Tag Archives: Diversity

Book Review: Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

Published July 25, 2017
288 Pages

“Harper doesn’t trust her new how from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors that the Raine family’s new house is haunted. Harper isn’t sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely. The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of deja vu but she can’t remember why.

She knows that the memories she’s blocking will help make sense of her brother’s behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in the hours, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?”- Goodreads

Before I give my thoughts on this book, I need to explain why I picked it up. I don’t follow Ms. Ellen Oh on Twitter but someone I follow does and she happened to liked a tweet that caught my attention.

Just based off that my curious its was peaked. So I requested the book from the library that same day. I didn’t have a lot of thought or even a pressing need to read this book. I just wanted to see what the fuss was about. But let me tell you once I started this book, I did not put it down until well after 1 a.m. This book was fantastic from beginning to end.

Harper is what I would picture of a child having to deal with something paranormal when you family doesn’t believe you and also sent you away for help. It was such a realistic viewpoint of not a disobedient loner child but of a little girl, who loves her family but is struggling to deal with her own past and keeping it all together. I’ve always wondered what if the child that can see things, no one else can see, actually said something to her family as opposed to hiding it and dealing with it on her own. For anyone that has ever wanted to know that, this book is the answered.

It touches on a lot of subjects such as family and doing what you feel is best for that family. It touches upon family ancestry and the divide that can cause. It touches upon racism and diversity without it feeling as if the author is trying to hard. This book flowed extremely easy with these topics and of course the paranormal aspect of it.

But what I liked most about Harper, herself, was her ability to face her fears. It’s cliche I know but she literally faces the worst head on and keeps pushing through until she has done what she set out to do. She wasn’t bratty, mean or even desperate. She was a little girl that wanted to be with her family and make some friends in a new town.

Beyond all of this, what sold me was how freaking creepy this book was. Whatever resource Ms. Ellen Oh used as a reference to help her write this book was on point. Every scene, every time Harper felt something or saw something, it was so visual it was as if I was watching a movie. As a grown woman, there were things in this book that creeped me out and I loved every moment of it. Harper stood tall and faced all of that and I have nothing but respect for her.

The pace was great. The down time didn’t even feel like down time because there was so much going on emotional as well as physically. The imagery was pure talent actually the entire book was and I hope and pray that there will be a book two.

5 Pickles.

Subscription Review: My Lit Box

This is my first subscription review *YAY* However, My Lit Box is not my first subscription. Just the first I wanted to talk about.

MY LIT BOX  is a monthly book subscription box celebrating diversity in literature! Each month you will receive a box containing a newly released novel as well as 1-2 quality book related goodies that will make your reading experience all the more enjoyable!- My Lit Box

What caught my attention with this box is its focus. This box focuses on diverse readings, which is extremely important to me because I’ve made it my mission this year to step out my YA fantasy box and read more adult literature, specifically from diverse writers.

I chose My Lit Box because choice and price. They give you an option to receive a small box or a full box. The small box contains just the book, while the full box contains the book and 1-2 book related items. I like that the power (or illusion, which ever type of person you are) of choice can change everything.

Price: The small box is $17 while the full box is $25. My Lit Box is on the cheaper end of subscription boxes that contain multiple items and I personally love it. It is a reasonable price that doesn’t exactly kill my budget. So let’s get to some pictures :)

Box # 1

I was not completely impressed with this book but I did appreciate the care the owner put into this. The personalized letter, the poem by Ysra Daley-Ward, the amazing tea and the sage really added something to the book. I was happy to receive this book and was happy when I opened it but it was a tad bit short lived. But on the plus side of it I really wanted the book Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo, so I was real happy to see that.

 Box #2 

Made me extremely happy and redeemed itself after the first box. Something about this box… maybe the mini doodle kit or the gorgeous pin made me feel giggly and excited. It wasn’t as personalized as the first one but more whimsical I would say for a lack of better term. I was really thrilled with this book.

Overall, my two month experience with My Lit Box has been one I enjoy. I plan on keeping with it because who doesn’t like getting packages in the mail that have nothing to do with bills.🙋🏿‍♀️ This chick does.

