Monthly Archives: January 2011

Jeaniene Frost & Pamela Palmer on tour!

Jeaniene Frost, author of the ridiculously awesome Night Huntress series, made her official tour announcement a few days ago on her website…

http://jeanienefrost.com/2011/01/february-2011-tour/

She’ll be hitting these cities with fellow best-selling author Pamela Palmer, author of the Feral Warriors series:

  • Saturday, February 19th: Boonsboro, Maryland
  • Tuesday, February 22nd: Birmingham, AL
  • Wednesday, February 23rd: New Orleans, LA

If you haven’t read the Night Huntress series, for SHAME!  Move over Bella & Edward, it’s all about Cat & Bones!  Jeaniene, now that you mention Team Bones slap bracelets, I am fiending for one!  Hook a girl up so I can represent!!  *wink*  Seriously though, if anyone finds out where to buy a Team Bones or Team Kougar slap bracelet, post here and let us know!

Here are some other fun things I came across while checking out the Night Huntress site today…

(these are all designs available on various items at PrintFection… tshirts, mugs, mousepads, etc)

 

If you haven't read Ch32 of One Foot in the Grave, don't cheat... just read it and be properly scandalized!

 

Okay!  Now that I’ve promoted the hell out of Cat & Bones, I want to say that the Feral Warrior series is also really great.  It’s one of my other most-enjoyed series.  I haven’t done any reviews of it yet, but I will probably do Kougar’s book that comes out in a little less than a month.  A new Cat & Bones book AND a new Feral Warriors book releasing on the same day?!   Pure paranormal bliss!  Here are the next two books to look forward to, both releasing on February 22nd:

  • This Side of the Grave, Cat & Bones (Night Huntress series) #5 by Jeaniene Frost
  • Hunger Untamed, Feral Warriors series #5 by Pamela Palmer

Enjoy!!

❤ DVK

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Review: Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood series novel #1) by J. R. Ward

TLDR recap:

In an innovative new (to some of us at least 😉 ) take on vampire fiction, J. R. Ward takes us deep into a world where the vampires are just normal “people”, hunted by the undead in a blood feud as old as their creation. Wrath, the pureblood King of vampire society, spends most of his time fighting his own personal demons and falling deeper into self-hate. Everything changes when he meets Beth, the half-blooded daughter of a fellow warrior, and helps her survive her grueling and dangerous transition from human to vampire. This novel has everything a good book should have: character development, arcing & developed plotlines, likable characters, humor & sarcasm, action & romance. These vampire warriors are stone cold killers, but somehow they still manage to pull at the heart-strings.

  • Title: Dark Lover
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood – book #1
  • Author: J. R. Ward
  • Prominent Characters: Wrath & Beth
  • Recommended reader age: 16+
  • Sexual content level: Moderate

Premise:

Wrath is the only remaining vampire of pure blood and the race’s hereditary king. Refusing his responsibilities as a monarch for 300 years, Wrath instead leads the band of warrior vampires, the Black Dagger Brotherhood, who protect the race from the undead “lessers” that were created solely to hunt them. When one of Wrath’s brother warriors asks him to watch over his daughter during her transition from human to vampire (a very dangerous time for a vampire), Wrath finds himself torn between his self-hate and his protective instincts for Beth.

Thoughts:

I initially read this book thinking I’d do this one review, then just read the rest for fun. I mean, usually with a series, either you like the first book enough to keep reading (in which case you finish the series) or you don’t bother with any of the others at all, so doing reviews on books farther into the series (especially if they aren’t new releases) isn’t quite the same as reviewing a series starter novel. I liked this book enough to read the next one, which I liked even more. So I read the next… and the next… (you get the drift) until I was fiending for more and was finally out of books! These novels get better as they go on, peaking somewhere around book 5. I found myself making notes while reading the sequels, so it looks like more reviews are coming afterall! =)

The “universe rules”: Okay okay, I know I always say “oh this one is unique and different!”. And they usually are! But the BDB world stands out from the other typical vampire lore on several counts:

1) Vampires are born, not made… sort of. If you have vampire blood, there is a chance you will go through a “transition” at around age 25, changing your body from a normal human to a vampire. After the change you will have to drink blood and stay out of the sunlight… I know – doesn’t sound too different yet, right?

