Crystal Gardens (Ladies of Lantern Street Book 1)

By Amanda Quick

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hien bui
If you like romance, mystical surroundings and mystery, this is the perfect setting for you. Fast paced, with several twists and turns within the plot
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sarah schieffer riehl
Amanda Quick did another fabulous job in Crystal Gardens. With all its twist and turns, it was hard to put down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
autumn
I like this author a lot. She has never writing anything that couldn't be read over and over again. have the paper copy too..
The River Knows :: The Other Lady Vanishes :: The Paid Companion :: Dangerous: A Novel :: Garden of Lies
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
manahil saber
Another good story as always. Very enjoyable. Ms Quick is one of my favorite authors. Five more words to finish this review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lauren marten
I love Her books. They are well written and each new series builds on the previous ones. Her ability to transfer he thoughts to paper is outstanding. I look forward to each book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katherine howe
Love Amanda quick and had to get this for my Kindle. I like it so much I am getting it on audio book as well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dan alper
Absolutely loved this book. Amanda Quick is my very favorite of the three names that Jayne Ann Krentz writes under.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
maju
Amanda Quick never disappoints.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kara volkmann
Great series, by different authors. Loved the book, it was a great reading. A must get book for any Quick devotee.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lalu imaduddin
I did enjoy this book, but I am an Amanda Quick fan. Really enjoy the paranormal theme she has. The characters were believable, and I was able to finish the book in one setting. I do read a lot and will continue to get her books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
erin scott
one of my favorites. Delightful vacation in a book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
martin sloane
delightful read
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
audrey
Another good read from Amanda Quick. I don't remember a book she's written that I didn't like. Her Heros are Hot, smart, clever and did I say HOT and her Heroines are clever, brilliant and funny. What's not to like about that!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jenn jones
This is a great read and a wonderful continuation of Amanda Quick's paranormal genre in the romance category. Her hero could us a little braun with those brains, but the book is fast paced... the shero lively and witty.....but there are no mention of secondary characters. I observe the use the "crystals" for the garden's growth.... but the lanturn was an old tool used in other books. I will reread and enjoy again this summer as her books invite rereading! Talented, gifted author. I gave it five stars as I was up reading until I finished.... One might say... I just had to finish the book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
robert chance
Another great book by one of by favorite authors. A must read for fans of Amanda Quick.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
janesnextdoor
This book is true Amanda Quick ( Jayne Ann Krentz). It is fun and a little spooky. Evaneline and Lucus are a perfect mach witch he relizes before she does,
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
zaimah
fantasy and romance but entertaining. mysteries abound but all around a good read
everything comes together in the end as well
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
susie biancarelli
Great !a series of great reads. Recommend it to those who have read others in this series. Enjoy and share!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nchandra2
I will read anything by this author, she is my absolute favorite. All her books are page turners. Hard to put down.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
christina cho
This series is fun and light and entertaining. Nice for a quick vacation read. I get confused with this author having two names.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
elkha
I enjoyed reading this book a lot. The book was so good I did not want the story to end. I am waiting impatiently for the next in the series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
aamir
Love all her books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kevia
I chose this rating because. although I enjoyed it, it wasn't her best. I have read most and their is humor and action and romance, I cant tell you why it wasn't the best but It could have more.
Maybe it was the mood I was in
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sequoia
Good read! Book #1 & 2 were very engaging; kept you reading well past your bed time! Can't wait for Book#3!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
laura jo thorpe
Another great read by Amanda Quick! Really enjoyed it! I'm never disappointed when I crack open one of her books!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
meggie patterson
GOOD STORY!!! CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE... HAVE ALL HER BOOKS. I HAVE IT ON MY IPAD AND WILL REREAD IT BEFORE THE NEXT ONE COMES OUT.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sharon fine
Well pleased with book. It was properly packaged and shipped in a timely manor. Am very happy with the service.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bella rafika
Quick, Castle or Krentz doesn't matter which name she writes under all are good. I love the Arcane series best.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ane f
The paranormal is great but not overdone. Looks to be another great series. I very much look forward to more!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hom sack
Amanda Quick does not disappoint in her writing. I have been a fan for a long time and find her books entertaining. Thank you for keeping this avid ready happy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
elyse
Great book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nikki waite
Enjoyed very much.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
karen terris uszenski
This is good quick read. It is a typical Amanda Quick book and I really enjoy all of her books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
bernadette
This is a good mystery romance read. The plot keeps you interested, involved, and guessing what will happen next. A great summer read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
trinity
When Jane Krentz writes as Amanda Quick, the novels are historical romances typically set in the 1800's. This one is a highly entertaining, light read. The characters are enjoyable, and the setting fun.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jen dalton
I found the book to be interesting and different.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
richard stevens
My wife has her favorite authors
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
upthetrellis
I really enjoy reading anything by Amanda Quick. The story made me feel like I was part of the sotry.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
deepshikha
Yes was a very good book
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
catherine giordano
Reminds me of some of her earlier works -- where the hero and heroine become a team with wonderful dialogue and interaction between the two. And the female lead has a quick whit.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tim jaeger
My favorite author didn't disappoint me. I haven't read a book of hers that I didn't enjoy.

Moves well and doesn't let you figure out it until the very end.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
leia
This one I did not want to put down, I got into the characters. Kept me on the edge until the Vilan was caught.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
donnia
I was looking for a romance and did not realize it was paranormal. It was a fun read, but the paranormal aspects were not clearly expanded and could have added a great deal more to the story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nikki risbeck
The Crystal Gardens book was the best I have read in a long time. I just loved all the suspense, and the action that kept you reading instead of putting the book down. I read it faster than I have many others. Well worth the investment. Enjoyed every minute of the read. :)
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
anthony grandstaff
Of all Jayne Ann Krentz's personnas, I like Amanda Quick the best. I was looking forward to a droll period piece that only she can write. While I read the entire book in one sitting (she's still an excellent writer), I came away disappointed. Put Victorian outfits on all those Arcane Society people, and there you have it. And in all honesty, there wasn't much Victorian about this novel. Two people with psychical powers are instantly attracted to each other and have psychical sex. Sound familiar? There wasn't a lot to this book--short chapters and lots of blank spaces, a la James Patterson. A couple of the perilous situations were downright silly and had no bearing to the plot. I was intending to give this book 2 stars, but it's not that I didn't like it. I expect more from Krentz/Quick--not more of the same. I didn't buy her last Arcane books, and I won't be buying the rest of this series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
carol zingery
I enjoyed the writing of Ms Quick as always. The history and the problems that was faced by everyone was very well written. It is one book I just had to finish before setting it down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gita afiati muhjidin
Amanda Quick never disappoints. Once you start reading, you can't put it down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
beyza
Great read. Good plot and storyline. Enjoyed the predicaments the characters get into and how they get out of them.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
khaled dewan
I liked this book it was a fantasy land but yet set in Victorian world in which we have had certain rules and ways we expected but we had to buy into the jungle and it's laws the author gave us.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
finbar
A great book. Enjoyed every word of every page. I read the book on my Kindle and it was really hard to put it down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bob quinn
Suspenseful and well thought plot as usual. has an upbeat ending that I look forward to in this authors writing.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
greg discher
One of my least favorite Amanda Quick books. It was simply TOO heavy on the psychic aspects. The characters were not quirky and fun and endearing as with her old books. They were just odd. The story line was not an amusing mystery as with her earlier works, it was just...weird.
I ADORE Amanda Quick's earlier works and many of her works as Jayne Ann Krentz. But this book? I should have passed. In fairness, I read other reviews that warned of the focus on psychic matter in this (and many other of her newer novels). I still went forward. My mistake.
My hope is that she returns to the storis like Ravished, Affair, etc. and moves away from the psychic stuff for good...at least when writing as Quick. I now find myself re-reading earlier works rather than reaching for her new material, sadly.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melissa massello
Another great Jayne Ann Krantz book. Love her books in this series they catch and hold your interest from the first page.
Icemom13
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
heather ann
Loved it
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sherri
Great book with lots of paranormal storylines.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
adinel
Amanda Quick has been a favorite for years. When I read one of these books, I need to read it again later in the year.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mujtaba
Love the book, love the author. Always a pleasure to read (and reread, and reread, and reread)! One of my 4 favorite authors, and will always buy!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
jeska
This is an absolute travesty of a book. The writing strives for the tone of Regency literature and fails so miserably. The characters are two dimensional, the plot and villains are cliche (poorly done cliche at that) and the romance is uninteresting. (In fact, the only romance I found interesting was about two paragraphs between side characters.) And even if you're just reading for the sex scenes, you will be disappointed. I was actually reduced to tears laughing so hard at some of the sentences in this book. Here are a few examples indicative of the writing in this book.

"It was as if Evangeline’s feminine fire were somehow resonating with the currents of his own life force, enhancing his senses."
"The effervescent waters of the ancient pool sparked and flashed, reflecting the energy of love."
And she consistently uses the word "psychical" which just about drove me mad.

If none of that bothers you, go ahead and give it a try.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tanya scarcelle
I love Amanda Quick Books - this one was no different.. a good quick read with humour
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
giovanni
A very good book, Amanda Quick is a great writer, the book was funny, a mystery, and kept you turning pages.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kevin mann
Classic Amanda Quick..with a strong heroine and an appealing hero.. The threads of this story continue well into the future and the Jayne Castle stories
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
b lyon
While I adore Jayne Ann Krentz in everything and look forward to her books - whatever the name she uses - I find some of the Amanda Quick ones are a little shallow and more predictable.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
patina harrell
I always enjoy the books written by Amanda Quick, AKA Jayne Anne Krenz. Her different styles keep me greatly entertained. the store carries most of her books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
christian kasperlik
Very good and kept my interest
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
cph23
This was an interesting twist on the Quick novels. I like the way it ties in with other books in both this series and other Quick, Castle, and Krentz books.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
liana hall
Too many elements recycled from other Quick books---- I hope the one that is due in April is a better read. :)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
duane
Love her books!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
kimikoegy
I usually live reading her books however it took me a long time to get into this one plus its a copy of past ones. Definitely not worth the price nor will I be purchasing anymore until her storyline changes. I'm super bummed that I could've bought two other books for the price of this one crappy one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dawn johnson
A great read - fun, quirky and relaxing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
globerunner
Arrived timely and I could hardly wait to read it. As always Amanda Quick provides some lively entertainment that keeps you reading to see what happens.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
barbara shostal
Another great story by Amanda Quick. The characters came to life as intersting and believable. Very enjoyable summer read with twist at end...recommended!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
mike coghlan
Enjoyed it. Kept me wanting to read on!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
beeza
I truly enjoy Amanda Quick-style novels, and in particular her brainy heroines. This is a sweet story, with a good amount of suspense. I love the styling in the writing, as well as the 'psychical' aspect of the novel. Not her absolute best work but definitely worth reading! The characters and setting are all intriguing and I truly enjoyed the novel.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
smrati thakur
In this story, Evangeline Ames has powerful psychic talents, much like Amanda Quick's previous heroines. She is in danger, but her hero, Lucas Sebastian comes to her rescue. He has the psychic power strong enough to kill by creating nightmarish fear in his opponents. (like I said, so much like her previous two books). It seems that Amanda Quick has exhausted new ideas for her psychic series books and is redoing the same general plot over and over. I used to enjoy reading her novels, such as Mistique, Dangerous, Ravished, and Mistress. Each book was fresh with a new plot and new heroes and heroines. Now it seems she is satisfied with repeating the same basic story line. If you are new to Amanda Quick books and Jane Ann Krentz Books, this is probably worth a read. If you have read the last few like the lamp and looking glass trilogies, save your money until she starts writing something original again.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nothing
AQ/JAK never fails to please!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jane emmerth
Amanda Quick continues the saga with a fast-paced book whose characters come to life quickly with a good story. This is a good book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lory
This was a fun book to read. Love the diverse characters in the story. Just enough twists and turns but not too many.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dean liapis
Love all her books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kurtis
Very entertaining. Loved the suspense.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
don goforth
I loved this book as I pretty much love all of amanda Quick's books..It has a little bit of everything...mystery...romance and common sense
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
thedendragon
I am a true lover of all the Amanda Quick books, some more than others but I really loved this addition to the line. Thought it was classic Amanda Quick and was exactly what I was hoping for when I purchased it. No disappointment here - only enjoyment. Quirky story line, i.e. the garden, but I thought it was very inventive....I could see myself trying to walk through the garden along with them.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chicken lady
Nice, without being dazzling. I would have liked a bit more mistery in the plot, but it is still a very enjoyable book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
angela
I love the story's she writes under Amanda Quick, I've read all of them wish there was more. I like how she throws humor in there.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
time
A very strange Amanda Quick novel but it keeps you going to see what will happen next and is easy reading
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
molly mahoney
I am a huge fan of Amanda Quick, I have read all of her books and look forward to her next.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lachelle
Great story line enjoy the flo of story
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ashraf mohamed
I love it. I've read it a couple of times.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mary khaliqi
I love Amanda Quick and she has out done herself with this book. The plot is great and it is the continuation of the last book.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
ellis
Use last book to create new book:

1. change name of charactors
2. setting
3. title
4. submit to publisher

Charge outrageous amount of money for same book with 20% difference from last book.

