Diversity Spotlight Thursday is hosted by Aimal at Bookshelves and Paperbacks!
If you follow me on twitter, you know diverse books and authors are a subject close to my heart. I hope to always, always put diverse book and authors at the forefront of everything I do, but I also wanted to have a specific day to talk JUST about diverse books as I do sometimes read and blog about white/ciscentric books.
ALICE & JEAN by Lily Hammond tells the story of Alice Holden, a war widow with two small children, who has fallen in love with Jean Reardon, the woman who delivers her milk every morning. The story starts off very fast with Alice already being head over heels for Jean (and vice-versa) so the reader doesn’t get a very good sense of why Alice has fallen for Jean until near the end of the story when both women confess when/how they fell in love with the other. The pair face a lot of obstacles together- from Alice’s overbearing and downright evil mother, to the whispers of the neighbors about Alice being seen with that woman, to the stereotypical man who feels jilted and can’t stand women being together.
Which brings me to things I didn’t like about this book: I feel like Big Jim was overdone. I do realize that there are plenty of men like him the world, but I really feel we could have done without his macho homophobia. And I understand that his actions were the means to the happy end of the story but just once I would like to read a f/f love story that didn’t include alpha males or rape.
I also wasn’t that impressed with Jean. The story definitely fell into that stereotypical “one is very femme and the other is very masculine” trope that I’m very, very burnt out on in f/f fiction. And maybe it wasn’t the character herself as much as it was the way people treated her (Alice saying she wishes Jean were a man so they could get married, Tilly saying she wishes Jean could be her father, the men treating Jean like a man, etc.,) I think gender expression and fluidity is great and amazing (I myself am nonbinary) but I feel like Jean was only a stand-in for a man in the story. We don’t get a sense of how she feels about her gender, only that she likes to wear trousers and enjoys jobs that are traditional more masculine. I would have felt more comfortable with her if there had been more discussion on how she identified or how she felt about having people continuously treat her like a man.
I did like the story, though. I loved the way the group of women came together to protect Alice from Big Jim because we have a severe lack of solid, powerful, and protective female friendships in LGBTQAI+ literature. I also loved the fact that Alice does not forgive her mother in the end but does reach a compromise with herself that makes her happy.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a quick f/f read with minimal sex scenes, strong female friends, and a HEA ending.
KILLER OF ENEMIES by Jospeh Bruchac is 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.
THE LIBRARY OF FATES by Aditi Khorana releases July 18, 2017. It’s one of those books that I have my fingers and tows crossed for an ARC of.
No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.
The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.
Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?
What diverse book are you reading or waiting on? Let me know in the comments!