Rick Riordan Presents

dark prophecy Last year Rick Riordan announced that he was starting a new imprint to highlight diverse authors and diverse stories.  His mythology based stories have made him famous.  So far he has tackled Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Norse mythology but he often gets asked about exploring other culture’s mythologies as well.  Being a while male, he has wisely said that he was not the right person the write about Mayan or Indian mythology however it did spark him to start his own imprint so marginalized authors can write about their own cultures. It was just announced the first three titles under Rick’s new imprint.  Yoon Ha Lee, Roshani Chokshi and Jennifer Cervantes will author the first books.  Yoon Ha Lee’s book Dragon Pearl will take on stories from Korean Mythology.  Roshani Chokshi’s series, Aru Shah and the End of Time, is based off of Indian Mythology and Jennifer Cervantes’s book Storm Runner will have inspiration from Mayan Mythology.  All three sound interesting and will be published in 2018.  Adding all three to my to-read list.

EDIT:  Rick went to his Tumblr page to give more details on his Imprint, his role and involvement with the books and more information on the authors and more indepth synopsis of Dragon Pearl, Aru Shar and the End of Time, and Storm Runner. I highly recommend checking out if nothing else for a tiny glimpse into the publishing world.

Review: The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon

the sun is also a star If you are not immediately charmed, heartbroken and uplifted after reading this then you should check your pulse. This is the perfect blend of romance, coming of age story and social commentary.  It centers around a day in the life of Natasha and Daniel, two teenagers on the cusp of major changes in their lives.  It also touches on the minor interactions that seem meaningless at the time but how that connection could and some times do change someone’s life.  Natasha and her family are illegal immigrants from Jamaica who are being deported at 10 o’clock that night.  She is trying to stop their deportation when she meets Daniel, a Korean-American boy who has the day off so he can prepare and meet for an interview for admission to Yale. From the moment they meet there is an immediate connection.  They both share the immigrant experience of being from two places at the same time.  Even, though Daniel was born in the US, he is often assumed to be from someplace else.  He’s never Korean enough or American enough.  Natasha was born in Jamaica but now has lived most of her life in the US.  Her friends are here, her future is here she doesn’t want to leave.  When they meet though, their futures couldn’t be different.  Daniel’s life has already been planned out for him while Natasha’s is now unsure.  Daniel’s parents are dead set on him and his brother to have a better life then they did, which means, Yale and becoming a doctor and marrying a Korean girl.  Natasha, was planning on going to college and was going to be a data scientist and now all of that is uncertain.  Anyway, they meet and while they don’t know anything about each other they know they have a special bond from the beginning.  Daniel is a poet and romantic.  He’s convinced that their meeting was fate.  That they are meant to be.  Natasha is a scientist and a realist.  She doesn’t believe in love is real or anything that can’t be scientifically proven.  As Natasha tries to kill time before she meets with an immigration lawyer Daniel convinces her to spend time with him to prove that love can be scientifically proven and so they go allover New York, getting to know each other and becoming first friends and then falling in love.  They meet each other’s parents and face each other demons.  While the story focuses on them, we get glimpses into the lives of the people around them.  From their own family but the random people that they briefly come in contact with.  The security guard that scans Natasha’s bag, the secretary of the lawyer.  They all paint a picture of how we all relate to each other and how our decisions big and small can change a complete strangers life.  It’s something to think about.  It was talks about how racism presents itself in other communities.  Daniel’s Korean parents own a black hair care store in Harlem but when his father and his brother meets Natasha they treat her in their shop.  They own a shop that caters to black shopper and yet they can’t even hide their own negative biases.  This was a beautiful novel that not only tells a perfect story of two kids struggling to figure out who they are while dealing with the forces outside of their control but also doesn’t shy from taking on tough issues of racism, immigration, depression and even family.  You need to read this book is all I’m saying.

What I’m Reading Now: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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I bought this book as part of our Diverse Narrators Reading Challenge.  Reading the synopsis and some of the reviews, I think this book is going to be relevant to what’s going on in our country.  I’m really excited about jumping in.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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Happy International Women’s Day!  We at Stacks have been lucky to have so many strong women in our lives to support us and make us better.  We also have read some amazing women authors as well.  Thank you to all the women who have come before us and here’s to all the women that will come after us!  Let’s continue to support and inspire each other and there is nothing we can’t accomplish!

Discussion: How do you define diversity in your reading?

