Books that take place in another country

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week the topic is Books that take place in another country. I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday topic for quite awhile, but this topic inspired me since reading books set in other places is one reason I love to read. When I looked at my reading lists back to 2012 however, I discovered that I don’t read too many books set outside the United States. And the ones I do read are often set in the United Kingdom or Canada. I do have some books I want to read set in other places (Africa, Asia, Europe), but haven’t read them yet. I’ve included one historical fantasy that was set in Russia. The rest are mysteries.

As I finished up this post I see that I had a Top Ten Tuesday post from 2016–Books set outside the U.S. which has some of the same books. However, I didn’t write about those books (and I spent quite a bit of time on this!!) so I’m going to post it…lol.

I have broken out the books which take place in Great Britain into England, Scotland and Wales. In many ways they feel like separate countries! However, I think I wanted to pretend to myself that I have a more diverse reading experience than I do!

Note: All links in my title for the book or series go to Goodreads. In the case of a series the link and photo of the book are for the first book in that series. If I have a link in the part where I write about the book or series the link is to a review on my blog.


A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee

This is a book I’m listening to set in Calcutta, India in 1919. It’s a mystery about an English police officer who comes to Calcutta to join the police force there. India was under British rule at the time so the British are in charge of the government, but there are Indians who are part of the police force. India is shown here with Indians working with the British government as well as Indians who are working for India’s independence. The British are mostly a self-satisfied lot who’ve brought civilization to the savages. I’m really enjoying the book and am nearly finished.


The Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths

This series mostly takes place in Norfolk, England. Ruth is a forensic archaeologist and college professor who sometimes consults with the police. I’ve read eight books in this series so far and love them all. The tenth book comes out this spring.

Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series by Deborah Crombie

I read quite a few police procedurals set in England, but probably my favorite police procedural series set in England is the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series set mostly in London though Duncan and Gemma sometimes travel outside of London and at least once I can think of there’s a mystery set in Scotland. I’ve read all the books written so far in this series, have reviewed most of them and love them all.


Shetland Island series by Ann Cleeves

This series takes place in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. I read Raven Black quite a while ago, but read White Nights this year. I enjoy this series a lot and have the third book in the series to read soon.

DI Marjory Fleming series by Aline Templeton

This series is set in southwest Scotland near Galloway. DI Marjory Fleming and her team of detectives are very good characters to read about. They don’t always have it easy and her subordinates and superiors don’t always like Marjory, but she’s a very interesting character. My favorite book in the series is the first book–Cold in the Earth. Very good! However, I’m bogged down in the sixth book in the series at the moment. I’m going to finish it soon though and I think I will end up liking it.


Constable Evans series by Rhys Bowen

This series takes place in Wales which in these books seems like a different country from England. The Welsh characters all speak Welsh–especially when they are around any English visitors! This is quite a lighthearted police procedural series. I’ve read the first two books in the series and am really enjoying them.


Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny

These take place in Quebec, Canada. It certainly feels very foreign to me since the main character is part of the French Canadian part of Canada. Though Chief Inspector Armand Gamache speaks excellent English he is most definitely part of the French Canadian community. I’m really enjoying these books and recently read books 6 and 7–Bury Your Dead and A Trick of the Light.

Constable Molly Smith series by Vicki Delany

These books take place in British Columbia, Canada. I’ve loved all that I’ve read (six of the eight books) and hope Ms. Delany writes some more. The last book was written in 2016 and Ms. Delany is currently writing several other series. I like this series best and do hope she will continue.

Rockton series by Kelley Armstrong (formerly called the Casey Duncan series)

I’ve read the first two books in this series and have the third book to read very soon! This mystery series is very suspenseful. I don’t usually like books which are too suspenseful, but I’ve made an exception for these. They’re set in the wilderness of northern Canada in a village which is “off-the-map”–which helps add to the suspense.


Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor

Set in a small village in County Cork, Ireland. I really enjoyed this book and have the second book so I need to read it soon!


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

This is a historical fantasy which set in a fantasy Russia. The book is told like a fairy tale and was really enjoyable. The second book in the series came out in January 2018 and I hope to read it this year.


Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason

I read this book in 2017. It’s a prequel to the series which is set in Reykjavik, Iceland. Not all the books are translated into English, but a few are and I’m hoping to read more about Inspector Erlendur.

What books do you like which take place in a different country?



Sunday Post: April 2


Kimba hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Home and Blog

Last weekend my husband and I visited our daughter in Illinois. Our younger daughter also came along since she had a flight on Sunday from Chicago. She flew to Ireland with some of her cousins for a quick trip (Sunday – Thursday). The group had six adults and four young children (including two babies born last fall). They had a great time, but the children all got sick (vomiting and diarrhea) during the trip and several of the adults were sick by the time they got home. At this point everyone, but one adult has been or is sick! My daughter is back home, but staying in bed. Hopefully, she’ll feel better soon.

I’ve been fighting allergies all week. I’m getting ready to try a new allergy medicine to see if that will help. I guess spring is slowly appearing which is also making my allergies an everyday affair. Our trees are getting ready to leaf out and some trees, shrubs and bulbs in the area are blooming.

My husband is getting ready to start building a fence around our backyard. We got the building permit last week and he plans to buy the materials soon. A fence will make it easier to take care of our kids’ dogs without fear they’ll run after deer or some other animal invading their yard.

I’m going with my daughter to my great niece’s baptism next week. We are both looking forward to that and my daughter will be a Godmother to Guiliana. It will be nice to see some of the family there plus meet the new baby.


I’m planning to change-up my blog a little. I haven’t decided exactly what I’ll do yet, but I’m thinking about it and hope to come up with some more ideas this week.

Blog posts last week
Blog posts planned next week
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Book review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

What I read recently

Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon

Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman

What I bought or borrowed

The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Confluence by S.K. Dunstall

Shards of a Broken Sword by W.R. Gingell

The Circuit: Executor Rising by Rhett

What did you do last week? What did you read? What books did you collect? What are you planning?




Waiting on Wednesday: October 5

I am participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m looking forward to in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.


murder-at-an-irish-weddingMurder at an Irish Wedding

by Carlene O’Connor

Series: Irish Village Mystery #2

Genre: Mystery

Publication date:February 28

Synopsis: The O’Sullivan clan of County Cork, Ireland, are thrilled to be catering the matrimonial affairs of a celebrity couple until a cunning killer turns an Irish wedding into an Irish wake . . .

“Any wedding is a big deal in the small village of Kilbane even more so when the bride is a famous fashion model. It s also good for business. Not only has customer traffic picked up at Naomi s Bistro, Siobhan O Sullivan and her five siblings have a full plate catering for the three-day affair. And Siobhan s own beau, local garda Macdara Flannery, gladly steps in as best man after the groom s first choice makes a drunken arse out of himself.

Even if he hadn’t been disinvited to the wedding, the original best man wouldn’t have been able to show. He s been found murdered in the woods, casting a pall over the nuptials. And when a second member of the wedding party is poisoned by a champagne flute engraved with Macdara s name, the garda goes from being best man to prime suspect.

With a killer at large and a string of robberies plaguing Kilbane, Siobhan feels more than a little protective of her village. She vows to clear Macdara s name, but the suspect list is as long as the guest list. Like the bride walking down the aisle, Siobhan needs to watch her step. For as she gets closer to unveiling the truth, the murderer is planning a very chilly reception for her


The reasons this book appeals to me:
  • I read the first book in this series early this year and I loved it.
  • The O’Sullivan family is so fun to read about.
  • I love that the book takes place in rural Ireland.
  • I love the cover!



Books set outside the U.S.

Top Ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted at the Broke and the Bookish blog. Each week a different topic is introduced and it is fun to see what everyone writes each week. Check out their blog for more information.

The topic this week: talk about the books we’ve read set outside the United States.

As I looked for books I’ve read set outside the United States I realized most of the books come from just a few countries. Also a number of the books I read are science fiction and fantasy with imaginary settings.

I do have books which take place in other settings. I just haven’t read them yet!


Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor

Medieval Ireland, on Viking ships, Iceland

Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale by Donna Jo Napoli


In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicky Delany

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny (French Canada)


Cold in the Earth by Aline Templeton

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves (Shetland Island)

Scotland, Belgium, Russia

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley


Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie

Alaska Territory (1919)

Borrowed Death by Cathy Pegau


And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst

What books set outside the United States do you recommend?

Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor

murder-in-an-irish-villageMurder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor
Series: Unknown (but I hope so!)
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Setting: Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland
Published by Kensington, 2016
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Feb 23)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
304 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: In the small village of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland, Natalie’s Bistro has always been a warm and welcoming spot to visit with neighbors, enjoy some brown bread and tea, and get the local gossip. Nowadays twenty-two-year-old Siobhán O’Sullivan runs the family bistro named for her mother, along with her five siblings, after the death of their parents in a car crash almost a year ago.

It’s been a rough year for the O’Sullivans, but it’s about to get rougher. One morning, as they’re opening the bistro, they discover a man seated at a table, dressed in a suit as if for his own funeral, a pair of hot pink barber scissors protruding from his chest.

With the local garda suspecting the O’Sullivans, and their business in danger of being shunned–murder tends to spoil the appetite–it’s up to feisty redheaded Siobhán to solve the crime and save her beloved brood.

Initial impressions

  • A very good mystery as well as a great setting in County Cork, Ireland.

The story

  • The O’Sullivan children–James (24), Siobhán (22), Gráinne (16), Ann (13), Eoin (15), Ciarán (10)–are continuing to run Natalie’s Bistro a year after their parents were killed in a traffic accident. The driver of the other car was drunk and is now in prison.
  • The siblings have all given up a lot to keep their family together–especially James and Siobhán. She gave up her dream to attend Trinity College in Dublin with her best friends. James has given up drink (a good thing) and has been sober for six months as the book opens. However, Siobhán still worries about him and realizes she has the responsibility for Natalie’s Bistro as well as for her siblings. The others all help out in the restaurant–cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, serving.
  • The driver’s brother, Niall Murphy, is back in town and claims he has evidence his brother is innocent. The O’Sullivans respond with resentment and anger.
  • When Niall is murdered James is the main suspect. Siobhán decides she better figure out who really murdered Niall.


  • The mystery is very good in this story.
  • I love the Irish setting.
  • I also enjoyed the descriptions of the Irish village and the various people living in the village.
  • Ms. O’Connor included a Pronunciation and Glossary Guide at the front of the e-Arc I read. I hope that’s in the finished copy because it is great to know how to pronounce words and know what they mean. I had heard about craic (pronounced crack) when we were in Ireland last year! (It means having a good time!) But others I had no idea about.
  • The book was craic reading for me!
  • The O’Sullivans really came alive for me as well as many of the other characters.
  • This had some laugh-out-loud moments. My favorite is at a wake when the body is nearly set on fire and the priest tells one of the O’Sullivans (after she nervously recites Psalm 23) that the psalm isn’t part of the Roman Catholic Mass!
  • The book is told from Siobhán‘s viewpoint and she is a well-rounded character–not perfect, but someone I would like to know. She also is not a very subtle investigator!
  • There is a bit of romance that could become more in future books.
  • I’m really impressed that this is Ms. O’Connor’s first book.


  • I don’t really have problems with this book.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • I’d love for Carlene O’Connor to write more about the O’Sullivans and Kilbane.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Carlene O’Connor comes from a long line of Irish storytellers. Her great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland to America during the Troubles, and the stories have been flowing ever since. Of all the places across the pond she’s wandered, she fell most in love with a walled town in County Limerick and was inspired to create the town of Kilbane, County Cork. Carlene currently divides her time between New York and the Emerald Isle.

Reading Challenges

Sunday Post: Apr 5


The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!


Last Two Weeks

Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare. These cliffs were used in the movie The Princess Bride (called “The Cliffs of Insanity” in the movie).

