Mid December 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

The details of the 2023 reading challenge are now available! You can find the details on the Carrd for the challenge, or join in on TheStoryGraph.

The prompts are as follows:

  • January - New beginnings - Read a book where the main characters have never met before (or with a multicolor cover)

    • Bonus Prompt - Read a book where the main character has memory issues

  • February - Deep winter - Read a book with snow as a theme (or with a white cover)

  • March - Spring fling - Read a stand-alone book, unconnected to any ongoing series (or with a black cover)

  • April - April showers... - Read a book with resource scarcity as a theme (or with a blue cover)

    • Bonus Prompt - Read a book where a main character travels over water

  • May - ...bring May flowers - Read a book with flowers and/or plants as a central element (or with a green cover)

  • June - Friendship never ends - Read a book with found family (or with a silver cover)

  • July - Fun near the sun - Read a book set in space (or with a yellow cover)

    • Bonus Prompt - Read a book with a dragon

  • August - Why so serious? - Read a book you had to reserve from the library (or with a purple cover)

  • September - Thirty days hath... - Read a book with a main character in their thirties or older (or with a brown cover)

  • October - Spooky scary skeletons - Read a book with undeath as a theme (or with an orange cover)

    • Bonus Prompt - Read a book with a mountain journey

  • November - Fear of falling - Read a book with a main character who has a phobia or aversion (or with a gold cover)

  • December - The dark night of the sole survivor - Read a book with a character who was the survivor of a disaster (or with a red cover)

Recent Reviews

Reviews forthcoming for CLOCKWORK BOYS by T. Kingfisher, SONS OF DESTINY by Darren Shan, and BAYOU MOON by Ilona Andrews.

BLACK WATER SISTER by Zen Cho is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Jess starts hearing her deceased grandmother's voice in her head. Told in Third Person with Single POV.

THE LAKE OF SOULS by Darren Shan, book 10 of Cirque Du Freak is Fantasy/Horror, with queer character(s), marketed as Middle Grade. Darren and Harkat go through a portal to a strange and horrifying place to find out who Harkat used to be. Told in First Person with Single POV.

THE SAVAGE DAWN by Melissa Grey, book 3 of The Girl at Midnight is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Echo has to try and stop the Dragon Prince without losing herself entirely. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

THE VERY SECRET SOCIETY OF IRREGULAR WITCHES by Sangu Mandanna is Contemporary/Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Mika Moon is a witch, hired to teach three young witches to control their magic. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

LORD OF THE SHADOWS by Darren Shan, book 11 of Cirque Du Freak is Fantasy/Horror marketed as Middle Grade. Darren returns to his hometown with the Cirque, anticipating one more chance to stop Steve Leonard. Told in First Person with Single POV.

ON THE EDGE by Ilona Andrews, book 1 of The Edge is Fantasy/Romance marketed as Adult. Rose lives in the Edge and works as a cleaner in the Broken so she can can take care of her brothers. A blueblood from the Weird comes to have her, but first they must fight off a horde of creatures hungry for magic. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.


I tried reading THE DARKENING by Sunya Mara but it didn't pull me in. I don't enjoy new YA as much as I used to, and I'm trying to read more adult books accordingly.

I wrote formal DNF reviews for THE CITY OF DUSK by Tara Sim and THE BRUISING OF QILWA by Nasseem Jamnia.

No Review (Nonfiction, Graphic Novels, etc.)

I finally finished THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO by Alexandre Dumas! I love the unabridged version, it just kept taking a backseat to everything that was going to get a full review at the end. I love it still and I have a few thoughts that made it onto Tumblr. There you can find my theory of Eugénie Danglars as a transmasc person, and thoughts on how adaptations tend to remove Haydée.

Rereads and Older Reviews

I caught up on my re-read of the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire and then moved on to the most recent book, BE THE SERPENT (which I hadn't read before).

BTB 2022 Reading Challenge

For 2022 I'm hosting a reading challenge that lasts the whole year. December's prompt is to read something by a Black author. Our patrons voted for QUEEN OF THE CONQUERED by Kacen Callender.

Current Reads

I'm in the middle of several books right now, some of them are on pause while I'm unexpectedly away from home. I'm re-reading JADE WAR by Fonda Lee in preparation to read JADE LEGACY for the first time. I'm also re-reading HARROW THE NINTH by Tamsyn Muir in preparation for NONA THE NINTH.

Speaking of Fonda Lee, I have an ARC of her upcoming novella, UNTETHERED SKY, which involves a fantasy version of falconry. I love books where someone is learning mastery of a craft, so this is going very well.

BREAKABLE THINGS by Cassandra Khaw is excellent, an horror anthology of stories ranging from three to twenty-odd pages. However, the process of reading it for review purposes is slowing things down, as I'm trying to note CWs for individual stories rather than noting merely that something happens at least once within the text and moving on.

I'm still reading VOLARIA by M.D. Neu. It's got a slightly drier style than I lean towards but it's starting to pick up and I'm enjoying it.

I have a long-term Tortall re-read simmering in the background (it's a re-read to me, but I've read all the currently available books in the past, before I was a reviewer). I'm in the middle of LADY KNIGHT, the fourth book in the Protector of the Small quartet by Tamora Pierce.

A VENOM DARK AND SWEET is the conclusion of The Book of Tea duology by Judy I. Lin. I've barely started the audiobook, but it seems good so far.

In Case You Missed It

This time last year I read SUMMER SONS by Lee Mandelo, a Southern Gothic horror novel of queer grief and the unquiet dead.

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 2023 prompts are now available from the annual reading challenge! It runs from January 1st to December 31st next year. Find info and links here.

As for the podcast, hopefully you're enjoying our most recent episode, QUEEN OF THE CONQUERED by Kacen Callender, 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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