I am so disappointed. Another author falling into the trap of 'rote' writing.

My recommendation - take your time, do it right, use your imagination. I will gladly wait and pay for your creativity and perseverance.

Don't waste your money on this book - even the paperback version is not worth it. I wouldn't even buy it for $1. I wish I could get my money back - $12.99 for garbage.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sujit
once started to read could not put it down, thriller and funny, can not wait to get the next book
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lamun lamuna
Loved it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sarah vuillemot
Amanda Quick usual well written entertaining book. Why do you want to dictate to me what I write??????? You're pushing me to not review at all!!!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
laura lme
The romance was predictable. The book simply did not live up to Amanda Quick's previous reads. It was boring and outrageous covering a topic that was rather weird combined in a romantic suspense style.
I read it as I had purchased it, but I certainly did not enjoy it. It was well written, just never caught my interest.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jonathan goddard
I really enjoy Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle/Krentz novels. Popcorn for the brain and complete escape from the worries of the day.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
shana negin
I discovered Amanda Quick about 5years ago. I was so pleased to find an author who wrote about strong, interesting characters. The last several books have been in the same vein and almost seemed like a formula with the names changed. I was looking forward to this one but it was very expected, with no surprises.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sangram chahal
Miss Quick is always a good read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
johnny romig
Great read, smart characters, & keeps your interest.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
ericj
Very wordie
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
bimmie bimmie
It's been years since Amanda Quick's books have wowed me. I admit, the Arcane psychical stuff just isn't my cup of tea, but she's had paranormal or mystical elements in her work for decades now. What makes her more recent stuff, and this book in particular, so weak is that she is rehashing old themes and burying her characters in setting and psychic trappings. There's nothing new here, and the classic stuff is tired.

Amanda Quick used to have wonderful characters, strong heroines and enigmatic heroes. Ravished is one of my favorite romances of all time. There was adventure, humor, passion. There was snappy dialogue and some creepy gothic elements. All of that seems to have gone away, and we're left with an anemic pairing of two people whose auras are attracted to each other, but who never really have a basis for falling in love. There's no chemistry. No heat at all. And their characters are so thinly drawn that I found myself not really caring about them.

Even the mystery was ho-hum and easily figured out. Something has gone wrong with Amanda Quick's writing, and I'm not sure why. Maybe Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick needs to slow down her writing schedule. Because this isn't just phoned in. It's the literary equivalent of a broken up cell phone call. Half of it is missing and what's left isn't worth worrying about.

If you're a die-hard fan and still want to read it, I highly suggest using the library. This isn't worth the hardcover price (or the high ebook price). I'll keep my fingers crossed that the author can put some emotion and depth into her next offering.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
kelly darby
Very disappointing. Very blah. I've read everything she has written under all names and I think this is the most uninteresting one written.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ashley h
cryatal gardens book in good shape I have nor read it yet to busy over the holidays/ Looking forward to it
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
grumpator
I won't be the first long-time Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz) fan to voice her disappointment. 'Crystal Gardens' is a mash-up of themes, events and even character names from her backlist. She's done all this before, and better.

Of deeper concern is that Quick/Krentz appears to be dredging up some long-discredited past notions of 'romance' in her effort to prop up this weak offering. Quick/Krentz has crossed the line with male protagonist Lucas Sebastian, from alpha male to borderline abuser, a la the bad ol' days of 'Sweet Savage Love' et al. No one loves a wimp, but a romantic hero, no matter how dark and brooding at the opening of our story, must have a core of basic decency and the desire to protect his beloved, and by extension, others less powerful than himself. The hero's recognition and embracing of his capacity to love is the foundation of the HEA.

In 'Crystal Gardens' Quick/Krantz describes Lucas Sebastion as: 'dark and terrifying,' `with an aura of menace,' and `flat, cold eyes.' Of more concern is how she presents his treatment of the women in his life: with his elderly aunt he reacts with `rage slashing through him.' She sensibly responds, `Lucas, please, you are frightening me,' yet it feels as if Quick/Krentz is giving us a 'boys will be boys' wink. In another encounter Lucas `picked up the sterling silver letter opener and balanced it on two fingers' while he talks to her. Long after they become lovers, he tells the heroine, `It is not your affair,' and 'never doubt that I have innumerable uses for you.' At a putative reconciliation scene at a late point in the story, Lucas cuts off his stepmother's apology with, `Enough' and, 'are you finished?'

Most telling is the other characters' treatment of Lucas at the end, when we can reasonably expect to see evidence of character growth. In the HEA wrap-up, everyone still walks on eggshells around him: townspeople are 'too polite--and too intimidated by Lucas--to inquire;' 'No one wanted to risk bringing the wrath of the new master of Crystal Gardens down on his or her head.' Wrath and intimidation don't equal 'sexy.' Try 'psychopathic.'

Romance writers have worked too hard to bring recognition to our genre as something more than 'housewife porn.' I don't want to go back to the days of saying, 'yes it's a romance novel but..." 'Crystal Gardens' is a step in the wrong direction. For Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz, and for romance readers.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
linley
This novel was one of the sillest i have ever read. I have always enjoyed books by this author, not this one. The characters were insiped and the plot was slow, not well constructed and it is just plain awful. What a waste of money. It is not even a one star in my opinion.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
courtney wilbur
This contrived story about paranormal gardens, mystery, and parapsychology is too neatly tied up with unbelievable murders, one sided characters, and out of place sex scenes that were dumped in to make it a romance novel. At least there were no spelling or grammatical errors.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tamarah cristobal
This is a new series for Amanda Quick and although the Arcane Society is not part of the storyline, it is easily a spinoff since the theme surrounds deep psychical powers of the Ladies of Lantern Street in Victorian era. If you're not a fan of Ms. Quick's arcane stories then this is not for you. If you do enjoy them, this story is one of Ms. Quick's better efforts and tells an enhchanting story with a decent mystery, light danger, and sweet and sensual romance, but through it all, it is very much like the rest of her novels.

Evangeline Ames has powerful psychic talents and works for an exclusive firm, Flint and Marsh, on Lantern Street, where she is hired out as a private investigator under the ruse of being a paid companion. She also dabbles on the side as an author writing serial romantic suspense stories. Many of the ton hire out her services to ensure their daughters are not being courted by fortune hunters and Evie is very good at her job, except her last assignment almost got her killed. Taking a break to spend more time on her writing, Evie rents a cottage in the country to get away from all the stress, only to find herself the target of another attempt on her life. As she flees from a killer, she runs to the mystical Crystal Gardens neighboring her cottage and straight into the enigmatic Lucas Sebastian.

Lucas Sebastian is a very misunderstood gentleman of the ton who carries a deep dark power. He's recently inherited his uncle's country estate and the enchanted gardens that go with it. Suspecting that his uncle's death was not merely a heart attack, Lucas moves to the Crystal Gardens to try and catch a killer, but he gets more than he bargained for when he meets Evangeline and realizes her life is in danger.

For the record, I gave the story 4 stars because I did, in fact, like it and if you're new to Amanda Quick, she's an excellent story teller with sensual romance and witty dialogue. Evangeline and Lucas are a great pair and have some really nice chemistry and work well together to take on murder, mystery and the most challenging of all, family matters. Lucas is one of her best written heroes in a while, but if you've read all of her books like I have, then you'll find they are all so similar that it's hard to distinguish one from the other. Rich, powerful hero who has a history of madness in the bloodline, check, adorably naive spinster heroine who's curious about passion, check. It's one thing when an author is churning out paperbacks, but these are annual releases at published prices over $25 and quite frankly, as much as I love her stories, it's not worth the value. If you can borrow this from a friend or the library, you won't be disappointed, but I wouldn't throw this into the pre-order pile and I can't see myself rereading it either.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
aaron schweighardt
For some reason, I had decided to avoid the Ladies of the Lantern Series Quick has written, but this one slipped by me, and I was glad it did. I don’t mind some paranormal aspects of books, and the ones in here just added to the book.
The heroine is renting a cottage in the country for a month. She works for an agency whose ladies make “discreet inquiries” while working in upper class homes as essentially, spies.
Someone had attempted to murder her in London, and the book opens with someone trying to do the same. She escapes out the window and finds herself in a creepy garden of a neighbor estate.
The plants are growing stronger and more dangerous due to some strong energy. The grounds used to be an abbey after it had been an ancient Roman site.
That is the part I loved.
The characterizations and the plot is very good. My only problem with it is that the ending all of a sudden was wound up in a tidy bow. I don’t care for it when every relationship ends up perfectly. I would at least prefer a few things foreshadowed to having a good resolutions without it all being spelled out. If I wanted that, I would read Barbara Cartland. Also unlike Barbara Cartland, there are a few short, explicit scenes, so I wouldn’t put it in a church library.
I would definitely read another of her Ladies of the Lantern Series. Her books always feature strong women who don’t swoon into the hero’s arms to save them.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
veronica knudson
This book was good. However in the middle the author loses a day. (spoiler alert!) One day they are in the night garden in the second pool making love. Then next they are in the herb shed making love. Then the next night she talks about last night being caught coming out of the night garden in her pajamas. However it was the night before last! I do enjoy Jayne Krentz aka Amanda Quicks books but she does this consistently. She also sometimes leaves out key facts in the mystery so we can't solve it until she does the sum up at the end. Her stories written during this time frame are very similar. It is if she just goes in and changes the peoples names and places a little bit and comes up with a new book. I would recommend that you read other novelist in between her books so you are not so bored with the story line. I do like her books but reading them all at once will spoil the charm.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
frank butcher
Evangeline has rented a cottage in Little Dixby for a month, partly to spend some time writing and partly to be near the Crystal Gardens. It’s personal property with a great deal of energy and the plants in the gardens are dangerous. When a man breaks into the cottage with the intent on killing her, she escapes into the gardens knowing it’s the only thing that could save her. Lucas Sebastian is at the estate to find out who killed his uncle and upon meeting Evangeline, finally finds someone who understands him as both have pretty strong paranormal abilities.

