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Family Secrets

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Welcome to Whispering Pines, Wisconsin. A place for those who don’t belong. Sixteen years after a family feud drove her from the cozy Northwoods village of Whispering Pines, Wisconsin, former detective Jayne O’Shea returns to prepare her grandparents’ lake house for sale. Once there, not only does she find that the house has been trashed, her dog discovers a dead body in Welcome to Whispering Pines, Wisconsin. A place for those who don’t belong. Sixteen years after a family feud drove her from the cozy Northwoods village of Whispering Pines, Wisconsin, former detective Jayne O’Shea returns to prepare her grandparents’ lake house for sale. Once there, not only does she find that the house has been trashed, her dog discovers a dead body in the backyard. Jayne intends to stay out of it, but when it becomes obvious the sheriff isn't interested in investigating the death, Jayne can't stop herself. Her list of suspects grows faster than the plants in the commons’ pentacle garden. Could it be the local Wiccan green witch with her stash of deadly plants? The shopkeeper who slips into trances and foretells death? The visitor determined to practice black magic? What Jayne knows for sure is that the closer she gets to solving this crime, the more the sheriff wants her to back off. And when a local fortune teller provides a crucial clue, Jayne knows it’s up to her to solve this murder. Fans of Denise Grover Swank, Charlaine Harris, and Janet Evanovich will love the quirky small town setting with its even quirkier residents.


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Welcome to Whispering Pines, Wisconsin. A place for those who don’t belong. Sixteen years after a family feud drove her from the cozy Northwoods village of Whispering Pines, Wisconsin, former detective Jayne O’Shea returns to prepare her grandparents’ lake house for sale. Once there, not only does she find that the house has been trashed, her dog discovers a dead body in Welcome to Whispering Pines, Wisconsin. A place for those who don’t belong. Sixteen years after a family feud drove her from the cozy Northwoods village of Whispering Pines, Wisconsin, former detective Jayne O’Shea returns to prepare her grandparents’ lake house for sale. Once there, not only does she find that the house has been trashed, her dog discovers a dead body in the backyard. Jayne intends to stay out of it, but when it becomes obvious the sheriff isn't interested in investigating the death, Jayne can't stop herself. Her list of suspects grows faster than the plants in the commons’ pentacle garden. Could it be the local Wiccan green witch with her stash of deadly plants? The shopkeeper who slips into trances and foretells death? The visitor determined to practice black magic? What Jayne knows for sure is that the closer she gets to solving this crime, the more the sheriff wants her to back off. And when a local fortune teller provides a crucial clue, Jayne knows it’s up to her to solve this murder. Fans of Denise Grover Swank, Charlaine Harris, and Janet Evanovich will love the quirky small town setting with its even quirkier residents.

30 review for Family Secrets

  1. 4 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    Jayne O'Shea has returned to her grandparents home to settle their affairs and place their home for sale. Once there, she finds the house has been trashed ...and a body of a young woman is in the backyard. Being a former cop, she knows enough not to do anything to interfere with possible evidence. The local police don't seem to be too concerned, but Jayne can't help but investigate on her own. Whispering Pines is a small town in Wisconsin, filled with all kinds of quirky, fun, strange people. Jayne O'Shea has returned to her grandparents home to settle their affairs and place their home for sale. Once there, she finds the house has been trashed ...and a body of a young woman is in the backyard. Being a former cop, she knows enough not to do anything to interfere with possible evidence. The local police don't seem to be too concerned, but Jayne can't help but investigate on her own. Whispering Pines is a small town in Wisconsin, filled with all kinds of quirky, fun, strange people. Wiccans seem to make up the majority. Seems like the dead woman had a tatoo similar to what is seen among the Wiccan. And then Jayne discovers that her grandmother was also involved. There's the man who can see when death is coming. Then there's the young girl who wants to learn the ropes ... learn the spells and incantations. But to what means? All of these are suspects ... and the more Jayne investigates, the more the local sheriff warns her off. But Jayne is tenacious, if nothing else. Something sinister is affecting the town. I would love to think there are still small towns similar to this one ... minus the dead body. Most of the residents are friendly and welcoming ... but as in most small towns, everyone knows everyone's business ... usually. It's a well written story and I loved all the characters. No one can resist Meeka ... Jayne's four-footed partner. I'm hoping this may turn into a series. This is an author to keep an eye on. Many thanks to the author for the advance digital copy. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    This is the first book I have read by this author. I received ARC of this story. I really enjoyed the way the story line went and the characters in it. It's not really a cliff hanger, but it does leave some questions unanswered. A good story. The review is done voluntarily and my own opinions.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Coco.V

    FREE on Amazon today (5/14/2019)! 🎁 FREE on Amazon today (5/14/2019)! 🎁

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hanan Buhadana

    That was so much fun. Gonna dive in to the next one right away.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sandee

