to get around to doing this tag. First up, the rules!

The Rules

☆ Mention the creator and link back to original post [Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight]
☆ Thank the blogger who tagged you [done above!]
☆ Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
☆ Tag 5+ friends
☆ Feel free to copy the heading graphics

Oof, it took me a hot minute to recall a title set along the river but this heart-stopping thriller certainly ticks that box! I’m still amazed by Caine’s writing versatility 😍 Wolfhunter River is book three in the Stillhouse Lake series — which is crazy and absolutely thrilling!


You guys… I’m kind of shook because scouring the dark corners of mind (and Goodreads), I’ve realised that… I haven’t read (m)any ‘swashbuckling high seas adventures’… Wot wot?! Can it be true? It sadly is. Many of them adventures are still on TBR though! For now, I’m leaving you with A Gathering of Shadows because there’s certainly some swashbuckling in this favourite series of mine!


Ooh, just looking at this cover again already covers me in mad goosebumps and makes me wanna cry! But I have to give a shout out to Rules for Vanishing because even I, most Ultimate of Chickens™️, managed to read this and loved it! Ugh, this book was drowning in eerie vibes.


Surprisingly absolutely no one, the Illuminae Files absolutely takes the cake for this one! Ugh, I love this series so much 💞 Kristoff and Kaufman can take all of my monies!


Ugh, Where the Crawdads Sing was just beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I loved Kya and the lyrical descriptions of the marsh lands and of nature swept me away to an enchanting but also dangerous world that I’d love to one day see IRL.

I feel like I also have to give an honorary shout out to The Natchez Burning Trilogy for this prompt. This trilogy is one of my all-time favourite thriller/court drama and is just *chefs kiss*!


A Curse So Dark and Lonely was of course the first book I thought of. There’s no Beauty & the Beast (retelling) without that eerie and beautiful enchanted castle!


The Trials of Morrigan Crow, book one of the Nevermoor series, was an utterly enchanting and whimsical read! There were fantastical adventures, magical and terrifying creatures, and otherworldly settings. This was an absolute treat to read! 💞


Okay, I’m cheating a little bit with The Mountains Sing. There is some trekking through mountains but that’s not what the whole book is about. It is an absolutely stunning, heartbreaking and hopeful read though and I would highly recommend this debut for those interested in own voices reads!


I haven’t read very many Spanish inspired fantasy books (I could also be totally wrong because my memory very often fails me) so Incendiary was a refreshingly set fantasy world with a cool magic system that I can’t wait to learn more about in the next book!


Another non-surprise here with Aurora Rising (this is totally a space opera, right?)! This book was a fabulously crazy, fast-paced space adventure that was full of all the things! Seriously, just read it.

I’m tagging:

Becky | Ali | Leah | Evelyn | Katie

No pressure to do this if tags aren’t your thing. Also, even if I haven’t tagged you here, feel free to go for gold if you want to do this one and link back to me so I can check out your answers too 😍

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits Blog Tour: Review

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for the re-release of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami. A big shout out to Kelly from Algonquin for asking me to be part of this blog tour! I’m chuffed to have been given the opportunity to read something that’s well out of my usual reads and comfort zone, but I’m so glad I gave this a go! Special thanks to Algonquin Books and the author for providing me a copy of her book as part of this blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 14 April 2020 (re-release)
Genre: Literary Fiction, Cultural Fiction
Panda Rating:

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits evokes the grit and enduring grace that is modern Morocco. As four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain, author Laila Lalami asks, What has driven them to risk their lives? And will the rewards prove to be worth the danger? There’s Murad, a gentle, unemployed man who’s been reduced to hustling tourists around Tangier; Halima, who’s fleeing her drunken husband and the slums of Casablanca; Aziz, who must leave behind his devoted wife in hope of securing work in Spain; and Faten, a student and religious fanatic whose faith is at odds with an influential man determined to destroy her future. Sensitively written with beauty and boldness, this is a gripping book about what propels people to risk their lives in search of a better future. 

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The Mountains Sing Blog Tour: Book Review

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for the beautifully written The Mountains Sing. Special thanks to Kelly at Algonquin Books for asking me to be part of this blog tour! I was beyond pleasantly surprised to be asked (I mean, all I could think of was “Me?! Are you sure you have the right reader/blogger?!” 😂 ) and I’m very happy to have been given the opportunity, especially for such a wonderful read!

Goodreads: The Mountains Sing
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 17 March 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction, Cultural Fiction
Panda Rating:

With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.

The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s first novel in English.

Continue reading “The Mountains Sing Blog Tour: Book Review”