There are 3 mysteries taking place in this book and that does lend more interest to the story; how did his uncle die, who wants Evangeline dead and why, as well as an ancient Roman treasure said to be hidden somewhere on the property.

But like most books written under this pen name, the heroine is smart, capable and her thinking is ahead of her time and the hero could care less what the ton thinks. That can get old if you read every one of her books, but it’s not bad if you just read an occasional story

An enjoyable read from the library.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
diana wu david
Evangeline Ames is a spinster by the social standards of Victorian England. She believes she has little chance of ever marrying because her father, an obsessed inventor, left her penniless when he committed suicide a few years after Evangeline's mother's death. Fortunately, after years of struggle, Evangeline has come into her own. She has a budding career writing "sensation" novels which are serialized in a newspaper, and she works as a paranormal "private inquiry agent," the historical equivalent of a modern private investigator (PI). She has the paranormal ability of being able to find anything, whether it is something lost, or some information that a criminal wants to hide. She works for an agency run by two women whose three investigators are all women with paranormal talents (the "ladies of Lantern Street" of the series title). The agency's primary clients are wealthy women who require a discrete investigation into men who might potentially be out to bilk either them or their heirs.

Since Evangeline always works in disguise, rendering her presumably invisible and anonymous to the people she investigates, prior to her most recent investigation, she did not consider her work dangerous. But not long before the story began, someone tried to murder her. Though she successfully defended herself (using means that I can't reveal without a spoiler), it was a tremendous shock. She has come to the small village of Little Digby for a dual purpose, to recover from the trauma of the attack and also to have uninterrupted time to work on her current novel, which has stringent deadlines for regularly delivering chapters to her publisher.

At the moment the story opens, Evangeline is struggling with writer's block and boredom. The only interesting thing in the neighborhood is the estate her cottage is attached to. Its gardens are notorious in the area for their weird and deadly plants which, rumor has it, killed the former owner. In spite of--or perhaps because of--these frightening tales, Evangeline has been gingerly exploring the outer areas of the estate, using her paranormal abilities to protect herself from stumbling into trouble with a garden that, she discovers to her delight, actually is infused with potent, paranormal energy.

As it turns out, it is extremely fortunate she has been trespassing into the mysterious estate, because another would-be murderer invades her home, and Evangeline flees from him onto the mystical estate grounds. There she encounters her landlord for the first time, the current owner of the estate, Lucas Sebastian. He helps Evangeline head off the murderer, and in the process each learns that the other has paranormal abilities, something neither has ever before encountered in the opposite sex.

I've been a fan of Jayne Ann Krentz's contemporary and futuristic romances for many years, but I did not begin reading her historical romances written as Amanda Quick until she added paranormal elements to them with tie-ins to her contemporary, Arcane Society books. I enjoyed the Arcane historical romances so much, I went back and read all the Amanda Quick historicals I had missed and thoroughly enjoyed them all.

Crystal Gardens is not directly part of the Arcane world in that none of the previous Arcane Society characters appear within it and the Arcane Society itself is never mentioned. However, the book's paranormal elements have similar names and functions to those in the Arcane series, so those who are fans of Krentz's Arcane books should enjoy this story.

In this book, Krentz employs a fan-favorite structure that she has used in essentially every one of her romantic-suspense novels: the hero and heroine meet, discover that each has a mystery to solve, that their mysteries are somehow tied together and, after much (often humorous) back-and-forth, stop fighting against each other and join forces. Besides this book, Krentz has also written multiple other historical romances set in Victorian England in which either the hero, heroine or both are PI's, and it is a theme that works well within the romantic suspense genre.

Evangeline is a classic Krentz heroine. She is independent, morally staunch, and determined to the point of bullheaded stubbornness. Best of all, she is as willing and capable as the hero of being a positive, protective warrior, which is demonstrated by her regularly defending herself, the hero, and helpless victims from the depredations of the villain.

In this story, as in all Krentz's novels, the heroine and hero are fascinatingly unique to the point of being eccentric--a tendency that is amplified in Krentz's paranormal novels by the addition of magical powers to the mix. The unconventional abilities and goals of Krentz's protagonists have inevitably led to isolation and loneliness, and in each other they experience for the first time real understanding, appreciation and acceptance. This is a huge reason why Krentz's romances are never just festivals of sexual chemistry. Instead, they always present a vital meeting of minds and spirits between the protagonists, making it possible for the reader to truly believe what all romance novels aim for (and many fail to achieve), that the protagonists are "soul mates" destined for each other.

I personally find Krentz's overt use of recurrent themes and plot structures to be an asset, not a liability. It makes her a dependably entertaining writer. She knows how to write romantic suspense, and she does it well, every time. In addition, her characters are always strong, and their blood relations and families of affiliation can be counted on to provide entertaining and emotionally satisfying interactions, whether they are acting as mentors, allies, or humorously subverting the protagonists with "friendly fire." Most of all, readers can count on Krentz for her skill as a writer. Her use of paranormal elements is logically consistent, and her command of language is smooth, clear, and never calls irritating attention to itself with gimmicky flourishes. In short, her writing gets out of the way and lets the story take center stage.

I rate this novel as follows:

Heroine: 4
Hero: 4
Subcharacters: 4
Fantasy World-Building: 4
Romance Plot: 4
Action-Adventure Plot: 4
Writing: 5
Overall: 4
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
heather graves
I really loved Otherwise Engaged which I read last year. It was my first Amanda Quick and I was a little hesitant. I'm not a really big historical reader. I tend to prefer contemporaries but it sounded amazing so I dove in. Well this week I ran out of library books to read and my kindle was at home so...I borrowed a book from the library. I stumbled upon this one and thought "Hey I did want to read the first two" and here we are.

Crystal Gardens follows the story of Evangeline and Lucas in a small English town. Evangeline has gone to stay in the country following her involvement in a death. After a short stay in the town a man breaks in to murder her and she flees to the nearby estate owned by Lucas. Lucas immediately finds himself attracted to Evangeline as his psychic abilities mesh with hers. The two join forces and attempt to discover not only who is after Evangeline but who is trying to break into Crystal Gardens.

I tend to prefer my historicals with a bit of paranormal activity. I think the paranormal aspect tends to take the characters out of the ballroom and into some form of investigation. It makes the story more interesting. This one had a pretty good blend. The psychic parts weren't shoved down my throat as a reader and instead I got to sit back and enjoy the romance with a few oddities.

I really enjoyed the romance between Evangeline and Lucas. Instead of focusing on the killer and various other moments of trouble, the story focused on their romance. Lucas fell in love with Evangeline almost immediately and wanted to make her his wife. He was determined to woo her and convince her to remain with him. At the same time Evangeline was so afraid she would trap him due to their being stuck in the gardens unaccompanied. She went into the relationship hoping for passion and knowing he would never marry her. It was interesting to say the least.

The actual mystery/thriller part of the story was the weak point with my investment being low. I kept reading and kept reading for more scenes between Evangeline and Lucas and prayed the murder plot would wrap up quickly. In this case the story followed the pattern where they needed a conflict so a suspense plot was added that was just a means to an end. Instead of Evangeline and Lucas meeting in a ballroom, they met due to a murder attempt. It caused the same outcome but was more 'exciting' than a ball. I tend to wish those conflicts would be left out of it and we could just have the romance.

I think it was a great start to a series but I do wish the suspense stuff had been left out. This is a great read for a gloomy day since the romance sizzles. Thank you for keeping my mind off the ice.

4 Stars
Published by Thorndike Press
May 1, 2012
475 Pages
Provided by--the Library
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
greg hellings
The book isn't bad- it just isn't up to Jayne Ann Krentz's fighting weight. When you read a book by an author you love, you expect more. Unfortunately this book was bland and predictable.

She is re-using stories and characters. Or maybe this Arcane Society storyline is so tapped out it just feels that way. Yes, their auras resonate with each other and that means they found their one true love. But, I've read that in every other Arcane book- I need more to a romance than their paranormal abilities say "That's It! That's The One! Pack It In, Now." And that's what the romance felt like- kiss, resonation, happily ever after. The Crystal Garden is Harmony or whatever the island is from "Canyons of Night". I thought this was a brand new trilogy- The Ladies of Lantern Street. And, have you just blown up the mystery of why the preserve on the island on Harmony is about to blow? Do they have Crystals buried in the ground? And Lucas... feels a lot like Owen from "Quicksilver". And her healing? That was from one of the future books with the Dust Bunnies and Guild Men. And changing the resonance of an aura. I think one of the books with the flower names.

I'm not opposed to series and trilogies (though I am not getting the tying thread in those past, present & future trilogies). I don't mind multiple stories that are set in a universe. But, she is blowing them up. Lucas, from her past stories, is clearly a hunter or whatever variant Owen was in the Arcane universe. But, does she say that? No. And, is Lantern Street at all related to her Harmony books? It all just left me annoyed.

That said, the book was bland. The characters were pretty stock characters. He is afraid he is a monster losing his mind (Hello, Nicholas Winters, Owen Sweetwater, Fallon Jones.) She is plucky and too smart for her own good. His butler is a strong and silent type (Have you not used this character enough? Hello- Withcraft? Stark? Wildest Hearts? Bolt?) He has a brother and sister who barge into the action. He has a step-mother he doesn't get along with. (Hello? Wildest Hearts?) Except for the resonating auras, I didn't really care about the leads' romance.

The action was fractured. You had the story about the Crystal Garden (which is annoying because this isn't a Harmony book.) You have the story about the treasure and treasure hunters. You have the story about his uncle's murder. You have the story about his family issues. You have the story about her stalker. All those little action sequences weren't woven together but rather checked off a list. Treasure Hunters caught. Check. Murderer caught. Check. Second Murderer caught. Check. Third murderer caught. Check.

My suggestion is skip this book and read Wildest Hearts. That book rocks.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
erin benbow
Overall the book wasn't terrible but I had trouble getting into it. The first half is unnecessarily slow-moving. It starts off with a bang; with our heroine, Evangeline, being attacked in her bed and forced to flee out the window. But after that things slow to a snail's pace. Far too much talking without enough action. And a lot of the dialogue was repetitive; with Evangeline and Lucas having a discussion only to then meet up with someone else and reiterate the same facts using almost exactly the same words. Several aspects of the plot seemed copy-pasted from previous books too. The hero who becomes somehow psychically sick and the heroine who just happens to possess the exact psychic talent to heal him was done in The Third Circle. As was the "hero who uses his psychic abilities to help the police catch killers" angle.

The romance part of this romance novel was a bit lackluster as well. It was told rather than shown. Neither character seemed to be all that affected by the other. There was no sense of romantic tension or chemistry between them; they were just sort of...there. So when the author suddenly threw in a quick snippet from Lucas' inner monologue stating that he was desperately lusting after our heroine, it fell kind of flat because none of his actions reflected that. Also several of the intimate moments were ruined by excessive talking and the heroine's constant references to using every experience in her writing.

And while it is refreshing to have a heroine who isn't a naive 16 year old constantly wringing her hands about the loss of her virginity, I think this book takes it a step too far in the other direction. It was at least somewhat believable that a woman approaching 30, a hopeless spinster in the eyes of society, would jump at the chance to experience passion for what might be the only time. But it was pretty UNbelievable that Evangeline spent the last 1/3 the book supposedly worrying over the possible damage to Lucas' reputation when the entire household witnesses them coming out of the garden with half their clothes missing, without even giving a passing thought to her own.

