Sunday, January 31, 2016

Series Sunday: #ElementalAssassins #Series #UltimateIndulgence @Jennifer_Estep

Welcome to the newest addition to the Guilty Indulgence Blog, Series Sunday. Each of the Ndulgent Bloggers is going to take a Sunday and talk about a series that we love. We will post covers, reviews, buy links and of course tell you what it is about that series that brings us back again and again. I'm Jenn and I'm bringing Urban Fantasy to the table!

The Elemental Assassin Series by Jennifer Estep

The Elemental Assassin books are set in the fictional Southern metropolis of Ashland, where Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina meet in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in her spare time.  Gin is also an elemental or person who can control one of the four elements – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone. Gin has the rare gift of being able to control two elements, Ice and Stone in her case. Besides elementals like Gin, Ashland is also home to giants, dwarves, and vampires.

Books in the series are: Spider’s Bite #1 / Web of Lies #2 / Venom #3 / Tangled Threads #4 / Spider’s Revenge #5 / By a Thread #6 / Widow’s Web #7 / Deadly Sting #8 / Heart of Venom #9 / The Spider #10 / Poison Promise #11 / Black Widow #12 / Spider’s Trap #13 / Bitter Bite #14 / Elemental Assassin #15 / Elemental Assassin #16


Spider's Trap, An Elemental Assassin Novel, Jennifer Estep, Pocket Books, 7/28/15

Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.
One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death …

Buy Links:  Amazon  B&N     iTunes   Books a Million    KOBO

There's something to be said for sticking with a series through 10+ books - you either do it because you've committed the time and you have to ride it out or you absolutely love it and pre-order the next install months before and read it madly the day of release.  This series does the latter for me.  I adore them - read them in print, e-book and now on audible.  Having a crazy job where I spend a large amount of the time driving the countryside seeing patients, Audible audiobooks have become my life's blood.  I listened to Spider's Trap a few months ago and find myself thinking about what is going on with Gin Blanco as I go about my day.  That is what hooked on a series means - great stories, great characters, things that grab you by the shirt-front and say "listen up yo, you gotta hear me out!"  I invariably but my audible books on kindle as well (you get a discount when you buy an audible after purchasing the kindle book - did you know that?) because after a day of listening to the insane world of Ashland, sometimes a girl just needs a little more at bedtime and I read way past my bedtime with great series!

I have written many reviews on Jennifer Estep's series - both Urban Fantasy and YA.  I love both equally for the same reasons.  She writes amazing characters - UF tends to be in first person so there is that element of the reader living vicariously in the moment as opposed to having a story be told to them.  Also, her characters are unique - strong and multi-dimensional, even the secondary ones.  And if something bad happens to them, by god, it is a pleasure to watch the wrath of Gin unfold.  The writing is outstanding - never full of fluff and filler spots - each chapter contains everything you need to keep up and just enough teaser to keep you hanging on those spider threads she weaves.  For a die-hard romantic, it is hard to imagine how much I enjoy something with a lack of regular sex scenes.  However, the sexual tension between Gin and her lovers is there and for a hard-hearted killer, she has some amazingly tender thoughts. The sex, infrequent though it may be, is smoking hot and perhaps drawing out the reader's wishes for Gin to get some well deserved lovin makes it that much more gratifying.

I wont go into the story line of book #14 because that would ruin it for those of you I am trying to convince to give this series a chance.  Suffice it to say,  the sins of the past continuously catch up to Gin and she works through them, as always with her friends and her brilliant brain keeping them all alive to fight another day.  Who doesn't love that???  Now go click on one of the buy links and give the Elemental Assassin series a shot!

RATING:  FIVE Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. This book was READ & RATED by Jenn

Review: (previously published in 2012)

Thread of DeathAn Elemental Assassin novella, Jennifer Estep, Pocket Books, 1/31/12

Gin Blanco, aka the assassin the Spider, might have finally killed her nemesis, Mab Monroe, but that doesn’t mean that it’s smooth sailing. Gin goes to Mab’s funeral to say her goodbyes and runs into some of Ashland’s most notorious underworld power players, including Jonah McAllister and Phillip Kincaid. McAllister wants her dead, and Kincaid has his own murky motives when it comes to the Spider, and Gin once again finds herself fighting for her life. Only this time, she might wind up in the cemetery right next to Mab….

Okay, okay - I admit I am a total sucker for this series. I love the action, adventure, strong characters and snappy dialogue. Thread of Death, a "between the numbers" novella, teases the reader with Gin's latest dilemma - life without Mab. For readers who finished Spider's Revenge and wondered - now what? Let's just say this - life without Mab goes on. And if you are the assassin known as the Spider, life is never easy, simple or free of bloodshed.

Ashland had been ruled by the tyrannical Mab Monroe for quite some time but plenty of power players remain and somehow enemies have a habit of landing on Gin's doorstep. Gin herself nearly perished in the last major battle and she and her crew have to gird themselves for the drama that follows. The biggest issue may be that Gin's secret identity seems to be rather public knowledge.

Gathering with her family at Mab's classic Southern funeral, Estep manages to plant hints and clues building for the next installment. To keep things fresh and interesting, the author allows multiple POV's - hearing sleazy lawyer McAllister's and casino boss Kincaid's thoughts as chaos reigns throughout the funeral tantalize the reader as they realize the jig may be up for the anonymous do-gooder diner girl by day/assassin by night Gin. Gin's lover, Owen may also have a secret or two that comes back to haunt him in the upcoming books. With her friends, her returning strength and her brilliant killer instinct, Gin may live to see more days....or become a pawn in an all out battle to assume the throne left behind by Mab

RATING:  FIVE Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries This book was given to us by the author. Many thanks. This book was READ & RATED byJenn

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