    An interesting mystery full of sub-plots and intriguing relationships. I had a hard time putting this book down. The author creates a level of suspense at many levels, leading the reader deeper into the mysteries, making us a part of the story through Jayne's (MC) thoughts. The story is complex but never confusing as the clues and solutions lead us into more questions. In addition, the town of Whispering Pines has a supernatural component in that many of the the townsfolk, supposedly, have An interesting mystery full of sub-plots and intriguing relationships. I had a hard time putting this book down. The author creates a level of suspense at many levels, leading the reader deeper into the mysteries, making us a part of the story through Jayne's (MC) thoughts. The story is complex but never confusing as the clues and solutions lead us into more questions. In addition, the town of Whispering Pines has a supernatural component in that many of the the townsfolk, supposedly, have special talents. These talents are always acknowledged but never seen by our main characters, adding another layer of suspense to the mysteries. Whispering Pines definitely has a darkness hidden amongst its people. The book has a good ending but the story doesn't end in that many of the secrets and mysteries continue. I had to buy the next book as soon as I finished this one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie

    I didn't want to put it down. McGuire is a highly skilled writer and this is a well crafted novel. Her descriptive writing style draws you in and keeps you. I read it in two days, I wanted to see what happened next but didn't want it to end. It is a mystery, but she weaves the story of her life and that of the locals in with it, so it is not just the mystery you find yourself getting involved with but also the workings of the town and the interesting dynamics of the personal lives of the I didn't want to put it down. McGuire is a highly skilled writer and this is a well crafted novel. Her descriptive writing style draws you in and keeps you. I read it in two days, I wanted to see what happened next but didn't want it to end. It is a mystery, but she weaves the story of her life and that of the locals in with it, so it is not just the mystery you find yourself getting involved with but also the workings of the town and the interesting dynamics of the personal lives of the residents. I liked the fact that McGuire treated Wiccan as a religion and not just a witchy, paranormal element for the storyline. Her characters are well developed and I liked the relationship that was developing with Tripp. There is no sex and violence in this one. I sincerely hope that there is another book in this series. I loved it and recommend it to anyone that loves a well written mystery. I am voluntarily reviewing a copy I received from the author. All thoughts are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    What a great mystery with a dash of paranormal! I can’t believe I waited this long to start the series. I fell in love with McGuire’s writing style back when I read her Wish Makers series. This is a very different series in more ways than one; the obvious contrast being the shift from YA to Adult. When I first began reading Family Secrets I thought Jayne was an incredibly rigid, almost monotone, voice in the story. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this protagonist, and I’ll admit…I was afraid I What a great mystery with a dash of paranormal! I can’t believe I waited this long to start the series. I fell in love with McGuire’s writing style back when I read her Wish Makers series. This is a very different series in more ways than one; the obvious contrast being the shift from YA to Adult. When I first began reading Family Secrets I thought Jayne was an incredibly rigid, almost monotone, voice in the story. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this protagonist, and I’ll admit…I was afraid I wasn’t going to enjoy her story. In the end, that’s one of the things that made it so enjoyable; Jayne’s story arc. She was uptight in the beginning–understandably so–because of her family dynamic, her past career choices, and the love that she had to let go. The mistakes she made haunted her to the core. As I continued to read, though, her interaction with the villagers and her budding friendship with Tripp began to smooth her rough edges. Of course, the most important bond in this story is the one she has with Meeka. Love that dog! I need a Westie now. I absolutely adore the organic, slow building connection Jayne makes with Tripp. Nothing forced about it. The mystery in this tale is brilliantly paced and captivating. There are so many characters in this story as she meets the people who live and work in Whispering Pines, but not once does it feel overwhelming and every character was extremely well developed. I’m in awe of McGuire’s talents. I’ve already purchased the second book in the series so I had to write my review before I devour each book and they all start blending together. Highly recommend to all fans of mystery and paranormal stories! Well done, McGuire!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    Six months after resigning from her detective position, Jayne finds herself tasked with the job of packing up her recently deceased grandmother’s home and getting it ready for potential buyers. Shortly after arriving at her grandmother’s home, her K-9 discovers the corpse of a young woman near the house. This book covers the unofficial investigation Jayne embarks on to discover the culprit responsible for the young lady’s death. Along the way, she uncovers secrets about her grandmother and some Six months after resigning from her detective position, Jayne finds herself tasked with the job of packing up her recently deceased grandmother’s home and getting it ready for potential buyers. Shortly after arriving at her grandmother’s home, her K-9 discovers the corpse of a young woman near the house. This book covers the unofficial investigation Jayne embarks on to discover the culprit responsible for the young lady’s death. Along the way, she uncovers secrets about her grandmother and some of the village’s respected leaders. Whispering Pines is a secluded lakeside village frequented by tourists and inhabited by wiccans, carnies, and fortune tellers. The locals protect each other. Tourists are welcomed to visit, but discouraged from lingering too long.

