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review 2016-07-31 13:57
Brief Thoughts: The River Knows
The River Knows - Amanda Quick

The River Knows

by Amanda Quick

To date, this is probably the Amanda Quick book with the most riveting mystery I've read--in my personal opinion, of course.  I know a lot of other people might disagree.  But I enjoyed every moment of this book and was actually quite in love with how the entire story unfolded.  And I am always ever in love with how quickly books by this author jump right into the action, the excitement, and the intrigue.

When played right, the secret reveals in certain books work really well.  And this was one of the instances I liked in particular.

The only unfortunate thing is that, like all the other Amanda Quick books I've read, The River Knows is not really all that memorable.  I barely remember some of the little details, though I know there were certain scenes that made me laugh or feel happy about.

I barely remember character names within days of finishing the book even though I know I liked the characters.  Louisa was the standard Amanda Quick independent, feisty, resourceful heroine with a heart of gold.  Anthony was the standard romance novel broody alpha male with motives... although if I were to be honest, he really wasn't as broody as I'm making him sound.  In fact, I actually kind of liked his approach to the developing romantic relationship he had with Louisa.  And I actually kind of liked the way some things happened for this couple, in contrast to how most romance novels develop the love story.

So I DID really enjoy reading this book and when I was finished, I gave it a high rating because of how much I enjoyed it, and how much I liked the way the story progressed, and how much I liked the characters and their interactions, and how much I liked the romance despite Amanda Quick's formulaic signatures which I have come to expect and will resignedly, but willingly wave on.

Here's to another non-Arcane Society Amanda Quick book that I thoroughly enjoyed.  May there be more before I get tired of the same stories; although I am also a fan of "tried and true" for those times where I just need an enjoyable book of which employs said tried and true formulas, written well, with readily likable characters to keep me entertained.

I now decree Amanda Quick as one of my go to, absurdly addictive author for when I just need something to read to make me happy!


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board Two | Square O7 -- Romance

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/07/brief-thoughts-river-knows.html
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review 2016-07-30 13:00
Quick Thoughts: The Hanover Square Affair
The Hanover Square Affair - Ashley Gardner

The Hanover Square Affair

by Ashley Gardner
Book 1 of Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries


London, 1816
Cavalry captain Gabriel Lacey returns to Regency London from the Napoleonic wars, burned out, fighting melancholia, his career ended. His interest is perked when he learns of a missing girl, possibly kidnapped by a prominent member of Parliament. Lacey's search for the girl leads to the discovery of murder, corruption, and dealings with a leader of the underworld. He faces his own disorientation transitioning from a soldier's life to the civilian world at the same time, redefining his role with his former commanding officer and making new friends--from the top of society to the street girls of Covent Garden.

I sat down at my desk and started surfing other's book blogs before I remembered that I hadn't quite written this book's review yet.  As much as I hate to say this, The Hanover Square Affair was not the most memorable book.  In fact, my reading experience was quite an uphill-downhill, and then up again and down again kind of experience.  Even while reading the book, I started getting sidetracked and forgetting what was going on.  And then after finishing the book, I even forgot to brainstorm this review.

So, to be short and brief on this one--for real this time, since my "short and brief" reviews always end in rambling sessions--The Hanover Square Affair was enjoyable during the reading of it.  There was excitement and I DID find myself sort of caught up in Captain Gabriel Lacey's curious investigation.  The mystery was quite serviceable.  But a lot of other moments seemed to run in side tangent, or drag on and become almost boring--these scenes I tended to forget about after a while and had to work to recall events that were brought up at later times in the book.

More than anything, I had no rapport with the characters; and when I feel detached from the characters, I tend to stop caring about what happens to them.  Maybe the good Captain Lacey was the only character I really did find myself caring about, but I also found his passionate behavior a little extreme and hot-headed.  I'm not saying that's a bad thing--he's a uniquely created main character and I like that he comes off different than other main male heroes I often see in many other books.  To be honest, I really don't have much to complain about Captain Lacey at all, and if I were to pick up the next book in this series, it would be because of him.

As it is, I really DID enjoy following Captain Lacey's narration a lot.

