Impending Love and Promise

Impending Love and Promise by Laura Freeman

Published Dec. 17, 2018 by The Wild Rose Press and available at  http://goo.gl/0fBnFq or Amazon at https://goo.gl/B7lKMs

The Civil War is over, but a chance encounter between Jules Beecher and a man from her past turns a simple trip to find her orphaned cousins into a dangerous journey. Determined to keep a promise to her father,she puts her life at risk but finds a reluctant hero in Dr. Roe Greystone. Can Jules heal the “broken doll” of the battlefield or will the past destroy any future?   

Roe abandoned the profession of medicine, exhaustedfrom the suffering and butchering of the Civil War. Co-owner of a sternwheeler,Roe knew Jules was trouble the moment the kindhearted innocent boarded the Jenny Lee. He is determined to protectJules from a madman, but will this Romeo risk all to rescue his Juliet?

Excerpt:

Roe Greystone stood firm but felt sorry for the women who left in silence, their faces drawn and downcast. They had given up. Soldiers hadn’t been the only casualty of the war.

He asked names, noting if they had the majority of their teeth when they spoke. He looked for sores beneath the powder and rouge. Up close he could see bloodshot eyes and smell the odor of cheap liquor on their breath when they answered his questions. He allowed those to remain who appeared healthy and had a spark of life still glimmering in their desperate eyes. The work wasn’t easy, and they’d earn their passage.

He reached the end of the line and stopped in front of a girl. He glanced at the other women who were older, dressed in garish mismatched outfits, or had lacked any signs of education, grace, or manners when they had spoken.

This one didn’t belong. The young woman wore a tailored jacket and simple skirt that emphasized her trim figure. Her face startled him by the resemblance to another woman he knew. He’d been thinking of Miss Jessie yesterday. He had admired her for her beauty and courage, but she had been married, and with a husband like Major Morgan Mackinnon, entertaining thoughts of seduction would have been suicidal. He glanced at the girl’s bare hand. No ring.

Her features were similar yet differences existed between the two women. They could have been sisters. This one had large blue eyes that met his gaze. She smiled, and he was captivated. “You have all your teeth.”

Her eyebrows arched above a look of surprise. “Are you buying a horse or hiring a waitress?”

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Impending Love and Madness

Impending Love and Madness published May 30, 2018

Print or ebook historic romance novel “Impending Love and Madness” by Laura Freeman at http://goo.gl/0fBnFq and @wildrosepress or shop Amazon at https://goo.gl/B7lKMs

Blurb of Impending Love and MadnessBest_ImpendingLoveandMadness_w12429_750

Cass Beecher hopes Sergeant Zach Ravenswood will fall in love with her on an outing to Ford’s Theater, only to have their world turned upside down with President Lincoln’s assassination. Her romantic plans continue to be thwarted by family, friends, and a mysterious stranger. Can she save the man she loves from the enemies that plot to ruin him?

Zach thought with the war over, he could turn his attention to wooing the lovely Cassandra, but a fortune teller’s dire predictions begin to come true when a fire disfigures him, a nun poisons him, his uncle steals his inheritance, and he’s shot. Is he going mad or is everything not as it appears?

Excerpt:

“Mister Ravenswood is ill and isn’t receiving guests.”

“But we traveled all this way,” Cass said. “Isn’t there going to be a sale?”

“A gale?” The old woman looked at the sky and pointed at a dark cloud. “It looks like rain.”

“We were asking about the horse sale!” Ethan shouted.

“The sale is on Saturday. You should return then.” She pushed the door closed. The clank of a bolt locking the entrance echoed from inside.

“Well, I never.” Cass stared at the wooden barrier, willing it to open. “We’re here to see Zach! If he’s ill, I can help!” Her shouts were unanswered.

“Come on.” Ethan pulled her away and helped her into the buggy.

She turned. A curtain moved. Someone was watching them.

Harry took the reins and glanced at the sky. “She was right about a storm. We better hurry to the village. We can try again tomorrow.”

Ethan relaxed against the back seat. “Any of you buying that fairytale the old witch was telling?”

“No, but what can we do?” Harry asked. “We’ve been thrown out of the castle.”

“Old witch,” Cass repeated Ethan’s description.

Harry slowed the horse. “Are you all right, Miss Cassie? You look pale.”

“Don’t you remember the fortune teller’s prediction? I think Zach is in trouble, and he needs our help.”

Ethan leaned forward. “How do you propose we sneak past the crazy doorkeeper?”

Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb

Eve is having lunch with Dr. DeWinter at one of Roarke’s fancy Du Vin bars when gossip writer Larinda Mars staggers upstairs and into Eve’s arms, dead. Mars had the scoop on everyone and was blackmailing the vulnerable for money or information. Eve feels for the victims more than Mars but does her duty, especially when an innocent is murdered to cover up the how of the crime.