  9. 5 out of 5

    BJ

    LOVED this story! I avoid most fantasy, witchcraft, paranormal, etc., but this is written more for understanding than for a thrill of the occult and witchy things! It's not 'over the top' witchcraft, but looking at Wiccan as a religious belief. I fell in love with McGuire's writing through her novellas in the Lei Crime Series KW, and she's brilliantly captured the 'feel' of the northern part of Wisconson. Having spent a summer's week just outside of Madison, her descriptions almost had me LOVED this story! I avoid most fantasy, witchcraft, paranormal, etc., but this is written more for understanding than for a thrill of the occult and witchy things! It's not 'over the top' witchcraft, but looking at Wiccan as a religious belief. I fell in love with McGuire's writing through her novellas in the Lei Crime Series KW, and she's brilliantly captured the 'feel' of the northern part of Wisconson. Having spent a summer's week just outside of Madison, her descriptions almost had me scratching the mosquito bites I remember. Awesome character development, excellent cultural and small-town depictions... Looking forward to another story about Jayne, Meeka and Whispering Pines. Highly recommend this one!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Cox

    Shawn McGuire’s Family Matters wasn’t just a technically well-written book, it was fun to read. I don’t believe in reviewers giving a detailed synopsis of the book, I feel that is the job of the author to write a synopsis to get people to read the book and it is the job of the reviewer to give an honest review. I am required to say I was given a free copy of the book by the author with no expectation of receiving a positive review and no expectation on my part of any remuneration. As I said, this Shawn McGuire’s Family Matters wasn’t just a technically well-written book, it was fun to read. I don’t believe in reviewers giving a detailed synopsis of the book, I feel that is the job of the author to write a synopsis to get people to read the book and it is the job of the reviewer to give an honest review. I am required to say I was given a free copy of the book by the author with no expectation of receiving a positive review and no expectation on my part of any remuneration. As I said, this book was well-written It was also well-edited and well proofed, with a fast-paced storyline that did not need a lot of action to maintain interest. The plot was believable with human nature being what it is. There was a lot of suspense and there were enough twists and turns to make Chubby Checker proud. The dialogue was credible and authentic. It was not stilted and was never forced or simply a foil of the plot. At no time did I have to suspend disbelief to keep interest in the story. The characters were lifelike, many with quirks that increased their believability. They were complex, well rounded, and well thought out. If the main protagonist wasn’t an on again/off again police officer, I would call this a cozy mystery, which I don’t often read, but in this case, I am glad I did. Shawn McGuire has put together a well written and fun read. A plot driven story with strong characters and dialogue that pulls it all together.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Whispering Pines appears to be a family friendly and safe place, but appearances can be deceiving. Jayne O'Shea is the new Sheriff and she is finding that there are a lot of secrets in this town. Janye believes that her grandmother was murdered and is seeking the truth. Well-written and enjoyable story! I received an advance reader copy of this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Family Secrets was my first book by Shawn McGuire, but it will not be my last. I absolutely loved this book, so much so, I placed it on my favorite books of 2017 list. The author created an amazing cast of characters, each one well developed. My favorite character , outside of the main protagonist Jayne , is Morgan. The murder happens rather quickly, and the story begins drawing you in immediately. There are plenty of suspects. But the actual murderer and its explanation, you will never see Family Secrets was my first book by Shawn McGuire, but it will not be my last. I absolutely loved this book, so much so, I placed it on my favorite books of 2017 list. The author created an amazing cast of characters, each one well developed. My favorite character , outside of the main protagonist Jayne , is Morgan. The murder happens rather quickly, and the story begins drawing you in immediately. There are plenty of suspects. But the actual murderer and its explanation, you will never see coming. I've only just finished this book, and I'm already anxiously awaiting the next one! I just can't wait to see what is in store for our friends in Whispering Pines!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    What a great book. Different. Wiccan religion. Small woodsy town. Female cop as well as other strong female roles. Plenty of mystery and possible romance in the next episode. I enjoy reading this kind of fantasy . Looking forward to the next book!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Hogue

    I enjoyed this book. I kept changing my mind on who I thought the killer was; I like that I wasn't able to guess it right away. I really liked how there wasn't too much on the main characters past. I'll definitely be reading the next book!

  15. 4 out of 5

    S.A. Krishnan

    Excellent mystery. Deep descriptions and the characters are all very well etched out. Engaging read

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lady Delacour

    Jayne O'Shea and her dog Meeks, head to Whispering Pines and find more than they bargained for. In spite of the religious belief, I enjoyed the story. 3 Enjoyable Stars. Listened with TTS. Clean. Mild Language.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    "Jane O'Shea's life is in shambles..." Check out the rest of my review at: http://magazine.indtale.com/magazine/...

