13 Jan 2015

Dive Into Diversity: Taking the Good with the Bad + January Link-Up


Taking the Good with the Bad

Diversity in books is important. It’s why We Need Diverse Books has blown up the way it has, spreading like wildfire. Readers have sorely noticed the lack of race, sexual orientation, culture, religion, persons of colour, disability (and more) being underrepresented and decided it was time for change. But like the saying goes, no press is bad press. Or is it?

We want more diverse books, and in hand with that, shelves that prove it; that burst with all kinds of stories to tell. But in truth, just like with any book, we have no way of controling how truthfully and authentically a book will be portrayed. We hope it’s written by someone who either has experience or background in that matter or by someone who’s well researched and informed. But having been a reader all my life, I’ve come to know that sometimes that isn’t always the case.

A point I’d like to bring up is what happens when we read a diverse title that unfortunately, for reasons, get’s things wrong? But more so, what if we don’t realise how off point it is? Not because of lack of smarts, but because of simply being uniformed. What sparked this thought was when I was adding a diverse title on Goodreads a few months back and I scrolled down to check out the reviews. In one review, someone with background on the subject had said how it was a cliche, offensive, stereotypical portrayal. But then there were also positive reviews, and 4-5 stars from a few friends who’d read the book. It was confusing. In the end, I ended up adding it, but it made me very cautious and wary of whether I’d even give it a go or not. Thinking about it now, I think I will. Not because I think the reviewer is wrong, but because I’d like to read it for myself and see what I think. It’s not a culture or religion I’m familiar with, so I plan to equip myself with a site that was recommended and to give that a read, too.

Diversity is good, in all shapes and forms. But it’s even more important to make sure it’s written authentically, with care and knowledge. And I suppose the only way we can make that happen is to say we want more diversity; that we demand it. The truth is, whatever the story, diverse or not, there will always be a book that sometimes doesn’t get things right or offends or infuriates or puts its foot in it and chokes on it or makes a mockery. So what can we do? Firstly, discuss and talk about the books that don’t get it right and why. If someone is interested in one of those books, at least it will make them aware and they'll know that maybe it isn't the best representation available. Secondly, it’s our job as readers to let the amazing, magical books shine; for them to get the spotlight they rightly deserve. And another thing: to be aware and welcoming of what we aren’t familiar of. Read and enjoy a book on a specific matter ? Don’t just stop at one, read another and another. Or if you have questions and want to know more, research. Become informed. So with that: bring forth; share; chat; recommend and celebrate the books that get it right. Not only do they deserve our voice, they need it.


Hi there! Dive Into Diversity participant? Don't forget to check out Rather Be Reading's awesome post! If you review a diverse book or write a diversity post throughout January, link up! Simple as that. If you haven't joined the challenge and would like to know more, check out this post. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, tweet or email me. Happy reading!

12 Jan 2015

Never Forget: Reading is for Fun

In 2011 I started blogging. For me. Because I loved reading; the thought of having my own little space on the internet to chat about the books I read made me giddy; I wanted to expand and take the next step in a hobby (yes, hobby) I’d done all my life. I’d wanted more, and I got it. In spades. Bookish friends who understood and related with my bookish problems. Being able to chat with awesome, kind authors and tell them how much I loved their book. Emailing with publishers and not being able to get over the fact you're emailing with publishers. Having the opportunity to review books, read titles early and squee'ing in excitement.

But along the long, I somehow got caught up in it all and I started blogging for others. I don’t know how it happened, but it did. I now blog for me (or at least try to. Sometimes you fall of the wagon) and it was Ashley's (@ Nose Graze) post that finally got to me. I was told by bloggers for years: blog for you, not for others. But it finally finally clicked when I read that post.

