Tour’s Books Blog

July 3, 2018

Another Round of Erratic Reads

Swear to heavens, authors need a kick in their collective butts.  I hate when a book is so boring it could be a sleeping pill.  The other thing I hate is plots so predictable I can tell what will happen after 10-20 pages.  It’s like most authors have gone BLAH and taken the easy road.

John Grisham wrote two excellent books – The Client and The Pelican Brief.  He’s lived off his reputation since.  There are a lot of writers like that.  Series writers get stuck in a character rut so deep there’s no way out.  The list is endless.  Smart authors limit their series to 3-5 books.  After that, the characters often go stale.

I started this entry back in early March, but colds and allergies and the weather got to me, and I was in a BAD MOOD for weeks.  I’ve also been dealing with dry eye and discovering some drops cause bad reactions for me, and the carpal tunnel in my right wrist is still there, some days really bad.  The problem with my eyes made reading ebooks hard, so I read a few DTB.  We’ll start a few that are a waste of time and move on from there.

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Having problems with insomnia?  Need a sleeping pill?  Don’t turn to drugs, try reading Camino Island by John Grisham.  I won it in a book swap game in hardcover, so it was easy on my eyes.  Generally, I give a book 30-50 pages before giving up.  I gave Camino Island over 100 pages before literally tossing it across the room.  OMG.  Tedious, boring, yawn-inducing, and uninteresting.  I can’t even remember a character.  I’m pre-disposed to like books set in Florida, but even that couldn’t save this dull mess.

Camino Island is supposed to be a ‘caper’ book, fun and fast-paced.  I’ve always loved caper books since way back in the days Ross Thomas and Donald Westlake had a blast with this genre.  The key to all good caper books is characters, snappy dialogue, misdirection, and very fast pacing.  All of these elements were absent in Camino Island.  If you have to force yourself to read 100 pages, it is NOT a good caper novel, it’s junk.

No grade, just a DNF and a piece of advice to avoid it – unless you need to take a nap.  Ross Thomas is mostly out of print as are most of Westlake’s, but The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie is a good example of ‘caper’ style book as are the first 3 in the Kipp series by John Sanford (originally published under his real name, John Camp.)

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Image result for publish and perish Phillipa Bornikova

Phillipa Bornikova wrote 2 really good Linnet Ellery books.  I waited over 2 years for Publish and Perish.  She didn’t jump the shark, she a double gainer with a twist over the Statue of Liberty.  The long build up to saving Linny’s lover John from Fae was not a dramatic climatic event.  It was as exciting as mopping the floor and happened so fast you got whiplash.  Oh, thanks to the shard in his eye the evil queen won’t remove, John still has no emotions.  Basically, he’s walking emotionally dead person.  It kept right on jumping double fips and reverse twists as it lept from one thing to another until the ‘big reveal.’  There are no words to fully describe how ludicrous it was.  I couldn’t believe she got it past a sane editor without a complete re-write.

Her ‘big reveal’?  Black Masons.  No, I’m not making that up.  Apparently, the author felt the need to drag National Treasure plotlines in and create White Masons (good guys) and Black Masons (NOT good guys) and dear old dad – is guess what?  Very touching.

The entire book was little more than a string of scenes of loosely held together by frayed bits and pieces to a flat-out stupid ending.  Shame on the editor for letting this garbage go to print.  Reading it risks permanent brain damage.  Worse, I paid for the blasted thing from an online bookseller.

My rating is a rare F (0*).  This is a HUGE disappointment and total waste of time and money.

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The most recent entry in the Elemental Assassin series did what too many publishers have done, changed a series from mass market paperback to trade size.  I bought the ebook on sale.  Venom in the Veins is a solid entry but a bit shorter than her other books.

Gin Blanco, AKA Spider the best assassin in Ashland, it trying to find out about ‘the Circle’ that ordered her mother killed.  And as the leader on Ashland’s Underworld, something she doesn’t want but is kind of stuck with, she’s always alert to other assassins trying to move up in the world and take her place.  But first, she and her foster brother Finn have to have dinner with Finn’s boss, a dwarf, at the swankiest place in town.  At least she doesn’t have to cook – but she’s wearing black just in case Spider has to come out and play.

Dinner was great, but Finn’s boss is attacked and we’re off piecing past and present together as Mab Malone’s belongings get auctioned off and the daughter of a female vampire/cannibal Gin killed as a teen still under Fletcher’s tutelage comes for her.  Interesting twist at the end.

