Review: Fast Burn by Lori Foster

Review: Fast Burn by Lori FosterFast Burn (Body Armor, #4) by Lori Foster
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Series: Body Armor #4
Pages: 384
Published by Harlequin Books on March 20th 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository

For the woman who’s his perfect match, he’s willing to break the rules…

The moment Brand Berry meets beautiful, driven Sahara Silver, the connection between them is electric. It’s also something he can’t pursue. Sahara wants him, sure—to join Body Armor, where his MMA skills, size and cocky attitude make him perfect for her elite crew of bodyguards. For Sahara, the agency always comes first, and Brand needs more. Yet when she’s kidnapped by men searching for her missing brother, he doesn’t hesitate.

Somewhere along the way, flirting with Brand for the sake of business turned very personal. Despite his refusal to join Body Armor, it’s Brand who steps up when Sahara needs him most. Now there’s no more time for games, and no point denying the hunger they both feel. They’ll escape together or not at all. But if they survive, can Sahara finally surrender control to claim this blazing passion?

My Review:

Fast Burn is the fourth and it looks like final book in the Body Armor series. I’ve had a mixed reaction to the books in this series. I loved books two and three, Hard Justice and Close Contact, but had a lukewarm reaction to the first book in the series, Under Pressure.

My feelings about Fast Burn are all too similar to my feelings about Under Pressure. Let me explain…

This series is romantic suspense. That has meant that the bodyguards from the Body Armor Agency, former MMA fighters all, have a tendency to fall in love with the body they are guarding. But Fast Burn is a bit different, because the body that needs protection in this case is the owner of the agency, Sahara Silver.

And the man who wants to guard her is not part of Body Armor. Not that she hasn’t tried to recruit Brand Berry, but that Brand has refused to be recruited, in spite of Sahara’s patented full-court press.

Brand is interested in Sahara and not her Agency. He does not want to work for a woman that he wants to date. And a whole lot more. It makes sense to this reader. They can either have a personal relationship or a working one, but not both – especially not in their case, where both of them have the need to be in control of absolutely everything all the time. Compromise is not going to be easy for either of them.

One of the underlying plot threads in this entire series revolves around Sahara’s missing brother Scott. Scott has been missing and presumed dead for a couple of years now, after his boat was found with his girlfriend’s dead body on it and plenty of his own spilled blood along with hers. But his body was never found, and Sahara believes that Scott is out there, still alive.

When a bunch of thugs kidnap Sahara in order to get back the money that Scott owes them, one way or another, their leader believes that putting Sahara in danger will bring Scott out of the woodwork. He might be right, but before that can happen, it brings out the protective instincts of every one of the guys that Sahara has hired at Body Armor. As well as the one that she hasn’t, Brand Berry.

Sahara is now the person with the target on her back, and Brand is more than willing to step up and protect her – 24/7. But not as a member of her staff. Not at all. He just wants to protect her, and wipe the floor with the guys who are after her. Sahara isn’t sure that she can give up being in charge 24/7 in order to let someone take care of her, even for a second.

But the sharks are circling, and it’s a race to the finish. But whose?

Escape Rating C+: One of the things that made the Body Armor series so good was the character of Sahara Silver. As the owner of the agency, she has been part of every single book, and generally a fairly large part. She’s been the person that many of the women in the stories initially turn to, and she’s been kind, understanding and helpful without either giving up any of her femininity or any of her take charge agency. Either the actual agency, Body Armor, or her own personal agency as a mover and shaker in each story.

She loses all of that in Fast Burn. The whole story is all about all the guys, but particularly Brand, patting her on the head and letting her know that they’ve got this and that she really should let them take over and not worry her pretty little head. Whenever she tries to contradict or correct them, they pretty much ignore whatever she says.

While the possibility of her missing brother not only being alive but protecting her from the sidelines is certainly enough to make anyone just a bit crazy, Sahara seems to go off the rails and fall apart, giving Brand the chance to swoop in and protect her – whether she needs it or not.

As one of the characters says in one of my favorite video games, “swooping is bad”.

The men, but particularly Brand, do their level best to keep Sahara from participating in an operation that is all hers – it’s both all about her brother and all about a gang of idiots that keep trying to kidnap her and even succeed more than once. She also runs off half-cocked and puts herself in danger in ways that are definitely outside her character until this book.