  18. 5 out of 5

    TE

    I loved it. Shawn McGuire really is one of those authors who can paint pictures with her words. I enjoyed the charming quaintness of Whispering Pines and it's eccentric inhabitants. I feel like I know the characters and what makes them tick. The only downside was that it ended too soon for me. I can't wait to see what Jayne and Meeka are going to do next. For those who want to know: No sex or violence in this one.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    Randomly picked this one up from the free ebook barrel on Kindle and ended up actually really liking it. Jayne was a great main character. I liked her energy and her passion for justice. She read like an actual realistic woman which isn't always the case in these kind of books. I really liked the idea of the town being a Wiccan enclave and the mystery was well done. I didn't guess who the real killer was until I was supposed to. The only thing I didn't like about it was the main romantic (?) Randomly picked this one up from the free ebook barrel on Kindle and ended up actually really liking it. Jayne was a great main character. I liked her energy and her passion for justice. She read like an actual realistic woman which isn't always the case in these kind of books. I really liked the idea of the town being a Wiccan enclave and the mystery was well done. I didn't guess who the real killer was until I was supposed to. The only thing I didn't like about it was the main romantic (?) hero, who I found to be a little sexist and just kinda boring overall. But he wasn't even really in it that much, so he was bearable. There was also some kinda iffy sexism about the victim and her promiscuity in the town but for the most part, Jayne didn't agree with it so that's good. I honestly want to see what happens next in this series so I just might have to be pulled in and buy the second book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    It doesn't get better than this I loved the insight into the unusual town where everyone is so real. The Wicca themes were intriguing and enlightening, but I loved Jayne, Tripp, Morgan, and of course, Meeka the best. I can't wait to read more about them and Whispering Pines!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Smith

    You can find this review, and all of my others over at www.readbookrepeat.wordpress.com Jayne O'Shae has just arrived in the small, cosy town of Whispering Pines. She's landed the job of cleaning out her Grandparent's house after her Grandmother passed away suddenly. Seeing as she's the only one not currently working due to an awful situation that happened when she worked for the Madison PD, she's happy for the distraction. Jayne feels that this is the time she needs, to get away from the You can find this review, and all of my others over at www.readbookrepeat.wordpress.com Jayne O'Shae has just arrived in the small, cosy town of Whispering Pines. She's landed the job of cleaning out her Grandparent's house after her Grandmother passed away suddenly. Seeing as she's the only one not currently working due to an awful situation that happened when she worked for the Madison PD, she's happy for the distraction. Jayne feels that this is the time she needs, to get away from the judging eyes of her family and try and sort herself out. Her plans to stay for just a week in order to sort through things is thrown out the window when her faithful companion Meeka, a K-9 trained dog, comes across a body on the O'Shae property as soon as they arrive. Team this with Jayne discovering that her Grandparents house has been vandalised and trashed, and she realises that a week just won't do. After finding it hard to put her police nature aside, Jayne finds herself investigating the death of Yasmine Long, the young woman found dead, as well as trying to find out who in their right mind would vandalise the house. This leads her down a road of secrets upon secrets, as well as her finding out that her Grandmother was a practising Wiccan, more questions just keep arising. Who was responsible for the young woman's death? And why is the local police department not seeming to investigate as thoroughly as they should? While this isn't turning out to be the relaxing week away Jayne had hoped, it might be just what the doctor ordered. At first I found Jayne a little bit annoying. Being a police officer, well, having BEEN a police officer, when she first lays eyes on someone, she instantly describes them as an officer would. For some reason, at first, this annoyed me, but as the story progressed I found that it just slipped into the background and became a normal way of describing new characters throughout the narrative. I have to say, it was a clever way to do it as it's hard to get away from the regular way of describing a new character in a scene without the main character doing a running commentary "The man entered, he was tall, with dark hair and eyes that matched, blah blah blah..." I found McGuire's way of description succinct, to the point and quite clever. It was possible that it only annoyed me at first BECAUSE it was such a different way of doing it, a way that I haven't really come across before. I love Meeka and Jayne's relationship, SO much. I love that she's not your standard K-9, she's a westy and that is SO adorable. I can actually picture her so clearly, along with the various ways that she communicates with Jayne and interacts with her. I feel like there is more to this relationship than meets the eye though. We know that Jayne's Grandmother, Lucy, was a practising Wiccan, along with the rest of the town pretty much. I feel like as the story progresses through the following instalments, we'll come to learn that Jayne also has some magic in her, and that Meeka is in fact her familiar. This would explain the inane way that Meeka is so attuned to Jayne's emotional state, moods and needs. Not to say that regular pets and owners don't have these connections, it just feels like there's more to it than just owner and pet. And seeing as Whispering Pines is a magickal community it would make a bit of sense. I find the setting of the story absolutely charming. Whispering Pines sounds like most wonderful little town, and I sincerely wish that I could visit there, maybe even live there. It would be amazing. The locals sound absolutely amazing, as well as the local shoppes. I love everything about it, and the history that McGuire has given it is awesome. I love how the term "originals" is used for those who settled there first, namely Lucy O'Shae. I found the characters to be well written. As I said, at first Jayne annoyed me, but as the story progressed, I found that I really warmed up to and ended up enjoying her character a lot. I've already expressed my love for Meeka. Morgan is a fantastic character, and it does look like she'll be a recurring one which I'm glad for. I can just FEEL how much she has to teach Jayne, and I feel like there is going to be one hell of a friendship between the two. I'm intrigued about Donovan, I'm interested in learning more about him and his gift/curse. I'm also really excited to meet Pitch, Morgan's all black rooster. He sounds delightful! I would probably put this book under the urban fantasy/cosy mystery heading. That's what the mystery felt like to me. The mystery itself really well written, I had inklings of the culprit, but was never actually 100% sure until the reveal which, as you all know, that's what I like. It's never fun if you work out the whole thing before the character is even remotely near to working it out. It was well thought out, and excellently executed. I reeeaaaallllllllyyyy want to jump straight back into the story with book two, I really enjoyed this. It was a fantastic first book in a series, opening up the world to us without info dumping and leaving us with enough questions to want to see what happens next. However, I have an ARC that I must get through as it releases in a couple of days. So I may pick up book two after that :)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Texas

