Review: The Bride Wore White

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

Review: The Bride Wore WhiteThe Bride Wore White by Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove #7
Published by Berkley on May 2, 2023
Genres: Historical, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense

FINAL DECISION: I loved this book. It is an enjoyable and satisfying read, with witty dialogue, engaging characters, and a well-developed paranormal element. the romance between Prudence and Jack was a highlight as I loved their prickly interactions. I especially was excited about the more prominent nods to the Arcane Society, and I hope there is more in this vein to come in the future of this series.

THE STORY: Prudence Ryland is a dream reader and psychic consultant who finds herself in danger when her latest client intends to kill her. When she uses her abilities to save herself, she decides to flee and make another life for herself. She changes her career becoming a librarian and moves to a new home, hoping to start fresh. However, she is kidnapped and wakes up in a bloodstained wedding dress next to a corpse, leading to her being framed for the murder. Prudence comes to Luther Pell in Burning Cove to ask for his assistance in proving her innocence. Luther assigns her case to his associate, Jack Wingate. Jack, who is scarred and grim-faced, initially believes Prudence to be a fraud or a murderer, but eventually agrees to help her. However, his idea of helping involves using her as bait for the killer. As the danger to Prudence increases, she finds herself struggling with her growing fascination with Jack.

OPINION: The Bride Wore White is a delightful addition to Amanda Quick’s Burning Cove series, blending elements of historical romance, mystery, and paranormal fiction to create a truly engaging and entertaining read. As the seventh book in the series, it continues the story of the eponymous seaside town and its colorful cast of characters, while also introducing new players and deepening existing relationships.

One of the standout features of Quick’s books is the way she incorporates paranormal elements into her storytelling. The Bride Wore White is no exception, featuring a variety of psychic abilities and supernatural phenomena that add an extra layer of intrigue and excitement to the narrative. From Prudence’s psychic dream consultations to the mysterious chimes that only Jack can hear, there’s always something otherworldly happening just beneath the surface.

I especially loved the relationship between Prudence and Jack. They are two individuals who have lived through emotional isolation and loneliness, and watching them slowly open up and connect with each other is deeply satisfying. The snappy and witty dialogue between them adds another layer of enjoyment to their interactions. Quick is a master at crafting sharp and clever banter between her characters, and it’s no different in this book.

Another highlight of this book is the ongoing development of Luther and Raina’s relationship. Fans of the series will remember these two characters from earlier installments, and it’s been fascinating to see their connection deepen and evolve over time. Their interactions in THE BRIDE WORE WHITE are particularly enjoyable, adding a sense of warmth and familiarity to the overall story.

Perhaps most excitingly for longtime fans, this book features numerous references to the Arcane Society, a secret organization that has appeared throughout Quick’s/Krentz’s/Castle’s various series. For readers who have followed the paranormal threads woven throughout these books, THE BRIDE WORE WHITE is a veritable treasure trove of easter eggs and allusions. It’s clear that Quick has a huge history of the Arcane Society at her disposal and it’s immensely satisfying to see those pieces return and come together in this latest installment.

Overall, The Bride Wore White is one of my favorites in the Burning Cove series, boasting Quick’s signature blend of romance, mystery, and the paranormal. With engaging characters, an intriguing plot, and plenty of nods to Quick’s larger body of work, it’s a must-read for fans of the author.

WORTH MENTIONING: I don’t want to give away spoilers, but I wonder if someone has a matchmaking talent that we might see more of in the future.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE BRIDE WORE WHITE is the seventh book in the Burning Cove series. It is not necessary to read the other books to understand the events in this one since the romance and mystery stand alone. However, readers of the series will know more about the characters who appear in the book. The heroine appeared previously in CLOSE UP.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

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


Review: When She Dreams

Review: When She DreamsWhen She Dreams (Burning Cove, #6) by Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove #6
Published by Berkley Books on May 3, 2022
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320


FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this book, but it is my least favorite of the series because there is so much going on in the suspense/story that I missed the moments between the hero and heroine. They and their relationship felt less well-defined and concrete and thus I had less interest in their romance.

THE STORY: Maggie Lodge hires a private investigator Sam Sage to find out who is involved in attempting to blackmail her absent employer. The two end up traveling to Burning Cove to investigate. Both have bad relationships in their background, but Maggie also fears men who have attempted to take control of her ability to lucid dream. In Burning Cove Sam and Maggie run into charlatans, doctors who claim knowledge of lucid dreaming, and a killer. At the same time, Maggie and Sam are attracted to one another and yet have reservations about risking themselves again.

OPINION: This book was okay and it delivers on the mystery/suspense, but I was much less engaged with the couple. Both of the main characters have bad relationships in their background, but nothing about it really felt like it had affected them. The whole relationship between Sam and Maggie was too simple. There was no drama and no real connection.

I’m not sure where the relationship went wrong, but I know that I really wasn’t attached to the relationship. The suspense is supposed to drive the relationship forward, and there was too much that Sam and Maggie did apart. Too many scenes where they weren’t together. All that weakened the connection between the characters.

The book wasn’t terrible. I enjoyed it. I just wanted much more. I probably won’t return to it again.