I would recommend this box. Its different, affordable and these book related items are cute and practical :)

Kudos My Lit Box

NetGalley Review: Running in the Dark (Running in the Dark #1) by Inger Iversen

Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing Published April 19, 2014 Ebook
Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing
Published April 19, 2014

Trace is a watcher. His job is to watch vampires as they end their lives and sometimes assist in their death while also making sure that no human sees or reports what they’ve seen. For years, this has been his life and he is ready for something different.

What he didn’t expect was different to show up in a form of a beautiful girl named Bessina, who’ve witness the death of two vampires. What would be a easy job to eliminate the witness turns into Trace running for his life to save this girl. 

Surprise. Surprise. A beautiful and quick read this book is.

Not only was I attracted to this book because both the author and the main character are of women of color but vampires trying to kill themselves is a new thing for me. I have no idea why that is the case but it was.

What I loved about the book was how the fluff was to a minimum. But an appropriate minimum; meaning there was still a need/drive to continue reading the book despite things moving at a faster pace. The only downfall with this is there isn’t enough meat on the characters to really fall in love with them.

I liked Bessina to a certain extent. Although you find out about some of her backstory, I wanted more. I didn’t want to see just a broken girl, who in my eyes took events too easy, but I wanted to see some spunk . . . some kind of excitement from her. I felt that although she was 19, I couldn’t help but picture a small scared child.

I liked Trace though. There was something about him that made the book enjoyable. He was fairly direct, a smooth talker yes but not a womanizer. The author kept him simple, which allowed the internal turmoil to come from falling in love as opposed to being a really really crappy person. I also liked being able to see his and Bessina’s point of view. The transitions was great. I loved the fact that the author was able to ease into it without stopping to say “Now Bessina.”

Overall, I thought the author showed her talent with this book. I wish it was longer and there was more depth to the characters personality but most importantly I wish there was more detail to the characters that affected Bessina’s life such as her relationship with her father. Yes, the author cleared everything up by the ending but I wanted more so bad.

3.5 Pickles



NetGalley Review: Roses are Red. . . Violet is Dead by Monica-Marie Vincent

Booktrope Publishing Published March 2015 242 Pages
Booktrope Publishing
Published March 2015
242 Pages

Violet can’t seem to catch a break. After the death of her father, her mother has been an emotional roller coaster and she no longer feels close to anyone she knew before the accident. So when she begins being stalked, Violet blows it off until people start dying around her.

But it isn’t until her “best friend” goes missing that Violet realizes the stalker isn’t playing. Having no choice but to rely on Sergeant Kelley and his strikingly sweet protege, Violet must come face to face with the biggest threat of her life.

Man, you could not tell me how hyped I was for this book. But something was off and I should have saw it coming in the summary when stated Violet didn’t take the stalker seriously when people were dying around her -_-

I didn’t like Violet. Could not stand her. From the beginning of the book, she is yelling and complaining to her so called friends and not surprisingly enough it centers around boys. But this doesn’t deter me from continuing to read this book what does is the author’s play on diversity. Violet is half Native American; not only does her father (when he was alive) joke about Violet not being addicted to alcohol but her mother is an alcoholic. I get after losing a love one you go to something to numb the pain but the fact that Violet or her mom is Native American is only brought up to fall into a stereotype.

Violet is a mess throughout the entire book. She doesn’t have her priorities straight and she comes off more of a dizzy little girl than a growing Young Adult. She receives these text messages and yet doesn’t do anything at all until the last moment risking the lives of more than one person. She is told repeatedly to do something and yet nothing.

But that isn’t the end of it. Throughout the book Violet doesn’t call the girl missing her best friend. She is the person Violet feels most comfortable with and the girl she always run to but she isn’t her best friend. What bothered me the most out of this is Violet who claims to have no real attachment to certain people and complains so much about them puts them at the highest level she has to give.

Also Violet doesn’t know what love is if it bite her in the butt. That’s all I have to say about that.

Overall by chapter 8 this book was getting too much for me to sit through. The author gets points for writing about a topic that is extremely important but it was clicking with the characters.

2 Pickles

NetGalley Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Delacorte Books for Young Readers To Be Published Se[pt. 1, 2015  307 Pages
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
To Be Published Se[pt. 1, 2015
307 Pages
Madeline has a rare but famous disease in which she is allergic to the world and everything in it. She doesn’t leave her home and the only people she has most interaction with is her mother and nurse Carla.