This included an added filip of a trope I dislike, the one where the villain has a hard on for the female in danger and has the strong desire to take her and break her. This particular villain was much less vile than most, but that added element wasn’t necessary to ramp up the amount of danger Sahara kept landing herself in.

At the same time, I really love the character of Sahara, and I wanted to see her get her HEA as well as solve the mystery of what happened to her brother. I’ve liked all of the men that she has recruited for Body Armor, and it was fun to catch up with them a bit and see just how much they all care about her boss. I just wish it hadn’t been necessary to take away so much of Sahara’s agency to protect her.

I hope we see more characters like Sahara has been in the previous books, women who are intelligent, capable and very much in charge while still being happy and proud to be women. And we shouldn’t have to watch them sacrifice who they are to get their HEA.

This post is part of a TLC book tour. Click on the logo for more reviews and features.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 3-18-18

Sunday Post

This week marked my first A+ Review for the year, for Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon. If you like epic fantasy at all, this one is not only awesome, but also complete in a single not-quite-a-doorstop volume. I picked this one because The Map of Moments by these same two gentlemen is one of my absolute favorite books about post-Katrina New Orleans. That one is urban fantasy rather than epic, but equally awesome.

I also have three blog hops going on, and these will last until the end of the month. When not only will the April Book of Choice Giveaway Hop begin, but my Seventh Annual Blogo-Birthday week will commence. I’ll be giving stuff away all week to commemorate the OMG seventh anniversary of the start of Reading Reality as well as my own birthday. There should be something to appeal to everyone!

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the All About Diversity Blog Hop
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop
$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the March into Madness Giveaway Hop

Winner Announcements:

The winner of the $10 Gift Card or $10 book in the March Book of Choice Giveaway Hop is Valentina.
The winner of the ebook copy of Surrender My Heart by L.G. O’Connor is Alli.
The winner of the print copy of Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan is Dianna.

Blog Recap:

B Review: A Dangerous Game by Heather Graham
A+ Review: Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
B+ Review: Good Guys by Steven Brust
Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop
March into Madness Giveaway Hop
Stacking the Shelves (279)

Coming Next Week:

Fast Burn by Lori Foster (blog tour review)
Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell (review)
The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter (blog tour review)
Court of Lions by Jane Johnson (review)
The River House by Carla Neggers (blog tour review)

Stacking the Shelves (279)

Stacking the Shelves

Thank Dog I neither bought any books nor picked up any from the library this week. Because this isn’t just a stack, it’s an absolute haul.

And it’s absolutely marvelous. There are so many books in here that were on my anticipated list that I can’t wait to dive in! So many books, so little time, so much fun!

For Review:
Arabella the Traitor of Mars (Adventures of Arabella Ashby #3) by David D. Levine
A Borrowing of Bones (Mercy Carr #1) by Paula Munier
The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal
City of Ink (Li Du #3) by Elsa Hart
The Cottages on Silver Beach (Haven Point #8) by RaeAnne Thayne
Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer
Kill the Farm Boy (Tales of Pell #1) by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
Leverage in Death (In Death #47) by J.D. Robb
Live Long and…What I might Have Learned Along the Way by William Shatner and David Fisher
Mary B. by Katherine J. Chen
The Monster Baru Cormorant (Baru Cormorant #2) by Seth Dickinson
Night Fall (Secret Histories #12) by Simon R. Green
Owl and the Tiger Thieves (Owl #4) by Kristi Charish
So Say We All: the Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Battlestar Galactica by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman
The Spy of Venice (William Shakespeare Thriller #1) by Benet Brandreth
A Study in Treason (Daughter of Sherlock Holmes #2) by Leonard Goldberg
Total Bravery (True Heroes #4) by Piper J. Drake
A Touch of Flame (Cowboys of Colorado #2) by Jo Goodman

March into Madness Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the March into Madness Giveaway Hop, hosted by MamatheFox!

Do you care about March Madness? By that I mean the NCAA college basketball tournament. Do you follow along? Does your place of work have a contest to see who can pick the best brackets?

While there can only be one winner of the NCAA’s March Madness – or possibly even the pool where you work – there are plenty of chances to win in this March into Madness Giveaway Hop.

I’m giving away the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 book from the Book Depository. Just fill out the rafflecopter for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And for the rest of the fabulous prizes, just visit the other stops on this hop!

