Mid October 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. The newest transcript for our episode discussing THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS by N.K. Jemisin is now available.

News and Events

Our shift to bi-monthly episodes is complete! You'll get two podcast episodes per month going forward. The plan is loosely that Patrons will receive episodes on the first and third Mondays, with the public release of those same episodes on the second and fourth Mondays. This will have some variation, especially when the first Monday is only a day or two into the month.

In my ever-shifting quest to find the perfect mix of review types, here's the current lineup for review types by days of the week: Sundays have review of series where I'm reading and reviewing the entire series (Sunday by Sunday) until it's done. Mondays don't have reviews because the podcast posts on Mondays, and Tuesday is empty because that's when most books are published. On Wednesday I'll post reviews of stand-alone books (this might also include self-contained books in shared universes where it's not necessary to read anything else in particular first). Thursdays are for ARCS and books sent directly to us from the author and/or publisher. Some of those are time-sensitive due to release dates and I don't want them to compete in the normal review queue. Fridays are for books where I'm not reading the entire series at once (or for ones where I meant to but at some point in the series ended up DNFing). Saturdays are for books I'm not finishing but I got at least 20% in before stopping.

Signal Boost

We now have people asking us to mention their stuff in our stuff, which is an exciting development! I'm tucking it into this section so you can find it easily, this time it's a free thing that's coming up! You may recall my review of RESCUED BY THE MARRIED MONSTER HUNTERS by Rook Bird, posted back in 2021. As a Halloween promotion, the ebook will be free from October 29th to the 31st at this link.

Recent Reviews

Reviews forthcoming for CERTAIN DARK THINGS by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, VAMPIRE WEEKEND by Mike Chen, and SASSINAK by Elizabeth Moon and Anne McCaffrey.

MAGIC STARS by Ilona Andrews, book 1 of Grey Wolf is Urban Fantasy marketed as Adult. Derek and Julie try to find out what happened to a murdered family while Kate and Curran are away. Told in Third Person with Single POV.

CITY OF STARS by Mary Hoffman, book 2 of Stravaganza is Fantasy marketed as Young Adult. Georgia holds a horse statuette at night and wakes up in Talia, temporarily away from the incessant verbal abuse of her stepbrother. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

MAGIC BINDS by Ilona Andrews, book 9 of Kate Daniels is Urban Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Kate is trying to avert a prophecy which says she'll watch either Curran or their future son die Told in First Person with Single POV.

IRON AND MAGIC by Ilona Andrews, book 1 of The Iron Covenant is Fantasy marketed as Adult. Hugh has an army and needs a base, Elara has a base and no army. They marry in an attempt to dissuade enemies with a united front, but they keep getting under each other's skin. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

CITY OF FLOWERS by Mary Hoffman, book 3 of Stravaganza is Fantasy/Historical marketed as Young Adult. Sky finds a perfume bottle which transports him to an alternate version of Italy. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

MAGIC TRIUMPHS by Ilona Andrews, book 10 of Kate Daniels is Urban Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Kate must defend Atlanta once again when a mysterious horde massacres whole towns overnight, but this enemy is older than she imagined... Told in First Person with Single POV.

The Ilona Andrews/Kate Daniels marathon is finally over, wow. I have one more book in the Kate Daniels universe that I need to read, but that's set a decade later than these and I'm waiting a bit before I get to it.


I didn't have a formal DNF day, but I tried and discarded enough before the 20% mark that I could have. Briefly, here's that list:

  • INCENDIARY by Zoraida Córdova - I had trouble getting into this one. I've liked other stuff by this author, but this one just didn't click with me.

  • MALICE by Heather Walter - I stopped because apparently I don't like duologies where the protagonist becomes terrible in book two as if they have a completely different personality for no reason. At the very least, this is basically the same reason why I quit THE HOLLOW HEART.

  • STRANGE GRACE by Tessa Gratton was not interesting to me and I don't like the bits I read.

  • THE WITCH'S HEART is fantastic and I truly wish I didn't have to stop reading it, but it involved no fewer than three plot-important instances of a trope that's triggering for me so I stopped.

  • PLAIN BAD HEROINES by Emily M. Danforth had a narrative style that's hard on my brain. I've just been in a mood where if someone mentions social media in my escapist fantasy I stop being interested.

  • THE LESSON BY CADWELL TURNBULL has setting that's too close to contemporary for me to like it.

  • THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT by Seth Dickinson begins with precocious child Baru explaining to random adults what she's figured out about how the world works.

I also wrote formal DNF reviews for THE OLEANDER SWORD by Tasha Suri and CITY OF SECRETS by Mary Hoffman.

No Review (Nonfiction, Graphic Novels, etc.)

Nothing of note here, for that turn to the re-reads section.

Rereads and Older Reviews

I'm re-reading Seanan McGuire's Toby Daye series, I started last week and am in the middle of the sixth book. This gives me an opportunity to update the queer rep summaries for the earlier books for characters that are around a while before it's known precisely how queer they are. I've got other reviews drafted for the next several weeks and wanted to keep reading but get a little break from writing reviews. I'm extremely bad at taking breaks so I'm also reading some new stuff (thank you, audiobooks).

BTB 2022 Reading Challenge

For 2022 I'm hosting a reading challenge that lasts the whole year. October's prompt is to read something by an Asian author. Our patrons voted for GIRLS OF STORM AND SHADOW by Natasha Ngan. I re-read GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE in preparation to read the voted-for sequel.

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 last for several 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. After a long break I made a bit more progress. Since it was originally published serially, I'm comforting myself about my slow pace by remembering that the first readers consumed it over a several-year period.

THE CITY OF DUSK by Tara is going well, I'm reading it when I need a break from other things. I value a large book which is easy to dip in and out of, so that's working well.

As of right now I'm in the middle of CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT from Seanan McGuire's Toby Daye series, but I'm tearing through the series so that might well have changed by later tonight.

I started THE READER by Traci Chee as an audiobook. It's a narrator I've liked before and the story is going well.

I'm reading an ARC of OCEAN'S ECHO by Everina Maxwell, set in the same universe as WINTER'S ORBIT but not a formal sequel. I'm having an excellent time, this is basically a mind-control version of an arranged marriage with fake dating... in space.

I'm a little ways into SISTERS OF THE SNAKE by Sasha and Sarena Nanua. It's a princess and the pauper story and I'm not sure yet if I like it.

In Case You Missed It

This time last year I read THREE DARK CROWNS by Kendare Blake. I've been meaning to continue reading the series (I've made it through the second book but not further).

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 this year. Find info and links here.

As for the podcast, hopefully you're enjoying our most recent episode, FLEDGLING by Octavia Butler, 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 $20 or more each month receive a bonus episode. 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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