Series: Ballybeg series

Guest Review: Love and Mistletoe by Zara Keane

Posted December 31, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Love and Mistletoe by Zara KeaneReviewer: Tracy
Love and Mistletoe by Zara Keane
Series: Ballybeg series #4
Also in this series: Love and Shenanigans, Love and Leprechauns

Publication Date: June 23rd 2015
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three-half-stars

Falling for her enemy…Policeman Brian Glenn wants a promotion. Studying for a degree in criminology is the first step. When a member of Ballybeg's most notorious family struts into his forensic psychology class, his hopes for a peaceful semester vanish. Sharon MacCarthy is the last woman he should get involved with, however hot and bothered she makes him get under his police uniform. Can he survive the semester without succumbing to her charms? 
Sharon's had a rough few months. She knows her future job prospects depend on her finally finishing her degree. When she's paired with her secret crush for the semester project, she sees a chance for happiness. Can she persuade Brian that there's more to her than sequins, high heels, and a rap sheet?

Tracy’s review of Love and Mistletoe (Ballybeg #4) by Zara Keane.

Sharon McCarthy and Brian Glenn getting on each others nerves for years. Of course this is a case of they like each other but don’t know how to go about getting near the other person. (If they were in elementary school in historical times Brian would have been dipping Sharon’s braids into the ink well.)

They end up being in the same class at uni as Brian is trying to promote within the police department and Sharon is getting her psychology degree. They end up being put together as partners on a project and this forces them to get over themselves and actually talk to each other like normal people. They find they like each other even more than they thought and start to date.

Sharon’s family has a horrible reputation in the Ballybeg community and her father’s a real piece of work but she promised her mother before she died that she’ll get her degree. I had to admire Sharon for trying to break out of the McCarthy mold and make something of herself besides a criminal. She’s a unique person (and dresses uniquely as well) and that was off-putting to some folks. I was happy that Brian could see past Sharon’s outer dressing to the lovely woman underneath.

Brian was a good guy. He’d had some bad moments in the past when he’d thought the worst of Sharon and her family but he wasn’t one to stick with one thought and never give up. He was willing to accept that Sharon was different and he liked that about her. Together they made an unlikely but adorable couple.

Love and Mistletoe was just a sweet novella and one I really enjoyed reading. If you want a quick fun read with some Christmas spirit then this is a great choice.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

This title is available from Beaverstone Press LLC. You can buy it here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Love and Leprechauns by Zara Keane

Posted December 17, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Love and Leprechauns by Zara KeaneReviewer: Tracy
Love and Leprechauns by Zara Keane
Series: Ballybeg series #3
Also in this series: Love and Shenanigans, Love and Mistletoe

Publication Date: June 23rd 2015
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Goodreads

Falling for her ex…
Olivia Gant is determined to escape her abusive husband and build a new life. Only desperation drives her to rent business premises from Jonas O'Mahony, the man who tattooed her behind and broke her heart. Can she maintain a haughty distance?

Jonas is a struggling single father. The last person he wants next door is the beautiful-but-infuriating Olivia. A childcare crisis forces him to strike a bargain with her: the lease to the cottage in return for babysitting. Can he resist her allures?

When Olivia's ex is clobbered to death with a garden gnome, the fickle finger of suspicion points at Olivia and Jonas. Can they prove their innocence, or is their happily ever after doomed?

 

Tracy’s review of Love and Leprechauns (Ballybeg #3) by Zara Keane

Olivia is a woman who has had a miserable married life. She married Aidan Gant for financial security but got nothing but grief for the years they were married. No amount of money is worth living with Aidan who is a cruel and violent man.

Olivia’s dream of opening a café finally comes to fruition with the help of her one-time boyfriend Jonas O’Mahoney’s cottage. This also is the first step in the pair becoming closer and starting a relationship. That’s all put to the test when Aidan if found dead the detective in charge of the case is determined to charge either Olivia or Jonas and he’s blinded to any other suspect. Luckily they have friends and acquaintances that can help them in their time of need.

This was a love story/mystery and different from the first two in the series. As this had the mystery involved it was a lighter on the romance, imho. The reason for this was A) Jonas and Olivia had been in a previous relationship when they were teens and had also been good friends so they already knew each other and B) as the focus of the story was on who killed Aidan that left less time for romance and C) this story also involved Jonas’s autistic son, Luca, and he took up a portion of the story as well.

