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Review: “The Luminous Dead,” Caitlin Starling

Pros: Intense! Cons: Mild confusion Rating: 5 out of 5 Caitlin Starling’s The Luminous Dead: A Novel is an intense psychological thriller that I couldn’t put down! Gyre is a caver, but she’s lied about how much experience she has.

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Review: “Into the Dark,” J.A. Schneider

Pros: Second half Cons: First half Rating: 3.5 out of 5 J.A. Schneider’s INTO THE DARK is a thriller/mystery about art history teacher Annie Lamb and her psychiatrist husband, Ben. Before Annie married Ben, he was married once before–and his

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Review: “Memoirs of a Synth: Gold Record,” Leigh Saunders

Pros: Lovely story and characters Cons: A few details Rating: 4 out of 5 Leigh Saunders’s Memoirs of a Synth: Gold Record introduces us to Brianna Rei. She’s a Synth, designed and engineered to be the “perfect specimen” of humanity.

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Review: “Sunspot Jungle Volume One,” ed. Bill Campbell

Pros: Poetic; multicultural Cons: Some confusion Rating: 4 out of 5 Sunspot Jungle: The Ever Expanding Universe of Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Bill Campbell, is a large collection of stories with a fantastical bent to them, although the

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Review: “Cat Pictures Please And Other Stories,” Naomi Kritzer

Pros: Amazing combination of off-the-wall and ordinary Cons: … Rating: 5 out of 5 Naomi Kritzer’s collection Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories is absolutely wonderful. There wasn’t a single story I didn’t fully enjoy, despite the fact that I

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Review: “The Goodall Mutiny,” Gretchen Rix

Pros: High anxiety; interesting mystery Cons: Utterly bizarre style; small problems Rating: 2 out of 5 I’m not entirely sure what to make of the experience of reading Gretchen Rix’s The Goodall Mutiny (The Goodall Mysteries) (Volume 1). Lieutenant Joan

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Review: “Queen of Roses,” Elizabeth McCoy

Pros: Fascinating main character Cons: A bit slow Rating: 4 out of 5 Elizabeth McCoy’s Queen of Roses takes place on a cruise ship–spaceship, to be precise. It is run by two artificial intelligences, Pilot and Sarafina. The AI that

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Review: “Twin Lakes: Autumn Fires,” Michelle Garza, Melissa Lason

Pros: Decent tale of demonic horror Cons: Stilted, awkward style and laughable dialogue Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason’s Twin Lakes: Autumn Fires attempts to cross a tale of demonic killings and possession with an odd

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Short Take: “Elysium,” Jennifer Marie Brissett

Pros: Interesting characters and world Cons: Utterly confusing and surreal Rating: 3 out of 5 Jennifer Marie Brissett’s Elysium is an odd, surreal story about Adrianne and Antoine, who are going through some marital difficulties. Or maybe it’s about Adrianne

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Review: “The Specimen,” Pete Kahle

Pros: Interesting concept Cons: Some dry material; stereotypical bad guys Rating: 3 out of 5 Pete Kahle’s The Specimen: A Novel of Horror (The Riders Saga Book 1) introduces us to parasitical Riders, alien organisms that embed themselves in their

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