Snared (Elemental Assassin #16) by Jennifer Estep

Series:
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Snared by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #16
Release Date: April 25th 2017
Format: e-ARC (400)
Genre: Paranormal Romance; Urban Fantasy
Published By: Pocket Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & NobleSna

If you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

four-half-stars

This installment was one of my favorites in the series. It continues this new mystery of Gin’s mother Eira Snow and her involvement with the Circle. I love this series and I love the characters. Each book holds my interest because they are action-packed and the mystery Gin Blanco has to solve always keeps me thoroughly entertained.

Book 16 started immediately as Gin was spying on Hugh Tucker in her attempts to unravel the clues left behind by Fletcher Lane. Even while eavesdropping, Gin and Finn can’t figure out the identity of the leader of “The Circle”. But they are getting close. First, the gang has to help Jade Jamison, a local mob boss, because the Lipstick killer kidnapped Jade’s little sister Elissa, the little sister of Jade.

What I love about this author is the way she weaves a story using the past simultaneously with the present. I feel as though Fletcher is alive because he is so instrumental in all of Gin’s escapades. Either that or Fletcher was one hell of a sage because he was light years ahead of his time when it came to predicting what his protege would need in the future. Finn seemed to be much better emotionally than the last couple of books after the betrayal by his mother Deidra Shaw. He was back to trading witty repartee with Gin. I found myself chuckling a lot in this book. The snarky delivery by the Spider makes her one of my favorite heroines. She’s sassy and smart-alecky but she always gets the job done.

This book was definitely top 3 best installments in this series. If you love the past books, this one is the same but continuing this slow revelation about the Circle. I’m hoping the leader of the The Circle is as fierce as the legendary fire elemental, Mab Monroe, because no other villain has measures up. I’m looking for a crime lord who will make the Ashland quake in their boots.
Ezi

Unraveled (Elemental Assassin #15) by Jennifer Estep

Unraveled (Elemental Assassin #15) by Jennifer EstepSeries:
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
four-stars
Unraveled Book Cover Unraveled
Elemental Assassin #15
Jennifer Estep
Romance; Paranormal Romance; Urban Fantasy
Pocket Books
August 30th, 2016
audibook; e-arc
400

After the shocking revelations of the previous book, Bitter Bite, the world of Ashland’s become even more sinister, and Gin Blanco (aka Ashland’s most fearsome assassin, the Spider) no longer knows who—or what—she can count on. Only one thing is for certain: danger and new enemies await Gin in Unraveled, Book 15 in the New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series that RT Book Reviews calls “unbeatable entertainment!”

What could go wrong when you’re trying to unravel a decades-old conspiracy?

As the current queen of the Ashland underworld, you would think that I, Gin Blanco, would know all about some secret society controlling things from behind the scenes. I might be the Spider, the city’s most fearsome assassin, but all my Ice and Stone elemental magic hasn’t done me a lick of good in learning more about “the Circle”. Despite my continued investigations, the trail’s gone as cold as the coming winter.

So when Finnegan Lane, my foster brother, gets word of a surprising inheritance, we figure why not skip town for someplace less dangerous for a few days? That place: Bullet Pointe, a fancy hotel resort complex plus Old West theme park that Finn now owns lock, stock, and barrel. At first, all the struttin’ cowboys and sassy saloon girls are just hokey fun. But add in some shady coincidences and Circle assassins lurking all around, and vacationing becomes wilder—and deadlier—than any of us expected.

Good thing this assassin brought plenty of knives to the gunfight …

I have been waiting for the return of the vivacity the Ashland villains brought to this story. Mab Monroe was as much of a draw to this series as was Gin Blanco. The anti-heroines wickedness only made Gin more upright and just. The current villains have all fallen short of that Mab glory, but the new antagonist crew, The Circle, is more like the Illuminati.