2) Vampires do not drink human blood! Male vampires feed from female vampires, and vice versa. They CAN feed from humans, but the benefits are so much less that it’s almost not worth it. Humans are not their prey, so they have very little interaction with them at all. They typically only need to feed every 6 months or so – otherwise they eat and drink normal food on a regular basis just like humans.

3) Vampires are not immortal – they live between 700 and 800 years and then die of degenerative diseases and old age just like humans do. They do have accelerated healing and can teleport themselves, but in no way are they impervious to harm.

Something that immediately put me off in the beginning was the crass language of the brothers and their gangster-like lifestyle. This series has taken a lot of criticism for that and I put off reading it for a long time based on those negative reviews that went on and on about how horrible and distracting and chauvanistic the males in the series are. If this is one of your concerns, let me just tell you now – it gets better. Are the males (not “men” – men and women are human, males and females are vampires) chauvanistic? No, but they are extremely overprotective, which leaves room for strong-willed female leads… and who doesn’t want that? Are the males crass? Yes, their language and lifestyle before meeting their mates is offputting and easily distracting, but this just helps emphasize the positive change their females bring into their lives, as you see their habits change and their language back off. These guys are badasses, but not because they are magical and have special powers (with the exception of Vichous) – they train hard, work hard, and live hard, and they endure harsh consequences. Their women are the counterbalance to the harsh lives they are forced to lead as honest-to-Scribe-Virgin warriors. Once I read farther into the book and got over the distraction of all the “you feel me, true?” and “yo, man” vernacular, I really started to enjoy myself.

Two things that annoy me:

1) The Butch character, who eventually becomes an integral and extremely likeable character, starts off as someone you don’t really like. Throughout the first few books, he loses some of his edges and becomes more like the other brothers… which is not to say they are without pricklies, just likeable in spite of. I think this is largely due to the writer’s style. At first I didn’t like Butch (or really even Wrath), because they didn’t like themselves. The story is told from 3rd person omniscient, but with a 3rd person limited feel. You know what all the characters are thinking that you are introduced to, but you only know what they KNOW or THINK. You don’t get some overarching tidbits rolled into their thoughts. When you read Wrath, it’s like he’s talking to you, not the author. People who suffer from self-hate often also have no friends because they push away others to punish themselves. SO, if you find yourself hating some of the characters at first, stick with it and let it play out – this sets the stage for some seriously awesome moments down the line!!

2) Boots are always referred to as “shitkickers”, even by the refined females in the series.  Seriously??  Ugh.  Even after 7 books I still get annoyed with this one.

You might also like…

There are not really any other series LIKE this one, but when I read it and feel a connection to the characters, I’m reminded of how I feel when I read Jeaniene Frost’s Cat & Bones or Karen Chance’s Cassie & crew or Nalini Singh’s Archangel/Guild Hunter cast.  The characters become part of your “family”, and the plots are earthy and hard-hitting… no partnership is spared sudden and unexpected (and sometimes brutal) hardships!  This series has the potential to make you laugh, cry, and swear, and I loved every minute of it!

Memorable quotes:

Darius (Beth’s father) talking to a fellow warrior about Beth’s upcoming transition:

“I’m going to talk to her.”

“And how’s that going to go? You’re just going to walk up and say, ‘Hey, I know you’ve never seen me before, but I’m your Dad. Oh, and guess what? You’ve won the evolutionary lottery: You’re a vampire. Let’s go to Disneyland!”

“I hate you right now.”

Wrath’s reaction to seeing Beth kiss someone else…

A low growl vibrated through his chest and out his mouth.

She’s mine.

He cursed. Yeah, and in what parallel universe was he living in? She was his temporary responsibility, not his shellan. She could be with whomever she wished. Wherever. Whenever. But God, the idea that she might actually like what the guy was doing to her, that she might prefer the taste of the human’s kiss, was enough to make Wrath’s temple’s pound.

Welcome to the wonderful world of jealousy, he thought. For the price of admission, you get a splitting headache, a nearly irresistable urge to commit murder, and an inferiority complex. Yippee.

Butch, after waking up in a house full of vampires…

How’d they… That’s right. They’d crashed after kicking Tohr’s bottle of Scotch.  Tohr.  Short for Tohrment.