As a wealthy man of high society he would basically get a free pass on an indiscretion like that, while she, a lowly working class girl who depends on her spotless reputation for her career, would be shunned for life. It's especially perplexing that she adopts this attitude that she can go back to her old life like nothing happened, when they spent so much time discussing the importance of protecting her reputation in the first few chapters of the book! And at the time she was sufficiently desperate to do so that she agreed to forgo reporting her own attempted murder to the police.

Also, the fact that right up until the end she was completely, 100% on board with the idea that she and Lucas would publicly break their "phony" engagement and go their separate ways was bit of a mood killer. She never shed a tear or showed any heartache at the idea of leaving Lucas behind. She never even alluded to loving him until he said it first.

All in all, it's a book with a few interesting ideas but it just never really comes together.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
april ashe
Evangeline Ames is getting angry; twice now, someone has tried to kill her! Fortunately this last time, Evangeline was lucky enough to hear the killer breaking into Fern Cottage and escapes through her bedroom window and headed directly to the nearby abandoned estate housing the mysterious Crystal Gardens. However, Evangeline hadn't expected to run into the enigmatic new owner, Lucas Sebastien walking around the gardens in the middle of the night! Conversely speaking, it was now a toss-up as to who posed the most danger to Evangeline who had come to Fern Cottage for a quiet rest in the country.

*** I like nothing better than to settle in for a nice long visit with another of my favorite authors and discover more new incredibly gifted character(s) (interconnected to the Arcane Society)who continually amaze me with their psychic abilities. In this latest entry and debut of a new series (Ladies of Lantern Street) Quick has added a remarkable new element of a very strange and dangerous botanical garden!

Evangeline and her two friends are part of a trio of psychic gifted individuals (not all their talents have been revealed yet) who basically are part of an investigative team who work fro a mysterious firm of Flint and Marsh on Lantern Street. After Evangeline's last assignment (checking out a possible fortune hunter beau for a wealthy young woman's parents) resulted in death and a near tragedy for Evangeline, she was sent to rest and recuperate in the country. Danger followed close on her heels and the mystery of who and why she was targeted was kept to the very end. In the meantime Evangeline and Sebastian were busy on another quest to discover who might have killed Sebastien's uncle (former owner of the Crystal Gardens) and to discover the source of the mystery behind the botanicals that had taken on a life of their own and were apt to take a life if anyone who happened to get too close.

Additionally, Quick fills the pages with a lovely sensual romantic interlude complete with sparkling and witty dialogs to both amuse and titillate. Suffice it to say that Ms. Quick does not disappoint in all of her Arcane related endeavors. She has created an incredible world where paranormal psychic talents are the norm and has kept it fresh and vivid for her loyal fans and eye-opening for her new converts.

Bottom line: CRYSTAL GARDENS is another fabulous paranormal which only intensifies this readers pleasure with every novel Quick creates!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
suraj bhattathiri
First, I have been a big fan of the Amanda Quick persona of Jayne Ann Krentz for years.

I have nearly every single book. In the past, I have enjoyed the humor, the quick witted heroines and the intelligent heroes.

To me, this book felt as though a formula had been used. But, most of all, I missed the humor and the charm.

Evangeline has had an attempt on her life. In order to escape the danger in London she has rented a cottage in the country. A killer breaks into her cottage, chases her to a large home owned by a stalwart hero who saves her life and falls under her charms.

My problem, there is not a great deal of charm oozing from Evangeline.

Normally there would be amusing exchanges between hero and heroine. In this book it is all about paranormal dangers and overcoming the people who are trying to harm them.

The plot is well done, and the characterizations are fully created. The book is well written, which I would expect from this author. But, to me this book does not live up to Ms Quick's books from the past. Neither the heroine or the hero are people who are fun. And that has generally been a quality I enjoyed in the past. I want to laugh.

If you like mystery with paranormal overtones, this book will hold your interest. And I have the next book in the series, so I am being optimistic that I will find the humor and charm which I expect from this author.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
susan carroll
(This review was originally published on my blog: Love Saves the World)

* * *

Crystal Gardens is the first book in Amanda Quick's The Ladies of Lantern Street series and is a sub-series of her Arcane Society series, which I have been religiously following since 2006. Quick's commitment to the Victorian/Steampunk/Paranormal Romance world that she has created shows in each installment, as she continues to build this evocative, fascinating England full of "talented" individuals: she truly understands the abilities of her characters and has explored the limits of the genre that, I believe, she is at the forefront of.

Crystal Gardens is no exception. It begins with an attempt on Evangeline Ames' life, which she believes is intentional. It is fortunate that Evangeline Ames is renting a small cottage in Crystal Gardens, an estate owned by the Sebastian family -- and the current owner, Lucas Sebastian is in residence, investigating the mysterious death of his uncle, Chester, the former owner of the estate.

As a mystery, I love how Amanda Quick lays out the puzzle pieces in a clear and organized manner. Who is responsible for the attempt on Evangeline's life? Who killed Uncle Chester? What secrets are hidden in the Crystal Gardens? I love the procedural aspect of the novel -- how Lucas, Evangeline, and Lucas's step-siblings, Beth and Tony try to figure out all the questions that swirl around them. Amanda Quick ups the ante by introducing us to paranormal talents and a garden that emanates power ... and danger. The magical mixed in with the mysterious makes for classic Amanda Quick and fans will definitely not be disappointed.

My favorite part was the secondary story between Mr. Stone and Molly -- I loved seeing how two people with no psychical abilities cope with the adventures of their employers -- and, instead of feeling inferior, they manage to provide assistance using their own set of skills.

"Must be a bit strange to have some psychical talent."

"Mr. Sebastian says most people have a little," Stone said. "They just don't recognize it. He says they call it intuition."

"My ma says I have good intuition. Sometimes I just know things."

"So do I," Stone said. "I knew the first time I met Mr. Sebastian that I wanted to work for him."

"That's how I felt when I took the post with Miss Ames. I told myself it might lead to something much better."
- p. 289

I also love seeing how Amanda Quick develops the romances between her characters -- there is no grand declaration of love and no drama -- she works out the relationship in a very sensible way. At the end, what you will have are lovers who are also companions/partners. (Read Lucas and Evangeline's conversation in pages 371 - 372)

I did wish that Quick focused more on the Flint and Marsh agency and Evangeline's work with them. She teases her readers with glimpses of the agency does and the special people they hire. Let's see with the next book. ;-)
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
laurey
In Crystal Gardens (Ladies of Lantern Street), heroine Evangeline Ames has taken up residence in a quiet country town, waiting for some recent unpleasantness to blow over. When she wakes up to find someone breaking into her cottage, bent on murder, she realizes that trouble may have followed her after all. Fortunately, like all sensible trouble-fleeing heroines, she has scouted the neighborhood and is able to flee to the nearby Crystal Gardens, where she hopes to lose her would-be murderer. Enter the hero, the mysterious Lucas Sebastien.

This contains a lot of the standard elements of a Quick story - a (fairly) strong, sensible heroine; a hunky powerful-but-not-overbearing hero, a psychic element or mystery, some good friends, an evil villain or two and a few side characters for comic relief. Evangeline is strong and smart - I was very relieved that she was not wimpy, as were a few of Ms. Quick's recent heroines under her other pseudonyms. Lucas was smart - and did I mention hunky? The story moves along at a good clip and is clearly setting the stage for a new set of novels.

The only criticism is that I felt the overall story was a bit flat - and have really been feeling that about all of her recent novels. My favorite Quick/Krentz heroines have some sort of quirk or distinguishing feature, something that makes them interesting and outstanding. Evangeline felt a bit like a Lucinda Bromley retread, without that lady's strength of character. It was a perfectly pleasant read. I would read others, but probably wouldn't go out of my way to buy them.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
amanda harbin
I have been reading Amanda Quick books since I was in high school. I always enjoyed them more than any of the other historical romances I read, because they were lively and fun and had a bit of mystery and the heroines and heroes were all smart-asses which I have a fondness for. When you read Amanda Quick, though, you knew what you were getting. They seem to be written on a template, with the same things happening at the same time in each book, relationship-wise. The only difference is names, hair-color and the setting. Like she has a computer program she enters some info into like names, descriptions and background info for the characters, a villain & his/her motive, then presses enter and the computer spits out a book. I like that though. They were different enough that I still enjoyed them. I did not like when she started writing the Arcane Society stuff and writing about metaphysical connections and all that junk. I could ignore a few British historian ninjas, it mostly amounted to the hero knowing martial arts and having a secret mentor and an interest in artifacts. But enough with the psychic crap. In this book it's more psychics with super powers manipulating paranormal energy. Many Amanda Quick fans know she is also Jayne Ann Krentz writing modern romances, and Jayne Castle. Jayne Castle writes about psychics and paranormal activity and psychic hunters with different talents and stuff. When I read Jayne Castle I am fine reading that stuff because I know it's what she writes about, she creates a whole world on an alien planet where people developed psychic talents. But when I read Amanda Quick I want the straight regular people with a little romance and danger. No psychics. No paranormal vortexes. No secret societies revolving around antiquities. I want what she used to write. Because if she makes Amanda Quick into Jayne Castle just set in olden times on plain old Earth, which she did with this book (and the last few), that means there is no Amanda Quick to read anymore. She was assimilated by the paranormal collective. As for the story, if you like Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick you should like the book okay. It's the same template she's always used -- boy meets girl in a precarious situation, boy falls instantly in love with girl but doesn't tell her, they fight the bad guys together while she decides to experiment with sex because she figures she'll never get another chance since she's older and has no social connections, etc. etc.-- just with psychic battles and glowing footprints and paranormal man-eating gardens. So if you aren't into that crap re-read one of her old books. If it won't bother you, or you like the paranormal stuff, read this one. And hope she segregates her pseudonyms again soon.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jonathan tickle
Evangeline has taken a sabbatical from her day job and retired to the country to write her first novel. Of course, that's not the only reason - there was that little matter of a violent altercation involving her last case. And then there is the inspiration to be found for a supernatural novel in the local Roman ruins and the country house known as Crystal Gardens which locals prefer to avoid. Sadly, after completing four chapters of the novel she is extremely uninspired, suffering both boredom and writer's block.

Additional inspiration strikes when our heroine flees her cottage for Crystal Gardens pursued by a murderer with a knife and falls almost literally into the arms of Lucas, the new owner of Crystal Gardens. The carnivorous plants in the Night Garden get the attempted murderer, so Lucas attempts to get to the bottom of the attack by interviewing Evangeline. Not much is resolved so he returns her to her cottage before anyone sees them together. [The setting is Victorian so seeing the heroine, dressed only in her wrapper, in the company of the hero would be far more shocking than a contemporary heroine who moonlights as Miss Kitty Galore at the local strip club.] Evangeline now has the cure for her writer's block and her boredom, she will make the villain of her piece into the hero and model him after the fascinating Lucas!

Lucas sends for an aunt to provide propriety to the situation and has Evangeline move into Crystal Gardens so he can protect her while trying to solve the crime. To Lucas dismay, more and more family members appear throughout the story adding further complexities to the story line. Besides solving murders, attempted murders, thefts, and the mystery of the out-of-control gardens; Evangeline deals with Lucas' stepmother who has dark secrets and a taste for melodrama, the matchmaking aunt and the much-younger and scientifically, but not psychically, inclined siblings.

This is a paranormal romance. The hero, the heroine, the heroine's friends, the plants, AND the pool in the garden all possess some sort of psychic power. Despite the psychic stuff, this is NOT an Arcane Society novel - so don't spend your time looking around virtual corners expecting them to show up. They don't.

