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.

Deception Cove

By Jayne Castle (a.k.a. Jayne Krentz, Amanda Quick)

Book 2 of the Rainshadow Series

Deception Cove by Jayne Castle

In the world of Harmony, Rainshadow Island is home to a mysterious preserve, secrets that have been kept for centuries, and a treasure worth killing for…

As a light-talent, Alice North has the rare ability to make things disappear, including herself—a gift that comes in handy during her magic act with her dust bunny Houdini.

Business mogul Drake Sebastian is day-blind, since his sight was nearly destroyed in a lab accident. But he’s the one man who can see Alice when she disappears—and he needs her.

On Rainshadow Island, two dangerous Old World crystals are missing, igniting a paranormal storm. Drake thinks Alice is the key to finding them, and proposes they head there, but only after a Marriage of Convenience.

Alice’s honeymoon on Rainshadow is guaranteed to be memorable, as the island—and the passion between her and Drake—is about to explode…

Book description from Amazon: Deception Cove (A Rainshadow Novel)

So, sounds entertaining enough, huh? I’m actually in the middle of this book right now. I started it a while ago, and I’m not really sure why, but I let other stuff take precedence and haven’t finished the book yet! I’ve read plenty of other stuff in the meantime, but thinking back on it, I think it was because I’d just finished Crystal Gardens (by Jayne Castle’s pseudonymous alter-ego Amanda Quick). I enjoyed that book a lot, and although Deception Cove was good, it wasn’t historical and I was in the mood for historical.

Now that it’s come back to my attention, I think I’m going to spend a few hours and finish the book. :)

Kresley Cole Immortals After Dark Books

Lothaire (Kresley Cole - Immortals After Dark)One of my favorite authors of paranormal romance is Kresley Cole. I became hooked when I read A Hunger Like No Other and ever since, I have been in love with her Immortals After Dark series. It wasn’t until later that I went back and read the short novella "The Warlord Wants Forever" that started it all.

See below for the newest book, Lothaire, in hardcover!

Here’s a list of Kresley Cole’s books in the Immortals After Dark series. If you want to buy the book or read reviews, just click the included links. These books are worth it. ;-)

Immortals After Dark Books

  1. The Warlord Wants Forever (novella) in Playing Easy to Get (paperback or ebook)
  2. A Hunger Like No Other (paperback)
  3. No Rest For the Wicked (paperback)
  4. Wicked Deeds On a Winter’s Night (paperback)
  5. Dark Needs at Night’s Edge (paperback or ebook)
  6. Dark Desires After Dusk (paperback or ebook)
  7. Kiss of a Demon King (paperback or ebook)
  8. Deep Kiss of Winter (novella) (paperback or kindle)
  9. Pleasure of a Dark Prince (paperback or kindle)
  10. Demon from the Dark (paperback or kindle)
  11. Dreams of a Dark Warrior (paperback or kindle)
  12. Lothaire (hardcover or kindle)

Quick Review: Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

I read Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning recently, and I loved it. :) I haven’t read any of Moning’s previous novels that I can recall, but I’ll have to read future releases as soon as I catch up on this series. Darkfever is that good.

Darkfever bookcover

Darkfever
Fever Series Book 1

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (Paperback)
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (Hardcover)
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (Kindle)
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (Other ebook formats)

Book Description

Book One of the MacKayla Lane series. MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks… until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death—a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone—Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed—a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane—an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women—closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands….

In Dark Fever, Mac discovers that the world she’s been living in is made up of human and Fae. She can see them, in all their terrible guises because Fae glamours don’t work on her.

Dark Fever is an urban fantasy, with a dash of romantic tension, but no real romance to speak of. It’s the beginning of a strong and compelling paranormal series set in the present, but in a world occupied by terrible beings out to take over our normal world and use humans as food, energy, playthings, and… worse.

Mac’s story is told in first person. The action is quick, frequent, and incredibly entertaining. This is no slow read. I started on page 1 (because I freely admit sometimes I don’t) and had barely taken a breath before the end of this fantastic book snuck up on me. (Yes, yes, I know. Not in the literal sense, okay? Dark Fever is a full length novel.)

