Mid May 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.

Recent Reviews

Reviews forthcoming for LAST TO LEAVE THE ROOM by Caitlin Starling, MASTIFF by Tamora Pierce, and THE LIGHTS OF PRAGUE by Nicole Jarvis.

A HOUSE WITH GOOD BONES by T. Kingfisher is Horror marketed as Adult. Sam tries to figure out the reason for the puzzling changes her mother is making to the family home. Told in First Person with Single POV.

THE FIRST SISTER by Linden A. Lewis, book 1 of The First Sister Trilogy is Sci-Fi, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. First Sister is a comfort woman with no name and no voice who thinks she's found a way off the ship where she serves, then the plans fall through and she must adapt. Told in First Person with Ensemble POVs.

TERRIER by Tamora Pierce, book 1 of Beka Cooper is Fantasy marketed as Young Adult. Beka Cooper begins her training as a Puppy, eventually to be a Dog of the Provost's Guard. Soon she's on the trail of a series of murders and child kidnappings in the Lower City of Corus. Told in First Person with Ensemble POVs.

UNNATURAL MAGIC by C.M Waggoner is Fantasy/Historical, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Onna wants to learn magic, but after she's turned away from an elite academy due to her gender she ends up trying to stop a series of murders of Trolls. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

BLOOD DEBTS by Terry J. Benton-Walker, book 1 of Blood Debts is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Clem and Cris discover that their mother is cursed, and they have to come together to undo a great wrong. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

BLOODHOUND by Tamora Pierce, book 2 of Beka Cooper is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Beka Cooper Travels with Goodwin to track down the source of coles in the silver. Told in First Person with Single POV.


I've kept trying out new books and a bunch of them haven't quite worked out. Here's this fortnight's quick DNFs:

  • BEYOND THE RUBY VEIL by Mara Fitzgerald

  • WALK BETWEEN WORLDS by Samara Breger

  • BURN THE DARK by S.A. Hunt

  • THE BLOOD TRIALS by N.E. Davenport

  • NOTORIOUS SORCERER by Davinia Evans

  • THE WINTER DUKE by Claire Eliza Bartlett


  • SOFI AND THE BONE SONG by Adrienne Tooley

  • FLAME IN THE MIST by Renée Ahdieh

  • SWEET & BITTER MAGIC by Adrienne Tooley

  • THE FOXGLOVE KING by Hannah Whitten

Most of these didn't work for me due to narrative style or too many intensely visual descriptions, I didn't get far enough into any of them for a full DNF review.

Rereads and Older Reviews

I re-read A FAR WILDER MAGIC by Allison Saft. I wanted to read a romance where I already know where it turns out, and I discovered that one of the main characters has a condition I have (dysgraphia). The first time I read it I noticed the similarities to me, but this time around I knew this collection of weird symptoms was a specific thing that I have.

Current Reads

I'm still working on KING OF THE RISING by Kacen Callender. It's a bleak story and this time around I know how it ends, so every time I pick it up it's a choice to be sad for a bit.

I'm almost done with re-reading THE VEILED THRONE by Ken Liu, I've had it churning in the background for a while since it's a much longer book that I usually read.

SHADOW OF THE FOX by Julie Kagawa is a much lighter re-read, and I'm enjoying it. I'm also re-reading IN AN ABSENT DREAM by Seanan McGuire as part of a re-read of the whole Wayward Children series in anticipation of the newest addition.

I'm reading DRACULA by Bram Stoker through the Dracula Daily emails (from May to November), so this will continue for a while.

THE SECOND REBEL by Linden A. Lewis is a the sequel to THE FIRST SISTER. I don't like it quite as well as the first, but part of that is I'm seeing some weirdness from the first book play out here in a way I'm not sure I like. I'll probably finish it, but honestly I'm not sure right now.

Finally, I'm reading an advance copy of THE WILL OF THE MANY by James Islington which comes out later this month. I'm intrigued by the worldbuilding, but I don't know if I like the main plot. I keep starting new books rather than continue any, which doesn't bode well for what I'm in the middle of reading.

In Case You Missed It

This time last year I read DEAD COLLECTIONS by Isaac Fellman, a story of an archivist who is also Jewish and a vampire, living in his office. He falls in love with a widow who contributes a collection to the archive.

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.

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


Co-host of Books That Burn


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