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop for 2018, hosted by Bookhounds.

Do you feel lucky?

Do you feel like you might be lucky enough to win a prize in this blog hop? Fill out the rafflecopter for your chance to win your choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 book from the Book Depository.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And to try your luck for more fabulous prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop!

Review: Good Guys by Steven Brust

Review: Good Guys by Steven BrustGood Guys by Steven Brust
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via Edelweiss
Formats available: hardcover, ebook
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 320
Published by Tor Books on March 6th 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository

Donovan was shot by a cop. For jaywalking, supposedly. Actually, for arguing with a cop while black. Four of the nine shots were lethal--or would have been, if their target had been anybody else. The Foundation picked him up, brought him back, and trained him further. "Lethal" turns out to be a relative term when magic is involved.

When Marci was fifteen, she levitated a paperweight and threw it at a guy she didn't like. The Foundation scooped her up for training too.

"Hippie chick" Susan got well into her Foundation training before they told her about the magic, but she's as powerful as Donovan and Marci now.

They can teleport themselves thousands of miles, conjure shields that will stop bullets, and read information from the remnants of spells cast by others days before.

They all work for the secretive Foundation...for minimum wage.

Which is okay, because the Foundation are the good guys. Aren't they?

My Review:

If you take Magic Ex Libris by Jim C. Hines SPI Files by Lisa Shearin, Paranormal Scene Investigations by Laura Anne Gilman, and mix them with a bit of cold war spy fiction and a heaping helping of noir, you’ll get something like Good Guys.

Both SPI Files and Paranormal Scene Investigations involve organizations that investigate and clean up after crimes in magical versions of our own world. Libriomancer and its Magic Ex Libris series are part of the mix because in that version of our world, magic is hiding in plain sight, and part of the duty of the magical organization is to protect the world from the knowledge that magic exists. Add in that the libriomancers are fighting a conspiracy both from without and from within, and the magic side of Good Guys is pretty well covered.

Because the story in Good Guys follows one particular operations team for the mysterious and magical Foundation as they chase around the world making sure that a magical serial killer does not expose the existence of real magic in the world, even as they investigate the patterns to see if they can both figure out what his game is – and catch him before he reaches its end.

Or his. Or theirs.

The more they discover about the whys and wherefores of the crime spree, the more they have to ask themselves, are they really the good guys? Or are they just battling their own bureaucracy and running around the world on behalf of an organization that is no better than the one they fight against.

Escape Rating B+: It’s been a long time, possibly too long, since I read anything by Steven Brust. I’ll admit that I was expecting a bit more snark. (If you love snarky fantasy with an epic-ish/urban-ish feel, his Vlad Taltos series (start with Jhereg) is marvelous reading crack as long as you don’t try to swallow too many of them at once.)

The story in Good Guys is a fairly deft mixture of mystery/investigation with magic, and very much a part of the urban fantasy tradition of magical detectives solving mysteries in a contemporary world that is just a bit sideways from reality.

What keeps the reader glued to their chair is the way that the whole thing works. Because we’re both following this one rather eclectic, or possibly eccentric, team of investigators while also watching them plumb the depths of their own organization – and not liking what they find in those depths.

There’s a lot of murk, and the frequent changes in perspective between the team leader, the criminal, the new recruit and the bosses on all sides of this mess occasionally muddies waters that are already pretty clouded. While the reader gets invested with Donovan and his team, the perspective shifts sometimes make it difficult to retain that focus. Especially as the author attempts to keep the reader in the dark while showing the criminal’s own thoughts and feelings. It might have worked a bit better, or it would certainly have worked a bit better for this reader, if we’d stayed with Donovan.

Which does not mean that the story wasn’t absolutely fascinating, and a whole lot of fun – because it certainly was. The investigation was every bit as twisting and convoluted as the best mystery, while the magical additions gave the forensic side of the equation lots of new toys to play with. Of course, that magic also gave the criminals new toys to play with as well.

And Donovan’s constant fight with, and continued attempts to work around, the bureaucracy that is as big a problem as it is a game, will find resonance with anyone who has worked in an organization containing more than three people. Paper-pushing procedures and internal politics are enemies that we all face.

In the end, the question of whether Donovan and his mysterious Foundation are really the good guys remains an open one. But their search for the answer is a whole lot of fun.