Venom in the Veins gets a B- (3.8) as it’s pacing and twists were predictable since Estep never changes her formula in her plots.  Recommended series.

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Book 3 in the Orphan X series finds the man now called Evan Smoak AKA Nowhere Man, looking for the last protege of the man who trained him and acted as his surrogate father, Jack Johns.  Hell Bent pits Evan against an old nemesis, another Orphan who can’t forgive Evan for being chosen first and being better, Van Scriver.

Like the first two books, the pacing is fast and furious as the race is on to the find the last Orphan – Evan to save them, Van to kill them and Evan so the whole program can be closed down before it’s it’s found out.  But 16-year-old Joey isn’t an ordinary Orphan, Joey is a girl.  Evan gets there first, but she’s not trusting and Sciver is hot on their heels.

The action is relentless and Joey is well trained, but not trusting.  The uneasy alliance is based mostly on Jack’s Rules and slow bond of trust that builds while running from the well equipped and financed Sciver.

Greg Hurwitz can be uneven in his books, but he nails it here.  The reader is pulled headlong into the story and the 400+ pages just flew by.  The ending had an amazing and unexpected turn.  I bought this online in hardcover.

Hell Bent gets a solid B to B+ (4.2*) for an action thriller.  Smoak and Joey are well-developed characters, Van Sciver less so, but enough to give him depth, the shady secret group remained shady and secret, except Evan knows at the end where it came from.  Book 4 will be a must-read.

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Image result for wilde fire jenn stark

Wilde Fire, Book 10 in the Immortal Las Vegas series is the final book in the story arc about the Arcane Council, Sara Wilde, and the war to keep the old gods out of this world.  Jenn Stark has slowly built a complex world of magic based on the Tarot and centered around Sara Wilde who starts as a relic hunter with a touch of magic and evolves into a powerful magic user and one of the Major Arcana.

In book ten, the Veil is finally torn and the battle rages and Sara is the lynchpin.  Her ally is surprising, so is her biggest enemy.  The denouement was great and has led to a spin-off series about former demons who are the only ones that can hunt and demons that end up on the Earthside on the veil.  (I started the first but wasn’t thrilled.)  Dixie and other characters get involved and the war brings the Connected out of the shadows all over the world.

I give Wilde Fire B- (3.9*) and strongly recommend reading the series in order and the overarching plot evolves in each book and it’s the only way the plot makes sense,

 

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April 1, 2014

Not so April Fool!

Filed under: Caper,Mystery review,Western Mystery — toursbooks @ 4:20 pm
Tags: , , ,

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OMG, it’s April already and not single sign of buds on the trees or even the forsythia.  Damn.  While the winter has been long and cold here, it’s still active in places like Minnesota where they’re still dealing with new snow.  I’d be ready to kill the weatherman or myself at this point.  At least this past weekend was just torrential rain for us.

Yeah, it’s April Fools Day.  While I do enjoy some of the elaborate and clever tricks people play, I was never one for April Fool jokes.  So relax, they won’t start here.  No, April 1 was always my personal start date for Spring.  Some years it would come early and some years, like this year, it seems very, very late.

Spring is when every day we look out and the world looks different.  Flowers peek out of the ground, trees bud, shrubs seem to erupt into bright colors almost overnight.  Daffodils that just sprung up a few days ago all seem to suddenly pop open.  Every day my SIL gives me the ‘crocus report’!  Spring is colorful, cheerful, and much needed after a long winter of dreary days.  We start getting restless to get outside and do things.  Where I used to live, I’d take a week’s vacation from work to get the gardens ready – clean out all the leaves, fertilize, correct the pH, dig in soil modifiers and lots of dried manure.  We had a lot of garden space and it took a lot of time between spring when we’d get ready and fall when we prepped it for winter.

I’m no longer able to do that kind of heavy work and I miss it, and I miss my gardens, but life changes and we move on.  I still enjoy looking at all the beautiful gardens folks create – and relax knowing I won’t have to do the digging and the weeding and ………… well, the million other things all gardeners do.  I do love watching the annual parade of colors as one after the other ornamental trees and shrubs do their once a year beautification show.  The are a welcome sight.

