Review: The Girl Who Knew Too Much

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Girl Who Knew Too MuchThe Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
Published by Berkley Books on May 9th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 352
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“You must not trust anyone — not the police, not the F.B.I.  Above all, never trust a lover.”

FINAL DECISION:  My favorite Amanda Quick book in a long time.  The move to 1930s California has given new energy and freshness to what is often a familiar romantic suspense storyline.  I hope we will be reading more in this time period.

THE STORY:  1930s California is a place where people can reinvent themselves.  Irene Glasson has come here on the run from the murder of her prior employer.  Irene (and that is also a new name) is now a reporter for a small gossip paper when she becomes involved in yet another murder.  The murder of an actress takes place at the hotel of Oliver Ward.  Oliver is also starting his life over again.  Previously a famous magician whose career ended in blood during a performance, Oliver is determined to protect his hotel from scandal when he discovers that Irene didn’t seem to exist prior to four months ago.

OPINION:  I’ve been reading Amanda Quick books since the first ones in the 1990s.  In the intervening years there have been books I have absolutely loved (RAVISHED and THE PERFECT POISON) and ones that I found completely forgettable. The most recent books have been adequate but have lacked the energy and vibrancy of the best books.

THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH moves to a new time period.  I was wary of the change because the 1930s is not a time period often used in romance novels and I did not know how the Quick books would translate into that time period.  I’m happy to report that I loved the time period move to the 20th century.  In taking place in an era that has not been done ad nauseum, the book is allowed to investigate different morals, complications and motivations than the Regency or Victorian eras.

These characters feel fresh and new and the entire book has a vibrancy and drew my interest in an entirely new manner.

Irene is a career woman who is caring for herself.  She arrives in California at a time when she can completely reinvent herself (without pesky complications such as social security numbers and needing government identification). She’s tough and clever and determined. I love smart heroines and Irene is no exception.  She just keeps picking herself up after her disappointments.  She is independent and thus her willingness to trust Oliver is a major point in their relationship.

Oliver is adorable.  Sexy and wounded and oh so willing to engage in witty verbal combat with Irene.  He’s a man who cares for his own. Like Irene, he is also a man who has reinvented himself (for different reasons).  Being a survivor and adapting is a strong theme in this book with these two characters.  They live in a time and place of reinvention and they both are living out that possibility.

Along with a romance there is a peppy suspense story that keeps the pace humming along. The suspense works very well with the romance here and doesn’t overpower the relationship between Oliver and Irene.  Instead, the two work together hand in hand to undercover who is killing the women the Irene keeps discovering. I found the mystery and the solution satisfying and the adventure served to bring the characters closer.

This book was a real winner for me and I hope that there are more books in this time period (and I think there is possibility right in this book).

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is the first Amanda Quick novel to take place outside of the 19th century.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: Irresistible

Review: IrresistibleIrresistible (Horsemen Trilogy, #3) by Mary Balogh
Series: Horsemen Trilogy #3
Published by Berkley Books on October 2nd 2007
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320
Goodreads
two-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This book was just okay. I enjoyed most of the relationship and story but I couldn’t relate how Sophie reacted to being blackmailed.  Her irrational behavior just bothered me throughout.

THE STORY:  Mrs. Sophia Armitage, as the wife of an officer, followed the drum during the war became the friend of the Four Horsemen. Now a widow, Sophie resides in London and for the first time in three years, meets up with Nathaniel Gascoigne — a man that even a respectable wife could admire.  Now an opportunity for a special kind of friendship between the two arises and both are surprised by the intense passion that arises. Their fledgling relationship is threatened by the fact that Sophie has a secret — she is being blackmailed.

OPINION:  I liked how this book developed in the relationship between Nathaniel and Sophie. Two adults who want physical companionship begin to develop an emotional connection that they didn’t expect. They were sweet together and I liked them.

Unfortunately, the blackmail plot drove most of the action in the story.  Because of that Sophie’s continuing actions in giving in to the blackmail began to wear on me.  Not because I didn’t understand that she was afraid and wanting to be independent and used to hiding.  What I expected was that once the blackmail was revealed that she would gain a stronger emotional connection with Nathaniel by admitting her fears and anger. Instead, the story fell flat emotionally for me at that point.

I’m a big fan of Mary Balogh especially her restrained emotional intensity but I think this book was too emotionally restrained for me. On the other hand, I loved the ending where Nathaniel confesses his love for Sophie.  I thought that moment was almost perfect.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Fans of the series will know that there are four horsemen and thankfully although there are only three books, the fourth horseman gets his HEA in a secondary romance in this book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  IRRESISTIBLE is the third and final book of the Horseman Trilogy. It takes place 2 years after the events in the first two books in the series.  Although characters from those books appear, this book does not rely on those books at all and thus it can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 2.5 stars.

two-half-stars

Review: Wild Cat

Review: Wild CatWild Cat (Shifters Unbound, #3) by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound #3
Published by Berkley Books on January 1st 2012
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-stars

Story of Loss and Starting Again

WILD CAT is the third book in the Shifters Unbound Series. It is the story of Cassidy Warden, a feline shifter who is second in command in the Las Vegas Shiftertown. She meets Detective Diego Escobar in an abandoned building where she saves his life. Cassidy’s mate was murdered a year ago. When Diego takes a risk to help Cassidy, she returns the favor by attempting to take care of him among Shifters. The two have a strong attraction physically and also emotionally because both have experienced loss.

This is a good entry into the series. We meet a new group of Shifters who live near Las Vegas. Ashley does a good job of balancing the attraction between the two and Cassidy’s grief. There is an interesting mystery regarding her mate’s death and the appearance of the Fae (enemies of Shifters). Readers of the series will probably be surprised by the quick turn to these people who were not present in the first two books of the series. In fact, readers could begin here without losing much in understanding (although the first two books are definitely worth the read).

four-stars

Review: Angels’ Blood

Review: Angels’ BloodAngels' Blood (Guild Hunter, #1) by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #1
Published by Berkley Books on March 3rd 2009
Genres: Paranormal
Goodreads
five-stars

Fabulous First Book In Series

“She’d never met a more deadly being in her life.”

THE STORY: Elena Deveraux is a vampire hunter, a Guild Hunter whose job it is to track down vampires and return them to their masters, the angels. Elena is summoned by the Archangel Raphael who controls New York. Meeting an archangel is dangerous business for a mortal and Elena is terrified by their confrontation even as she struggles to hide it. Elena has been chosen as the best of the hunters to hunt a creature more terrifying and dangerous than any Elena has tracked before.

OPINION: This book was amazing and completely different than I expected. It was so compelling that I immediately started reading the second book in the series and then the third. The series is about Elena and making her way in the world of angels and vampires and humans. Elena is strong and yet damaged in deep emotional ways. I was completely enthralled by her story because this book just begins to hint at the depth of Elena’s story. I also loved the story between Elena and Raphael. I have a weakness for dark and dangerous heroes who teeter on the edge of being the villain. The story is lush and dark and yet Elena is not a woman filled with darkness. Billed as urban fantasy, I think this book is more personal and emotional than I would have expected.

WORTH MENTIONING: ANGELS’ BLOOD is the first book in the series but Elena’s story is not concluded in this book. The ending of this book was unexpected and made me immediately turn to book two.

FINAL DECISION: This book is fabulous. Singh creates a fascinating world with unique rules and inhabited by fascinating individuals who are complex and compelling.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ANGELS’ BLOOD is the first book in the Guild Hunters series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

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five-stars