Tag: Amanda Quick

Ravished by Amanda Quick

Ravished by Amanda QuickRavished by Amanda Quick
Published by Bantam on December 2005
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 385
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
five-stars

The New York Times bestselling author of Rendezvous presents a spellbinding new Regency historical destined to be a hot beach read this summer. Moving from the cozy confines of a tiny seaside village named Upper Biddleton to the glittering crush of a fashionable London soiree, Quick offers an enthralling tale of a mismatched couple poised to discover the rapture of love.

RAVISHED is a retelling of the classic tale, Beauty and the Beast.

I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017: Fairy tale Retelling square.

I have carried this book with me to countless countries and on countless vacations at this point. I love “Ravished.” I think Amanda Quick was firing on all cylinders for this one. I ended up reading this after another romance book I started was ticking me off so badly I just ran to my shelves and pulled this book down. You have a hero and heroine you can root for, an A and a B plot, and some very cute secondary characters.

Harriet is a typical Quick heroine. She’s not conventionally beautiful, but is very smart. Harriet is interested in archaeology and more to the point with anything dealing with old bones and teeth. Living in Upper Biddleton she calls on Gideon Westbrook, Viscount St. Justin, to come and deal with thieves who have set themselves up in the caves she is exploring.

St. Justin is a recluse from society due to his very large body and the scar that is down one side of his face due to a fencing accident. St. Justin, called the Beast of Blackthorne Hall by the local residents, does come to Upper Biddleton wanting to know what female dared to command him to come and do his duty.  Readers find out quickly about St. Justin’s nasty past with many blaming him for the suicide of one of the local young girls who St. Justin was engaged to at one time.

Harriet and Gideon were wonderful together. Honestly. From the very beginning you get to see that Harriet doesn’t let Gideon’s scar or bad temper (justified in this case) get to her at all. She looks past that and sees a man who is very lonely and doesn’t have anyone in the world. She’s also very focused on archaeology and only Gideon is able to divert her from her pursuit of finding out about a tooth she finds that does not seem to belong to any creature that she has heard of.

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Gideon is scared to love anyone again after dealing with the fact that the local girl he was engaged to really didn’t love him. He and his father fight every-time they see each other, and he barely speaks to his mother. Gideon hides from them thinking that they would prefer it if he were dead, and his older, more handsome brother were still alive.

I love the fact that Harriet is so protective of Gideon and not once, but twice goes after anyone that calls St. Justin a Beast. There is a scene in a ballroom where she launches herself at someone and I cracked the heck up. And Gideon does his best to provoke Harriet in order to see I think how much she does love him. Good for her for never taking any of his crap and telling him that she loved him all of the time. That was probably tho only failing of Gideon’s that I saw. Due to what has happened to him, he really doesn’t believe or think he can love someone.

The secondary characters in this one are really great. Harriet’s aunt is very stern, while her sister Felicity is hilarious. I once again wish that Quick had spun off some of her characters into other books. Felicity seems to find most of Society hilarious. And honestly one can’t blame her due the hypocrisy of most of the people in this story.  St.. Justin’s parents are really good in this too. You get to see how far apart he is from his parents, but the fact that his father realizes he was wrong about St. Justin, and his mother thanks Harriet for bringing her son back to her were tear jerker moments for me while reading. We also see one of St. Justin’s old friends rear his head, and we realize why the two men fell out.

The A plot (thieves in Upper Biddleton) and B plot (a man trying his best to pursue Harriet for his own reasons) tie together nicely in this one. I did love though that when push came to shove in one key scene, we have Harriet saving herself.

The writing was easy to read and the flow was great. No complaints from me at all.

The setting between Uppder Biddleton and a Society that had turned its back on St. Justin was an interesting contrast. Apparently people in the countryside can be just as much jerks as people in London.

The ending was satisfying and the epilogue was too.

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five-stars

Reckless by Amanda Quick

Reckless by Amanda QuickReckless by Amanda Quick
on November 1992
Genres: Romance
Pages: 373
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
two-stars

From a crumbling fairy-tale castle on the stormy Sussex coast to a dazzling, dizzying masquerade ball comes an enchanting tale of a tarnished knight, a daring maiden, and a sweet, searing storybook love...