God, he even knew their names.  Rhage.  Phury.  And that scary-ass Zsadist guy.  Yeah, no Tom, Dick, and Harry names for the Vampire types.

But come on, could you actually imagine some lethal bloodsucker named Howard?  Eugene?

Oh, no, Wallie, please don’t bite my-

Holy Christ, he was totally losing it.

Final thoughts:

Read this book! When you finish it, read the next book, then the next! If you can get through V’s book without feeling put through the wringer emotionally, then you have some serious armor! These books were the most emotionally invested I’ve been since Cat & Bones and I can’t wait for more.

As a final thought, if you’re starting this series, READ THE GLOSSARY BEFORE YOU START!! Ms. Ward uses an entire new vocabulary of terms in the vampire language, and if you don’t at least look at them first, you might find yourself a little confused. =)

Rating:
4.25 fangs: BITE IT!

It would be more, but I need to save some for the awesomeness that is yet to come in this series. =D

Okay, okay… 4.25 fangs! There.

Related links:

http://www.jrward.com/bdb/index.html

http://jeanienefrost.com/books/

http://www.karenchance.com/books.html

http://www.nalinisingh.com/books.html#guild


Review: Born to Bite (Argeneau Vampires series novel #13) by Lynsay Sands

TLDR recap:

In this 13th novel in the Argeneau vampire series, Ms. Sands wraps up the story of Nicholas from book 12 while introducing us to long-awaited-absentee-father Armand Argeneau (who has been referred to throughout the series) and solving the mystery of Armand’s three dead wives.  This book is true to the series, so if you normally enjoy the Argeneau books, you’ll probably enjoy this one too… just don’t go out of your way to read it.

  • Title: Born to Bite
  • Series: Argeneau Vampires – book #13
  • Author: Lynsay Sands
  • Prominent characters: Armand Argeneau, Eshe
  • Recommended reader age: 15+
  • Sexual content level: Light to Moderate

Premise:

Armand Argeneau has lost his last three wives, and a pregnant daughter-in-law, to suspicious circumstances.  Either someone seriously has it in for his lady loves, or Mr. Argeneau is playing a very nasty game.  Now, Armand’s son Nicholas’ life is on the line and unless the killer is found, Nick faces execution for the murder of an innocent mortal woman, which he was framed for 50 years ago.  Armand’s brother Lucian, one of the oldest immortals and a member of the ruling North American council, sends one of his Enforcers, Eshe, to investigate.

Thoughts:

This series, overall, is light and fun.  A good way to describe it might be “quaint, with a little priss” (the males are generally at least a couple hundred years old, so they’re old fashioned, and one of the author’s favorite words seems to be “peer” as in “she peered from beneath her spectacles”).  Some books are better than others though, and this one was sort of middle-of-the-road for me.

The “universe rules” for this series is fairly unique.  The closest well-known example I can compare it to is Twilight, except the “vampires” are technically still human… super-humans actually.  They descend from Atlanteans, where they used their advanced technology to create nanites that, when injected into the bloodstream, healed a person of all injuries before deactivating and passing out of the system.  An unforeseen side effect of the nanites was immortality.   Instead of deactivating when they’d healed the damage they were programmed for, the nanites stayed in the system and kept the host bodies at peak conditioning, healing even the effects of old age.  Anyone exposed to the nanites becomes permanently infected, including children of infected people.  The result is a race of “immortals” who all appear to be in their mid to late twenties and are in peak physical condition.  The cost of this perfection is blood – they have to drink several pints of blood each day to feed the nanites and keep them from eating their own internal organs for food.  Over time, they’ve evolved to possess more tools to help them hunt and feed the nanites… hence, the typical extra strength, superior vision and hearing, mind reading, and retractible fangs.

