Late February Reviews (2022)


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.

News and Events

Our podcast network, Certain Point of View, is doing a celebration of all things Batman for the first two weeks of March! Check out #DarkKnightFortnight for more info and related tweets.


After trying mightily, I stopped reading my ARC of AZURA GHOST by Essa Hansen. I couldn't get into the increasingly surreal setting (mostly because I can't form mental images of things I read, so it felt more and more like the characters were floating unmoored in a void even though the text was saying cool shit about pocket universes and weird boundaries in reality). If you looked at my review of NOPHEK GLOSS and think you might like it, give it a try! The reason I had to stop reading the sequel is pretty specific to me and might not be a factor for you.

I promised you a DNF review of TOUCHING DARKNESS by Scott Westerfeld (the full review for the first book, THE SECRET HOUR, is in the Recent Reviews section).

No Review (Nonfiction, Graphic Novels, etc.)

I finished all of the Patron-only Incryptid short stories which are currently available on Seanan McGuire's Patreon page. I still have a bunch of the stand-alone ones left to read, but this way I'm all caught up for when SPELUNKING THROUGH HELL comes out (February 28th).

Recent Reviews

Reviews forthcoming for THE REPTILE ROOM by Lemony Snicket, THE WALL OF STORMS by Ken Liu, plus AND THEY LIVED... by Steven Salvatore

THE MARROW THIEVES by Cherie Dimaline, book 1 of The Marrow Thieves is Speculative Fiction, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Frenchie and his small community of Indigenous people are walking through the wilderness, trying to stay alive in a world where they are being hunted for their bone marrow, their very dreams being stolen. Told in First Person with Single POV. I love this one, it changed the way I read and understand dystopian body-commodification stories (which wasn't great for my potential enjoyment of UNSOULED, but definitely changed me for the better).

THE SECRET HOUR by Scott Westerfeld, book 1 of Midnighters is Sci-Fi/Fantasy marketed as Young Adult. Jessica is new in Bixby, Oklahoma, and discovers that some of the kids have a secret: there's a 25th hour in the day, and there are monsters in the secret hour. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

THE PAST IS RED by Catherynne M. Valente is Sci-Fi marketed as Adult. Tetley Abednego lives on the floating garbage patch in the middle of the ocean that is the whole world since the Fuckwits wrecked the planet. She's the most hated person in Garbagetown. Told in First Person with Single POV.

WHERE THE DROWNED GIRLS GO by Seanan McGuire, book 7 of Wayward Children is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult/Young Adult. Cora can't stop hearing the Drowned Gods and wants to escape their oil-slick rainbows on her skin. She transfers to Whitethorn Academy in the hopes that it'll be better to forget, but it turns out conversion therapy for kids returned from portals doesn't work any better than the other kind. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

UNSOULED by Neal Shusterman, book 3 of The Unwind Dystology is Sci-Fi/Dystopian marketed as Young Adult. Connor, Lev, and Risa are still on the run, trying to stay alive as they find out the political history of Unwinding, and attempt to find someone who can help them untangle the sins of the past. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER by Marie Lu, book 2 of DC Icons is Fantasy/Superheroes marketed as Young Adult. Bruce tries to help the police catch a criminal, for his recklessness and property damage he's sentenced to community service, to be served by cleaning in Arkham Asylum. There he meets an intruiging and dangerous girl his own age. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs. This is book two of a series, but each book is by a different author and I was just reading this for something our podcast network is doing in the first two weeks of March 2022.

Rereads and Older Reviews

I re-read PETER DARLING by S.A. (Austin) Chant, which is a Fantasy/Retelling marketed as Adult. Peter returns to Neverland after a long time away with his brothers. But now that he's grown up he finds himself drawn to James Hook. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

I'm working my way through re-reading the Incryptid series by Seanan McGuire, I just read DISCOUNT ARMAGEDDON and MIDNIGHT BLUE-LIGHT SPECIAL.

BTB 2022 Reading Challenge

For 2022 I'm hosting a reading challenge that lasts the whole year. February's prompt is to read something by an Aro and/or Ace author, with the bonus prompt read something by a BIPOC and Aro and/or Ace author. I read SOULSTAR by C.L. Polk (technically last month) which covers the regular and bonus prompts.

Current Reads

I'm about to finish HALF-OFF RAGNAROK by Seanan McGuire for my Incryptid re-read.

I'm partway through A MEMORY CALLED EMPIRE by Arkady Martine, kind of sci-fi detective story. I had to pause when my library copy expired, but now it's back and I've resumed reading it.

I'm still reading THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (unabridged) by Alexandre Dumas. I'm live-reacting on Twitter as I read a bit each night. This will probably last for several weeks or maybe even months, since it's a long book I own that isn't as high of a priority as anything I'm reading from the library.

In Case You Missed It

WE COULD BE HEROES by Mike Chen is a sci-fi/superhero story where a superhero and a supervillain meet in AA and decide to team up. It's fun, dangerous, and just a great stand-alone story.

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 any 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.

The 2022 prompts are now available from the annual reading challenge! It runs from January 1st to December 31st each year. Find info and links here.

As for the podcast, hopefully you're enjoying our most recent episode, CEMETERY BOYS by Aiden Thomas, as well as the first half of our interview with author Seanan McGuire (AKA Mira Grant, A. Deborah Baker), released in January. 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. Patrons pledging $50 or more can vote once per month on what we'll cover in the podcast. You can find all of those polls here. Patrons at any level receive the booklist with our planned episodes for up to three months at a time.

Thanks for reading, the next roundup will be in two weeks!

Co-host of Books That Burn


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