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 was in a weird reading slump for the last several weeks where almost the only thing I could handle was re-reads. I think I'm coming out of it, but that (and the recent release of the newest Incryptid book) is part of why I discussed reading the entire Incryptid series during the last few newsletters. For a while I could only read things that I'd read before or things by an author whose writing I trust, like Seanan McGuire (she's very clear about what will and will not be in her work, which lets me know whether I should be able to handle even her books that are new to me).
I think I'm mostly out of the slump but I am considering having a pause where one of the upcoming editions of the newsletter is a reruns edition with links to reviews from before the newsletter started. Hopefully I won't need that, but we'll see how it goes.
I didn’t DNF anything this time around.
Nicole Kornher-Stace (author of FIREBREAK, among others) released a completely free short story called "mulberry down!!" on her website. It's beautiful, truly, and you owe it to yourself to give it a read if you have the time.
Reviews forthcoming for PORTRAIT OF A THIEF by Grace D. Li, WE UNLEASH THE MERCILESS STORM by Tehlor Kay Mejia, and SPELUNKING THROUGH HELL by Seanan McGuire.
THE FOREVER WAR by Joe Haldeman is Sci-Fi/War, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. William Mandella signed up for war against the Taurans in the 1990's, but time dilation from near lightspeed travel means that his ten-year stint in the military stretches past the year 3000. Told in First Person with Single POV.
SCAVENGE THE STARS by Tara Sim, book 1 of Scavenge The Stars is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Amaya is rescued from drowning and gets a chance to be someone else, someone powerful and rich who can get revenge against the ones who hurt her. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.
MYSTERY IN MACTOWN by K.E. Robinson, book 2 of The Crescent Moon Chronicles is Mystery/Fantasy marketed as Adult. Julissa is trying to keep everything together after Renaldo vanished, Renaldo is trying to figure out where the heck he is. Told in Third Person with Ensemble POVs.
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman is Fantasy marketed as Middle Grade. Nobody Owens is raised by the ghosts in the graveyard after his family is killed when he's a baby. Told in Third Person with Dual POVs.
A MEMORY CALLED EMPIRE by Arkady Martine, book 1 of Teixcalaan is Sci-Fi, with queer character(s), marketed as Adult. Mahit is sent to Teixcalaan as the new ambassador after her predecessor died, but her imago of his mind is 15 years out of date and the smooth melding of their memories goes awry soon after she lands and she must navigate the tangle she left behind with her guide, Three Seagrass. Told in Third Person with Single POV.
ANGEL OF THE OVERPASS by Seanan McGuire, book 3 of Ghost Roads is Fantasy/Urban Fantasy marketed as Adult. Rose Marshall has been a sixteen-year-old ghost girl for the last sixty years. After the changes to the crossroads she's on the run from Bobby Cross, maybe for the last time. Told in First Person with Single POV. This is best read after THAT AIN'T WITCHCRAFT from Incryptid, as well as the first two Ghost Roads books.
In preparation for reading WE UNLEASH THE MERCILESS STORM I re-read WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE, which I originally reviewed in 2020. WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE by Tehlor Kay Mejia, book 1 of We Set the Dark on Fire is Fantasy, with queer character(s), marketed as Young Adult. Daniela Vargas is a Primera, entering an arranged marriage with her husband and his Secunda. When she's blackmailed before the wedding she must decide whether to help the revolution and endanger the future her parents risked their lives to secure for her. Told in Third Person with Single POV.
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 read WE UNLEASH THE MERCILESS STORM by Tehlor Kay Mejia (chosen by my $5 and up Patrons) to cover both prompts.
I've taken a small pause in reading 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 almost halfway through
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.
I'm partway through a re-read of THE SPACE BETWEEN WORLDS by Micaiah Johnson. I thought re-reading some things would help a reading slump I was in over the last few weeks, but apparently adding more books doesn't actually help a reading slump (wow, who knew). I'll finish it when I can so I can get it off my plate, it's a very good book!
This time last year I was in the middle of reading the entire Toby Daye series by Seanan McGuire, and I'd like to highlight A RED-ROSE CHAIN from that heady and wonderful several time of reading almost the entire series in just a fortnight or two.
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, FIREBREAK by Nicole Kornher-Stace, 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