    Family Secrets, Whispering Pines #1 - An intriguing story. After finishing Stick and Stones, I dove into Family Secrets, my second book by this new-to-me author. These two books are nothing alike on storylines, except fantasy. I was drawn into this well written novel with an interesting plot and realistic characters, including the lovable dog. I couldn't put Family Secrets down until it was finished. There's an overview letting the reader know what the book is about, which I appreciate. This Family Secrets, Whispering Pines #1 - An intriguing story. After finishing Stick and Stones, I dove into Family Secrets, my second book by this new-to-me author. These two books are nothing alike on storylines, except fantasy. I was drawn into this well written novel with an interesting plot and realistic characters, including the lovable dog. I couldn't put Family Secrets down until it was finished. There's an overview letting the reader know what the book is about, which I appreciate. This author is definitely someone whose work I want to keep reading. Two books, two winners! Kept Secrets, Whispering Pines #2 - Another intriguing story by a very good author. Now we're being to know our main characters as they grow in this book, while remaining believable and realistic. The well written, fast paced plot keeps the reader interested, making it hard to put the book down. The author’s descriptions leave the reader with clear pictures about the town, townspeople and property. I contacted the author to review her books since she writes such substantial stories that leaves a reader satisfied. Original Secrets, Whispering Pines #3 – This is the best of the series. So intriguing that the reader can’t put the book down. A well written, suspense filled book with two deaths forty years apart that may be connected. The characters are steadily growing, even the hated ones are interesting. Their dialog is realistic and non of The Stupid Formula for these characters. Her descriptions are clear and you’re there in Whispering Pines. I’m looking forward to the next book. I contacted the author to review her books; her stories are substantial and the reader is satisfied when finished reading one of her books. Hidden Secrets, Whispering Pines #4 - Another hard to put down story. Well written, suspense filled and full of intrigue, still with an interesting group of characters with new ones added to boot. This substantial story has several stories going at once, including the past and the future and the worries that stem from them. I've never been disappointed by any book written by Ms. McGuire and I look forward to more of her work. I contacted the author to review her books. Missing & Gone - An interesting novella. This well written story introduces the main and some of the secondary characters of the book Family Secrets. It's a quickly read suspense story, which I read after Family Secrets; I didn't miss not having read M&G before FS. A conflict: Jayne knows her grandmother is a Wiccan, but she forgot it in FS? Minor detail, both are must reads, actually any of the author's books are must reads. Sticks and Stones - A surprising, intense novel. Not knowing what to expect from this new-to-me author, I started reading a book that turned out to be mesmerizing. I couldn't stop reading this well written, thought out book with its interesting characters and storyline full of twists, even thought the age group doesn't interest me. I've had this book a while and am glad I finally got around to reading it. My next read is Family Secrets.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Texas

