Audiobook Review: Never Lose Your Flames (New Canadiana #1) by Francis Gideon

Series:
Narrator: Kevin Chandler
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)

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: Never Lose Your Flames by Francis Gideon
Series: New Canadiana #1
Release Date: August 1st, 2016
Format: Audiobook (11 hrs and 9 mins)
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press Amazon USAudible

Cop-turned-bounty-hunter Gabe Dominguez is hired to capture firestarter Nat Wyatt. For a dragon-shifter like Gabe, apprehending Nat is easy, but transporting him involves more time, energy, and blood loss than he envisioned. An attack from a band of fairies, an out-of-control forest fire, and a showdown at an auction don’t faze Gabe, but Nat’s innocence might stop him entirely.

Since discovering his abilities, Nat’s lost a best friend, a boyfriend, and trust in his brother. Only his love of concerts and card games get him through life without a home. Rumors of the Judge, a giant dragon who once destroyed half of Canada avenging those he loved, provide Nat with hope of vindication. When Nat discovers his captor is the Judge, he thinks he’s finally caught a break. Through late-night conversations and a shared love of music, Nat tries to convince Gabe he’s not guilty.

Can Gabe continue his cutthroat lifestyle, or will he run away with his dragon hoard like he’s always longed to do? Can Nat escape his legacy, or will his be another spark snuffed out by people who don’t understand? The Oracle, the most powerful wizard in Canada, might be the only one who can provide answers.

two-stars

This one was a pretty dry audiobook. The narrator’s voice wasn’t engaging enough to save this plot or make it interesting.

Gabe Dominguez was a bounty hunter hired to capture Nat Wyatt for his crime of arson. Gabe at first seems like a stoic character but clearly certain things about Nat chipped away at Gabe’s façade. As Gabe made his way with his captured prisoner in tow, Nat revealed more and more truths to where Gabe began questioning his sponsor’s intel.  There was a lot of world building as well as various supernatural characters but I didn’t feel the romance enough amongst the plot. I was hoping to “feel” instead of being told about their attraction. There were too many creatures and the author could have gradually introduced them in subsequent books.

I liked Gabe more than Nat but both characters were likeable. The story just wasn’t smooth and engaging enough and I had to really push myself to finish the audiobook. The premise was interesting but execution was a fail for me.

About Francis Gideon

Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He likes to stay up late, drink too much coffee, and read too many comic books. He credits music, especially the artists Patti Smith, Frank Iero, Gerard Way, Florence + the Machine, and The Pixies as his main sources of inspiration, but the list grows every day. Since age twelve, he’s been trying to figure out what genre is best suited for a strange, quiet kid like him and so far, he’s happy to be where he’s ended up.

When not writing fiction, Francis teaches college English classes while he studies for his PhD. He has published several nonfiction and critical articles on everything from the Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, transgender identity in the YouTube community, using fanfiction as a teaching tool, and character deaths in the TV show Hannibal. Those are all under different his “real” name, though. He writes his novels using his middle name, Francis, so that his students don’t Google him and ask too many questions.

Both Francis and his partner live in Canada, where they often disagree about TV shows and make really bad puns. To talk more about books, bad horror movies, LGBT poetry, or anything else, please drop him a line!

Unwanted (Elemental Assassin #14.5) by Jennifer Estep

Unwanted (Elemental Assassin #14.5) by Jennifer EstepSeries:

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: Unwanted by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin
Release Date: July 18th, 2016
Pages: 100 • Format: e-arc
Published By: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
Purchase Links:   Amazon USBarnes & Noble

The New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series continues with a new e-novella–from the point of view of Finnegan Lane, the foster brother of Gin Blanco, and a fan favorite of readers of the series.

The fallout from his disastrous “family reunion” in Bitter Bite has left Finn feeling hurt, angry, and depressed. He can barely stand to look at himself in the mirror, much less eat any of the delicious barbecue from Gin’s famed Pork Pit restaurant.

But when the funeral for a slain security guard at his bank turns into a showdown with some nasty underworld giants, Finn knows that he must act in order to protect an innocent family.

Finnegan Lane might be the most unwanted man in Ashland these days, but he’s determined to try to make amends for his past mistakes…

four-stars

This was a welcome addition to the Elemental Assassin series as the reader got to hear Finnegan Lane’s point of view.

Following the crushing betrayal by this mother Deirdre Shaw in Bitter Bite, Finn was still wallowing in guilt over the death and destruction caused her in attempted robbery. Finn was trying to figure out how to make amends and regain the trust of those who felt that he was complicit in his mother’s scheme. This book saw him begin to regain his sense of purpose and respect as he was able to help a family who lost their protector and provider in the bank massacre. What I loved was that it wasn’t Bria or Gin or even the ghost of Fletcher Lane, but Finn alone taking a step onto redemption road.

While I found all the blame heaped on him to be undeserving, it spoke to Finn’s character that he didn’t brush people’s feelings aside. He took everyone’s hurts to heart and he resolved to help make amends. This novella had a slightly somber mood, lacking Finn’s signature cocky quips, but it still felt like an Elemental Assassin. It was a nice shift in focus to another beloved character in this series.

*Special Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

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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!!