Something else unique to this world (at least as far as I know), is the concept of “life mates”.  Immortals can read the minds of most mortals and even some other immortals, particularly those that are younger or weaker.  However, rarely, the nanites in a host will identify an ideal partner for that person, and the paired immortals will be unable to read each others minds.  It leads to spectacular sex, which they pass out from for the first several months, shared dreams, and a fairytale-like relationship.   This actually makes for some interesting stories when one of the pair is a normal mortal who knows nothing about these Atlantean “vampires”, but when both partners are already immortal and know the deal, it’s a little boring.  Armand and Eshe realize they are life mates, and just fall in together without any conflict, doubts, or other hurdles that make a story interesting.  There’s drama in the plot of course, since someone is trying to kill them both, but the relationship itself falls a little flat.  I’ve found that throughout this series as well – the books I enjoy the most are the ones where one of the pair is mortal.

You might also like…

I’m still trying to find some other author or series this is similar enough to.  So far, no luck in the paranormal romance field, but Johanna Lindsey’s Malory novels are similar in the bodice-ripper category… similar humor (in the good Argeneau books – the bad ones are just bad) and familial ties.  The “vampire” part of the story sometimes plays a big part, and sometimes impacts it very little so that some of the novels are excellent and a really great read and some of them (like this one) are just kind of meh.

Memorable quotes:

From the author’s website, a perspective on life (this is a long one):

I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland… “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!” Speaking of Alice in Wonderland (it’s on my mind now since the one with Johnny Depp recently came out) this quote by the Red Queen is relevant here too. “It takes all the running you can do, to stay in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” Gosh! Just typing that made me tired. So… my first thought to this quote was, what about changing direction instead?

Here’s a great example of this. My sister Jackie (Yes, she has the same name as Vincent’s lifemate…<g>) recently took golf lessons. Now she has taken golf lessons before and has always been frustrated as no one really seemed to be able to help her improve her game. During her first lesson, the golf pro had her take a few test shots to show her form and swing and before he could say boo, she said “I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to tell me to slow down my swing. But I’ll tell you right now that advice has never helped me. I’ve tried and tried and tried but when I slow down my swing, I get worse.” The golf pro paused and said “To make you slow down your swing would be pointless as it goes against who you are. You are the type of person that is normally late because you take on too many responsibilities. You walk, talk and drive fast so why would it be any different with your golf swing? You have a strong, fast swing (more like a man’s swing) because you want that ball to go somewhere now, not later. That’s who you are. Now all we need to work on is to make sure it goes in the right direction, consistently.” And with that, her game has improved substantially. The point here is that all these ‘pros’ kept giving her the same bad advice (you’re a woman thus you should be swinging slower… daintier) and never thought outside that box. We can try as hard as we can but if our approach is wrong then all that effort is pointless. In the end we may need to change direction to get it right.

Born to bite…

The motorcycle roared into the diner parking lot, spitting up gravel, then eased to a halt beside Armand’s pickup.  He had a moment to get a closer view of the array of lights on the machine before the engine fell silent and the rider disembarked.  The woman was tall, at least six feet, and she appeared to be all lean muscle in the black leather she wore.  She also moved with the predatory grace of a panther.

“She looks like she was born to ride,” Armand murmured, his eyes devouring her.

“More like born to bite,” Lucian muttered.

Armand glanced curiously to his brother.  ”Why so annoyed?”

Lucian’s mouth twisted with irritation, but he admitted, “I told her to make herself less conspicuous.”

Final thoughts:

If you have never read any books in this series and want some background on the characters and story line, then I highly recommend you either skip the first one (A Quick Bite), or read books 2-8 or so first, then come back for #1.  The writing for A Quick Bite is abysmal, and I nearly put it down before I was halfway through.  The author has some annoying writing habits, like using a descriptor too often or continually using the same slang noun ad nauseum instead of switching it up and keeping the dialogue fresh.  If I were friends with Ms. Sands, I’d buy her a Thesaurus for Christmas.

Here’s something fun to end with…

The title of this book, Born to Bite, is a play on the famous biker phrase “born to ride” and the personality of the heroine.  Eshe is a leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding, kick-butt Enforcer who (supposedly) has spunk and character.  I say ‘supposedly’ because she starts out with more spunk than she ends up with, and her personality seems to get lost in the overall story arc, but the intention was a fun and creative one.  =)

Rating:
3.0 fangs: BITE IT… if you are just looking for something entertaining to read.

Eh, whatever.  Read it or don’t – this one won’t change your life nor make you feel like you wasted too much of it.

