Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Book Review of 'Nightmare' by Lesley Egan/Anne Blaisdell

 

A spellbinding tale originally published under the name Anne Blaisdell in 1961 and later reprinted under the pen name, Lesley Egan. 


A Welsh countryside

Lesley Egan, Anne Blaisdell, and Dell Shannon are all pseudonyms of the 'Queen of the Police Procedural', Author Elizabeth Linington. She was one of the first women authors to write in this genre; usually a male-dominated area. Prior to the beginning of her many mystery series totally over 77 books, she wrote 'Nightmare', a fascinating thriller. 


Synopsis of Nightmare


Nightmare Book Cover
A young American woman, Pat Carroll, having inherited a small legacy, takes herself on an extended tour of the British Isles. Her interest stems from the fact that she was once engaged to a man from Wales who was killed in an auto accident several years ago. When her tour takes her to Wales, she plans to make a brief duty call on her dead fiance's mother whom she had never met. 


While driving through the Welsh countryside, in a driving rain, she happens upon a stranded young man whose car had broken down. Pat rescues Alan Glentower, a writer, and they take shelter from the storm in an Inn in the next town. After spending dinner, the evening and  breakfast the next morning together, Pat and Alan are quite taken with each other and Pat agrees to let Alan show her Wales after her visit to the bereaved mother in a small Welsh village.  They plan to  meet the following week. 


Arriving at her destination, Pat discovers her hostess, Mrs. Trefoile, to be rather eccentric – Pat's private explanation for the mandatory attendance at Bible readings, the bad food, and the insistence that Pat conduct herself as a proper “widow”, giving up bright clothes, jewelry and makeup. But the truth is that Mrs. Trefoile is quite 'mad' and Pat soon discovers that she is not permitted to leave.


Pat is locked up and brutalized by this madwoman and her servants. Her only salvation appears to be in getting a message out to Alan Glentower so he can search for her and free her. 


Summary


Long out-of-print, Nightmare is still available in used condition on Amazon and Ebay. I acquired my copy many years ago at a used book sale and just recently discovered that I had never read it. Having now just finished it, I found it to be a fascinating read and I highly recommend it. It is every bit as good as all the other books I own by author Elizabeth Linington.


NOTE: The original cover design of my copy of Nightmare has since undergone several different designs. Therefore, if you do a search for it on used book sites, keep in mind that the covers may be different.


One more interesting note: Nightmare, published in 1961, was made into a movie in 1965. I have not seen the movie, but the write-up on Wikipedia shows some of the storyline to be somewhat different than the book. Not an uncommon occurrence.  But for 'movie buffs', you might be interested to know that it is listed as a British horror thriller film called 'Fanatic' in England and 'Die! Die! My Darling! in the U.S. It starred Tallulah Bankhead (in her final feature film role) as Mrs. Trefoile, along with Stefanie Powers, Peter Vaughn and Donald Sutherland. 


Book Review of Nightmare written by Wednesday Elf







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Book Review of The Dry

AI rendering of Truck

 I love a good crime novel with a mystery that is just waiting to be solved.  I find it particularly interesting when the author keeps you guessing till near the end of the book on who the guilty party is. Jane Harper accomplishes this in her book The Dry. In The Dry there is not just the current crime (a possible murder/suicide) but also a death from twenty years ago that is still unexplained.

Setting

The story takes place in a small fictional Australian town called Kiewarra.  It is located about five hours north of Melbourne and the story takes place when the town and the area is suffering from a drought that is the worst in recent history.  The drought is so severe that it is placing a real burden on the farmers and the livelihood of the locals.  It has become so bad that suicide is on the minds of many of the residents.

The Book on Amazon

The book can be purchased on Amazon as an ebook, paperback, hardcover or audio book.  Here is a link The Dry

Summary

The book begins when Aaron Falk, a law enforcement officer in the big city of Melbourne, receives a letter from the father of his best friend from childhood.  In this letter the father requests /demands that Aaron attend his son's funeral.  The son (Luke Hadler), son's wife and young son were all found shot to death and the town consensus is that the son shot his family and then turned the gun on himself.  

