Want to Read More Diverse Books? Here are Six Tips to Diversify Your Reading! 🌈

Text: Six Tips to Diversify Your Reading. Image: Amina the Hedgehog, playing her lute, with rainbow-coloured magic swirling around her with music notes.

You are sitting by the pond, discussing the intersections of written-magic and sewing-magic with Varian the Toadshifter, when you hear, what seems to be, Xiaolong’s approaching footfalls and her yelps of delight.

“Friend! Everybody!” says Xiaolong, emerging from the brush with a massive smile on her face. “Amina’s coming! She’s almost here!”

Oh that’s right, Amina the Hedgehog Bard! Xiaolong had mentioned her when you first met all your pond friends, but you haven’t had the chance to meet her yet. Seeing how excited all your pond friends are at seeing Amina again warms your soul a little bit, you can’t help but feel a little excited too.

Amina the hedgehog, wearing a red and green hat, pushing grass aside, smiling.You feel a ripple in the air, a light wobble at your core, and – look! Over there, Amina, carrying a beautiful lute and a knapsack, is wading through the thicket of bushes. When she looks over and sees all her friends, she smiles.

“Oh, how I missed you all so much,” are her first words, her voice gentle and soothing.

“Amina!” they all yell, running over to her. Xiaolong tackles her in a big hug, and Varian looks absolutely delighted. Even shy Gen is grinning from eye to eye and is nuzzling Amina’s cheek. Cuddle approaches shyly – it’s the first time Cuddle has met Amina too! They all seem so happy to be together.

Over Varian’s shoulder, Amina spots you and smiles knowingly. “Who’s this, my darlings? Is this our newest friend?”

“Oh yes!” exclaims Xiaolong, pulling Amina over to you. After Xiaolong introduces the both of you, she turns to Amina, her gills bouncing. “Amina, what stories do you have to tell today? Did you learn new kinds of magic? Did you meet new magical beings from other places of magic?”

“Yes, Xiaolong! I had the most wonderful adventure and I’ll tell you all about them, but first!” She sits down on the floor, opens her knapsack, and pulls out what appears to be a well-loved and worn journal. “I have to share this piece of wisdom for you. Sit down friends, let me tell you about…”

Hello friends, and welcome back to The Quiet Pond! I hope you all are reading some lovely books and are enjoying your current reads. ✨

Today’s post will be on how to read more diversely. This is, interestingly, quite a common question that I receive on Twitter, and the question always excites me! Reading diverse books is something I am incredibly passionate about and I’m always happy to help people diversify their reading. So for those of you who are thinking of reading more diverse books but aren’t quite sure how to, or even for those of you are reading diverse books at the moment but want tips on how to find more books — this post is for you. 💛

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The Pond News! Issue #1 – So Many Books, Too Little Time! New Releases, New Sequels & Featured Bloggers I Love!

Text: The Pond Book News. Issue 01: So many books, too little time! Releases, sequels, and featured bloggers.

stella 6You’re walking through the forest, the breeze smells like pine trees and daisies. As you keep walking on the winding path, you hear a rustling above you. You look up but can’t seem to see what is making to rustling sound So you carry on walking. You hear the rustling again but do nothing about it this time. Suddenly, Stella pops into your view. She flies right up to you, and gives you a wave. “Hello, friend! It’s so nice to see you again! I was flying to deliver some book news but, I noticed you were walking home already so i came to surprise you! I hope I didn’t scare you! “I’m so excited to tell you what’s happening in the book world this week. There’s so much to tell you! But, first I’d like to tell you about this cool book, Daisy Jones & The Six, that I’m reading about at the moment! It’s about how a band that formed in 1970’s California grew to be a huge success. I’m finding it super interesting and I really like the format that it’s written in! It’s almost like its written like one of those music documentaries about old bands. It’s really fun and the cover is truly gorgeous! Now, on to the book news!

Welcome to Issue #1!