Another welcome sight is the brightly color mysteries that arrived today.  But before I settle in for the latest Cupcake Bakery mystery by Jenn McKinley, I need to review a a couple books, mysteries that are as alike as chalk and cheese.

Stone Cold

C.J. Box writes both the Joe Pickett mysteries and stand alone thriller/suspense type books.  Here in Stone Cold we have Joe, the ultimate straight arrow, chasing his friend Nate Romanowski, a man with a past.  Nate, a complex man, a good friend, and a lethal killer, finds himself questioning a path he chose and now doubts.

At the end of Breaking Point, the previous Joe Picket book, Joe quit thanks to the new Director who is a ‘bambi hugger’ and willing to lay down for political gain and throw Joe under the bus while doing it.  But Joe has a friend in high places, namely the governor, who gives him a special job and now that marker has come due.  Of course the governor threw him under the bus years back too, so it’s not like they’re close friends.  Much to Joe’s everlasting disgust, he’s to fly to Cheyenne in the morning for a ‘special assignment’, one that will have him helping the FBI with what looks like an elaborate murder for higher scheme, and it also looks like Nate may be involved.

Woven into the action packed story of a rich, successful man who disappears into near anonymity, and is rumored to run an assassination business, is the more basic tales of Joe’s adopted daughter wanting to run off with a rodeo star with a history of abusing women,  his eldest daughter worrying about a student on her dorm floor displaying all the signs of being a potential ‘lone gunman’, including obsessively playing first person shooter games, and Joe again trying to save Nate, not just the man, but his soul as well.

Box writes a layered, complex, interesting story that moves at a breakneck pace from the opening scenes with Nate hunting and killing a parasite of a businessman to a literally explosive ending with creepy results, and a tragic, but seemingly inevitable conclusion to the isolated college student who in the end, was not what they thought.  The various plot elements weave in and out at always at the nexus is Joe Pickett, a Game Warden with a gift for finding trouble and the tenacity and strong moral code of an old time lawman.

Stone Cold is a really good read.  Maybe not his best, but his most nuanced.  The one drawback is the really bad guy escapes and likely will not be made to answer for his crimes.  The more obvious theme is is all about things never being quite what they seem, but they are in mysteries.  They rarely are in the best mysteries.  Stone Cold remains a very satisfying, engaging read in one of the most solid series currently in print.  It is highly recommended to hardcore mystery fans, especially followers of Craig Johnson’s Longmire books, Steve Hamilton’s Alex McKnight books, or Willim Kent Krueger’s books.

Stone Cold gets a B+ (4.3*) and recommended read.  I got this book thru an online book swap site and I will pass it on.  It is currently just under$20 on Amazon, so try and get this through your library.

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The Chase

It’s hard to even put a book like The Chase into the same set of reviews as a C.J. Box book.  It’s like reviewing McDonald’s after discussing haute cuisine.  The Chase could not be more different, and other than sharing the same general genre of Mystery and Thriller, they have exactly ZILCH in common.

Book 2 in the Fox and O’Hare series is, if possible, even lighter and less substantial than The Heist, which is saying something given the fluff level of The Heist.  One thing you have to remember is Goldberg is a scriptwriter and Evanovich has reverted to her ‘humorous romance’ roots, so substance is in short supply.  It’s fun, fluffy, superficial, the plot is on the level of a ‘made for TV’ movie, or maybe just a one hour episode in a series.  So is the dialogue and the cast of characters.  The Chase is another caper style mystery in the same vein as ‘White Collar’, which it shamelessly copies.  Not one of the great caper books that has more twists and turns than hedge maze, nor is it Dortmunder, or Bernie Rhodenbarr, or one of Ross Thomas’ many wonderful books, no this is just some harmless fun caper story.  A bagatelle.  Short, fast, and don’t look too closely or you’ll see the flaws book.

Fox and O’Hare are after really big game this time, a corrupt former White House chief of staff who runs a virtual private army mostly on government contracts.  And buys stolen art with his less than clean money.  He’s also like all massive egoists, anxious to be feted as hugely successful and noteworthy.  The entree is making his elaborate Florida mansion the feature of a TV show.  A show that gives Nick the cover he needs to grab the bronze the Chinese government is demanding be returned by the Smithsonian.  You’d think stealing an art treasure from a paranoid man who has his own army would be enough, but no, that’s too easy.  Finding out the one on display is a fake was a bummer.  Even worse, some well meaning museum official gave it to the Chinese billionaire before Fox and O’Hare could switch it out for the real one, and it’s locked up in a nearly uncrackable safe in the secure belly of the Chinese billionaire’s A380 that’s hard.