Review: Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon

Review: Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden and Tim LebbonBlood of the Four by Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via Edelweiss
Formats available: hardcover, ebook, audiobook
Genres: epic fantasy, fantasy
Pages: 480
Published by Harper Voyager on March 6th 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository

The acclaimed authors of The Map of Moments and The Secret Journeys of Jack London join creative forces once more in this epic, standalone novel—an exciting dark fantasy of gods and mortals, fools and heroes, saviors and destroyers with a brilliant beam of hope at its core--that should more than appeal to readers of N.K. Jemisin and Brandon Sanderson.

In the great kingdom of Quandis, everyone is a slave. Some are slaves to the gods. Most are slaves to everyone else.

Blessed by the gods with lives of comfort and splendor, the royal elite routinely perform their duties, yet some chafe at their role. A young woman of stunning ambition, Princess Phela refuses to allow a few obstacles—including her mother the queen and her brother, the heir apparent—stand in the way of claiming ultimate power and glory for herself.

Far below the royals are the Bajuman. Poor and oppressed, members of this wretched caste have but two paths out of servitude: the priesthood . . . or death.

Because magic has been kept at bay in Quandis, royals and Bajuman have lived together in an uneasy peace for centuries. But Princess Phela’s desire for power will disrupt the realm’s order, setting into motion a series of events that will end with her becoming a goddess in her own right . . . or ultimately destroying Quandis and all its inhabitants.

My Review:

If you have ever searched for a single-volume epic fantasy that had everything you want in an epic fantasy, look no more. Instead, settle in for a trip to Quandis, amidst the utterly absorbing pages of Blood of the Four.

It has always seemed as if, in order for epic fantasy to be truly epic in scope, the author (or in this case, authors) needed to at least commit trilogy, if not tetralogy or even more. That is not the case with Blood of the Four, which may weigh in at a solid 480 pages, but is blessedly complete in and of itself, with no breathless waiting for book 2 and book 3 to appear and for he story to reach its epic conclusion. It’s all right here, and it’s marvelous.

The story begins with a secret. And a betrayal. And ends after a night of fire and bloodshed with a new beginning and a new queen, just as it should. The monsters are vanquished, evil is defeated, and good begins a new chapter in the history of a storied kingdom.

But those monsters are not mythic creatures out of legend. Nor should they be. The monsters begin as all too human, and they carry those human faults and frailties more than just a bit too far.

This is a story of hubris, and of reaching not just well beyond one’s grasp, but well beyond what any human should grasp.

And it’s awesome.

Escape Rating A+: Blood of the Four is my first A+ review of 2018. I loved it so much, it’s difficult to write about – but I’ll certainly try to do it justice.

First of all, it’s just damn amazing that this huge story is complete in one (admittedly big) volume. And that it doesn’t feel as if the authors left anything out that should be here. If this had been the usual epic trilogy, there would probably be more backstory on the characters, or the story would have started a bit earlier in their lives, or both.

But the authors did a great job at presenting the backstory that we really need to know to understand the characters, so we’re able to jump into the middle of the action and once we’re there, the pace never lets up.

There are a lot of threads to this story. From certain angles, this is a story about sisterhood, because there are two sides of this equation, and in the end both are saved by the characters’ sisters.

It is also the classic story of power corrupting, and absolute power corrupting absolutely. The queen of Quandis seemingly has everything including the love and loyalty of her adoring people. But it is not enough – because it never is – and her search into dark places and even darker magics leads to death and destruction, and not just her own.

The story also happens fast. From the very first betrayal until the dawn of the new age, an awful lot happens in a very short time period, and it feels as if we’re there for all of it. We don’t just follow those at the top of the rotting social order, the queens and princesses, but we also have characters who give us perspectives among the religious caste, the warriors and most important for this particular story and its result, the slaves and the underclasses. We see it all and we feel for everyone, every step of the way.

Something about this story, and I’m not exactly sure exactly what, reminded me a bit of The Queen of the Tearling as well as Jeffe Kennedy’s Twelve Kingdoms series, particularly The Mark of the Tala and The Talon of the Hawk. Probably the awesomeness of its heroines and its absolutely sweeping passing of the Bechdel Test. Women not only talk to each other, but they also respect each other – and it glows.

If you love epic fantasy, especially if you are looking for one where you can read it all without endless waiting for a next volume or spending a year of your life wading through a dozen or more doorstops, grab a copy of Blood of the Four. You will not be disappointed, not for a single page.

