Mid November Reviews (2021)


Welcome to the Books That Burn Fortnightly Roundup! Releasing every two weeks (one week early for Patrons). Remember to head to Transcripts That Burn for all available transcripts of the podcast.

Upcoming events

The livestream is on the last Saturday of every month, which means this month it's on November 27th at 6PM Pacific / 8PM Central / 9PM Eastern. You can watch it on Twitch or Youtube. This is a very important livestream because it's our last regularly scheduled one. The livestreams were originally intended as a reward for our $5+ Patrons, and that reward is being replaced by the opportunity to vote on books in my reading queue.


I got just a few pages into FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER and realized that even thought it's a thriller, it's YA contemporary and that just keeps not working for me (with the shining exception of anything by K. Ancrum).

Recent Reviews

WITHIN THESE WICKED WALLS (2021) by Lauren Blackwood is a JANE EYRE retelling and it's pretty good! It deals with abuse from a parental figure, so take care before reading.

ELATSOE (2020) by Darcie Little Badger is a YA Magical Realism book about Lipan Apache girl trying to figure out her cousin's murder with the help of animal ghosts and at least one vampire. There are really cool illustrations on all the chapter headers.

FIRE (2009) by Kristin Cashore is the sequel to GRACELING (which is this fortnight's podcast episode, actually). It continues the first book's care in handling trauma, and deals with a girl trying to figure out how much of her is monstrous, how much is like her monstrous father, and whether either of those matter to being the kind of person she wants to be.

ARCHIVIST WASP (2016 by Nicole Kornher-Stace is the first book of a series that involves technological dystopias and ghosts, all wrapped together in a bundle of intense platonic bonds and ride-or-die buddies in various configurations. I cannot recommend this highly enough to do it justice and I hope you'll check it out.

REDEMPTOR (2021) by Jordan Ifueko is the sequel to RAYBEARER, finishing out the YA duology about the young rulers of an empire with the exploitation of thousands as the underpinnings to its current prosperity. I liked the first book better than the second, but it's a solid duology and as a whole I highly recommend the set.

WHEN SORROWS COME (2021) by Seanan McGuire is the newest book in the October Daye series. I generally recommend this series to anyone who likes urban fantasy but doesn't want to read near-erotica, since I know from experience that those two often go hand in hand. It's the only adult fiction I read this fortnight, everything else was YA.

I finished (and liked) A COLONY IN A NATION by Chris Hayes. It's nonfiction, so no review.

2021 Hugo Update

I voted in the 2021 Hugo Awards, getting my vote in before the November 19th deadline. I didn't quite read everything I wanted to, but I got to most of it and I'm pretty pleased.

My final count is I finished 25 of 32 prompts for the Best Series list, and 88% of the bonus prompts (associated short stories, etc), and for the Best Novel challenge I read 5 of 6 finalists and 65% of the bonus prompts (whatever from the other categories had a listing on TheStoryGraph).

Clear Your Shit

I'm participating in the ClearUrShit Readathon! It started on November 1st, 2021 and runs for 8 weeks. It's designed to help clear out the shelves before the end of the year. I'm reading a mix of books that are physically on my shelf and ebooks that I've been meaning to get from the library for a while.

I'm a bit behind on the readathon, there are roughly three prompts per week. My first three books were ELATSOE (A book where someone dies), ARCHIVIST WASP (A book where people go on a journey), and REDEMPTOR (A book that was recommended to you).

Current Reads

I'm rereading WAYWARD WITCH for... reasons. I also started SNOW CRASH by Neal Stephenson and A PSALM OF STORMS AND SILENCE by Roseanne A. Brown. I'm a little way into an ARC of THE AWAKENING by Dusk Peterson. I also decided I want to read UNCANNY MAGAZINE so I started with Issue 1 and I'm slowly working my way through it online.

In Case You Missed It

Last year around this time I read A UNIVERSE OF WISHES, an anthology edited by Dhonielle Clayton. A year later this remains one of my favorite anthologies, with great stories by a variety of authors, most of whom I've also read outside of this volume.

Pluggables and Podcast News

If you're looking for a place to buy any of the books I've reviewed, please consider our Bookshop page (if you use our links to purchase books we get a small commission). Let us know if there's a category you'd like to see curated and we'll see if we can get some titles together. As for the podcast, hopefully you're enjoying our most recent episode, GRACELING by Kristin Cashore, as well as the first half of our interview with author Kevin Klehr, released this month. If you'd like to receive the second (spoiler-filled) half of the interview, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Patrons receive this newsletter one week early, as well as a list of upcoming podcast episodes for the next three months. Patrons pledging $5 or more each month can vote on some of what I read next, with at least one vote per month but no more often than once a week. Thanks for reading, the next roundup will be in two weeks!

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