Trickster’s Hunt (Three Tricksters Book 1) by Carrie Whitethorne – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Trickster's Hunt (Three Tricksters #1)Trickster’s Hunt by Carrie Whitethorne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Trickster’s Hunt is the first book in Carrie Whitethorne’s Three Tricksters series. It is an urban fantasy, which draws on Egyptian mythology.
Maia is a loveable and relatable main character. Earning her living as an eating competition contestant, Maia is always eating and on the lookout for food. I particularly like how the genies end up regularly providing her with meals and snacks!
There are parts of the book where there is plenty of action, and others that are more drawn out dialogue as the characters explain and discuss what is going on. Occasionally, the same scene is told twice from different perspectives, which was interesting once I’d gotten over the initial confusion!
It was nice reading something set in the UK – some of the scenes where Maia was out and about in London felt particularly vivid and familiar!
I was reading more for the fantasy than the romance, but it’s interesting how the romance was tied up in the magical side of things.
For me, this is a four-star book. I’d recommend it to fans of urban fantasy – the Egyptian influences add a bit of interest and it would particularly appeal if you like genies! Also, there’s plenty of food which gets a lot of attention. I have to say, I spent most of the time I was reading this snacking!

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Evolution: Awakening (An Ash Kyndal Novel) by Hope Anika – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Evolution: AwakeningEvolution: Awakening by Hope Anika
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Evolution: Awakening is the first book in Hope Anika’s Ash Kyndal series. It’s a book that jumps straight into the action – Kyndal’s PI/bodyguard firm has unknowingly bitten off more than they can chew when they agreed to protect a young girl. Ash and her team, held together by complicated loyalties, must try and save each other and the girl from their mysterious and determined opponents.
It’s a thrilling book, with lots of mystery and action and a bit of an urban sci-fi/fantasy feel. As the story unfolds into the future, we also learn more about the backstories that brought the characters together. It’s a well-developed world, and the characters are interesting without being unbelievable.
One character I really liked is Wanda. Usually more comfortable with the tech side of things, Wanda is given her first chance at a bit of responsibility in the field with what is assumed to be a simple, low risk task. When things don’t go as planned, she must think on her feet and face her fears.
For me, this is a five-star book. It’s exciting and unique. I’m certainly looking forward to reading more of the series! I’d recommend it to action fans who enjoy sci-fi or urban fantasy, and are looking for something they will struggle to put down.

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The Immigrant: An Italian in America (The Italian Saga Book 7) by Gaia B Amman – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

The Immigrant. An Italian in AmericaThe Immigrant. An Italian in America by Gaia B. Amman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Immigrant: An Italian in America is the seventh book in Gaia B. Amman’s Italian Saga. The saga follows Leda from her childhood through to, in this book, her move to America to do graduate research.
Leda is a charming character, and very entertaining to watch growing up. From her perspective, we get a (sometimes brutally) honest observation of the world around her. In this book, what particularly stands out is her bafflement at many aspects of American life and culture (a fair few I can relate to from my visits to the States!). I was amused by the account of the often excessively complicated experience of immigration.
With the move, we leave behind the many familiar characters who we’ve seen develop throughout the series. After Leda’s mum and Sergio wave her off at the airport, we are introduced to a host of new characters as we join Leda in making a new start in America. Dr Scrui stands out for me – sometimes seeming intelligent and controlling, at others observant and caring.
I’ve not read the series in order, and I think there’s enough background for a reader to join the series at this point if they’re mainly interested in a story focusing on experiences of immigration. But the earlier books are lovely and add depth to the characters. For me, this is a five star book and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series (as well as going back and catching up on the ones I’ve missed!).

