The Brightest Flame in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly

The Third of Three Books in this Romance Series. Written in 2012 by Dorien Kelly.

The Third of Three Books in this Romance Series. Written in 2012 by Dorien Kelly.

Sorry it has been a while since my last post. I am finally getting the ball rolling with interviews and such.

The Brightest Flame in Ballymuir is all about Vi Kilbride. For those of you that have read the previous posts/books, Vi is the sister of Michael Kilbride (the main character of book one). Vi is an artist who enjoys being in her own little world painting and creating perfect pieces of art.

Vi spent most of her summers as a child/teen with her Nan in Duncarraig. Sadly, this book is based around her Nan’s passing. Nan left her house to Vi a while back, but Vi never had the time to clean out the house or the heart to put it up for sale. Finally, the time had come to visit Duncarraig, empty the house and ready it for the market.

Within the first day of being in town, Vi ran into her past lover, Liam Rafferty. Each time Vi used to spend the summers with Nan, she ended up spending a good chunk of her time with Liam. Liam was her first love and left her with a broken heart to go travel to America. At first, their reunion was a bit rocky, but they rekindled the flame right where they left off.

However, since the last time the two have seen each other, Liam has been married and created a child. He still ‘works’ in America and his now ex-wife has been called to duty so he took his daughter to Ireland to escape a bit. Liam thought being back would help him raise his girl, Meghan, with all the family around, but he also had his own secret motive to be back home. Liam is on the hunt for his family’s gold.

The story has been told that the Rafferty gold has been handed down from father to oldest son year after year. One time, a man in the line had to leave for a bit and trusted his lover to guard the family gold. This lover was an ancestor of Vi’s. Therefore, Vi and Liam are the two descendants alive that deserve the gold, if it were to still be passed down. However, the story states that the gold has never been found and is still out there, unclaimed and waiting for its’ owner to uncover it.

Will the flame between Vi and Liam ignite once again as the title states? Will Liam find the treasure he came to Duncarraig for? Continue reading the Spoilers page for more information.

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Spoiler- The Brightest Flame in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly

The Third of Three Books in this Romance Series. Written in 2012 by Dorien Kelly.

The Third of Three Books in this Romance Series. Written in 2012 by Dorien Kelly.

*Note- This post continues the writing from the Book Summaries page. Please read for previous details.*

So, where to start, where to start… How about the two main character’s love life?

Vi and Liam started out again by hitting it off fairly well. Vi was a bit thrown off to see that he was with a child now and had married before, but tried to work past that. What she couldn’t seem to overcome was Liam’s search for the family gold. She found Liam in her Nan’s yard with a metal detector of sorts scanning it for traces of gold while she was inside cleaning the place up for sale. The story of the family gold has been told for so many years that Vi thought it was foolish for him to be so aggressively hunting, yet alone, on her property.

What Vi did not know at the time was that Liam’s company back in America was going under water quickly. There was a scandal with a co-worker of his stealing money for personal use and a lawsuit was quickly filed verse the entire company. Liam needed this gold more than anything to help his pocketbook as well as his pride.

Vi, dauntless and determined, tried to ignore the aspect of the gold hunt from their relationship but this was hard to overcome. Finally, the two joined forces when they searched a local castle that an American couple recently fixed up and opened to the public. As rumored, there were  secret passageways in the walls of the castle that the two found to lead to a room for the gold. Vi, a witch of sorts, could hear the gold speaking to her when she touched the walls there. However, to keep the suspense moving, the gold was all gone and had been relocated or found out by someone before them.

This run-in at the castle also brought  back memories for the two lovers. This was the place that they first made love to each other. As Liam brought this up, Vi suddenly became overwhelmed with emotions and was very distant to Liam. What he didn’t know was that Vi had become impregnated that night many years ago. It was somehow being born inside on of her organs so she had to have it removed for the sake of her own health. This surgery left Vi being unable to bear children ever again.

This all was going too fast again for Vi: being around Liam, remembering their ‘almost child’, seeing him with his new child and just rekindling their flame. Vi was finished with Nan’s property and finally was ready to go back to her home in Ballymuir so she left. Without more than a note, she drove back home and went back to her painting.

