Diversity Spotlight Thursday #2 – Asian Characters/Asian Mythology


Welcome to my second Diversity Spotlight Thursday! 💚 This wonderful weekly blog meme was created and is hosted by Aimal at Bookshelves and Paperbacks! For more information about the meme, please read the announcement post here.

My participation in this meme is to help me with one of my reading goals: to read books with a variety of perspectives, especially ones different from my own. Every two weeks I will share with you:

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not read
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released

I wanted to do a theme for this week’s Diversity Spotlight – so this week’s theme is: books with Asian characters or inspired by Asian mythology.


A Book I Have Read

The Terracotta Bride by Zen Cho

“In the tenth court of hell, spirits wealthy enough to bribe the bureaucrats of the underworld can avoid both the torments of hell and the irreversible change of reincarnation.

It’s a comfortable undeath … even for Siew Tsin. She didn’t choose to be married to the richest man in hell, but she’s reconciled. Until her husband brings home a new bride.

Yonghua is an artificial woman crafted from terracotta. What she is may change hell for good. Who she is will transform Siew Tsin. And as they grow closer, the mystery of Yonghua’s creation will draw Siew Tsin into a conspiracy where the stakes are eternal life – or a very final death.”


This is a short story that I read awhile ago, and it was haunting but… wonderful. I really loved the portrayal of the Chinese realm of the dead, known as diyu (地獄) – a place with demons, spirits, and the dead but also satirically bureaucratic.

Not only was the story and its premise compelling, I loved its portrayal of Chinese funeral rites from the perspective of the dead, such as the burning of joss money so that the dead have wealth in the afterlife. It is also a homage to love, death, and life, and the ending was made my heart ache – in a good way.

Add this book on Goodreads


A Book On My TBR

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

“Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier.

But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.”


I’m ashamed of myself. I’m ashamed of myself because I haven’t read a single Stacey Lee book yet.

I had the utmost privilege and honour to receive her latest book, The Secret of a Heart Note via a giveaway (which I’m definitely reading by the end of the month!) but this book, Under a Painted Sky… the synopsis speaks to me. For one, violins! I played violin for 10 years back in the day; two, a Chinese character protagonist (do I detect themes of identity?); and three, possibly about friendship? ❤ Whatever it is, I’m game!

Add this book on Goodreads


A Book That Hasn’t Been Released Yet

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

“When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.”


First – isn’t that cover beautiful? I can’t wait to see what the spine will look like!

I’m always drawn to stories where the character is ostracized or cast out from society – I feel like they make great character development stories where we can witness a character learn and grow. It really sounds like The Bone Witch will have an awesome main character – will she become a hero or anti-hero? (AHH I can’t wait to find out!)

But, what really draws me into this book is the dark magic hinted in the synopsis. We see a lot of elemental magic, but not a lot of necromancy. I’m particularly interested in how the dark magic will be written in The Bone Witch – I can’t wait to read it!

Add this book on Goodreads


And that’s another Diversity Spotlight Thursday! I will be posting my next spotlight on the 1st of December!

  • Are you interested in reading any of these books? 😊 Which one and why?
  • Have you read any of Stacey Lee’s books? Which one/s did you like?
  • Did you participate in Diversity Spotlight Thursday this week? If so, please share your link with me! I’d love to see your three choices!

21 thoughts on “Diversity Spotlight Thursday #2 – Asian Characters/Asian Mythology

  1. Just added The Terracotta Bride to my TBR! And I think you’d really like Under a Painted Sky CW! It had one of the sweetest and heartwarming friendships I’ve read in a middle grade novel. I thought it was great that there was a Chinese protagonist in a Western book as well. It talks a bit about the discrimination that Chinese and black people faced in that time period too.

    • Hi Carolyn!

      YAY. So happy you did – TTB is a short story, so it can be read in an hour or so!
      I think I will like Under a Painted Sky too! The themes and the time period really intrigue me – and if there’s female friendships… ❤❤
      I’m also reading her other book, The Secret of a Heart Note, and I’m REALLY enjoying it so far – so I’m confident that I’ll love Painted Sky. ❤

    • Hi Lauren!
      Oooh, I think you’ll enjoy The Terracotta Bride then. The book is rich in culture, and I found myself really understanding/connecting to the ideas. If you ever do read it, feel free to DM me on Twitter and ask me questions if you have any? ❤

    • Hi Marie! ❤
      Oh thank you! It definitely does – The Terracotta Bride is a little dark, a little tongue-in-cheek, but also romantic too.
      I think you’ll enjoy it, Marie! It’s a very short read, so you could finish it in about an hour or so!

  2. I think you’ll love Under a Painted Sky! It has one of the best friendships I’ve read for a while. I also loved the portrayal of how Sammy navigates her identity as a Chinese immigrant. The Bone Witch sounds fascinating! Thanks for highlighting it, CW!

    • Hi Cilla!
      I bet I will! I’m currently reading The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee, and I’m enjoying it so much so far, so I have a good feeling. ❤
      That sounds amazing though, and the Chinese immigrant narrative is something I’ll always be interested in.

      You’re welcome! Let me know if you ever get around to reading any of the recs. :D

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