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This story seemed sluggish because there were so many interviews and paperwork. It was probably closer to the truth of investigations than most police stories. I had an idea who the villain was early on, but Eve had to wait until he killed again to nail him. Peabody provided some comic relief, and a lot of minor characters made guest appearances. A few personal secrets were revealed, but anyone who has read the series already knew about them.

With a series with this many books, some are not going to interest the reader as much as others. This is one I don’t  plan on reading again. I think the series needs jump started with Eve and Roarke having a baby. What do you think?

Full Speed by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

FULL SPEED 2004 by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

Jamie Swift and Max Holt are back from Full Tilt (which I haven’t read yet, and I hate to read out of sequence) running from a mob hit in the previous book and tracking down a preacher Harlin Rawlins to find the mob leader who wants them dead. Max is super rich and into technology. His car has a computer named Muffin.

This is a lot like the J.D. Robb series with super rich Roarke and cop Eve battling crime. Does the hero always have to be super rich?

Max tries to send Jamie home, but she gets out of his car and goes out on her own. She ends up buying an old truck with a dog Fleas that goes with it. She goes to Rawlins’ church in disguise of hooker and tells him she’s a sex addict. It works to get his attention, but Max and his partner Dave, who are also in disguise, are there to spy on Harlin too. Max takes her to his cabin and says she’s to pretend to be his wife in his new plan.

Unknown to them, gangster Nick Santoni/MichaelJuliano follows her to the cabin and realizes who she is. He pretends to be Michael and asks her on date. Jamie doesn’t tell Max about Michael which would have ended the story because he knows his alias, and the reader realizes she’s in danger before she does.

There’s a lot of heat between Max and Jamie, but she knows he isn’t ready to commit to marriage after a previous one failed, and she doesn’t want her heart broken even though she’s falling in love with him in spite of her determination not to. The action is intense and fast paced. The romance is simmering and interesting enough to read the next book in the series.

Echoes in Death

Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb published February 2017

Eve and Roarke are driving home from a party and see a naked woman, Daphne, stumble in front of them. They rush her to the hospital and discover her husband has been killed and she was tied up and raped several times by someone dressed as the devil. Eve discovers similar crimes and pieces together the history of the killer’s crime spree, which escalates to a double homicide. Eve knows who the killer is and builds her case and brings him in. Ina new twist, Peabody plays bad cop to Eve’s good cop.

Daphne represents Eve and throughout the book Eve has to deal with the memory of murdering her father who brutalized her. Eve’s past helps her deal with the victims like Daphne and help them overcome their trauma. Her past and Roarke’s is what binds them together and provided a lot of the backstory in the earlier novels. This book has a lot of rapes in it, and some may not want to read about the violence.

Possession in Death by J.D. Robb

POSSESSION IN DEATH aka The Other Side December 2010

Eve witnesses the death of a gypsy woman who transfers her mind to Eve in order to rescue her granddaughter from behind the red door. Eve can speak Hungarian and knows how to make goulash which convinces Roarke she’s possessed. She IMG_2519 (2)investigates the life of the gypsy’s granddaughter who with other dancers has gone missing over the years. An injured dancer kidnaps them and forces them to dance every night for him.

This book has four other novella stories by four different authors but each story has a ghost in it to tie them to the same theme.

J.D. Robb has done several of these novellas in between her full-length novels. If that is something a writer is interested in, this would be a good example of each book with a similar theme but very different stories.

Remember When by J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts

REMEMBER WHEN AKA BlG JACK September 2003

This is two stories tied together. The first is a romance (written by Nora Roberts) in which Laina has built a new life after being moved from place to place by her IMG_2533 (2)criminal father Big Jack O’Hara. When one of his partners, Uncle Willy, is hit by a car in front of her gift shop, the past catches up. Private Investigator Max Gannon is looking for missing diamonds in a heist Big Jack participated in. Jack and Willy were con men who didn’t believe in violence but their partner Crew has already killed the fourth inside man in the job and is planning on having all the stolen diamonds for himself. Max thinks Laina is part of it until he meets her and both fall for each other in typical Robb fashion—fast and furious. Laina is her father’s daughter and the reader is kept guessing who’s going to end up with the diamonds in the end.

Fast forward to 2059 and the granddaughter Samantha Gannon has written a book about the romance and hunt for the diamonds. She returns home from a book tour and discovers her house sitter is dead. Then her cleaning lady turns up dead. It is up to Eve and Roarke to discover who is behind the murders. It doesn’t take long for them to realize it’s tied to the diamonds.