When her Nan’s furniture arrived at her house a few days later, Vi found herself wanting to paint these to fix them up. Liam left back to America to fix things up with his company and try to get out with as little debt as possible. After a few weeks of him missing, Vi found some jelly stuck to her Nan’s furniture that she threw at Liam’s head in anger before he left. As she was scraping it off, she could hear the same sounds from the furniture that she did in the castle a while back. It was the GOLD!

After scraping off the coat of paint that she had done and another that Nan probably did, she found that pieces of the furniture were made of gold. She didn’t want to tell anyone of her find but did have a little piece checked for authenticity. This was it! There was also a note attached mentioning where Nan had hidden the rest of the gold so Vi dug it all up and finally hit the jackpot. Knowing that it was partially Liam’s, she  did not want to do anything rash just yet.

When Liam came to visit, she finally was able to tell him the story of her infertility, he confessed about his corrupted business and this finally allowed her to tell him the happiness of her finding the gold.

Liam and Vi lived happily ever after (didn’t see that one coming, did you?). They sold most of their gold to a museum while keeping some pieces to continue the story of the lost gold.

So, we have finally made it! This is the last of the Ballymuir Series. A sad end but a new adventure awaits us. If anyone has suggestions on what to read next, please comment below. Otherwise, I think I plan to read Divergent since the movie will be coming out soon and I love comparing books to movies.

The Boldest Man in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly

The Second of Three Books in this Romance Series. Written in 2012 by Dorien Kelly.

The Second of Three Books in this Romance Series. Written in 2012 by Dorien Kelly.

Another book in the Ballymuir Series successfully completed! Even though I read the first of the three books, I would not think that you would have to read the books in order to understand what is happening in this particular series. If you would like a quick recap simply scroll down to my blog entry called The Last Bride in Ballymuir.

So, book two, The Boldest Man in Ballymuir, is mainly focused on a woman named Jenna who owns a beautiful building called the Muir House. She is an American living in Ireland and exposing its citizens to fine dining at her restaurant that now doubles as a place to stay the night. Jenna is finding success in her building until a man named Dev comes into town to try to buy her property to create a new location for a resort.

This would not be a problem for Jenna if she actually owned the building. The fact of the matter is that she never could obtain ownership because the owner was an odd woman. All that Jenna had to her name was a lease that could lead to the ultimate downfall of Muir House.

The second problem in the situation was the connection between Dev and Jenna. From the start, each of them felt a connection and yearning for the other; everyone in town could see it. Jenna tried to keep her guard up, knowing that her house and restaurant were at stake. All she could do now was try to claim ownership and keep positive.

Dev, on the other hand, had his own struggles. He has always been a bold man, never caring about other’s feelings and always closing the deal or getting the girl. Will he get either of these this time around?

Spoiler- The Boldest Man In Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly

The Second of Three Books in this Romance Series. Written in 2012 by Dorien Kelly.

The Second of Three Books in this Romance Series. Written in 2012 by Dorien Kelly.

*Note- This post continues the writing from the Book Summaries page. Please read for previous details.*

Two of my favorite plot twists from the book came from the first two house guests ever since the remodeling of the rooms for visitors. One was Jenna’s sister, Maureen, that was a rich, daddy’s girl, who found herself in a bit of trouble and ran to Jenna’s to hide. Maureen was dating a celebrity who seemed to be cheating on her one day. Maureen panicked in anger and threw fish at him in the middle of a crowded restaurant. With him being a celebrity, the paparazzi covered this and she was seen as a crazy girl making a scene.

The second guest was Dev’s mother. Dev casually mentioned his visit to Ballymuir to his mom on the phone, not including any business endeavors. His mom, having grown up in Ballymuir, missed the town and decided she needed some change in her life. So, she packed up and headed to Muir House to stay for a while to escape her uneventful life back home without informing Dev.

The two finally ran into each other one night when Dev just had some joyous, love-filled hours in Jenna’s room and he headed downstairs in Muir House to grab them a snack. His mother was there, looking at him with no socks, no shirt and a huge grin on his face from his love upstairs. If this wasn’t awkward enough, wait until you hear who his mother had been seeing.

A man is continually mentioned talking to Jenna, dining at the restaurant and finally talking to Dev’s mom. He is a father of three from Ballymuir- all of which are from different mothers. However, the man did not know that he actually was the father of four. Dev’s mother fled the country when she found out she was going to be an unwed mother. She met a man in Northern Ireland, fell in love and he accepted Dev as his own born child.

