Early January Reviews (2024)


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

News and Events

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

Notable JANUARY Releases:

  • JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE by Naomi Kanakia (January 2nd)

  • A FRAGILE ENCHANTMENT by Allison Saft (January 2nd)

  • MISLAID IN PARTS HALF-KNOWN by Seanan McGuire (January 9th)

  • THE NIGHT GUEST by Hildur Knútsdóttir (January 16th)

  • MOST ARDENTLY by Gabe Cole Novoa (January 16th)

  • A QUANTUM LOVE STORY by Mike Chen (January 30th)

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

GREENWODE by J. Tullos Hennig, book 1 of The Wode is Fantasy/Historical/Romance, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Rob of Loxley finds an injured nobleman’s son in the forest, he and his sister Marion befriend young Gamelyn. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

A FRAGILE ENCHANTMENT by Allison Saft is Fantasy/Historical/Romance, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Niamh is chosen design the wardrobe for a royal wedding in the neighboring kingdom of Avaland, but finds herself Told in Third Person with Single POV.

ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie, book 1 of Imperial Radch is Sci-Fi marketed as Adult. Breq used to be Justice of Toren -- a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Told in First Person with Single POV.

A QUANTUM LOVE STORY by Mike Chen is Sci-Fi marketed as Adult. Mariana and Carter find themselves caught in a time loop, trying to stop the accident which has trapped first Carter, then Mariana, but Carter is starting to forget. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

A POWER UNBOUND by Freya Marske, book 3 of The Last Binding is Fantasy/Historical/Romance, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Jack Alston, Lord Hawthorn thought he was done with magic for good, but to keep the Last Contract safe he and his friends need the help of writer and thief Alan Ross. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

A SPARK OF WHITE FIRE by Sangu Mandanna, book 1 of The Celestial Trilogy is Fantasy/Sci-Fi, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Esmae is raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, longing to return to her family. She enters a competition and reveals her true identity to the world, ready to help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali. But it all falls apart. Told in First Person with Single POV.

Reviews forthcoming for ALL THE HIDDEN PATHS by Foz Meadows and THE VOICE UPSTAIRS by Laura E. Weymouth.


I had a few this fortnight where I barely started and figured out that book wasn't for me. They are:

  • SUCH SHARP TEETH by Rachel Harrison

  • DOPPELGANGER: A TRIP INTO THE MIRROR WORLD by Naomi Klein (nonfiction)

  • CITY OF BONES by Martha Wells

No Review (Nonfiction, Graphic Novels, etc.)

I read a very excellent history of antisemitism towards a famous Jewish family, "Jewish Space Lasers: The Rothschilds and 200 Years of Conspiracy Theories" by Mike Rothschild (no relation).

Very unusually for me, I read a historical fantasy novel and it left so little an impression that there's no way I could write an actual review of it. THE JUDAS BLOSSOM by Stephen Aryan feels absolutely mid-tier. Nothing specifically bad to say about it, but it fell out of my brain as soon as I finished it.

Rereads and Older Reviews

I'm reading the Animorphs series with author Shaina Krevat (re-read for me, first read for her) for what will be a series of videos on her YouTube channel sometime later this year. I'm on pace to read two of them every three days, and it's going well so far.

Current Reads

I've lingered over a re-read of SEASONAL FEARS by Seanan McGuire a bit longer than I've meant to, but it's so nice to have something to pick up when I want something familiar that I haven't nearly memorized. I'm also re-reading THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater in preparation to read the sequel series sometime this year.

I started THE WIZARD HUNTERS by Martha Wells, newly recategorized as the third book of Ile-Rien rather than the first book of The Fall of Ile-Rien.

Finally, I've begun my ARC of TO GAZE UPON WICKED GODS by Molly X. Chang, and it's excellent. I'm kicking myself that I didn't get into it sooner, but every few days I read another chunk and it's going very well.

In Case You Missed It

This time last year I read DWELLERS by Eliza Victoria, a very cool fantasy/mystery which I'm surprised isn't categorized as horror, as it's definitely flirting with that genre. It's a doppelganger story involving two brothers who can flee into new bodies but find themselves in a situation weirder and worse than what they were escaping.

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. 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.

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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