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Search tags: Jayne-Ann-Krentz-Amanda-Quick-Jayne-Castle
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review 2018-05-16 17:38
The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick
The Other Lady Vanishes - Amanda Quick

Adelaide Blake escapes from her involuntary residence at a private asylum for the insane and seeks refuge in the small Californian town of Burning Cove. Working as a tearoom waitress, she does her best in not getting noticed, but she still manages to get the attention of Jake Truett, a recently widowed businessman recuperating his shattered nerves in Burning Cove.

Adelaide soon discovers Jake's nerves are as steely as hers, when he rushes to her rescue brandishing a gun, and when psychic to the stars Madam Zolanda plunges to her death, unwittingly fulfilling her own prediction of someone dying a bloody death, Jake's nerves of steel come in handy as it soon becomes apparent Zolanda and Adelaide's cases are connected.

Unlike its predecessor, the suspense in this story actually worked well. The entire plot was intriguing and rife with mystery and dangers, and what red herrings there might've been turned out to be genuine clues and connections.
I liked the mystery of it, I liked the guessing game I went through to discover who the villain is, what the possible connections were, who was pulling the strings...And I especially liked the final little twist to the well-developed suspense arc.

It's the rest of the story that lowered the rating. While the time period didn't bother me in this one, and the characters were rather well-drawn (the heroine wasn't off-putting in the least), I missed the romance element. It was there, in the story, but what we got left me cold.
I certainly wasn't convincing and came across as rushed and not as polished as the rest of the story was. Still, in the end, I sensed the seed of it, but that was all it was; the big revelation of feelings jumped the shark.

Still, the suspense saved the day.

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review 2017-08-21 11:28
Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz
Promise Not to Tell - Jayne Ann Krentz

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Hannah Brewster, an artist and former member of the Quinton Zane cult, throws herself off a cliff after destroying her latest painting. But before burning down her cabin and jumping to her death, she takes a photo of her last creation and mails it to one of the survivors of the "end" of the Zane cult, art gallery owner, Virginia Troy.

Virginia knows there's more to Hannah's death than the suicide everybody else is buying, so she enlists the help of Anson Salinas, the man who saved her and seven other children from the fire Zane had started all those years ago. Salinas has recently opened an investigative agency, along his three foster sons, all three saved from the same fire, and Cabot Sutter immediately recognizes Virginia, and agrees to help in her investigation.

Cabot and Virginia quickly realize they're on the right path, as bodies start piling up, but little do they suspect their poking into the past will soon make a demon from their joint, fiery past rear his dark head.

It was still as complicated and convoluted as its predecessor, but the mystery was much tighter and intriguing, keeping me entertained and guessing despite all the villains, motives, motivations, and sub-plots.

This one also took its sweet time before it started going, but the pace wasn't as slow to begin with, and once the mystery kicked in and later started to unravel, the pace was suitably heightened.
Unfortunately, the many slow spots in between, exposition scenes, inner monologues, anxiety attacks etc., made the story flow rather "hiccup-y"; the constant start-stop-start-stop of the story jarring.

The characters had also much to be desired. Bland, template-y, carbon copies of previous character by the same author, and despite Ms Krentz obvious attempts at adding layers and depths, rather one-dimensional and dull.
The hero didn't appear to have much of a personality, while the heroine "quirks" were rather incongruous with what she's been through (how can someone who survived a fire when she was nine end up having intimacy issues is still beyond me). Neither hero nor heroine had any really appealing character traits to get them to stay in the reader's memory beyond the end of the book, and their romance was a real stretch to believe.

Sometimes a story it so intriguing, so realistic, it makes the reader think it could easily happen in real life, then there are those that by character action and/or plot elements and story scream "fiction" and this one was one of the latter. Everything was just a tad too bland or that little bit over the top (the whole hiding of the money from the monster, for example) to make it unrealistic and implausible, straight-up fiction.

Still, the mystery was intriguing, but the story could've used some heavy editing to get rid of some unnecessary scenes, especially those after the end, where the scene with the reveal about the major player from the past would've sufficed.

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review 2017-06-12 09:27
All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz
All Night Long - Jayne Ann Krentz

Seventeen years ago, Irene Stenson found her parents corpses in their kitchen. The crime, ruled murder-suicide, has scarred her for life, since she couldn’t come to grips with the fact her father could’ve killed her mother, and so unable to put it all behind.

Now, Irene, an investigative reported with a small newspaper, receives an e-mail from her once-best friend, the one who was with her on the night that had changed her life, inviting her back into her hometown with promises of explanations about the past.