For anyone who wants to write a series that spans across time or genre, they should study this book. The background story revealed in the first book is repeated in the second but with different characters and reactions. Robb changes POV more in this book than in others which threw me a few times. She also reveals the killer’s coldness by using his POV and actions late in the book.

Full Scoop – by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

Full Scoop – by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes 2006

Dr. Maggie Davenport’s former boyfriend Carl Lee has broken out of jail and wants IMG_2353 (2)the money he hid when he left his hometown. Maggie’s daughter Mel doesn’t know he’s her father and their relationship is strained as FBI agent Zack moves in with his own grudge against Carl Lee. Lots of familiar characters make guest appearances, and the Evanovich humor of ice cream, love potions, and hot attractions (sometimes between animals) balance the deadly threat of Carl Lee. If you like the Stephanie Plum series, this is a good one to try.

The authors use multiple POVs. I thought showing what was going on in Carl Lee’s head was important, but I didn’t need POVs from the minor characters. I think she should have had a few scenes with Mel’s POV, especially at the end to share the teenager’s angst.

Full Bloom by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

FULL BLOOM – by Janet Evanovich with Charlotte Hughes 2005

Annie Fortenberry inherited her mother’s B&B and is planning wedding for friends Jamie Swift and Max Holt which ties this story to the Full line series. When Annie’sIMG_2354 (2) husband, who disappeared three years ago, is discovered buried in the back yard, she’s the number one suspect. The story is filled with crazy characters including a psychic who is talking to a ghost of Annie’s ancestor, a drunk gardener, and a fat cat. Wes Bridges arrives on a motorcycle and in the usual Evanovich fashion, Annie hits him over the head with a rolling pin, hauls him to the bathroom, and strips him to his heart-covered boxers. Wes says he’s a photographer but is a PI hired by Annie’s mother-in-law to find Annie’s missing husband. Even though he quits the job, Annie’s temper flares and complicates their romance. The story has several suspects for her husband’s murder, but spends most of the time on her eccentric friends. Evanovich delivers on the steamy sex scenes, and if you’re a fan of her style, you’ll enjoy this story. But this cozy mystery has a tame confrontation between Annie and the killer that may disappoint some.

Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae

Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae 2016

My niece loaned me this cozy murder mystery with a setting in Scotland.

The highland bookshop mystery is the first in a series and introduces the reader to Janet Marsh, divorced from her cheating husband and owner of a home in Inversgail, Scotland. Her daughter Tallie Marsh has tired of her corporate lawyer career and has IMG_0798 (2)joined her along with friends Christine Robertson, a social worker who is taking care of her elderly parents who live in Inversgail, and Summer Jacobs, divorced newspaper worker. They have joined forces to take over a bookstore and add a tea room and bed and breakfast.

The bookstore owners Kenneth and Pamela help them learn the business and get to know the townsfolk before moving away.

They are staying above the bookstore until the tenants move out of Janet’s house and she can move in.

The story introduces the characters in town including Una Graham, a columnist nobody likes who ends up dead in the shed behind Janet’s home. The motive for the murder is strong but isn’t revealed until late in the book.

The four friends come up with a list of suspects and motives throughout the story but their speculation seems a bit sluggish as they repeat information the reader knows. MacRae uses Scottish terms that put the reader in the highlands. The eccentric characters like Rab McGregor, Ian Atkinson, and Constable Hobbs add to the story and should return in the series.

 

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich  2010

This book is based on characters in one of the holiday books Janet Evanovich wrote and were tied to the Stephanie Plum series. Diesel, who has been in previous Stephanie PlumWicked Appetite stories is matched with Lizzy Tucker who has special powers to identify magical Stones tied to the Deadly Seven Sins. Diesel’s cousin Wulf also wants the stones and Lizzy to find them. Enter Diesel to protect her. Lizzy works at a bakery and makes magically delicious cupcakes with her two not-so-normal co-workers. Glo buys a book of spells that go wrong in her hands. (Think Lulu). Lizzy inherited her aunt Ophelia’s house and Glo rescues a weird cat that turns out to have belonged to Ophelia. Add Carl the monkey (from the Plum series), also rescued by Glo and it’s typical Evanovich chaos. The book is better than some of her holiday stories, but still lacks the chemistry the early Plum stories had. It’s disturbing that Diesel climbs into bed naked with Lizzy after just meeting her. In today’s world of perverts and unwelcome touching, his actions made me uncomfortable although Evanovich tries to paint it as normal fun and games.

I think I like the Stephanie Plum series because Stephanie represents the ordinary every girl surrounded by hunks and crazy people, and she deals with them without breaking a sweat. Some characters like Stephanie have a great connection with the reader, and I wish I knew what made the difference.

What makes a character connect with you?