To get off track for a second, let me tell you about my current book: See, it’s a pretty good book, I like it, nothing against it, but I’m just not invested in it. I haven’t read it in days, and it’s not pulling me back; calling my name to be picked up; or on my mind when I’m not reading it. True signs of a good book. Which yes, not all books can be winners, but why am I trying to read a book I'm either not enjoying or excited about? It’s a review ARC, which makes things a little more complicated, but still. I did not start blogging to review titles or struggle through books, all for the sake of a review. Yes, when I requested it I was looking forward to it. Now that I’ve started reading, I’m not. I’ve given it a good go and as I state in my ‘review policy’ (which is currently MIA, but this is the gist if it), I reserve the right not to finish (therefore not review) a book if I’m not enjoying it. Does that still apply because it’s me doing the requesting and me not being the requestee? I think so.

And then Jen posted this and it hit me:

What am I doing? Put the book down and go pick up something else. Not enjoying that either? Try another. And again and again. Do this until you find a book that bring you happiness and makes you remember why you read. Or better yet, makes your mind clear, too busy with story and words to think, but a full heart, because, boy am I loving this book! As I said before, not all books can be winners, but that doesn’t mean time should be wasted on books we're not enjoying. Because in the words of a wise owl (oh, wait, that’s me!):

"I don't read to blog.”

So before I go on my merry way, I herby pledge to:
  1. limit review requests (which I already do, but I’ll take even more care before I request). Reviewing books and ARCs is a privilege, but it’s no fun when you’re not into the book. If it’s a book I've bought or borrowed, with no review hanging over your head, it’s much easier to put down and move on.
  2. DNF a book without guilt (I’ve gotten a lot better at DNF’ing, but still, sometimes it’s hard to do)
  3. read for myself - not authors, publishers, bloggers, readers.
  4. always remember I read because I enjoy it. Life’s too short to waste your time on a bad book.

8 Jan 2015

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
January 8th, 2015 · Penguin
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC
Page Count: 400
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister's recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it's unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the 'natural wonders' of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It's only with Violet that Finch can be himself - a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who's not such a freak after all. And it's only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet's world grows, Finch's begins to shrink. 
I have lots of thoughts about All the Bright Places. Interesting; mixed; muddled ones. First of all, it originally didn't catch my eye. What finally drew me in was the early hype, but mostly, the fact that it’s being optioned for a movie. That tends to catch my attention. In the end, while I didn't regret reading it, it didn't win me over like it has for so many others. One thing it did however, was make me cry. Despite my average overall-feelings, there’s something to be said about books that can bring you to tears.

As for the mixed thoughts I was talking about - I found the beginning slow and I felt really disconnected from it. It felt like I was sitting on the outside, looking in, and this really prevented me from sinking my teeth into it. It did pick up for me later on in the book, but even then, I did find the pacing to be off at times. There were some parts that grabbed me, but a lot of the time, I felt like I was drifting from it, and all I wanted to do was get back to those moments; the ones that caught off guard in surprise.
“It's my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.”
It was only halfway through I actually remembered I was reading from two POV's. I think that's a good thing? For me, multiple POV's usually don't work. I end up liking one more than the other or the voices are hard to distinguish. For me, that wasn't the case here.

All things aside, something I really loved was how honest All the Bright Places was. I loved it for its truth; for the heartbreakingly, real way it dealt with depression and how it tackled suicide, a conversation that can be hard to broach, but needs to be had. Not a new favourite, but like all books, it boils to subjectivity and the fact, that sometimes the gut just knows. However, I can see why its gathered so many fans already and I think this will speak to a lot of readers.

*No rating, at least for now. I don't feel like rating out of 5 stars anymore and I can't decide on what I'd rate it anyway*

6 Jan 2015

2015 Debuts I Need In My Life, Stat!

Top Ten Tuesday is held by The Broke and the Bookish and involves lists and books, two of my favourites. Today's topic is one I'm super excited to talk about - 2015 debuts I'm anticipating!

I love debuts - reading, supporting and chatting about them. Hence my feature I created last year, Debut Delirium, which I hope to get up and running again very soon! For todays TTT, I’m here to chat about some of my most anticipated debs. There’s quite a few, so of course, this isn’t all of them. If I wrote that post, we'd be here all year. One thing I’m very pleased about, is that a good amount of these are diverse titles. Can’t wait!