Aaron Falk had left the town 20 years ago when another close friend, Ellie Deacon, drowned and again the town jumped to the conclusion that either Aaron or his Dad had something to do with Ellie's death.  They left town, never to return again, until Aaron returns for Luke's funeral.

This is a small town where everyone knows or at least thinks they know everyone else's business. It is full of secrets, gossip and people jumping to the wrong conclusions. 

Aaron Falk teams up with the local law enforcement official, Raco, and unofficial investigate the Hadler murders/suicide.  There are many unanswered questions and as they look into the current murders they find the sins of the past coming in to play.  

My Thoughts

This was one of those books where I guessed at the outcome throughout and yet was completely surprised at the ending.  I don't want to give anything away but want you to know you won't be disappointed in the endings.  The sins of the past are brought to task in the heroism of the present.  I found this to be an excellent book.  In fact, after reading it, I immediately downloaded the second book in the Aaron Falk series.  It is called Force of Nature and can be found on Amazon at this link Force of Nature



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Friday, February 16, 2024

A Perilous Circumstance by Laura Beers - Book Review

A Perilous Circumstance Book Review
A Perilous Circumstance is the 3rd book in the "Gentlemen of London" Regency Romance series by Laura Beers.  Thus far, it is my favorite in the series because of the unique plot, but all of the books have been enjoyable and review worthy.

Regency Romance novels are set during the time period of the British Regency (1811-1820).  They could be categorized as clean and wholesome since they do not contain explicit sex, gory content, or foul language.   

This is the first book series that I have read by Laura Beers, but it won't be the last.  I really enjoy her writing style and the characters she creates.

It would not be absolutely necessary to read this series in order, but the books share a lot of the same characters.  Each character is more thoroughly developed in the specific book written about them, their families and their lives.  Plus, their "occupations" will make more sense.  For instance, do you know the difference in a Bow Street Runner and an agent of the Crown?  That is explained in the first book in the series, "A Treacherous Engagement".  Without that explanation you might be wondering why some of the characters in "A Perilous Circumstance" have more authority, secrets, and connections.  Therefore, I would recommend reading them in order.


A Perilous Circumstance Synopsis

Miss Georgie Holbrooke is an heiress who has not yet reached her majority (the age where she is considered an adult).  She is still under the authority of her older brother, since her parents are deceased.  

 A Perilous Circumstance: A Regency Romance (Gentlemen of London)Check PriceUnlike her father, her brother is a brute who expects her to "perform" exactly as he demands and doesn't hesitate to hit her in order to force her compliance.  He has agreed to an arranged marriage for Georgie with a detestable man.  Georgie knows she must save herself, but she doesn't know how.  It is her loyal family servants who come up with a plan and a way to escape.  Because the cooks brother is a solicitor, he knows of an opening for a headmistress at an orphanage in the rookeries (the slums).  An orphanage would be the perfect hiding place since no one would think an heiress would be working there.

The Earl of Grenton is all alone in the world except for his old friends from his college days at Eton. William is often overwhelmed by his grief, but is determined to continue working and provide for those who depend on him.  He is also determined to see that his deceased mother's dream of providing a safe orphanage is fulfilled.  However, one of her expectations was to have a lady, a woman of means, serve as the headmistress.  Finding a lady who will work in the rookeries has not been an easy task.  Unfortunately, the lady that his solicitor has found seems to be secretive and rather demanding in his opinion.  Not only did she bring her lady's maid, but she also arrived with several other servants.  An orphanage simply does not have "servants" and he refuses to pay them in addition to supporting the entire orphanage.

Thus, there is a standoff between William Cobbett, the Earl of Grenton who needs a headmistress that is a lady of quality and the new headmistress, Miss Georgie Holbrooke known only to him as Miss Lloyd.  Georgie is also in a difficult place since she has no where else to go.

For those who love a romance novel with a touch of suspense, I highly recommend this book.  I must admit, I was truly surprised by who betrayed Georgie.

 


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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Sunday, February 11, 2024

A Journey into "The Surrender Experiment" by Michael A. Singer

A Journey into "The Surrender Experiment" by Michael A. Singer

In personal development literature, Michael A. Singer's "The Surrender Experiment" is a beacon of unconventional wisdom and spiritual exploration.

