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. We recently added a transcript for one of our older episodes and redesigned the look of the site, so it's a good time to check in.
I didn’t DNF anything this time around.
I re-read the first two books of The Spiderwick Chronicles (THE FIELD GUIDE and THE SEEING STONE). They’re very short Middle-Grade books and it would take longer to write even a basic review than to read each book, so I’m saving myself the trouble. They will appear in future high-level Patron-only bonus content. Generally speaking, they hold up as books I first read as a kid.
Reviews forthcoming for THE FOREVER WAR by Joe Haldeman, SCAVENGE THE STARS by Tara Sim, and MYSTERY IN MACTOWN by Keelan Robinson.
THE REPTILE ROOM by Lemony Snicket, book 1 of A Series of Unfortunate Events is Mystery marketed as Middle Grade. The Baudelaire Orphans are sent to Monty, yet another relative, this time with reptiles. Told in Third Person with an Omniscient Narrator.
THE WALL OF STORMS by Ken Liu, book 2 of The Dandelion Dynasty is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Kuni Garu is now Emperor Ragin, ruler of Dara but unable to manage everything himself. His children and their new generation of friends and allies must stand against the invading force of the Lyucu. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.
AND THEY LIVED... by Steven Salvatore is Contemporary/Realistic Fiction, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Chase is struggling with dysmorphia and an eating disorder when he arrives at college for animation and meets Jack. Told in First Person with Single POV. It’s a romance (complete with happy ending), and it does contain ideation related to eating disorders, so please take care of yourselves with this one.
BENEATH THE RISING by Premee Mohamed, book 1 of Beneath the Rising is Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Nicky is best friends with Johnny, a girl-genius whose inventions have transformed the world. Then he learns the real price of that genius and has to travel across the world with her in a race to stop Them from breaking through and destroying the world. Told in First Person with Single POV.
THE DOOMSDAY BOOK OF FAIRY TALES by Emily Brewes is Dystopian, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Jesse is telling the story of life at the end of the world, filled with fables to pass the time. Told in First Person with Single POV. I read this as an audiobook which probably influenced my understanding of the main character’s gender identity, but Jesse isn’t actually addressed with third-person pronouns anywhere in the book.
A LIVING NIGHTMARE by Darren Shan, book 1 of Cirque Du Freak is Fantasy/Horror marketed as Young Adult. Darren gets a chance to see a freak show and winds up getting way more than he bargained for. Told in First Person with Single POV. I’m working on gradually re-reading the entire series.
I re-read CIRQUE DU FREAK: A LIVING NIGHTMARE, the first book of the Cirque Du Freak series by Darren Shan. I’m planning to slowly re-read this over the next couple of years in connection with some high level Patron-only bonus content that will hopefully appear soon.
I'm working my way through re-reading the Incryptid series by Seanan McGuire, I had a busy two weeks and got all the way through HALF-OFF RAGNAROK, POCKET APOCALYPSE, CHAOS CHOREOGRAPHY, MAGIC FOR NOTHING, TRICKS FOR FREE, THAT AIN’T WITCHCRAFT, and IMAGINARY NUMBERS.
For 2022 I'm hosting a reading challenge that lasts the whole year. March’s prompt is to read something by a Latinx/Latine author, with the bonus prompt read something by a Queer Latinx/Latine author. I’m going to read WE UNLEASH THE MERCILESS STORM by Tehlor Kay Mejia (chosen by my $5 and up Patrons) to cover both prompts.
I'm partway through A MEMORY CALLED EMPIRE by Arkady Martine, kind of a sci-fi detective story. I’m reading it slowly because I’ve been having trouble reading new stuff for the last few weeks, but I hope to be out of this reading funk soon.
I’m currently reading two ARCs, the first is the sequel to something I read over a year ago and is called MYSTERY IN MACTOWN by Keelan Robinson. It’s a detective/superhero story set in modern Louisiana.
The second is another of Evan Witmer’s strangely-framed short-story collections, HOW TO BURN THIS BOOK. His framing devices are generally a mix of fascinating and disturbing, this time each story is followed by a small explanation (supposedly written by someone else) saying why this story justifies burning the entire collection.
My current audiobook is THE VEILED THONE by Ken Liu, book three of the Dandelion Dynasty.
I’m reading THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman, this one is new to me but very good so far!
I also started ANGEL OF THE OVERPASS, part of the Ghost Roads series by Seanan McGuire, which ties into the Incryptid series. As for Incryptid, I’m currently reading the tenth book, CALCULATED RISKS, and should very soon be moving on to the newly-released SPELUNKING THROUGH HELL (though I’ll try to finish ANGEL OF THE OVERPASS before moving on to the newest book, since they’re tied together but I don’t know how big the overlap is in this instance).
I'm still reading THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (unabridged) by Alexandre Dumas. I'm live-reacting on Twitter as I read a bit each night. This will probably last for several weeks or maybe even months, since it's a long book I own that isn't as high of a priority as anything I'm reading from the library.
THE LUMINOUS DEAD by Caitlin Starling is wonderfully claustrophobic sci-fi/horror set during a solo caving expedition where Gyre must trust Em, the person who hired her for a dangerous job that has already claimed some undisclosed number of lives.
I recently reworked the tags on Reviews That Burn, hopefully the new arrangement is better.
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 2022 prompts are now available from the annual reading challenge! It runs from January 1st to December 31st each year. Find info and links here.
As for the podcast, hopefully you're enjoying our most recent episode, BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER by Marie Lu, as well as the first half of our interview with author Seanan McGuire (AKA Mira Grant, A. Deborah Baker), released in January. If you'd like to receive the second (spoiler-filled) half of the interview, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Patrons receive this newsletter one week early, as well as a list of upcoming podcast episodes for the next three months.
Patrons pledging $5 or more each month can vote on some of what I read next. 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