Mid April Reviews (2023)


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

Recently I figured out that I have dysgraphia, a condition which affects writing (deeply ironic, I know). As soon as I found out I switched to dictating my reviews on my phone and then cleaning them up on the computer, and I immediately saw an improvement in the volume and quality of my thoughts about the books. There are some scheduled reviews which I wrote before figuring this out, but hopefully there will be a marked difference in my reviews going forwards.

Recent Reviews

Reviews forthcoming for THE UNDEAD TRUTH OF US by Britney S. Lewis and LADY KNIGHT by Tamora Pierce, as well as an essay with more thoughts about FEED THEM SILENCE by Lee Mandelo.

IRON HEART by Nina Varela, book 2 of Crier's War is Fantasy/Romance, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Crier defied her father and ran away from her wedding, Ayla pledges to help Queen Junn destroy the Iron Heart. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

BLOODMARKED by Tracy Deonn, book 2 of The Legendborn Cycle is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Bree is figruing out her new role while dealing with the racist institution which is partially responsible for her existence in the first place. Told in First Person with Dual POVs.

PAGE by Tamora Pierce, book 2 of Protector of the Small is Fantasy marketed as Young Adult. Keladry made it through her probation year, now she faces new challenges during the rest of her time as a page. Told in Third Person with Single POV.

BITTER MEDICINE by Mia Tsai is Fantasy/Romance/Contemporary, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Elle is the descendent of a medicine god, laying low to try and keep her brother alive. Luc is a regular customer to her shop grateful that her magic has saved his life on a job. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

FEED THEM SILENCE by Lee Mandelo is Sci-Fi, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Sean uses technology to connect to the mind of a wolf for her research, but her attempts at emotional connection and understanding leave the the rest of her life disjointed. Told in Third Person with Single POV.

SQUIRE by Tamora Pierce, book 3 of Protector of the Small is Fantasy marketed as Young Adult. Keladry thought she'd never get to be a squire, but she finds herself a squire traveling with the King's Own, learning the inglorious nature of war. Told in Third Person with Single POV.


I tried several books and ended up not finishing them for various reasons:

  • MASTER OF ONE by Danielle Bennett (didn't get into the story)

  • THE SHADOW GLASS by Josh Winning (a nostalgic send-up to 1980's films involving puppetry, but I don't have nostalgia for that time)

  • BLANCA & ROJA by Anna-Marie McLemore (not structured enough for me, or at least not structured in a way I like)

  • NO GODS, NO MONSTERS by Cadwell Turnbull (don't like the style)

  • DARK RISE by C.C. Pacat (don't like the style)

  • THE STARS UNDYING by Emery Robin (I realized I don't want to read a story about a romance involving colonization/imperialism in space)

  • OF FIRE AND STARS by Audrey Coulthurst (don't like the style)

  • ALL THE MURMURING BONES by A.G. Slatter (don't like the style)

  • CITY OF IRON AND DUST by J.P. Oakes (don't like the style)

There's a formal DNF review forthcoming for IMPOSTORS by Scott Westerfeld.

No Review (Nonfiction, Graphic Novels, etc.)

I enjoyed THE THINGS by Peter Watts, a short story from the perspective of the Thing from John Carpenter's movie THE THING.

As part of my general enjoyment of the work of PKD, I read a book about him and several figures around them: HIGH WEIRDNESS: DRUGS, ESOTERICA, AND VISIONARY EXPERIENCES IN THE SEVENTIES by Erik Davis.


Rereads and Older Reviews

I re-read A STRANGE AND STUBBORN ENDURANCE by Foz Meadows (Yes, again, I know, I already re-read it a month or so ago).

I also re-read WAR GIRLS by Tochi Onyebuchi.

Current Reads

I'm temporarily paused in a re-read of THE VEILED THRONE by Ken Liu, partly because it went back to the library. I'm also partly through a re-read of KING OF THE RISING by Kacen Callender, partly because I remembered how bleak it is and I needed a bit of a break.

I'm nearly done with a re-read of SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson in preparation for reading MYSTERIES OF THORN MANOR which just came out.

As for new reading, I'm trying THE WITCH COLLECTOR by Charissa Weaks. I like the premise but I'm not yet sure where the story is going and am not sure whether I'll continue.

In Case You Missed It

This time last year I read MY LORD by L.B. Shimaira, book 1 of The Transcended. Which is Fantasy/Horror/Romance marketed as Adult. Meya is a slave, newly bought by The Lord. Told in Third Person with Single POV.

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 this year. Find info and links here.

As for the podcast, hopefully you're enjoying our most recent episode discussing MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. If you'd like to receive episodes early, as well as bonus content, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Patrons receive this newsletter one week early, as well as a list of upcoming podcast episodes.

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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