At sixteen, Phoebe Layton had imagined that Gabriel Banner was a brave and valiant knight, a noble-hearted hero born to rescue ladies in distress. Which is why, eight years later, when she desperately needed help to carry out a vital quest, she could think of no one more suited than Gabriel.

But when she lures her shining knight to a lonely midnight rendezvous, Phoebe finds herself sparring with a dangerously desirable man who is nothing like the hero of her dreams. And when he sweeps her into a torrid and blatantly unchivalrous embrace, she can't help but fear that she's made a dreadful mistake. It's a kiss that will seal Phoebe's fate. For now the exacting Earl of Wylde has a quest of his own--to possess the most intriguing, impulsive, outrageous female he has ever met...even if he has to slay a dragon to do it.

Yes! I am finally done with my reads of some of Amanda Quick’s earlier works (from the 90s). I think I hit peak over this two days ago though. I can’t wait to move onto some other authors. This is the same set-up of most of Quick’s earlier books. Quirky Original in her mid-20s who is in danger of “staying on the shelf” and an older male who knows he should not be attracted to said female, but is, and then denies he is falling in love with her for most of the book.

The heroine for this book is Phoebe Layton. The hero, Gabriel Banner, the new Earl of Wylde. Random comment, how come none of these dudes are ever a duke?

Phoebe and Gabriel have a weird history. Phoebe found herself at 16 falling in love with Gabriel and seeing the guy as some modern version of a knight (yeah this is a regency romance book so for Phoebe this was the modern era) and actually encouraged her older sister to run off with him to escape marrying someone she didn’t know much about. Of course running off with a woman to Greta Green is not the thing to do, Gabriel and Phoebe’s sister were caught, and then Gabriel ended up having his life ruined by Phoebe’s father and brother. They think the guy was a fortune hunter out to snare a wealthy heiress and Gabriel is forced to go off in the East (yeah that word again) to make his fortune. Cue almost a decade later and we have Phoebe and Gabriel coming face to face again due to Phoebe seeking out Gabriel for stupid reasons.

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Seriously, sometimes the heroines in Quick’s novels are painfully aggravating and Phoebe was definitely one of them for me while reading this (one of the many reasons why I just gave this 2 stars) she is still determined to have Gabriel be her knight for no reason that I can tell. I think maybe having a prologue showing Phoebe and Gabriel younger and showing maybe why Gabriel was someone that Phoebe was in love with would have made things better.  But no, we get a painfully naive Phoebe throughout this entire book.

Gabriel runs around for most of the book thinking about getting revenge against the Layton family because he can’t see why they would be upset about him running off with their daughter. I don’t even get why the guy doesn’t understand why they went out of their way to ruin him for what he tried to, no matter his justifications. Though Phoebe’s sister Meredith is not totally blameless in the whole thing, and I wish she had acknowledged she was wrong to run off with him even though Phoebe encouraged her to. Wow, I just realized that I don’t like most of the people in this story besides Phoebe’s parents and her brother. And there is a side plot about a past love from Phoebe that may be more dangerous than he appears which of course has Gabriel all riled up because he actually encountered the guy while out gaining his fortune.

There really is not much to this novel. Honestly, most of this book really is people telling Phoebe things that she doesn’t want to hear (that are true) and her saying she doesn’t know who to believe. For example, a man that Phoebe thought was in love with her that she called her Lancelot, is now back, though Gabriel knows of him and has given her information about what the guy was really up to when Phoebe thought he was off somewhere else. By the way it’s not just Gabriel that tells her about this guy, it’s her father, her mother, her brother, and her sister. I wanted to shake her after a bit.

The writing was not Quick’s best work. There are a lot of asides about Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot and how Phoebe is much smarter than Guinevere. I maybe laughed a bit about that line because I never quibbled about Guinevere not being smart, it was the whole faithless thing that was the main issue. Can I say thought that I am heartily sick of hearing about Camelot right now after reading the Mary Stewart books.

The flow was up and down. I think because Quick realized she had to add some intrigue in this one and she tried to, but it doesn’t really work. While Phoebe is whisked off to Gabriel’s home (of course it’s a freaking castle) attempts on her life are being done and this leads to Gabriel trying to keep her confined to their home so he can keep her safe. Though Phoebe doesn’t like it since this proves Gabriel doesn’t trust her, or something, I don’t know. It made no sense to me. And I realize that in a lot of Quick novels the heroine is sometimes confined to the home in order to keep her safe and said heroine is always irked about it. Yes let’s get irked about your husband trying to keep you from being murdered! Ugh. This book.