I must say that I enjoyed Olivia and Jonas getting to know each other once again. When they had been dating before there was a tragedy with Jonas’s brother and as his mother blamed Olivia for the accident they had drifted apart. At the beginning of the book I was uncertain as to why Olivia had such anger toward Jonas and he actually believed her to be a snob. They had obviously grown up but had made assumptions about the other without all the facts. On top of their apparent dislike for each other was the fact that Olivia was trying to hide her true married life from everyone in town, including her best friends. Once she opened up to one and all Jonas was able to see that she was still the same good person she’d always been. The support that Jonas and Olivia gave each other throughout the investigation into Aidan’s murder was truly touching as well.

I loved Luca’s involvement in this book. He was such a sweet and intelligent boy and I adored how close Olivia got to him despite her awkwardness with him at first.

The story was a good one and I really enjoyed reading it. I love the way that Keane sets up her stories and I’m looking forward to the next couple to fall in love in Ballybeg.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from Beaverstone Press LLC. You can buy it here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Guest Review: Love and Blarney by Zara Keane

Posted September 28, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Love and Blarney by Zara KeaneReviewer: Tracy
Love and Blarney by Zara Keane
Series: Ballybeg Series #2
Also in this series: Love and Shenanigans, Love and Leprechauns, Love and Mistletoe
Published by Beaverstone Press LLC
Publication Date: June 23rd 2015
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four-stars

 Falling for her husband…

Ruairí MacCarthy abandoned his life in New York to deal with a family crisis in Ireland. Twelve months later, he’s traded his three-piece suits and Wall Street career for jeans and a job managing his family’s pub in Ballybeg. When his estranged wife bursts back into his life looking for a reconciliation, Ruairí must decide if home is where the heart is.

Jayme King wants Ruairí back. She’s prepared to battle sheep, floods, and crazy Irish in-laws to get him. Discovering he lied about his past was a shock, but Jayme’s had months come to terms with the betrayal. Letting Ruairí go was the biggest mistake of her life. Can she persuade him to return to America and give their marriage a second chance?

Jayme King always wanted to travel to Ireland but going there in order to save her marriage wasn’t her idea of a vacation. She wants to find her husband and see if there’s anything they can possibly do to get back what they once had.

Jayme is a Pediatrician and met Ruairi at a club in Manhattan. They hit it off and after a whirlwind courtship got married. After two years Ruairi announces that he has a family emergency and needs to go home to Ireland and will not return in the foreseeable future. Jayme and Ruairi argue and Ruairi leaves. After a while Jayme files for divorce but that’s not what she really wants. Now she’s in Ireland and she hopes to talk Ruairi into being her husband, for real, once again.

Ruairi is a man who left his family after an argument with his father. He headed to America and became a stockbroker. It seemed that he and Jayme never spent all that much time together as they were both working hard. When they did spend time it was awesome – just not enough. When his mother gets sick he knows he has to head home. When Jayme walks into his pub he knows that he has to stop lying to himself and admit that he never stopped loving her. Spending time with her is the only way they can work out their issues so they head off to see the Blarney stone.

This was a very cute short novella. There wasn’t a whole lot of angst as that had happened off page long before we saw Ruairi and Jayme together.

I did feel that Ruairi’s reasons for leaving and not telling Jayme the truth about his family – who were very cool (except for his dad) – were a bit thin. That said, I think in his head it was all justified so I dealt with it. 🙂

Overall a good read and one I enjoyed. This was a more serious book than book 1 but still had some humor in it, which I loved.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Love and Shenanigans by Zara Keane

Posted June 3, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Love and Shenanigans by Zara KeaneReviewer: Tracy
Love and Shenanigans by Zara Keane
Series: Ballybeg series #1
Also in this series: Love and Leprechauns, Love and Mistletoe
Published by Beaverstone Press LLC
Publication Date: May 17th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Vows in Vegas...True Love in Ireland.
Three days before leaving Ireland on the adventure of a lifetime, Fiona Byrne returns to her small Irish hometown to attend the family wedding from hell. When she discovers the drunken vows she exchanged with the groom during a wild Las Vegas trip eight years previously mean they're legally married, her future plans ricochet out of control. Can she untangle herself from the man who broke her heart so long ago? Does she even want to?

