Another Burning Cove Novel: Tightrope by Amanda Quick

Tightrope book cover Amanda Quick’s Tightrope is another historical romantic suspense set in the early 1930s in Burning Cove.

The book came out in May and I finally read it a few weeks ago. I think I liked it best of the three books set in Burning Cove, and although I have a feeling this was the last one of that series, I’m kind of hoping not. I really wanted to see Luthor Pell get his own book. I don’t think that’s going to happen though. This book felt a little like closure.

In this one, I had a hard time getting used to Amalie’s name, but I liked her and reading the book felt like time well spent.

I miss the focus on the relationships that Quick’s books used to have, but all her books are still enjoyable. I will admit, I don’t re-read most of the newer books, but I do still revisit my Amanda Quick favorites. Some of that might be a change in focus in the books, and some of that might just be me. These days, it does feel like it takes something really special to feel new and fresh.

Tightrope by Amanda Quick

An unconventional woman and a man shrouded in mystery walk a tightrope of desire as they race against a killer to find a top secret invention in this New York Times bestselling novel from Amanda Quick.

Former trapeze artist Amalie Vaughn moved to Burning Cove to reinvent herself, but things are not going well. After spending her entire inheritance on a mansion with the intention of turning it into a bed-and-breakfast, she learns too late that the villa is said to be cursed. When the first guest, Dr. Norman Pickwell, is murdered by his robot invention during a sold-out demonstration, rumors circulate that the curse is real.

In the chaotic aftermath of the spectacle, Amalie watches as a stranger from the audience disappears behind the curtain. When Matthias Jones reappears, he is slipping a gun into a concealed holster. It looks like the gossip that is swirling around him is true—Matthias evidently does have connections to the criminal underworld.

Matthias is on the trail of a groundbreaking prototype cipher machine. He suspects that Pickwell stole the device and planned to sell it. But now Pickwell is dead and the machine has vanished. When Matthias’s investigation leads him to Amalie’s front door, the attraction between them is intense, but she knows it is also dangerous. Amalie and Matthias must decide if they can trust each other and the passion that binds them, because time is running out.

If you want a copy, or just some more info, you can find it at Amazon.

Amanda Quick’s latest

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.

Amanda Quick’s Books Have Changed

This was supposed to be a review of the book Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick—but it isn’t

Burning Lamp
Burning Lamp is book 2 in the Dreamlight Trilogy from Amanda Quick, Jayne Castle, Jayne Ann Krentz and is part of the Arcane Society series

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.

Arcane Society Novels from Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick, Jayne Castle

The Arcane Society Series

Contemporary Setting
Book #5Jayne Ann Krentz weaves together historical, futuristic, and contemporary stories in her tales of the Arcane Society, writing as Jayne Ann Krentz and her pseudonym Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle.

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bookcover image of The Perfect Poison bookcover image of The Third Circle bookcover image for Second Sight bookcover image for Running Hot, Jayne Krentz bookcover image of Sizzle and Burn bookcover image for White Lies

An interesting aside is that the newest Jayne Castle book, Dark Light, is set in the Harmony universe and as usual revolves around psychic ghosts and alien ruins. In it, there is a clear tie to the Arcane Society. So it’s not an Arcane Society book, but it’s definitely linked.

[Update: The link is complete. With Midnight Crystal, Jayne Castle’s books are now part of the Arcane Society novels.]

Second Sight

Historical Setting
Book #1

Like many other of Amanda Quick’s most recent historical romance novels, this particular book was heavy on the suspense plot and light on the romance. If that’s what you most like, then you’re going to be more than happy with this book. As for me, I’d rather have had the romance.

The thing I’ve always love most about Amanda Quick books is how much the hero needs the heroine, and how much the heroine needs the hero. That’s been lacking lately, but not just in Amanda Quick’s novels. Many authors have taken to writing more “mainstream” and less romanticism into their works. Lately, I’ve seen that trend in many Amanda Quick novels.

Gabriel was a great guy, but he wasn’t a particularly enthralling hero. Venetia was an interesting female, but she lacked much of the singularity that makes Quick’s heroines so appealing to me.

That’s not to say this was a bad book. It just wasn’t a great book. As the start of a series, this book was good. As a romance, it lacked the impact and emotionalism that I needed to completely enjoy the romance between Venetia and Gabriel. The book read quickly but it’s not one of the many Amanda Quick novels I’ll be rereading anytime soon.

White Lies

Contemporary Setting
Book #2

White Lies introduces the psychic detective agency J&J (Jones and Jones) and the Arcane Society into a contemporary 21st century setting. The second book in the Arcane Society series, White Lies is a fast-moving tale of romance and mystery as Claire Lancaster and Jake Salter try to discover who might be out to harm Claire and put the blame on her for murder.

