Open Discussion: Token or Not?

Happy Saturday, Reader Friends!

I know it’s been awhile since we had an open discussion topic. Today’s topic came to me as I recalled a conversation I had with a writer friend. We were talking of diversity and the need to add more people of color to books, not because it’s a trend, but because we live in a diverse world. My friend added a secondary character that is a poc. Not for the sake of just adding a poc but that’s how the character was in her mind’s eye. So it begs the question, if you have a secondary character who is a poc and the main character is Caucasian, is the secondary character a token or not?

Personal opinions are fine but please explain why you feel this way. What makes a character a token? Is it simply their isolated state of being the only person of color or is there more to it?

Let’s talk!

*Please keep the discussion respectful.

 

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Book Review: No One Ever Asked

Happy Friday, Reader Friends!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages. I’m thrilled to share my review of Katie Ganshert’s No One Ever Asked. This poignant story travels three different women. It’s a must read so be sure to add it  to your TBR pile!


About the Book

The Blurb: “When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray–the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser–faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams.

Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated.

Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones–the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into.

Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?”

Links: Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads


My thoughts:

Wow. Just wow. I knew when I picked up this book that Katie Ganshert would take me on an emotional journey that would challenge my intellect as well as my mind. And wow, oh wow, Ms. Ganshert did NOT disappoint.

No One Ever Asked follows the journey of three very different women, or are they? Camille Gray seems to have it all and there were moments where she made me cringed. I’ve met women like her and have been on my guard around women like her. By the end of the novel, I wanted to give her a hug.

Jen Covington, bless her heart, I wanted to give her a hug the entire time I read her story. She went through so much and bottled her emotions, something I can completely identify with. I ached for her to let the fear go and embrace love and hope.

Anaya Jones. As the only African American of the group, I identified with her right away. It wasn’t just the race that had me empathizing with Anaya, it was her life experiences. Man, oh man, did Ms. Ganshert bring me back to the days where I went to the beauty shop every 2 weeks. I felt like I was right in there when those scenes unfolded. The way Anaya was cautious about how she responded, careful to no perpetuate any stereotypes, I felt that to my core. And the issues we women face, I could empathize with that too.

But it wasn’t just these three ladies that captured my attention. That kept me turning the page. The secondary characters were so integral to this story. The issues that Ms. Ganshert tackled were nothing short of amazing. For one, she chose to tackle them. Two, they were done in such a way that not one overlapped the other. I mean we have racial issues, social class issues, sexual harassment issues, etc. Each time she unveiled a piece of the story my mind was whirling, thinking of times I’ve experienced the same or haven’t and understanding what a person could have been dealing with.

If you don’t find an ounce of empathy growing in your heart after reading this book, I’d ask you to read it again. It’s that great. That life altering.

*I received a free copy from the publisher. This review is my own, honest opinion. I was not required to do a review.

**Review first seen at Soulfully Romantic blog.


About the Author

Award-winning author, Katie Ganshert, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her family. When she’s not busy penning novels or spending time with her people, she enjoys drinking coffee with friends, reading great literature, and eating copious amounts of dark chocolate. You can learn more about Katie and her books by visiting her website or author Facebook page.


Review by contributor, Toni Shiloh

Book Review: Beneath the Surface

Happy Friday, Reader Friends!

Today I’m bringing you a book review of Lynn H. Blackburn’s Beneath the Surface. Leight Watson, the heroine in this book, was adopted from China. She’s in desperate need of protection and Investigator Ryan Parker is just the man.


About the Book

The Blurb: “After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she’d left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer–one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.

Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final heart-pounding page.”

Links: Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads


Review

This is a great start to a new series. Book 1 in the Dive Team Investigations, Ms. Blackburn has set up a great group that you want to get to know more of. The hero and heroine in this book were refreshingly different in my opinion. The heroine has some anxiety, but she’s determined not to let it shake her. I love that!

The hero wants to do right by Ms. Watson which ranks him high on the hero skill. Throw in an over protective big brother and you have a great romance.

But that’s not all this book is. The suspense is fantastic! I couldn’t figure out who did it until the story revealed it. I loved that because I was guessing throughout the entire story on who I thought was the bad guy. I did feel like there were some loose ends in the bad guy’s story. I’m not sure if those will be revealed in book 2 or I’ll be left to wonder forever.

Regardless, this is a series I’ll continue to read.


About the Author

Lynn Huggins Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, COVERT JUSTICE (Love Inspired Suspense), won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Her second book, HIDDEN LEGACY (Love Inspired Suspense), released in June 2017 and her new Dive Team Investigations series kicks off in March of 2018 with BENEATH THE SURFACE (Revell).

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Book Spotlight: Time to Say Goodbye

Happy Wednesday, Reader Friends!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages. Today we’re bringing you a book spotlight of Parker J. Cole’s Time to Say Goodbye. Have you read it? If not, add it to your TBR pile!

*P.S: This book is part of the Write Now Literary Book tours. Follow the tour here.  Book your own tour here WNL.


