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review 2017-08-18 15:50
Thoughts: In Too Deep
In Too Deep (Arcane Society, #10) - Jayne Ann Krentz

In Too Deep
by Jayne Ann Krentz
Book 10 of Arcane Society
-- Book 1 of Looking Glass Trilogy



Scargill Cove is the perfect place for Fallon Jones, confirmed recluse and investigator of the paranormal.  It’s a hot spot, a convergence point for unusually strong currents of energy, which might explain why the town attracts misfits and drifters like moths to a flame.  Now someone else has been drawn to the Cove — Isabella Valdez, on the run from some very dangerous men.

When she starts working as Fallon’s assistant, Isabella impresses him by organizing his pathologically chaotic office—and doesn’t bat an eye at the psychic element of his job.  She’s a kindred spirit, a sanctuary from a world that considers his talents a form of madness.  But after a routine case unearths an antique clock infused with dark energy, Fallon and Isabella are dragged into the secret history of Scargill Cove and forced to fight for their lives, as they unravel a cutthroat conspiracy with roots in the Jones family business…and Isabella’s family tree.

In Too Deep was another highly enjoyable Jayne Ann Krentz contemporary romantic suspense, with paranormal elements.  This is the tenth installment of the Arcane Society series, and the first in the sub-trilogy called Looking Glass, and we very soon get introduced to the so-titled "looking glass" as well as some introductions to the Victorian era events that will probably be brought up once again in the next Arcane book.

In Too Deep is not my favorite of the Arcane series, but like any other JAK contemporary, it is suspenseful with lots of twists, great characters, and fun wit.  Fallon Jones is an interesting character, and while I found his anti-social, stoic personality kind of appealing, especially as he seems to also emit some sort of "fish out of water" behavior when it comes to socializing, or even playing nice, there were things about him that seemed too brusque for my liking.

Isabella Valdez is an interesting character as well, coming from a family that "leaves no paper trail" of their existence.  What it is like to have no legal or official identity, always ready to be on the run... sounds like a tiring life.  Her sunny disposition was a bit over-the-top, but probably good for Fallon, I suppose.

Neither of the two characters' talents are really delved into very well, so I never quite understood Isabella's psychic skill.  Fallon's skill has been rehashed throughout the series, so I didn't have too much of a problem figuring him out, but it was still quite confusing.

Meanwhile, the background conspiracy is still ongoing, even though I'm of the impression that this is the last of the Arcane contemporary books.  I suppose sometimes you can't solve everything.

The true highlight of this book was really the little community of Scargill Cove.  It gave off a stranger than strange small town vibe, where everyone has secrets, but everyone protects each other, and everyone sort of knows who belongs in the Cove and who doesn't.  It's an almost weird creepy vibe, I suppose, when you get a bunch of sensitives together, even if they don't know they have some form of psychic talent.

Then there's the underground bunker with the clockwork curiosities that pretty much starts me thinking in terms of steampunk.  And it sets up a great transition into the next book of this series, Quicksilver.

As per usual, my rambling really just proves that JAK books are extremely enjoyable and entertaining while you read them, but when you try to talk about them, you don't come up with a whole lot.


Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/08/thoughts-in-too-deep.html
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review 2017-07-24 01:02
Quick Thoughts: Burning Lamp
Burning Lamp (Arcane Society, #8) - Amanda Quick

Burning Lamp
by Amanda Quick
Book 8 of Arcane Society
-- Book 2 of Dreamlight Trilogy



The Arcane Society was born in turmoil when the friendship of its two founders evolved into a fierce rivalry.  Sylvester Jones and Nicholas Winters each sought to enhance their individual psychic talents.  Winters' efforts led to the creation of a device of unknown powers called the Burning Lamp.  Each generation the Winters man who inherits it is destined to develop multiple talents - and the curse of madness.

Plagued by hallucinations and nightmares, notorious crime lord Griffin Winters is convinced he has been struck with the Winters Curse.  And the instincts that have helped him survive the streets and rise to power are now drawing him toward Adelaide Pyne, the bothersome social reformer.  But even as he arranges a meeting with the mysterious woman, he has no idea how closely their fates are bound, for Adelaide holds the Burning Lamp in her possession.

A dreamlight reader, Adelaide should be able to manipulate the Lamp's light to save both Griffin's sanity and his life.  But their dangerous psychical experiment makes them the target of forces both inside and outside of the Arcane Society.  And though desire strengthens their power their different lives will keep them apart - if death doesn't take them together.

I hate to admit this, since I DID enjoy Burning Lamp and found it a nice, easy, breezy read, witticisms and interesting characters included, but it didn't escape my notice that Burning Lamp was just a pretty repetition of Fired Up, but in an historical setting.  Dialogue and actions and some of the scenes were very similar, and while I applaud Amanda Quick's smooth connections between contemporary and historical (as well as all that foreshadowing that we already know occurs since the contemporary time line came first), it just wasn't as memorable an experience as I would have liked given that Fired Up came first.

Not the entire book is the same, of course.  I do love the interactions between all of our characters, Adelaide and Griffin, Mrs. Trevelyan and Delbert, and even with Jed and Leggert, and the inclusion of Caleb and Lucinda Jones.

