Author: Amanda Quick

Guest Review: The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick

Posted May 29, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda QuickReviewer: Jen
The Other Lady Vanishes (Burning Cove #2) by Amanda Quick, Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Burning Cove #2
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Knew Too Much sweeps readers back to 1930s California--where the most dazzling of illusions can't hide the darkest secrets...

After escaping from a private sanitarium, Adelaide Blake arrives in Burning Cove, California, desperate to start over.

Working at an herbal tea shop puts her on the radar of those who frequent the seaside resort town: Hollywood movers and shakers always in need of hangover cures and tonics. One such customer is Jake Truett, a recently widowed businessman in town for a therapeutic rest. But unbeknownst to Adelaide, his exhaustion is just a cover.

In Burning Cove, no one is who they seem. Behind facades of glamour and power hide drug dealers, gangsters, and grifters. Into this make-believe world comes psychic to the stars Madame Zolanda. Adelaide and Jake know better than to fall for her kind of con. But when the medium becomes a victim of her own dire prediction and is killed, they'll be drawn into a murky world of duplicity and misdirection.

Neither Adelaide or Jake can predict that in the shadowy underground they'll find connections to the woman Adelaide used to be--and uncover the specter of a killer who's been real all along...

The Other Lady Vanishes continues the Burning Cove series, which is set in a California resort town for the 1930s Hollywood crowd. This time our heroine is Adelaide Blake. Adelaide is a tearoom waitress (and sort of amateur herbalist) who escaped from a sanitarium after being wrongly locked away. She’s struggling to build some sort of life for herself in Burning Cove, even while she’s worried someone will come after her and try to drag her back. Jake Truett is a visitor to town, ostensibly to “rest his nerves” on the orders of his doctor. He becomes a regular tearoom visitor, and when the opportunity presents itself, he jumps at the chance to go on a date with Adelaide. Their date doesn’t quite go as planned, however, and they get sucked into a grisly murder. Clues keep adding up suggesting that Adelaide’s past is not as far behind her as she had hoped, and Jake’s true reasons for coming to town may be related as well. They have to work to investigate the increasing crimes and stay alive while doing so.

I really enjoyed the twisty, turny mystery of this book. There are a lot of players double crossing each other and trying to advance their own hidden agendas, and it’s fun to see Adelaide, Jake , and their friends untangle the threads. (We hear more about Luther Pell, the mysterious nightclub owner we met in Book 1. I am so intrigued!) This book has a bit of a gothic feel to it, despite being set in the 1930s, mostly because of the sanitarium. Rushbrook is a creepy building where horrible things take place, and it is absolutely terrifying to think of Adelaide being forcibly locked up there with no seeming way out. There’s also a drug involved that can trap people in their nightmares, and that adds a very macabre touch, too. It was a bit of a stretch like many mysteries since there were so many coincidences and tidy solutions, but I was hooked.

I liked Adelaide, even if it did take her a little while to come into her own. At the start, she is understandably doubting herself. She knows she wasn’t ill…and yet she spent months being told she was and being dosed with a hallucinogenic drug. Of course, that would plant a seed of doubt in someone’s mind. More than that, though, she is afraid that other people will think she’s mentally ill. I thought her caution and reticence to get involved with Jake at first made sense, and I really appreciated that she doesn’t drag out her standoffishness forever. Jake is an ok character, but we never really learn that much about him. He has a backstory with a dead wife and some far-fetched involvement with international intrigue, but we only get a vague sense of him as a person. I liked him with Adelaide, but theirs is not a particularly well-developed, character-driven romance. Their dialogue can also be a bit stilted at times.

I did want to mention a big old trigger warning for discussions of mental illness and, to a lesser extent, rape in this book. Mental illness in particular is a thread that comes up in several different ways throughout the book, and it’s not always handled with a modern sensibility by these 1930s characters. To my mind, nothing was egregiously offensive, but characters in the book do things like call the residents of the sanitarium “poor wretches” and “crazy,” and generally residents are used as part of the creepy scenery rather than human characters in their own right. Better was the discussion of Jake’s wife and her own mental health issues, which I thought was treated with more respect. In other words, it’s not all bad, but YMMV.

I liked the mystery of this book better than the mystery of Book 1, but I didn’t quite love the characters as much. Still, this is a good read if you enjoy a good old-fashioned mystery with a little romance mixed in.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Burning Cove

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

Posted May 8, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 7 Comments

Guest Review: The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda QuickReviewer: Jen
The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: May 9th 2017
Pages: 400
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Amanda Quick, the bestselling author of ’Til Death Do Us Part, transports readers to 1930s California, where glamour and seduction spawn a multitude of sins…

When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool.

Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago.

With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…

Set in 1930’s Los Angeles, this book is about Irene Glasson, a reporter who stumbles on a dead body at the Burning Cove Hotel while chasing a big story. The hotel is owned by former magician Oliver Ward, and it’s a celebrity hot spot where all the biggest actors come to enjoy some privacy (carefully curated and strategically interrupted “privacy,” of course – how do you think celebrities kept people talking before Instagram and Twitter?). Oliver is understandably not thrilled about the murder, both because of the negative publicity it might bring to his hotel and because he’s a genuinely decent guy who doesn’t like that someone got killed. Since both Irene and Oliver have a vested interest in figuring out what is going on, they start to work together a bit. Naturally, this draws them closer and brings danger to their door, and it brings to light some of Irene’s own dark secrets.

I know this book wasn’t perfect, but boy did I enjoy the hell out of it! I really, really loved the setting. For me, 1930’s LA was an ideal setting for a romance, because it feels distant but still familiar at the same time. We have enough photographs and films that we can visualize the fashion, the cars, the type of actors described. I 100% pictured Irene as a young Katherine Hepburn, fast talking, acerbic wit, brilliant mind, and classy elegance. And setting it in LA, where the film industry was growing by leaps and bounds, where the young and the lost arrived hoping to make it big, was so smart. I don’t know much about the cultural or social history of that time period, but it felt realistic that LA would be the kind of place where morals were a little looser, where supervision was a little less strict, and where a woman like Irene could make it on her own. I was enthralled.

I thought Irene was a great character, but I was in love with Oliver. He was such a lovely, kind man. He took care of all his employees and was serious about his role as their caretaker, and the devotion they all had for him made it clear they cared for him right back. Plus, he was a magician! The job gave him a deep understanding of human nature, and it was one reason he was such a natural at catering to the rich and famous. He was a great match for Irene, too, because he didn’t stomp all over her independence.

Unfortunately, I thought we could have used a little more time for Irene and Oliver to get to know each other. I felt like Irene trusted him a little too easily, especially given that she was hiding some pretty heavy secrets. I enjoyed meeting Oliver’s inventor uncle, but he got so little page time that he wasn’t even close to a fleshed out character, which was a missed opportunity.

Despite the imperfections, I had a great time reading this book. I hope Quick, or any other other author, sets more books in this time period because I didn’t get nearly enough of it!

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Sunday Spotlight: The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

Posted May 7, 2017 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 8 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be  raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda QuickThe Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: May 9th 2017
Pages: 352
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool…
The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn’t resist—especially since she’s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene’s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.
Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago…
With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || iBOOKS || KOBO

Excerpt

Excerpt of THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH by Amanda Quick

Irene stopped at the edge of the long lap pool and looked down at the body sprawled gracefully on the bottom. It was fifteen minutes past midnight. The lights had been dimmed in the grand spa chamber, but in the low glow of a nearby wall sconce, it was possible to make out the dead woman’s hair floating around her pretty face in a nightmarish imitation of a wedding veil.

Irene turned away from the pool, intending to run to the entrance of the spa to summon help. Somewhere in the shadows, shoe leather scraped on tiles. She knew then that she was not alone with the dead woman. There was a faint click and the wall sconces went dark.

The vast spa chamber was abruptly plunged into dense shadows. The only light now was the ghostly glow from the moon. It illuminated the section of the spa where Irene stood. She might as well have been pinned in a spotlight.
Her pulse pounded and she was suddenly fighting to breathe. The nearest exit was the row of French doors behind her. But they were on the opposite side of the long lap pool. The side door that she had used to enter the spa was even farther away.

She concluded that her best option was to sound as if she was in command of herself and the situation.
“There’s been an accident,” she said, raising her voice in what she hoped was a firm, authoritative manner. “A woman fell into the water. We’ve got to get her out. There might still be time to revive her.”
That was highly unlikely. Gloria Maitland looked very, very dead.

There was no response. No one moved in the shadows.

Somewhere in the darkness water dripped, the faint sound echoing eerily. The humid atmosphere was rapidly becoming oppressive.

There were two possible reasons why the other person on the scene might not come forward, Irene thought. The first was fear of scandal. The Burning Cove Hotel was one of the most exclusive on the West Coast. Located almost a hundred miles north of Los Angeles, it offered a guarantee of privacy and discretion to those who could afford it. If the rumors were true, it had sheltered a list of guests that ranged from powerful figures of the criminal underworld to Hollywood stars and European royalty. Times might be hard elsewhere in the country, but you’d never know it from the luxury and opulence of the Burning Cove Hotel.