This is romantic suspense - it has sexual tension but not a whole lot of sex - and what occurs is not detailed. Krentz is great writer - whether she is in her Amanda Quick, Jayne Ann Krentz, or Jayne Castle mode. Her characters are fascinating, the dialogue is witty, and the plots are page turning. Probably because it is a Victorian setting, this book is 'cooler' in tone than some of her others. If you are new to the author you might want to start with one of her earlier novels - Scandal perhaps, or Ravished. Of course that might be because the Victorian era was never a personal interest of mine but she does make it breathe...

Good read? Yes. Will there be more in this series? Undoubtedly. Will I buy them? Definitely. And the ultimate accolade? My husband liked it too...
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
elizabeth blake
I love the older Amanda Quick stories. A few years back I collected them and read them all. My favorites were Scandal, Mistress and Dangerous. The best part was the very cute heroines. They were more than just eccentric, they were funny! Even the men who loved them found them humorous. Evangeline is eccentric, but she isn't funny. Without the humor, the story seems a bit stale.

The paranormal aspect has been overdone, in my opinion. Everybody in this book seems to have some kind of psychic power. Even the plants. Even inanimate objects. Psychic power is everywhere. Which means it is no longer "paranormal" it is simply "normal". The cute dialog of the earlier books has been replaced with lengthy conversations about the same old thing -- who is using their paranormal powers to investigate what. It just didn't grab me the way her earlier books did.

Still, it's Amanda Quick, and she's awesome, so she deserves at least 3 stars, even if I didn't love this one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
thiago de bastos
Thank you to Lydia Hirt and Amanda Quick for the privilege to review this great book. This book will start off the International Chick Lit Month for 2012.

Synopsis:

Evangeline Ames came to Little Dixby for rest and relaxation so she could focus on her writing career. She is taking a break from her regular job as a paid companion working for the Lantern Street Agency. Little did she know that her life would be in danger from a previous case. Lucas Sebastian has also come to Little Dixby on a different matter to investigate the death of his uncle Chester. They become involved in an investigation in a case of murder and attempted murder. Will Lucas accept the help of Ms. Ames and her associates? There is also this garden that has supernatural energy that hides many secrets. Can Lucas untangle the secrets of the garden?

My Thoughts:

I am not usually a fan of the paranormal genre. I felt this book was well written. The novel was easy to read. The plot was great! I felt it had a lot of good twists and turns. This story did not have the typical period restrictions that are often focused on women. The only problem with this novel is the slow part in the beginning of the story.

The setting of this novel is Victorian England era. I thought this setting was an interesting choice. In this time period, if you did not get a husband then you were considered a spinster. Then there was also less no opportunities for employment other than as a governess or paid companion. The fact that the paid companion was often in the background lends itself to the plot of a woman being an able investigator. I feel that it is quite possible for a woman to also be an investigator.

I wonder where this series will go? The Crystal Gardens is the first novel in this series.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
gemma
I like fantasy/paranormal books, though these days, it seems like they are mostly found in young adult. I am happy to say I discovered an author who writes adult books in this genre, so I read Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick. According to her webpage, Amanda Quick is the pen name for Jayne Ann Krentz. Ms. Krentz also writes books under the name of Jayne Castle. She is a busy lady!

The first novel in the Ladies of Lantern Street series, the book concerns Evangeline Ames, a single lady of a certain age who, due to her lack of fortune, works as a paid companion. Endowed with paranormal abilities as well, she is able to determine whether suitors for wealthy marriageable young women are all they appear to be. The victim of an attack by one of the rejected men, Evangeline has decided to rent a cottage in the country so she can rest and work on her novel. In addition to her main employment, she also writes. Little Dixby wasn't chosen at random; Evangeline's father had always been interested in the paranormal. In fact, he lost all of his money trying to build contraptions that could be powered by paranormal activity. Apparently, Little Dixby was a center of mysterious energy.

Unfortunately, foul play has followed Evangeline to Little Dixby in the form of a knife-wielding potential murderer named Sharpy Hobson. After attempting to kill Ms. Ames, Sharpy follows her as she escapes onto the neighboring property. Unhappily, Mr. Hobson meets a gruesome end and fortunately, Ms. Ames meets Lucas Sebastian, new owner of Crystal Gardens. Together, Evangeline and Lucas attempt to find the connection between Ms. Ames and Sharpy Hobson and determine the cause of the inordinate amount of paranormal activity of Crystal Gardens, all while they become entangled in a most unusual courtship.

This was a very fun read that I enjoyed immensely. Historical romance with a twist. Full of the proper English manners of the time, there is still plenty of romance and more. I liked the heroine; aware of her "place" in society, she knows that she can only survive on a combination of intelligence, cleverness and strength subtly wrapped up in a cloak of propriety. As most of the gentry has decided she is past the age and means to marry, romance is not even a consideration. As for Lucas, he has never found the woman who could love him and not be afraid of his "abilities."

3 of 5 Stars

Ages: Adult
Genre: Fiction Fantasy Paranormal Historical Romance
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
leah charles
Crystal Gardens is a truly exceptional start to what I expect will be a fantastic new series! I was intrigued from the first chapter and the storyline only went from strength to strength. I have never read anything like Crystal Gardens before, set in Victorian London with supernatural elements really did set it apart as a novel and made it an unforgettable read! Amanda Quick writes beautifully and anyone who has the pleasure of reading this will be entranced rather quickly. You will also quickly fall in love with the quirky characters that are full of adventure and mystery.

Evangeline Ames is a professional companion and novelist who has a special supernatural talent. She was recently attacked preforming her working duties, so she takes a break to a secluded little cottage on the outskirts of Little Dixby. Little does Evangeline know that it won't be the peaceful break she intended. Someone is really out to get her and sends some knife wielding maniac to bump her off in the dead of the night. She narrowly escapes to the dangerous Crystal Gardens that lie on the outskirts of the cottage's property.

Evangeline runs right into the arms of the dark, mysterious Lucas Sebastian! They immediately sense each others psychic abilities and are instantly intrigued and drawn to each other. Lucas, never the one to ignore a damsel in distress steps in to defend Evangeline from her attacker, who has a mysterious accident while in the gardens. Lucas decides to put his skills to good work and find out who is out to get Miss Ames. They soon find out that they share a common enemy.

I loved the ending of Crystal Gardens, everything tied up beautifully and I was thrilled for everyone involved. The Gardens themselves for me was the most brilliant part of the book, they were so beautifully imagined and amazingly brought to life. I could picture the Night Garden perfectly in my head and I just would love to get lost in them for hours, as dark and dangerous as they are they have a certain beauty that begs to be explored. I also loved the blossoming romance between Lucas and Evangeline, it was raw, honest and not forced in the slightest.

This book is a real winner that I thoroughly enjoyed, I cannot wait to read the next book in The Ladies of Lantern Street series!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
amanda land
This was an easy, enjoyable read. Considering the time frame it takes place, the heroine is very modern in her sexuality. She is also independent and has ingenuity. The hero/villain is a dark character who has taken up residence in his deceased uncles home and is pursuing the mystery of his uncle's death, which he does not think was natural and his paranormal gardens. He finds Evangeline running through his gardens to escape a man. He gives her safety and shelter. Now there is another mystery to solve, who is trying to kill her. He also wants to learn more about Evangeline and puts her up in his home until the time they solve that mystery and she can safely leave. It turns out their paranormal gifts compliment each other and their attraction to each other goes immediately physical. Good story- more like a 3.5.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
muthu ganesh
One of the absolute best things about Amanda Quick (no matter what name she's using) is that her books are never a carbon copy of somebody else. She is talented and original, which is something to be said in today's cookie cutter world of publishing.

This book however is however so incredibly similar to the Arcane series that I have to wonder what the point is in starting a new series. Amanda Quick may not be a copy of any other author, but at times she does fall prey to copying her past successful books over and over and there is more than a touch of that here. Those who are familiar with the Arcane series are definitely going to feel a sense of deja vu reading this book. I guess there is good and bad in it, because those who are hesitant to jump into the middle of such a long running series such as Arcane have a new chance to start with book number one.

As usual, the characters in this book are well rounded, talented and intelligent. Their dialog has plenty of sharp humor and give an take. I've never seen Amanda Quick write a simpering heroine and there certainly isn't one here in Crystal Gardens.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mark dostert
First off, I will admit to being a big fan of Jayne Ann Krentz and all of her pseudonyms! This story I just really got into and enjoyed as we had a strong heroine, a strong hero, strong and funny and caring secondary characters and all of them involved in a murderous mystery!

Evangeline Ames was in bed asleep when she is woken by someone breaking into her cottage via the kitchen door. Good thing she is a think-ahead type of person so she immediately grabs her robe and slippers and opens her bedroom window -- squeak and all -- and even as she steps out the "burglar" is coming in her bedroom and threatening to kill her with the large knife he has. Evangeline runs as fast as she can and manages to stay ahead enough to get to a small entrance she had found to the abbey and Crystal Gardens. She is well aware of the "magical" dark mystery associated with the gardens and home but with her paranormal talents feels she will be safe and perhaps the killer after her she can trick into falling in a mysterious pond. As she runs and is closely pursued, she literally runs into the owner of Crystal Gardens, Lucas Sebastian and his assistant, Stone. Her would-be murderer runs into the maze trying to find her and that act is followed by horrible screaming until it stops.

Lucas escorts her home and orders Stone to keep watch on the cottage where Evangeline is living since she is renting from him. As the story proceeds we meet quite a few other characters such as Evangeline's maid Molly, her two friends, Beatrice and Clarissa, a bookseller, Irene, and the family of Lucas Sebastian include twins Beth and Tony and their mother Judith as well as Lucas' aunt Florence.

I don't want to give away any of the story but I just really loved the character development, the romance and the paranormal mystery and how Ms. Quick combined them all for a really enjoyable story! I read it in less than 12 hours. I just couldn't stop!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
soroor hnv
Evangeline Ames is an intelligent older (virgin) heroine with some paranormal talent, who meets Lucas Sebastien, her landlord, a mysterious older man who others are afraid of (because they sense but don't understand his paranormal talents). Someone is trying to kill Evangeline, and Lucas feels obliged to protect her, both because she is is tenant, and because he finds her interesting...

Cue the usual blundering criminals, more intelligent criminals and red herrings as Evie and Lucas discover who is trying to kill her, what is the secret of Lucas's mysterious Night Garden, and fall in love in the meantime. (This is paranormal romance. Readers expect a HEA, and Quick obligingly provides.)

This isn't specifically set in the Arcane universe, but the characters have similar talents to those in the Arcane Society. First in a new series, so a good introduction for those who haven't yet read Amanda Quick. Quick fans might find this a little formulaic, but the formula works well, so why change it?
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
strixvaria
Amanda Quick (aka Jayne Ann Krentz and Jayne Castle) continues with her theme of psychic abilities in her heroes and heroines in this new series. Evangeline is the impoverished daughter of an unsuccessful inventor. Upon his death, she begins a career as an investigator and sometimes paid companion. She retreats to the country after being attacked and causing her attacker's death. While there, she is attacked yet again, and while fleeing, encounters Lucas, who dispatches the villain. Lucas is here investigating his uncle's death as well as the mysterious garden which is growing plants (with special appetites) which are growing at alarming rates. Lucas and Evangeline are immediately attracted to each other, and begin an affair as they help each other solve their mystery. This book is Jayne / Amanda's usual quick, entertaining read. The romance felt just warm to me instead of hot, but still a recommended read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kirsteen
This was one of Krentz better novels! If not her best under the name Amanda Quick. I normally don't buy or read her books under the name Quick, but obviously I need to start as they are improving tremendously. Some of my pet peeves in the Quick books are the overuse of formality between the main characters (even after they've 'done the deed'), the relationships are dry and stilted, and the characters/ story itself just always seem flat and boring to me (it drags on too long). This book caught my interest from the beginning. No overdone explanations and the relationship between the main characters was sweet and hot... a great combination! No overbearing alpha male, but he was still certainly an alpha. Even the secondary characters were fun to read about. I really enjoyed the killer garden and powerful psychic abilities as it reminded me of my favorite books by this (Krentz, Quick) author... Jayne Castle's Harmony series. I'll be on the lookout for more of the same!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
manni
Evangeline is a paid companion and a budding authoress. She is renting a cottage from the elusive Lucas Sebastian on an estate that is buzzing with paranormal vibes and rumors of things that go bump in the night. Most townsfolk are scared of the estate and the owner, but Evangeline finds herself attracted to both. When Lucas rescues her, Evangeline finds herself teaming up with her mysterious landlord.