    Family Secrets, Whispering Pines #1 - An intriguing story. After finishing Stick and Stones, I dove into Family Secrets, my second book by this new-to-me author. These two books are nothing alike on storylines, except fantasy. I was drawn into this well written novel with an interesting plot and realistic characters, including the lovable dog. I couldn't put Family Secrets down until it was finished. There's an overview letting the reader know what the book is about, which I appreciate. This Family Secrets, Whispering Pines #1 - An intriguing story. After finishing Stick and Stones, I dove into Family Secrets, my second book by this new-to-me author. These two books are nothing alike on storylines, except fantasy. I was drawn into this well written novel with an interesting plot and realistic characters, including the lovable dog. I couldn't put Family Secrets down until it was finished. There's an overview letting the reader know what the book is about, which I appreciate. This author is definitely someone whose work I want to keep reading. Two books, two winners! Kept Secrets, Whispering Pines #2 - Another intriguing story by a very good author. Now we're being to know our main characters as they grow in this book, while remaining believable and realistic. The well written, fast paced plot keeps the reader interested, making it hard to put the book down. The author’s descriptions leave the reader with clear pictures about the town, townspeople and property. I contacted the author to review her books since she writes such substantial stories that leaves a reader satisfied. Original Secrets, Whispering Pines #3 – This is the best of the series. So intriguing that the reader can’t put the book down. A well written, suspense filled book with two deaths forty years apart that may be connected. The characters are steadily growing, even the hated ones are interesting. Their dialog is realistic and non of The Stupid Formula for these characters. Her descriptions are clear and you’re there in Whispering Pines. I’m looking forward to the next book. I contacted the author to review her books; her stories are substantial and the reader is satisfied when finished reading one of her books. Hidden Secrets, Whispering Pines #4 - Another hard to put down story. Well written, suspense filled and full of intrigue, still with an interesting group of characters with new ones added to boot. This substantial story has several stories going at once, including the past and the future and the worries that stem from them. I've never been disappointed by any book written by Ms. McGuire and I look forward to more of her work. I contacted the author to review her books. Missing & Gone - An interesting novella. This well written story introduces the main and some of the secondary characters of the book Family Secrets. It's a quickly read suspense story, which I read after Family Secrets; I didn't miss not having read M&G before FS. A conflict: Jayne knows her grandmother is a Wiccan, but she forgot it in FS? Minor detail, both are must reads, actually any of the author's books are must reads. Sticks and Stones - A surprising, intense novel. Not knowing what to expect from this new-to-me author, I started reading a book that turned out to be mesmerizing. I couldn't stop reading this well written, thought out book with its interesting characters and storyline full of twists, even thought the age group doesn't interest me. I've had this book a while and am glad I finally got around to reading it. My next read is Family Secrets.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steph Warren

    *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.* Family Secrets is a pleasant, cosy mystery with paranormal elements. The small-town setting, suspicious death of an outsider, cast of locals-with-a-motive or odd behaviour: all of these will be familiar to fans of the genre made famous by Agatha Christie and the spinster sleuth of St Mary Mead. I found that the potential for paranormal, which is flirted with here but not confirmed, added a level of extra interest to the story, *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.* Family Secrets is a pleasant, cosy mystery with paranormal elements. The small-town setting, suspicious death of an outsider, cast of locals-with-a-motive or odd behaviour: all of these will be familiar to fans of the genre made famous by Agatha Christie and the spinster sleuth of St Mary Mead. I found that the potential for paranormal, which is flirted with here but not confirmed, added a level of extra interest to the story, with the hint that something is more darkly, deeply wrong in Whispering Pines; making me want to race straight on to the next installment to find out more. The relationships are also nicely developed throughout the story. Jayne, our main character, is an 'outsider' investigating, but her family connections also give her insider access to the town and its citizens, and I felt that the bonds she begins to build with various side-characters were introduced gracefully and allowed to develop naturally with the course of the story. I particularly enjoyed her quirk of scoping each new person and tagging them with a cop-style descriptor before initiating conversation: as a reader it was a handy short-cut to giving me a physical image of each new character, but felt plausible to the character rather than forced. Throughout the novel this interspersion of efficient city-cop with talismans, pentagrams and sabbats made a sometimes amusing, but always interesting and entertaining contrast. Moments like Jayne pondering how the sheriff and deputy had time to perform a thorough 'grid search' of the crime scene, when it was patently clear to the reader that they hadn't bothered to do anything of the sort, provided fun little 4th wall nods between author and reader that made you feel like you were 'in' on a private joke. My one criticism here was that I felt Jayne missed a glaringly obvious fact during her investigation, so I spent a portion of the middle chunk of plot glaring at the book waiting for her to catch up! I don't want to spoiler the plot, so will just say that when three suspects have been introduced specifically as family members, then a further family relationship is revealed with ONE of those suspects, the next logical step for me would have been to acknowledge the connection to the other two characters, which Jayne rather obtusely (and annoyingly) failed to do. It would have caused plot problems for the author as it would have caused too soon a reveal of some aspects of the case, but I felt that the omission left a bit of a plot hole for the avid mystery reader. On the whole though I really enjoyed this as a nice easy read, with plenty going on, and look forward to the next Whispering Pines novel with pleasure!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    I received this book from the author as an ARC for the low price of an honest review. My review cannot possible do justice to the novel…but here goes. This is one of those books that you race thru because you NEED to see what happens next but then are crushed when you’ve finished it because you don’t want it to end. I was thrilled to find out it’s to be a series because I don’t want to let go of these characters. The author does an excellent job of humanizing them, the ones you love and the ones I received this book from the author as an ARC for the low price of an honest review. My review cannot possible do justice to the novel…but here goes. This is one of those books that you race thru because you NEED to see what happens next but then are crushed when you’ve finished it because you don’t want it to end. I was thrilled to find out it’s to be a series because I don’t want to let go of these characters. The author does an excellent job of humanizing them, the ones you love and the ones you hate. I felt like a few of them could be my friends by the end of the book. It’s set in a quaint village nestled by an idyllic lake where all the residents have a few quirks. It was built as a haven for Wiccans and the author did an excellent job explaining the religion, I was very impressed by that. The protagonist, ex-cop Jayne, is extremely likeable and her little sidekick, Meeka, is adorable. Jayne arrives in Whispering Pines to sell her grandparents’ house and return home. However, her plans change with Meeka’s discovery of a dead body on the property and the revelation that someone has trashed her grandparent’s home. Jayne can’t resist the need to investigate. The story is very engaging and pulls you in quickly. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the mystery intriguing. I was never bored with the story and thoroughly enjoyed the read. The book was well written and the plot was very believable. The characters were woven into the setting so well that I almost believe I could visit them. The secrets were well thought out and not easy to guess. I highly recommend this book to mystery lovers, I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do. This my first book by Shawn McGuire but I will definitely read more. I hope the Whispering Pines series is a very long one! Please write fast!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Norma