Claire’s ability to tell truth from deception is all that saved her half sister from death at the hands of her husband eight months prior. Now Claire is back in Arizona at her father’s behest and she’s suddenly become the target of someone out for revenge. Jake Salter works for the psychic detective agency of J&J as a consultant using his psychic abilities to work a very important case. Claire wasn’t supposed to be a factor, but now she’s here and Jake has an immediate desire to get to know her very well indeed.

Jake is a somewhat less than politically correct hero with a take charge attitude and a talent for dealing with danger. I liked him enormously and think his attitude is mostly to blame. I prefer Amanda Quick’s historicals for this very reason usually, because I prefer the strong, take-charge heroes–at least those who have an equally strong appreciation for the heorine and her abilities.

Compared to Sizzle and Burn and Zack Jones, Jake Salter is much more my style. I’m sure this is one big reason why I prefered White Lies to the more recent addition Sizzle and Burn.

As for Claire, her take on lying is a key part of the story, and honestly, this is what made her such a great character. Krentz did a fabulous job of building Claire’s personality, not to mention the very visual descriptions. This was one heroine that stands out in my mind, and although I love Jayne Krentz’s and Amanda Quick’s heroines, even I can admit that sometimes there just isn’t that much to differentiate them. In this case, though, Claire is well-defined and memorable.

I liked White Lies, but I will warn you that this isn’t a character focused book. The focus stays firmly on the mystery and suspense plot. The romance is hot, but you won’t wonder if the characters will get together, only if they’ll survive to enjoy it.

Nevertheless, White Lies was an excellent and engaging read. Highly recommended.

Sizzle and Burn

Contemporary Setting
Book #3

Certainly not the strongest book of the series, Sizzle and Burn is nevertheless a nice read. I almost feel like I’m insulting JAK when I qualify any story she’s written as less than stellar, but the fact is, I compare everything she writes to the best of her works, and those best are spectacular indeed.

In this addition to the Arcane Society, Raine Tallentyre hears voices, but they’re all in her head. The voices of victims, murderers and the like lead her to save an intended victim of a serial killer who is locked in the basement of Raine’s desceased aunt’s home. Zack Jones is hired by the Arcane Society’s PI firm, J&J. He has visions. Together, Zack and Raine must figure out the mystery surrounding the death of Raine’s aunt. Woven throughout is the continuing arc of the founder’s formula and the dark organization that’s developed a way to produce and use the psychic energy enhancing drug.

Although the two leads in this story were intriguing, the plot was a little flat and the twists seem to come out of nowhere, with little to tie it all together. However, I can’t stand to read a series and skip a book, and the rest of the books in this series certainly make it hard to pass any new addition to the tales of the Arcane Society.

There’s some interesting byplay between Zack and Raine that gives the book a readability factor that might have been missing otherwise. A weak plot for Krentz but an entertaining read anyway.

The Third Circle

Historical Setting
Book #4

The Third Circle is my favorite historical entry in the Arcane Society books. I liked Second Sight, but I didn’t love it, not the way I usually love Amanda Quick’s novels. This book dealt much more heavily with the romance between the characters, Leona Hewitt and Thaddeus Ware.

Leona is can work psychic energy through crystal and Thaddeus is a strong mesmerist. Leona is mostly immune to his psychic powers, and that’s a great thing for Thaddeus, since his abilities have made it difficult for him to find love.

They meet when they both happen to be looking for a very special crystal and end up standing over the dead body of a woman who appears to have become the latest victim of The Midnight Monster.

This book had both a mystery and a romance that entertwined nicely. I enjoyed Leona’s spirit, and Thaddeus is an intriguing hero.

I learned more about the mysterious Mr. Pierce and Adam in this book, and although they aren’t my favorite characters (they often bring out a little too much womens’ lib preachiness in Amanda Quick’s writing), I found that in this book, they started to grow on me—somewhat.

My only complaint about this one was that I wanted a bigger ending. I won’t say too much about that to avoid spoiling the book for another reader, but I thought Leona’s powers could have been used much more effectively at the end so that I could have the big ending I wanted. Ravished and other older Amanda Quick novels have very well done high-impact endings. That’s what I would have liked to have seen here.

This is a book I could enjoy rereading.

Running Hot

Contemporary Setting
Book #5

The Perfect Poison

Historical Setting
Book #6

There’s a video book trailer for The Perfect Poison, although it’s not one of the best. I enjoyed this book a lot, and in a way it reminded me of an earlier Amanda Quick book, Wicked Widow, because in both books the heroine is believed to be involved in wicked deeds.

Fired Up

Contemporary Setting / Hawaii
Book #7
Dreamlight Trilogy Book #1

Burning Lamp

Historical Setting
Book #8
Dreamlight Trilogy Book #2

Midnight Crystal

Futuristic/Paranormal Setting
Book #9
Dreamlight Trilogy Book #3

In Too Deep

Contemporary Setting
Book #10
Looking Glass Trilogy Book #1

Quicksilver

Historical Setting
Book #11
Looking Glass Trilogy Book #2

Canyons of Night

Futuristic/Paranormal Setting
Book #12
Looking Glass Trilogy Book #3

Malory Family Novels from Johanna Lindsey

The Malory Family Series

The Malory Family novels are Johanna Lindsey’s most popular series of books. I hope this list helps you find the books you want. Click any title for more information or to buy the book.