Related links:

http://www.lynsaysands.net/ (Argeneau series website)
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk (Johanna Lindsey Malory book list)


Review: Divine Misdemeanors (Meredith Gentry series novel #8) by Laurell K. Hamilton

TLDR recap:

The princess is back to her L.A. private eye roots in this 8th installment in the Meredith Gentry series.  Less faerie politics and more detective horror mystery is what you’ll find in Divine Misdemeanors.  Merry has finally settled down in L.A. (sort of) with her 6 baby daddies… and assorted other guards and entourage… to await the birth of their twins and to take a few detective consults on the side.  The band is back together and the inter-personal drama is as rich as the crime mystery.  This is a great read and a good return to the Merry Gentry detective series after its recent departure into deep faerie politics and the pregnancy race.

  • Title: Divine Misdemeanors
  • Series: Meredith Gentry – book #8
  • Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Recommended reader age: 18+
  • Sexual content level: Heavy
  • Related authors: Karen Chance, Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost
  • Similar series: Cassie Palmer, Dorina Basarab, Sookie Stackhouse, Anita Blake

Premise:

Meredith Gentry, recently crowned queen of the slaugh and of the Unseelie Court by faerie itself, has sacrificed her crown to bring back her lost love Frost and to settle down in Los Angeles with her men to await the birth of their twins.  With 6 fathers for the 2 babies, the inter-personal drama is lively and definitely has potential for exciting future scuffles, while Merry’s entourage continues to grow (even her list of lovers, if you can believe it!) to over 100 fey living with her in exile!  No, they aren’t ALL lovers (although it is easy to lose count at times) and luckily LKH does not try to juggle all 100+ of these personalities in the story, but we do get to see some past characters brought more into the spotlight and we get some updates on some of our old friends.

A nasty string of fey murders is the central plotline for this book, while some personal drama and some political maneuvering are starting to brew in the background.  It’s back to her horror & detective roots for Laurell K. Hamilton with this one, with less emphasis on sex and more (respective to the past 3 novels in this series) on solving the crimes.

Thoughts:

You might be thinking… ‘Hey, you missed some books!’.  I skipped reviewing books 5-7 in this series because they all felt like one massive story split into 3 covers.  I don’t want to give away too much of the story in these reviews, so it was safer to just skip them.  They’re good, so if you were debating on finishing the series and you’ve made it happily through book 4, the next 3 are a quick & fun read.

This book, #8, reminds me a lot of the early Anita Blake novels.  Actually, the first half reminds me of those and the second half reminds me of the later Anita Blake novels.  It’s all crime-solving, crime-solving, crime-solving, then sex, sex, sex, then the book wraps up neatly (and predictably).  Considering the extremely heavy sexual content of the past several novels in this series, this one is a breath of fresh air and a fun read all around.  I would not recommend reading this unless you’ve read the rest of the series though… way too much history and too many characters to keep you confused!

You might also like…

If you’ve read the rest of the books in the Meredith Gentry series and liked them, you should check out the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.  The Cassandra Palmer series by Karen Chance is similar in adventure style (and by the fact that someone is ALWAYS trying to kill the main character!), but the charged sexual atmosphere now resembles Anita Blake more than Cassie Palmer.

Memorable quotes:

The first crime scene…

The spicy smell of Eucalyptus could almost hide the scent of blood.  If it had been this many adult human-sized bodies the Eucalyptus wouldn’t have had a chance, but they weren’t adult-sized.  They were tiny by human standards, so tiny, the size of dolls; none of the corpses were even a foot tall, and some were less than five inches.  They lay on the ground with their bright butterfly wings frozen as if in mid-movement.  Their dead hands were wrapped around wilted flowers like a cheerful game gone horribly wrong.  They looked like so many broken Barbie dolls, except Barbie dolls never lay so lifelike, or so perfectly poised.  No matter how hard I’d tried as a little girl, their limbs remained stiff and unyielding.  The bodies on the ground were stiff with rigor mortis, but they’d been laid out carefully, so they had stiffened in strangely graceful, almost dancing poses.