The stars and aspiring stars came to the hotel to escape the prying eyes of the always hungry reporters of the Los Angeles newspapers and the Hollywood gossip columnists. So, yes, it was possible that the watcher in the shadows feared being discovered in the vicinity of a woman who had just drowned. That kind of scandal could certainly taint a budding film career.

But there was another reason the other person might not want to assist in what would no doubt be a futile rescue effort. Perhaps he or she had been directly responsible for the death of the woman in the pool.
The thought that she might be trying to coax a killer out of hiding sent another jolt through Irene. She decided to make a run back to the side door.

But she had waited too long. Running footsteps sounded in the darkness, ringing and echoing off the tiled walls and floor. The other person was not fleeing the scene, Irene realized. Instead, he or she—it was impossible to tell which—was coming toward her.


Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

| INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

Jayne Ann Krentz is the author of more than fifty New York Times bestsellers. She has written contemporary romantic suspense novels under that name, as well as historical and futuristic romance novels under the pseudonyms Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle, respectively. Learn more at jayneannkrentz.com and connect with her on facebook.com/JayneAnnKrentz.


Tagged: , , , , ,

Guest Review: ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

Posted June 16, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda QuickReviewer: Jen
'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 19th 2016
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

The author of the New York Times bestseller Garden of Lies returns to Victorian London in an all-new novel of deadly obsession.

Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.

Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.   But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker...

I’ve never been a huge historical romance reader, but I did steadily read them until about 1.5 years ago when I simply lost all interest. I haven’t read a historical since then. Well, alert the press because I broke my historical drought with ‘Til Death Do Us Part, and I have zero regrets. I had a blast with this one!

Calista Langley is essentially a professional matchmaker, though she explains it as being in the business of “introductions” for paying clients. She holds regular salons where she introduces carefully selected and vetted ladies and gentlemen of quality, and in doing so she makes a decent living to support her and her brother. Trent Hastings is a famous author and the brother of one of her clients, and he visits her out of concern she may be fleecing his sister and setting her up for marriage with a fortune hunter. Calista pretty quickly sets him in his place, and he’s fascinated by her. When he later learns she’s receiving disturbing and frightening gifts from an unknown party, he offers to help her investigate as a form of “research” for the detective novels he writes. Trent, Calista, and both their siblings start to follow the trail, and it leads to murder, madness, and, of course, lots of time together for Trent and Calista.

I totally enjoyed the plot of this book. It’s a good old fashioned mystery, and the Victorian setting, fascinated as they were with death, was just perfect. The gifts Calista has been receiving are all objects made to commemorate or accessorize the dead, such as a tear catcher, a coffin bell, etc, which makes them exceptionally creepy. There may be scenes in a  macabre funeral parlor and some murders, but this isn’t a horror–it’s more Sherlock Holmes meets lighter gothic romance. There were lots of twists and turns and layers of villains that kept things interesting all the way through. Yes, it’s a little dramatic, but it’s not cartoonish. There’s a lot of subtle humor too, such as the star treatment Trent gets when people find out he writes a popular detective series or the fact that all the men dislike his new female detective character while the women love her. It’s clever without being too wink wink at the audience.

You can also feel the stirrings of modernity popping up in Victorian England. Calista and some of the other women (and men) in the book are realizing that often marriage is a pretty raw deal for women and that the deck is firmly stacked against unmarried women, too. But, Calista is very aware that she has more opportunities than women before her had, because she is able to operate a business and support herself. She’s smart, practical, and knows what she wants, and I really loved her character. We also see some other Victorian innovations, such as the study of psychology, advances in investigatory techniques, new laws allowing women to own property, and more. The historical details were interesting and made my geeky heart happy.

The book is not without some issues. Some of the dialog feels a little unnatural, and there are some periods of inaction where the pace dragged. Unfortunately, I thought the romance lost out to the mystery. There just wasn’t as much time spent on character development as I would have liked. We find out about stuff that happened to Calista and Trent, but I still didn’t get a great sense of who they were separately or together. I felt like the chemistry between them started out promising, but then it’s not given enough time to properly grow so that when they’re suddenly going at it in the library (according to historical romances, I assume 75% of sex in the past must have taken place in the library), I was not particularly interested. Both these characters had some heavy backstories and had plenty of room for more emotional connections. I thought they were compatible, but not given enough page space to develop.

Regardless, I really liked this book. I debated on the grade for a long time because it does have some issues, and yet it was just plain fun for me. For some reason I never even thought about reading historical romantic suspense! Now I will be on the hunt for some more. (If you have suggestions, post them here please!)

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,