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review 2018-06-22 15:59
Mystique by Amanda Quick
Mystique - Amanda Quick

Hugh the Relentless wants to become Hugh of Scarcliffe. To accomplish that, he needs to appease his superstitious villages by finding a green crystal that's been recently stolen from the Scarcliffe convent.

The green crystal was briefly in possession of Lady Alice, a sharp-tongued beauty that's determined to strike a bargain with Hugh. She'll help him locate the stone, if he helps her and her brother leave their uncle's manor.


This was almost an exact copy of Desire with the long-suffering, knightly hero becoming saddled with an opinionated, rather spoiled, and entitled heroine with a sharp tongue, reckless impulses, and (at least from what I've seen) not much wit.

The romance between Hugh the Relentless and Alice the Relentless Pain in his Butt left much to be desired, since the heroine was so bloody annoying, I couldn't comprehend what drew Hugh to her and Hugh being so goddamn bland, I couldn't comprehend what drew her to him.

The suspense was the saving grace of this story with motives and suspects galore, and the mystery involving past sins and the Stones of Scarcliffe was nicely intriguing. Unfortunately, it couldn't compensate for the lack in all other "departments".

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review 2018-06-21 16:11
Desire by Amanda Quick
Desire - Amanda Quick

Clare, lady of the Isle of Desire, has no other choice but wed. What little choice she does have, will be spent on choosing the right husband, following a specific "recipe". All she needs are suitable candidates; they must not be big, they must be kind and have a pleasant disposition, and they must read.

Her liege lord sends her only two possible candidates. Sir Nicholas is out of the question, since he's an idiot, while Sir Gareth, the knight they call the Hellhound of Wyckmere, will not do either. He's huge, too serious and appears emotionless...But at least he can read.


I like medievals; the pageantry, the hulking knights on huge warhorses, the swords, the damsels in their girdles and wimples...This one only had the hulking knight on a huge warhorse and his sword.

I liked Gareth. He was the incarnation of a still water running deep. He was honorable, protective, smart and cunning...And unfortunately saddled with an idiot for heroine.
I couldn't stand Clare. For someone who prided herself on her intelligence, she sure could act stupid and shrewish. I'm sure she was supposed to be a feminist, but her "smart, strong willed" tantrums landed her in the entitled and opinionated bitch territory. She was impulsive, she never thought before she spoke, and her stereotypical view of knights (even the one who has sworn to protect her), coupled with her idiotic fantasy of the "dream man" got old really fast.

The resulting romance between the poor guy and the somewhat TSTL shrew made me wince, the "suspense" was predictable (you could see the villain and his "accomplice" from a mile away) and too short-lived...The majority of the story was spent on the two protagonists getting to know each other and Clare being Clare. With a different heroine, it might've been entertaining; with this one, it was just painful.

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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 2018-02-10 16:16
Quick Thoughts: Illusion Town
Illusion Town (Illusion Town Novel, An) - Jayne Castle

Illusion Town
by Jayne Castle
Book 13 of Harmony

 

 

A new adventure begins on Harmony…

With its opulent casinos and hotels, the desert city of Illusion Town is totally unique -- and will take you on a thrill ride you’ll never forget.

Hannah West isn’t the first woman to wake up in Illusion Town married to a man she barely knows, but she has no memory of the ceremony at all.  For that matter, neither does Elias Coppersmith, her new husband.  All either can remember is that they were on the run…

With Hannah’s dubious background and shaky para-psych profile, she could have done much worse.  The cooly competent mining heir arouses her curiosity -- as well as other parts of her mind and body.  And even her dust bunny likes him.

But a honeymoon spent retracing their footsteps leads Hannah and Elias into the twisting underground catacombs, where secrets from both their pasts will come to light -- and where the energy of their clashing auras will grow hot enough to burn…



Somehow, Illusion Town ended up feeling more present-day-earth-like... if that makes any sense.  The Harmony books are set in a futuristic world, on a planet in outer space with aliens and such.  And the past few Harmony books in the Rainshadow sub-series had started feeling less futuristic-spacey until about three books in, when the catacombs came back into the game.

