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Vanish by Tess Gerritsen

Even after reading the blurb, this story was NOTHING like what I expected. Which was wonderful. Rizzoli’s soon-to-be-born child and the way in which she copes with this is a heart rending storyline that travels along beautifully with the overarching tale of conspiracy, mystery and hostage taking. Again, Gerritsen's use of altering points of views brings this story to life in a way that makes it completely impossible to put down.

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Hecate’s Golden Eye by P.N. Elrod

I didn’t really know what to think about this story – I liked the idea of a moral private investigator with a vampire sidekick, but some of the suave present in past stories by P.N. Elrod is missing from this short tale. However, the voice of the narrative helped to bring me back to the story when I wasn’t entirely sure it was what I was in the mood for. The tone of the tale had just the right balance of cheerful self-deprecation and intrigue to keep me interested in the chief protagonist and his quick journey into re-stealing a gem for its rightful owner.

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Snow Job by Carole Nelson Douglas

The use of the tale of Adam, Eve and Lilith was a unique way to approach of tale of paranormal fantasy. A lot of mythologies and beliefs seem to inform fantasy stories, but very few utilise the Christian faith and stories to do so. The use of Lilith, and even the name Delilah have its roots in Christianity and the use of the two sisters’ names in their characterisation was a great reminder of the importance in naming one’s characters.

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The Parlor by Lucienne Diver

I love to read about mythologies reimagined for the modern day, and this was an excellent way in which it was done. Where Riordan takes Greek mythology and spins it so that teenagers have a place in the world, Diver gives the tales of Olympus a much more adult and sensual twist. A tale of Apollo, Arachne and gladiators, there really isn’t much more that you could ask for in a short story inspired by the Gods of Olympus.

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Buying Trouble by Karen Chance

This story took a lot of unexpected turns – first, the journey started at an auction house, then Clare finds out that she’s actually up for auction, and then she finds out more about her true heritage. All in all, the combination of these facts created a tumulus ride which spanned a number of beautifully constructed settings. The fact that the alliances and loyalties of the obvious love interest within the story were vague and difficult to pin down helped to add to the unpredictable, fast-paced track of this novella.

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Vegas Odds by Karen Chance

From the very first sentence of this short story, you are thrown into the middle of the conflict. Lia’s self-berating and gradual realisation of the culprits in her attack help to add to this immediate sense of drama and action. The twists and turns of the plot are impossible to predict as her inner strength and moxie are revealed. To me, this is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the story – once the cause of one point of conflict is revealed, a number of other problems quickly arise.

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The Novice by Trudi Canavan

I hate, hate, hate bullying – in all of its forms. And the bullying that characterises most of Sonea’s journey throughout The Novice, made me feel physically ill, and incredibly angry. Yet, this look inside the depths to which some people’s prejudices will sink made this an amazing story to read. The backdrop of confusion and fear that Sonea feels at becoming a magician, and knowing the High Lord’s dirty little secret (which is not so little) help to further this amazing storyline. The moment I finished this novel, I cracked the spine of The High Lord in excitement. After all, while Sonea is able to overcome some of the difficulties of being a novice, the greatest threat to her existence is still around.

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The Mad Apprentice by Trudi Canavan

Throughout The Black Magician Trilogy, black magic is seen as something horrible. Indeed, throughout the majority of books centring on mages and witchcraft, the idea of black magic is an antithema. After all, the idea of taking someone else’s life force to further your own means is quite a horrible idea. And, so it is with Trudi Canavan's Black Magician World The Mad Apprentice investigates what happens when someone unstable harness such a questionable wealth of power.

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Bigfoot on Campus by Jim Butcher

I don’t know if it’s because I’m in University, or if there is something about the potential that it represents, but any story set here tends to grab my attention. This, combined with the young love between Connie and Irwin is such a nice reminder of the potential of these young years of discovery. This was also my first introduction into the Dresden Files and the writings of Jim Butcher, and a very welcome one at that.

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Last Call by Jim Butcher

I loved the humour and wit in this short story – the shenanigans and difficulties of Dresden’s journey all result from his desire for a drink. Something which he constantly laments as he pursues the cause of violence. The dry humour in the narrator’s (Dresden’s) voice made this short story flash by as he runs after felons in pursuit of justice, and a nice, cold drink. It is this sass and obvious enjoyment throughout the tale that makes it impossible to put down and ignore.

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