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Misfortune of Vision (Druid’s Brooch #4) by Christy Nicholas – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Misfortune of Vision (Druid's Brooch #4)Misfortune of Vision by Christy Nicholas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Misfortune of Vision is the fourth book in Christy Nicholas’ Druid’s Brooch series. The series follows a brooch as it is passed through the generations, giving powers to whoever is in possession of it. Each book is set at a different point in history, mainly in Ireland.
At the time when Misfortune of Vision is sent, Christianity has become the main religion in Ireland. Orlagh, whose visions and medical knowledge have been helping her community for decades, is being treated with suspicion by a church that is desperate to assert its dominance.
It’s nice having a protagonist who is quite old. Orlagh knows her time is running out and wants to ensure that she passes her knowledge and the brooch on to someone suitable. We see her struggling with tasks, relying on others for help, and being drained by the work that she must do. We also see her thinking about how her body is changing as she ages and mourning the friends and family who she has outlived.
I also like that Declan, another major character, is a musician. His knowledge of songs from a variety of traditions adds some extra interest to the book!
For me, this is another five-star book. Nicholas paints a vivid picture of the times and places in which her books are set, and yet again I feel like I’ve been transported back in time. It’s so informative and well researched, with an exciting fantasy side that fits in to the setting. I would definitely recommend it to fans of historical fantasy, especially if you’re interested in Celtic history and traditions!

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Demon’s Angel: Satan’s Devils MC (Colorado Chapter) #2 by Manda Mellett – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Demon's Angel: Satan's Devils MC (Colorado Chapter) #2Demon’s Angel: Satan’s Devils MC (Colorado Chapter) #2 by Manda Mellett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Demon’s Angel is the second book in Manda Mellett’s Satan’s Devils MC (Colorado Chapter) series, which expands the world of her main Satan’s Devils MC series. The series focuses on a motorcycle club – the day-to-day life of the club and the bigger issues they get tangled up in.
In the first book in the Colorado Chapter series, we’re introduced to this chapter when a member of the Arizona chapter must move to protect a young woman. In that book, we meet Demon and Hellfire and watch as Demon learns the truth about his past. Now president of the Colorado Chapter, Demon is the focus of Demon’s Angel and is developed further.
Like in the previous book, the main drama of Demon’s Angel centres on protecting a young woman. Demon, like Paladin before him, feels like he has a duty to Violet and when she is in trouble, he can’t help but get involved. And Violet is very much in trouble.
There are scenes of violence, and references to rape. It’s quite dark at times, but there’s also warmth and kindness.
I’d recommend starting with Paladin’s Hell, as that will give you a bit more of Demon’s backstory. It’s a good series, which I’m enjoying despite not having read anything focusing on motorcycle clubs before. For me, this is a four star read and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series (and will get round to reading the main series at some point…)

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Spar by Randi Perrin – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

SparSpar by Randi Perrin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was initially drawn to Spar by Randi Perrin by the promise of a bisexual protagonist, and because I enjoyed reading Perrin’s Earthbound Angels series. Spar isn’t a fantasy like Earthbound Angels – it is a modern romance with a real world setting that focuses on Tae Kwon Do and computer programming.
Both of the protagonists, Chloe and Locke, have been badly hurt in the past (TW for domestic and sexual abuse). For Chloe, it is more recent and consequently she finds it more difficult to build trust. Locke respects this, and is patient and sensitive with her. Their relationship is complicated but fundamentally caring, which I enjoyed reading!
I was both excited and wary of having a bi protagonist in a m/f relationship. Perrin does a really good job – we see Chloe being attracted to both men and women at different points in the story, she discusses past relationships and Perrin addresses homophobia and the difficulties of coming out. There are also other LGBT characters, including a long term, long distance m/m couple. One of the earlier scenes takes place at a masked ball for a local LGBT charity. So it does very much feel like an LGBT romance!
This is a fun, gripping read, and gets four stars from me! There are descriptions of violence, homophobia and other forms of abuse but it is generally a positive, empowering book.

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Shortcuts (Singularities) by Amy Bearce – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Shortcuts (Singularities)Shortcuts by Amy Bearce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Shortcuts is the first book in Amy Bearce’s Singularities series. It’s a fantasy novel aimed at older children (around KS2-3) with a gripping story that adults will also enjoy.
Parker is an attractive protagonist. With her popularity, talent and beauty, she’s someone many young readers will look up to and maybe even envy. Parker’s powers – her empathy – make her sensitive to the emotions of those around her. This makes Shortcuts a great book for encouraging empathy and discussions about emotions. It also shines a light on the potential burdens of being highly empathetic, which some readers might recognise in themselves.
There are complicated relationships of many kinds in this book. It examines how our emotions affect the people close to us, and how they are affected by our emotions. I was particularly interested in the dynamics between Parker and Mia as I think people can often feel overly responsible for the happiness of others.
For me, this is a five star book. I enjoyed reading it now, and I’m sure I would have enjoyed it just as much, if not more, if I’d read it when I was younger. It is well written for the age group, and would appeal to fans of superhero and magic stories. It would also be a good way into fantasy for readers who already enjoy books that focus on the drama of friendships and romance.

