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REVIEWS

AWARDS
About Murder at Irish Mensa....
"Can brains do what police procedure cannot? Read this unusual tale of a tree surgeon working sleuthing between energy spent looking for a new house and tending her duties as organiser of the meeting to find the answer. You'll enjoy the ride."
Larry Winebrenner, author of the Henri Derringer Mysteries

"This book had everything I like: cats; an unusual, feisty female; a (subtle) romantic element; an interesting set of problems; a modicum of esoteric knowledge; gentle humour; and a realistic characterisation of the sorts of people I tend to hang out with myself.... It was the perfect weekend relaxation."
Francesca on Amazon.

"At first, I thought a Mensa was some kind of Irish cultural festival until I kept reading and realized it meant super-smart people who could do things like solve puzzles in flight magazines. The author did a fine job describing the heroine, Cara - I sympathized with her need to find a home, love of cats and horses. A good read!"
Nancy Jill Thames on Goodreads.

"I am glad I found this author and that I read her Irish cozy mystery on days surrounding March 17. I enjoyed both the writing and the story, and I even got part of the mystery solved on my own, something I almost never do. This, however, did not lessen my reading pleasure, since I was having fun learning more about the characters and getting a glimpse of the way the story unfolded.I will certainly look to read the rest of the books in this Mensa mystery series sometime soon."
Charlene on Goodreads.

"Great for teachers of gifted education who love reading.
A murder mystery, travels around Dublin, a MENSA meeting with members from different counties, and police gathering clues all make for an entertaining read. The solution is puzzling and it takes even MENSA members some time to problem solve. The story keeps you guessing until the very end. I learned more about sight seeing around Dublin, too. I like this book as it describes and advocates for understanding of gifted people. I taught gifted education and was smiling at the jokes and comments about the subject."
Carolyn Wilhelm, Goodreads

 
About Murder at Scottish Mensa...
"Murder at Scottish Mensa by Clare O'Beara is the second in the Mensa Mystery series. Cara Cassidy is a member of Irish Mensa, an international high IQ society. She and her boyfriend, Mike Fraser--also a Mensa member, attend a Mensa Weekend event in Scotland.  While there, Cara is accosted by Danny Dreffin, who is later found dead. Mike had had a confrontation with Danny after hearing what had happened with Cara, < and becomes the number one suspect in the murder.  Cara, Mike, and others in Mensa become involved in investigating the death to clear Mike's name. I enjoyed this one as much as the first in the series, and look forward to reading more."
Marj's Mysteries 2014 Around the World Challenge.


About Murder at Dublin Mensa...
Mystery set in a very wealthy part of Dublin, sort of an Embassy row, with wealthy, older families mingled in. Cara is a member of Mensa, but that doesn't seem important to the plot - except, of course, that Cara is a smart, confident cookie. As a tree surgeon, she sees things that others don't, and her friend Rick, asks her to see what she can find out about the death of an elderly woman in one of the homes there. Cara ends up solving the mystery, which puts her in great peril... A good read.
By Liz Marshall - Amazon

"I absolutely LOVE this series!!! I somehow missed #3 and read #4 first, but it really doesn't matter with this series as all of the books are wholly separate and tell a story all on their own. It's just that some of the characters are in all the books, and there might be little things that go from one book to the next, but not enough to detract or leave you feeling like you missed something. A good read, and challenging to see how it will all play out and how the MENSA characters use their added intelligence to help solve the crime(s). I would highly recommend this series to most of my reading friends as most if not all are probably MENSA candidates themselves..."
Kay Compton, Goodreads

"As a writer and avid reader of crime stories, as well as lifelong scholar of criminal justice I was incredibly eager to read this book. I have to say that ‘Murder in Dublin Mensa’ exceeded my expectations by being quite unique in many ways.The storyline is smooth, realistic, adventurous, and full of mystery solved by a non-detective character named Cara. The interactions between Cara and police officer Ricky Norton are presented in a creative yet down-to-earth way.
Descriptive language painted a vivid and captivating picture that drew me in and kept my attention all the way through. “Houses like that in Dublin are bound to be preserved so you can’t slot in new Wavin plastic gutters and drainpipes, they’ll have to be authentic iron.” I especially enjoyed blended information presented in this work that both keeps the reader’s interest and shows Ireland as a beautiful land of mystery simultaneously."
Snjezana Marinkovic, Author of Born in Sarajevo, If, My Dawn