    ( Format : audiobook ) "Don't get involved in small town politics" Whispering Pines is a small town, established in 1966, on Jane's grandmother's land. Ex police sergeant Jane hasn't been back since she was 10, some sixteen years before. But now she is returning to sort out the old house, ready for sale, following her grandmother's death three months previously. But what Jane didn't expect was to find the house vandalised and a body in the grounds. This cozy mystery is full of atmosphere and ( Format : audiobook ) "Don't get involved in small town politics" Whispering Pines is a small town, established in 1966, on Jane's grandmother's land. Ex police sergeant Jane hasn't been back since she was 10, some sixteen years before. But now she is returning to sort out the old house, ready for sale, following her grandmother's death three months previously. But what Jane didn't expect was to find the house vandalised and a body in the grounds. This cozy mystery is full of atmosphere and character. Some lovely touches, too, like the sound of the wind in the trees which gives name to the small town. The story line is convoluted and leads the listener into various suppositions which are probably incorrect, with the final reveal being dramatic. Yet the way is left open for this interesting 'witchy' series to continue. (No, it's not one of those paranormal events type books, honestly!). The narration is good, clear and well paced. Sandra Murphy has a pleasant, well modulated voice and, whilst her renditions of the individual protagonists vocalisations are not greatly differentiated, this in no way detracts from her overall performance. A fast action, fun read with passions riding high in small touristy town Whispering Pines which boasts a bakery with the name 'Treat me Sweetly'. Now who can resist a visit there? But watch out: strange things can happen at night when there are no streetlights around. My only complaint was the sudden ending which, hopefully means that there is more to come from this attractive little town. I received a complementary copy of Family Secrets from the rights holder, at my request, via Audiobook Boom. Thank you so much.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stormi (BMReviewsohmy)

    Jayne hasn’t been back to Whispering Pines since a family feud drove her family away sixteen years ago, but her grandmother has died and someone has to put her estate in order. Jayne who is a former police detective and her dog hasn’t been at her grandmother’s house very long when her dog finds a dead body. She also finds that her grandmother’s house has been trashed as well and being a former cop it has her curious. Especially when it looks like the sheriff in town doesn’t seem to want to look Jayne hasn’t been back to Whispering Pines since a family feud drove her family away sixteen years ago, but her grandmother has died and someone has to put her estate in order. Jayne who is a former police detective and her dog hasn’t been at her grandmother’s house very long when her dog finds a dead body. She also finds that her grandmother’s house has been trashed as well and being a former cop it has her curious. Especially when it looks like the sheriff in town doesn’t seem to want to look into anything. Jayne takes to snooping on her own and finds out that the town is full of Wiccan followers and that her grandmother was mixed up in it. She never knew her grandmother was into such things and she isn’t sure she believes in spells and incantations but she soon makes friends with one of the local followers who makes her some protection baggies and she takes them as she feels you can never have to many things protecting you. The more she digs into things the more she finds out about the town and how someone has a big secret and not everyone wants it known. I enjoyed this first in a series and thought Jayne was a great character. Since she was a cop she has great cop snooping abilities though she is not sure if that is the path she wants to go in the future. Her new friend Trip sees her grandmother’s house as a potential B&B and sine Jayne is really liking it in Whispering Pines she can kind of see that too but talking her parents into it might be another story. I really enjoyed all the characters and can’t wait to get to know more about them. If you enjoy cozy mysteries then I think you will enjoy this story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Billie