Things get tied up in the end, but it doesn’t make much sense to me. The villain of the peace was readily apparent and based on what we know about the guy. I still don’t understand why Gabriel didn’t have him locked up but will just wave my hands at the book and say plot reasons.

I read this for Romance Bingo 2017, and this book fits my free space square!

two-stars

Rendezvous by Amanda Quick

Rendezvous by Amanda QuickRendezvous by Amanda Quick
Published by Bantam on November 1991
Genres: Romance
Pages: 360
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
three-half-stars

From the elegantly appointed drawing rooms of London's most exclusive club to an imposing country estate in the heart of Dorset comes a provocative tale of a free-thinking beauty, a dignified lord, and a mad impetuous love that defied all logic....

Augusta Ballinger was quite sure that is was all a dreadful mistake. The chillingly pompous and dangerously disturbing Earl of Graystone could not possibly wish to marry her. Why, it was rumored that his chosen bride must be a veritable model of virtue. And everyone knew that Augusta, as the last of the wild, reckless Northumberland Ballingers, was a woman who could not be bothered with society's rules....

That was why the spirited beauty had planned a midnight encounter to warn the earl off, to convince him that she would make him a very poor wife indeed. But when she crawled in through his darkened study window, Augusta only succeeded in strengthening Harry's resolve to kiss the laughter from those honeyed lips and teach the maddening miss to behave! How could he possibly know that it was he who was in for a lesson...as his brazen fiancee set out to win his heart -- and an old and clever enemy stepped in to threaten their love, their honor, and their very lives?

Another older Amanda Quick book. I read this for romance bingo and honestly I am glad that I finished up the other Quick book. Her writing style after a while starts to grate. I realize that all of the females in her books are “quirky” and the heroes are long suffering and either want the heroine to fall in love with them or are obtuse to the heroine being in love with them and railing against it while needing to have sex with said heroine all of the time. Did you follow that? I know, it’s confusing.

This book had more plot than “Scandal” did, and there was actually a nice look and see for the hero/heroine at the end of this one (you get a flash forward so to speak a few months after the end of the book, and then again a few months later). That said, the heroine (Augusta Ballinger) was annoying because of her constant need to go on and on about her ancestors. The hero (Harry, the Earl of Graystone) I liked okay, but I started to get twitchy because the guy was going around demanding loyalty from her while going on about how he would need to take her in hand to make her act like she should. I so would have been burned as a witch in Regency era days.

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Augusta Ballinger goes on and on about her family tree of the Ballinger family located in Northumberland. I hope you like reading the phrases “Northumberland Ballinger” and how they are the best, smartest, bravest, daring people ever. It was so stupid. I really wanted to kick Augusta by the time we got to the end of the book. I started to loathe the word Ballinger because Northumberland was lurking around. Augusta is orphaned and alone after the murder of her brother years before this book takes place, so I can see why she wants to make her family the best thing ever. But geez Louise, at least let someone call her out on it. Thank goodness though Harry does at one point.

What gets me most about these type of books though, Augusta in her current style of going about things would have been cut from society long ago. This to me was just one misstep that Quick really had. Augusta starts a lady salon that is based on gentlemen’s clubs. And like those clubs they have betting and play cards, etc. Not that there are anything wrong with those. I just cannot imagine any father or brother being okay with their sister or wives going to a club like this back then without getting in trouble.

Harry though he is bright, also seems to be a bit dense. He comes back home married to his daughter and commands her to start calling Augusta “Mama” and is ticked when she doesn’t comply.  Forget understanding kids, how do you not understand maybe your new wife wouldn’t be feeling awesome about that as well.

Augusta and Harry are not my favorite romance couple ever. There are a lot of back and forths between them. But besides their hot and heavy sex, I was bored by them both. There is a conflict in part of the book that is taken care of by the author in a few short pages, and then it suddenly becomes about Augusta wanting to be close to Harry and be a real family.

There are some fun side characters in this one that I wish we had been able to follow around. I realize now maybe that is why Quick in her Lavinia Lake and Tobias March books started to tell POVs from every character in the book (that got old quick though). I loved the character of Peter, Claudia (Augusta’s cousin and part of a different branch of Ballingers) and Sallie as well.