"The third Mensa mystery lives up to the first two... Read it!"
Francesca on Amazon


About Murder at Wicklow Mensa...
"This book was a great trip behind the scenes in Ireland. It highlights several slices of life and many different groups of people there. We get to see inside the lives of an office worker, police officer, porno actress, artist, small business owner, and drug < dealer just to name a few. We even get to see a group of Dubliners take a trip to a Mexican restaurant...
Cara’s connection with each individual made the story come to life as each conversation with a new person helped her to piece together the mystery and locate the killer... I would highly recommend this book to mystery lovers, food lovers and anyone who is interested in traveling to or learning about another country."
Laura Miller on Goodreads.

"The neighbors of a man who hasn't been seen in several days, and who's known to be a diabetic and supposed to be alone in his house, ask the police to perform a welfare check. They recruit tree surgeon Cara Cassidy to enter an upstairs window, which will keep them from having to destroy a locked door or lower window; once in the house, Cara discovers evidence that a violent crime has been committed. And so the mystery begins..
I've enjoyed all five books in this series. As another reviewer here says, they're full of varied and interesting sketches of life in contemporary Ireland. The characters are well drawn -- even the very minor ones are recognizable individuals, and the major characters are so three-dimensional that I now feel I know them and want to learn even more about them. As in the other books, the mystery in this one, and its solution, are believable and satisfying. I was especially impressed, here, by the way O'Beara lets us know how horrific the murder is without actually showing the scene OR telling us what's happened; we see, hear, and smell only what Cara sees, hears, and smells, and that's enough to engage our imaginations."
M. Thornburg on Amazon

"I really enjoyed this one, and it took me longer to read than the usual books I read, as it was way over 400 pages! Still, never bogged down or got boring, and the mystery had plenty of twists and turns to keep it interesting. This is currently the last
of the Irish Mensa books, and I am fervently hoping that Ms O'Beara will be adding to the series again soon. What a wonderful and challenging read this series is - it keeps me interested and the characters are all extremely interesting because their high intelligence has them thinking outside the box in a lot of novel ways. It also has me thinking of finding out about MENSA for myself..."
Kay Compton, Goodreads


About Murder Around the Clock...
"Remember gravel roads and horses being common in pastures? From the vantage point of a former National Show Jumper Champion, the author reminisces while helping a friend at a huge horse show (famous in Dublin) for a very good reason. She is trying to put herself in the shoes of how life would have been when a teen goes missing. Or was it murder? Comparing and contrasting how there were no cell phones and other conveniences then, how could someone still find clues over 30 years later? DNA could be used if anything was found where it might still be there --- but it looks like, no, nothing can be found. Until a situation arises where a cell phone helps locate a kidnap victim. Fast read and enjoyable. I like the details and explanations about horses, horse shows, and life then and now."
Carolyn Wilhelm, Goodreads


About the Dining Out Around the Solar System series
"This is an amazing quartet of tales about a couple of young men in a near-future alternate London. They come from tough backgrounds, but everybody does in this future London, where corporations rule everything. Working as feature writers for a hugely popular e-zine, they use hacking skills, kindness, and personal charm to make themselves the team to watch, befriending people from other worlds and uncovering plots and prejudices that make real differences in the lives of those they touch. This series is witty, erudite, thoughtful, and very, very funny. There are digressions into how the near-future works, and the truth is that it's a lot like what's happening in our world, with the interesting assumptions that other worlds are populated and space travel is easy. I've read the series several times now and find new things to enjoy every time. I can only imagine that there hasn't been a lot of publicity for these books, because I recommend them to everybody that reads SF, and everybody that reads them says the same thing - they're fantastic, in several senses of the word."
Beth Ayers, Amazon