So question for you.  As you know, here at Stacks are trying to broaden our horizons by seeking out stories, narratives and authors from diverse voices.  Last year we created our Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Reading challenge and we had mixed results.  I think we both only completed half of the challenge.  This year we decided to split up our challenge and focus on different aspects of the our original Challenge. Kate is leading our Diverse Authors Challenge and I’m spearheading our Diverse Narrators Challenge.  So far this year I have read 10 books and I have read some diverse narrators from Essun in The Fifth Season, Ms. Marvel and Frangie and Rainey from Silver Stars.  I’m starting to read King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard, who has described her main character, Mare as a mix race (white/Latinx).  I’m looking at my challenge and wondering about characters like Mare and Essun.  They are both described as olive or dark skinned respectively.  They are not the traditional white heroines that we have come to identify in fantasy and well fiction in general but they do not reside in  our world.  They live in a fantasy worlds that the authors created on their own.  In the case of Mare though, she lives in a world that came out of the ruins of the US after years of wars and natural disasters. Technically, Norta is the US but hundreds of the years in the future.  So can we count them in our challenge?  Is it cheating?  Or is it okay since they represent people and cultures in our world.  They may not be African American or Latina in the sense that we define them but they represent that narrative.  Women of Color can look to these characters and others like them and see themselves in them and isn’t that in the spirit of our challenge?  So dear readers out there, how do you define diversity in our reading?  Are strict in definition or if a character is define as “dark skinned” or “olive skinned” or anything but “fair skinned” as a diverse characters?

Let’s discuss this, sound off in the comments below.

Diverse Authors, Diverse Lives Challenge

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Our first challenge of the year will be led by me, Kate! It is a challenge focused on content creators. We give you, the Diverse Authors, Diverse Lives Challenge! There are fifteen books in this challenge and they are all author focused. The books can be either fiction or non-fiction. I will be leading this challenge because I tend to read both fiction and non-fiction, so it makes sense for me to focus on authors and not on characters.

 

So, if you are looking to read books from many different points of view and you’re interested on exploring some new authors this year, please consider taking this challenge!

New Year, New Challenge!

Last year, Beth and I started the Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Challenge. Our original challenge is made up of three mini challenges containing ten books each. There is an author challenge, a character challenge, and a medium challenge.

It turns out, if you can’t double count things, that this is not the easiest challenge to complete. I, at least, failed to complete it. This year, Beth and I decided to do something a little different. So, we’re going to have two challenges, one that Beth is going to lead and one that I am going to lead. They will be announced this week. We’re both very excited about it. We hope that you will be excited, too, and will join one or both of us on a reading adventure!

Review: Ms. Marvel No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

ms-marvel You don’t need to be a girl, Muslim or a superhero to identify with Kamala Khan.  She’s your typical teenage girl living in the world of social media and SAT’s.  She wants to fit in with the kids at school but also please her family.  She wants to be her own person and not be defined by her gender, race or religion.  She wants to make a difference and help people and when she is given that chance she jumps right in.  Kamala lives in Jersey City, NJ and loves the Avengers. She even writes fan-fiction about them, which I would really love to read. Are those anywhere online?  Like all parents, her parents want the best of her and to them that means that she follows her Islamic teachings and listen to her parents.  Kamala is a girl fof both worlds, she is a Muslim but also an American teenager.  She wants to go to parties and do normal teenage things.  One night she sneaks out of her house to go to a party when a mysterious fog rolls in.  Soon Kamala is having a vision of Captain Marvel and she finds out that she has morphed into Carol Danvers old identity of Ms. Marvel.  A not so nice girl from the party is in trouble she saves here.  When the brother of his best friend, Bruno, gets into some big trouble Kamala uses her new powers to help.  Bruno is also a genius and just so happened to developed  a new compound that makes her clothes stretch when she does.  To say that Kamala is likable would be an understatement.  When she gains her powers she doesn’t shy away from them but embraces them.  Just like her heroes, she doesn’t hesitate to help those in need.  Even when of those is the girl that just made fun of her earlier in the evening.  I’ve already bought the other volumes in this series.  I can’t wait to read them.

What I’m Also Reading Now: Ms. Marvel No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

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B&N had a sale on Marvel and DC comics, buy 2 get the 3rd one free. So, I got this one, the latest collection of Black Panther and Vol. 1 of A Force.  Super excited to read about new and different heroes!

Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives 2016

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Kate and I have given updates on our Challenges and well we are not doing as well as both of would like.  We want to know, dear readers, how many of you attempted our Diverse Stack, Diverse Lives Reading Challenge?  With only 31 days left how many books have you read and how many more do you need to complete yours?  We are thinking of doing this again next year but changing the focus to only on sub-challenge instead of three.  We are open to suggestions.  What should we add to next years challenge?  What should we leave off?  Let us know how we can make next year’s challenge more accessible while still helping us all reach our goals of diversifying our reading lists.