Published in 2015, this captivating book takes readers on a transformative journey, challenging conventional notions of control and encouraging a surrender to life's natural flow.

I've owned this book for several years, and this year, I purchased it as a Christmas gift for two people.

What drew me to this book was my reading of his original New York Times best-seller, "The Untethered Soul." I highly recommend The Untethered Soul as well!

Synopsis of The Surrender Experiment

At its core, "The Surrender Experiment" is a memoir that chronicles Mr. Singer's remarkable life story, marked by a profound experiment in letting go of control and embracing the unexpected. The narrative unfolds with vivid details, recounting Mr. Singer's experiences as he navigates unpredictable currents, relinquishing the need to dictate outcomes.

Mr. Singer's experiment in surrendering begins in the 1970s when, as a young man, he retreats to the woods of Florida, living a simple and contemplative life. Instead of planning every step, Mr. Singer chooses to say "yes" to every opportunity that comes his way. This leads him to unexpected encounters, ventures, and challenges, ultimately shaping his life in ways he could never have anticipated.

The Power of Letting Go: 

Mr. Singer's profound realization, central to the book, is that surrendering to life's unfolding events brings a more profound sense of peace and fulfillment. He advocates for the practice of letting go of rigid expectations and attachments, emphasizing that true freedom lies in embracing the present moment without resistance.

Overcoming Obstacles: 

Throughout the narrative, Mr. Singer shares the obstacles he faced and the lessons he learned. From managing a successful business to dealing with personal relationships and societal expectations, the author provides insights into how surrendering to the ebb and flow of life allowed him to overcome challenges and find a sense of harmony.

Spiritual Insights: 

"The Surrender Experiment" delves into spiritual principles, drawing inspiration from various traditions. Mr. Singer explores the idea of inner surrender, encouraging readers to release the grip of the ego and connect with a higher consciousness. The book serves as a guide for those seeking a more meaningful and spiritually aligned existence.

Michael Singer on Video - An Interview by Mayim Bialik (You Know Her As Sheldon's Girlfriend "Amy" from The Big Bang Theory)

I truly enjoyed this down-to-earth, real interview. The authenticity drew me in - real questions, real problems, laughs, and tears. If you enjoy listening to unscripted interviews, you'll enjoy this casual connection.

I enjoyed how Mr. Singer conversed with Ms. Bialik. It was both entertaining and profound.

If you prefer to watch it on YouTube, the link is here.


Key Takeaways By Me 
From The Surrender Experiment:

  1. Embrace the Unpredictable: The book challenges the notion that we must meticulously plan every aspect of our lives, advocating for openness to the unknown.

  2. Freedom in Surrender: Mr. Singer illustrates how surrendering to life's events brings a profound sense of freedom and inner peace.

  3. Spiritual Awakening: Readers gain insights into the transformative power of surrender on a spiritual level.

Michael A. Singer's "The Surrender Experiment" is a roadmap for those seeking authenticity, freedom, and spiritual growth. 

Through Mr. Singer's captivating storytelling and profound insights, readers are invited to consider the transformative potential of surrender and embrace the beautiful chaos of life.

This book is a beacon for anyone ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery and open themselves to the limitless possibilities that unfold when we surrender to the natural flow of existence.

His work is moving, profound, and life-changing. 

What has stayed with me since I read The Untethered Soul (his first book), and I use every day, is this thought when I have a problem or a worry:

"Can you notice that you're noticing - Witness Consciousness" - The Untethered Soul goes deeply into this concept. It's one approach that has changed my life.

The Surrender Experiment is available on Amazon.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, February 1, 2024

Reviewing Prom Queen by Laura Wolfe

Prom Queen book cover
Prom Queen by Laura Wolfe 

I'm not sure what made me want to read this book by Laura Wolfe, but I will definitely be diving into more of her books as I really enjoyed it.

The cover of the book says, 'We were all there 20 years ago....Only one of us killed her', that was enough of a hook for me!

This book runs in two timelines one is the present day and one is twenty years ago when the small town of Cove Haven's Prom Queen died.