And if this isn’t enough drama for Muir House, how about we add a bit more. Maureen’s ex-boyfriend finally tracked her down and showed up on the steps one rainy afternoon. After a few days outside her window with serenades and begging, she finally seemed to forgive him once she realized he was there for love and love is what she needed. He apologized for the misunderstanding and that he in fact was not cheating on her. The two took things slowly by him traveling back to film while Maureen stayed put to make sure she wanted him in her life.

As time goes on, Dev continually comes and goes from work in London back to Ballymuir for pleasure. Suddenly, it is sprung upon him that Muir House is officially chosen for the resort destination and next week the board will investigate the area and begin groundbreaking.

When Jenna finds out, she felt betrayed and ashamed that she let Dev in for him to just trample all over her life and ruin everything. However, the two pushed through after some tear-felt nights and created a plan containing diversions to lead the board away from Ballymuir. By strategically placing directional signs in a never-ending loop to letting all the sheep loose on the streets making it unbearable to drive, the two successfully made the town seem impossible to live in. And what better way to celebrate than a wedding between Dev and Jenna.
What did you think of this book?
There is only one more left in the Ballymuir Series and then off to the next one. If you have any suggestions, feel free to contact me or comment below!

The Last Bride in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly

The First of Three Books in this Romance Series. Written in 2003 by Dorien Kelly.

The First of Three Books in this Romance Series. Written in 2003 by Dorien Kelly.

After reading more than enough about crimes, murders and mysteries, I decided to take a break for a while to a different genre of books. My mother suggested The Ballymuir Series and said it was about love, happiness and Ireland. What else do I need to convince myself. Therefore, I started off the series of three books with The Last Bride in Ballymuir.

The story mainly focuses on a man named Michael Kilbride who recently was released from jail for murder (so much for getting away from the crime stories, mom). Michael’s mother still will not look or talk to him since the incident so he went to live with his sister, Vi, in Ballymuir. Vi is a well-known painter who owns her in shop in the middle of town. That is why Michael is a hot topic around the city as soon as he arrives.

The second Michael hits the streets to roam and look for work, the town is gossiping about his past and making generalizations about him not being a good fit for the town. All the locals are outright rude to him and it seems as if work will be hard to come by.

Then, while walking from the town to Vi’s house, Michael spotted a gorgeous woman working in a field moving rocks. He politely joined and helped her for a bit without either talking much at all. After a while, the lady, Kylie, invited him in and they hit it off. She accepted him for who he is and they quickly became close friends.

We find out later that Kylie is a school teacher and well-known throughout the town as well. Her father went to prison for knowingly borrowing money to create hotel properties but instead designing his own mansion-sized house and going in debt still. What the town doesn’t know is that Kylie’s dad was so desperate that he whored her out to get out of their debt. Kylie was raped by her father’s business associate and has never been touched by a man again– until now.

Spoiler- The Last Bride in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly

The First of Three Books in this Romance Series. Written in 2003 by Dorien Kelly.

The First of Three Books in this Romance Series. Written in 2003 by Dorien Kelly.

*Note- This post continues the writing from the Book Summaries page. Please read for previous details.*

We left with Kylie’s little secret she has always kept quiet: her rape. But she is not the only character that has kept secrets over the years. Michael, who went to jail for murder, was actually no murderer at all. He did the time for a different crime. In a private discussion with Kylie and throughout his thoughts within the book, we finally can see the true story behind Michael.

Michael had a girlfriend back in the day who he supposedly loved. She, however, did not seem to have the same intentions. One night when they were out together with another mutual friend named Brian, the whole thing unraveled. Cops showed up and found explosives to create a bomb hidden in Michael’s car that were placed there by his ‘girlfriend’. Brian, the so-called mutual friend, was actually making love to Michael’s girlfriend on the side and the two were using Michael for transporting the explosives. The girl was killed that night but Brian did his time in jail for the crime as well. Knowing that Michael was out of jail, Brian tried to contact Michael by calling Vi’s house with threats to kill his family and his new love, Kylie.