And now Illusion Town comes around, with it's Vegas-like setting, a few references to the Arcane Society, and maybe a few instances of catacombs, and we stop feeling like Harmony once again.  If not for the presence of Virgil, the dust bunny, and the random mentions of the aliens and their catacombs, this could have been any random paranormal romantic suspense book in a present day Vegas-like city.

But really, that was my only quibble.

I liked the whole memory loss schtick, as awkward as the whole scenario was carried out.  Truthfully, it could have been executed a little bit better, but it wasn't terrible.  Watching Hannah and Elias piece their way backwards from a post psi-burn memory loss that somehow led to a Marriage of Convenience with no recollection of how they got there, waking up in a seedy motel together was interesting.  Even if the twisty reveals could have been handled a little less deliberately.

Meanwhile, another tie-in to the Arcane Society was also quite nice.  I liked having a dreamlight talent brought back to the forefront and found Hannah's dream walking skill an interesting one, though I would have liked a more in-depth look at it.  A lot of the story and the character biographies of both our hero and heroine felt a bit glossed over.  The developing bond and romance was sweet, even if not as steamy as I would have liked.

Again, I wished there could have been more of our dust bunny companion, but Virgil felt a bit left out.

Nonetheless, this is still a wonderful Jayne Castle slash Jayne Ann Krentz at her formulaic best, and I absolutely am looking forward to more in the Harmony series!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/02/quick-thoughts-illusion-town.html
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review 2018-02-08 16:19
Quick Thoughts: Siren's Call
Siren's Call - Jayne Castle

Siren's Call
by Jayne Castle
Book 12 of Harmony
-- Book 4 of Rainshadow

 

 

In the mysterious world of Harmony, there are places filled with unexplored marvels.  But Rainshadow Island isn’t about to give up its secrets…

In the alien catacombs of Rainshadow, there are creatures whose compelling songs lure the unwary to their death.  That’s why Rafe Coppersmith, hired to clear out the catacombs for exploration, needs a music talent.  He knows the perfect one, but she probably doesn’t want anything do with him...

Ella Morgan had once fallen hard and fast for Rafe, but then he disappeared for months…and he’s not about to tell her why.  Ella, too, has secrets that only her dust bunny knows.  She’s not just a music talent, she’s a Siren: a paranormal singer capable of singing men to sleep—or to their deaths.

But once on Rainshadow, Rafe and Ella will learn that surrendering to passion doesn’t come without risks—and fighting fire with fire only adds to the flame…



This book was entirely enjoyable and entirely Jayne Ann Krentz, with her usual formulaic romance, and standard great characters.  I'm not complaining, but it DOES end up becoming a tad bit forgettable when the stories are always the same, even with a new adventure, a new addition to the ongoing series' conflict, and new developments with the overall Harmony world.

For this particular installment, I DID really like the entire Siren aspect of Ella's paranormal abilities, and enjoyed the references to "Old World" mythologies, as the characters like to put it.  I like knowing what kinds of abilities our characters possess, so even if the explanations seem a bit far-fetched, it's interesting to know that Ella's musical talent also resonates with glass and can make it... melt.

Rafe's abilities were a bit confusing, although knowing that he's lost his own, original abilities and is stuck in a psi-fever was an interesting twist.

I still love the atmosphere and the creativity of Rainshadow Island, as well as the newly discovered catacombs there.  The creation of Wonderland was quite interesting--kind of like a futuristic, alien Jurassic Park, frozen in time, and completely blue.

And then, once again, I would definitely like to see more of the dust bunnies.  While the previous installment had a wonderful appearance by our dust bunnies, I feel like this one was kind of lacking.  I mean, Lorelei was great with her powdered donut obsession, and her attachment to a wedding veil with sparkly crystals.  But she didn't really get a whole lot of story other than that, to be honest.

Nonetheless, this was still a wonderfully enjoyable paranormal, romantic suspense written by a wonderful author!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/02/quick-thoughts-sirens-call.html
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