I went on a bit of reading binge recently and caught up with Amanda Quick’s latest books. It was a binge I enjoyed very much, since Amanda Quick remains one of my favorite authors of historical romance and suspense.
The Girl Who Knew Too Much and The Other Lady Vanishes are set in the 1930s which is a nice change. All the usual Amanda Quick touches are there, from the modern, forward-thinking heroine to the enlightened hero and an element of suspense. I know authors can’t stay in a rut forever, but I do miss Quick’s earlier heroes and more quirky heroines (such as Gideon and Harriet from Ravished, still one of my favorite books). These new ones are just a little too similar for me to enjoy to the fullest. On the other hand, having Oliver of The Girl Who Knew Too Much be a magician was different enough to be memorable. Burning Cove is the link between these two books, and it appears there’s another coming in May. Tightrope looks interesting so I’ll be keeping my eye out for it.
I also read ‘Til Death Do Us Part and it was my favorite of the three. Calista and Trent and the people around them felt more familiar to me than some of the Quick’s newer characters, and I liked that quite a lot.
If you’re a fan, and you haven’t read these yet, they’re worth the time. The links above will take you to Amazon if you want to know more.
I have a weakness for Amanda Quick’s historical romance novels, especially those from before her paranormal phase. Ravished, Mistress, Mischief, Deception, Affair … these are five of my favorites and I had a chance to read Mischief, Affair, and Deception for the umpteenth this past week or so and I had a great time doing it.
I have a difficult time sometimes putting into words why I liked (or didn’t like) a book I’ve read, but I’ll see what I can come up with for these three books.
Mischief is a fun book, and I liked the fake romance (that of course turns into a real romance right away). And then there’s the treasure map and the fact that it couldn’t be clearer these two belong together. I won’t spoil the fun, but it’s obvious in the first ten pages why. I don’t know what it is in particular that makes this book stand out from some of the others, but it does, and it remains one of my favorites. Get your own copy of this book.
I’ve always thought Affair had an especially strong opening. It plops me right into a compelling story that I can’t resist. Note to self: don’t read the first chapter of any of these books if I don’t have any time I can devote to reading, because if I do, I’ll end up reading the entire book. That’s what happened with my reread of Affair. I read an excerpt of chapter one at the end of Mischief and ended up having to read this entire book again. It is definitely a great book and was well worth reading just one more time. Get your own copy of this book.
Deception is my all-time favorite Amanda Quick book after Ravished. The pirate angle is charming and I adore Jared Chillhurst … and his pocket watch. In fact, this entire book works so well that I have a hard time not wishing Ms. Quick would discover some distant relative of Jared’s and write a story about him. I simply adore this book and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read it because I lost count years ago. If I had to recommend only two Amanda Quick books to someone, this one would be one of those books. Get your own copy of this book.
Due out April 2012, Crystal Gardens is the first of a new series called Ladies of Lantern Street.
(Click the image for book details or to order the book.)
Although the book sounds interesting, I’m not a big fan of the cover for this book, which is sad, because I’ve always loved the covers for Amanda Quick’s book. Whoever designed this one should have spent more time on it. Or maybe it’s prettier when you see it in person. One can only hope.
Right now, the book is pretty heavily discounted, so it’s definitely the right time to go ahead and buy Crystal Gardens if you’re a fan. I own almost every one of JAK’s Amanda Quick books, with my favorites being Mistress and Ravished, both excellent examples of near perfect books of romance and mystery.
Crystal Gardens, the Start of a New Series
Ladies of Lantern Street is the name of the series that begins with Crystal Gardens. Book #1 is the story of Evangeline Ames and Lucas Sebastian.
Evangeline Ames has rented a country cottage far from the London streets where she was recently attacked. Fascinated by the paranormal energy of nearby Crystal Gardens, she finds pleasure in sneaking past the wall to explore the grounds. And when her life is threatened again, she instinctively goes to the gardens for safety.
Lucas Sebastian has never been one to ignore a lady in danger, even if she is trespassing on his property. Quickly disposing of her would-be assassin, he insists they keep the matter private. There are rumors enough already, about treasure buried under his garden, and occult botanical experiments performed by his uncle â€” who died of mysterious causes.
With Evangelineâ€™s skill for detection, and Lucasâ€™s sense of the criminal mind, they soon discover that they have a common enemy. And as the energy emanating from Crystal Gardens intensifies, they realize that to survive they must unearth what has been buried for too long…
This was supposed to be a review of the book Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick—but it isn’t
In Burning Lamp, Amanda Quick continues with her Arcane series, specifically the Dreamlight trilogy. Burning Lamp follows Fired Up and is set in the late Victorian era. I’ll be honest. When I started writing this review, I couldn’t even remember the names of the two main characters, because although this book was an enjoyable read, it didn’t turn out to be memorable.