The main character in the book is Brooke and she has returned to Cove Haven on the shore of Lake Michigan after her mother's death planning to renovate and sell the family home. While she's in the coffee shop she bumps into a woman who is wearing a silver locket around her neck that she instantly recognises. The necklace is one that she gave her long-time best friend for her 17th birthday and the last time she saw it was on the evening that her friend (the Prom Queen in the title) died.

The person in question was a true-crime podcaster who had decided to investigate the Prom Queen's death and she raised lots of questions as podcasters do. Bailey's death had been put down as a suicide, but her friends had often thought it could've been something more sinister. As the podcaster, Hannah probes more she and Brooke discover more things and the twists start coming.

I really enjoyed it even though I did suspect who the killer was before the end, I will confess to falling for a red herring for a few moments. I won't reveal more about that as I want you to fall for it   enjoy the book with no preconceptions!

If you like thrillers and whodunnits then you should enjoy this book. There were a couple of cliched characters in the book, but the main cast was really good.

The only thing that I didn't really like was the epilogue. I enjoyed the ending with the reveal and think it could've ended there. When I read the epilogue I said to my husband, 'that's not a nice ending, I really don't like that ending' I think it was to set up for another book, but I just didn't like it. I would recommend not reading that part, but if you're like me curiosity will get the better of you. 

For an entertaining read I do recommend it. It is marketed as a 'totally addictive and gripping psychological thriller with a heart-stopping twist' and that does sum it up although I would probably replace the psychological thriller with whodunnit as it wasn't as dark and suspenseful as a lot of psychological thrillers.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, January 20, 2024

Book Review of Judgment Prey by John Sandford

 Author John Sandford has written 32 books in his 'Prey' series. Each book in the Prey Series has the word 'Prey' in the title and the main character is Lucus Davenport. In the earliest novels, Lucus is a police officer for the Minneapolis Police Department. Later novels have him with the Minnesota BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) and then with the U.S. Marshall's office.


Sandford has also written another series of books starring Virgil Flowers, who once worked with the St. Paul, MN police department and now for the Minnesota BCA. 


Throughout these two series, the reader finds intermittent interaction between Lucus and Virgil.  Now, for the first time, Sandford has combined these two characters in their own Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers novel in his latest book, Judgment Prey.


Judgment Prey, a Lucas Davenport & Virgil Flowers Novel by John Sandford


Synopsis of Judgment Prey


As the story begins, Lucus is home recovering from a shoot-out several months earlier at which he was severely wounded. One afternoon he receives a call from his U.S. Marshall's boss about a high-profile murder that just took place near his home in St. Paul. A federal judge and his two young sons have been murdered in their home. Since he's only 5 miles away, his boss wants Lucus to meet up with Virgil Flowers at the Judge's residence to just see what the scene looks like. Reluctantly, he does so.


As it turns out, the FBI and local law enforcement are all stymied as to who the killer is and what reason the killer would have to shoot this family in cold blood. As they hit dead end after dead end, Lucus and Virgil team up to follow both leads and theories until they figure out who killed the Sands family. 


Summary


As with all Sandford novels, the interplay between the characters is fascinating and humerous and interesting. Both Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers are delightful characters and Sandford's plots are always outstanding. 

Now that John Sandford has combined my two favorite characters in one novel, I hope he will continue with more books starring them. This Sandford fan would love that, and I loved Judgment Prey (A Prey Novel #33 of 34)!


More Reviews of Books by John Sandford




For more Book Reviews on Review This Reviews


*Review of the novel Judgment Prey is written by Wednesday Elf






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Friday, January 19, 2024

A Treacherous Engagement (Gentlemen of London Book 1) Book Review

A Treacherous Engagement
I love it when I find a series where every book offers a great read!  That has definitely been true for the Gentlemen of London book series by Laura Beers.

When I finished reading "A Treacherous Engagement", I immediately downloaded the second book and started reading it.  Each book is a continuation of stories that focus on the lives of 5 college friends.  They all start out wishing to not be caught in the "parson's mousetrap".  Even though the gentlemen need heirs, they aren't interested in getting married.  At least, that is true until they meet women who make them reconsider their stand against matrimony.   

It has been fun to watch these gentlemen do an about face and to hear their comments on marriage before and after.  