Don’t read this book if you don’t intend to get sucked into a lengthy series (5 books and counting) because you’re likely to find yourself on a reading binge just as I did.

And if you like questionable alpha heroes who might just turn out to be villains, you might find yourself addicted to discovering whatever you can about Jericho Barrons and hoping for even a little more action of the romantic kind. :)

See more about Dark Fever by Karen Marie Moning.

Recommended: Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle

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.

Midnight Crystal bookcover

Midnight Crystal
Dreamlight Trilogy Book 3

Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle (Paperback)
Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle (Kindle)
Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle (Other ebook formats)

Book Description

Book Three of the Dreamlight trilogy.

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.

Also, check out the next Jayne Castle book tied to the Arcane & Ghost Hunter/Harmony series, Canyons of Night.

Quick Review: Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz

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 bookcover

Fired Up
Dreamlight Trilogy Book 1

Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz (Paperback)
Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz (Hardcover)
Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz (Kindle)
Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz (Other ebook formats)

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 Description

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.

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.

Click the image to buy or read reviews
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

The Perfect Poison out in April

The next historical installment in Amanda Quick’s (aka Jayne Krentz’s) Arcane Society novels will be available in April 2009. I’m excited to see another historical installment because I really enjoyed The Third Circle. You can see my comments at the bottom of the Arcane Society page on StoryHeaven.

bookcover image of The Perfect Poison

The Perfect Poison

Book Description

A notorious lady botanist with a reputation for having poisoned an unwanted lover becomes passionately involved with a dangerous gentleman who uses his psychic talents to solve murders. For those who are following the Arcane Society series, this is the eagerly awaited story of Caleb Jones and the founding of Jones & Jones, the Society’s psychic detective agency.

And…

In Victorian London, spinster botanist and psychic Lucinda Bromley meets her match in Caleb Jones, a member of the Arcane Society and descendant of an alchemist family that makes him “the stuff of myth and legend.” Together, this paranormal pair of snoops sets out to track down a thief who made off with a dangerous plant implicated in the death of a wealthy lord, but wind up uncovering a sinister secret order.

I’m very much looking foward to this book. :)

Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz goes on sale Tuesday, December 30th

I didn’t get this one for a Christmas gift, so I guess I’ll be buying it for myself. I don’t mind, but I have to say, I’m really looking forward to it. I like the way the Arcane Society series is shaping up these days. Just yesterday I finished reading The Third Circle, the latest historical entry in the series of paranormal romances.

I have to say, I’m looking forward to this book more and more. That said, I think I’m looking forward to the next historical set novel even more! I want a story about Caleb Jones. I wonder if Amanda Quick will give me one? What do you think?

Oh, and if you haven’t watched it yet, don’t skip the book trailer for Running Hot.

The Eclipse Bay Trilogy by Jayne Ann Krentz

So today I started listening to the Eclipse Bay Trilogy. Eclipse Bay is one of the few books, along with its sequels, I haven’t read by Jayne Krentz. I don’t know why I didn’t read them, other than that they didn’t come out in hardcover, but I’m so glad I decided to read them now. It’s like a sweet little Christmas gift to myself while I wait to find out if I got Running Hot as a present.

I’m trying out a new format for the book though. I’ve downloaded the audio version of Eclipse Bay and I’ve been listening to that as I do Holiday stuff that needs doing, such as gift wrapping. The thing is, though, I feel like I’m missing something. The first love scene in the book was completely glossed over. I know I was listening in bed (I have the book on my smartphone) but I thought I might have fallen asleep or otherwise skipped over something, until I realized I had an abridged version. I wasn’t aware that it was abridged when I downloaded it. I took a look at the book (I have a paperback copy of Eclipse Bay, of course) and that was how I discovered the abridged-ness of the audio version I was listening to.

Bummer.

I was really enjoying not having to work at reading a book. However, there’s no way I can enjoy it now, knowing that I’m probably missing all the good stuff.

Now I’m just trying to decide if I want to finish listening, or go to the book and start over from the beginning!

What would you do?