Hi, hi! I’m so excited to announce all the lovely books that have come out this past month as well as some lovely new and diverse books to keep an eye out for! I really loved putting this together and I can’t wait to see which books you guys are excited for, too! Read More »

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang – I cried. I laughed. I will definitely re-read.

Text: The Bride Test, a novel, Helen Hoang. Image: An illustration of a woman holding a pencil, completing pencils.

One evening around dinner time at the Pond, Xiaolong smelled a rich, delectable aroma of something slightly tangy and warm.

“Mmm,” she mused, “I wonder what’s cooking. It sure smells great!”

Cuddle the otter, wearing a pajama cap, is holding a ladle with a pot of orange-coloured soup in front of her.She wandered in the direction of the scent to find Cuddle huddled over the fire with a ladle in her paw, stirring what looked to be an orange colored soup filled with noodles, sprouts, and various meats. The steam wafted up from the pot towards Cuddle’s face as Party sat peacefully on a log behind her, awaiting dinner.

“Oh, hi, Xiaolong, come over here! I looked up the recipe for an authentic Bún bò Huế. After I read THE BRIDE TEST, I couldn’t stop thinking about this soup. I had all this fish sauce saved up and reading that scene where Esme used it in her recipe made me want to try to make it myself. Taste it. I hope it’s good!” Cuddle shifted nervously from side to side.

“We just had fish snacks the other day, remember? I loved them!” said Xiaolong.

“No, Silly, fish sauce! Not fish snacks!” giggled Cuddle.

Party the stuffed otter, sitting up right with a bowl of soup in front of her.She scooped Bún bò Huế into three bowls: two big and one small, added lime slices, and carried them carefully over to a tree stump by the log where Party was perched.

“Speaking of THE BRIDE TEST, I loved it so much. Let me tell you more…”

Blurb:

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

Joce’s Review:

THE BRIDE TEST opens in Ho Chi Minh City, where Khai Diep’s mother, Cô Nga, takes Trấn Ngọc Mỹ, or Esme, by surprise, and propositions her with the opportunity to move to the Bay Area of California to date her son, in hopes of them one day marrying. Esme is not well off and lives in poverty, so with the hopes of securing a better life for herself and her daughter, she agrees and moves in with Khai, attempting to seduce him. Their story is romantic, exploratory, and well-rounded.

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Meet Stella, Your Newest (and Most Buzzy!) Pond Friend [Introducing Our Second Co-Blogger!]

Text: Meet your newest friend, say hello the pond's second co-blogger! image: a silhouette with a winged insect.

You’re sitting by the Pond, eating fish-flavoured biscuits with Cuddle, Gen, and Varian, when Xiaolong comes barreling through the Pond.

Xiaolong the pink axolotl, poi

“Friends, come quick!” says Xiaolong, beckoning for you all to follow. “She’s here! She’s made it!”

Who’s here, Xiaolong?” you ask, as you get up to follow her. The others look excited; Cuddle runs ahead of Xiaolong and everyone else, Varian stands a little taller and brushes the dirt off their feet, and Gen looks a little shy but eager.

“Our newest friend! Our newest member of the Pond family!”

Friends, I am so happy you are here! It is with excitement and joy that I finally get to introduce to you all my second co-blogger! In March, you all met Cuddle and Joce. Today, you all get to meet the Pond’s newest friend – and you are all going to love her. 💛

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A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney – A Black Retelling of Alice in Wonderland and the Struggles of Being a Teen

Text: A Blade So Black, L.L. McKinney. Image: A Black teen with natural hair, holding a dagger in both hands, wearing a red jacket.
Blurb:

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.

CW’s review:

I was pleasantly surprised by A Blade So Black, and I had so much fun reading this book! A Blade So Black is a brilliant retelling of Alice in Wonderland led by a Black-American teen, and is about the struggles of straddling the responsibilities of two worlds, protecting and doing your best for the people that you love, and the pressure of being a heroine with immense responsibility.

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