Late December Reviews (2023)


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.

Recent Reviews

MOON DARK SMILE by Tessa Gratton, book 2 of Night Shine is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Raliel Dark-Smile travels on her heir's journey with the palace demon nestled around her heart. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

MISLAID IN PARTS HALF-KNOWN by Seanan McGuire, book 9 of Wayward Children is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Antsy needs to get back to the Store to fix what's gone wrong. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.

SPECTRED ISLE by K.J. Charles, book 1 of Green Men is Fantasy/Alternate History/Romance, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Saul is a disgraced archeologist working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE by Naomi Kanakia is Contemporary, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Tara is an Indian American trans girl who transfers from her prestigious all-boys’ school to the sister school that she’s always idealized. Told in First Person with Single POV.

THE REANIMATOR'S HEART by Kara Jorgensen, book 1 of The Reanimator Mysteries is Fantasy/Historical/Romance, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Felipe is an investigator who is killed just when Oliver, an autistic necromancer, was going to ask him out to dinner. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.

Reviews forthcoming for GREENWODE by J. Tullow Hennig and A FRAGILE ENCHANTMENT by Allison Saft.


  • CITY OF BONES by Martha Wells

  • THE FOREVER SEA by Joshua Phillip Johnson

  • WINTER TIDE by Ruthanna Emrys

  • BLINDSIGHT by Peter Watts - I can’t stand Siri (one of the main characters). I have a very limited emotional range (for a different specific reason, but likely also due to brain damage), and his characterization is frustrating to me.

I wrote a formal DNF review for I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson.

No Review (Nonfiction, Graphic Novels, etc.)

I read the first Animorphs Graphic Novel (THE INVASION). It's an excellent adaptation, I'm very pleased with it.

Rereads and Older Reviews

I'm re-reading the Animorphs series as part of a collaboration with Shaina Krevat, so stay tuned for my guest appearances in her future videos on this series! For now, I'm reading 1-2 Animorphs books per day, I've reviewed them before so I won't be doing new write-ups on the individual books, but there should be future podcast content for this and there might be an essay or two, we'll see.

I'm re-reading a few things in preparation for additional books. Apparently there's a sequel series to The Raven Boys, so I'm re-reading THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater. I recently re-read MIDDLEGAME and am currently re-reading SEASONAL FEARS, both to re-read the Alchemical Journeys books now that I've read all of the Up-And-Under, and to get ready for TIDAL CREATURES which comes out in June, 20204.

Current Reads

For the next couple months I'll be reading an Animorphs book or briefly in between them at all times, plus I'm in the middle of the re-reads I just mentioned, and I'm about to start REEVE OF VEILS by A.K. Faulkner.

In Case You Missed It

This time last year I read STEEL'S EDGE by Ilona Andrews, the final book of The Edge.

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, another of my essays. 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


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

A small black and orange tortoiseshell cat is crouching on a desk in front of two computer monitors. Her eyes are yellow and she stares slightly past the camera.


Popular Posts