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Fools Rush In (Interstellar Rescue Series Book 3) by Donna S. Frelick – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Fools Rush In (Interstellar Rescue, #3)Fools Rush In by Donna S. Frelick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fools Rush In is the third book in Donna S. Frelick’s Interstellar Rescue Series. It’s got more of a classic sci-fi feel than the previous two books which I really enjoyed.
A prequel to the previous two books, Fools Rush In gives us the backstories of Sam and Rayna who we’ve encountered before as secondary characters. It’s great to understand more of their motivations and to see them getting to know each other when we already have an idea how things will end up.
I have enjoyed all of the series so far, but Fools Rush In has definitely been my favourite. I felt that the story was more focused, and I could really get absorbed in it. The space ship setting gave it a decidedly Star Trek feel, with enough originality that it has its own character. There are space pirates (space pirates! Pirates! In space!) and plenty of action and mystery to balance out the romance.
For me, this is a five star book. It works as a stand-alone and is an excellent addition to the series. I’d recommend starting at the beginning with Unchained Memory to enter Frelick’s exciting universe from a mundane and relatable Earth, but if you’re after a stand-alone space romance then this is a great choice!

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Trouble in Mind (Interstellar Rescue Series Book 2) by Donna S. Frelick – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Trouble in Mind (Interstellar Rescue, #2)Trouble in Mind by Donna S. Frelick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Trouble in Mind is the second book in Donna S. Frelick’s Interstellar Rescue Series. As the name suggests, it is an action-packed science fiction series. There’s plenty of mystery and excitement, as well as romance along the way.
The Interstellar Rescue Series juxtaposes a rich extra-terrestrial sci fi setting (one can see the influence of Star Trek, amongst others) with modern day earth. As with the previous book, Unchained Memory, we see people trying to come up with mundane explanations for crimes that turn out to be part of something much bigger.
Frelick tells the story from a number of different perspectives at once, showing us how connected events are unfolding. It is always clear where and who we are reading about, so it is easy to follow and the changes in perspective help build suspense.
I enjoyed this book a lot – it gets five stars from me! I’d definitely recommend starting with the first book to get some background. This is a great series if you like sci fi with plenty of aliens, and also like Earth-based detective and mystery stories. It’s very much a page-turner, with some great characters!

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Legacy of Luck (The Druid’s Brooch Series Book 3) by Christy Nicholas – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Legacy of Luck (Druid's Brooch #3)Legacy of Luck by Christy Nicholas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Legacy of Luck is the third book in Christy Nicholas’ Druid’s Brooch Series. It’s a fascinating series that I’ve been really enjoying. Each book focuses on a character in a different point in (predominantly Irish) history who inherits a brooch, passed down through the generations, and with it gains some magical powers. I love the glimpses into history, and the way the story unfolds throughout time.
In Legacy of Luck, the heir to the brooch is Éamonn. A traveller with a knack for gambling with dice, Éamonn is desperate to save fellow traveller Katie from an arranged marriage she hasn’t consented to. He has to discover how to use his powers to help him on his quest, and how to do so safely.
There are lots of good characters in this story – I particularly like Éamonn’s brother Ruari as he is kind and loyal and uninterested in the romantic drama that takes over most of the other characters. I also like Turlough with his gift for music.
In this book there is a fair bit of violence and domestic abuse, particularly in Katie’s story. It is addressed sensitively and is a relevant part of the story, but at times it is quite graphic and can come unexpectedly.
For me, this is a five star book. I enjoy the series, and this is a great addition to it! The books do not need to be read in order, and indeed the series order doesn’t follow the chronological order of the time periods that the books are set. So I’ve been reading them in a fairly random order and enjoying the story that way! If you’re particularly interested in Irish travellers or 18th Century history, this might be a good place to start.