Final thoughts:

LKH has stated that the crime scenes she writes about are all based on true crime.  That made it tough for me to read some of the early Anita Blake novels, due not just to the level of violence and gore, but to the mental knowlege that somewhere these terrible things (or something similar to them) actually happened to someone.  There are scenes in this book that are serial killer spooky, but luckily the gore is toned WAY down.  Maybe I’m desensitized from the ABVH books, but these scenes really didn’t bother me much at all.

Rating:
4.5 fangs: BITE IT!

Related links:

http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/

http://www.karenchance.com/

http://www.charlaineharris.com/


Review: A Stroke of Midnight (Meredith Gentry series novel #4) by Laurell K. Hamilton

TLDR recap:

A double homicide that exposes the human police to the new-and-improved Unseelie sithen, assassination attemps galore, even more guards for Merry, and an increasingly unstable Queen are the ingredients for a fun and frantic race through Ms. Hamilton’s world.  Great read!

  • Title: A Stroke of Midnight
  • Series: Meredith Gentry – book #4
  • Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Recommended reader age: 18+
  • Sexual content level: Heavy
  • Related authors: Karen Chance, Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost
  • Similar series: Cassie Palmer, Dorina Basarab, Sookie Stackhouse, Anita Blake

Premise:

Being in prison isn’t stopping Prince Cel from trying to assasinate his cousin, Princess Meredith Gentry, and it doesn’t seem to be deterring anyone else either.  Assasination attempts on Merry, her guard, and the Queen abound in this fourth offering of the Meredith Gentry series.  With this novel, LKH turns up the heat on Merry and her band of guards.  Doyle and Frost are still her favorite honeys, but Galen gets some attention here too, and she brings a slew of new guards to the group.  We also get a healthy helping of Rhys, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters.

Time runs a little strangely in this novel, so what passes in mere minutes just outside the doors of faerie, takes hours to unfold inside.  The result being a jam-packed adventure with sexual encounters imbedded in just about every possible situation.  Faerie itself is becoming more friendly with Meredith, and gifting her with all sorts of new abilities… if only the residents of faerie were so friendly!

Thoughts:

This book and the next in the series (Mistral’s Kiss) are almost one story split into two novels.  The timeline is so close that if you aren’t reading these back-to-back, you might be confused.  It also very closely relates to book 3, Seduced By Moonlight.  LKH has stated that she doesn’t like cliffhangers and she tries at the end of each novel to nicely wrap up the story.  I’m finding that with the way these novels are starting to bleed together, I can’t remember where one ended and another started.  If I weren’t reading these in such quick succession, I might feel like they really were cliffhangers.

The sex in this book (and, presumably, all the ones that will follow it) is seriously amped up from what we saw in the first few novels.  It reminds me of the break in the Anita Blake series where the novels go from adventure/horror focused with a dash of romance to sex-centric with a frame of a story to support the advancement of the overarching AB series plotline.  It’s more detailed, definitely feels more “erotica” than “romance” in nature, and the scenes occur more predictably (and often).  If you’ve read the AB series and didn’t enjoy the switch in focus, you may want to stop reading Merry Gentry about now as well.  If it follows the Anita Blake trend, the story will start to become the accent to the romantic encounters, instead of the other way around, so consider yourself duly warned (or encouraged)!  *wink*

You might also like…

If you’ve read A Stroke of Midnight and Mistral’s Kiss and liked them, you should check out the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.  The Cassandra Palmer series by Karen Chance is similar in adventure style (and by the fact that someone is ALWAYS trying to kill the main character!), but the charged sexual atmosphere is beginning to more resemble Anita Blake than Cassie Palmer.

Memorable quotes:

On political interactions…

I put the phone back in the cradle.  Too nice to be true.  My father had taught me to be nice first, because you can always be mean later, but once you’ve been mean to someone, they won’t believe the nice anymore.  So be nice, be nice, until it’s time to stop being nice, then destroy them.

Final thoughts:

When I first started reading LKH, the bad grammar made me a little crazy.  I guess somewhere on my path through 19 Anita Blake books, it either grew on me or I became desensitized to it, because when I started reading the Merry Gentry series, I thought to myself “hey, that grammar thing must have just been a literary vehicle for Anita Blake’s character!”.  Only now, 5 books in, do I realize it’s been there along and I’m just reading through it instead of around it.  Oh well, so much for my dreams of becoming a print editor!  =P

Rating:
4.5 fangs: BITE IT!