About Dining Out Around the Solar System Part 1...
"I am delighted to learn of this author — looks like I will not have to search for books until I finish these. This book is the first one I have read and loved it!"
Carolyn Wilhelm, Goodreads

About Dining Out Around the Solar System...
"The first good thing about what amounted to a whole week of reading (three or four hours a day) is that the writing is elegant and easy on the eye. Each character (every last one of them) is beautifully deep, and has a life outside the immediate story… And Clare O’Beara writes it like a dream: Donal is an English Lit graduate of Cambridge and Trinity Dublin, and it shows…
The climax is epic, wondrous, and beautifully executed. But she just couldn’t stop there; she had to finish it off with another beautifully lyrical description of life in the modern solar system."
Jemima Pett, Author of The Princelings of the East
Link to full review.

"There's lots of pleasant surprises in store for you in this thoughtful, at times ultra- cynical, fantasy excursion into the not so very far into the future dystopian society of the UK and Eire....
This is high concept fantasy that does science in an holistic and well-researched manner that takes you to unexpected places in the human spirit, whether that resides in the breast of a native of London, or Dublin, or  Mercury, or Mars, or Saturn...
Well-written and observed, Clare O'Beara brings her considerable experience as a journalist to bear in conjuring a totally believable future multicultural society with bells (and knobs) on... This is a subtle meandering burn of a book with a gentle but inexorable stranglehold on the suspense that pulls no punches for realism, whether or not that's politically incorrect. The A-word causes a world of pain for both our heroes, but they stick at it, and so should you, because the rewards are all threaded through the whole and, most definitely, there in the ending. Highly recommended for all those who don't need ray guns (or any guns much) at regular intervals in their intellectual fantasy thrillers."
Jan Hawke, Goodreads

"Dining Out Around the Solar System, by Clare O’Beara, follows the story of Donal, who, along with his best friend Myron, grows from a teen with a love of books, into an important investigative journalist. His published stories dig ever deeper into the political morass of Great Britain’s underpinnings, making life for the friends dangerous. Donal is a nascent hacker and novelist, living in the London of an alternative future, where humans have discovered sentient beings on every other planet in the Solar System and trade with other planets is starting to flourish.  O’Beara’s writing is approachable and well-researched.
If you enjoy suspense stories with science fiction twists, I believe you will find Dining Out Around the Solar System by Clare O’Beara to be your five-star cup of tea."
DS Kane, Author of Swiftshadow, DeathByte, GreyNet

"The title hooked me into reading a little. The story hooked me into reading a lot— the whole book, in fact. What was so interesting? First, I’m a Yank and O’Beara is a Brit (Irish, actually), so I enjoyed the exposure to the King’s (Queen’s?) English and its unusual (to me) idioms, phrases, words, and misspellings (wink). Second, Clare O’Beara knows a LOT about London, books, journalism, and people. She skilfully worked much of her knowledge into the story, making it interesting and entertaining. Third, the story is science fiction with hardly any science to muddle through. There are aliens, but they’re natives of our Sun’s other planets and relate to one another about as well as we Earthlings do. The social problems resulting from that mixture allowed O’Beara to suggest some daring solutions from her fertile imagination. Last, the story is clean — of editing errors, which I hate, but also clean in the other sense. There’s some sex, but not explicit, and the language is appropriate for all readers YA and older."
SF Writer, Amazon

"It is a sci-fi story in which characters, interactions, social themes, romance, and action all dominate the "sci" part. The two main characters are Londoners, one from Ireland and the other from the Caribbean. In this story the aliens do not come from distant solar systems, but from our own 8 planets (plus Pluto). The "suspension of disbelief", required for any sci-fi story that isn't a science textbook, mainly involves not questioning how human-like life could have evolved on the planets that we are familiar with. The resulting story makes this well worthwhile.
Some of the action scenes are generated as some of the articles offend high ranking government and criminal entities who retaliate, and with various hate groups who don't like aliens. Another aspect of the story is a rich set of many well-drawn characters and bit players with believable interactions. It is easy to like (or dislike) the characters, but almost none of them are the kind of wallpaper figures that typically make up most sci-fi stories."
Systemguy on Amazon
About Dining Out With With The Ice Giants...
"I certainly picked a good time to read this middle book in Clare O’Beara’s Dining Out series; January 2016, just after the horrendous Christmas and New Year floods in the UK. Here’s what we hope is not a prediction for us, from Clare’s vision of the not-so-distant future in her alternate earth. 'Half of Somerset and Norfolk is under water, Lyme Regis cliffs falling into the sea, snow blocking roads in the Pennines. Cornwall, those sixty foot waves.'”....
link to full review by Sue Bridgwater, Academia.edu