Burning Lamp is a nice bridging connection between the first book in the Dreamlight trilogy, and the last, but I can't help but realize that not much occurs in this book that we don't already know about.  Very little forward progress is made, and it makes me feel that the next and last book in this sub-trilogy will really need to step it up in order to bring the story arc of the 'Winters Curse' and the 'Burning Lamp' to a close.

Frankly, given my love for the Harmony series, obviously my hopes are pretty high; although even if things don't turn out the way I want, I'll still enjoy myself.  Seeing as how Midnight Crystal will involve not only the cursed Winters man, but also a dreamlight reader who's last name is Jones, I'm feeling that a lot of things will come full circle into a nice wrap up.  After all, the Winters and the Jones are supposed to be enemies, according to legend.

All else fails, Harmony books always play up the dust bunnies to make everyone happy--I'm not above swooning over dust bunnies if the book itself doesn't entirely entice me.




Roll #29:
Book takes place in England (counts as an island).

Page Count:  328
Cash Award:  +$9.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $219.00













Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/07/quick-thoughts-burning-lamp.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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review 2016-06-17 12:00
Quick Thoughts: White Lies
White Lies - Jayne Ann Krentz

White Lies

by Jayne Ann Krentz

Book 2 of Arcane Society



Petite, thirtysomething Clare Lancaster is a Level Ten para-sensitive—and a “human lie detector.”  Over the years, she’s come to accept that someone with her extraordinary talents is likely to have trouble in the relationship department.  And she’s even resigned herself to the fact that everyone, to one degree or another, hides behind a facade...

And now it seems that meeting the half sister and family whom she never knew until seven months ago was a mistake.  Her father summons her from California to play a role in his business empire, and Clare doesn’t intend on making the same mistake twice.  But after meeting Jake Salter, Archer Lancaster’s “financial consultant,” Clare is convinced that things aren’t what they seem.  Salter’s careful conversation seems to walk a delicate line between truth and deception, revealing and resisting.  Something sparks and sizzles between them—something more than the usual electricity between a man and a woman.

Caught in a dizzying storm of secrets, lies, and half-truths, Jake and Clare will plunge into an investigation that demands every bit of their special gifts—together they must overcome their mutual distrust in order to unravel a web of conspiracy and murder.

The one thing that stood out the most to me in this book was how much I loved the partnership and subsequent relationship between Jake and Clare.  The two of them work very well together as an investigating team, and while their chemistry isn't exactly off-the-charts hot or anything, they DO present a rather obvious "meant to be" aura about them--I don't know if that has to do with the deliberate engineering by the author to create a couple destined to be perfect for each other or what?  Whatever it is, Jayne Ann Krentz managed it extraordinarily well.

No doubt, Jake and Clare are thus far one of my more favorite couple-combinations of romance and investigating team in JAK's fictional worlds so far.  There was banter, and oh, it was great banter!  Fun was had by all involved.  And sweet exchanges like the following was what I liked about the two of them together.



Jake looked at the door again.  "I lied to you."

"I know."  She smiled faintly.  "You were good at it, too.  Takes a lot of talent to keep me guessing."

"So, do you hate my guts now that you know the truth?" [...]

"Good grief.  Why would I hate you?  You have a job to do." [...]

"You were never supposed to be part of the job."

"But I became part of it.  Not your fault.  It's all right, Jake.  I understand."

"You really do have a slightly offbeat philosophy on the subject of lying, don't you?"

"Like I said, the ability to lie is a tool, as far as I'm concerned.  What matters is context."

He started to smile.

"That does not mean, however, that I have changed my mind about Fallon Jones," she added crisply.

His teeth gleamed in a wolfish grin.  "I don't give a damn how you feel about Fallon as long as you'll still sleep with me."

"I'm glad you have your priorities straight.  Now, I think we should postpone the rest of this conversation until a more convenient time.  This is where we get to corner one of the bad guys and scare him into spilling all his evil secrets, remember?"

"Yeah," Jake said.  "This is the fun part."

"You know, you remind me of those coyotes that come around hunting in the morning."

"Is my tongue hanging out yet?  I hate it when my tongue hangs out.  Kind of embarrassing."

One of the things I've noticed that I like about JAK novels (whether as Jayne Castle or Amanda Quick or, in this case, the contemporary author of Jayne Ann Krentz) is that she balances both romance and suspense pretty well.  Her pacing is fast-paced, smooth, and engaging.  And even though the mystery aspects are pretty predictable, you can't help but become hooked.

I finished reading a good chunk of this book before I even realized it.  Within hours, I was finished with the entire reading.

White Lies is entertaining and enjoyable, that's for sure.  The cross from historical in the first book of Arcane Society to contemporary in this second book was a little disorienting, but JAK connects the two books quite believably, even if not flawlessly.

And once again, I find it hard not to like the characters created in a JAK novel--they are intriguing, resourceful, readily likable people.  Even with some frustrating moments at the beginning of the book, it didn't deter me from enjoying myself.

Once again, it is so easy to find one of JAK's novels absurdly addictive.

This being the first of her contemporary romantic suspenses I've read, I think we're off to a good start.  I am sincerely looking forward to reading the rest of the Arcane Society series as well as the Harmony series, and even any of her other back list.

While these aren't the best books in the world, they are, once again, highly addictive and enjoyable.  And as far as I'm concerned, it suits me just fine.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge


Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/06/quick-thoughts-white-lies.html
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