Review: A Dangerous Game by Heather Graham

Review: A Dangerous Game by Heather GrahamA Dangerous Game (New York Confidential #3) by Heather Graham
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: hardcover, ebook, audiobook
Genres: romantic suspense
Series: New York Confidential #3
Pages: 336
Published by Mira Books on March 13th 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository

The third novel in the New York Confidential series by long-established NYT bestselling romantic suspense author Heather Graham. This is the author's romantic-suspense stream, in addition to her successful ongoing mass market paperback paranormal romantic suspense series.

Psychologist Kieran Finnegan is thrust into the middle of an investigation into human trafficking when a desperate woman shoves an infant into her arms and then flees...only to be murdered minutes later on a busy Manhattan street. Despite the fact that it isn't an FBI case, Special Agent Craig Frasier starts poking around, because Kieran can't stop thinking about the child and the victim. Their one lead comes through the pub, Finnegan's on Broadway. One of the waitresses also volunteers at a church outreach center, and had been in contact with a distraught young pregnant woman, whom she recommended Kieran to as someone who might be able to help her. When Kieran goes to the outreach center to do some off-the-books investigating of her own, she is approached by two women who are worried for their missing friend, and who reveal that they were part of a human trafficking ring that did business in babies. As Craig and Kieran delve deeper into the underbelly of NYC trying to find out more, the dangerous elements of the ring come to the surface, hoping to silence Kieran before she exposes them.

My Review:

A Dangerous Game is romantic suspense of the “established couples” variety of romantic suspense. FBI Special Agent Craig Frasier and therapist/pub owner Kieran Finnegan met and fell in love in the first book in the series, Flawless, while Craig was undercover. By the time this third book in the series takes place, after last year’s A Perfect Obsession, the two of them are very much in love and are at the stage of living together without actually deciding to live together. In other words, they spend their nights together, but still have two apartments.

They have been together more than long enough to know each other all too well, including each other’s bad habits and the tells they each exhibit when one or the other is covering something up. What they are covering up is usually a case, because Craig’s FBI work seems to run into either Kieran’s patients or her pub with well-beyond-coincidental frequency.

Kieran is a trouble magnet, and that is what begins this story.

A woman comes to Kieran’s office, calls her by name, and hands her a baby. Then the woman rushes out the door and is murdered within steps after she gets outside. It’s obvious that there is way more going on here than meets the eye, and there is plenty going on from that beginning.

The baby and the woman, both Jane Does, lead the police and the FBI to the seamy underground world of human trafficking and baby harvesting. And their investigation links to an all too similar five year old cold case.

Equally coincidentally, Kieran’s soon-to-be-sister-in-law, an Irish immigrant herself, is contacted by two young women, one of them also Irish, who are on the run from a human trafficking organization controlled by an unnamed but ruthless “King” and “Queen”.

As Craig, the FBI, the NYPD, Homeland Security AND the U.S. Marshalls’ office all investigate the various aspects of what seems to be an extremely well organized criminal enterprise that has eyes and ears virtually everywhere, Kieran strikes out on her own, putting herself in danger over and over again.

Not that Craig is ever exactly safe, but he is, at least trained for this. Kieran just can’t seem to resist putting herself in harm’s way, repeatedly and perhaps just a little too often.

In the end, they manage to cut off the head of this particular snake. And they decide to get married. All in a day’s work.

Escape Rating B: I have not read the previous books in this series, but I did read Law and Disorder, which seems to be part of a side-series to New York Confidential. It gave me enough background to be able to slide right into Kieran’s and Craig’s “adventures”, and into the terrific atmosphere of Finnegan’s Pub.
But I think a reader could come into A Dangerous Game without having read any of the previous books. Events from those earlier stories are certainly referred to, but don’t actually impact current events, except in the sense that they provide a pattern. It’s pretty clear that both Finnegan’s Pub and Kieran Finnegan herself attract trouble the way that certain lights attract bugs, as in they don’t exactly go looking for trouble, but they can’t resist it once they find it, and they willing dash themselves against it no matter how much damage it does to themselves or others.