I bought the book through Amazon and got a great deal on the hardcover version at $9.99. I don’t regret my purchase at all, because I do love Jayne Ann Krentz’s Amanda Quick novels, but I admit to a lack of passion toward the books of late.
If it weren’t for the fact that I have just reread both Ravished and Deception not three weeks ago, I’d think it was just me and my changing tastes. However, I don’t think that’s the case. Ravished and Deception were both great books, with Ravished remaining one of my all-time favorite historical romance novels, and Deception isn’t far behind.
What I’ve noticed is a lack of depth in the romance between the characters in the Arcane series books with too much focus on the psychic connection of the characters, leading to romance without passion. Her historical characters have become too modern, her heroes too uninteresting. What happened to the men like Gideon and Jared from Ravished and Deception? Since Jayne Ann Krentz still writes fabulous paranormal romance with a psychic twist as Jayne Castle, I’ve begun to think it’s just the Arcane series, but then I think about the other recent historically set Amanda Quick and contemporary Jayne Ann Krentz novels in which the heroes lacked those qualities that made me fall in love with them in her earlier novels, and I realize it isn’t me. It’s her.
Her heroes and heroines have changed, and although I can appreciate on an intellectual level that nothing stays the same forever, it saddens me to know what once was and what likely will never be again.
Jayne Ann Krentz is a prolific author and she uses several other names to author her books. Many authors use different names for their books depending on what type of book it is and these days, that’s exactly what JAK does with her other author names. Jayne Krentz currently writes under three distinct names, and she has a few older pseudonyms too that she doesn’t use any longer.
Under this name, Jayne Ann Krentz writes historical romance novels. I’ve only ever read one that didn’t have a strong suspense or mystery element to it and that is Scandal, which is actually one of my top five favorites.
This pseudonym has been inactive, but many of the titles written under this name have been rereleased. Most of Jayne Ann Krentz’s works under the name of Stephanie James were written for Silhouette Desire.
I read Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle recently, and I loved it. :) Although I was concerned about how well I would like the intertwining of the Arcane series with the world of Harmony, I think Midnight Crystal set my fears to rest.
For many earthly centuries, a legendary curse has plagued the Winters family, stemming from the tumultuous founding of the Arcane Society. But now, on the futuristic world of Harmony, the curse’s final mystery will be unraveled…
Head of the ghost hunters guild Adam Winters and dreamlight reader extraordinaire Marlowe Jones must break the curse, save Harmony’s entire underworld-and fight a passion that could destroy them both.
I’ve always enjoyed the Jayne Castle books by Jayne Ann Krentz. Midnight Crystal is an interesting melding of her Harmony universe and the Arcane series and is the third book in the Dreamlight Trilogy that started with Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz and continued with Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick. Although they’re all written by the same author under different pseudonyms, the books share a connected story.
Although I’ve read all three books, I believe the books can be enjoyed just fine if you haven’t read any of the others. Ms. Krentz takes the time to slip in enough backstory so that you can figure out what’s going on without becoming lost.
Midnight Crystal was fun, exciting, romantic, and all around enjoyable reading. Try it.
Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz is book one of the Dreamlight Trilogy, part of the Arcane Society series. This particular series (The Dreamlight Trilogy) contains three books, one written by each of the author’s three pseudonyms: Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick, and Jayne Castle.
Fired Up has an interesting set of characters that trace back to the time of Sylvester Jones, the creator of the Founder’s Formula, and it focuses on the Winter’s Curse.
Book one of the Dreamlight trilogy.
More than three centuries ago, Nicholas Winters irrevocably altered his genetic makeup in an obsessionfueled competition with alchemist and Arcane Society founder Sylvester Jones. Driven to control their psychic abilities, each man’s decision has reverberated throughout the family line, rewarding some with powers beyond their wildest dreams, and cursing others to a life filled with madness and hallucinations.
Jack Winters, descendant of Nicholas, has been experiencing nightmares and blackouts-just the beginning, he believes-of the manifestation of the Winters family curse. The legend says that he must find the Burning Lamp or risk turning into a monster. But he can’t do it alone; he needs the help of a woman with the gift to read the lamp’s dreamlight.