The initial plot really is that Harry is looking for a virtuous woman to marry since he realizes he needs a mother for his 9 year old daughter Meredith. All of London are gossiping about Harry and who is on his famous list of potential wives since he apparently has criteria for the best wife ever. Augusta Ballinger for no reason at all finds herself attracted to Harry due to him being around more and more to talk to her uncle who is also interested in history as well. Then the plot shifts again a bit to talk about the fact that our hero did something dark and mysterious during the Napoleonic Wars and he still is after a spy that was called the Spider who a lot of deaths are attributed to. That latter plot takes up most of the book and includes Augusta in a rather odd way. It honestly didn’t fit much I think, but Quick tries to tie things together.

The writing gets really repetitive after a while though. And sometimes certain plots or comments made don’t seem followed up on. For example, it is heavily implied that Augusta’s mother was The initial plot really is that Harry is looking for a virtuous woman to marry since he realizes he needs a mother for his 9 year old daughter Meredith. All of London are gossiping about Harry and who is on his famous list of potential wives since he apparently has criteria for the best wife ever. Augusta Ballinger for no reason at all finds herself attracted to Harry due to him being around more and more to talk to her uncle who is also interested in history as well. Then the plot shifts again a bit to talk about the fact that our hero did something dark and mysterious during the Napoleonic Wars and he still is after a spy that was called the Spider who a lot of deaths are attributed to. That latter plot takes up most of the book and includes Augusta in a rather odd way. It honestly didn’t fit much I think, but Quick tries to tie things together. unfaithful, and her father was constantly fighting duels and somehow that was ignored in later chapters for the fact that her mother was devoted/in love with her father and Augusta seems to be in the dark about her mother’s affairs and her father’s duels. Also Augusta’s brother does not have a good reputation prior to his death, but Augusta seems blind to that. I really wish she either acknowledged what a hot mess her family was, or someone just said it to her.

The flow for this one was actually pretty good. The story moves along at a good pace (one of the reasons why I gave this 3.5 stars) but there are some issues here and there. And I did enjoy the aspect of Harry being a widow with a daughter. Meredith was a nice side character to have, and all of her interactions with Augusta were so good. I wanted more of her with Augusta and also with Harry just being a family. She pretty much disappears at the end of the book which sucked, especially because we know a member of Harry’s household is gone for good and I wanted to know who was in charge of Meredith’s education now.

I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017 and read this for the Historical Romance square. For those looking for a book to fit the key to my heart square, due to the cover for Rendezvous, this book would fit for that as well.

three-half-stars

Scandal by Amanda Quick

Scandal by Amanda QuickScandal by Amanda Quick
Published by Bantam on February 28th 1991
Genres: Romance
Pages: 329
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

With her reputation forever tarnished by a youthful indiscretion, lovely Emily Faringdon is resigned to a life of spinsterhood, until she embarks on an unusual correspondence and finds herself falling head over heels in love. Sensitive, intelligent, and high-minded, her noble pen pal seems to embody everything Emily has ever dreamed of in a man. But Simon Augustus Traherne, the mysterious Earl of Blade, is not all that he seems.

Driven by dark, smoldering passions and a tragic secret buried deep within his soul, Blade has all of London cowering at his feet, but not Emily...never Emily. For even as she surrenders to his seductive charms, she knows the real reason for his amorous suit. And she knows that she must reach the heart of this golden-eyed dragon before the avenging demons of their entwined pasts destroy the only love she has ever known...

I am laughing so hard as I think of this book and what to write. Look I used to devour Amanda Quick’s older books with the one word description and usually a random object on the cover. There were some that were really good. And there were some that may be wonder about the intelligence of the hero/heroine involved. “Scandal” is definitely the latter. You have a sort of reformed rake trope taking place here (though the hero is not really a rake, he’s just an out and out ass) with a naive heroine that believes that love transcends everything. Seriously, learn to love the phrases “higher plane” and “cast adrift on love’s transcendent golden, shore”. Also she calls or thinks of the hero as a “dragon” so learn to love that word as well as the word “elf” that the hero calls the heroine.