*D = diverse title. 
First up, Aussie debuts: 

The Flywheel by Erin Gough (D)
Aussie YA and a non-issue LGBT? Sold x infinity.

Pieces of Sky by Trinity Doyle
Over the years, I’ve chatted with Trinity on Twitter and become Goodreads friends. I always love hearing about the books she’s reading or loved, so you bet I can’t wait that I finally get to read her book. Contemporary OzYA = my heart.

You’re the Kind of Girl I Write Songs About by Daniel Herborn
This sounds like a lovely contemporary. Plus, there’s a music aspect! Oh, and the cover is so dreamy. *eyes the pretty*

Risk by Fleur Ferris 
This has such a creepy, hooking, can’t-stop-reading vibe to it and it sounds amazing! This isn’t up on Goodreads yet, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for it. In the meantime, get excited and read all about it here. (If you’d like to add it when it goes up on GR, leave me your Twitter handle @ and I’ll try to let you guys know about it.)

(While you're here, go check out this fab list on 2015 OzYA releases. So many to anticipate!)

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (D)
I love the sound of this; such a unique, interesting premise.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (D)
Everyone needs more adorable, sweet love stories in their life, especially gay, Oreo ones.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold
I feel so in the dark about this one! I find the blurb to be a complete mystery, the reviews are glowing and I just need to know what happens ASAP, OK? OK.

I’ve yet to read a character who’s intersex and I’m so glad that changes this year. (Would you believe I went to type intersex and it underlined it red? You bet I made my computer learn the word.)

Written In the Stars by Aisha Saeed (D)
I’ve never read a book about an arranged marriage before, so I’m glad that’s going to change in 2015. I love reading about things not yet brushed upon in YA. More of this, please!

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee (D)
I’m not the biggest historical fan. In fact, it kind of scares me. But I heard this is fast/well-paced, plus diversity! cowboys! swoon!

Denton Little’s Deathgate by Lance Rubin 
A humorous book on death? Sounds interesting. I always love it when books make me laugh out loud and I’m hoping this book does just that!

And one I've already read and have made it my mission of 2015 to get you all to read it:

The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell (D)
This book, you guys. I’ve had the pleasure and misfortune (the latter because it broke my heart. But in the words of JG, "It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.” Yes, indeed.) of reading this already and all I can say is: read it (and weep). It’s incredible, moving, heartbreaking and a must-read. RTC later this month.

The upcoming 2015 debuts look fabulous and I'm sad I couldn't mention them all! Hopefully I'll do another post and highlight more later on in the year, but if not, I'll be sure to Tweet about them! 

3 Jan 2015

Aussie Pubs Chat 2014 Faves and 2015 Books to Anticipate

You've heard about my 2014 favourites and some of the 2015 books I'm anticipating. Now? It's time to hear from the publishers, the people who help bring the books we love to life! Today you'll hear from Amanda from Harper Collins Australia (HP) and Felicity from Penguin Teen Australia (PTA). Beware: flailing and teasing ahead!

Oh, and you'll notice I butt into their interview a few times, where RW is shown. It stands for Rambunctious Waffle or Really, Wally? or possibly something boring like Reading Wishes. Take your pick.
Favourite book you read in 2014? 

Amanda (HP): Published by us: Isla and the Happily Ever After. And another book I loved was Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas. 

{RW: I still haven't read Isla, but I hope to soon. I can't believe I haven't read it yet. Post to come on that soon, explaining my weirdness in depth.}

Felicity (PTA): That’s so not fair! I could no sooner choose a favourite star in the heavens (Ever After movie quote drop!). If we HAD too, Blood of Olympus!!! But Afterworlds, Side Effects May Vary, The Infinite Sea and so many more!!! From another publisher, it’s no secret how much we LOVED Isla and the Happily Ever After. 

{RW: More Isla love! Thanks to the PTA event I attended in 2014, Felicity sold me on starting the Percy Jackson series (which I got a copy of for Christmas!) and The 5 Wave (which I still need to get my hands on. I went out to grab a copy at the end of the event, but they were all sold out.).}

Favourite Aussie title you read this year?