According to Fletcher’s notes as well as the intel Gin has gathered, The Circle is actually the force behind Mab Monroe and every malevolent scoundrel controlling Ashland’s underworld. It was also established that Gin’s Mother was a member of the Circle. Thus, Gin wants to know everything about this secretive entity.

When Finn inherits a Wild West theme park and hotel form his mother Diedre, Gin and the gang go there to divine what secrets Deidre stored there. It was just what Finn needed to deal with the betrayal by his mother while reestablishing his reputation at the Bank where he worked.

The story was as good as all the stories I’ve read in this series. There is no series with such entertaining fighting scenes. Gin’s wit always amuses me and her cooking recipes makes me hungry.

I am enticed by the new direction the author is taking the series. I can’t wait to learn more about The Circle and Gin’s mother Ora Snow.

Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin #14) by Jennifer Estep

Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin #14) by Jennifer EstepSeries: Elemental Assassin #14
on 2016-02-23
Pages: 400
AmazonB&NNarrator: Lauren Fortgang
Which is stronger: blood ties or a battle-tested friendship? That’s the question Gin Blanco asks when a friend’s long-lost relative strolls into town. The suspicious reunion is a surprise for everyone—and a big problem for Gin. Book fourteen in the New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series RT Book Reviews calls “unbeatable entertainment!”It’s not easy being queen bee of an underworld abuzz with crooks and killers. Wielding my potent Ice and Stone elemental magic will only get me so far—my real secret is my tight-knit makeshift family, a motley crew of cops and criminals, dwarves and playboys. My foster brother Finnegan Lane is my right-hand man, but when his suddenly not-dead relative comes back into the picture, I’m the one on the outside looking in. It’s funny how life works: one minute your best friend is rock-steady, and the next he’s doe-eyed and buying into this whole loving-relative routine to the point of ignoring you. I’d like to be happy for Finn, I really would. But all of my instincts are telling me that beneath the syrupy sweet demeanor and old-fashioned charm, this sudden interloper is planning something. The whole shtick leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. This person might have avoided the grave once, but I’ll put anyone who hurts Finn in the ground—for good.
four-half-stars

This book was one of the best. In fact, it is second only to Spider’s Revenge where Gin and Mab Monroe finally had their showdown. This book had all the things that I enjoy in this series: good fighting scenes, interesting villains, a good crime mystery, good teammate work and a final twist setting up the next book. It didn’t put this one down until I was finished. I always listen to this series because I love the narrator Lauren Fortgang’s interpretation of Gin. Her voice is full of sass, sarcastic humor and pizzazz. She brings Gin to life and I can imagine the Spider drawling “Oh Sugar” or “Gin, like the liquor”. It’s always a pleasure to listen to Lauren transport the reader to the drama in Ashland because she allows the characters to shine.

In this book, Finnegan Lane had an opportunity to reconnect with his mother Deirdre Shaw (“Mama D”), who had not been a part of his life since he was a little boy. It’s been almost a full year since his dad Fletcher Lane was murdered and now Finn’s mother has come back asking to be part of his life. Gin and the rest of the gang weren’t so trusting of the sudden appearance of Mama D. The gang was curious as to why she waited all this time and why now. Finn was very irritated with their misgivings and he got very irritated and offended. Gin and the gang had to walk a very fine line with being honest with Finn and also having Finn’s back regarding their doubts on Mama D’s true motive.

The author definitely upgraded the characters. I saw growth in Gin Blanco as well as Bria. The old Gin would have dug her heels in regarding her opinion on Finn’s mom. But the new and smarter Gin made her point and backed off in respect of her adopted brother’s feelings. Not once did I feel the normally judgmental comments I have come to expect from Bria. No note of censure, only support from little sister Brian. In addition, I love how Gin and Bria handled Mama D. For the first time, Gin trusted Bria and her team early and that is what helped her in the end. This was more of a team effort that I am used to with Gin and it made the book so much better for me.

My unsung hero award goes to Finnegan Lane. I feel like Finn deserves a special shout out for not wearing blinders as long as Owen did. Finn did what needed to be done and I was so impressed with him. He was happy to see his mother but as soon as the truth was revealed, Finn accepted the reality of his mother’s intention.