Jack is convinced that private investigator Chloe Harper is that woman. Her talents for finding objects and accessing dream energy are what will save him, but their sudden and powerful sexual pull threatens to overwhelm them both. Danger surrounds them, and it doesn’t take long for Chloe to pick up the trail of the missing lamp. And as they draw closer to the lamp, the raw power that dwells within it threatens to sweep them into a hurricane of psychic force.
You’ll probably need to read some of the earlier Arcane Society books, since I’m noticing a trend toward less stand-alone books. Or maybe it’s just that so much has happened now that it’s impossible to get it all out in current books without ruining the flow. The good news is that this might be true of the contemporary set novels (published under author name Jayne Ann Krentz), but less so for the historical set novels (by Amanda Quick), and not at all for the paranormal futuristics (written by Jayne Castle).
For Fired Up, though, much of the backstory is vague and I believe it wouldn’t be easy to follow unless you’ve read the previous contemporary novels in the Arcane series.
I’ve read them all, so it’s no problem for me. Since they’re all pretty good books, and some are excellent, I suggest that you just go out and read them all. These are hardcover releases, so any public library is likely to have copies of all these books, with the possible exception of the Jayne Castle books (released in paperback), which is the situation at my local library.
The good thing about historical romance (or period romance) is that it doesn’t age in the same what that novels with contemporary settings do. For that reason, Jayne Krentz’s Amanda Quick historicals have stayed current in a way that her older contemporary romantic suspense hasn’t managed. Therefore, don’t hesitate to get all the old books and read from the earliest Amanda Quick novel to the most recent. Several of her older stories are my absolute favorites.
Until recently, most Jayne Ann Krentz and her Amanda Quick novels have been stand alone, but she’s started the Arcane Society series of novels and these share much more in common. They’re still stand alone novels. I prefer JAK’s Amanda Quick novels. They’re much sexier than the contemporary stuff she writes under JAK.
It was a scene straight out of a nightmare. Gideon Westbrook, Viscount St. Justin, stood on the threshold and gazed into the cheerful little anteroom of hell.
There were bones everywhere. Savagely grinning skulls, bleached ribs, and shattered femurs were scattered about like so much devil’s garbage. Chunks of stone with teeth and toes and other odd bits embedded in them were stacked on the windowsill. A pile of vertebrae littered the floor in one corner.
In the center of the unholy clutter sat a slender figure in a stained apron. A white muslin cap was perched askew atop a wild, tangled mane of chestnut-brown curls. The woman, obviously young, was seated at a heavy mahogany desk. Her slender, graceful back was turned to Gideon. She was sketching busily, her entire attention focused on what appeared to be a long bone embedded in a chunk of stone.
From where he was standing, Gideon could see that there was no wedding band on the supple fingers that held the quill. This would be one of the daughters, then, not the widow of the late Reverend Pomeroy.
Just what he needed, Gideon thought, another rector’s daughter.
Another favorite is Deception, which I recently reread. Olympia and Jared are a fun couple and I loved the pirate themes in the story. It’s also another story where there’s family involved–loving, if misguided family–and I really enjoy stories that have that added depth.
The River Knows is my most recent favorite for several reasons. The suspense was neatly done and the hero, Anthony Stalbridge, and heroine, Louisa Bryce, were interesting. I liked that the hero had a loving family–many of Quick’s heroes aren’t that lucky.
I wonder sometimes how much of Jayne Krentzâ€™s decision to go forward with the Arcane Society series was simply a decision to find a good way to cross-promote her different books. Maybe at this point she wishes she were using only one name. I canâ€™t say and I shouldnâ€™t speculate, because I canâ€™t know the answer without asking, and I probably wonâ€™t do that.
Yes, if I had it to do it over again, I would have stuck with one name. But what’s done is done. So I have concocted a brilliant rationale for my three names, one that makes it look like a shrewd, well-thought out career choice rather than the result of a lot of bumbling and pratfalls along the way.
Today, you can finally buy The Third Circle by Amanda Quick (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) in paperback. This is good if you like to save money on your books. These days the hardcover editions of books are crazy expensive. I still buy them occasionally, but most of the time, I scope out Amazon.com’s bargain books and look for inexpensive hardcover editions of my favorites. I got two new hardcover copies of Second Sight for less than $7 each. The paperback cost more than that.
Although I read some reviews that made it sound as if The Third Circle wasn’t a fabulous book, I disagree. I liked it better than Second Sight, and although I would have liked a bigger, bolder ending, the romance was wonderful and the story was engaging and fun. It’s one of my favorite Arcane Society books.