Amanda (HP): YA: Disruption by Jessica Shirvington

Adult: To Love a Sunburnt Country by Jackie French and Big a Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Felicity (PTA): Masquerade, a staggeringly underrated awesome YA from debut Aussie author Kylie Fornasier. Why more people haven’t read this !?!

Best event (you hosted/attended) or fave bookish moment of 2014?

Amanda (HP): We hosted the first BTCYA event at the HarperCollins offices back in October. It was basically a pizza party for book nerds, we had such a great time fangirling with everyone and were so excited to do a world exclusive early release of Corruption by Jessica Shirvington.

Felicity (PTA): This is super hard because aside from #PTALive we had the very special Vampire Academy event in Sydney with both lead actresses and then the TFiOS Marathon tour which was awesome.

And last but not least: can you tell us about some of the upcoming titles set to release from your publisher in 2015? What books should we be adding to our lists and which are you most anticipating?

Amanda (HP): I just finished The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak (out in May), which is extremely fun. (Imagine if Hermione and Shaggy from Scooby Doo were let loose on ComicCon.) I can't wait for you guys to read it.

Next year, there will also be new books from Sarah Ayoub, Claudia Gray, Cynthia Hand and Danielle Paige as well as a debut from  Australian author Daniel Herborn called You're the Kind of Girl I Write Songs About. Plus some exciting releases which I can't talk about yet but are incredibly awesome. (sorry not sorry for the teasing) 

{RW: You're the Kind of Girl I Write Songs About sounds amazing! Add it to GR and read the blurb here.}

Felicity (PTA): All the Bright Places will be the book everyone is talking about for the first six months of the year. Heartbreakingly, staggeringly beautiful and Jennifer Niven tells a brave and honest story without compromise. The Ruby Circle, the final Bloodlines Book – WE CAN’T. And loads MORE!!! 

{RW: Check out PTA's 2015 release schedule. Some great upcoming titles to watch out for!}

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Amanda and Felicity! Sorry not sorry if you're TBR is now overflowing even more than normal. This is just the bookworm burden you must carry. If you'd like to hear more about these ladies and their pubs books, check out the links below!

Harper Collins: Facebook / Twitter --- Penguin Teen Australia: Facebook Twitter

1 Jan 2015

Hello 2015: What's Ahead and Challenge Chat

Happy new year! Can you believe it’s 2015? It sounds so - big. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes us to mentally switch from 2014 to 2015 and stop writing the wrong date. For some reason, I think it's already programmed into my head. Time will tell. I wanted to share some of my blogging goals for the coming year and the challenges in which I plan to take part. And here they are:
4. Continue Debut Delirium:
I started this feature last year and then things got in the way and I didn’t continue with it. I plan to bring it back, bigger and better, and run int throughout the year. Stay tuned!

3. Tweet more about books:
I had fun with the #2015yareads tag last night, where everyone shared upcoming books we’re excited for. I’d like to do this more, especially since we can’t read all the books. Whether it’s one I’m currently reading or a book I’m anticipating (like a Waiting on Wednesday, in tweet form).

2. Continue hosting Twitter chats:
Last (I went to write ‘this year’. Not in 2015 mode just yet!) year I held two Twitter chats: one for the release of Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler and most recently, I led the December #15chat that connected bloggers/readers and debuts authors.

And the number 1, most important thing:
To blog for myself. I’ve blogged for four years (woah?) and when you’ve been around for that long, it’s easy to lose track of why you’re here. I’ve been told time and time again: blog for you. But it only finally sunk in when I read this post by Ashley @ Nose Graze. Do - post - read - what you want and never lose sight of who you blog for: YOU.

Last year I didn't participate in any challenges (except Goodreads); this year I plan to participate in quite a few others! 

First off: I’m setting my own DIY/Must-Read-Soon Challenge, which I did last year as well. Books I've been meaning to read, but haven't got to yet. Keeping it to six books to start off with (I’ll see how I’m doing later on):

Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding - I loved Spaldings’ debut and then I read Estelle @ Rather Be Reading’s review/interview for Ink. Can’t wait!

Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble - I should’ve read this many moons ago. I promised in my comment to my friend, who’s review convinced me to pick it up, that I’d read it ASAP. Oh, in 2012? HA.

The 5 Wave by Rick Yancey - I’ve been wanting to read this ever since the Penguin Live event held earlier in the year. Sounds so good!

Fault Line by Christa Desir - So many reasons to read.

Every Breath by Ellie Marney - I need this like air. Too bad I can’t find a copy. *weeps* The hunt continues!

Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty - I’ve heard all the things about this Aussie YA and need to read it like yesterday, especially after Becky Albertalli rec’d it to me.

As you know, I’m co-hosting Dive Into Diversity with Rather Be Reading! We’re really excited about it and hope you are, too. ICYMI: it’s a challenge supporting diversity in lit. You can read more about it and sign-up here. I’m planning to read at least one diverse title a month. Have you signed up yet?
Dive Into Diversity Reading Challenge

Debut Author Challenge (DAC) @ That Artsy Reader Girl (formerly held by The Story Siren)
You guys know I’m a huge supporter of debuts, so this should come as no surprise. The challenge is to read "12 or more middle grade, young adult, and new adult debuts this year.” Looking forward to taking part in this again; it's been a while! Fun fact: this was the first ever challenge I signed up to.

LGBT Challenge hosted by Cayce @ Niji Feels
Another thing I love to read and support: LGBT books. Signing up was pretty much a no-brainer, plus it’ll also have some crossover with Dive Into Diversity, so that work’s out well. I’m aiming for level YA DEVOURER: 10+ YA LGBT books.

Australian Women Writers (AWW) Challenge 
"The 2015 Australian Women Writers Challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women." The challenge: "to read and review books by Australian women throughout the year.” I aiming for Franklin: read 10 – if reviewing, review at least 6. This is perfect since I want to read more OzYA. Can't wait!

*UPDATE: I also couldn't resist the 365 Days of YA Reading Challenge, so I'm also signing up to that! It's hosted by Sarah @ What Sarah Read and Kate @ Literary Kate, inspired by Epic Reads' 365 Days of YA info graphic.  The great thing is, it's a laid-back, custom-made challenge! I'm not sure what I'll be reading yet, but it'll probably be from the 'book a day' (lots I still need to catch up on) or the current 'month' or 'season' section. Will keep you updated using HS #365DaysofYA.* (If  you haven't already, go take a good look at the graphic! The detail, effort and books-galore is fab!)

Wishing you a fabulous 2015! Let me know what you have planned for this year (blogging or otherwise!), your goals and challenges,  or, if you like to go with the flow: what's first up on your TBR? 

24 Dec 2014

Merry *insert whatever you celebrate* To You & See You In 2015

Can you believe it's Christmas Eve? I sure can't. I mean, I still need to watch Home Alone! Anyways, I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas! And to those who don't celebrate Christmas, Happy Chanukah to you and/or I wish you health and happiness until I see you in the new year (and always)!

I'll be taking a short break, so I'll see you back here in 2015. But I'll still be on Twitter annoying you all so don't think you're out of the woods.

Don't forget to sign up to Dive Into Diversity (2015 fun! support diversity in lit!) and check out my End of Year Survey (I chat books! favourites!).

And to end the year on a right note: a GIF. A Home Alone GIF. You're welcome!
Found here

22 Dec 2014

End of Year Book Survey - 2014 Ed.

Welcome to my End of Year Book Survey, hosted by the fabulous Jamie @ Perpetual Page-Turner! I totally hadn't planned on taking part in this as I felt I hadn't read enough to answer it decently. But I wanted a way to reflect and chat about my favourite books and here I am. FYI, I've adapted it to suit me and so I won't be answering all the questions. Still - fun!
Best books you read in 2014? (I was supposed to choose one book, but instead I chose five. Oh well!)
- Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood - Refreshing, honest and awesome book, oh how I loved you! 
- To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - I had super high hopes and this book didn't disappoint. So sweet and lovely, can't wait for #2!
- Open Road Summer by Emery Lord - So glad I was finally compelled to pick this up. Lives up to the hype!
- 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen - I get why this isn't some peoples cup of tea, but it was mine. It made me think about slut-shaming and the vicious cycle of it.
- The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell - My favourite kind of book - thoughtful. As you are going to learn very soon, I loved this A LOT. Add it to your TBR, stat! (RTC in January.)

