Late June Reviews (2023)


Welcome to the Books That Burn Fortnightly Roundup! Releasing every two weeks (one week early for Patrons).

Just a reminder that I'm taking a break in July from new reviews to give me a breather and a chance to figure out the review schedule for the rest of 2023. My pattern of three reviews a week was leftover from my breakneck pace of book reading in 2022, and I need to readjust to my actual 2023 reading cadence. I'll have some other posts like essays and book-related thoughts, but I've done so much re-reading lately to get a mental break that my queue of new books ready for review has dwindled to almost nothing.

Recent Reviews

Reviews forthcoming for ROLLING IN THE DEEP by Mira Grant, NONA THE NINTH by Tamsyn Muir. and whatever I read next (I got a bit behind on new stuff for next fortnight).

INTO THE RIVERLANDS by Nghi Vo, book 3 of The Singing Hills Cycle is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Chih and Almost Brilliant travel in the riverlands and hear many stories. Told in Third Person with Single POV.

SPELLBOUND by Allie Therin, book 1 of Magic in Manhattan is Fantasy/Romance, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Arthur and Rory try to figure out a magical mystery in the midst of Prohibition. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs. I disliked some very specific things about this book and wrote an essay with some related thoughts.

MAGIC TIDES by Ilona Andrews, book 1 of Kate Daniels: Wilmington Years is Fantasy marketed as Adult. Kate and Curran have moved to Wilmington to try and start over, anonymously, but when Kate finds out about a kidnapped child their plans to live quietly are disrupted. Told in First Person with Ensemble POVs.

MADE OF STARS by Jenna Voris is Sci-Fi, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Shane and Ava are outlaws, trying to get enough to keep their families alive. Cyrus is part of the military colonizing their planet. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

THE CAPITAL by A.H. Lee, book 1 of The Knight and the Necromancer is Fantasy/Romance, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Roland finds himself falling for a necromancer. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

MAGIC CLAIMS by Ilona Andrews, book 2 of Kate Daniels: Wilmington Years is Fantasy marketed as Adult. Kate and Curran are asked to help rescue a town from a mysterious figure who is magically extorting them. Told in First Person with Dual POVs.


I had a rare short story DNF. I only made it partway through "A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade" by John Chu.

There were several more DNFs that don't get a full review:

  • THE OUTSIDE by Ada Hoffmann

  • THE WARDEN by Daniel M. Ford

  • PENNYBLADE by J.L. Worrad

  • NO GODS FOR DROWNING by Hailey Piper


No Review (Nonfiction, Graphic Novels, etc.)

I read LORE OLYMPUS: VOLUME FOUR, which is a print edition of part of the webcomic of the same name.

Rereads and Older Reviews

I re-read a few books this fortnight, trying to take a bit of a break from new stuff before getting back into things: A MARVELLOUS LIGHT by Freya Marske and ELDER RACE by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

Current Reads

I'm almost done with THE CASTLE OF LLYR by Lloyd Alexander. It's a short book, but I don't like it quite as much as the first two.

NONA THE NINTH is fantastic so far, I have some theories about what's happening but as usual for this series I have no idea whether I'll be correct.

I'm still reading DRACULA through Dracula Daily, and I will be for a while. There weren't many entries recently.

JADE LEGACY by Fonda Lee has some triggering topics in the early sections which are slowing me down. There's a character recovering from a TBI which parallels my own experience in ways that are very well written but difficult for me to read.

I've been stalled on FORGED BY BLOOD by Ehigbor Okosun, this could be a DNF if I haven't made progress by the next newsletter.

In Case You Missed It

This time last year I read SINGULARITY by William Sleator, a book I'd originally read as a teen.

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, A STRANGE AND STUBBORN ENDURANCE by Foz Meadows. 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


Want this newsletter delivered directly to your inbox? Subscribe via Buttondown. 

A small black and brown tortoiseshell stares with a wide-eyed gaze, she's lying down in front of a window, on a pile of coats and blankets.


Popular Posts