Gentle Rogue - the best girl-pretends-to-be-cabin-boy ever
Buy Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey if you buy no other Johanna Lindsey book. Click the image to buy!

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Love Only Once

(Regina Ashton and Nicholas Eden)
Book #1

Tender Rebel

(Anthony Malory and Roslynn Chadwick)
Book #2

It seems to me that this book marked a turning point in the types of stories Johanna Lindsey began writing. The books before, I can take or leave, the books after, I have almost always enjoyed tremendously–many of which I still reread every so often.

Gentle Rogue

(James Malory and Georgina Anderson)
Book #3

Gentle Rogue introduced me to the Malory clan–I went back later and read Tender Rebel, which I liked, and Love Only Once, which I didn’t care for much. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that this book is the single most important book in the Malory Family series. Without Georgina and her brothers, three of the following books would be missing their heroes.

I haven’t read tons of pirate romances, but I’ve always enjoyed this one. There are a few others that come to mind, but when I think pirates, I think James Malory–who would remind me to call him a Gentleman Pirate.

Lord James Malory’s pirate days are behind him, but Georgina’s adventures are just beginning. She takes it on herself to travel to England to track down her “impressed” fiancé (taken off an American ship during the war with England). He’s already married; she’s heartbroken (sort of). She determines to get away from England as quickly as possible and that means working her way back home–as James Malory’s cabin boy George. And really, that’s where things get good.

Gentle Rogue overflows with humor. There’s a magical quality to this book that brings me back time and again to James’ and George’s romance. If you never read another Malory book, you shouldn’t miss this one.

The Magic Of You

(Amy Malory and Warren Anderson)
Book #4

Even though I loved The Magic of You and have read it several times, I can’t deny that I have issues with it. Amy is young–seventeen–and she’s bound and determined to have Warren Anderson as her husband. The thing is, she wants to change him back into the man she supposes he was before he became embittered by a love gone wrong.

It’s funny to watch Warren try to deal with Amy, because she wants him and she isn’t afraid to tell him. He, on the other hand, has to deal with the fact that she’s a beloved niece of the Malory men and nearly 18 years younger than him. No matter what happens, if he gives in to his desire, he’s going to look like the seducer of an innocent.

My problems weren’t with the age, or the theme. Amy’s character just seemed to be walking that fine line between impetuous, determined debutante out to get her man, and stalker. In the end, she gets away with it because I loved Warren enough to overlook a few faults with Amy.

Say You Love Me

(Derek Malory and Kelsey Langton)
Book #5

The Present

(Christopher Malory and Anastasia Stephanoff; Jason Malory and Molly)
Book #6

A Loving Scoundrel

(Jeremy Malory and Danny)
Book #7

A Loving Scoundrel brought to an end Jeremy’s scoundrel ways. He needs a thief to pull off a burglary and he gets Danny. When she loses her position with her band of orphans because the leader thinks she’s too pretty for a boy, she goes to Jeremy for a job as a maid. Jeremy agrees, with the absolute intentions of seducing her into his bed.

Danny’s accent/dialect was great and I enjoyed reading Jeremy’s story. The ending was a little rushed, and honestly, there’s a place near the end that didn’t make much sense–it should have taken pages, but it was glossed over in a few paragraphs. However, the rest of the book made up for it on the whole, and I will imagine I’ll be rereading this one sometime.

Captive of My Desires

(Drew Anderson and Gabrielle Brooks)
Book #8

Gabrielle has been sent to London to find herself a husband. When Drew accidentally-on-purpose ruins her chances of making a good match by sullying her reputation, she decides on a little revenge by proving what a pirate she is.

The best parts of this book definitely begin once Gabrielle has set out on her revenge. Unlike many of Lindsey’s past novels, this hero and heroine rarely have any ill befall them and the book loses a lot of steam just from lack of follow-through on what could have been great captor-captive stuff. There are many missed opportunities for Gabrielle to have a little extra revenge, but she seems a bit faint hearted when it comes to carrying it out. So, in the end, there’s not a lot for her and Drew to overcome other than his generic resistance to marriage.

I would have loved to have spent more time seeing the story from Drew’s perspective, although Gabby was a great character and interesting enough that I didn’t ever get bored with her, only occasionally disappointed in her inability to squeeze some remorse out of Drew for what he’d done so thoughtlessly to her reputation.

I got a kick out of several scenes in the book, proving this as one of Lindsey’s more successful humorous novels of late. One scene in particular, where Gabby ends up on her rear, shocked a laugh out of me and I loved that.

Captive of My Desires was a nice addition to the Malory series, but certainly not up to par with Gentle Rogue or Tender Rebel.

No Choice But Seduction

(Boyd Anderson and Katey Tyler)
Book #9