"Excellent series (combo Ray Bradbury and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). I have not like a series so much since The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo — these are a combo of what I remember of reading Ray Bradbury decades ago. I already purchased the others in this series and more by this author!"
Carolyn Wilhelm, Goodreads

"With this second helping in the Dining Out science fantasy series, we're filling in some of the gaps in Donal and Myron's journalistic career and finding more quirky insights into the secret lives of the visitors from the outermost planets in the System. The Ice Giants are, of course, Uranus and Neptune, but immigrants from dwarf planet Pluto are also prominent in this book where we find out more about their early days in London before they go into the ice cream and frosty treats trade. What I really like about O'Beara's dystopian London are the left field details that take what's starting to happen in the present to logical but often surprising and illuminating conclusions."
Jan Hawke, Goodreads

"Dining Out With The Ice Giants is a gem of a book that creates a world that feels just like ours – but for the several species of Aliens who have immigrated in search of employment. These alien immigrants end up filling the marginal roles that poor immigrants fill in real world society. Suitably, the aliens’ willingness to work for low pay elicits resentment and scorn from Earth citizens. Moreover, scoundrels both human and alien find ways to manipulate and exploit the most powerless among the aliens. Donal and his best buddy Myron are unofficial human ambassadors to the resident alien communities in London... This book is highly enjoyable, thought provoking, and definitely worth reading."
Alexis Grove, Author of The Aeon Trilogy

"Myron and Donal are journalists on a zine called London's Eye, and although they are employed to report on the relatively uncontroversial issues of fine dining, wines and entertainment, they rove the streets of London like a couple of hard-bitten investigative journalists of film noir vintage. Except of course for the advanced technology they and everyone else in this convincingly possible future London make use of with such ease.
I used to live in the areas covered by the story, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Islington; and am wholly convinced by Clare's evocation of the struggle that life has become (may really become?) for the increasingly poorer ordinary folk. But against this bleak background there is adventure and fun, with several plot-lines evolving through the story, and satisfying revelations at the end [no spoilers] thanks to our heroic duo weaving their way through streets, underground tunnels, computer programs, restaurants, and hi-tech offices in Docklands in their fight for the right and for justice. It's the next 50 years' equivalent of swashbuckling, and there are fireworks too! Carefully researched and compellingly written, this is a book for fantasy/SF readers who like to identify with the good guys and see the baddies get their come-uppance. Thoroughly recommended."
Sue Bridgwater on Amazon and Goodreads

"Ok, so wayyy more sci-fi than I'm used to, but I found myself absolutely loving it! Donal and Myron are journalists in a future London that is just fascinating. They are from earth, but London is home to people from all sorts of different planets. The journalists paths cross with a number of them. The best part of the book was the descriptions of these aliens. The differences between them were crazy. A ton of thought was put into that.
The book takes us through many of the stories they cover and it ends up being much more than what you see at first glance. It's amazing that a book about the future can become a sort of social commentary on todays world. Many of the problems we face become front and center in this city amongst aliens. It's crazy, right? The story was a bit slow for me in places but very interesting in others and hilarious at some points. I wasn't expecting it to be so funny. All in all, a good read."
MacQueen on Amazon


About Dining Out With The Gas Giants...
"A totally believable, both historic and futuristic London. It’s addictive, compelling, and probably the best put-together future world in existence. With added cute and blobby aliens, and great gadgets. And Jovians in the Dome. What’s not to like?"
Jemima Pett, Author of The Princelings of The East series