This changes when the new neighbors move in and she sees a boy dressed in all black named Olly. At this moment, the world that Madeline didn’t mind passing by, has come to be all she wants.

When I first began reading this book all I could think of was the author took a page out of the John Green handbook and even though I felt that way towards the end of the book, this read may compare to John Green but Nicola Yoon created her own universe.

Madeline has a personality!!!! This is such a huge relief because in a lot of YA or New Adult, a sheltered child has no kind of personality and is completely naive. Madeline wasn’t. She has spunk, she was funny, intelligent, realistic. Honestly, I want a friend like her. I also loved the fact that the author is highlighting diversity without making it an issue of diversity. Madeline is Black and Japanese and the only time it is really mentioned is when Madeline is looking in the mirror. Not when her and Olly meet and not when a bunch of other things. I really liked the fact that Yoon didn’t make race an issue because that really isn’t a proper way to show about diversity in your writing.

All the characters played their parts extremely well as if it was a play. My emotions was all over the place, not only in this book but also with the characters. Everyone was believable. There was not an ounce of predictability in this book (mainly because I was thinking the worst).

The flow was perfect as well as the transitions. I liked the fact that the way this book switches from classic writing to IMs. Also the character development was on point.

Overall, I am going into a book coma.

5 Pickles*


*New favorite author*

NetGalley Review: A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Kensington Published Oct. 28, 2014 294 Pages
Published Oct. 28, 2014
294 Pages

At four years old Mili Rathod was promised to someone. It has been twenty years and she has not seen her husband since then But it isn’t a total lost because being married gave her the freedom to go to America for higher education and to ultimately become a modern wife, which is what Mili wants more than anything.

But little does she know her husband completely forgot about his marriage and belongs to someone else now. So he asks his brother famous Bollywood director Samir Rathod to find Mili and have her sign the divorce papers.

Samir goes to America blindly expecting Mili to fall for his any command but Mili isn’t foolish and Samir comes across someone he didn’t bargain for.

What a really cute book! I describe this book as cute because the predictable romance provided a lot more than predictable settings. Mili has a hot temper. Throughout most of the book almost everything pisses her off and what bothered me the most about this was she would’t even understand half of what is going on to even justify her anger. She doesn’t really show growth to me in this book.

However, Samir shows growth in the I won’t be a womanizer anymore nor a prick and I can show I have other talents then an amazing smile and writing abilities. In the beginning he was very childish in regards to his emotions to Mili but he was able to figure things out a bit better than Mili did.

What I liked about this book was the focus on Indian culture. From the food, the clothing, the movies, family structure and love this book shows a different viewpoint than what the media shows. I also love the fact that the author was able to make this entertaining on a level that didn’t focus on romance until the later half of the book.

I didn’t like how the romance came out of no where. To be honest Mili and Samir are constantly in friend mood I couldn’t see a romance and it felt out of place when it actually happened. Seeing Mili as a sexual woman threw me completely off.

Overall this was a good read.

2.5 Pickles


Book Review: A Bad Character by Deepti Kapoor

Knopf Published Jan. 20, 2015 256 Pages
Published Jan. 20, 2015
256 Pages

A young girl, 20 years old lives in New Delhi with her aunt after her mother dies and her father abandons her. 

One afternoon, at her favorite cafe, she meets an older man, who just relocated back to India from New York City.  Desperate for a new experience and a reason to live, she embarks on a love affair that breaks and shapes her.

This book is written in verse. So it is like reading snippets of events that happen in this young girls life. I had issues with this because it was boring. The girl really doesn’t have much personality which she explains why her man was able to create the perfect woman of his dreams.

She just takes it . . . anything that comes to her from him, her aunt or anyone, she just takes it. I get why the author went into that direction to show the influence this man has over her and how it ultimately shapes the woman she becomes.  I really liked this concept but the way the book was written was what ruin the story for me.

It was slow and it kept darting between the past and the present a little too much for me. I lost focus and the appeal of a young girl being influenced by an older man started to lose its affects.

Although I was bored, the author’s word flowed and they were beautiful. If there was more of a poetic focus to this instead of snippets then I would be falling in love with this read.

Overall, the plot, the setting and the pace wasn’t horrible and I like the story but it could have been better.