Gavin Maguire's life is low on drama, high on stability, and free of pets. But Gavin hadn't reckoned on Fiona blasting back into his life and crashing his wedding. In the space of twenty-four hours, he loses a fiancée and a job, and gains a wife and a labradoodle. Can he salvage his bland-but-stable life? More importantly, can he resist losing his heart to Fiona all over again?

 

Tracy’s review of Love and Shenanigans by Zara Keane

Everything is going swimmingly in Gavin’s life when all hell breaks loose. He’s been dating the same woman for the past 7 years or so and while they don’t have a grand passionate love, it is stable and consistent. Her parents make him a little crazy but it’s all good. Well, it’s all good until his fiancé, Muirann, shows up with a puppy that her father bought her. Only Muirann has things to do and she expects Gavin to take care of the ball of fluff that constantly pees on things and rips things apart with his teeth. Gavin’s patience is definitely being tested.

Fiona is Muirann’s cousin and was talked into being in Muirann’s wedding by her aunt – also Muirann’s aunt. Fiona wants nothing more than to go on the world tour she has planned and get out of Ballybeg. She loves her aunt Bridie, who raised her after her family was killed in a car accident and was the one who talked her into being in the wedding, there’s no love lost between Fiona and Muirann. This is proven when Muirann gives Fiona her gown – that’s snot green and looks like a mermaid dress – that’s too small. Fiona believes that Muirann purposely gave the seamstress the wrong measurements just to embarrass her. Muirann never passes up an opportunity to make Fiona feel like a fool. Fiona ends up out of the wedding party (thank God) but still has to go to the wedding. While getting ready for the wedding Fiona and her best friend, Olivia, start going through old photos. Olivia finds one of Fiona and Gavin kissing (shock!) – then finds a marriage certificate!! Fiona assures her that it’s just a piece of paper because their marriage in Vegas was fake, but when Olivia insists on looking up the info to prove that it’s not real she finds that it’s actually a legitimate marriage certificate and that’s Fiona’s truly married to Gavin and has been for the past 8 years! Wow. Fiona doesn’t know what to do.

Needless to say the wedding between Muirann and Gavin doesn’t take place. During the upheaval at the church Fiona’s aunt Bridie is hurt and breaks her hip. Fiona is conned into staying in Ballybeg to take care of Bridie after her hip replacement and run her book store. She also needs to seek a divorce from Gavin but in Ireland that takes about 4 years if not longer. While Gavin and Fiona say that they both want the divorce Gavin starts to look at his once neglected feelings towards Fiona and finds that there’s still more than a spark there. Fiona tells herself that she was a fool to fall in love with Gavin once before and it won’t happen again but love has a way of proving her wrong.

Love and Shenanigans is a hilarious story that I very much enjoyed reading. The beginning of the story is so incredibly ridiculous (and also ridiculously funny) but frankly I could see it all happening in my mind. Keane has a way of storytelling that brings it all to life in your head. Add to that the Irish colloquialisms that are thrown in and you almost feel like you’re in the thick of it. I found myself not only laughing out loud during the beginning of the book but reading parts of it to my friend.

Now the book did settle down as it went on and things weren’t quite as wacky but it was still just as good. The banter was fun and funny and the attraction between Gavin and Fiona was undeniable. I wanted them to be together and happy for years to come. Besides the romance there was also the homecoming of Fiona to Ballybeg. This is where she’d grown up but as her family had died it held bittersweet memories. It was hard for her to be back but she realized how much she loved it.

We also got a secondary storyline that had to do with Fiona, Bridie and Bridie’s brother – Muirann’s father, Bernard. When Bridie and Bernard’s mother was alive she had told them that the inheritance would be split equally between them and their other sibling (Fiona’s dad) but when their mother died the majority of the estate went to Bernard leaving the other two with hardly anything. When Fiona finds this out she starts to do a little investigating into her grandmother’s will. While I liked this portion of the book I didn’t really see the point of it all. Yes, it showed what a bastard Bernard was but as readers we’d already figured this out.

Overall I found LaS to be a good read and one I recommend if you have a crazy sense of humor like I do. I don’t think this book is for everyone as I don’t think some would find the madcap happenings to be funny. If you do like to laugh while reading your romances this is a book for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This title is available from Beaverstone Press, LLC. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars


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