"Like its predecessor, Dining Out (3) is a well-researched and thoroughly enjoyable science fiction tale. It follows Myron and Donal, two intrepid journalists from the London’s Eye zine, as they track down stories, including unusual sports, a missing young woman, ugly protests against Off-Worlders, and a mysterious connection between the Jovians, the Chinese, and South America. The last third of the book involves a hair-raising adventure in the Andes.
This book delves deeper than Dining Out (2) into the effects of climate change and poor environmental practices, as well as the social unrest that will inevitably follow from them. Having spent time in South America, I find many of the predictions in Dining Out (3) easy to believe. What holds all of this together is the personal and professional friendship of Donal and Myron. While they come from different backgrounds, they have a deep and mostly unspoken bond. I also enjoyed the many references, from Lord of the Rings to Jean de Florette. This is a well-crafted, fast-paced story. A treat, from beginning to end. Highly recommended!"
Kathleen Rollins, Author of the Misfits And Heroes series

"We find ourselves again following the reporting lives of Donal and Myron as they cover a variety of cases and deal with things in their own lives. They live in a London that is inhabited by aliens from all sorts of planets, although I shouldn't say 'aliens' because that's considered racist. Whoops. Even though their world is so very different from ours, they are dealing with many of the same things. Racism, terrorism, student loan debt, women's rights in the workplace, etc...
Donal and Myron are great. They even had me laughing out loud at times. My favorite was when they were talking about ties and how they are a phallic symbol. To wear one, they had to make sure no one they were with would be offended. The humor throughout the book is subtle at times and just weird at others but it's all hilarious."
MacQueen on Amazon


About Dining Out On Planet Mercury...
"By this fourth book, the characters are comfortable and fun to read about as we know their personalities. I read all 4 books and found this series delightful. I liked the main hero being more interested in helping people than sports, being hypersensitive (when are characters hypersensitive), and humble. I enjoyed all four books."
Carolyn Wilhelm, Amazon


About A Pony For Quarantine...
"Charming story for young readers 8 and up, especially pony lovers, set at the start of lockdown for Covid-19 in Ireland. This provides a great insight into what life was like for other people, and in other neighbourhoods. My great-nieces would be envious of the chance to bike out every day to look after a pony!
But in essence it's a pony book, and what's not to like about a pony book told with all Clare O'Beara's wonderful insight and experience."
Jemima Pett, Goodreads

"While enjoying this timely, current story, I learned differences between Ireland and the US about how they are handling the pandemic. I understand donkey sanctuaries now -- very good, I have more sympathy for them. And I liked how the family discussed their problems. The way they took care of the autistic son. The emphasis on working to earn money for the teen was also a good lesson. All the while enjoying a horse book!"
Gary Wilhelm, Amazon

"...the story of Moya, who is a lovely big sister to Michael. The book details how the family deals with an autistic child (no sweets in the house for one thing), and how they work together. Non-fiction information about donkey sanctuaries, pony care, Brexit, facts about the quarantine, how online instruction was handled in Ireland is included in the book. It is an informative and wholesome read. Mother and daughter have several talks that explain the feelings the situation brings out in everyone. Photos of empty store shelves, social distancing, housing, ponies, donkeys, closed playgrounds, shopping with masks are sprinkled throughout the book. At the end is a tasty recipe you will want to try. Clare O’Beara has written other horse books I have previously reviewed: ShowJumping Team and Rodeo Finn."
Free teaching supplements for both books are available on the Wise Owl Factory site.
New Book Review


About A Dog for Lockdown ...
"Dermot and his mother live in a council house, which gives any school bullies plenty of material right there. Fortunately, Dermot has learnt to keep his head down, but it’s a lonely life as a result, with only one friend, who can’t be relied on. When he hears the dog next door scraping to get in her house for food and water, he wonders what’s going on. It turns out that his neighbour has been taken into hospital, and there’s nobody to care for the dog. Can Dermot take her in, just for a while? The way Ms O’Beara turns this situation around is an excellent lesson in finding good in the most difficult circumstances. Small changes turn out to have big positive results, but this all comes across in no way preacherly. I did learn something about the Bible in the course of the funeral they attended, though. I think a Dog for Lockdown is even better than a Pony for Quarantine, in that it focuses on a thirteen year old finding himself. My only criticism is that it finished too soon!"
Jemima Pett, Goodreads