About the Book

The Blurb: “Gargi Kapoor is the only one convinced her brother, Dev, is innocent of the crime he was convicted of. When he is sent to the hospital with an unexplained paralyzing disease she finds herself having to lean on the last person she’d ever want to depend on — a man who wants her brother to pay for stealing his mother’s life savings.

Leon Reckley is extremely satisfied to find the man who ripped his mother off suffering from an unknown disease that leaves him paralyzed and in need of rehabilitation therapeutic services. He’s even happier when he is given the opportunity to be the therapist that makes him fit enough to return to prison to finish his sentence. No one will work harder to make sure Dev Kapoor serves every minute of his prison sentence.

Gargi never dreamed the man who has utter contempt for her brother would be the man she slowly begins to trust. Leon never thought he’d be convinced Dev might be innocent, let alone be drawn to his enemy’s little sister. Together, will they find the truth? Or when Leon’s job is over, will it simply be time to say goodbye?”

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


About the Author

I am an author, speaker, and radio show host with a fanatical obsession with the Lord, Star Trek, K-dramas, anime, romance books, old movies, speculative fiction, and knitting. An off and on addict to Mountain Dew and marshmallows who writes to fill the void the sugar left behind.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter


Spotlight posted by Toni Shiloh

Tour hosted by WNL Book Tours

Book Spotlight: Delilah – Treacherous Beauty

Happy Wednesday!

I hope the middle of the week is treating you right. Today we have a new book spotlight for you. This biblical fiction is brought to you by Angela Hunt. Have you read it?


About the Book

The Blurb: “A Complex and Compelling Glimpse at One of the Bible’s Baddest Girls

Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself.

When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits.”

Links: AmazonB&NGoodreads


About the Author

Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected in novels from this versatile author. With over three million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 100 works ranging from picture books (The Tale of Three Trees) to novels.

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Author Interview: C. D. Gill

Happy Monday!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages. Today, we’re bringing you an interview with the author of On Wings of an Avalanche. It released last week. Have you had an opportunity to read it or at least put it on your TBR pile? Meet C.D. Gill and show some love in the comments!


About the Author

The Blurb: “A struggling charity hospital, visa troubles, and an arrest at gunpoint leave Dr. Madison Cote at the mercy of the corrupt Malian police. Rescue comes at a price when a warlord demands that she traffic drugs in exchange for her freedom and his protection. When the French embassy enlists her to relay intelligence on the warlord, Dr. Cote’s trapped as a civilian double agent, facing an immediate death sentence if she’s caught.

Royal Air Force recruit Chip Chapman needs to prove to himself that he can be more than his abusive father. A week before basic training, an avalanche replaces his dreams of heroism with raw survivalism. Taken captive for his piloting skills, Chip plans to escape until he uncovers war crimes no human could ignore.

Both pressed into servitude, Dr. Cote and Chip forge a desperate alliance. But with lives in the balance, their allegiances and honor will be the least of the sacrifices required to topple a warlord.”

Links: Amazon, AppleBooks, Kobo, Goodreads


Interview

Toni: Welcome, C.D.! Since I’m so excited to talk about your book, I’ll just jump right in with the questions. What made you decide to pick Mali as a setting for On Wings of an Avalanche?

C.D: I chose Mali, because of the drug trafficking problem, and the proximity to Europe. It has a unique feature of being Muslim in the north closer to the desert and “Christian” in the south. So I was able to separate the crimes from religion mostly.

Toni: Have you ever been to Africa? If so, can you tell us a little about your experience there?

C.D: Yes! I went to Zambia in 2015! The travel was really long coming from the US, but my husband and I had the privilege of seeing life “in the bush” in Zambia. Pretty quickly outside of Lusaka, the roads turned to dirt with huge holes. The journey which would have taken 8 hours with paved roads took two 12-hr days to get to our destination. We stayed near locals, visited local schools, the missionary hospital, the hydro project which provides electricity to the area, and the markets. It was so bizarre to see so many people in the bush with cell phones yet they still lacked things like running water, toilets, refrigeration, etc. I was so glad we went with people who knew the area, because we would have had no idea where to stop for food or fuel. Those things aren’t easily available outside the city because people don’t have the money to pay a day’s wage for “fast food” nor do they all have vehicles that need fuel.

Toni: That sounds amazing. I still would love to visit the continent. What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

C.D: All kinds! I went in depth into Mali’s culture, landscape, political structure, medical rules, and transportation. I researched the Olympics in 2008, bugs, aviation, birth rates, medicine, language, gift-giving, the drug trade, child soldiers, food, license plates, roads—you name it. I looked into it. And it was lots of fun!

Toni: You make it sound fun. 🙂 Did you find it difficult to portray the African culture considering your own ethnic background?