It’s shallow, devoid of deeper meaning, character growth, or any over-arcing qualities.  It reads at a grade school level and has as much substance as cotton candy.  But it is amusing, largely harmless, and is over with in record time.   The Chase gets a C- (2.8*) and a strong recommendation you get it FOR FREE SOMEHOW, because seriously, it’s not worth more than $2-$3.  I got The Chase thru a book swap site and it will move on the same way.  If you miss it, your life will still be complete.

 

June 26, 2013

Murder, Mayhem, and Magic – Sad Goodbyes, and Sneak Peeks of To Be Released

Death really does come as the end, to paraphrase Dame Agatha Christie.  For some it comes too soon.  As anyone who reads my blog knows, Vince Flynn is one action thriller author I read.  Even when his books got average, he remained as solid choice for CIA assassin reads.  At the age of 47, Vince Flynn died June 19th from prostate cancer.  He was open about his 3 year battle with the disease, so it was not a shock to his fans.  I had hoped he would be one of the lucky ones and beat the odds.  He has two releases scheduled for this year, his latest Mitch Rapp book and a collaboration with Brian Haig (which I have on pre-order).  If they both go to press, they might well be his last, though I expect another author will continue his Mitch Rapp series.  I shall miss all the stories Vince Flynn had yet to tell.

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New releases mean the most recent chapter in favorite series, a whole new series by a favorite author, or maybe a new author or two.  The first Tuesday of every month is usually the big release day.  June is about an average month for me.  You get a decent number of cozies (most of which I ignore), some traditional mysteries (YEAH!), the annual glut of ‘beach reads’ – AKA ‘Women’s Fiction (a genre I avoid), the usual crop of historical romance (read one, read most), and a wide range of science fiction and fantasy (a favorite).  So, here are some reviews.

Death Taxes and Hot Pink

The fifth book in the Tara Holloway series, Death, Taxes, and Hot Pink Leg Warmers, brings a few changes and resolves some personal relationships from the earlier books – and puts, Tara, Nick – the hunky co-worker she taking for a test drive for a relationship, Tara’s friend Christie, the DEA agent she became friends with in book one, Death Taxes and a French Manicure.

In Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria, Brett Ellison and Tara decided their relationship needed a breather so they both had a chance to explore the feeling they’d had each developed for other people.  It was a lot more mature than Stephanie Plum’s bouncing between Ranger and Morelli.  They would meet in a month.  The only ground rule, no sex with the other person during the month.  Nick and Tara were finding that hard, but managing.  I liked the way Ms Kelly handled this whole thing.

The ‘Lobo’ is back at work running the IRS Enforcement office and Nick and Tara go under cover with Christine and another DEA agent at a ‘Gentleman’s Club’, thanks to inside information from one of the ‘girls’.  But Lu also wants Tara to go to workout with her at the health club so she can lose the weight she packed on after her cancer surgery, chemo, and quitting smoking.  At the same time Tara and her old partner Eddie and handling a case with local prosecutor on a mortgage/builder scam four men were running for years – and not paying taxes on any of it.

And that’s the problem with the book.  It has so many different plots running concurrently it gets a bit fuzzy.  It lacks a clear focus and the building tension of solving the crime.  This fault was compounded by a piece of stupid by Tara at the very end.

Death, Taxes, and Hot Pink Leg Warmers was good, but not on the same level as the earlier books in this series, a series I happen to really like.  The best I can do here is a  B- (3.7*).  If you can get it cheap or through a book swap site, read it, but it’s not one you need to run out and buy.  I bought this book on Amazon for $7.19

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the-heist-cover

OK, call me a sucker, but I had to try this novel.  Intended as a first in a series, Janet Evanovich has gone the route of Clive Cussler and James Patterson and teamed with another writer for this first ‘caper’ style story in what is intended to be a series.  Now caper stories have had some excellent practitioners over the years – notably Ross Thomas, Donald E Westlake, even the redoubtable John Sanford writing under his real name of John Camp did this style with his Kipp books.  When you say ‘caper’ books, most people immediately think of things like Ocean’s 11 or How to Steal a Million, two movies that are examples of how capers run.  Caper novels being basically con jobs – and like any good con, even the reader should not see the final plot twist.  In the hands of the masters, like Thomas and Westlake, they move at a breakneck pace and have more twists than a pretzel factory and the ending is usually brilliant and completely unexpected.  In the hands of Evanovich and Goldberg, it runs predictably and at half speed, lacking much of the punch of a Thomas or Westlake book, but it remains an enjoyable and fast read – and one of the best things she’s done for some time now – which is kind of damming with faint praise.