Kylie and Michael had a tough enough time meeting up with their own busy lives despite their own personal reputations throughout the town. The two tended to meet up for a casual dinner at Kylie’s house, right down the street from Vi’s. However, Kylie’s friend and grandmother figure, Breege, fell while living alone and needed someone to look after her as per request of the doctor. So, Kylie took Breege in and Michael was not able to come over as often. Michael did see benefit in this though by finding a place to do construction work in Breege’s barn down the street. Also, Kylie partnered up with Vi to host an art event by the students at her school and found herself working with Vi some nights. Then, yet another hurdle came in the lover’s path: Michael’s much younger twin brothers came in town. These two ran away from home in need of an escape from their crazy mother. After a bit of convincing, Michael saw this as a positive aspect of his life by being able to befriend more family members as well as use the boys for help with his construction work.

One night, Michael received another personal threat on Kylie from Brian to kill her off so Michael took matters into his own hands. He traveled to a nearby city that was known for a shady bar where past inmates would meet up and trouble went down. He covered his tracks with Vi and Kylie by leaving a hotel location written down and said he was on a business trip. They just didn’t know what bad business he was getting into. Michael found Brian and the two fist-fighted in an alley beside the bar Michael tracked him down at. Ready to strangle and kill Brian, Michael found courage to walk away after realizing how killing Brian would affect his future with Kylie. So he walked away with a busted lip and his head held high while Brian was struggling to breathe and making threats that he will regret not finishing him off then.

When Michael got back to the hotel, he was surprised by Kylie at the door of his room. She thought it would be a nice surprise but was more shocked to see his mangled face. Michael told her the whole story and confessed to lying to protect her, which she seemed to understand. Then he surprised her with a ring that he bought earlier that day and proposed to Kylie; she exuberantly said yes.

After the two were back home, rumors seemed to spread once again at the opening of the art exhibit that Vi and Kylie have been planning. The cops came in demanding for the arrest Michael for the murder of Brian. This outraged Kylie since she trusted Michael and knew he wasn’t the one to finish him off. After a few days in prison for Michael, the cops discovered a hammer in a nearby trash can with the prints from a drug dealer that worked with Brian. Turns out, Brian wasn’t doing his share and this was his punishment.

So, the happy ending that books should have finally came along in my fourth book this year. Michael and Kylie were going to live happily ever after in Breege’s old house and the two were wedded in the last scene of the book. Kylie’s father was working on becoming a successful man one day at a name and received no help from Kylie. Vi sold her work to a wealthy American and continued to pursue her love of art.

 

What did you think of this book? Share your thoughts below.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

2009 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

2009 Murder Mystery by Gillian Flynn

After reading two other books by Gillian Flynn, I decided to wrap up the recommended books by her.

This book begins with the following paragraph, a schoolyard rhyme from 1985:

The days were a clan that mighta lived long
But Ben Day’s head got screwed on wrong
That boy caved dark Satan’s power
So he killed his family in one nasty hour

Little Michelle he strangled in the night
Then chopped up Debby: a bloddy sight
Mother Patty he saved for last
Blew off her head with a shotgun blast

Baby Libby somehow survived
But to live through that ain’t much a life

This was the setting for the book. It is about a girl, named Libby who was left all alone, moved from house to house growing up and never having any true family members by her side after a terrible murder. Her brother, Ben, was accused of killing two of his sisters and mother since the day of the murders. He also was accused of child molestation of a girl in Libby’s grade that same weekend. Ben was left to rot in prison for his errors. Little does miss Libby know, there are a few pieces of the puzzle she never knew from before.

Libby, short on cash from not having a job and running out of pity money, finds a piece of fan mail offering for her to visit their club for a fee. She accepts the invitation to visit this ‘club’ not expecting anything but a few people wanting to hear her tail of survival. Instead, she finds herself at a “Kill Club” meeting where tens to hundreds of people gather to discuss the happenings of murders and missing people reports across the country. One group in particular has focused on her family’s murder story for the past 24 years and finally found Libby to contact about it. As most people would react to such a gathering, Libby did not want to be a part of this at first, but she was quickly convinced when she realized the money people would pay for her to simply talk to people about the night the murders occurred as well as pawn off items to the members.

Libby had a two main suspects in her mind:
1. Ben- her brother that she claimed was the murderer in court
2. Runner- her step dad who continually needed money from their family

Will Libby discover the truth behind the disastrous night? Who committed this heinous crime? Visit the spoiler page to see what will happen throughout this story.