But I still stand that I found the rest of the characters in the book to be like mere background noise.  Even Grenville, who's eccentric and intriguing personality would merit some interest on my behalf didn't quite sit well with me.  I liked him just fine.  I also kind of liked that he's fairly honest to Captain Lacey about his motives.  I just maybe think that, since you don't get to see much in his perspective (since this book is written in first person from Lacey's POV), that you don't really get to know Grenville as more than just a bored, wealthy benefactor to Captain Lacey without much else going for him aside from his biographical eccentricities.

I would love to see more from Grenville's point of view, to be honest.

The rest of the characters had their own characterizations.  But those characterizations felt flat and boring.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge

COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board One | Square E9 -- Mystery



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/07/quick-thoughts-hanover-square-affair.html
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review 2016-07-29 13:00
Quick Thoughts: Dark Light
Dark Light - Jayne Castle

Dark Light

by Jayne Castle
Book 5 of Harmony

Reporter Sierra McIntyre's stories on Crystal City's ghost hunters--and their mysterious guild--have earned her tabloid a bit of respect.  And they've allowed her to clothe her dust-bunny companion, Elvis, in rock-and-roll style.  It helps that she has mega-rez intuition to fall back on...

Especially when she interviews Ghost Hunter Guild boss John Fontana about the disappearances of retired, homeless hunters.  She doesn't want to trust the physically and psychically powerful man, but her senses--and Elvis--give her the green light.  To uncover the conspiracy within his own organization, Fontana proposes... marriage.  And though it's purely a business arrangement, there's nothing pure about the attraction that sizzles between them...

There were many things I really liked about this book despite the common formula that Jayne Castle uses on a regular basis.  I like the new paranormal talents that continue to be introduced with each book.  I like that the world of Harmony isn't static, and that things are continuously being discovered from alien history, to human history, to new and unknown abilities.  I like that the characters are always likable and easy to follow.  I like that the romances are steamy and sexy and fun.  I like the wit and humor.

And in Dark Light, I also very much liked our main couple, Sierra and Fontana.  Of course, as per usual, Fontana is the typical broody, alpha with some back story issues.  Sierra was a bit hard to like in those first few paragraphs if only because reporters tend to be some of my least favorite character types--but she turns out to be lots of fun, laid back and righteous, and witty in her own way.

I liked the other characters introduced, even though we'll probably never see them again.

And I loved Elvis, the diva dust bunny, companion to Sierra, who loves his little Elvis cap and sunglasses, and loves to play new games.  To be totally honest, as much as I like the main human characters in these books, they are always overshadowed by the dust bunnies.  I don't think there's anything I don't love about dust bunnies and it makes me so happy to see them incorporated so naturally into the story.

Finally, I like how Jayne Castle is starting to officially incorporate the Arcane Society into the Harmony books.  As soon as it was mentioned that Sierra's ability was of a psychic nature that she uses without the aid of tuned amber--the stone that helps the Harmony characters use their psi abilities--I had a feeling we were talking about the same types of psychic abilities from the other aforementioned series.  And then it was confirmed, so I'm happy about that.

So it looks like we'll have more to look forward to in these books as the world becomes more extensive.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board Two | Square Y8 -- Futuristic

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/07/quick-thoughts-dark-light.html
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review 2016-07-28 15:01
Brief Thoughts: The Third Circle
The Third Circle - Amanda Quick

The Third Circle

by Amanda Quick
Book 4 of Arcane Society

Leona Hewitt has secretly made her way into Lord Delbridge’s private museum to retrieve a relic stolen from her family.  But someone else is in the dimly lit gallery on the same errand: a tall, black cloaked man whose very voice is enough to cause her to fall into a trance.

Thaddeus Ware, a mesmerist with psychic gifts, is accustomed to fearful reactions from others—women, in particular.  After all, a man who can control the minds of others could rob a lady of her virtue—completely unbeknownst to her.  But Leona shows no trace of hysteria in his presence.  A gifted crystal worker, she exerts a rather hypnotic power over the hypnotist himself.  And she is determined to keep the coveted crystal they manage to recover by giving him the slip at a run-down London inn.

Thaddeus, on assignment for the Arcane Society, knows the menace Leona is courting by absconding with the crystal.  A source of remarkable energy, it holds the potential for great destruction.  Lord Delbridge has already killed to acquire the crystal, his key to membership in the elite, shadowy group known as the Third Circle.  And, with the help of a ruthless hunter of preternatural skill—dubbed the Midnight Monster by the press—Delbridge intends to find Leona.  With the stolen crystal in their possession, the danger is only beginning.