The plot to this story sounded wonderful to me. I am not a huge fan of Ms. Quick and all her pseudonyms, that is to say I haven't' read all of her books, but I have genuinely enjoyed the ones that I have read. I usually like all things romance and all things paranormal. This one also promised to have plenty of mystery. So when I was offered this book I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately this book didn't live up to any of my expectations.

This book really fell flat to me on many levels. The characters were very one dimensional. I never got the feeling that they were ever fully developed or created. I never felt attached or any sort of connection to any of the characters. Usually in a book, especially in a series, I feel some sort of camaraderie to at least one character. The characters in this story were all interchangeable. No one stood out, no one made an impression on me. The main characters, especially, lacked personality and their romance lacked heat.

The storyline seemed to have all the necessary components of a bestselling paranormal romance/mystery, yet it never kept me on the edge of my seat. It really read like a rough draft. It had all the right ideas included, but it was missing the details. I didn't feel like we had a proper flow to the story, no real build up or climax. The tempo was just a lazy stroll through an underdeveloped story.

Honestly if this was my first book by this author, I wouldn't feel compelled to pick up another. I think hardcore fans will be a little more tolerant of this book, but I can't. Even if I have lukewarm feelings for a series my curious nature will have me wanting to read the next books. I can walk away from this series without a backward glance and without feeling like I am missing out on anything.

Cherise Everhard, April 2012
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
rosie49
I always look forward to any paranormal romance from Jayne Ann Krentz. Most people know she writes under several names and when it is a historical paranormal it is published under the name of Amanda Quick.

Crystal Gardens is the first book in the Ladies of Lantern Street trilogy. Each of the three ladies featured in the trilogy have paranormal abilities. They all three work for the Flint & Marsh Agency in London, a very exclusive agency that provides people with problems with a companion who can help solve that problem.

Plot: There were three different sources of danger in the book. There was the person after Evangeline, the murder of Lucas's uncle, and the increase in paranormal activity in the Crystal Garden. There was also the budding romance between Evangeline and Lucas. Sometimes the different problems seemed to muddy the flow of the book and slow down the action.

World Building: This was another thing that seemed to slow down the action. While some of the world of Crystal Gardens is based on pervious books there was quite a bit of world building required. Most of it was in the first of the book before most of the real action started.

Characters: Evangeline and Lucas are well developed and there are hints about the background of the other two ladies of Lantern Street. There are also some important side characters that add to the action in the book. I like the fact that all of the women are strong and independent. Of course Lucas is an alpha male who can appreciate a strong woman.

Writing: As always the writing is very good. Even when I found the going a little slow action wise I still wanted to keep reading.

Tension: There was plenty of that; a lot between Evangeline and Lucas, between Lucas and his family, the danger to Evangeline, trying to find the person who killed Lucas's uncle, the problems in the garden and the treasure. It was hard to keep up with all the problems.

I found Crystal Gardens to be an easy enjoyable read. It is not my favorite Amanda Quick novel. For all the reasons stated above it was not as fast moving as some of her other books but it did prime me for the next two books in the trilogy.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
syarif budhiman
When Evangeline Ames is attacked in her bed in the middle of the night, she climbs out the window and runs to safety - in the dubious form of the walled estate next door, its strangely luminous gardens, and its mysterious new owner, Lucas Sebastian.

Given the current downturn in quality of Quick/Krentz/Castle books, I was disappointed but not surprised to find that Crystal Gardens continued the trend. Newcomers or insanely die-hard fans will probably appreciate this effort, but I (generally a die-hard fan myself) found it to be formulaic in the extreme. In fact, it felt like someone else could have studied Quick's MO and written this book. The spark, magic, wit, and humor I used to rely on Quick for was just not here. Has Quick's passion moved on but she continues in this vein for monetary reasons? Is she contracted for more books than she can handle? I don't know, but I sure hope it's temporary and we'll be seeing work that matches her previous caliber again soon.

If you're new to Quick and also feel Crystal Gardens was flat and dull, please don't give up on her yet! Give her Arcane series a try. They take place in the regency period (Quick) as well as the present (Jayne Ann Krentz) and the future (Jayne Castle). The first is Second Sight and is everything you'd hope for from Crystal Gardens, but actually delivers.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
shana
Crystal Gardens is the first in a new trilogy by Amanda Quick called the Ladies of Lantern Street. It's a historical romance laced with paranormal elements. Quick delivers an action packed novel with characters that I quickly came to love. Filled with suspense, mystery, paranormal ability and a swoon worthy hero I was quickly swept up in the story.

The tale begins with protagonist Evangeline Ames. She is writer and ladies companion who has taken time off to explore the paranormal energy surrounding Crystal Gardens after she was attacked in London. When someone breaks into the cottage at night she instinctively runs to the Crystal Gardens estate and runs smack dab into swoon-worthy Lucas Sebastian. His uncle has recently passed and he believes foul play was involved. He and his trusted employee Stone are now residing in the home. The gardens are a dangerous place and Lucas has his hands full with his uncle's botanical experiments. The tale that unfolds was typical Quick and while familiar it captivated me none the less.

Lucas Sebastian is a dark man who makes people uncomfortable. He has a strong psychical talent that he must constantly keep in check. While people fear him, Evangeline sees the hero under the wolf's clothing. While he can behave like a boar, Evangeline begins to soften him. I found Evangeline to be delightful, witty and intelligent. She is a fictional romance writer, with absolutely no romantic experience beyond a kiss or too, so you can imagine the fun in that. We meet her best friends and the other ladies of Lantern Street when they come to visit. The three of them conversing had me giggling. We learn there is much more to these ladies. There were other characters that rounded out the cast and made the plot interesting.

The plot contains mystery, suspense, romance and a healthy dose of paranormal. While it isn't original fans of Quick are sure to enjoy it. We have the mysterious death of Lucas's uncle and someone is trying to murder Evangeline. Putting all the pieces of the puzzle together was fun and I enjoyed the ride. Throw in a lost treasure, some colorful characters and a well paced story-line and I was highly entertained. The romance between Lucas and Evangeline was hot. From the moment they encountered each other the tension and electrical current running between them was obvious even to an outsider. Evangeline decided to base her hero in her novel on Lucas and considers a romantic tryst with Lucas to conduct research. She sees herself outside of his social circle and cannot imagine anything beyond that. She may lose her heart but she will have the memories. Lucas has other plans.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
wally
In her latest novel set in the Victorian era, Amanda Quick introduces us to the first of her "Ladies of Lantern Street." They all work for a private investigation agency in London but they each have their secrets. Evangeline Ames has been attacked in London and she has rented a cottage in the country near the paranormal Crystal Gardens. She is attacked at the cottage and meets Lucas Sebastian owner of the grounds in which the Crystal Gardens are located. Sparks fly, but Evangeline is hesitant to take the relationship very far. Evangeline and Lucas discover that their paranormal talents complement each other and work well together to solve the mystery. Quick does a great job of creating rules for her paranormal settings and making sure the plot and characters stick to the rules.

If you're looking for entertainment, this is a good book for you.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
gale costa
Amanda Quick, AKA Jayne Ann Krentz was writing Steampunk in her Historical books before it was called Steampunk. Her books have this gothic feel to them with characters that not only believe in the Paranormal but live with it. Many of her characters have psychical senses.. Each one a unique gift, most of her characters have powerful senses, but they don't always have practical ones. THat is what makes her books such fun. These unique men and women use their talents to make their way in life. There is usually some type of mechanical creations if not paranormal ones.. sometimes there are both.

Evangeline Ames is hiding, there really is not another word for it. She is not the type of person to sulk in the countryside but under orders of her employers she needs to lay low. So off to the middle of nowhere she goes, renting a small cottage on the edge of the Crystal Gardens. While, there she plans on working on her novel, which she is selling in serial to a London Publisher. Late one night she hears strange sounds in her house and realizes that someone has broken in. Intrepid woman that she is, she crawls out the window and rushes to the only safe place she can think of. The mysterious gardens.. A place most people fear but she is quite drawn to. Once there she runs straight into the arms of Lucas Sebastian, Landowner.

Lucas Sebastian, is sure someone killed his uncle and he wants to find out who. His particular brand of power allows him to track murders, he feels their crime and he is sure he will be able to find out how his uncle died. No sooner had he started his investigation when he runs into Miss Ames. For a man of such sensibilities finding a woman who can accept his paranormal abilities is rare, finding one that speaks to him is even rarer. He is instantly intrigued and with every new piece of information he finds about her he wants her more. Unlike the gentle misses of the ton, Evangeline has something that speaks to him.

Lucas, comes with the pre requisite family members, who don't understand him but accept him. The meddling stepmother whom is sure, he is just waiting to destroy her. And of course the trusty sidekick.. He feels he is just short of a monster and barely contains his power.. Evangeline is there to show him he is so much more, that he is actually hero material, well maybe Anti Hero, but face it Han Solo was an anti hero and we all LOVE him.
Crystal Gardens was not one of my favorite Amanda Quick books, it seemed to loose my interest quite frequently. Her characters lacked the oomph she usually provides for us and I saw scenes that would have fit right in, in other books. In short it seemed like one of those episodes on TV where they walk you down memory lane. Don't get me wrong, Ms Quick is a talented writer and anything she writes is worth your time.. but for me this one lacked something. It happens occasionally, I have many authors I really like and occasionally one of their books leave me flat, but the next one pulls me back in. And of course there are times that I don't like a book only to find out it is a friends favorite book in the entire series.. Ms Quick is planning two more books in this particular series and I did like the characters that she will be using so I am sure that I will be reading the next book when it comes along. I don't NOT recommend this book, rather suggest it not go to the top of your TBR pile.

I hated writing this review and I know it is one of my harsher ones but for me this time Ms Quick just missed the boat..

Shauni
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jamie f
Perhaps because this is my first Amanda Quick book ( I have read several Krentz and Castle books) I have to disagree with several reviewers. I found the book to be thoroughly enchanting and enjoyable. I have not read any of her Arcane books but that did not take away from this story.

