It's hard to write a compelling story in a shorter format. Diane Duane is one of those authors who struggles with a limited word count, and this is most evident when working through this collection.
Not On My Patch: This is the shortest work in the collection. It's frankly too short and pages that should have been spent building up to the end, is wasted on Nita getting ready to go Trick or Treating. When the fight starts at the end, there is no real sense of urgency or any investment in the outcome. 1 star
How Lovely Are Thy Branches: The second longest work in this collection fairs much better. There's still not enough time spent building up to the ending, but it's better than the previous story. 2 1/2 stars
Lifeboats: This is the longest work in the collection and where Duane really shines. It has all the elements I enjoy in the Young Wizards series, a conflict with a not so obvious solution and characters that really care, the ending was well worth the journey. 4 stars