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review 2017-06-19 20:09
Tangled Threads / Jennifer Estep
Tangled Threads - Jennifer Estep

I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.

But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead.

Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too.

The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead. . . .

 

3.5 stars out of 5. I’m really looking forward to hearing the author in August at the When Words Collide conference.

Gin is up against another assassin in Tangled Threads and is learning to navigate new abilities that she has finally managed to access. Plus she’s negotiating a new, potentially great relationship with Owen Grayson. Now if only she could find a way to tell her long-lost sister who she is….

Once again, there is plenty of action, I like where the plot is going, we make good progress in every book. So why only 3.5 stars, you ask? Because of several writing ‘ticks’ that get on my nerves—the constant recital of where Gin keeps all of her knives, the obsession over eye colours, repeated references to what everybody’s personal runes look like, the frequent repetition of how Gin got Silverstone embedded in her palms (and ended up an orphan), plus the constant comparisons of the accepting Owen to rejecting Donovan. And if I hear about Finn drinking chicory coffee just like his dear old dad one more time…..

This is the fourth book, people. We know all that stuff. A teeny bit of repeat would be acceptable to clue-in folks who skipped the first three, but the amount of repetition is excessive. It’s a good thing that I like the characters, that I enjoy the circle of friends & family that Gin is building around herself—that aspect of Ashland I’m quite attached to.

Not sure how much longer Estep can draw out this confrontation with the evil Mab Monroe, but I want to see how it all turns out!

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text 2017-06-16 15:49
Starting my Summer Lovin' reading list
Death in Cyprus - M. M Kaye
Lord of the Far Island - Victoria Holt
A Hunger Like No Other - Kresley Cole
The Bitter Seed of Magic - Suzanne McLeod
Tangled Threads - Jennifer Estep

Friday night seems like a good time to start on my fluffy Summer Lovin' reading list.  I'm going to indulge in a few old favourites, a bit more romance than I would usually choose, and anything that looks like fun.

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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review 2017-05-29 19:54
Venom / Jennifer Estep
Venom - Jennifer Estep

It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most.

To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists.

At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.

 

Gin Blanco is ready to quit skulking in the shadows and declare war on the criminals who are worse than she is. That’s right, our assassin main character is done being the patient Spider and is ready to deal with the Big Bad that is controlling everyone in her town of Ashland. She begins small, by trying to protect Finn’s vampire lady friend from a large, aggressive stalker (who is, of course, one of the triumvirate who holds the town hostage).

Gone is a lot of the annoying repetition of certain phrases, although some instances remain. Gone also is the brooding, guilty, conflicted love interest—and good riddance. But somebody’s gotta be the ultra-good guy, so enter Gin’s long lost little sister, Bria, as the new arrow-straight lawman (or woman) in town. This arrangement is perfect—Gin gets have her hot-as-Tabasco love relationship, but still have a law-abiding cop to court, since Bria doesn’t know of their relationship.

Although there is still a lot of focus on Gin’s romantic life and on her relationship with her foster-brother, Finn, this installment shows hope that she may get some female BFF’s soon, with whom to share secrets and drink gin. Creeping closer to Bechdel test territory, I hope the next book reaches the tipping point with this situation.

I am looking forward to attending some sessions at the When Words Collide conference in August where this author will be speaking.

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text 2017-05-26 18:48
The Choice for this Evening
Shakespeare's Champion - Charlaine Harris
Venom - Jennifer Estep

 

It has felt like a long week at work.  Tonight, I'm picking up these 2 books from the library on my way home.  It's tacos for supper.  There's wine in the refrigerator.  There are some nice scented candles and a blankie waiting for me.

 

Does life get any better than this?  I don't think so.

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review 2017-05-01 00:33
Nice Guys Bite (Elemental Assassin #15.5) by Jennifer Estep
Nice Guys Bite (Elemental Assassin) - Jennifer Estep

The foreward of this book says it’s for Silvio fans. Which was a hook for me because I’ve been desperate for Silvio to be developed in this series for some time.


Silvio is an interesting concept – the admin support for the criminal empire. The PA for the mob boss. A man – well vampire – who lives in a city that is so corrupt and so overtaken by criminal gangs that it needs its own bureaucracy.

 

And Silvio has been such a blank slate for a long time which is a shame and deeply problematic. He’s a skilled administrator who likes order and values Gin –but that’s not exactly a personality, it’s a series of quirks that just make him useful to Gin. Which is basically what we see of him – an admin assistant who is there to, in Gin’s words “mother her” without actually having anything in the way of his own life.

 

This was a chance for us to see a lot more of him, his memories, how he feels about working for Gin. Also what it means for him to be a vampire, what blood he drinks, how he gets it, how he feels about that. This series often treats the various creatures that inhabit the world somewhat casually – “Fred is a Giant”, “Latoya is a Dwarf” without much looking through the eyes of them. So seeing Silvio talk about his blood drinking, think about it and relate to it is an interesting expansion not just of him but the entire world.

 

This story gave Silvio a relationship, opinions, nice quirks like his sweet tooth and generally made the first steps towards turning him from a random extra who existed to serve into an actual character.

 

I do have issues though. Firstly, my issue is that this is a short story. Silvio has, since his introduction, been a blink-and-you-miss-it LGBT inclusion, as well as a Latino character (though we do have other latino characters as well) There are several books with Silvio in them which you can read and you won’t realise he is a gay character at all. So this definitely needed expanding and developing to actually make his inclusion more than the very thinnest of tokenism – but this doesn’t do that. This is exactly what we talked about in our post of Quite Portrayals of minorities. Rather than having Silvio’s relationships, sexuality and character development happen as part of the main plot line, it’s relegated to a side-book, a short story, a fluff piece that has no real connection to the main plot line. More, the story is even set up so Silvio doesn’t tell Gin, Sophia or anyone else what happened so they will never bring it up again. Sophia, Roslyn, Finn, Owen all had major books devoted to their personal storyline and trauma – and the whole cast were involved in it. They reference it because of that (I am currently reading Snared in which Gin refers to Sophia’s past as a perfect example)

 

 

 

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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/04/nice-guys-bite-elemental-assassin-155.html
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