Evangeline Ames has come to Little Dixby to recover from an attempt on her life and work on her writing. Very soon she finds out that r and r is not possible when another attempt is made on her life and she is saved by the mysterious Lucas Sebastian. They share psychical abilites and a very strong mutual attraction. The story is suspenseful and romantic with a few bits of humor thrown in. Several secondary characters give the story depth and introduce Evangeline's friends and co-workers, the Ladies of Lantern Street. I look forward to their stories. I would highly recommend this book. It is quick paced and fun reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kimber frantz
Evangeline Ames wakes up to the certainty that someone is breaking into her house and it quickly becomes apparent that it is not just a random burglary and she is in danger. Evangeline is forced to leave the cottage she is renting and try to get help from her landlord who lives in the estate next door, Crystal Gardens. Once on the property she is startled to find him and his manservant out on the property. The estate is an eerie setting suffused with paranormal energy and the burglar soon meets an unfortunate end in the strange maze situated in Crystal Gardens.
Lucas Sebastian is the owner of the Gardens, having inherited from his uncle Chester. Lucas believes his uncle was murdered and has come to the estate to investigate. He and Evangeline make an instant connection on many levels. Evangeline has come to the village to recuperate after being attacked by a male acquaintance. Lucas recognizes that she has paranormal abilities as he does and they both work to help victims of criminal activities. This first night begins a story of attempted murder, treasure hunting and an unusual romance. Add three investigating women, curious siblings, a garden full of dangerous, possibly man eating plants, and you have a page turner in this book. I have to mention that the mysterious pools on the estate are HOT in more ways than one!
Having read all of the Arcane Society series and subsequent books, I enjoy the fact that this new trilogy continues the paranormal theme. Lucas and Evangeline have abilities that they can't categorize but know are real. Lucas has despaired of ever finding a woman who would be able to live with his abilities. Evangeline has been betrayed by love before and keeps men at a distance. Their abilities are a common bond that helps cement the relationship. Ms. Quick does a great job incorporating elements from earlier books that have been discovered and investigated by Arcane and others and placing them in this story as new and unexplainable. An example is a paranormal infused lantern and crystals that are a mystery to Lucas and Evangeline. She has also made the Crystal Gardens themselves a character in the story with a life of its own. The characters from the next two books make an appearance and whet the reader's appetite for the next story. I for one can't wait.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cristiana
I don't read a lot of period romances except by Amanda Quick. Her heroines have a spark of emancipation about them that make the characters likeable and very daring. This series deals with the paranormal senses used for both evil and good. Of course the good always wins but why not?
Evangeline is able to escape a murderer by running into the weird garden of the next door neighbor, her landlord. The story involves treasure hunting and good over evil and a very large cast of characters.
The plant life in this story is some that I would hope to never encounter. That said, enjoy!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
michael fitzgerald
The 4 stars is actually for relatively new Amanda Quick readers. For those of us who have read her books for years, I have to downgrade to 3 stars for giving us the same story again, with different named characters. That being said, this is one of Quick's better efforts as it has more edge-of-your-seat suspense than usual. The story begins in the middle of a chase, and grabs you immediately. The heroine, Evangeline Ames, is being chased by an assassin through a garden of malevolent, paranormal plants. Enter Lucas, the hero and owner of said garden. Evangeline is investigating a case through her job with an agency that hires people with "special" abilities. One of her abilities is finding lost things, and the lost thing that led her to the current dangerous situation is paranormal in nature. Lucas has paranormal gifts of his own which are often lethal. His experiences because of them, have led him to believe he would never find a woman for a permanent relationship. He is immediately attracted to Evangeline, who seems to be the perfect match for him. The two of them join forces to solve her case, which lead them to realize that it is the tip of the iceberg, connected to other mysteries in both their pasts. A very enjoyable and recommended read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jonathan hooper
When I am looking for a good read, and a story that will delight, entertain and is guaranteed to have a happy ending I know I can never go wrong with Amanda Quick (AKA Jayne Ann Krentz).

Crystal Gardens introduces us to the Ladies of Lantern Street trilogy; expertly blending romance, mystery and the paranormal into a thrilling and heartwarming tale of love, murder and wits against a gothic background. This book was a fun read that introduced strong characters, incorporated an intriguing plot, and set the scene for the next two books with brilliant ease.

I loved getting to know the two main characters in this book. Connected from the first chapter, I enjoyed seeing their relationship grow and bloom throughout their adventure. Lucas, a dark and mysterious character, was a great and stalwart hero and I enjoyed seeing both his intelligence and his honor woven through this work. Evangeline showed both spunk and determination, I found her a fascinating female...blending and balancing her chosen vocation with her gifts, she was fun to watch though out this tale.

The setting on this book, incorporating both botany and the paranormal, imbued it with an ambiance that was truly unique. Adding more dimension to a tried-and-true romance plot, it expanded the scope of the story, taking on a life of its own.

All in all it was another wonderful book by Ms. Quick to which I give a very happy four stars.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
elizabeth lovius
This was another great book from Amanda Quick. She has a definite formula for her storylines and her characters. But they work. Somehow she (almost) always makes her books fresh and engaging. This was one of those - and thankfully, for the fans, it did not read like a mid-series slum.

I think I've read everything Amanda Quick has put out over every alias, Jayne Caste, Krentz. Many things multiple times. I love how she interweaves her stories through her different genres, era's, and planets. She makes this alternate reality a lot of fun to read about.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nicole janeen jones
Victorian paranormal with sex.

This is another "psychical" story from Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Amanda Quick. As much as I enjoy these stories, they're starting to blur together for me. All the heroes are tall, dark & handsome & have a violent psychic talent. The heroines always have a talent that compliments the hero's. There's a mystery, always with danger involving the heroine. I still like the stories though, so I'll probably get Clarissa's when it comes out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rory parle
This is a tough one for me. I enjoyed it, but, not enough to buy it or the coming two books that I'm sure will be written about this heroines friends. Will be good reads for a kindle or library loan. *Spoiler alert* Evangeline Ames is taking a month in the country after being almost raped and murdered by a man she identified as a fortune hunter, to the wealthy family she was employed by. Secretly, she works for an agency that employs her and two friends, Clarissa and Beatrice..all have strong "paranormal" powers. Evie has rented a cottage located on the mysterious estate called The Crystal Gardens. Someone tries to break in and attack her so she runs to the main gardens where she is saved by the estate owner Lucas (woo-woo!) ..who just happens to be quite the paranormal himself. There are alot of mysterious happenings, real plot twists, some hot scenes. Like I said, I enjoyed it, was a quick read at 300 pgs or so. The characters weren't developed deeply enough and I would expect that the author will deliver the next two books in the same manner..The Ladies of Lantern Street novels..enjoy for what they are :)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lotte hansen
Amanda Quick is a great author. I just couldn't put this book down until I had finished it. I hope that she will be writing more in this series. I can't wait to find out what will happen with other characters. Ms. Quick does a fabulous job of describing both the characters and the atmosphere. I highly recommend this book and others written by this author.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kevin curtis
This was a very good romance that I recommend to lovers of historical romance, paranormal romance, and Jayne Ann Krentz in all her many names and genres. I love everything about the book, the characters, the crisp writing, the story. I just could not put it down, amazing!!!! This type of seasoned work reminded me of Rise of the Wadjet Witch (Written in the Sky) a wicked web of words weaved by Juliet C. Obodo, I absolutely recommend it!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kristen allen
I'm glad I got it from the library and didn't pop $14 (including tax) for a bunch of pixels downloaded to my Kindle.

That said, it's not as awful as some reviewers apparently considered it to be, but it is definitely another in the author's rapidly increasing series of derivative books. It actually became rather fun, picking out the elements that could be readily identified as having been in earlier works. Of course, the "gimme" is the dangerous garden, which was straight out of "Zinnia" (remember Demented DeForest?). The ill will between Lucas and his barely-younger-than-he stepmother but good relations with her children was lifted from "Wildest Hearts." Mysterious pools? "Canyons of the Night" and "Hidden Talents" spring to mind (pools? springs? get it?). The crystal-used-as-weapon has become ubiquitous in several of the author's books. Nothing new there.

This is, naturally, the problem. There's nothing new. It's as if the author took a bunch of elements of previous works, dumped 'em in a bag, reached in and removed several, and used them to write "Crystal Gardens." Well, and "Copper Beach," too.

I suspect the real trouble is that Krentz/Quick/Castle has cranked up her writing production to the point it's turned into a veritable assembly line. What's she up to now? Four books a year? "Copper Beach" came out in January, "Crystal Gardens" in April, "The Lost Weekend" is due in September, and based upon her recent writings, what do you want to bet there'll be another one in December or January? There's no way any author can produce truly innovative, creative, well-written books at such a rate. She's churning 'em out like doughnuts, and it shows.

It would tickle me positively pink for Ms. Krentz/Quick/Castle to exercise some self-restraint and instead produce one book every six to nine months, the way she used to. Back when the books were original (barring the heroes, which all are not conventionally handsome, but with "fiercely etched features" and "sharp edges" and "sorcerer's eyes"...couldn't there be one who has dishwater blond hair and a round, cute face? Just as a challenge?)

So, if you're new to this author, you'll doubtless love "Crystal Gardens," and yippee, sez I. If you've been reading her stuff for years and years, it won't hold your attention very well, but it's okay. Just get it from the library.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
adit
I had never read any of Ms. Quick's books and this one was picked up for me at the library by my husband. He gets me all of the latest mystery releases available. I am a mystery reader and Crystal Garden is far away from my usual reading fare. However, on a one time basis, it was fun, predictable and at times, exciting. I am giving this book five stars because it is such predictable fun. Would I spend money on more of this author's work? No. But it made me smile. Fun, escapist and easy reading at a time when I need it the most.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chocolate
Where are the first pages of each chapter? I had to get the paperback copy from the library to understand each new chapter.
Otherwise it wonderful read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
mariano
I love Amanda Quick's books. She is always able to write very nice characters that you are glad to see find the perfect mate.
I found this story to be interesting and although I enjoyed it I did feel find myself skimming over parts because of the repetitiveness.
The gardens that are the background in the story were very intriguing and I enjoyed the parts that included it.
This is a paranormal romance with a good amount of conflict and mystery involved to keep you reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
melanie harrell
Evangeline Ames has come to the country between paid-companion assignments to write a novel. Her peace and quiet is shattered by someone trying to kill her. She escapes into the beautiful and deadly Crystal Gardens of the neighboring estate, and is rescued by her dangerous-looking land lord, Lucas Sebastian.

This novel was a good one, but very similar to the Arcane Society novels in my opionion. Amanda Quick's paranormal historical romance novels all seem to have Dark Dangerous heroes and Independent Capable heroines, but the formula always works, and the setting for this one was especially lovely. Could it have been inspired by the Crystal Garden in The Night Circus? Although this novel had the same feel as some of her other novels, it was nonetheless a satisfying and fun read. Just not as original as I would have liked.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
antoinette
There is just enough "romance" (without ripping bodices or such) to make it fun.
The paranormal part is handled with people having "psychical" gifts of varying types.
It is ingenious how she has the standard spinsters of this era who would otherwise be nearly destitute, fine well paying employment because of their gifts.
All in all, it works well for a very enjoyable story. (Complete with annoying family members!)
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
piaw
Amanda Quick a.ka.Jayne Ann Krentz is recycling her stories. Problem number one the heroine. She is a writer to has writer's block and goes to the country to get inspiration and rest from a tragic incident. She meets the hero of the story and immediately fashions her character after him. The character was suppose to be the bad guy but in the end he turns out to be the good guy. Really. You have done that already Jayne. I mean really don't you remember wait until midnight. Wait you do remember because you are now taking from your old books and "rewriting" them as though they are new ideas. I have noticed this for a while now but I was hoping I was wrong. And lets talk about the "gardens". I realized that this may be a theme to tie some books together. But I swear these gardens were in the Harmony series also. I want my money back. She is recycling her stories. I'm done buying her books. I already own them and she isn't writing anything new.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
vinaya
I usually love Amanda Quick novels, and this one was OK. But I listened to the audiobook version and I must say that Justine Eyre's whiny voice totally ruined the book. I've decided not to buy another audiobook that she narrates despite my love for the book or author. So before I pass judgment on the novel itself, I'll read it and try to get Eyre's voice out of my head. What a sad disappointment.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
jill
Like many others here, I was a big fan of Ms. Krentz/Quick/Castle's earlier books (not too early - her first books from the late 80s were awful). But, really, the past eight years or so have seen the same themes and plot lines used over and over and over. Ho Hum. I keep reading the new ones as they come out, hoping against hope for a, well, novel approach, but to no avail. Even some of the character names are recycled. As another reviewer said, if you have read one book, you have read them all. What a shame. I love Jayne Castle's futuristic series of books, but I wish she would leave that stuff there and write something fresh under the Quick and Krentz names.