I am very curious about Ora Snow, Gin and Bria’s mother. I can’t wait to find out more about the woman whose death set Gin upon the path of being an assassin.

*Special Thanks to Simon and Schuster via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

Spider’s Trap (Elemental Assassin, #13) by Jennifer Estep @Jennifer_Estep

Spider’s Trap (Elemental Assassin, #13) by Jennifer Estep @Jennifer_EstepSeries: Elemental Assassin #13
on 2015-07-28
Pages: 400
AmazonNarrator: Lauren Fortgang
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…

To Gin: “You are the big boss, act like it.”
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Amen to that! Someone has to say that to Gin. It’s a sad day when an old lady and a sassy young elemental have to tell The Spider to step up and rule Ashland because she wasn’t running the show like a BOSS. That’s cray cray! Gin was the Queen of the underworld but she was still thinking like a underling. That’s why she almost became collateral damage in a family beef. Mab Monroe would have ashed those interlopers and kept it moving. But the icy Spider wasn’t ready to cut up.

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Honestly, Mab Monroe’s death has left a hole in this series for me that no one has been able to fill. I was wondering who the new villian would be in the Elemental Assassin since Gin dispatched her last rival and became the Head of Ashland’s Underworld.

Gin Blanco was now place in a role she didn’t relish–Mediator and Leader of the Ashland Crime Lords. It was a much better look on Mab Monroe because Gin didn’t take to new position with same hardness and cruelty that her predecessors had. Instead Gin tried to be fair and reasonable.

So it should come as no surprise that challengers came to usurp her authority and Gin had to establish herself by doing what the Spider is known for–cutting down the opposition. I thought she should have put the smack down on a few people (*ahem, Lorelei Pike), but she’s just not an evil empress (did I mention that I missed Mab?).

I first want to say that I did enjoy this book. I really did like it. It had the usually action, mystery, battle of the elementals and some loving. I just wanted Gin to be more gangsta and less like Chef Gordon Ramsey.
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Gin Blanco is supposed to be such a ruthless assassin but she is a big softy. She makes excuses for people’s behavior and then tries to feed them. I agree with her foster brother Finn, she is a bleeding heart. Her new role doesn’t suit her because she has no desire to rule Ashland and that’s what the rest of the bad guys want–to Run the town.

While I love Owen and Gin together, I like that their romance was minimal. The strongest books in this series are the ones where Gin and Owen’s romance took a back seat to the action. I was also very happy that there was no whining about Gin’s illegal behavior from baby sister Bria. In fact, she seems to have made peace with her sister and I actually liked her in this book.

This book was a set up book, a bridge because we are about to be introduced to another badass. Thanks to Fletcher and his soothsaying ways, we already have some intel of this person. Apparentely Fletcher has a dossier on all potentially bad people in Ashland, so Gin will not be caught unaware. But I am excited because this new villian will really test Gin and her crew. I look forward to the new book.

I docked the book half of star because I don’t see how Gin and/or Jojo forgot Lorelei. I mean they were older than her and remembered them. So how did they missed that? She didn’t even change her name!!

Black Widow (Elemental Assassin #12) by Jennifer Estep

Black Widow  (Elemental Assassin #12) by Jennifer EstepSeries: Elemental Assassin #12
on 2014-11-25
Pages: 384
AmazonNarrator: Lauren Fortgang
Lethal, sexy, and always ready to protect her friends, Gin Blanco (a.k.a. the Spider) takes on the mysterious M.M. Monroe in book twelve of the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series.There’s nothing worse than a cruel, cunning enemy with time to kill—and my murder to plan. With wicked Fire elemental Mab Monroe long gone, you’d think I could finally catch a break. But someone’s always trying to take me down, either as Gin Blanco or my assassin alter-ago. Now along comes the Spider’s new arch-nemesis, the mysteriously named M. M. Monroe, who is gleefully working overtime to trap me in a sticky web of deceit. The thing is, I’m not the only target. I can see through the tangled threads enough to know that every bit of bad luck my friends have been having lately is no accident—and that each unfortunate “coincidence” is just one more arrow drawing ever closer to hitting the real bull’s-eye. Though new to Ashland, this M. M. Monroe is no stranger to irony, trying to get me, an assassin, framed for murder. Yet, as my enemy’s master plan is slowly revealed, I have a sinking feeling that it will take more than my powerful Ice and Stone magic to stop my whole life from going up in flames.
four-stars