The heroine in “Scandal” is Emily Faringdon. Emily is an aspiring writer (her epic poem sounds awful by the way) and thinks she is going to forever lead a solitary life in the countryside due to a scandal (where the title comes from) in her past. When Emily was younger, she ran away to get married and then realized on the way what a bad idea it was. Emily was not found til the next day, so of course in Regency era times this means she is considered an indiscreet young woman which no man would offer for. This suits Emily’s father since he just uses Emily in order to have her keep him and her two twin brothers (Charles and Devlin) afloat due to her investment schemes. Emily starts up a correspondence with a man claiming to have her love of literature and then one days he announces he will be staying at a neighbor’s home and they can finally meet. Emily meets Simon Traherne, also known as the Earl of Blade. Simon has his own reasons for pursuing Emily, and it’s all about revenge.

So Emily…is kind of tedious and aggravating. When Emily finally meets Simon she decides that they are soul mates (I refuse to go back and look to see if that phrase is used) and even when she is told why Simon is pursuing her and wants to marry her (to avenge himself on her father) she still marries the guy. It was beyond ridiculous. Who marries someone who tells you that your father was responsible for his father committing suicide and you are part of his master plan to get revenge on all people who wronged him.

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It baffles me throughout this book how cruel Simon is again and again to Emily and she is all, but I know that he loves me, so this makes it okay. I kept half hoping Emily would brain him with something. And though I had a small smidgen of sympathy towards Simon because of what happened to him and his mother due to his father’s suicide, him going after in some cases the children of the men who wronged him gets you over that real quick.

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Simon sucks. Seriously. I don’t know what in the world made Emily even want to be with the guy besides the fact she kept saying they had a metaphysical connection. Simon the day after their wedding forbids her to see her father or her twin brothers again. I know back in Regency days you couldn’t divorce, but I hated the fact that Quick has Emily decide to not be physically with Simon again after his announcement, and then has her run off.  Simon thinks eventually Emily will be too curious about sex with him to not want to do it again and he will end up winning his way. Due to Simon spending time in the East (and no that is the way it is referred to in the book) he has strange notions about revenge, sins of the father, and apparently knows karate. Or Judo. Or Kung-Fu. I honestly did not get his movements at all, though at one time Quick references Simon chopping someone in the neck with his hand and I died laughing for five minutes. Iron Fist this guy is not.

We have other characters in “Scandal” and Emily’s father is terrible. How she ignores it also drives me up a wall. There’s a resolution about that guy at the end which made me smile. But I would have been happy with sharks being in play at some point. Emily’s brother get some more detail, but not much in this one, and it would have been nice to follow up with both of them in subsequent books.

The plot in this one is really thin though. Due to Emily’s past, no one is to refer to her scandal, and Simon is so powerful he believes he can squelch any commentary about it with threats or favors. Frankly, I don’t really get why this would matter in Regency days, marriage fixes everything, or so most of the romance books I read had me believe. And there’s a secondary plot that involves Emily’s secret being discovered that is only a couple dozen pages. Honestly, most of the book is just Emily and Simon having sex, Simon being nasty, Emily being obtuse about his terribleness, and Emily deciding that love will see them through.

The writing at times was super hilarious though. Maybe because I cannot believe anyone back then spoke like this. It felt like very bad stage directions were being given to actors a few times.

Simon gently refolded the letter and sat gazing into the fire. After a moment’s contemplation, he reached out to pick up the beautifully enameled Chinese teapot that sat on a nearby table. He poured the Lap Seng into a gossamer thin cup decorated with a green and gold dragon. As he started to lift the cup, he paused, studying the figure of the mythical beast.

The remainder of the comment was lost as Simon pivoted swiftly in the graceful movements of the ancient fighting art he had learned in the East. He knew his unorthodox, potentially lethal method would have astounded the young bloods who practiced boxing at Gentleman Jackson’s academy. They would have been even more perplexed by the elaborate techniques for establishing mental discipline and control that the monks had taught along with the physical skills.

I can’t help it, this whole book just makes me shake my head. We hear about references to China, monks, the “East” and whatnot.

The flow was up and down throughout. Like I said, there was very little plot with this one unlike with other Quick books so you are just really waiting for the hero to stop being a jerk and just fall in love with the heroine already. Or at least I was.

I do love Regency era books though. I think I get a kick out of them just because I cannot imagine a society like that nowadays. Of course you realize this was what Polite Society in England did back then, but still, these books always give you a good peek at them.

This is a romance novel so of course realize there is a HEA.

I read this for Romance Bingo 2017, and this book fits the regency romance square.

 

 

three-stars

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