Related links:

http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/

http://www.karenchance.com/

http://www.charlaineharris.com/


Review: Seduced by Moonlight (Meredith Gentry series novel #3) by Laurell K. Hamilton

  • Title: Seduced by Moonlight
  • Series: Meredith Gentry – book #3
  • Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Recommended reader age: 18+
  • Sexual content level: Moderate
  • Related authors: Karen Chance, Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost
  • Similar series: Cassie Palmer, Dorina Basarab, Sookie Stackhouse, Anita Blake

Premise:

Princess Meredith is set to inherit the throne of the Unseelie (dark fae) court… all she has to do is conceive a child with one of her fae guards, the Queen’s Ravens.  Even though she’s decended from 5 different fertility gods, this is a lot harder than it sounds.  Harder, but not a hardship.  *wink*  Merry’s little band (*ahem* harem) of 5 guards is quickly becoming less of a band and more of a company.  She’s due to appear in three fae courts soon- the Seelie, Unseelie, and Goblin- and keeping her alive through all that may be challenging, since her cousin Prince Cel’s supporters still want to see him on the throne instead of Merry.  As she starts her tour of the courts, long-lost fae powers begin returning to her warriors (and herself), and the action heats up!

Thoughts:

I really liked this one.  The first two were great reads – easy to get through and really grabbed my attention- but this one was hard to put down.  What power would she manifest next?  What new ability would one of her guards accidentally develop?  Who would she get to try her new Hand of Blood power on?

One of the things I really like about LKH is that she develops characters “for the long haul”, meaning she gives them depth and purpose but she doesn’t shove it all in your face the first time you meet them.  The introduction of the nuances of their personality and character (and abilities!) are woven into the storylines and are integral to the personal feel of the novels.  Her characters stick around (unless they die, and even then you may see them again) and you never know what she’s going to do with them.

I also love the dynamic between LKH’s strong female leads and her supporting male characters (and the females too, although there aren’t as many of those).  She’s put Merry (and Anita Blake, in her other series) in a situation where she must spend large amounts of time with a crowd of men.  That sets the scene for some great romantic encounters and for some stellar tension and drama.  Goodbye boring bodice rippers, hello magical 2, 3, & 4-way encounters!  And by magical, I mean actual magic…

In many respects, the Merry Gentry series is similar to the Anita Blake series – it has a strong central female character, who is a detective and is always in mortal danger, surrounded by a literal harem of men, and develops unique and impressive abilities as the series goes on.  However, Merry’s series is much more magically bent than Anita’s. Anita lives in a world of violence, where guns and swords and fangs are the biggest threats, with a side of magic here and there.  Merry’s whole life is based on magic.  She is so sensitive to it that she has to keep up a permanent shield to the latent magic that surrounds all fae and the environment of the fairy locales.  I’m a fan of fantasy as much as science fiction, and while I don’t care for straight up violence and gore (a few of the AB books gave me a rough time!), I actually enjoy it sometimes when it’s mixed with magic or high fantasy.  Maybe because it’s less real… I dunno, but I don’t question it!  😉

You might also like…

If you’ve read Seduced by Moonlight and liked it, you might check out the Cassandra Palmer series from Karen Chance and the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.  Merry’s adventure-style story and overall personality are closer to Cassie Palmer than to Anita Blake (especially with the magical elements), but the detective work relationships with all the men resembles Anita Blake as well.  This series (so far) also reminds me of Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampire Chronicles by Charlaine Harris) in the earlier novels, before the politics started taking over the plotlines, albeit with a more cosmopolitan attitude about sex.

Memorable quotes:

On being famous…

I caught a glimpse of the gun wrapped in (Doyle’s) towel.  The helicopter circling overhead never knew that any of us was armed.  They also couldn’t see Frost standing just inside the sliding glass doors, hidden by a spill of drapes.  He was fully dressed, and very fully armed.  I think the reason I didn’t mind the media games so much was that if no one tried to kill me, it was a good day.  When that’s your criterion for a good day, what’s a few helicopters and some racy photos?  Not much.

