Venom in the Veins (by Jennifer Estep)

Urban Fantasy

The Spider has a new adversary, she’s more powerful than the last adversary. It’s Book 17. It’s entertaining but nothing new.


17 is a big number for an Urban Fantasy series and I think maybe it’s time to think about a spin-off series.

I’ve been saying it for a long time. Sophia is a great character and she could easily carry her own series. Bria and Xavier could carry a series.

I’ll keep reading and I’m sure I’ll continue to enjoy the books but it’s more because it’s a habit than anything else.

Snared (by Jennifer Estep)

Urban Fantasy

Gin Blanco has a lot on her hands. She is not only the unpopular boss of Ashland’s criminal underworld but she has discovered there is a rival and perhaps even more insidious organisation called The Circle that is pulling strings from the shadows.

She really doesn’t have time to track down a missing person but when one of her lieutenants calls in a favor she finds herself doing just that. A serial killer is on the loose in Gin’s patch and she’s determined to hunt him down and save his latest victim.


In Snared Jennifer Estep runs with the same tried and true formula that has made her one of the biggest names in Urban Fantasy. This whole series is like buttered popcorn. There isn’t much to it but it’s so much fun that you won’t be able to stop until all that’s left are those few sad unpopped kernels sitting in the bottom of the bucket.

Position in Series: Book 16

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-6-53-19-pmYellow, Orange, Red: What it means.  YOR-Guide

Many thanks to Pocket Books 

Unraveled (by Jennifer Estep)

Urban Fantasy

Ever since taking over as boss of Ashland’s underworld Gin has had every two bit hood gunning for her, now to top it all off she has learned that an insidious criminal organisation has been manipulating her from the shadows. She really needs a holiday so when her brother Finn inherits a wild-west theme park and hotel she joins him as he travels south to scope out the joint and hopefully catch some long overdue R&R.

But all is not as it seems and they quickly realise that the whole inheritance was a sham to get Gin and her friends down to the park where they can be taken care of.


Unraveled is great fun. Jennifer Estep fills her pages with brash, almost cartoonish heroes and villains. They are larger than life and occasionally over the top….but they’re always good fun.

It’s not perfect, she gets some technical details wrong (e.g. when the last shot of an automatic pistol is fired, the breech locks open, and yet we get the “click, click, click” you expect in a 1950s matinee). But in some ways, those little foibles make her books better. It’s like she just wants to pound out the stories, entertain her readers and couldn’t be bothered with the small things.

And after 15 books it still works. I keep waiting for the series to lose it’s appeal but here I am eagerly awaiting book 16.


Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.44.49 PMMany thanks to Pocket Books and Edelweiss for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means: YOR-Guide

Bitter Bite (by Jennifer Estep)

Urban Fantasy

When Finn’s mother, Deirdre shows up out of the blue, Gin knows something is up. But there is a part of Finn deep down and well hidden that wants to be loved and he’s determined to believe his mother despite Gin’s misgivings.

With Finn spending more and more time with Deirdre, it’s left to Gin and Bria to get to the bottom of what she’s doing in Ashland and stop her.


 

I’m in two minds about this book.  Yes it’s entertaining as are most of the books in the Elemental Assassin series. It’s a page turner. It’s gritty. And yes, it’s good fun.  It’s all of that and I enjoyed the book. Not for a single moment was I bored.

But I have a problem and maybe (probably) it won’t be a problem for anyone else. With each book, the villains get more villainous, the challenges get more challenging.  For a short series, a trilogy or even a five book series that can work but this is book fourteen and while it’s still working at the moment it’s hard to see it working for much longer.  God forbid it ends up being the train wreck that Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series has become.

So here is me wondering if it isn’t time to think about taking the story in a different direction. Perhaps breath some new life into the series.  Sophia has always been a favorite character and under-utilised in my opinion.  I would love to see the series shift focus and put her at the centre.

