The Book Gourmet

Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.



Professional Reader Reviews Published

Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick

Crystal Gardens (Ladies of Lantern Street #1) - Amanda Quick

One could say the recent Quick/Krentz/Castle books are quite formulaic—a tall, dark, handsome, brooding, paranormally endowed hero + a headstrong, feisty, unconventionally beautiful, paranormally gifted heroine + paranormally enhanced environment + bad guys obsessed with treasure/artifacts/etc. + a possible murder case + love at (almost) first sight + lovin’ and sexiness + a possible revenge plot + HEA (which is a given in romance anyway).

But I love me some formulaic Quick/Krentz/Castle book, because despite the formula and predictability of the outcome, I can’t help but be entranced, root for the leading couple, wiggle in my seat thanks to the suspense, and keep turning page after page until the end. And then, of course, wish it didn’t end.

My reading experience of Crystal Gardens was no different. I’ve picked a book up after a few months of reading ‘drought’, because I knew I would not be bored and I also knew a Quick/Krentz/Castle book was just perfect to get me reading again.

And I wasn’t disappointed. I love it how she almost seamlessly combines different series and/or trilogies into a larger ‘themed series’. Her paranormals have started with the Arcane Society series (that spanned three different time frames – historical, contemporary and futuristic), turned into Ladies of Lantern Street series (historical), Dark Legacy series (contemporary), and Rainshadow series (futuristic) still blending with her Harmony series.

The heroes and heroines live together in this ‘paranormal world’ Ms. Krentz has created, sharing space and time and sometimes acquaintances, making them appear at the same time familiar and new to the reader.

Crystal Gardens was the same. Both familiar (paranormal abilities of the leading couple) and new (the exotic garden, for example). And I, as all the books before, loved it from beginning to end. Actually, Lucas Sebastian, the leading man, is now one of my favorite Quick/Krentz/Castle heroes. There was just something about him...*sigh* His leading lady was the usual Quick/Krentz/Castle heroine—coming from a lower class than the hero, headstrong, quirky, opinionated...And with two friends (who, by my estimation will feature in the next books in the series) that made me curious as to what will happen to them (especially the one with the ‘secret’).

There were some new elements in the story—the hero’s twin younger brother and sister with their curiosity and obvious love, respect and admiration for their older brother, the frightened and somewhat prejudiced hero’s stepmother (I suspected a far different secret on her part), the already-mentioned garden...And three dark crystals which will be the main ‘ingredient’ of the stories to come.

There were equal amounts of suspense, laughter, darkness, paranormal and loving to keep me entertained and turning the pages.