2 Pickles


Quick Five© with Crystal Chan

 Courtesy of Crystal Chan
Courtesy of Crystal Chan

Name: Crystal Chan

Who is Crystal? Half Chinese, Half White author making sure people know the hardship of growing up diverse.

Website: http://crystalchanwrites.com/

Book: Bird, All that I Can Fix

Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Diversity is an important part of literature. Although in the past, it hasn’t been pushed as much as it is today, it doesn’t make it any less important. If nothing else, history has proven that diversity, true and honest diversity, can change how people see and interact with the world around them.

Meet Crystal Chan, an author who makes it her life mission to not only write but to also speak for the less heard and remind people, children and adults, through diversity talks, how important it is to not be a jerk.

P.S. You can read the first chapter of Bird  here


Simon Pulse
Published June 12th 2018
320 Pages

How hard was it for you growing up as a mixed-race child in Wisconsin? Has those experiences in your childhood influenced your writing in any form?

It was hard, yes, growing up as the only mixed-race person I knew (besides my brother), probably the only mixed family in town. Everyone around us was white, all the TV actors were white, everyone in magazines and catalogs (!) were white, so I thought I was white, too. Except when we’d eat chicken feet at dim sum, or beef tripe, or friends would come over and see Chinese newspapers strewn around the house. Or when kids would call me “Chink”. Or Dad would speak Chinese on the phone to his family overseas. Or he’d talk about the importance of our last name, our family name. So it’s weird, I guess: we really stuck out but tried really, really hard to blend in.

And that worked better some times than others. My characters, unsurprisingly, want to be normal but can’t be. Because they aren’t: in Bird, Jewel is mixed race and her friend, John, is a transracial adoptee – in the middle of Iowa. I draw from my own experience a lot for this. And yet, especially as Bird has sold in eight countries around the world, I’m finding that there’s a universal story that Bird taps into, one that transcends race and culture, even, one that taps into the workings of the human heart. In that way, the publication of Bird has been really healing for me: I didn’t expect Bird to sell, much less connect with people in other countries. It’s really taught me that there is a universal, human experience, and that we’re all wrapped up in it somehow.

In your bio, you state you are a professional storyteller. What exactly makes a person a professional storyteller? Is it the fact that you share stories with those who are not family or because you share stories publicly?

In my twenties, I had a number of paid storytelling gigs performing at concerts and schools, and I loved it. I’m finding that life is coming back full circle, as I’m going into schools now talking about Bird, yes, but really, I’m just telling stories again.

 Atheneum Books for Young Readers Published Jan. 28, 2014 167 Pages
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Published Jan. 28, 2014
167 Pages

What inspired your debut novel “Bird”? Why did you choose to write a middle-grade novel?

I had just finished reading Keeper, by Kathi Appelt, and was sick at home from work. I had also finished my first manuscript and was fretting that I might not have another idea for another novel. Ever. I was thinking about this for hours, and finally I got so sick of myself that I said, Crystal, either you get up out of bed and write your next book, or you go to sleep because you’re sick. But you’re not going to lie in bed thinking about not writing your next book.

And then I started thinking more about Keeper, and how I loved that story; it’s about a girl who thought her mother turned into a mermaid and goes out to sea in search of her. And I thought, a girl who thinks her mother was a mermaid – that’s such a great idea – But what if… instead… there was a girl whose brother thought he was a bird, but then he jumped off a cliff because he thought he could fly … Then the voice of the protagonist, Jewel’s voice, started speaking and I got out of bed and wrote the first chapter.

What are you currently reading?

I have a book on hold for me at the library right now, and I’m dying to go pick it up: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. Rick Riordan was talking quite a bit about it, so I jumped on along.

Finally, how would you rate the success of your first novel?

Ooooh, that’s a tricky one, bringing up the “S” word! [laughing] Success is so slippery because it means such different things for different people, and if you base success on the market, it can turn on a dime. For me, I define success as the ability to tell the story I want to tell, and clearly, so people can follow along and be swept up by the story – but even more than that, as the author, did I stay true to my characters? Are they acting and reacting and loving and fearing with total authenticity? And I have to say, yes. Jewel and John and Grandpa and the gang are all their messy selves, come what may. And to that end, yes, I successfully told my story.