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Love Me, Dreamy (Love Me Series) by Laura Burton – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Love Me, DreamyLove Me, Dreamy by Laura Burton

Love Me, Dreamy is a paranormal romance by Laura Burton. It opens with Amelia meeting (and being instantly attracted to) Toby and follows their relationship as it develops. It’s a mysterious, complex story with some adventure thrown in.
This is a book you need to be a bit patient with. At first, I thought it was badly written. Events didn’t really flow properly or always make sense, and there’s often a focus on seemingly unimportant details. But as the story unfolds things start fitting together and I realised it’s actually a very clever book!
I enjoyed reading a romance that’s set in both the UK and the US. I can relate to how Amelia felt experiencing the scale of things in America! And it was fun seeing places I recognised from the UK.
This book gets four stars from me. If you’re into romance and after something a bit different, this book will stand out! I urge you to keep reading if you’re not sure about it to begin with – you will be rewarded!

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Unchained Memory (Interstellar Rescue Series Book 1) by Donna S. Frelick – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Unchained Memory ( Interstellar Rescue Series Book 1)Unchained Memory by Donna S. Frelick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Unchained Memory is the first book in Donna S. Frelick’s Interstellar Rescue Series. It is a gripping story, following Asia as she unravels the mystery of the night she lost three hours, as well as her family and home.
Dr Ethan Roberts is dedicated to helping people who are relying on delusions of alien encounters to cope with trauma. When Asia comes to him with vivid dreams that tell of an extra-terrestrial life as a slave known as 1408, he begins to question whether she could really be delusional, leading him to reconsider some of his past patients.
Unchained Memory intermingles scenes from Asia’s dreams (or memories?) with her current life as she works through therapy to try and make sense of that night. The narrative in the present switches between Asia’s first-person perspective and a third-person over-the-shoulder perspective of Ethan. There were a few points where I found this confusing but mostly it was clear.
There’s plenty of suspense in both the past and present timelines – how will 1408 escape from her slavery? Will Ethan be able to help Asia? Who is the man in the white Impala and what does he want? Will Asia and Ethan be able to resist each other for the sake of their doctor-patient relationship?
For me, this is a five star book. It’s different, interesting and entertaining. I’d recommend it to fans of sci-fi and romance who are interested in alien abductions and love big, intertwining mysteries.

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Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings by Maria DeBlassie – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily ConjuringsEveryday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings by Maria DeBlassie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maria DeBlassie’s Everyday Enchantments is a collection of short reflections on the magic of everyday life. DeBlassie’s writing is wonderfully descriptive – I could often taste and smell what I was reading!
At times I found stylistic inconsistencies a bit jarring. Although most of the book was written in second person, immersing the reader in the scenes described, there were occasional passages in first person and a couple in third. This could be a hangover from the blog posts that inspired this book, but editing could have produced a more consistent, flowing style.
This is a good book for dipping in and out of, although it can also be read cover-to-cover. The reflections remind the reader to appreciate the world around them and make time to look after themselves. It’s an inspiring, comforting read!
For me, this is a three-star book. I enjoyed the descriptive detail in many of the passages but overall found the style a little odd. The second-person narrative would work better if the book was less focused on the author’s personal experiences – whilst there were some that were relatable, the vast majority at least included aspects that I had little or no experience of. A first-person narrative might have been more appropriate.
I would recommend this to readers interested in magic and how it relates to everyday life. If you’re not sure whether or not to get this book, why not start by reading DeBlassie’s blog to get a taste of her style!