Aside from one of Amanda Quick's most recent books, I've been enjoying everything I've read of hers that are non-Arcane Society books.  For some reason, the Arcane Society historicals have been a bit draggy in comparison to her other historical mystery/romantic suspense/historical romance books.  And I'm not sure what it is, but while I DO enjoy reading them for the characters and for this tried-and-true formula that I've found myself liking, it's still a little disappointing that her hero and heroine go through the same romantic hoops and events.

On the other hand, I actually kind of enjoy the contemporary side of this Arcane Society series a lot more.

And then on another hand, I DO like how the books interweave between contemporary and historical.

Anyway, these books are still likable and enjoyable and addictive.  I've just run out of things to say about them if something new doesn't come about.  Because, as I'd already stated, it's the same formula with different characters.  And honestly, there isn't even really anything different about each set of characters:  Thaddeus is the typical alpha, broody hero.  Leona is the feisty, intelligent, ahead-of-her-time heroine.

I DID come to love Aunt Victoria though; she was interesting to have around.

What I DIDN'T like was how this book was less of a mystery than a straight forward suspense with romance and sex and some investigating that didn't really amount to much, to be honest.  Next to 'Til Death Do Us Part, this is probably my least favorite of Amanda Quick's work thus far.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board Two | Square E14 -- Historical

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/07/brief-thoughts-third-circle.html
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review 2016-07-27 13:00
Brief Thoughts: Sizzle and Burn
Sizzle and Burn - Jayne Ann Krentz

Sizzle and Burn

by Jayne Ann Krentz
Book 3 of Arcane Society

When Raine Tallentyre made the mistake of revealing her paranormal abilities, her most recent romantic relationship came to a hasty end.  Her Aunt Vella, a gifted but troubled soul, had told her years ago to keep her talents a secret.  And now that poor Aunt Vella—her last blood relative—has died, Raine has resigned herself to a lonely life.

But when she journeys to Shelbyville, Washington, to clear out Aunt Vella’s house, Raine’s highly developed sensitivity leads her to a horrifying discovery: a young woman bound and terrified in a basement storage locker.  The victim has survived, but the culprit is still on the loose.  Without warning, a new man enters Raine’s life—investigator Zack Jones. Surprisingly, Zack isn’t repelled by her powers: in fact, he has them himself.  While Raine hears voices, Zack sees visions and within hours of their meeting, Raine experiences an intense, thrilling intimacy—mental, emotional, and physical—she never dared to expect.

There’s one complication, however: Zack Jones is working for the Arcane Society.  This secret organization, dedicated to the study of paranormal phenomena, shattered Raine’s family with an act of betrayal long ago, and she’s not about to trust them now.  But as a killer makes her his target, and a cabal of psychic criminals known as Nightshade operates in the shadows surrounding them, Raine and Zack must rely not only on their powerful abilities but on each other...

Sizzle and Burn is another highly enjoyable, readily intriguing romantic suspense by Jayne Ann Krentz.  And I say this every time I read one of her books, but they are indeed extremely addictive and easy to read.

I found myself liking a lot of things about this book.  Raine and Zack were great characters, both with their own unique traits, and a wonderfully compatible relationship.  I winced a little bit at the "meant to be" vibes, but I set those aside after the two of them started working together and proving that they would have been compatible with each other, paranormal senses or not.  I love that Raine has a signature "screw you" smile--it makes for a great strong heroine in a sea of testosterone in this book.  Zack is the typical alpha male, but I'm not going to hold that against him since he was a great guy.

The mystery was actually pretty enjoyable... until I realized how many tangents were surfacing towards the end to lend a resolution to the initial murder that jump starts this entire book's main conflict.  There turned out to be entirely too many things going on towards the end that just seemed like a jumbled mess.  At some point I found myself wondering whether or not our mysteries even got solved and I have a nagging feeling there were loose ends somewhere.

Nonetheless, Sizzle and Burn is still an incredibly fun and enjoyable read, so I'm willing to just go with it and move on.  I was entertained.  I was hooked.  I am going to continue reading books in this series and books by this author.

And that is all that matters.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board Two | Square C16 -- PNR

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/07/brief-thoughts-sizzle-and-burn.html
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