But instead of explanations, Irene finds more questions, when she finds her friend dead of a supposed overdose, while the very next day her friend’s house burns down. Something’s not right, but the local police denies any suspicions, yet Irene isn’t alone in her little investigation. Luke Danner, the owner of the resort Irene’s staying in, feels not all dots are connected, and knows Irene is right in the middle of the emerging picture.

Oh, wow. This is how you write romantic suspense, and this is what I’ve been missing lately in Ms Krentz’s novels.

Great characters, both scarred, both with issues not many people can understand or relate to, but they’ve each managed to find someone who does.
Both Irene and Luke (although we can only imagine what he went through) went through horrible experiences, and yes, those experiences have marked them, but didn’t put them out of commission, they’ve come back swinging and stronger for it.
And in the end, against all odds, both their diagnoses (hers confirmed, his not so much), despite his meddling family (which was the “weakest” part of the story, if you ask me, since it didn’t really “connect” with the overall plot), despite everything they found each other, that someone who can understand, who can relate, and who can help battle the demons when they struck.
Their chemistry was sizzling, and almost palpable, their romance rather believable, if a bit rushed, their communication both serious and funny...Boy, howdy, I loved them to bits.

But romance, no matter how strong the characters are, isn’t enough to make a romantic suspense novel. You also need suspense, and this one had it in spades.
Gripping, intense, edge-of-your-seat, keeping-you-guessing-until-the-last-page suspense. Nicely paced, well-written, well-plotted out, with many red-herrings along the way, and when the big reveal came (well, both of them), I just couldn’t. I absolutely didn’t see it coming, but in the end, the villain, the motive, everything made perfect sense.

This one truly had it all; wonderful, layered characters, great chemistry and romance, a good supporting cast, gripping suspense with loads of misdirection, and the main villain you won’t see coming.

More, please.

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review 2017-05-14 08:59
The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
The Girl Who Knew Too Much - Amanda Quick

Four months ago, Anna Harris fled her previous life after finding her employer murdered and herself suddenly in possession of a dead scientist's notebook. Now, she's once more looking at a dead woman's body, drowned in the spa pool of an exclusive, elite California hotel.

The dead woman had a connection to a rising star in Hollywood, the same actor who's also a guest at the hotel...And this is the third dead woman connected to the same actor; all of them died the same "accidental" death. The woman who now calls herself Irene Glasson knows the connection is there, even though no one else wants to acknowledge it, and she's willing to risk everything to prove it.

There was a good story in there, pity it got bogged down by all the "sideplots", red-herrings, misdirections, a secondary suspense plot (that was resolved too easily), a mediocre heroine more or less skirting the TSTL territory, and a lukewarm-at-best romance that felt both rushed and forced.
Also, the period didn't work for me, too close to "contemporary" to actually sound overly "historical", while sounding weirdly outdated.

A rather large disappointment from one of my favorite authors whose "voice" I barely recognize.

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review 2017-02-07 12:22
Uneasy Alliance by Jayne Ann Krentz
Uneasy Alliance - Jayne Ann Krentz

Some people have complained that this story hasn’t aged well. But, beside the “archaic” dialogue or two, I would politely disagree. Yes, the hero, Torr, was a jackass. Overbearing, dominant, possessive, didn’t take no for an answer when he knew what he wanted or thought he knew what was right. A very Alpha hero. If this story was written twenty or thirty years later as a paranormal, no one would even arch an eyebrow. But I guess, as long as the hero is some ancient immortal being (be it vampire or Alpha shapeshifter), his overbearing nature is oh-so hot and oh-so right. But if it’s a romance written in the eighties, the hero suddenly becomes a Neanderthal and whatever he does to the heroine is borderline rape.

I’d say it was the contrast with the heroine’s character, that made Torr out worse than he actually was. She was a doormat most of the time, letting him do whatever he pleased despite all her protestations about disliking overbearing men. It was her character, contrasting so starkly with his, that made me want to smack him with a cast-iron pan. A good two-handed grip and let loose.
But once the story started rolling, and especially in the end, when it became clear Abby had clear TSTL tendencies, I actually apologized to Torr (in my mind) for wanting to bash him with that pan. No wonder he was the way he was, asserting his will all over the place, telling her what to do and how to do it, determined to protect her no matter what...Because she didn’t know better. She was a flake, all over the place with her vitamins and her I-know-better, I’m-a-woman-and-won’t-be-dictated-to attitude. In the end, I actually felt sorry for the guy.

So, no, the rating has little to do with the hero, quite a lot to do with the heroine (she annoyed me more and more as the story progressed), but mostly the low rating is because the story itself is redundant. The blackmailing scheme could be solved with one simple phone call.
Idiotic premise, redundant story, stilted pacing, annoying heroine, jackass hero...Did I miss anything?

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