Books That Burn

A book review podcast where we discuss how authors treat and traumatize their characters.

Stand-Alone 12: The Midnight Bargain - C.L. Polk

July 12th, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “The Midnight Bargain” by C.L. Polk. This book does for discussions of sexism in a magical aristocratic setting what the The Kingston Cycle does for classism in the same.

TITLE:  The Midnight Bargain
AUTHOR: C.L. Polk 
PUBLISHER: Erewhon
YEAR: 2020
LENGTH: 384 pages
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy
RECOMMENDED: Yes

Book TW for pregnancy, vomit, death (not depicted), sexism, violence.

Topic 1: The Circle - Loss of security. Begins at (1:35), CW for misogyny.

Topic 2: Ysbeta - Allocishetnormativity. Begins at (16:00), CW for misogyny, aphobia.

Topic 3: Beatrice - Misogyny. Begins at (25:00), CW for misogyny, discussion of birth control side effects.

Promo for CPOV Saturday Morning Confidential; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (37:05).

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To make a one-time donation please support us on Ko-Fi.

For fortnightly news and updates, as well as links to recent written reviews, subscribe to our newsletter.

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn.

Find all our links on our Carrd.

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission.

Members of the Certain Point of View network of podcasts.

Highlight 8: Black Sun - Rebecca Roanhorse

June 28th, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “Black Sun” by Rebecca Roanhorse, the first book of the series "Between Earth and Sky". As of the time of recording only "Black Sun" was published".

TITLE: Black Sun
AUTHOR: Rebecca Roanhorse
PUBLISHER: Gallery / Saga Press
YEAR: 2020
LENGTH: 464 pages
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy
RECOMMENDED: Highly

Book TW for racism, xenophobia, vomit, blood, gore, child abuse, murder, violence, suicide, major character death, death.

Topic 1: Naranpa - Coup Attempt. Begins at (1:35), CW for discussion of death, violence.

Topic 2: Okoa - Death of a Parent. Begins at (11:22), CW for death of a parent, suicide, murder.

Topic 3: Xiala - Ostracization. Begins at (19:48), CW for disability, ostracization, child abuse, dismemberment.

Promo for CPOV Screen Snark; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (27:32). CW for discussion of racism, death.

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon

To make a one-time donation please support us on Ko-Fi.

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn.

Find all our links on our Carrd.

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission.

Members of the Certain Point of View network of podcasts.

Interview 6: Sara Codair, Part 1 of 2

June 18th, 2021

Please enjoy the spoiler-free portion of our interview with author Sara Codair, discussing three books from their urban fantasy series "The Evanstar Chronicles", specifically the books, "Life Minus Me", "Power Surge", and "Power Inversion". Timestamps are marked for the interview questions.

Patrons at any level receive part two of this interview.

  • Intro (0:00)
  • Can you talk a little about the way trauma works in your writing? (0:57)
  • Do you feel that trauma for the sake of trauma is valid for characters to go through/be put in stories or does it always need to be plot related? (1:54)
  • Have you ever started writing a trauma in one of your books, and had it take over or have more of a story impact than originally intended? (3:41)
  • Do you write in trauma for background characters without planning for it to have an impact on the story, and if so does it ever leak into the story? (4:36)
  • What is your approach to incorporating visible characters of color in your work? What do you do to make it go beyond social coding (or not)? (7:23)
  • Do you tend to write characters with a specific orientation? Do you generally stick to depictions of queerness which match parts of your identity? (10:12)
  • What (if any) do you think is a good example of queer culture in your books? (13:03)
  • Have you ever had a character surprise you with a disability after you started writing? (15:42)
  • Do you consider your character’s physical description when writing how other characters treat them? (18:32)
  • How does setting influence culture in your series? What (if any) do you think is a good example of a marginalized culture in your writing? (20:38)
  • For our audience at home, please discuss how and whether you use queer-inclusive language in your writing. (31:55)

--- Wrap-Up and Outro: Included in Part 1 and Part 2 ---

  • What is your favorite non-traumatic thing in any of your books? (35:05)
  • Do you have a favorite book written by someone else, and if so what makes it your favorite? (38:13)
  • Do you have any queer authors and/or authors of color whose work you’d like to shoutout? (39:49)
  • In what order should someone read your books? (41:24)

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Check out Sara's website for more about their writing, you can also find them on their NineStar Press page. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or look up their author page on Goodreads.