The case that they have become involved in has a “ripped from the headlines” feel to it. In spite of our problems, the United States is still a country that many people in terrible situations want to come to. And the situations they are often fleeing are so terrible that they believe that any circumstance here, no matter how awful, must be better than the place they are so desperate to leave. The more the screws tighten on legal immigration, the more desperate people become, and the easier it is for the desperate to become prey to monsters in human form.

The human traffickers in this particular story have eyes and ears everywhere, and tentacles in every organization that can help them find more victims and cover up their crimes. Early on in the story, Craig is aware that someone close to the investigation, if not multiple someones, must be in the pay of the criminals. Figuring out who those person or persons might be takes place over a good chunk of the story. In the end, readers will find that the characters they have suspected all along are actually the guilty parties.

In spite of the frenetic beginning, the case as a whole takes a while to ramp up to speed. I found the first third of the book a bit slow going, but once past that point, events occur at breakneck speed and the reader gets caught up in the chase. In spite of the predictable elements to some parts of the ending, the story does keep you glued to your seat from that point forward. In the end, a good time is had by all, including the reader, and evil does get its just desserts. As it should be.

This post is part of a TLC book tour. Click on the logo for more reviews and features.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 3-11-18

Sunday Post

One door closes, other doors open. The March Book of Choice Giveaway Hop ends on Thursday, just as the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop and the March into Madness Giveaway Hop begin. Meanwhile, the All About Diversity Giveaway Hop started early this morning and runs until the end of the month – just in time for the April Book of Choice Giveaway Hop to start.

If you like urban fantasy that may or may not be touched with a bit of paranormal romance, and you have not looked into Anne Bishop’s world of The Others, it might be time to start. I love this series (Cass hates it, she hates everything unless there are dragons in it). But even she admits that they are reading crack. Once you pick one up, you can’t put it down.

Did you remember to SPRING FORWARD? Daylight saving time starts today in the U.S. Which means we all lost an hour of reading-time last night!

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the March Book of Choice Giveaway Hop
$10 Book or $10 Gift Card in the All About Diversity Blog Hop
Surrender My Heart by LG O’Connor (ebook)
Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan

Blog Recap:

B- Review: Surrender My Heart by L.G. O’Connor + Giveaway
A- Review: Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan + Giveaway
A Review: Lake Silence by Anne Bishop
A- Review: Guardian by Anna Hackett
C+ Review: Heat Exchange by Shannon Stacey
Stacking the Shelves (278)
All About Diversity Blog Hop

Coming Next Week:

A Dangerous Game by Heather Graham (blog tour review)
Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon (review)
Good Guys by Steven Brust (review)
Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop
March into Madness Giveaway Hop

All About Diversity Blog Hop

Welcome to the All About Diversity Blog Hop, hosted by Little Library Muse!

What is diversity? Isn’t that the big question?

Diversity is not just checking off boxes, or filling quotas, as is so often implied. Instead, I think it is about broadening horizons and viewpoints.

I also think it can mean different things in different contexts. And it is a very hard topic to wrap one’s arms around. It is also an extremely difficult topic to discuss, particularly in groups or situations that currently favor the status quo. It’s even difficult for me to find a way to write the intro to this blog hop without worrying about touching off one or more “hot buttons”, and there are plenty when it comes to diversity.

So let’s try to focus on diversity in books and reading, as this is a book blog. Through reading, it is possible to learn about, develop an understanding of and an empathy for people who are different from oneself. But that only works if those multiple viewpoints are published, and if you seek them out to read them.

For example, most of The New York Times Best Sellers for fiction and non-fiction in 2017 were written by white men – unless they have even a hint of romance, most of which is written by white women. There are very few other voices on those lists, and if that’s where you get your reading from, then that’s who you’re reading, whether intentionally or not. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There have been multiple memes, themes and projects to get people to read books written from other perspectives, whether that diversity is represented by gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin, country of publication, or diversity on any other axis that shows a different point of view. The #WeNeedDiverseBooks initiative as well as A Year of Reading the World are just two of the many examples.

Representation is also important. Just as it can be eye-opening to read books written from a completely different perspective than my own, it is also affirming to read books that speak to me because they represent me. And both of those are experiences that everyone should have the chance to have, no matter who they are or where they are coming from. We do need diverse books, not just for children, but for adults as well.

Perhaps, in times like these, especially for adults.

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

As part of this blog hop, I’m giving one lucky winner either a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 Book from the Book Depository that they will hopefully use to further their own exploration of diverse books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more terrific prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop!