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Review: “Of Blood and Bone,” Nora Roberts

Pros: Fascinating world-building; excellent characters Cons: Part of the ending comes out of nowhere Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Nora Roberts’s Of Blood and Bone: Chronicles of The One, Book 2 picks up a handful of years after Year One

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Review: “From a Certain Point of View,” various authors

Pros: Strong, intriguing stories from new directions Cons: Virtually no anthology is perfect Rating: 4.5 out of 5 From a Certain Point of View (Star Wars): “40 Stories Celebrating 40 Years of Star Wars” is a collection of 40 stories

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Review: “O Little Town of Deathlehem,” ed. Michael J. Evans, Harrison Graves

Pros: Some original, spooky Christmas stories Cons: Like most anthologies, the quality is variable Rating: 4 out of 5 O Little Town of Deathlehem: An Anthology of Holiday Horrors for Charity, edited by Michael J. Evans and Harrison Graves, is

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Review: “Cocktails at Seven, Apocalypse at Eight,” Don Bassingthwaite

Pros: Original, vivid, inspiring, and bawdy! Cons: … Rating: 5 out of 5 Now I’m even more addicted to storybundles, since one of them introduced me to Don Bassingthwaite’s marvelous Cocktails at Seven, Apocalypse at Eight: The Derby Cavendish Stories.

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Review: “Invincible,” David Bruns

Pros: Interesting characters; great space battles Cons: The aliens seem stereotypical so far Rating: 4 out of 5 David Bruns’s Invincible: The First Swarm War Book One is an engrossing read. XO Addison Halsey, of the ISS Invincible, thinks something

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Review: “Clash of Magic,” Linsey Hall

Pros: Lots of interesting goals Cons: I want to believe that more is at stake Rating: 4 out of 5 In book one of Linsey Hall’s “The Amazon” (book 26 of her “Dragon’s Gift” universe) Rowan had to keep her

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Review: “Hunt for Magic,” Linsey Hall

Pros: Interesting setup; great action Cons: Some one-dimensional antagonists Rating: 4 out of 5 In book one of Linsey Hall’s “The Amazon” (book 26 of her “Dragon’s Gift” universe) Rowan had to keep her demon-touched power secret, start integrating her

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Review: “Gods of Magic,” Linsey Hall

Pros: Great travails and action; adorable new sidekicks Cons: So, so formulaic Rating: 4 out of 5 Gods of Magic (Dragon’s Gift: The Amazon Book 1) is book 26 of the Dragon’s Gift series as a whole–a series which is

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Review: “Mrs. Claus,” ed. by Rhonda Parrish

Pros: Some real gems Cons: Variable story quality Rating: 4 out of 5 Rhonda Parrish is the editor of the anthology Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say, a collection of 14 stories in which Mrs. Claus takes center

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Review: “The Claus Effect,” David Nickle and Karl Schroeder

Pros: So much fun; so creative! Cons: Starts out a little rough Rating: 4.5 out of 5 David Nickle and Karl Schroeder’s The Claus Effect combines a short story called “The Toy Mill” set in 1983, and a book called

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