The Spider kicks bad guy butt…AGAIN!
Gin Blanco and Mab’s daughter Madeline Madga Monroe finally have their showdown. For me, it was very clear that Madeline and Mab weren’t on the same level. Yes, they had different elemental powers and different fighting styles, but one of them was a far more superior match for Gin.

Unfortunately for House Monroe, it wasn’t Madeline. She definitely gave Gin all she could handle, but she didn’t take Gin to town the way Mab had and thus I knew this fight wasn’t going to last too long. I will admit I hoped it would be longer and I wanted more. But Gin Blanco outwitted the evil Ashland Queen-elect, proving once again that The Spider was the baddest girl in town.

I loved this audiobook and I am amazed at how Jennifer Estep keeps the quality of the story topnotch though we are in the double digits in the series. We still got to see all of our favorite characters both good and bad. What excites me the most is that I have no idea what the author has in store for us next. We know the Ashland underworld will raise a champion tasked to take out the Spider, but whom? what? how? and where will they engage our deadly assassin? I can’t wait for the next book.

*Special Thank You to Netgalley for the reading copy, though I chose to wait and listen to the audiobook.

Poison Promise (Elemental Assassin #11) by Jennifer Esterp

Poison Promise (Elemental Assassin #11) by Jennifer EsterpSeries: Elemental Assassin #11
on July 22nd, 2014
Pages: 400
AmazonNarrator: Lauren Fortgang
Gin Blanco is hard-nosed, sexy, and lethal. Nicknamed “The Spider,” she’s a stone elemental assassin who brings her unique mix of magic and tact to every assignment, no matter the target.

There’s a new drug on the streets of Ashland, and its name “Burn” sums up the potent effect it has on its users. When one of her restaurant employees is threatened by dealers of the drug, Gin steps in to set things straight…
five-stars

Another action packed installment of the Elemental Assassin. It’s Gin’s Birthday book, Happy Birthday Genevieve Snow!

I requested an e-copy of this book from Netgalley, but I decided to wait for the audio since I have listened to all the books from audible. I love Lauren Fortgang’s interpretation of the Spider so I went add and preordered it from audible. Definitely a wise decision if i may say so.
This audiobook was all that I had hoped it would be. I had been waiting for this enemy for awhile and this book resolved many issues and paved the way for a new war.

Someone is dealing drugs, a new kind of drug called Burn, and it is worse than anything Ashland and South town had seen in a long time. When the Pork Pit waitress, Catalina, was accosted by her friend and forced to sell drugs, Gin stepped in to help Catalina. Of course, this inserted the Spider into Ashland’s underworld, and again forcing her to clean up the mess the Ashland PD couldn’t.

What I liked about this book was that Gin finally reached a comfortable place in her tenous relationship with Bria, her baby sister. Bria is a judgmental, self righteous cop (the female Donovan Caine) and everything was just black and white with her. In this book she finally saw the shaded areas Gin lived in and she was finally humbled (or smacked her off her high horse).

My favorite part was the fact that the focus of this book was on the Spider and that is when Gin is at her best–Kicking Ashland underworld butt. Everyone connected to Gin makes an appearance and we finally get to meet MM Monroe. It’s sad but I am excited because MM is definitely her mother’s daughter. There is another surprise to MM Monroe too. I am excited for where this series is going.

Special thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via Netgalley for the review copy.