The major works discussed in this interview are "Life Minus Me", "Power Surge", and "Power Inversion".

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You can find Robin's written reviews of Power Surge, Power Inversion, and Life Minus Me at Reviews that Burn.

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission.

Stand-Alone 11: Under the Pendulum Sun - Jeannette Ng

June 14th, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “Under the Pendulum Sun” by Jeannette Ng, with special guest Dare! You can find them on Twitter, or check out their Linktree for more details about their various streaming and gaming exploits.

TITLE: Under the Pendulum Sun
AUTHOR: Jeannette Ng
PUBLISHER: Angry Robot
YEAR: 2019
LENGTH: 409 pages
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy
RECOMMENDED: Yes

Book CWs for sexism, alcoholism, colonialism, incest, emotional manipulation (backstory), mental illness, confinement, body horror, suicidal thoughts, animal death, child death (backstory), murder, major character death, death.

Topic 1: Disassociation. Begins at (1:35), CW for Discussion of historical harm to children and autistic people, stigmatization of autistic behaviors.

Topic 2: Religious Trauma. Begins at (11:25), CW for suicidal tendencies, religious trauma (Protestant Christianity), biblical justification for harm, death (brief mention).

Topic 3: Incest. Begins at (23:10), CW for incest, biblical justification for harm, death (brief mention).

Promo for CPOV - RMC vs CG; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (39:35). CW for eugenics mention.

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon

To make a one-time donation please support us on Ko-Fi.

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn.

Find all our links on our Carrd.

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission.

Highlight 7: So This Is How You Die - edited by Ryan North

May 31st, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing the anthology “This Is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death”, edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki! This anthology was published after the original, "Machine of Death", but can be read independently. We discussed three specific stories by different contributors.

  • "Furnace" by Erika Hammerschmidt
  • "Drowning Burning Flying Falling" by Grace Seybold
  • "Toxoplasmosis of the Brain" by Gord Sellar

Book TW for domestic violence (backstory), homophobia, ableism, racism, racial slurs, terminal illness, bullying, blood, gore, gun violence, violence, self harm, suicidal thoughts, suicide, torture (not depicted), genocide, animal death, child death, major character death, death.

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This episode discusses fictional depictions of suicide (Topic 2). If you're in the United States the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. For those of our audience outside of the United States, you maybe able to find the suicide hotline number or other appropriate emergency services for your country in this directory provided by OpenCounseling.

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Topic 1: "Furnace" - Death. Begins at (1:43), CW for Infertility, sex, death, loss of innocence, bomb mention.

Topic 2: "Drowning Burning Flying Falling" - Loss of agency. Begins at (12:33), CW for Suicide, death, grief, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, loss of agency.

Topic 3: "Toxoplasmosis of the Brain" - Death camps. Begins at (24:57), CW for abandonment, HIV/AIDS, stereotyping based on death, child death, death, rape, genocide, murder.

Promo for CPOV Reignite; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (34:45).

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon. Patrons at any level will receive the bonus Epilogue episode for this book.

To make a one-time donation please support us on Ko-Fi.

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn.

Find all our links on our Carrd.

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission.

Stand-Alone 10: All the Birds in the Sky - Charlie Jane Anders

May 17th, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “All the Birds in the Sky” by Charlie Jane Anders. We've had this on the booklist since almost the beginning and we're so excited to finally bring you this episode. 

Book TW for abusive parents, parental death, torture (implied), sex (explicit), bullying/abuse (explicit). 

Topic 1: Serafina - Emotional connection. Begins at (1:35), No major CWs. 

Topic 2: Laurence - Parental abuse: Neglect. Begins at (14:20), CW for neglect, discussion of torture, child abuse. 

Topic 3: Patricia - Parental abuse: Control. Begins at (23:55), CW for neglect, food abuse, bullying, targeting abuse, child abuse. 

Promo for CPOV Reignite; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (36:50). 

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon

To make a one-time donation please support us on Ko-Fi

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn. 

Find all our links on our Carrd

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Highlight 6: The Cat Who Sniffed Glue - Lilian Jackson Braun

May 3rd, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “The Cat Who Sniffed Glue”, part of the Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun. We're joined by special guest Dare. You can follow Dare on Twitter or find more info and links on their LinkTree.

Book TW for ableism, sexism, homophobia (brief), drug use (not depicted), car accident, violence, animal death (not depicted), suicide (not depicted), death (not depicted).