The basic plot of straight out of the TV series White Collar with the female lead taken from Castle and stuck playing the Peter Burke role.  Seriously, you have tough, no nonsense, FBI agent Kate O’Hare rather than an NYC detective ‘Kate Beckett’, and a ‘Neal Caffery’  clone name Nick Fox.  Really.  O’Hare and Fox.  SIGH!  Yes, you even have the sexual tension between the tough cop ……. ummmm ……. FBI agent and the con man ……… wait, yes, Kate Beckett does Neal Caffery.  Damn.

Now, before Evanovich fans start sharpening their knives and light the torches, I would like to say I actually LIKE White Collar and Castle.  What I don’t like is the feeling of a wholesale rip-off of characters for this book.  That’s just insulting.  The bad part is, it will most likely be popular too.

Kate has been after Nick Fox for ages and finally has him, too bad the man is shrewd as well as slick.  He gets out on bail, flees to Mt Athos on Greece (no women allowed) and hides out as a ‘priest’ supposedly studying the culture of the Mt Athos monastic life unchanged since Byzantine times.   Kate is a former SEAL (REALLY????  The authors even apologize for this egregious breach of credibility by saying ‘there should be female SEALs’) and her dad Jake a former Sec Ops Marine.  They team up and get to Greece so she can take a highly illegal flight over Athos and parachute in to drag Nick out.  But it isn’t just Nick waiting in the hut, it’s her boss AND a Deputy Director of the FBI.  She and Nick are about to be partners in some highly illegal plans to get fugitives back to the US.  Their first target, a investment banker who ran off with $500 million in his clients money.  (Piker.  Even Michael Milken did better than that with junk bonds in the ’80’s!)

And the con is on.  Because they have to get the man’s location from his high power attorney – a former prosecutor turned defense lawyer.  Then it’s off to Indonesia with Kate posing as an heiress who is about to be stranded off just the right island to get their man.

All in all, tension is minimal, the con is actually pretty straight forward, action is blah and the characters 2 dimensional.  A fast easy read that was mildly entertaining, but actually not as well done as the plots in White Collar.  Evanovich needed a more experienced hand in the genre than Goldberg’s, one that could create the kind depth and complexity this book begged for.

The Heist with lightweight, pleasant, fluff that barely makes a C (3*) grade despite the reviews on Amazon.  If you want to read a funny caper novel, try The Gunseller by Hugh Laurie or any of the Ross Thomas books (even if they are a bit dated) – The Seersucker Whipsaw, Briarpatch, The Money Harvest, even his last caper book – and far from his best, Ah, Treachery!  These are not series books, so read his caper novels in any order.  There are 13 all together apart from the three series he also wrote.  Or try one of the Dortmunder books by Donald E Westlake.

I bought The Heist for about $15.50 from Books-a-Million.  It wasn’t worth it.  If you’re a HUGE Evanovich fan, get it from the library or buy the paperback.  It’s about 3 hours of mindless entertainment with some laughs and no real tension or surprises and less originality than the TV shows it so shamelessly copies.  It’s worth maybe $5 tops.

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mayhem-at-orient-express

Mayhem at the Orient Express is a first book by Kylie Logan.  Set on an island in the Great Lakes, the story centers around a group of 3 female neighbors with petty grievances that have driven the local magistrate to distraction.  To help his librarian wife keep the grant money that runs the town library, he sentences the women to a book club.  The one enthusiastic member is a local widow and fishing charter captain.  Chandra Morrisey is a new age, aging hippie, with a cat that pees in Bea Cartwright’s brand new B&B’s flower beds.  She traded Manhattan for an isolated island, so Bea isn’t about to let some cranky locals spoil her plans, not when she already has her first guest.  Kate Wilder is a no nonsense winery owner who opposed the B&B wanting the land it sat on for a small park.  Only Luella Zak, the local fishing boat operator was at the meeting willingly.  As a first book, the unwilling group agreed to read Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie – not knowing an April snowstorm would find them kind of reliving it.  First they had to escape the ‘discussion group’ and all 4 women ended up at the new Chinese restaurant, Orient Express, for Peter Chan’s orange chicken.  Only problem is, Peter is dead, stabbed with his own knife.  The police finally let them go and the skid home to their respective houses.