Most surprising book you read in 2014? 
- Where She Went by Gayle Forman - I wasn't a fan of If I Stay, so I was skeptical when I was told to check this out. I went in with no expectations, and ended up loving it! I'm so glad people told me to give Went a go and that I gave it a chance otherwise I would have missed out on something special.

- The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn - I got this Aussie YA out from the library in preparation for a book event in January. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. And I especially hadn’t expected to cry. Looking forward to Zorns' sophomore novel.

Most unputdownable book of the year?
The Summer I Wasn't Me by Jessica Verdi - I'm not a fast reader, but I read this in a day. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down.

Best 2014 debut you read?
There are a few I could mention here, but since this book can always use some more love: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Nil by Lynne Mattoon - This book was not only entertaining, but the vivid setting was amazing to picture in my head.

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer - This was such a fun book. It was light and it made me grin a lot. I think it was because I related with the awkwardness so much. And awkward is funny. Oh, is it!

Book That Crushed Your Soul? // Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book of 2014? // That Made You Cry in 2014? // Favourite cover of a book you read in 2014? // Most memorable character of 2014? (Yes, I'm awarding all these to the one book. That is correct!)

And (all) the awards goes to… The Last Leaves Faliing by Sarah Benwell. This book - wow. I'll never forget the main character or how much it made me think and question or the amount of tissues I went through. The US covers wins at life. It's gorgeous!

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?   
I've really enjoyed reading and supporting Aussie blogs this year. Most recently - Jess @ My Reading Dress, who seems to be my twin/kindred spirit in many ways. She's lovely!

Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?    
17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen.

Best bookish moment in 2014?
Discovering the awesomeness of Becky Albertalli. Oh, the love!

Looking Ahead

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015? 
Every Breath by Ellie Marney. I'm coming for you, book!

A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
In case you didn't get the memo: the love is strong for The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell.

What were your best bookish highlights and favourites of 2014? Feel free to leave a link to your post/survey or tell me in the comments! Have I convinced you on any of these titles? *wink wink*

17 Dec 2014

Dive Into Diversity: Challenge Announcement & Sign-Up

Earlier this year, the much needed, very awesome campaign for #WeNeedDiverseBooks took off in April and since then, it has been inspiring change in readers, bloggers and authors alike, who are demanding more diversity. And in the past month, through the money raised through Indiegogo, it's only further proven the fact just how passionate people are about this; I am, too.

Inspired by the campaign, one thing led to another and soon I had an idea - to host a diverse reading challenge in 2015. I was beyond excited, but I also knew I'd need some help to run it. So I reached out to one of my favourite blogs and co-blogger team, Estelle and Magan from Rather Be Reading. It turns out, they also liked the idea!

And so, Dive into Diversity was born and the rest is history.

(Also, special thanks to Rachel from Hello, Chelly for creating the button and banner!)

The challenge:
We want to keep this stress-free and fun, so all we challenge you to do is read and review diverse books in 2015. However many is up to you. But remember: the more you read, review, discuss, the better!

Books that count:
As for what counts as diverse, we like this definition taken from the We Need Diverse Books tumblr: "We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities."

How can I discover books to read throughout the challenge?
Check out this Diversity in YA/MG list or my diverse shelves:

Diversity --- QUILTBAG --- Racial, POC, Cultural

As for what I recommend? 3 of my favourite diverse books of 2014:

The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell - Japanese teenage; ALS disease; male MC. Sounds pretty diverse, right? Such a beautiful, thoughtful, heartbreaking book. This releases next year and boy, get ready to hear me talk about this one a lot. (Enter to win a preorder of this below!)

