Sirens 2019 Reading Challenge reading update

I’ve been relatively slow in my reading this winter; too much else going on. Here’s where I currently stand on the 2019 Sirens Reading Challenge:

Guests of Honor (two more to go)

Heroes Books – Required (category complete!)

Heroes Books – Pick Five (four to go)

Middle Grade/Young Adult Books – Pick Five (not started)

Adult – Pick Five (not started)

Previous posts on what I’ve been reading for the 2019 Sirens Reading Challenge are here, here and here. I also participated in the 2017 Sirens Reading Challenge.

Three more books

Reading a lot these days…

  • Borderline by Mishell Baker: this was a re-read (it’s on the Sirens Reading Challenge). I liked it the first time; I enjoyed it this time around too. There are now two more books in this series. I read Phantom Pains (the second in the series) a while back, but Borderline is still my favorite.
  • Damsel by Elana K. Arnold: I found this book super-original and I admired it…and at the same time it wasn’t really my kind of thing. But my feeling about it isn’t dissimilar from previous books that, upon re-reading, HAVE become my sort of thing. I’ll have to wait and see with this one.
  • Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen: this was a Sirens Reading Challenge book. This one was *really* not my kind of thing, even while I admire what the author managed to do (vampire/other creature-infested Wild West with a heroine of color). Some of my issues are straightforward – vampires and Westerns both are hard sells for me, as are books with a world with a mashup of magical creatures (sirens and chupacabras, among others, also make an appearance in this one). Some are not so easy for me to pinpoint – while I can say that the native representation in the book seemed more related to tropes in Westerns than to any real understanding, that’s just my initial reaction and I can’t pull out exactly what bugged me. It just made me uncomfortable. I did look for a review of this book on Debbie Reese’s blog, but she apparently hasn’t received a copy.

2019 Sirens Reading Challenge

And it’s off! With this post I begin my reading log for the 2019 Sirens Reading Challenge. I finished my first book in the “Guest of Honor” section today: Aru Shah and the End of Time. This is a fun, fast-paced middle grade fantasy. It was a little on the fast-paced, wacky end for me, but even so I enjoyed it; and I think many readers in the target age range would love it. Which, given that it deals with complex aspects of a mythological system not tremendously well-known in much of the US, is pretty darn impressive (for instance, one of the terms defined in the course of the book is dharma – not really typical middle grade fare). I read author Roshani Chokshi‘s YA The Star-Touched Queen a while back, and enjoyed that one too.

I also recently re-read K Arsenault Rivera’s The Tiger’s Daughter, which is in the “Heroes Books: Required” section this year. This was an interesting one for me. When I first read it I had two reactions: first, that this book is really not my kind of thing (it features,for instance, some extremely gory demon stuff, the sort that I generally avoid); and, simultaneously, the writing, the worldbuilding, truthfully the whole book SERIOUSLY blew me away. I put it down in a kind of despair, my writer brain thinking, how did she do that???? 

I had those same two reactions on the second read; if anything, they were magnified. This book is beautiful.

I’m not sure what my next Sirens Reading Challenge book will be – I have a few from which to choose – but I will keep logging here as I read.