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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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Short Take: “The Ballad of Black Tom,” Victor LaValle

Pros: Dark, swirling, magnificent Cons: … Rating: 5 out of 5 Victor LaValle’s short book The Ballad of Black Tom takes place in 1920s New York. Thomas Tester lives in Harlem and hustles to make a living and support his

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Review: “Academic Affairs: A Poisoned Apple,” Peter Likins

Pros: Nice whimsical mystery Cons: Rape does not go with whimsical Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Peter Likins’s Academic Affairs: A Poisoned Apple takes place in 1930s Alabama at a religious university. The opening is a bit rushed and confusing,

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Review: “H.G. Wells, Secret Agent,” Alex Shvartsman

Pros: Fun, silly light reading material Cons: Fairly reader-dependent Rating: 3 out of 5 In Alex Shvartsman’s H. G. Wells, Secret Agent, it’s an alternate history spy-vs-spy world, where all the truly brilliant inventors work for one government or another.

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Review: “Shadow of Night,” Deborah Harkness

Pros: Better than volume 1 Cons: Mary Sue; inconsistent details Rating: 2.5 out of 5   Witch Diana Bishop and her husband (vampire Matthew de Clermont) have time-walked back to the 1500s in order to find a book and a

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Review: “In the House of Leviathan,” B.D. Bruns

Pros: Fascinating locale and time period Cons: Occasional word salad Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Review ebook provided free by publisher via NetGalley.   B.D. Bruns’s In the House of Leviathan takes place in 1860s Amalfi, Italy. Giuseppe, whose nickname

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Review: “Seductive Supernaturals,” various authors

Pros: Some interesting ideas Cons: Stories that don’t stand on their own Rating: 3 out of 5 Review copy provided free by Full Moon Books, LLC via NetGalley.   SEDUCTIVE SUPERNATURALS: 12 Tales of Shapeshifters, Vampires & Sexy Spirits is

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Review: “A Grave Matter,” Anna Lee Huber

Pros: I’m not a historicals person, and I loved it Cons: I’m not a historicals person… Rating: 4 out of 5 Review book courtesy of Penguin Group Expected release date: July 1, 2014   In 1830s Scotland, Lady Darby has

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Review: “Coalescent,” Stephen Baxter

Pros: Fascinating story Cons: Misleading back cover text; confusing ending; non-obvious that it’s a series book Rating: 4 out of 5   George Poole’s father has died. This sends him on a slow path to ferret out family secrets that

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"Heartbreak Creek," Kaki Warner

Pros: Heart-warming romance/family story Cons: Some loose ends and a shaky start Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Review book courtesy of Penguin Group   Edwina Ladoux is losing her home—and truth be told, it’s been in ruins ever since the

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