WORTH MENTIONING: Luther and Raina make an appearance in this book. The bad thing was I wanted more of their story than Sam and Maggie.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WHEN SHE DREAMS is the sixth book in the Burning Cove series. This book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.



Review: The Lady Has a Past

Review: The Lady Has a PastThe Lady Has a Past (Burning Cove, #5) by Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove #5
Published by Berkley on May 4, 2021
Pages: 352

FINAL DECISION: This might be my favorite of the series because it felt like it brought the whole series together. I loved that we essentially get two romances in one.

THE STORY: Lyra Brazier (sister of the heroine from CLOSE UP) comes to Burning Cove and takes a job as an investigator for Raina Kirk’s investigative agency (who is seeing one of the town’s mystery men Luther Pell). Lyra’s first day of work is already shocking when Raina disappears. Lyra takes on the job of locating Raina along with Luther Pell’s associate Simon Cage. Simon is an antiquarian book dealer but has other skills useful for an investigation. Lyra and Simon pose as a married couple trying to discover what happened to Raina and fall into a series of dangerous plots.

OPINION: I loved this book. It is definitely Quick’s flavor of romantic suspense which means more suspense than romance, but because we essentially have two different romance stories (Lyra/Simon and Raina/Luther) there is plenty of romance and drama here.

The plot beats of this book were so good here. I gobbled this book quickly to find out all the twists and turns — and there were plenty. Just when the book seems to be resolving the “big mystery” there was a new twist that made the book feel like a rollercoaster (in a good way).

I liked the give and take between Lyra and Simon which really felt like a relationship between equals. The two reminded me of the old “Nick and Nora” movies with witty dialogue and definite chemistry.

For some time I have wanted more about Raina and Luther. I had hoped that the two would get a book of their own, but it seems that their relationship might be part of a continuing story in the series. The two end up in a good place here, but I am still hoping for more.

Many of the characters in the story felt a little too modern at times, but honestly, for someone who reads all three of Jayne Ann Krentz’s nom de plumes, the characters all tend to read the same these days with just some small differences in locations and time periods.

WORTH MENTIONING: Plenty of characters from the series make appearances here. For that reason, I really enjoyed this book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE LADY HAS A PAST is the fifth book in the Burning Cove series. I think this book is much better if a reader has already read the other books in the series. The mystery here involves Raina Kirk, who has been a continuing character in the series along with her love interest Luther Pell. While it is not necessary to have read the other books, this story spans other books in the series and this is somewhat of a culmination of that ongoing story.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.


Review: Close Up

Review: Close UpClose Up (Burning Cove #4) by Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove #4
Published by Berkley on May 5, 2020
Genres: Historical, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304


FINAL DECISION: This is one of the best of the series. I loved the paranormal elements that have crept back into the Krentz/Quick books. Vivian and Nick are a good couple and their relationship works well here combined with the mystery.

THE STORY: Vivian Brazier gave up a cushy life with a wealthy family when she refused to marry her parent’s handpicked man and instead left to make her way as an art photographer. To pay her bills, however, Vivian moonlights as a crime scene photographer selling photos to newspapers. When she becomes a target for a killer, Nick Sundridge is sent to warn and protect her.

OPINION: This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. I have really enjoyed the setting both in time and place for this series. The 1930’s California setting feels fresh and intriguing. Vivian, like many women of the era, is inventing herself and new roles for women. She has rejected the role that her family has chosen for her and instead struck off on her own. In her job and in her relationship with Nick, she is inventing herself.

Nick is a man struggling with his psychic talent which he often sees as a curse. He has a bad history with women in danger. His special talents make him just the guy to protect Vivian, but she is also a reminder of his previous failures.

These two are great together. I loved their work in investigating the threat against Vivian which also leads to the reason why she is being targeted which is another mystery they must solve together.

The two also have chemistry that sparkles on the page.  This is my favorite of the series so far because these two just feel well rounded, fun, sexy and full of conflicts and I just wanted to find out the resolution of their story.

WORTH MENTIONING: I am happy that Krentz is again including psychic paranormal elements in her books. Most of my favorite books of hers have at least some paranormal elements. There are also small references to the Arcane Society for those who read that series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: CLOSE UP is the fourth book in the Burning Cove series. However, the romance here is self-contained and it can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.



Review: Tightrope

Review: TightropeTightrope (Burning Cove, #3) by Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove #3
Published by Berkley on May 7, 2019
Genres: Historical, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 320

FINAL DECISION: This one was great. I enjoyed the setting, the conflict and the suspense story which was well done with multiple stories coming together in unexpected ways. I also loved the hero and the heroine was a good match for him. I wanted a bit more romance, but this one was better balanced than I expected.

THE STORY: Trapeze artist Amalie Vaughn escapes a killer and ends up owning a hotel in Burning Cove. Then she finds out her hotel is infamous. When a inventor guest is murdered by his own robot, she fears that the confirmation of her hotel’s dubious history of death will destroy her second chance. When she meets Matthias Jones who is investigating the murder, the two form a partnership to solve the crime and thus save Amalie’s business.