Final thoughts:

Hmmm I think I put all my “final thoughts” into my “thoughts” section!  Not much more to say about this one because I’m too eager to finish this so I can move on to the next!!  Loved it!  If you’re on the fence about reading Laurell K. Hamilton because of what you’ve heard about the Anita Blake series, give Merry Gentry a try.  It’s less violent (well, less gory), more romantically focused yet with a good mystery plot.  The sexual encounters (so far at least – in these first three books) are less detailed than the later Anita Blake books, but not boring in any respect, so if the voyeuristic nature of Anita’s lifestyle bothers you, you may feel more comfortable with Merry.  =)

Rating:
 

 
 
5 fangs: BITE IT!

 

Related links:

http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/

http://www.karenchance.com/

http://www.charlaineharris.com/


Review: A Caress of Twilight (Meredith Gentry series novel #2) by Laurell K. Hamilton

  • Title: A Caress of Twilight
  • Series: Meredith Gentry – book #2
  • Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Recommended reader age: 16+
  • Sexual content level: Moderate
  • Related authors: Karen Chance, Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost
  • Similar series: Cassie Palmer, Dorina Basarab, Sookie Stackhouse, Anita Blake

Premise:

Meredith Gentry is the heir to the Unseelie Court (dark fae) throne… if she can conceive a child before her co-heir, Prince Cel.  Luckily for Merry, Prince Cel is currently in the middle of a 6 month punishment.  Unluckily for her, once he gets out, he’s probably going to be insane and she’ll be at the top of his list o’ people to see, people to kill.  The Queen, who set up this little death match, has sportingly allowed Merry her own “court” (read: harem) of men to help her secure the throne (read: become pregnant).  So the princess and her merry band of men all live together in a a 1-room apartment in L.A., working as private detectives (and sometimes bodyguards to the rich and famous).

Thoughts:

This story is adventure-style, so of course it has a Big Bad as well as a few not-to-be-trusted royals.  The Big Bad seems almost secondary though, as Merry’s interaction with her men and her private detective work (much like the mid-series Anita Blake books) take center stage.  Surprisingly, this novel is not all that graphic sexually.  For LKH, it’s quite well behaved!

I enjoyed the novel and read it fairly quickly (which you can tell if you look at the time between this post and the first Meredith Gentry book review I did).  I’ve given myself an ultimatum: slow down with the reading, or speed along but write reviews at the end of each novel before going on to the next one.  I have to write this review now so I can read #3 later tonight!! =D

You might also like…

If you’ve read A Caress of Twilight and liked it, you might check out the Cassandra Palmer series from Karen Chance and the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.  Merry’s adventure-style story and overall personality are closer to Cassie Palmer than to Anita Blake, but the detective work relationships with all the men resembles Anita Blake as well.  This series (so far) also reminds me of Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampire Chronicles by Charlaine Harris) in the earlier novels, before the politics started taking over the plotlines, albeit with a more cosmopolitan attitude about sex.

Memorable quotes:

Even magic can bleed…

The air became blood, and it was like trying to breathe underwater.  For a second I thought I would drown, then I was choking in air and trying to spit out blood at the same time.

Whew, talk about imagery!  If blood and gore aren’t your thing, you may want to avoid some of LKH’s novels.  The first half of the Anita Blake series, for example.  Having read through those books, this one is almost tame by comparison.  There’s really only one instance of that level of violence, and it’s not so bad.  I did want to give this warning though, because had I known what I was getting into with some of the AB books, I’d probably have passed.  I’m glad I didn’t (because I truly love the over-arching storyline), but I definitely would have skimmed a lot more often.  *wink*

Final thoughts:

The I’m-not-going-to-be-a-cliff-hanger story wrap-up at the end of the book is almost as tantalizing as a real cliff hanger ending!  Reading about what new abilities the characters have gained (because that’s pretty standard for LKH’s characters- they are constantly evolving) just makes me want to dive into the next book.  Laurell K. Hamilton gets a lot of criticism for the erotica she includes in some (ok, most) of her novels.  I applaud her for being willing to write what SHE wants and not caving to all the negativity.  Her scenes are honest and vibrant, and that’s not something you see in a lot of today’s romance.  So, bravo Ms. Hamilton!

Rating:
4.0 fangs: BITE IT!

Related links:

http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/

http://www.karenchance.com/

http://www.charlaineharris.com/


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