Early April 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. We recently added a transcript for one of our older episodes and redesigned the look of the site, so it's a good time to check in.

News and Events

No news at the moment.


I didn’t DNF anything this time around.

No Review (Nonfiction, Graphic Novels, etc.)

I read the third book in The Spiderwick Chronices, LUCINDA'S SECRET by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. These books are so short that it would take me longer to write a review than to read any one of the books, but they're great kids chapter books.

Recent Reviews

Reviews forthcoming for FIRESTARTER by Tara Sim, TUNNELS OF BLOOD by Darren Shan, and LEGENDS & LATTES by Travis Baldree.

PORTRAIT OF A THIEF by Grace D. Li is Contemporary/Mystery/Thriller, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Will Chen is a Chinese American art history student at harvard who is hired by a Chinese corporation to reclaim five priceless sculptures with the help of his newly-formed crew, off of whom have their own complicated relationships with Chinese and American identity, and with each other. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs. It just released, so this is a great time to get it if it sounds like your thing!

SPELUNKING THROUGH HELL by Seanan McGuire, book 11 of Incryptid is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Alice has been looking for her husband, Thomas, for the last fifty years. Ever since he was taken through a portal when she was pregnant with their second child. Finally she has a shot at finding him after her granddaughter killed the crossroads three years ago. Told in Third Person with Single POV. This was what all my Incryptid re-reads and short-story reading was leading towards, and it did not disappoint!

WE UNLEASH THE MERCILESS STORM by Tehlor Kay Mejia, book 2 of We Set the Dark on Fire is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Carmen is one of La Voz's best soldiers, spending years undercover as a Secunda. After her sudden parting from Dani, she must defend her actions to her fellow rebels before it's too late to save everything. Told in Third Person with Single POV.

JUNIPER & THORN by Ava Reid is Horror/Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Marlinchen and her sisters are three witches living with their father, a wizard cursed to never be sated. Features an adult victim of CSA. Retelling of The Juniper Tree. Told in First Person with Single POV. If you're trying to decide whether to read this, I recommend trying the original short story first. This retelling uses themes of abuse which are very much present in the original, so if the Grimm's Brothers fairy tale is too much then this book might not be for you. If, like me, the fairy tale intrigued you, then definitely try the book when it becomes available. I read this as an ARC so it's not out yet, but you can preorder it!

THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT by Darren Shan, book 2 of Cirque Du Freak is Fantasy/Horror marketed as Young Adult. Darren begins his life as a half-vampire, learning from Mr. Crepsley in the Cirque du Freak. Told in First Person with Single POV.

THE WIDE WINDOW by Lemony Snicket, book 3 of A Series of Unfortunate Events is Mystery marketed as Middle Grade. The Baudelaire Orphans find themselves once more in the care of a well-meaning but woefully incompetent adult. This time they're living with Aunt Josephine (not actually their aunt) who loves grammar and is terrified of pretty much everything else. Told in Third Person with an Omniscient Narrator.

Rereads and Older Reviews

I finished my re-read of THE SPACE BETWEEN WORLDS by Micaiah Johnson. It's SFF/Dystopian/Romance, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Cara is a world-hopper, hired by a corporation to travel to parallel worlds because you can only travel to a world where your doppelganger is dead... and Cara's doubles are great at dying. Told in First Person with Single POV. I love this book and it was a personally soothing re-read for me (though the characters deal with a lot of life and death stuff).

LEGENDBORN by Tracy Deonn, book 1 of Legendborn is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Bree Matthews is a high-schooler in an early college program when she discovers a secret Arthurian society on campus, and that they aren't the only ones with magic... Told in First Person with Single POV. I love this book! Bree is a great protagonist, and the story reckons with the implications of a secret magical society which has existed for hundreds of years, the centuries of death which are bound up in that premise.

BTB 2022 Reading Challenge

For 2022 I'm hosting a reading challenge that lasts the whole year. April's prompt is to read something by an intersex author, with a bonus prompt to read something by a BIPOC intersex author. I’m reading A MURDER OF CROWS by K. Ancrum to cover both prompts.

Current Reads

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.

I have told myself that once I finish the books I'm currently reading, I get to read PARASITE by Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire). With that incentive I finished reading FIRESTARTER by Tara Sim, and now I just need to finish reading WE WERE RESTLESS THINGS by Cole Nagamatsu, MY LORD by L.B. Shimaira, HOW TO BURN THIS BOOK by Evan Witmer... and of course, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. The incentive is definitely working, so hopefully I'll get through these soon!

In Case You Missed It

This time last year I read THE COST OF KNOWING by Brittney Morris. Alex is a Black teenage boy who gets visions of the future when he touches objects. When he gets a vision of his little brother's impending death, he tries to figure out what to do with the time that's left to them.

Pluggables and Podcast News

I recently reworked the tags on Reviews That Burn, hopefully the new arrangement is better.

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, JADE CITY by Fonda Lee, 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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