C.D: It was super important to me that I not misrepresent Africa as a whole or even present it as something “lesser than.” For example, one warlord doesn’t mean that the country is full of them, just like one gang story doesn’t mean the US is only gangs. Africa isn’t lesser than. It’s just different. I didn’t want people to read this book and think that “West is best.” In Zambia, healthcare is given to the citizens, as is the land. They expect things for free from the government. In the US, being given things goes against the ideal of work hard and earn what you want. So yes, it was difficult, because there are things I wanted to include in the story but refrained because the understanding of the full culture was difficult to fit into one story.

Toni: Makes perfect sense. I’m glad you took care with your portrayal. What is the one thing you wanted to portray for the different cultures?

C.D: That forgiveness is a concept understood around the world. Evil is always with us in many shapes, but it’s how we deal with evil and change for the better that shapes our identities.

Toni: Amen! What would you choose for a life verse for the hero/heroine?

C.D: For Chip, John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it fear.”

Toni: I love that verse!

C.D: For Madison, Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”

Toni: That’s another good one! Last but not least, what can readers do to support your writing journey?

C.D: Recommending the book to friends and leaving a review so others can find the book! Of course, I would love personal notes on how the story landed with each person.

Toni: Readers, do you have any questions or comments for C.D.?


About the Author

C.D. Gill caught the travel bug as a young girl. Now she integrates other cultures and faraway places into her fiction. Equally as important is her desire to lend a voice to those around world without one. Her favorite adventure buddy is her British pilot husband who doesn’t know how to sit still and whose stories have added fuel to her wild imagination.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Newsletter

Book Spotlight: Lone Star Bride

Happy Wednesday, Friends!

Today I’m spotlighting Lone Star Bride by Jolene Navarro. Have you read it?


About the Book

The Blurb: “An Unwanted Marriage 

Sofia De Zavala wants to help her father run their family’s Texas ranch–but he has other ideas for her future. Faced with an arranged marriage, Sofia dresses as a boy and joins a cattle drive, determined to prove herself to her father. But her plan backfires when she’s forced to save her reputation by marrying trail boss Jackson McCreed.

Jackson thought he was hiring a scrappy young boy–instead, the wary widower has landed his business partner’s feisty, headstrong daughter as his bride. He believes a marriage of convenience is the best they can hope for. But Sofia dares him to look to the future again…and find a love strong enough to lasso a lifetime of happiness.”

Links: Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads


About the Author

jolenenavarroJolene’s life, much like her stories, is filled with faith, family and all of life’s wonderful messiness. She know that, as much as the world changes, people stay the same. Good and evil. Vow-keepers and heart breakers. Over twenty years ago Jolene married a vow-keeper who showed her that dancing in the rain never gets old. She loves creating powerful heroines and strong hero that find love and faith in a broken world. She writes Contemporaries and Historical.

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Book Review: If You’re With Me

Happy Friday!

Hopefully you aren’t buried under snow or bad weather. And if you are, maybe this review will help you decide what book to read next. 🙂


About the Book

The Blurb: “From the Promises of God Series – Read after Book 2: IF I BELIEVE.

Faith Langston has made her choice as to whom she loves. But when the love of her life goes home just before Christmas and runs into his first love—he’s faced with choices of his own . . .”

Links: AmazonB&NGoodreads


Review

Y’all, I was on pins and needles while reading If You’re With Me. I’m loving the Promises of God series so I snatched this book up as soon as I saw Ms. Tate release it and it didn’t disappoint.

Faith has been through a lot in books 1 and 2 if you’ve had the opportunity to read them. This book is considered 2.5 so please read books 1 and 2 first. If you have already read them then jump right in, you’ll know exactly where we are in the timeline.

I love the issues Faith and Reggie go through and it’s great to see both of their sides. Of course, I chose a team and had some moments where I fussed at the characters. (Who else does this? Please tell me I’m not the only one.)

It was a fast-paced read because I wasn’t going to miss one second of it so I read it in one sitting. When it was done, I was sad because now I have to wait for book 3, but Ms. Tate makes these reads worth the wait.

Oh and you’ll love the promise of God that’s featured in this story.


About the Author

KIM CASH TATE is the author of several books, including Cling (2017) and If I Believe (2017). A former practicing attorney, she is also a Bible teacher and is currently doing a study on First Samuel on YouTube. She’s been married to her husband Bill for more than two decades, and they live in St. Louis with their two young adult children. You can find Kim online at kimcashtate.com and on social media @kimcashtate.

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Open Discussion – Cover Models

Happy Saturday, Reader Friends!

Today we’re going to be talking about covers and the cover model choices publishing houses make. You may have remembered that we touched on this a little bit last year here, but I feel that it bears repeating. Plus, it makes for an interesting open discussion! So let’s look at some covers and get this discussion started.


By Your Side by Candace Calvert

Macy Wynn is Asian American. Oddly enough, the cover model for Macy WAS Asian American. The publishers redid the Kindle cover and now the model appears to be Caucasian.


Biblical Fiction

I’ve noticed in a lot of Biblical fiction, the cover model automatically takes on a paler hue. Where does the assumption come from that people in that time where pale? Jesus himself was described as having skin the color of bronze.


When They Celebrate Diversity