Home & blog

I didn’t write a Sunday Post last week since I was getting back from Ireland! We had a wonderful time. It was a whirlwind trip and we were constantly on the go, but so much fun. Our group got home (to Chicago) from Ireland last Saturday night. My husband and I flew home to Maryland on Sunday. He left on Monday for a week working in Philadelphia and Denver. 😦 So he didn’t have time to get over jet lag. However, I’m the one who got to stay home and rest and I still got an awful cold! That doesn’t seem fair to one of us!

We did get home to find our crocus blooming!

I hope to start feeling better soon and catch up with all the blogs I want to visit and see what everyone was up to in March!

Blog posts


What I’m reading

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

What I read the last couple weeks

The Pyramids of London by Andrea K. Höst

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

New–Books, E-books, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library




Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress

Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin


Talon by Julie Kagawa

Next Week

Home & blog

A busy week. Another of our nieces is getting married next weekend so we’re off to Chicago on Friday for the Saturday wedding.

I’m just hoping to keep up with my blog, visit other blogs and do a little reading!

Blog Posts

  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review: Where Memories Lie by Deborah Crombie
  • Ireland
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?

Sunday Post: Mar 22


The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!


Last Week

Home & blog

Back in Iowa this week. We’re getting our stuff ready for our Ireland trip. Checking our lists. Buying a few things we need. Plus getting packed. Plus driving to Chicago. Getting excited!

I apologize for being so slow to answer comments and not visiting other blogs. I’m having trouble just getting my posts ready while I’m gone. I’m back home in Maryland at the end of the month and then I’ll start getting caught up.

Blog posts


What I’m reading


What I read this week

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Where Memories Lie by Deborah Crombie

New–Books, E-books, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library







Next Week

Home & blog

We leave for Ireland the evening of Saturday, March 21 so I’m scheduling this post and can’t link it or answer any comments or the others I have scheduled for the week I’m gone.

I’m so excited about our trip. We’re (my husband, daughter and other family members) flying in to Dublin arriving early Sunday morning. Sunday we are traveling to Bunratty where we are sightseeing and staying the night. The next days we’re visiting the Cliffs of Moher (the cliffs shown in The Princess Bride movie), Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Cork, Blarney Castle, the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough, Malahide Castle, Clontarf Castle, Dublin, The Guinness Storehouse and Trinity College. These are just the scheduled events. We also have free time to do lots of other activities. Fun times!

Blog Posts

  • Top Ten Tuesday–Revisiting my favorite preteen books
  • Waiting on Wednesday–Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes
  • Review: Darkwalker by E. L. Tettensor
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?

Review: Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier


Dreamer’s Pool
by Juliet Marillier
Series: Blackthorn & Grim #1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Roc Hardcover
Library book
434 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she’ll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.

Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.

With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.

The need to see so many people and to stay courteous left me ill-tempered and weary at the end of the day. Grim was good at having a brew ready when I needed it.


  • The language is lyrical and the story is deeply satisfying.
  • I love the setting of long  ago Ireland. If ever a place might have magic Ireland would be one of my choices!
  • I’ve seen that other reviewers called this a fairytale and that’s certainly true. And it even has a character named Grim!
  • The story is absorbing and even though told from three points of view (Blackthorn, Grim and Prince Oran) it flows well and the three characters have distinct voices. I like having the different points of view of some of the same happenings in the story.
  • The book takes place in a fantasy version of Ireland and has the feel of old stories.
  • Blackthorn doesn’t like being with people and doesn’t have the patience to have to listen to gossip…which, of course, she has to listen to as a healer. This is also part of her healing, I think–having to learn patience and to be with people again.
  • Blackthorn and Grim are both very damaged characters which I imagine will play a big part in the books to come. I look forward to learning more about each of them.
  • This book is a mystery as well as a fantasy and I figured out some of the mystery, but that didn’t take away my enjoyment of the book and I wasn’t sure how it would end.
  • The character who saves Blackthorn–probably a Fae. . . we don’t know his motivations. . . who he is exactly or why he saved her. We get a few clues, but I look forward to learning more in future books.


