Category Archives: Meredith Gentry

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/

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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/


Review: A Kiss of Shadows (Meredith Gentry series novel #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Title: A Kiss of Shadows

Series: Meredith Gentry series – book #1
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Recommended reader age: 18+
Sexual content level: On the heavy side of moderate
Related authors: Karen Chance, Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost
Similar series: Cassie Palmer, Dorina Basarab, Sookie Stackhouse

Premise:

Meredith Gentry is dark fae, ah, gentry… but she doesn’t want to be. Ok, she *wants* to be, but she doesn’t want to deal with the daily assassination attempts at the Unseelie Court. In hiding for 3 years, Merry has been working as a detective and avoiding being recognized as the world-famous “Princess Meredith” until a case gets personal and she’s finally exposed. Suddenly in a race for her life, the adventure begins. True to form, author Laurell K. Hamilton (LKH) gives us lots of men and danger with a sprinkling of humor.

Thoughts:

LKH makes memorable characters. The leads are strong, both in body and spirit, but they’re also flawed. I like that. When a story is written in first person, like all LKH books are, I need to be able to identify with the narrator, and Merry Gentry is enjoyable to read. She’s not as kick-ass as Anita Blake, but she’s also not as pious as Anita is in her earlier novels. Merry is quick-witted, temperate, determined, and able to defend herself without coming across as a female Rambo like Anita Blake (not that there’s anything wrong with that – I ❤ how Anita comes in guns blazing!). Add in a little magic, court intrigue, and the beginnings of a harem of baby daddies (yes, literally a harem), and this book sets the tone for a fun series to follow. I’m not as hooked as I have been on the more recent Anita Blake books or Jeaniene Frost’s Cat & Bones novels, but the Meredith Gentry series is definitely worth continuing.

Ok it’s Laurell K Hamilton, so I have to talk about the sex. There’s actually not as much of it as I expected, after speeding through all 19 Anita Blake books, and it’s not as explicit or continental. There are two-ish actual sex scenes, but the entire book is sprinkled with flirting and foreplay (some of it pretty damn close to counting as a scene). I LOVE how she puts all her male characters in crazy outfits and then makes them uncomfortable in them! I mean, if I had my guy wear leather and chains (which would take a lot of convincing on my part) and he was blasé about it, something would really be off about that. LKH seems to approach sex from a more realistic standpoint… well, as realistic as this type of novel gets anyway. She allows the characters fairly free reign of emotion, real emotions of vulnerability, shame, and even lack of confidence, and it makes the stories more personal and likeable even when things are happening that aren’t pleasant.

Another thing I like about the fairy setting of this book is that the main male characters don’t “die” at dawn. I really like Jean-Claude and Asher and the other vamps in the Blake series, but having them forced out of the stories at dawn drives me nuts sometimes! Here here to fairy stamina!  *wink*

You might also like…

If you’ve read A Kiss of Shadows and liked it, you might check out the Cassandra Palmer series from Karen Chance. To me, Merry’s adventure-style story and overall personality are closer to Cassie Palmer than to Anita Blake. This story also reminded 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 tea parties and levitating tea cups…

The china saucer touched my hand, and I carefully uncurled my fingers and took it out of the air. It would have been easier to put my entire hand under the saucer to cradle it, but that was not ladylike. I’d learned to drink tea to rules of etiquette that were a hundred years or more out of date. The next dangerous point with a hot beverage being levitated is that when the person takes the levitation away, the cup gets heavier. Almost everyone sloshes a little tea over the side the first few times. No shame in it. I didn’t slosh any tea. Gran and I had our first tea party when I was five.

I love the little things like this that LKH adds to her stories. They give them credibility and make them feel more personal and real. Instead of trying to force the readers to superficially accept some stated law of her universe, she doles it out in little snippets of memory or matter-of-fact statements that are in context (to help you understand) but have no dedicated explanation.

Final thoughts:

LKH does not do cliff hangers, even as part of a longer series. Yay for an author that actually finishes a story while still allowing you to enjoy it in series! This is the first author I’ve read, aside from the most recent Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse novel, that does that, and I LOVE it!! ❤

Rating:
4.0 fangs: BITE IT!


Related links:

http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/

http://www.karenchance.com/

http://www.charlaineharris.com/


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