As to "Crystal Gardens", the characters have little depth and just repeat lines and actions found in earlier novels. The pacing is flat and for a book described as romantic suspense, it has very little of either. Just as a snarky side note, why do all of Ms. Quick's male heroes seem to suffer from premature ejaculation? I truly hate to be so harsh to a one-time favorite author, but it's a sign of the level of my disappointment. Don't bother buying this book; get it from the library of you simply must read it.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
zayaan
Clearly I am in the minority because I did not care for this story. Too many references to paranormal and/or physical energy. It almost felt like the other wanted to continuously remind me that this was a story of paranormal forces. I am normally a fan of his authors work but this just didn't do it for me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
thayssa
POSSIBLE VERY SMALL SPOILER IN THE REVIEW

Amanda Quick is one of the very few romance writers from my teenage years which I still enjoy reading as an adult. I think I have read every title she ever published and liked them all, but when she started including paranormal tones in her last three? four? books, I did not like them as much as her previous ones. I think I just did not think she worked paranormal theme in her historicals all that well. So many people in 19 century London have psychic abilities and it is done with so matter of factly? I did not really care for it, but even though this book features hero and heroine with paranormal talents, I liked this one much better than her previous several works (Arkan society novels) with paranormal theme. I guess I liked how the theme of fated mates is toned down in this one. I mean, there is a one true love theme of course, but I just did not get the same feel from this one as I get from "werewolf bond" books if that makes sense. Of course this book has all the themes that I enjoy - strong, independent heroine, but I can at least imagine that the means for her independence were possible at that times. I also always like her heroes and I thought chemistry was very well done. I also liked that while heroine was a virgin (I guess we cant have a historical without one, sigh), there is no humongous deal being made out of that fact, I liked that. Mystery was not really a mystery, just a prop for romance, but still enjoyable.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
zach milan
I have read many, many of this author's books, including the Arcane Society books, so I am familiar with her style and topic choice. Most of the time I enjoy those books she sets back in Victorian time, but this book lacked a little je ne sais quoi.

I can easily see how she would expend the series, however, since she introduced two female characters that could easily have a book of their own. I like that --- I personally love to read series and catch glimpses of past characters mentioned because it's almost like asking after a cousin when you run into your aunt at the grocery store. Interwoven stories lead to a richer reading experience.

The main characters aren't strong. Sure, they have some psychical powers, but without the Arcane connection, they just seemed weaker than most. It almost could have been a "normal" romance instead of a paranormal one. The characters got cozy a little fast, which wouldn't have been bad, except I didn't feel a spark between the two. The mystery of the Crystal Gardens wasn't very exciting. Sure there was a chase scene and an attempted murder, but other than that, there wasn't that high adrenaline that I'd experienced in past books.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
erez
I am a huge fan of this author, that being said I feel the past few books have not been up to my expectations. It is almost as if she dictated a story-line and then some one else wrote the novel. This plot has so many elements from previous books that to anyone familiar with her work you spend time remembering those novels and comparing them to Crystal Gardens,and not favorably. If you arent't familiar with her earlier novels, then yes this is an OK story, but to fans it is a big disappointment.Wait for the paperback or the Kindle to go on sale.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
josie
If you're a fan, you'll read this---I did---but you are bound to be disappointed. Take killer plants from the "Little Shop of Horrors," mix in "Temple of Doom" crystals and a psychic storm not unlike the end from "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and you have some idea of pieces borrowed and reworked. Was Quick writing this on deadline? I ask because there must not have been an editor. Days get confused---the hero's aunt and stepmother announce that they are leaving the next day, but two days later, they're still around. The hero says he has a sister, when in fact, it's his uncle's sister (the hero's aunt). Good grief, it was enough to handle one psychic episode after another without having to stop and figure out the mundane details. And, almost everybody was more interesting than the hero and his heroine.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nadia
I enjoy this author and I've read her under other pseudonyms, (Jayne Ann Krentz.)Her stories are always enjoyable, good plots, characters, etc..
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
james c
This book is a bit more refreshing in a way changing paths a bit. I usually enjoy these stories, as the are easy reading. They often follow a pattern, but it's a nice break from much harder reading for me anyway. So I enjoy a nice easy love story with mystery to boot once and a while and Jayne Krentz/Amanda Quick were some of my first reading choices in the past.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
abraham
Really disappointed! Amanda Quick's books always develop a great romantic relationship amidst the danger and suspense of the plot. Well, this one didn't. There were too many secondary characters running in and out. Many times, these characters interacted with one another and not with the hero or heroine. As a consequence, there were jarring transitions in the story. It was like expecting a smooth freeway, and ending up bumping along on a pot-holed city street. I really like Amanda Quick's books. But not this one.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
terry drake
This first book in a new Regency paranormal series is very much in Amanda Quick's usual style - a quick (pun intended), fun and entertaining read. I am not usually a paranormal reader but love her Regency romances and have many of them on my keeper shelf. Therefore I tried this one and liked it. The paranormal elements in this one are green and leafy, the heroine is quirky and spunky, hero is dark and masterful.

Just know it is a very fast read and to my mind the price is high considering that. If the ebook were cheaper I would have given it more stars.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
robert bob
OK...so it's not the best book that Jayne Ann Krentz ever wrote under her historical novel pseudonym. It is, however, a fun read. The characters are likable. The story moves along nicely. But it's clearly a middle installment of a three part series. I enjoyed it. I'd read it again. I do, however, agree with an earlier reviewer who recommended checking this out of the library. As enjoyable an afternoon read as it may be, I don't think it's worth the price of a hardcover book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jessica white
I enjoyed this series. The characters were enjoyable. It showed them to have passion and gave them the bits of drama. Good story for a light read. I am an avid reader of historical romances and this one was a joy to read like majority of her other ones.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
audrey monke
Since this is a later review I just hit the highlights. I loved this couple. She is smart and charming. He is wonderfully heroic and caring about those around him. This is a great story and one that I highly recommend. There are similar plot devices but it is still a wonderful-albeit expensive-book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kenny
I am not into very many historical/Victorian-era books but some are fun and exciting reads, this was one of them. Lucas Sebastian was my dark hero and my new book boyfriend! Hope there are more books featuring Lucas.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
bassem
I have been a fan of Ms. Krentz for years. However, this book is definitely not one of her best. The storyline is practically non-existent, the characters are extremely simplistic, and the romance is boring. It's like she is just going through the motions, writing a formula novel, to fulfill a contract. It is relatively short, and the Kindle price of $12.99 is outrageous for this book. Ms. Krentz's books will no longer be on my automatic buy list, unless it's her Harmony series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
adam ickes
I'm not the type to read a book more than once..but I love this book and have read all three titles I own by Amanda Quick more than once..she's one of my absolute favorite authors. This book will not disappoint. Its a MUST read!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
dewey
I enjoyed the characters and the story line is a good one. The only thing that was distracting to me was the overuse of the word "psychical." Turn to almost any page in the book, and there it is.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
susan becker
Interesting book, the romance is a little dry.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
michael havens
Krentz can definitely write, and she has likeable characters, but really, she's writing the same book over and over again. If you haven't read her before, you'll probably enjoy this book well enough. If you have read her, everything that happens here will be familiar: same old paranormal abilities, same old real & not-so-real villains, same old instantaneous relationship between the H & H. She doesn't even attempt genuine conversations or humor between the characters anymore. Crystal Garden isn't an unpleasant read, it just isn't interesting.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kristi sullivan
This is the first book I've read by this author. It got off to a slow start and did pick up a little bit of momentum from the middle to the end. I agree with some of the other reviewers that, unfortunately, this book is nothing special. It seems like it was half-hearted effort made by the author. I will probably think twice before reading another of this series. It is disappointing since I was really looking forward to this book.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
allen marino
I LOVED Arcane. I was expecting this to be at that level, but I feel she fell back to her early books. Too bad.
I know she was touting getting her pseudonyms separated, but I had no problem with that and loved the continuity of plot over time.
I normally buy her without even reading, automatic. Next book, I will sample first before I buy. That makes me sad. :(
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
janey
I enjoyed this book... It was different.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
aimee bound
Love it grabbed you rite from the start worth reading love Amanda quick getting ready to start the next book
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
victoria torrez
I love Amanda Quick!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jeryl hayes
Interesting twists
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sarah spector
Superb! Love Mrs. Quick's series and writing. Fantastic service!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
esa ruoho
I actually believe in the power of crystals!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dave perkins
On the lines of a para normal Victoria Holt novel. Mystery, suspense, romance what more could you ask for. Strong men and their match in women.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tami casias
Good book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
michael smit
She is a pretty good author.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
scott parkerson
Enjoyable book with a great narrator. The love story was less complicated and torturous than it is for most Quick novels... A refreshing change.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ann kenney
Her characters are strong there is always a thread of humour through her stories.MsQuick's plots are fun entertaining enjoyable read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jaanaki
Really enjoyed this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
v nia nunes
This is an intelligent though a bit quirky read. If you like Amanda Quick and the "paranormal" stuff she writes about, this is one of the better ones I have read.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
pat boyle
This has been a quick read so far, good elements of romance and supernatural. It helps pass a long plane ride or I would think a good beach read as well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
christina esdon
I loved all of the characters that were introduced and combined with the setting created a book I couldn't put down. I devoured the interactions between Evie and Lucas, but I don't want to give anything away. Great start!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alyssa evers
I loved this book. Could not put it down. I was up late and trying to find time to read during the day. Can't wait for the next ladies of lantern steet books to come out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
vanessa araujo
My first book by Amanda Quick. Loved the mystery filled with excitement, twists and turns, and romance. Can't wait to read the next book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
aggrofemme
As always a fun and quick read. Amanda Quick always delivers on easy reads that hold your attention with her wit!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anya s
Another great Amanda Quick novel with strong heroines and the heroes who fall in love with that strength.
If you have loved her other books then I am sure you will love the latest offering
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nazym
Excellent read in typical Amanda Quick style.Can't wait for the next ladies story.Crystal Gardens (Ladies of Lantern Street)
Similar to the Arcane series with paranormal elements.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
maimuna
Dull
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
jonathan jay levine
I've never read any thing by this author and probably never will again. The description was intriging but she kept using the same words and phrases over and over again .It got so tedious. A english teacher would have said try again.Some many books so little time .
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
watergirl
Not one of her best but if you enjoy her Castle/ Quick/ Krentz paranormal crossovers you'll be satisfied. Nothing new but uses her successful formula.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
claire
I'm not buying anything else for my Kindle till the publishers stop stealing our money. This book is priced five dollars higher than the author's other books, and in a few months it'll drop to 7.99.
There is no differernce in the cost of an e-book yesterday, today or tomorrow, except greed.
I'm tired of it.
Please Rate Crystal Gardens (Ladies of Lantern Street Book 1)
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