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.44.49 PMMany thanks to Pocket Books and Edelweiss for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  YOR-Guide

Spider’s Trap (by Jennifer Estep)

Urban Fantasy

Anyone who wants to control Ashland’s underworld needs to kill Gin Blanco, The Spider first. Gin has finally had enough of every two bit hood who wants to make a name walking into her BBQ Restaurant, the Pork Pit and attacking her. So without very much enthusiasm she has taken over the Underworld herself.

What follows is meetings, meetings, meetings, refereeing petty disputes between mobsters and as it happens, still having every two bit assassin gunning for her. Then, at one of her boring business meetings she finds herself the target of a very powerful metal elemental, and he doesn’t care how many of her friends he kills to get to her.

She once again takes on the role of The Spider and starts hunting down this new threat.


 
Jennifer Estep writes great urban fantasy and it’s getting much better as she develops as a writer. The last few books have in my opinion been the best in the series and Spider’s Trap is close to perfect. To be honest the only thing that didn’t really work for me was the romance, and I’m primarily a romance reader. I just don’t think it works for these books and perhaps a closing door, or crashing waves, or a train going into a tunnel would serve the book better.

Setting aside my desire for cheesy sex metaphors, I loved this book and am looking forward to the next one.

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 5.42.32 pmMany thanks to Pocket Books and Edelweiss for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red. What it means: red-orange-yellow-guide

Black Widow (by Jennifer Estep)

Urban Fantasy

When Gin finally killed Mab Monroe she thought her life would get easier. Unfortunately since that day, every single gangster in Ashland has been out to make a name for themselves by taking her out. That is until Madeline Monroe (Mab’s estranged daughter) shows up.

She’s a powerful acid elemental and she’s decided to take over her mother’s empire, but first she needs to take care of business, and that includes getting rid of Gin and all her friends.

She’s one of the most powerful elementals Gin has ever faced and her acid magic can burn right through Gin’s ice and stone magic.


 
This series had a bit of a shaky start for me –– I wasn’t expecting to be reading book twelve, to be honest I considered walking away from the series after the final showdown with Mab. But I’m glad I continued. The last three or four books have been the best of them all and the series has very much found it’s groove.

The only thing that really didn’t work for me in this book was the romance. I want it to be there, just not necessarily on the page –– and that’s coming from a romance reader. Still that’s such a small part of the story and it’s done and dusted in ten minutes.

Everything else is kind of perfect. It delivers everything I expect from urban fantasy.  And as usual the cover art is sublime!  Whoever is creating these covers needs to be paid more.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 6.21.53 pmMany thanks to Pocket Books and Edelweiss for providing me with this ARC

Yellow, Orange, Red –– what it means: http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l

Poison Promise (by Jennifer Estep)

Urban Fantasy

All Gin wants is to be known as the owner of the Pork Pit, home to Ashland’s best BBQ. Unfortunately she can’t shake off her other title, The Spider, the assassin who killed underworld king-pin Mab Monroe. Now every two bit hood who wants to make a name for himself is gunning for her and she spends as much time dealing with them as serving pulled pork and coleslaw.

When she stumbles onto one of her waitresses being threatened by a drug dealer and his goons she steps in and makes short work of them, but it soon becomes apparent she’s bitten off a little more than even she can chew. Now she has come to the notice of Beau Benson, a sadistic vampire who doesn’t just drink blood, he sucks the very life force out of his victims, feeding on their fears and insecurities. And he sees her as the perfect guinea pig to test out his new drugs on.

 
Poison Promise is book #11 in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. It should be getting old. I should be pointing out recycled plots.

I’m not.

Her last few books are easily the best in the series. Heart of Venom (book #9) is a stand out as my personal favorite, but Poison Promise is definitely in the running for the silver medal.

This whole series is brash and violent. It’s unapologetically in your face. It’s great fun for lovers of urban fantasy.

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 4.32.33 pmMany thanks to Pocket Books and Edelweiss for providing me with this ARC

Yellow / Orange / Red –– What it means. http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l