Plus, each book contains a suspenseful element.  Several of the gentlemen are agents of the Crown and have secrets, as well as questionable acquaintances or "business" in areas of town that most titled gentlemen would never consider acceptable.

I do recommend reading these books in order as the characters are more fully developed throughout the series. 

 

A Treacherous Engagement Synopsis

Nathaniel Calvert, Earl of Hawthorne, has a lot of secrets.  Even his family doesn't know why he dresses in old clothes and won't tell them where he is going or what he is doing.  As an agent (aka spy) of the Crown, anonymity is imperative.  If someone let his real identity slip when he is "working", it could endanger his family as well as himself.

When Nathaniel is mistaken as a Bow Street Runner (law enforcement officer), he doesn't correct Miss Dinah Ashmore.  He would prefer to deny any ability to help her, but when he hears her sister, Evie, is missing, he wants to be of assistance.  He lets her continue to think he is just a Bow Street Runner.  

Dinah is desperate to locate her sister and to ensure that she is okay.  She won't just sit at home and wait for news from the Bow Street Runner she has hired.  Therefore, in addition to trying to handle his assigned case, plus find Dinah's sister, Nathaniel has to juggle meeting and dealing with Miss. Dinah Ashmore and her aunt.  It is impossible to be everywhere and protect everyone at all times.  

As it turns out, Dinah's sister is a lot more than just the daughter of a Lord.  She is an intricate part of a tumultuous political case and she may or may not need saving.  Even Nathaniel is shocked by Evie's actions and where he finds her.

Along the way, Nathaniel develops feelings for Dinah, but he must not be distracted while involved in an assigned case.  Otherwise, someone could end up hurt or even dead. 


 


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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, January 11, 2024

Book Review-Daughters of Green Mountain Gap

 

Book Cover



I love reading historical fiction and time period novels and I also love reading books that are real page turners.  Teri M Brown fits the bill in both of these areas.  Last year I reviewed her book An Enemy Like Me and I loved it, so I was really excited to have the opportunity to review her latest book, Daughters of Green Mountain Gap. In this book we meet three generations of women living in North Carolina at the turn of the twentieth century.

The Book on Amazon

The book will be released on January 23, 2024.  You can order it at the following link on Amazon. Daughters of Green Mountain Gap

Daughters of Green Mountain Gap

Three Generations-Three Exceptional Women

    Maggie

Maggie is the granny, who is known throughout the small Appalachian town and surrounding area as a healer.  She believes and relies on traditional methods for her healing.  She has learned her skills through family tradition, folklore and also from visits she makes to the healer in the local Cherokee tribe. 

    Carrie Ann

Carrie Ann is Maggie's daughter.  She has graduated from nursing school and feels strongly that modern medicine should prevail and that her mother's methods are not only outdated but could be harmful.  Carrie Ann works for the local doctor and feels that all should see him for their medical needs and not her mother.

    Josie Mae

Josie Mae is Carrie Ann's daughter and because of her mother's job she stays much of the time with her grandmother, Maggie.  While she is there Maggie teaches her all about her traditional healing methods.  Josie loves her grandmother and believes that her methods are important, however she is caught between the vastly different methods of Maggie and Carrie Ann.

My Thoughts on Book

I was engrossed in the book from the first chapter.  The author, Teri M Brown, does a wonderful job of bringing you into the lives of these three women.  You find yourself smiling at their victories and feeling sad as they deal with sickness and death.  The family dynamics are a great way to show the spirit of the times with the struggles between folk medicine and science, old and new methods, and dealing with the change in society.  I highly recommend this fascinating book.

Reviews of other Teri M Brown Books

Two of Teri M Brown's previous books have been reviewed on Review This.  Our reviewer Olivia reviewed Sunflowers Beneath the Snow, and I reviewed An Enemy Like Me.  Here are links to those reviews.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, January 6, 2024

Review of Author Catherine Ryan Hyde

Catherine Ryan Hyde is a novelist and short story writer who is also passionate about photography and animals. 


