Mid 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:

  • All The Hidden Paths by Foz Meadows (December 5th)

  • Paladin's Faith by T. Kingfisher (December 5th)

  • A Death at the Dionysus Club by Amy Griswold and Melissa Scott (December 12th)

Signal Boost

If there's no 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 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.

Sometimes people ask us to boost their stuff in our stuff, here's this fortnight's mention:

Recent Reviews

A DEATH AT THE DIONYSUS CLUB by Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold, book 2 of Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey is Fantasy/Mystery, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Ned Mathey and Julian Lynes work together once again to solve a series of bizarre murders where hearts are removed from chests by strange magic. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

BOOKSHOPS & BONEDUST by Travis Baldree, book 0.5 of Legends & Lattes is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Viv is just starting her career when she's injured in battle and has to spend the summer at a seaside town. Told in Third Person with Single POV.

FEVERED STAR by Rebecca Roanhorse, book 2 of Between Earth and Sky is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Serapio and Naranpa are now the avatars of their respective gods, trying to figure out what connections they still have to their humanity. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

NIGHT SHINE by Tessa Gratton, book 1 of Night Shine is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Nothing sets out to find her prince who was taken by the Sorcerer who eats girls, and learns that he can be a girl and a prince. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

ALL THESE SUNKEN SOULS by Circe Moskowitz is Horror, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. An anthology of Black horror in a blend of genres. Told in an Anthology with multiple POV styles.

Reviews forthcoming for MOON DARK SMILE by Tessa Gratton and MISLAID IN PARTS HALF-KNOWN by Seanan McGuire.


As it gets towards the end of the year, I'm trying to clear out my to-read pile, and part of that is trying a bunch of books which have lingered, and that can mean a lot of DNFs. The past week was particularly rife with this.

  • THE JASAD HEIR by Sara Hashem - I might try this again later, but I paused and then forgot to go back to it.

  • MAXIMUMUS by Stella Rainbow - There were constant infodumps as worldbuilding, and I didn't like the style.

  • I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson - This wasn't going to get a full DNF review, but I realized I put several of paragraphs explanation on TheStoryGraph, so that'll be its own post soon.

  • THAT WAY MADNESS LIES, edited by Dahlia Adler - I realized I don't do well with anthologies. I prefer series of multiple books where I can really get to know the characters. One story in, I decided to stop trying (except for anthologies which accompany ongoing series).

  • MIDNIGHT AT THE HOUDINI by Delilah S. Dawson - I might be getting to old to appreciate new YA.

  • THE GENESIS OF MISERY by Neon Yang - The amount of visual detail is too much for my aphantasia.

  • SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY by Mary Robinette Kowal - The book was clear about what it is, and a chapter in I realized that isn't a book I want to read right now.

  • STEEL CROW SAGA by Paul Krueger - Another that's too visually detailed for me.

  • FROM DUST, A FLAME by Rebecca Podos - I didn't realized from the description that this was a contemporary setting.

  • A MARKET OF DREAMS AND DESTINY by Trip Galey - Not enjoying it, not sure why. I usually love queer historical romantasy.

  • BLOOD SCION by Deborah Falaye - Yup, I'm definitely getting too old for new YA.

  • PAWN OF PROPHECY by David Eddings - Feels like LOTR/Star Wars, but narrated like the Bible.

  • CHALK by Paul Cornell - Graphic description of the aftermath of sexual assault.

  • YOU SEXY THING by Cat Rambo - I got just far enough to realize I wasn't interested.

  • THE ATROCITY ARCHIVES by Charles Stross - Early aughts sexism.

Rereads and Older Reviews

I re-read the first three books in the Saint of Steel series by T. Kingfisher in preparation for either receiving PALADIN'S FAITH (book four) for Christmas or by way of a library hold sometime early next year.

Current Reads

I'm in the middle of two re-reads, SEASONAL FEARS by Seanan McGuire (since TITAL CREATURES is coming out soon) and BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE by Maggie Stiefvater because I found out there's a sequel series to The Raven Boys, so I'm finishing my re-read of the quartet in order to check that out sometime in 2024.

In Case You Missed It

This time last year I read UNTETHERED SKY by Fonda Lee, a novella about a rukher and her roc. If you like fantasy in your falconry (or vice versa), check this one out.

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. Recently they've been readings of my essays about books. 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 and even more planned reviews.

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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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