    Welcome to Whispering Pines, Wisconsin. A place for those who don't belong. Sixteen years after a family feud drove her from the cozy Northwoods village of Whispering Pines, Wisconsin, former detective Jayne O'Shea returns to prepare her grandparents' lake house for sale. Once there, not only does she find that the house has been trashed, her dog discovers a dead body in the backyard. Jayne intends to stay out of it, but when it becomes obvious the sheriff isn't interested in investigating the Welcome to Whispering Pines, Wisconsin. A place for those who don't belong. Sixteen years after a family feud drove her from the cozy Northwoods village of Whispering Pines, Wisconsin, former detective Jayne O'Shea returns to prepare her grandparents' lake house for sale. Once there, not only does she find that the house has been trashed, her dog discovers a dead body in the backyard. Jayne intends to stay out of it, but when it becomes obvious the sheriff isn't interested in investigating the death, Jayne can't stop herself. Her list of suspects grows faster than the plants in the commons' pentacle garden. Could it be the local Wiccan green witch with her stash of deadly plants? The shopkeeper who slips into trances and foretells death? The visitor determined to practice black magic? What Jayne knows for sure is that the closer she gets to solving this crime, the more the sheriff wants her to back off. And when a local fortune teller provides a crucial clue, Jayne knows it's up to her to solve this murder. Oh I love this one so much! Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start. Love how well fleshed out the characters are and they are so believeable. The interactions the characters have are brilliant. So many twists and turns keeps the suspense throughout and you can't put it down til finished. Can't wait to read more of this series from the author. Recommend reading. I read a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    Tiny Spoiler (doesn't harm the spirit in which the novel was written)! This is my 2nd Whispering Pines novel I've read and thoroughly enjoyed! Whispering Pines appears to have some "Witchy JuJu" going on, but this very close knit, Wiccan based religious community, whose basic tenets of the Wiccan religion is to "do no harm," finds itself divided after a murdered tourist is found on Jayne O'Shay's, grandmother's property! Jayne, a former Madison WI. police detective, who has arrived in Whispering Tiny Spoiler (doesn't harm the spirit in which the novel was written)! This is my 2nd Whispering Pines novel I've read and thoroughly enjoyed! Whispering Pines appears to have some "Witchy JuJu" going on, but this very close knit, Wiccan based religious community, whose basic tenets of the Wiccan religion is to "do no harm," finds itself divided after a murdered tourist is found on Jayne O'Shay's, grandmother's property! Jayne, a former Madison WI. police detective, who has arrived in Whispering Pines to take care of the house and property after her grandmother passed, finds herself mentally taking notes in an effort to aid local police in properly solving this murder. There are many twists and turns, up to the end when Jayne finds herself with life and death decisions. Holding to her natural tendencies to "protect and serve," she acts on instinct, showing all the naysayers that her heart is in the right place in choosing the path she takes. This novel was well researched, the Wiccan pagan religion is certainly highlighted in the townspeople's actions and reactions, to farther clarify that it's a community, based on ancestral and ceremonial history and certainly information passed down from generation to generation! I highly recommend this series! They're well written, and may also serve to debunk various misleading misunderstandings regarding symbology, rituals, magic, candles, incantations, etc. It did for me anyway!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    Loved loved loved it! The author immediately draws you into the story. She has the gift of making you feel as if you were there. Jayne has been out of a job for the last six months. Her life has fallen apart and she needs to relax and get her head on straight. Therefor her family asked her to pack up Gran’s house, so it can be sold. But… she finds a dead woman AND the house has been vandalized… So much for relaxation. Inquisitive by nature and because the sheriff isn’t investigating the case Loved loved loved it! The author immediately draws you into the story. She has the gift of making you feel as if you were there. Jayne has been out of a job for the last six months. Her life has fallen apart and she needs to relax and get her head on straight. Therefor her family asked her to pack up Gran’s house, so it can be sold. But… she finds a dead woman AND the house has been vandalized… So much for relaxation. Inquisitive by nature and because the sheriff isn’t investigating the case properly, Jayne starts to dig. Several people warn her not to, but of course she digs deeper to find out the truth. I liked the fact that the village isn’t your ordinary everyday run-of-the-mill village. There are nice people, quirky people, not-so-nice people; it’s a village full of so-called ‘misfits’, people that weren’t welcome elsewhere. For example Wiccans. I find myself fascinated by the Wiccan religion. I am in awe of their love and knowledge of nature and life. The book is very well written and suspenseful. Not fast-paced exactly, but fast enough. There is a surprise at the end, something I hadn’t expected. The main case gets solved, but there are a few things that are left open in the end, I guess as an opening towards book #2. I highly recommend this book! I received a complimentary copy of this book and voluntarily provided an honest review.

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