Book with Book Author Catherine Ryan Hyde on cover


Brief Bio of Catherine Ryan Hyde


Catherine Ryan Hyde, author
Born in Buffalo, NY in 1955, Catherine grew up in a family of writers. She began her literary career writing short stories before turning to novel writing. Her breakthrough novel was Pay It Forward (1999), which became an award-winning best-selling book, and later a movie. She has written more than 40 novels and many short stories. Catherine also teaches workshops at Writers Conferences and is a professional public speaker. 


Hyde's Literary Works


Catherine's works are most often optimistic explorations of ordinary people, which I have found to be fascinating. Her characters are often troubled or down-on-their-luck or just getting over something difficult in their past. The characters in the story search for a meaning of why life is as it is. This 'making sense of life' often involves a young person and an older person (and quite frequently, animals) who find themselves working together to resolve their situations. As a result, we end up with central themes that are based on love and caring and a desire to improve. 


Pay It Forward Book Cover
In 2014, Catherine published a new version of Pay It Forward, a Young Readers Edition that tells the same story but was revised to complement teacher lesson plans and summer reading lists for students at the middle school level. In other words, students about the same age as the novel's main character, Trevor McKinney. 



Paw It Forward book cover
As another Pay It Forward follow-up, Catherine wrote a nonfiction book for kids starring her real-life dogs, Jesse and Ella, who inspire kids to change the world through kindness. The book is called Paw It Forward




Summary


To date, I have read about a dozen of Hyde's novels and am so taken with her writing that I have now printed off a list of all her novels and am currently reading my way through them. They are in the Family Life Fiction genre and each is a stand-alone novel, so they can be read in any order.


In summary, I have to say that Catherine Ryan Hyde's novels are 'feel good stories' which will leave you happily satisfied when you reach the end. 


Latest book by Catherine Ryan Hyde:


Life, Loss and Puffins book cover
Latest Book by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Due out May 14, 2024 - Preorder Here


More Catherine Ryan Hyde Novel Reviews:



  • Catherine Ryan Hyde Website. Click here for a complete list of her novels. 




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*Review of Author Catherine Ryan Hyde written by Wednesday Elf







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Irish Village Mystery Series by Carlene O'Connor — Delightful, Cozy Whodunits

I recently started reading author Carlene O’Connor’s extremely popular Irish Village Mystery series. I have enjoyed the first two books so much that I have ordered the remaining volumes in this 10-book (to date) series.

Here is my review of this charming "cozy mystery" series based on my experience so far.

Carlene O'Connor's Irish Village Mystery series

Meet The "O'Sullivan Six"

The Irish Village Mystery series is set in Kilbane, a small village in County Cork, Ireland.

Siobhán O'Sullivan and her older brother, James, along with their younger siblings have taken over the family business, Naomi’s Bistro, which serves breakfast and lunch. Since their parents' untimely death, James, Siobhán (pronounced Shi-VAWN). their sisters Grainne (pronounced GRAWN-yah) and Ann, and their brothers Eoin (pronounced Owen) and Ciaran (pronounced KEER-awn) are often referred to in the village as the “O’Sullivan Six.”

So, although both James and Siobhán are their younger siblings’ legal guardians, from a practical standpoint she is often the primary person in loco parentis due to his struggles with alcoholism. Her younger sisters sometimes resent her in that quasi-parental role, just as she sometimes resents having had to give up her plans to join her friends during their freshman year at university so she can keep Naomi’s Bistro running and her young family afloat. The challenge of balancing familial responsibilities and personal aspirations is central to her character.

As hard as it is, however, feisty, determined, red-haired Siobhán is up to the task. She is the glue that holds her siblings and their livelihood together. But scraping together enough money to pay the rent every month is tough. She also has developed a bit of a crush on local garda (policeman) Macdara Flannery, who might or might not return those sentiments.

Siobhán's character is the driving force of the O'Sullivan Six. Her perseverance and genuine care for her siblings paint a relatable and endearing portrait. The familial dynamics add depth to the narrative, making the O'Sullivans not just characters but a resilient young family facing life's adversities together.

Murder in an Irish Village (An Irish Village Mystery Book 1)

In the first book, Siobhán is 22 years old. It has been nearly a year since the O'Sullivan Six siblings' parents were tragically killed in a car crash caused by young, feckless, drunk driver Billy Murphy.