Topic 1: Belle - Erasure. Begins at (1:30), CW for loss of identity, classism, racism example in discussion.

Topic 2: Qwilleran - Car Accident. Begins at (19:30), CW for car accident, pets in danger.

Topic 3: The Fitch’s - Murder/Suicide. Begins at (31:20), CW for character death, murder, car crash, prison mention.

Promo for Fun & Games; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (53:00).

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon.

To make a one-time donation please support us on Ko-Fi.

Find all our links on our Carrd.

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission.

Stand-Alone 9: Beneath The Citadel - Destiny Soria

April 19th, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “Beneath The Citadel” by Destiny Soria. We're joined by Christian from The Lazy Gringo Podcast

Book TW for panic attacks, violence, child abuse, suicide, child death, major character death, death. 

Topic 1: Child abuse. Begins at (1:35), CW for child abuse, dislocation, injury mention, panic attacks, suicide mention. 

Topic 2: Memory Loss. Begins at (12:54), CW for Memory loss, memory theft, loss of personality, loss of bodily function. 

Topic 3: Death and the specter of mortality. Begins at (24:35), CW for suicidal ideation. 

Promo for ComicsQuest; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (33:55). 

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon

To make a one-time donation please support us on Ko-Fi

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn

Find all our links on our Carrd

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Stand-Alone 8: The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle

April 1st, 2021

We have a fun episode for you this time! We're joined by Andrea for a special discussion of one of our favorite kidlit books, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Episode TW for possible derealization, please refer to additional details below the topic list if this is a concern for you. 

This book has a film adaptation which you can find here. 

Link to monkey study discussed in the episode. 

Topic 1: Absent Parents. Begins at (0:00), CW for abandonment, neglect. This topic had a small recording issue and is a highlight reel from our discussion. The episode starts properly with Topic 2. 

Topic 2: Food Insecurity. Begins at (5:50), CW for food insecurity, food deserts, hunger, eating disorders, body horror. 

Topic 3: Illness. Begins at (16:20), CW for death, illness, body horror. 

Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (28:18). 

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This is an April Fool's Day episode. While we love a good joke, we don't want to distress our audience. This episode may invoke feelings of derealization (unreality and disorientation) as we take very seriously a book which perhaps on its own might not warrant the level of scrutiny we grant it in this episode. 

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You can find Andrea on Twitter, TikTok, and on Good Idea

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon

Find all our links on our Carrd

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Interview 5: JP Jackson, Part 1 of 2

March 26th, 2021

Please enjoy the spoiler-free portion of our interview with author JP Jackson, discussing his books, "Daimonion" and "Magic or Die". Timestamps are marked for the interview questions. Become a Patron at any level to receive the spoiler-filled second half of the interview.

  • Intro (0:00) 
  • Can you talk a little about the way trauma works in your writing? (0:40) 
  • Do you put more thought into the trauma itself or the aftermath when thinking about the effects on your characters? (1:40) 
  • Have you ever started writing a trauma in one of your books, and had it take over or have more of a story impact than originally intended? (7:30) 
  • Has a traumatic event in your books ever changed your perception of a character? (9:28) 
  • What is your approach to incorporating visible characters of color in your work? (11:04) 
  • What is your approach to incorporating characters with disabilities in your work? (15:15)
  • Do you tend to write characters with a specific orientation? Do you generally stick to depictions of queerness which match parts of your identity? (18:58)
  • If you have a character whose identity doesn’t match yours, do you have an approach for how to write about them without it being about that piece of them? (23:15)

--- Wrap-Up and Outro: Included in Part 1 and Part 2 ---  

  • What is your favorite non-traumatic thing in any of your books? (29:08)
  • Do you have a favorite book written by someone else, and if so what makes it your favorite? (32:17)
  • Do you have any queer authors and/or authors of color whose work you’d like to shoutout? (35:56)
  • Where can our audience find you? (38:05) - Some of his social media handles were updated after this interview, please refer to the links below.

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Check out JP Jackson's blog for more info about his writing, you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Tumblr, or check out his Goodreads profile, Amazon Buy Link, and NineStar Press page.

The major works discussed in this interview are "Daimonion" and "Magic or Die".

The "book coming out in March" referenced in this interview is "Summoned" by JP Jackson, released April 19, 2021 by NineStar Press. Preorder it here.

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon. Patrons at any level will receive part two of this two-part interview.

You can find Robin's written review of Daimonion and Magic or Die at Reviews that Burn.

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

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