The Fire Keeper, by J.C. Cervantes – The sequel to The Storm Runner begins with Zane Obispo, his family, and his friend Brooks hiding out on a hidden tropical island. He finds out that the memoir he’d written at the order of the Mayan gods has put other godborns in danger. One such person, a UFO conspiracy theorist named Ren, shows up at the island having read the book. Perhaps because the author’s name is Cervantes, this kind of reminds me of how the second part of Don Quixote starts with the characters discussing the first book, although that’s hardly the only use of that idea. Zane learns that his father Hurakan is scheduled to be executed, which turns out to be part of a plot by the Hero Twins and their allies to take control from the gods. The protagonist is forced to team up with Ah-Puch, the villain in the previous book. The bat god Camazotz shows up, and there is a mention of the planet named after him in A Wrinkle in Time. He also quotes Batman. I’ve enjoyed most of the Rick Riordan Presents books, and this is no exception.
The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls, by Mona Eltahawy – I like Eltahawy’s writing; it’s well-researched but also very personal, with a lot of powerful emotion. I used to follow her on Twitter, but she blocked me, and I still have no idea why. That’s not what this is about, though. This one is about how women can best stand up to the patriarchy by rejecting their ideas about how women are supposed to act. Each of the seven chapters details a particular trait women have been criticized for but need to embrace if they want to enact any major societal change. anger, attention, profanity, ambition, power, violence, and lust. Eltahawy not only details how much of a stranglehold the patriarchy has on much of the world, but also criticizes people who criticize Middle Eastern chauvinism while ignoring it in their only countries, and how some women are given token positions of power that really don’t change anything.
The Flying Girl, by L. Frank Baum – Originally published under Baum’s pseudonym Edith Van Dyne, which he also used for Aunt Jane’s Nieces and Mary Louise, his series books marketed specifically to girls. It’s included in the third volume of Oz-Story Magazine, which is how I read it. Baum wrote this in the early days of aviation, with inventor Stephen Kane working on a new kind of biplane that he thinks will be a vast improvement over the others. The real protagonist, however, is his sister Orissa, who is working as a secretary to a real estate mogul to help support the family. She finds out that her boss, Mr. Burthon, is in a rivalry with his brother-in-law Mr. Cumberford, and is trying to rip him off. When Burthon learns about the aircraft, he at first tries to buy into it, only for Cumberford to offer a much better deal. He then resorts to trickery and sabotage, and even proposes marriage to Orissa. I hadn’t realized when I started reading this that much of the conflict is centered around cutthroat business practices. Orissa ends up flying the plane after Stephen is injured, and becomes famous as the Flying Girl (although the characters are quick to point out that she isn’t the first female aviator). I know there’s a sequel, The Flying Girl and Her Chum.