OPINION: I really enjoyed this book. Both the suspense/mystery and romance worked for me here. I do wish there was more time spent on the romance, but I understand that Krentz/Quick has chosen to focus more on the suspense aspects rather than the romance in her more recent works. (One reason why I generally like her older works better.)

This book has so many interesting elements that I was entertained throughout. I am still really enjoying the unusual time period (1930s) and the California setting. These elements always make the stories feel fresh and interesting since there are new and intriguing elements involved. (Post WWI and the impending WWII events). I also enjoyed the foray into circuses, gangsters, and early Hollywood horror films.

I really enjoyed the appearance of Matthias and I’m so glad that Quick has returned to a bit of her paranormal elements. The Arcane series is one of my favorite by her and I was saddened when she abandoned those books.

Matthias and Amalie have a good partnership and there are some really nice moments between them. Their relationship feels like a combination of the formality of relationships with some loosening of restrictions. These elements felt true to the time period and I enjoyed their interactions.

After a bit of a miss in the prior book in this series, I really enjoyed this one.

WORTH MENTIONING: Fans of Krentz/Castle/Quick’s Arcane series will recognize the hero as a member of the Jones family.

CONNECTED BOOKS: TIGHTROPE is the third book in the Burning Cove series. This book can be read as a standalone although there are overlapping characters. The romance here is self-contained. There is a bit of an continuing story especially at the end of this book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC from First to Read. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: The Other Lady Vanishes

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

Review: The Other Lady VanishesThe Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick, Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Burning Cove #2
Published by Berkley on May 8, 2018
Genres: Historical
Pages: 368

“He knew that Adelaide was not telling him everything but he also sensed that she was not lying to him. Fair enough. She had a right to her secrets. He was keeping a few from her.”

FINAL DECISION: More mystery than romance, I liked the story but I really wish we got to know the characters more than on a surface level.

THE STORY: In 1930s California, Adelaide Blake escapes from a private sanitarium and arrives in Burning Cove with a new identity. Burning Cove is the trendy escape for the rich and famous of Hollywood and Los Angeles. Working as a waitress in a tea shop, Adelaide meet Jake Truett, a widowed businessman who has come to Burning Cove to recover after his wife’s untimely death. The two end up mixed up with a murder and must work together while the secrets each is keeping threaten them.

OPINION: This is a book focused more on plot than the characters. We know some about Adelaide and Jake, but I finished the book still not feeling like I know the internal life of these characters. The characters felt just too generic and lacked personality and interest to me. I certainly understood their attraction, but I didn’t get the mad passion which would make these two declare love for one another after such a short period of time. The book ended up feeling like the beginning of a story rather than sustaining the entire resolution. I thought the characters were okay, but I wish that there was more depth and interest to the characters.

The story was good and I really like the time period and setting. The story might have been better with a couple less twists and more character development of the villains. This was a good, but not great read and was not as interesting as last year’s entry in this series.

That being said, there were some period moments that I really liked. I really enjoyed the interaction between Adelaide and Jake as they navigated people’s assumptions about their relationship. The episode in the auto court was like a period movie and I really enjoyed the time focused on their relationship. I just wish there was more.

WORTH MENTIONING: I miss the old Amanda Quick books which were primarily romances with some suspense and mystery tossed in. The newer books focus almost exclusively on the mystery and suspense elements and add the romance as an after thought. The books are okay, but not memorable or ones that demand to be re-read by me.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE OTHER LADY VANISHES is the second book in the Burning Cove series. This book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

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


Review: The Girl Who Knew Too Much

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare 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
Series: Burning Cove #1
Published by Berkley Books on May 9th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 352

“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.


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.


Review: ‘Til Death Do Us Part

Review: ‘Til Death Do Us Part'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick
Published by Berkley on April 19th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 352

“She belonged to him.”

FINAL DECISION: This book was good in many ways but didn’t live up to my expectations for an Amanda Quick book.  The mystery so central to the story was just meh and I found to romance good, but not one that I’d want to reread.

THE STORY: Calista Langley owns a Victorian matching agency where she introduces men and women looking for companionship.  A stalker begins sending her gifts that creep her out because they are mourning gifts personalized for her.  When Trent Hastings, author of a series of detective stories comes to her to complain about Calista involving his sister in her matching agency, the two strike sparks off one another and soon seem to be meeting all the time.  Calista seeks Trent’s help in discovering who is stalking her.

OPINION:  This book had the setup to be a really good story with Trent’s initial mistrust of Calista and a creepy mystery.  For me, however, everything about this story sort of petered out and by the end I was only mildly interested in the romance and the mystery.

I thought the conflict between Trent and Calista was resolved so quickly that it eliminated most of the tension between the characters and made their romance nice but not particularly compelling or memorable.

Instead, the story rested on the mystery of who was stalking Calista.  Unfortunately, that story was not good enough to rest the entirety of the book on.  I quickly figured out the villain and thus there was no surprise reveal in the book for me.  Because there was more emphasis in the book on the mystery than the romance, I needed a better, scarier, more compelling mystery.  This one did not engage me enough.

WORTH MENTIONING: I would classify this book as historical suspense with a dash of romance.


STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.