Early December 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

I track upcoming book releases by authors we've previously covered on a shareable google calendar.

Notable December Releases:

  • Godly Heathens by H.E. Edgmon

  • All The Hidden Paths by Foz Meadows

  • Paladin's Faith by T. Kingfisher

  • A Death at the Dionysus Club by Amy Griswold and Melissa Scott

Signal Boost

If there's no permanent ceasefire in Gaza by the time you read this, please use resources like Ceasefire Now to contact your representatives and ask them to support a permanent ceasefire in the crisis in Gaza. The link includes information on planned protests and demonstrations, and has information for people internationally on what they can do to get involved.

Recent Reviews

OUT THERE SCREAMING by Jordan Peele is Horror, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. This anthology is a collection of Black horror. Told in an Anthology with multiple POV styles.

IF I HAVE TO BE HAUNTED by Miranda Sun is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Cara Tang is a ghost-speaker who's trying to pretend she can't see anything out of the ordinary, but when her irritating classmate Zach is dead in the woods she's the only one who can see his ghost, and his only chance at returning to life. Told in Third Person with Single POV.

DEATH BY SILVER by Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold, book 1 of Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey is Fantasy/Mystery, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Ned Mathey declares a man's silver free of curses, then the man is killed by an enchanted silver candlestick. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

DOWN COMES THE NIGHT by Allison Saft is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Wren is a healer and a soldier/nun, asked to help save a war criminal. Told in Third Person with Single POV.

THE LAMB WILL SLAUGHTER THE LION by Margaret Killjoy, book 1 of Danielle Cain is Fantasy/Horror, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Danielle Cain is a queer punk rock traveller who comes to an anarchist commune. Told in First Person with Single POV.

A NOBLEMAN'S GUIDE TO SEDUCING A SCOUNDREL by K.J. Charles, book 2 of The Doomsday Books is Historical/Romance, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Major Rufus is trying to prove his inheritance in order to take care of the estate, when a young man shows up with a possible claim. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

Reviews forthcoming for A DEATH AT THE DIONYSUS CLUB by Amy Griswold and Melissa Scott, and BOOKSHOPS & BONEDUST by Travis Baldree.

Current Reads

I checked out a pile of anthologies from my local library and I've started the first of them: A PHOENIX FIRST MUST BURN: SIXTEEN STORIES OF BLACK GIRL MAGIC, RESISTANCE, AND HOPE, edited by Patrice Caldwell.

I'm still trying to finish IMMORTAL LONGINGS by Chloe Gong. I finally figured out why I'm having trouble with it: it's close enough to magical teleportation that it's a bit distressing to me. I like how it's handling things, generally, but I'm much less invested in it than Chloe Gong's other work.

I'm almost done with THE HIGH KING by Lloyd Alexander, the last book of the Chronicles of Prydain.

SEASONAL FEARS by Seanan McGuire is a re-read for me, it's the sequel to MIDDLEGAME and is connected to the Up-and-Under.

Mostly paused in THE DIABLO'S CURSE by Gabe Cole Novoa, it doesn't come out for a while so it's not as high priority as the other ARCs I need to read.

I started THE JASAD HEIR by Sara Hashem, but I'm not sure whether I'll finish it. I'm not very far in.

In Case You Missed It

This time last year I read THE VERY SECRET SOCIETY OF IRREGULAR WITCHES by Sangu Mandanna.

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.

Speaking of Bookshop, I've put together top picks lists for 2021 onwards. Books are included based on the year they were published, so occasionally older lists might get new titles. To be in the Top Picks list a book needs to get a five-star rating from me, and be published in the year of the list. You can find the 2023 list here, and I've begun the 2024 list with ARCs I'm reviewing.

As for the podcast, hopefully you're enjoying our most recent episode, an audio version of my essay about Singularity by William Sleator. 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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