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Orion’s Kiss by Claire Luana – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Orion's KissOrion’s Kiss by Claire Luana
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Orion’s Kiss is a Young Adult Fantasy novel by Claire Luana. It is based on Greek Mythology, with a modern setting.
The story centres around the characters of Orion and the Pleiades, particularly the youngest Merope. For millennia, the seven sisters and the hunter have been reincarnated only to meet the same, seemingly unavoidable fate. In the 21st Century, Meriah is determined to use her visions to save her sisters from their fate and is prepared to do anything in her power to stop Ryan from filling the role in their deaths he has occupied for so long.
The story is told from Meriah’s perspective in a first-person narrative that often feels like she is talking to the reader. I particularly liked how, at the beginning, she kept pausing relating her backstory to talk about what was happening in the immediate present. It was a great way to introduce the character as an ancient being but also a teenage girl.
There’s a strong team of supporting characters, particularly Zoe and Brandon. Brandon is very down-to-earth and keeps the story, and the characters, grounded in reality with his focus on important things like food and, er, food. Zoe’s loyalty to Mer and sense of humour make her a refreshing aspect of the story.
For me, this is a five star book. I’d recommend it particularly to young adult and teenage readers who enjoy mythology or urban fantasy, such as fans of the Percy Jackson books. It’s a standalone novel, but Luana has written a number of great fantasy books which fans of Orion’s Kiss might enjoy.

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Shattered Melody: A romantic suspense novella by Amy McKinley – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Shattered MelodyShattered Melody by Amy McKinley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shattered Melody is a standalone book by Amy McKinley, that ties in with her Gray Ghost series.
I was drawn to it as the protagonist, Emma, is a songwriter. I liked how the songwriting happens regularly throughout the book as Emma processes her grief and other emotions. It reminded me of a character in another of McKinley’s books, Liv, who used sculpture as an outlet. The way the music is described is lovely, but I wish we’d been able to see the lyrics!
Shattered Melody is quite a short book, and so the story is quite fast paced. The ending did feel a little bit rushed – once things started developing they developed quickly! – but generally I found it flowed well.
For me, this is a four star book. If you’ve read the Gray Ghost books and enjoyed them, I’d recommend this as a good expansion of the story with more of a focus on character and romance (but there’s still some action!). If you haven’t read the Gray Ghost books yet, this could be a good way to test the waters and works well as a standalone romance with a bit of mystery and action.

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Moves by John Michaels – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

MovesMoves by John Michaels
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t often go for thrillers but I found Moves by John Michaels totally gripping. Michaels sets up a mysterious and intriguing murder right at the start of the book and then launches into several chapters of character development that are seemingly only tangentially related. You KNOW it must all be linked in some way and have to keep reading to get more clues as to how.
The protagonist, Robert Jake, is a well developed and interesting character. He struggles with PTSD, depression and grief. He is also a popular radio host and a caring father. We encounter his story, and the stories of those around him, at several points at once as flashbacks and therapy fill in aspects of his past.
I also found the character John Assisi quite interesting. We get to see him develop through Jake’s flashbacks and then through his detective work in the present. Jake and Assisi balance each other well and I like the underlying respect they have from the start in spite of a less than friendly initial encounter.
For me, this is a five-star book. It’s a real page turner, and one you won’t be able to stop thinking about! It’s great if you’re after a bit of excitement and mystery – thoroughly enjoyable!

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Queen of the Warrior Bees (Natural Forces Book 1) by Jean Gill – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Queen of the Warrior Bees (Natural Forces #1)Queen of the Warrior Bees by Jean Gill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Queen of the Warrior Bees is the first book in Jean Gill’s Natural Forces series. It tells the story of Mielitta, a young woman struggling to find her place in a tightly controlled world where perfection is prized above all else. Developing magical bee powers doesn’t exactly help her fit in but does at least give her a sense of purpose as she now has to consider the bees’ agenda as well as her own.
Something I particularly enjoyed about this book is the focus on scent in descriptions of characters and places. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much detail about how everything smells, and I love it! It added an extra dimension to everything and helped me to immerse myself in the scenes.
The world-building is great. There’s so much originality, presented to us in a way that feels familiar. The contrast between the dull Citadel and the vibrant Forest particularly stood out to me – kind of like a Dorothy landing in full-colour Oz.
The story is very intriguing. There are many mysteries to unravel and deceptions to overcome. Mielitta is observant and resourceful, enabling her and us to glimpse the secrets of the Citadel and reveal its corruptions.
This is an enjoyable book – it gets five stars from me! I’d recommend it to Young Adult fantasy fans with an interest in the environment – plenty of trees and bees! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

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