Jasper Jones by Criag Silvey - This book has YA/Adult crossover (I found my copy in the A section of the library) and the secondary character, who the book is actually named after, is Aboriginal. A wonderfully woven mystery with depth and character. Super cool fact: the author is from Western Australia (where I live) and is set in places I know of.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - When I finished this book, I hugged it. It was just so enjoyable and sweet. It was also interesting to read about holding on to traditions and your culture, when it isn't always easy to. (my review)

Why join the challenge?
Why not? Not only is it going to be a fun, but it's going to support diverse books. Other cool things you can expect throughout the year: diverse posts, giveaways, maybe some challenges, lots of interaction.

How do I sign up?
First off, thanks for joining! To sign-up and show your participation:
- Write a post for your blog. In this post, link back to this sign-up post, include the button or banner and some of the books you look forward to reading for the challenge. If you don't have a blog, no worries! You can sign up with Youtube, Goodreads, Twitter and so on. Just remember you'll need a place to post reviews (Goodreads, Amazon, ect).
- Add your sign-up post in the linky below. This is a must to be eligible for any giveaways held throughout the year. 
- If you want to show your participation, feel free to grab the button to display on your blog. (optional)

I've signed up. Now what?
1. Come January, start reading diverse books!
2. Once you've written your diverse book review, add it to the monthly linky, which will post in the first week of every month.
3. Don't forget to use #DiversityDive to chat, share book recs, let others know what you're currently reading and more on Twitter.
4. Have fun!

Important challenge details:
- Dive into Diversity runs from January 1st, 2015 to 31st of December 2015.
- You can sign-up anytime throughout the year.
- Any book format is allowed - hardback, paperback, ebook, ect.

Dive Into Diversity Reading Challenge

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Who's ready to Dive into Diversity? 

16 Dec 2014

How I Fared My Must-Read-Soon Reading Challenge

I decided not to partake in any reading challenges this year, but I did make my own (kind-of/semi) challenge of sorts. A list of must-read-soon books and some authors I wanted to finally read.  I talked about it here, along with some other reading goals. All up, I did tick off some books, but mostly, I failed. And hey, I’m okay with that. There’s next year. 

But let’s chat what I did get to finally read:

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales - This was probably the most hyped book of 2013 and no freaking wonder. I loved it.

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey - I’d heard really great things about this from fellow Aussie readers and am glad to report I really liked it. It’s a book I’d definitely re-read and an author I’ll definitely be checking out in the future. Plus, there’s a movie in the works for next year and I plan to drag my whole family to see it.

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg - I enjoyed this, and especially loved the way it dealt with labels.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman - In my goal post, I said: I wasn’t a fan of If I Stay, but apparently I just have to read this one. I’ve been told it’s better than the first. The verdict? I’m so happy to report back: I loved it! Goes to show that even if you’re not a fan of a book, doesn’t mean you won’t like the next one in the series or by the same author.

Courtney Summers: I finally read one of her books this year and unfortunately can’t say I’m a fan (yet!), but I’m going to chalk it it down to it not being the right book for me. I will be checking out her others, specifically the one I wanted to read in the first place: This is Not A Test.

I did not read Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble or books by A.S. King, Maggie Stiefvater or E. Lockhart, but I do know now own copies! I call this a step in the right direction.

I also ticked off a few either for the time being or for good. Some because the book or voice wasn’t for me; others because my brain wasn’t up to it (I’m looking at you, fantasy.)

My original challenge was nearly 30 books and that didn’t even include to-read-authors, so considering I kind of sucked at reading this year, I didn’t do half bad. I really enjoyed setting my own chilled out challenge and I’ll definitely be doing it again next year. I found it really makes you examine your TBR and assess which books and authors you’d like to read soon. And as someone who has 1000+ books on her Goodreads account, that is a good thing to do every now and then. And I'm sure many of you will agree.

Did you set yourself a challenge this year? Reading or otherwise? How did you fare? If not, would you do a DIY challenge next year? What about other 2015 reading challenges? Oh? And if you like things of the challenging sorts, keep your eyes peeled...