  • None. This book is a wonderful beginning for a series.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is the first book I’ve read by Juliet Marillier and I don’t know why I waited so long. I own several more books by her and want to read them soon.
  • I can’t wait for the next book and I gave this book an A- only because it’s the first book I’ve read by Ms. Marillier and I want all of her books to be as good or even better!
  • This is one of my favorite books of the year (see my Top Ten Tuesday for this week and for last week as she is one of my favorite new authors, too.)

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge (Hoping to read 100 books this year)
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog (Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite new authors this year!)

Sunday Post–April 20

rp_sundaypostmeme13.jpgThe Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to participate in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

Last Week

Around the house

My husband was gone all week on business, but got home Friday afternoon so we went out to dinner. Such a nice cupsevening. I got quite a bit done during the week plus quite a bit of reading. And listening to an audiobook, too. 🙂

I finally put up photos and a bit of commentary about my trip to Europe. It already seems so long ago! One photo I meant to add was of the cups I bought while I was in Ireland and Spain. It’s great to have more cups for my tea and coffee! Three of the cups came from Starbucks in Dublin and Barcelona (the only times we went to Starbucks) and one is from the Montserrat Monastery. It’s kind of hard to tell, but the Spain cups are very small which is great because the coffee I drank there was usually café solo served black in a tiny cup. Occasionally, I had café con leche (coffee with milk) which is served in a bigger cup. I wanted these little cups to remind me of the delicious coffee in Spain!

Posts on blog

What I’m reading

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Silence by Michelle Sagara (Audible book)

What I read this week

Discount Armageddon by Seanan Mcguire

Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James

E-books bought

Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Angelbound by Christina Bauer

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

A Handful of Stars by Dana Stabenow

Skulk by Rosie Best

Never Too Late by Amara Royce

Guidebook to Murder by Lynn Cahoon

The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

From Audible

Next Week

Around the house

We are going to a Shakespeare play (Henry IV, part 1) Sunday night in Washington, DC with dinner before so that will be fun. The week will be busy and I hope we have more spring weather!

Posts on the blog

  • Review: Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach (Heaven’s Queen–the third book in the series comes out on Tuesday April 22)
  • Review: Redshirts by John Scalzi
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning this next week?

My spring break-away

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We took planes, trains, metro, buses, taxis and our own feet…

My daughter–Karen–and I along with two cousins–Mary and Katie–(also mother and daughter) spent spring break in Ireland and Spain. It was spring break for Katie since she’s a Spanish teacher in Wisconsin so it was spring break for all of us. 🙂

Katie and Karen (who lived and worked in Colombia, South America for five months) were our Spanish language translators and tour guides. The one time Mary and I split off from our daughters we ended up walking back at night to our hotel in Barcelona and nearly ended up in a riot! Luckily, we only ran into police officers and closed off roads. We did have to ask the police for directions every few blocks, but even though we didn’t know much Spanish the police were very helpful.

Our trip began the last week in March in Chicago on Saturday, March 22 when we flew overnight to Dublin on Aer Lingus. The flight on Aer Lingus was great though none of us got much sleep. I especially enjoyed the cups of tea brought around every so often.

So…we stayed in Dublin for a day and a half (not long enough–but we only had a week for the whole trip). An Irish cousin met us at the airport and took us all over Dublin. After Dublin we flew to Spain. In Spain we stayed in Valladolid and Barcelona. We made side trips to Peñafiel (a wine region north of Valladolid) and to Montserrat.

The high points of the trip (according to me):

  • Talking, laughing, sharing a wonderful trip with people who are both friends and relatives
  • Malahide Castle (near Dublin)
  • Drinking Guinness at the Guinness Factory in Dublin
  • Staying in the old part of Valladolid
  • Peñafiel and the castle above the town
  • The lamb I had for lunch in Peñafiel (the best lamb I’ve ever had)
  • Antoni Gaudi architecture in Barcelona
  • Montserrat (a monastery in the mountains near Barcelona)–the scenery and the basilica
  • Shopping in Barcelona
  • Wine and sangria we drank in honor of spring break!

A wonderful trip with amazing memories!

  • Malahide Castle & Coastal Tour!
  • A Little About Valladolid
  • Dublin airport ‘an alternative hub to Heathrow’, says Aer Lingus