Billy's brother Niall tries to extort Siobhán for an outrageous sum of money in exchange for what he claims is evidence that Billy, despite his conviction and incarceration, was not the person responsible for her parents’ deaths.

When James finds out what Niall has tried to do to Siobhán, he is so outraged that he confronts Niall and breaks his six-month sobriety streak by going on a bender. In fact, James drinks so much that he blacks out.

The next morning, a few of the O'Sullivan clan discover Niall seated at one of the tables in Naomi’s bistro. Upon closer inspection, they see a pair of promotional hot pink scissors from the local hair salon plunged into his chest. James has disappeared, and even after he has been found, he has no recollection of what happened the previous night, apart from having had an altercation with the murder victim before blacking out.

When James is accused of the murder, it’s up to Siobhán and their siblings to figure out who the real murderer is and exonerate their eldest brother.

Murder at an Irish Wedding (An Irish Village Mystery Book 2)

In the second book, the wedding of a famous fashion model has the tongues of everyone in the small village of Kilbane wagging. Siobhán and her siblings have their hands full catering the huge three-day affair.

The bride’s father is doing everything he can to thwart the union. Meanwhile, best man Kevin has his invitation revoked as a result of his offensive, drunken, pre-nuptial antics. Garda Macdara Flannery, another of the groom’s friends and now Siobhán’s beau, takes his place.

Kevin’s dead body is discovered in the nearby woods the next morning. Then, a valuable heirloom engagement ring goes missing. When a second victim is murdered with poisoned champagne in a personalized glass flute engraved with Macdara’s name, Flannery instantly moves from best man to prime suspect.

Can Siobhán unravel the mystery, identify the murderer (or murderers), exonerate her beau, and prevent any more untimely deaths? And what of her burgeoning desire to join Macdara as a member of the Gardaí (national police and security force) instead of going to university?

Thoughts on Carlene O'Connor's Irish Village Mystery Series

I am really enjoying this series with its delightful blend of cozy charm, multidimensional characters, and compelling storylines set against the picturesque backdrop of the small Irish village of Kilbane. It offers a delightful escape into a world where quaint traditions meet modern-day sleuthing.

O'Connor's descriptive prose brings the Irish village to life, allowing readers to visualize the charming streets, bustling pubs, and rolling green hills. The cultural richness of the setting adds depth to the narrative, making it not just a mystery series but also a cultural exploration of Irish traditions and the Irish way of life.

The mysteries are well-crafted and engaging. O'Connor weaves intricate plots that keep us guessing until the final reveal. Each book in the series introduces a new puzzle for Siobhán to solve, ensuring that the reader remains hooked. The stories can be a bit slower-paced than other murder mysteries, but I find that the leisurely unfolding of the story contributes to the overall charm.

With its lovable characters, charming setting, and engaging mysteries, the Irish Village Mystery series offers a satisfying escape for readers looking for a lighthearted yet compelling read. Fans of cozy mysteries with a touch of Irish flair will undoubtedly find themselves enamored with Siobhán O'Sullivan's adventures in Kilbane.

I'm also grateful that there is neither gratuitous gore nor graphic descriptions of violence. This series consists of true cozy mysteries rather than thrillers, even though there is sufficient suspense to keep us guessing until the end of each book.

I am listening to the series as audiobooks, which I purchased on Chirp Books. The Kindle and paperback editions linked below are on Amazon. Although narrator Caroline Lennon's Irish lilt and expressive voice add a lot to my enjoyment of these books, I'm sure they would be equally enjoyable in Kindle and paperback formats.

Enjoy the journey!

Irish Village Mystery Series — Books in Order of Publication

Murder in an Irish Village (2016)

Murder at an Irish Wedding (2017)

Murder in an Irish Churchyard (2018)

Murder in an Irish Pub (2019)

Murder in an Irish Cottage (2020)

Murder at an Irish Christmas (2020)

Murder in an Irish Bookshop (2021)

Murder on an Irish Farm (2022)

Murder at an Irish Bakery (2023)

Murder at an Irish Chipper (2024)


Irish Village Mystery Series by Carlene O'Connor — Delightful, Cozy Whodunits by Margaret Schindel

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