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LOVE on the LINE, A Great Expectations Love Story: The Graykens, Book 2 by Laurie Lewis – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

LOVE on the LINE (Great Expectations Love Stories: The Graykens Book 2)LOVE on the LINE by Laurie Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

LOVE on the LINE is the second book in Laurie Lewis’ The Great Expectations Love Stories: The Graykens series. It follows the Graykens, an unlikely couple who we watched fall in love in the first book in the series. Now, Mikaela is by Matt’s side as he faces further treatment that just might give him more time with Mikaela. Both fighting for the future they hope for, they also must prepare for the worst.
The characters are very loveable. Matt and Mikaela are great, but it’s also lovely to get to know Matt’s long-lost sister Kate, as well as seeing more of Matt’s friends as they come together to support him. Although there’s a focus on romantic love, other forms of love are very much celebrated.
The sadness in this book, surrounding Matt’s illness and Kate’s grief amongst other things, is balanced with warmth and humour. The ways that the characters cope with their pain also help the reader to cope with the sadness.
Having read Love On A Limb, I was eager to get more of Matt and Mikaela’s story and this book did not disappoint! It’s definitely worth starting at the beginning of the series to get more of the background of the characters.
For me, this is a five-star book. An emotional, captivating read that I would recommend to readers who want to feel all the feels.

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Vantage Point (A Gray Ghost Novel, book 4) by Amy McKinley – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Vantage Point (Gray Ghost #4)Vantage Point by Amy McKinley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vantage Point is the fourth book in Amy McKinley’s Gray Ghost series. The series follows a team of people, many with military experience, who undertake security missions and similar risky tasks. Pretty much everyone on the team has a tragic backstory which motivates them to work to protect others who are in danger.
In this book, the focus is on Hawk – a member of the team we’ve already encountered in previous books. He’s concerned about his neighbour Stella, having overheard arguments from her apartment. Although initially reluctant to take up his offer for help, Stella turns to Hawk when she realises the mess she’s in is much bigger than she anticipated.
The present-day story is interspersed with flashbacks to Hawk’s childhood. We learn about the abuse and neglect he suffered and overcame. We also see how this childhood trauma factors into his drive to protect others, including Stella, from similar dangers.
It’s an action-packed, suspenseful story. The other members of the Gray Ghost team play a part, and it’s nice to see familiar characters popping up as Hawk is developed further. I really like this approach to having a series that focuses on different members of the team in different books.
For me, this is a five star read. It’s a great series and I would thoroughly recommend reading it if you like action, romance and suspense.

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A Wicked Earl’s Widow (Once Upon A Widow Book 2) by Aubrey Wynne – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

The Wicked Earl's WidowThe Wicked Earl’s Widow by Aubrey Wynne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Wicked Earl’s Widow by Aubrey Wynne is the second book in her Once Upon a Widow series. It follows Eliza, the widow of the Earl of Sunderland. Since her husband’s death, she has been inundated with orders from her abusive father to remarry. She must decide what is best to do, for her own interests and those of her daughter Althea who she wishes to protect from her father and potential husband.
It’s an exciting story, as we are constantly concerned for Eliza and Althea’s safety. We see Eliza battling with the consequences of a lifetime of cruel treatment, and it is in a moment of unrestrained anger that she first encounters Nate. The positive relationship they have – his protectiveness and caring – is wonderful to read.
Although part of a series, this book works fine as a stand-alone. A vibrant regency romance, it pays homage to Gothic tropes but very much has the feel of a modern historical novel. Althea, for example, is a very vocal child and frequently caught up in the story’s action.
For me, this is a four star read. I’d recommend it to fans of historical romance who like stories with a bit of action and suspense.

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