Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review:Love and Shamrocks (Ballybeg #5) by Zara Keane

Trouble in Dublin, True Love in Ballybeg

Clio Havelin needs a lucky break. Desperate to protect her child, Clio accepts her estranged mother’s offer of a refuge in Ballybeg. What can go wrong in a place with more cows than people? Her hope for a fresh start is smashed to smithereens when she’s blackmailed into facilitating the heist of the decade. So the last thing Clio needs is a sexy cop underfoot, especially when she’s one crime away from freedom. Too bad she’s already slept with him.

Se├ín Mackey wants his life back. The former police detective is now stuck apprehending errant sheep in Ballybeg — population 3968, pubs 35. After months of frustration, he’s finally on the scent of a real case. When he’s sidelined into playing bodyguard for his nemesis, talk show hostess Helen Havelin, he’s pissed. And when his gorgeous one-night stand turns out to be Helen’s daughter, Clio, pissed turns to horrified.

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What I thought about Love and Shamrocks
In Love and Shamrocks, there's a whole lot more about Sean Mackey, a character we've seen in previous books in the series.  He still whines about being stuck in Ballybeg, longing for career advancement and freedom from the bad memories brought on by the town and it's inhabitants. One weekend he goes to the city to escape small town life for a bit, and he meets a gorgeous woman in a bar and nature takes it's course.

Clio's had a rough life. Kicked out of her house at seventeen, she's been on her own and sometimes in with the very wrong crowd. But when her daughter's well being is in danger, she's willing to do whatever she must to take care of her.   She can't resist the handsome stranger she meets at the bar on the eve before she returns to the tiny town of Ballybeg.

There's quite a bit of heat between Sean and Clio from the start.  But he gets called away on a case before she finds out he's a cop, and so that becomes the first point of tension between them.  Turns out there's even more connections between them, too.

There are a few different crimes to solve in Ballybeg, one involving the harassment of a particular group in town, and the potential stalking of one of the town's celebrities and another involving the burglary that ties it to one of the other crimes.

There's a lot of crime investigation and characters from previous books involved in some of these mysteries.  This book really felt more like suspense than romance and while I didn't mind that, I did miss the romantic aspects of love in this little town that I felt in the previous books in the series.

There were some very bright spots among the darker backdrop of the crime stories.  I loved the scenes between Sean and Clio and Clio getting familiar with the rest of Ballybeg. But I had to say that even my e-reader felt hot when I was introduced to a new character, Lar Delaney.  He lit up the pages in his few scenes and I really need more of him, like now! 

This is one of my favorite contemporary romance series. While I liked Love and Shamrocks, I thought at something was off here. The writing felt rushed, and I would have liked a bit more romance and humor.  Okay, the swimming Elvis was funny, but I thought this book lacked the lightness of some of the previous in the series.

I really like this series, and continue to recommend it.I'm very interested in reading the spin-offs and hope for some more Lar Delaney in the future.  

ARC provided for review.

ABOUT The Author

Zara Keane grew up in Dublin, Ireland, but spent her summers in a small town very similar to the fictional Ballybeg.

She currently lives in Switzerland with her family. When she’s not writing or wrestling small people, she drinks far too much coffee, and tries – with occasional success – to resist the siren call of Swiss chocolate.

To listen to her talking about the Ballybeg series and her plans for future books, check out the Audio Files page.


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