Snakeskin by Rob Thurman

I love stories about Tricksters – they are completely amoral, always entertaining and beautifully symbolic of the balance between good and evil. Plus, where they travel, chaos follows. Which is always entertaining, and provides great conflict in and of itself. The introduction to Thurman’s Trickster series is no different.

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The Arcane Art of Misdirection by Carrie Vaughn

Casinos are a great location for mystery and subterfuge – they’re all about tricking the senses and convincing people to stay and act against their will. The idea of a sorcerer using this against the system to meet their own ends worked really beautifully, as did the description of such a location as a maze to trap people into spending their money. After all, they’re designed to contain everything and anything that we could want so that we don’t want to leave. Contrasting this view of those who want to win with a woman who works for the system and finds it rather tedious and boring was a great approach in this short story.

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Crown of Rowan by Kim Wilkins

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this novella since I first read it! I love the idea of four sisters set in pre-Christian Europe, and the very different roles that they all play in their lives and the safety of the kingdom. Rose (the main sister in this story) is so clear and striking in my mind’s eye, and I find myself returning to her story again and again. She is the epitome of what many women must have experienced in that era – married to a man she doesn’t love, whilst yearning for the one that she does.

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Cyncerely Yours by Eileen Wilks

I always love a good wedding story or scene. After all, there is so much potential for things to go wrong! Wilks’ use of Cynna and Cullen’s wedding as a source of new beginnings and endings was a really sweet notion too. The explanation of some of the practices that we tend to take for granted (a white wedding gown for example) helped to show that, although some of the characters aren’t Christian, the rituals and meanings hold a place within our lives. Even for those many people who get married these days, there are aspects of this ritual that have a purpose and a place beyond the religious connotations.

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Good Counsel by Eileen Wilks

Although Cullen and Cynna agree to become married at the conclusion of Night Season, it is kind of hard to imagine that either one will truly carry through with it. That is until the short story, Good Counsel. It is in this six pages that Cullen truly shows his commitment (and love for) Cynna and the degree to which he’ll go to make her happy. Throughout his discussion with the Catholic priest, he is able to be clear sighted and honest – he doesn’t really want to get married, but it is important for her, so therefore he’ll do it. The idea of acceptance by one’s community and the importance of this in such a thing as a wedding is also beautifully and succinctly investigated.

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Night Season by Eileen Wilks

Blood Lines left off on a bit of a cliff-hanger for Cynna and Cullen. So, although Lily and Rule make an appearance in Night Season, it is nice to spend some more time with this incredibly unique couple. I also loved revisiting Kai and Nathan (albeit briefly) throughout this series. The novella Inhuman introduced these incredibly different characters, and vastly expanded the World of the Lupi universe. All in all, this story took a slightly different turn from the rest of the books, and it offered a refreshing outlook into a series that anyone would quickly become enthralled by.

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The New Kid by Eileen Wilks

Sixteen-year-old Rule is everything I imagined him to be and more in this great short story. Wilks leaves a comment at the top of the tale that suggests it be read after a few of the novels, get to know Rule before flashing back to his past. And honestly, it is a great suggestion. I have just read this short story after reading the first four books, and although it made his actions a little more predictable, it also made the story all the more enjoyable and the nuances of the characters a little more potent.

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Lucky Charms by Lisa Shearin

This is an awesome start to a new series, with a great chief protagonist and an awesome premise for a magical police agency – the SPI. I liked the way that Shearin overlays the idea of SPI on top of our everyday lives and makes the idea of Leprechauns running wild through the streets plausible and believable. The hints provided throughout this short story are a great preclude into the actual SPI Files books and I can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon for Mac.

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Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs

This was one of the more complex stories so far in the Temperance Brennan series – a freak discovery of bones in a bag, a plane crash and a baby in an incinerator all combined into one complex tale of mayhem and woe. The complexities of the storyline made it a little difficult to follow the cast at some points. For each of the crimes, there was a different set of players – each crime had its own set of suspects and professionals involved. Their own victims with their own lives. Even new investigators at each point of this story. It builds to create a multifaceted array of characters that can be a little difficult to follow at some points, but also show a very realistic approach to the life of a forensic anthropologist.

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Ruby Red by Kalayna Price

It was really enjoyable reading a book based in the world of Alex Craft. The multi-layered structure of a fae-infused world has always fascinated me, although, in the rest of the Alex Craft series, it is only viewed through her eyes. Altering the point of view gave me a refreshing insight into such an intricately created reality.

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