Book reviews

I’m catching up on my reading now that the weather has turned cold. I hope to have something posted every week but bear with me if I miss a week. I post books I enjoyed and want to share. If I didn’t like a book, I won’t post a review. We all have different taste, and someone may love a book I didn’t like. If I see a major flaw or room for improvement, I will try to offer some helpful advice. I appreciate feedback from my books as well. Join me in reading a few good books this winter.

Laura Freeman

 

Advertisements

Review of Impending Love and Capture

This article was in the Nov. 19, 2017 Sunday Life Section of the Akron Beacon Journal

Events

BOOK TALK: area authors and events Falls author’s latestImpendingLoveandCapture_w11791_med - Copy

Jessica Beecher, last seen in Cuyahoga Falls author Laura Freeman’s historical romance Impending Love & Lies,

survived working as a nurse on the Antietam battlefield with Clara Barton.

Now, in Impending Love & Capture,

Jess is in Virginia delivering medical supplies but dreading her destination, because when she arrives she plans to refuse the proposal of her longtime beau.

Later, returning through Pennsylvania, she stops to help a wounded Union soldier and is shocked to learn that he is an uninjured Reb.

The man takes her prisoner to tend to his sister, who has been accidentally shot as she served in boys’ clothes as his aide. The soldier, Maj. Morgan Mackinnon, tells Jess she must pose as his wife for her safety in the Confederate camp.

Jess comes to like the girl Tootie, and becomes conflicted about her feelings for Morgan when she learns that he attended West Point with her brotherin- law Blake. Morgan wanted to be an engineer, not a soldier. Their sham marriage develops into a real romance.

As in the three previous books in the series, the Beechers’ hometown of Darrow Falls is reminiscent of nineteenth-century Stow and Peninsula. Impending Love & Capture

(354 pages, softcover) costs $16.99 from Wild Rose Press. Laura Freeman will sign Impending Love & Capture

from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Learned Owl Book Shop, 204 North Main Street, Hudson, as part of the annual Home for the Holidays event. 

Review of “For Better or Hearse”

Book review for “For Better or Hearse” by Ann Yost.17339235

Nick Bowman is the proverbial bad boy who returns home to save the family fortune and reputation. Daisy Budd, is the plain sister who falls for him. The romance story is combined with a cozy mystery as Nick and Daisy search for a “blue diamond” and bodies appear in the mortuary turned wedding boutique. Family members with marital problems and crazy citizens who have unique wedding plans add to the zany list of characters that interfere with their love life. I personally thought the older sister’s behavior was forced and not logical and could have been handled differently, but overall, the story worked. Four out of five stars.

HUDSON – Writers have created mystical and magical worlds like Wonderland, Neverland and Camelot to comfort adults and children in times of grief and worry, said Gregory Maguire, the best selling author of “Wicked.” Hiddensee

More than 150 people met the author Nov. 8 at the Hudson Library and Historical Society where Maguire shared his writing experience, and fans could purchase copies of his latest book, “Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker” which imagines the backstory to the classic tale of “The Nutcracker.”

Hiddensee” is a story of hope and intertwines the famous nutcracker with the life of the mysterious toy maker, Drosselmeier, who carves him. 

Written in 1816 by E.T.A. Hoffmann as a story for children, the tale of “The Nutcracker and Mouse King” makes little sense, Maguire said. There’s a lot of digression, and it’s never explained. It’s a “schizophrenic story.”

Then Pyotr Tchaikovsky wrote the musical score and made it a seasonal favorite, he said. Most of the crowd admitted to seeing the annual Christmas ballet.

Maguire said Act 1 was a pretty good story with Clara and The Prince battling the evil Mouse King, but Act 2 was as if a relative “brought out a slide show story from their eight-month vacation trip.”

The dances have nothing to do with Clara or the Mouse King, Maguire said.

Hiddensee” creates a backstory for “The Nutcracker,” much like “Wicked” created the backstory for the wicked witch of the west in “The Wizard of Oz.”

Raised in a strict household, “The Wizard of Oz” was the one movie Maguire and his six siblings were allowed to watch.

I would organize a play around it and cast parts,” Maguire said. “If you take all the music out of it, it runs 12 minutes.”

Then Maguire would mix up the story and add characters such as Captain Hook and Tinkerbell.

If you add something, the story can’t end the same,” Maguire said.

One version of the story had Captain Hook marrying the wicked witch and having “Little Hookin’s and Snookin’s.”

His father was a journalist and his stepmother a poet, and Maguire said he began writing “Wicked” in the second grade.

The story belonged to us, and I played it over and over again,” he said.

Maguire shared early handwritten stories and drawings, which included fires and people falling out of windows.

They were always filled with adventure,” he said. “I liked to save them in the end.”

Maguire was 24 when his first book, “The Lightning Time” was published. He has written 25 children’s books and 10 adult books.

While living in London, he read about a brutal murder, which made him think about the antagonist in a story, he said.

How do people go from healthy to being guilty of murder? Or a monster?” he said.

He thought about the witch in the “Wizard of Oz” who was bad, Maguire said. That meant she was unredeemable, and it was all right to vanquish her.

There was no backstory for the witch,” Maguire said.

He decided to create one and wrote “Wicked” in five months.

It was my first royalty check with more money than enough for two hamburgers,” Maguire said. “I thought they made a mistake.”

His fortune changed at the age of 39 when “Wicked” sold a million copies, he said. Broadway turned it into a musical, which has been performed more than 4,000 times in its decade run and has won 35 major awards, including a Grammy and multiple Tony Awards.

Book review for “Walking Through Fire”

Bookreview for “Walking Through Fire” by CJ BahrWalking Through Fire

This was the first book I’ve read by CJ Bahr but “Walking Through Fire” has me hooked on her storytelling abilities. She takes a story reminiscent of “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” and elevates it to a thrilling encounter with murdered ghost Simon McKay and a not so Miss demure Laurel Saville with a villain that grows more dangerous with each turn of the page. The supporting characters of best friend, unfaithful ex-boyfriend, and Scottish setting add to the story’s supernatural believability. The love story builds to the shocking series of surprises at the end that makes the book impossible to put down until the last page has been read. For romance, a ghost story, a sexy encounter, and a villain you’ll love to hate, I recommend “Walking Through Fire” and will be looking for others books by CJ Bahr.

Book review of Betting On Kincade

“Betting On Kincade” by Devon McKay is a rodeo ride of fun. If you love cowboys, and Kincadewho doesn’t, Dalton Kincade will capture your heart as he tries to recapture the love of Cassie Wilcox, whose stubbornness matches his own.

 

The western romance includes a rodeo rider, a ranch in trouble, a drunken stepfather, a high-stakes poker game, and more. McKay’s writing is smooth and fast paced. She knows how to tell a solid story that holds your attention from the first page to the end, and leaves a smile on your face.  I’ve read her other books, “Cowboy On The Run” and “Staking a Claim” and this is another one to add to anyone’s collection.

Great job, Devon. Congratulations on your third novel. I’m looking forward to the next one.