When Bea renovated the old Victorian (a work still in progress), she installed a back-up generator.  She was about to bless that piece of foresight.  Out of nowhere, a huge April blizzard moved in cutting power to many places – including the homes of her annoying neighbors who end up seeking refuge at the B&B.  So Bea has all her bedrooms full to overflowing with guests and residents without heat or light – including the sheriff – Chandra’s ex-husband – and his handsome deputy.  Thank heavens Meg, the young woman she hired to bake for her, was one of the ones she took in, because Bea wasn’t much of a cook.

The one thing the 3 squabbling neighbors and the friendly and down to earth Lu have in common besides a love for Peter’s orange chicken is a tendency to be curious.  Like search the rooms of her off-island guests curious.  The best part of the book is watching these very different women slowly find a way to get along and work together and sort of like each other.  Yes, many elements are a rip off of Christie’s book, but more like a homage and it does work, especially in light of the late season storms we saw in the area this year adding to the credibility.

Who did the killing is actually obvious, the whys were not, and the solution not as unique as Christie’s.  Like most first books, a lot of time was spent developing the backstory behind various characters, especially Bea, who remains deliberately vague in her history.  The mystery is OK, but watching the women was the real entertainment.

Mayhem at the Orient Express gets a B- (3.7*) from me and a suggested read for lovers of classic style cozies.  Purchased online for $7.19

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SNEAK PREVIEWS: Two Urban Fantasy Novels

Elysian Fields

Elysian Fields, the third book of the Sentinel’s of New Orleans series, is due out in August and I got an ARC of the ebook.  YIPEE!!!!!!!!  Kudos to author Suzanne Johnson.  She does some expected and unexpected things with her characters and really puts her young wizardress, DJ (or Drusilla to Jean Lafitte and her grandmother), thru a lot.  This is the best new UF series since Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books hit the shelves 2 years ago.  More importantly, this series is one of the few that made the jump to my keeper shelf.

Starting just a few weeks after the end of River Road, the plot runs at a breakneck pace from the opening chapter with an investigation into a serial killer.  DJ’s problems with the elves are a lot more serious than the Elders realize.  There’s an old ax murderer on the loose, possible called up by a necromancer, and DJ is on his list, and the vampires have alliances and whole other game going on – one that could end with another Wizard War.

I won’t give a full review here, but buy this if you can, or make sure your library does.  Even though I read the ARC I left my order for the book in place.  I want a print copy for my shelf.  I know changes can happen between ARC’s and final print, but usually nothing major, especially thing close to the release date.  Elysian Fields will likely get a B+ (4.3*) and is a highly recommended series from me for fans of the Iron Druid, Grave Witch, and Elemental Assassin series.

Free ebook ARC

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YES!  Your favorite assassin is back with a special tale to tell – one that centers around not Gin Blanco, but her closest friends Sophia and Jojo, the dwarf sisters that have been family to her since Fletcher Lane took her in after Mab Malone killed her family.  What was supposed to be a ‘girls day’ at Jojo’s spa turns bloody, with Sophia kidnapped, Jojo shot and Gin unable to intervene without getting them all killed, even her sister Brie.  First she has to get to a healer to save Jojo, then she has a sadistic half dwarf/half giant and his even more sadistic sister to hunt down.

Owen is back, struggling to make amends for his behavior after realizing Gin had no choices in what she did to his ex-fiancee.  Gin isn’t falling over herself to get him back, cautious of the hurt he caused her before.  She is what she is, and if he can’t live with that, she might always miss him, but she isn’t taking any crap or making any apologies about her life.  That is a strength I do like to see.  And with the focus on Sophia and Jojo, and the flashbacks to when Gin was just training with Fletcher Lane, makes for an all around good read.

After several very formulaic books, Heart of Venom was a welcome shift to the history of the dwarf sisters who have played such a big role in Gin’s life.  It has an interesting ending too, with the promise of a new underworld figure, Mab Malone’s heir.  My grade is B- (3.8*) and a must for Elemental Assassin fans and recommended read to those who read f UF in general.

Free ebook ARC

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