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Review: “Institute of Magic,” Linsey Hall

Pros: Great action Cons: Semi-formulaic Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Linsey Hall’s Institute of Magic (Dragon’s Gift: The Druid Book 1) is the fifth sub-series in her Dragon’s Gift universe, following Ana, Bree’s younger sister. As usual, one of the

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Review: “The Cabin at the End of the World,” Paul Tremblay

Pros: This story broke my brain Cons: Truly bizarre perspective/PoV switching Rating: 5 out of 5 Paul Tremblay’s The Cabin at the End of the World: A Novel introduces us to little girl Wen and her Daddy Eric and Daddy

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Review: “Them Bones,” Howard Waldrop

Pros: Fantastically original Cons: Meanders weirdly Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Howard Waldrop’s Them Bones is a bizarre and mystifying read. At a 1929 archaeological site in Louisiana, Dr. Kincaid and Bessie Level discover a thirteenth-century burial mound… with horses’

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Short Take: “Stealing from Pirates,” Stefon Mears

Pros: Interesting setup Cons: Kind of boring; feels unfinished Rating: 3 out of 5 In Stefon Mears’s Stealing from Pirates, pilot and captain Dara “Dare” Ross is indulging in a bit of low-risk smuggling. Unfortunately for her, someone has swapped

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Review: “The Halfblood War,” L. Deni Colter

Pros: World-building, characters Cons: A few small slips Rating: 4.5 out of 5 L. Deni Colter’s The Halfblood War reminded me of how much I can enjoy fantasy. I think there was a period during my formative years when a

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Review: “The Rust Maidens,” Gwendolyn Kiste

Pros: Inexorable, bleak, and riveting Cons: Kind of slow Rating: 5 out of 5 Gwendolyn Kiste’s The Rust Maidens is a slow, lingering journey that’s equal parts bleak and riveting. Phoebe lives in Cleveland, in a neighborhood occupied by steel

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Review: “A Song for Quiet,” Cassandra Khaw

Pros: The language is so evocative! Cons: … Rating: 5 out of 5 Really good Lovecraftian horror is hard to write. After reading Cassandra Khaw’s Hammers on Bone, I had to read more, and the follow-on was Khaw’s novella A

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Recipe: Dark Chocolate Pudding

When I posted my pumpkin pudding recipe I said I’d probably try a chocolate variation next. So here you go! Most chocolate pudding recipes use cocoa powder instead of chocolate bars for a super-smooth texture. I wanted to be able

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Review: “The Immune: Omnibus Edition,” David Kazzie

Pros: Deep dive into characters’ heads Cons: Silly, one-dimensional evil corporation Rating: 3 out of 5 David Kazzie’s The Immune: Omnibus Edition is a combination of four books in his series. While it ended in a place that I was

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Review: “Master of Magic,” Linsey Hall

Pros: Some gripping scenes; consent Cons: One bone-headed move; one fight moved too fast Rating: 3.5 out of 5 In book one of The Valkyrie, Bree and her sister Ana had to fight hard to track down and acquire the

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