"Realistic modern fiction. Dermot and his mother live in public housing and stretch money to make ends meet. Caring for an ill neighbor’s dog helped Dermot become knowledgeable and capable. He became fit from exercising the dog. He wrote a Facebook page about dogs a Veterinarian liked, which helped his self-confidence. He planed a special project for the next school year with his science teacher, giving him something positive to look forward to doing. I liked the fact the teacher visited (socially distanced) to advise about a social media problem not caused by Dermot. Great book!"
Carolyn Wilhelm, Goodreads


About Show Jumping Team...
"I liked the fact there were people of all ages in this book, and the teens were from different walks of life but worked well together as teams.... I highly recommend this book."
Carolyn Wilhelm, author of Climate Change Captives 2035, educational publisher at
The Wise Owl Factory.


About Rodeo Finn...
"Rodeo Finn by Clare O’Beara is a beautifully written book. I enjoy a book that is both a good story and educational at the same time. If you have a young teen who loves reading books about horses and would like to learn more about them, this is a great book to read. It is clean with many lessons of life. I appreciate the way Finn was a responsible, helpful, respectful young lady.
This is truly a great book for anyone to read but especially a young teen."
By Amazon Customer

A YA book that will intrigue young readers (and not so young!) who love horses. As well as a good plot and interesting characters this book offers an insight into the care of horses and life on a ranch in Arizona. I love the way the main character faces her challenges, growing and changing through the story.
Hilary Hawkes, children's author, on Goodreads


About Silks And Sins...
"If Irish horse racing and living in the Irish countryside and being involved with horses is of interest to potential readers, I would encourage them to try SILKS AND SINS by Clare O'Beara."
Charlene on Goodreads

"You will be thrilled by this story of two sisters struggling with an inherited business involving horses....
One of the enticing elements of this story is the large amount of instruction about horse-racing built into the narrative without appearing instructive. One becomes more knowledgeable about horses and racing without unduly noting it. It is a most welcome part of Silks and Sins.
This book is most highly recommended."
Larry Winebrenner
Author of The Henri Derringer Mysteries on Amazon

"I loved this story of two sisters, their loves and their lives. It's set in horse country and I felt as if I was there all the way through the story. The descriptions are perfect, the story light and fun. This novel is charming and intriguing, light and entertaining. A great little read."
Lynda M. Filler on Amazon


About The Prisoner In The Tower...
"The Prisoner in the Tower is a tale about a young boy who, after losing his father in war, becomes a tender of canines in the King’s castle. He makes friends and learns things, and eventually his paths cross with a lion in the tower. It’s a gift to the King, and is kept in a shabby cage being fed instead of hunting...
The second part of the book is a brief historical account of big cats in ancient England, and it invites the reader to contemplate the treatment of these, and other, animals. And I think that’s the real strength of this short read; it brings the pain that animals in captivity feel to life, and forces the reader to face a long standing cruel practice that continues today of taking wild, untamed creatures from their natural habitat, and imprisoned for the pleasure of people. Overall, it made me look at zoos in a whole new light."
Barry West on Amazon


Runner-up, Dublin Business School Create Contest 2020

First Place, Print Journalism
National Media Awards
September 2013

Runner-up, Print Journalism
National Media Awards
2012

Winner, Arkady Renko Short Story Contest
Simon & Schuster UK
January 2014
Judged by Martin Cruz Smith.

Shortlisted, Head And Shoulders Confidence Award
Proctor and Gamble 2013
UK and Ireland Award, Shortlist of 10.
For writing and independently publishing.

Short Story Longlisted
RTE Guide/ Penguin 2012

Short Story Highly Commended
CDVEC Sports and Cultural Committee 2011

Clare is a top reviewer with Net Galley, Fresh Fiction, Goodreads and Amazon.

Goodreads Top 1%

Reviews Published

Professional Reader

Netgalley Challenge

Netgalley Challenge

Reviews 500

Fresh Fiction