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Jennifer Estep

Jennifer EstepBy day, Jennifer Estep is an award-winning features writer and page designer. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism, and a master’s degree in professional communications. She currently works for a daily newspaper. By night, Jennifer is an author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next super idea. Learn more at Jennifer Estep’s website.

Bigtime

Bigtime — (2007-2015) Paranormal romance. Publisher: Someone has to pay for what happened to Carmen Cole… Bigtime, New York is not big enough for both Carmen Cole and the superheroes and ubervillains who walk its streets. An intrepid reporter, Carmen’s dedicated her life to unmasking the spandex wearers, all because her fiancé turned out to be a superhero, and a cheating one at that — sleeping with none other than his nubile nemesis. Exposing the true identities of the nation’s caped crusaders and their archenemies has catapulted Carmen from her sleep southern hometown to the front pages of one of the country’s biggest newspapers, The Exposé. Hobnobbing with modelizing millionaires and famished fashionistas is all in a day’s work for the woman hot on the trail of the Fearless Five and Terrible Triad. But when Carmen gets the scoop of her career, her life comes crashing down around her. And even Bigtime’s sexiest superhero, Striker, may not be able to save her …

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Karma Girl: Surprising Depth

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Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep

After Carmen Cole finds her finance in bed with her best friend, she makes the startling discovery — thanks  to the suits they are wearing — that they are in fact a superhero and an ubervillain. She snaps some photos of them with a handy camera and unmasks them both — thus launching her unmasking career. In Bigtime, New York, superhero battles level buildings on a regular basis. When you go shopping at Oodles-o-Stuff, you're likely to encounter superheroes, because they get special discounts in exchange for protection against superfights. It's a blissful three years for Carmen, but all good things come to an end, and her unmasking career ends in tragedy. However, certain ubervillains decide that she needs to take up her unmasking mantle once again. And they know who her next target should be. But, Carmen Cole is the master unmasker, and she has a plan...
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Hot Mama: Book candy

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Hot Mama by Jennifer Estep

Settling down to read Hot Mama was like settling down to have a piece of book candy. (I didn't originate this term; I discovered it on Jennifer Estep's Blog.) You know it is going to be a fast read with lively, snappy dialog and laugh-out-loud humor. And Hot Mama did not disappoint!

It begins with Carmen Cole's wedding to Sam Sloane, the uberdude in Karma Girl. Carmen is happy; her dreams have come true. Therefore, this book is not about her. It's about Fiera (AKA Fiona Fine), Carmen's flame-wielding Fearless Five partner in crimefighting. Fiera is not so happy, for she still misses her murdered sweetheart from the last novel. Johnny Bulluci, this novel's uberhunk, is a direct sort of guy. When he sees so... Read More

Jinx: A delightful morsel of a novel

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Jinx by Jennifer Estep

Jinx focuses on Bella Bulluci, who was Fiona Fine's fashion designer rival in Hot Mama. Bella comes from a family of superheroes — both superpowered and otherwise — and she's quite frankly tired of the whole gig. She's had superheroes out the wazoo, especially since her family became closely affiliated to the Fearless Five in the previous novel. She has a power that is more of a curse, and it causes her endless embarrassment when the strangest things happen around her.

Bella isn't thrilled with a lot of aspects about her life. If she even looks at chocolate she gains about ten pounds, which she is forever trying to work off with brutal exercise routines. She hardly dares to eat in public for fear of her power rearing its weird head. And she's not really satisfied with the whole fashion designer gig, either. Sh... Read More

Elemental Assassin

Elemental Assassin — (2010-2017) Publisher: “My name is Gin, and I kill people.” My name is Gin Blanco. They call me the Spider — the most feared assassin in the South (and a part-time cook at the Pork Pit BBQ joint.) As a Stone elemental, I can hear the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet and feel the vibrations of the soaring mountains above me, though I don’t use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride. After a ruthless Air elemental double-crossed me and killed my handler, I’m out for revenge. And I’ll exterminate anyone who gets in my way. I may look hot in a miniskirt, but I’m still one of the bad guys. Which is why I’m in trouble when irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine agrees to help. The last thing a coldhearted killer needs when she’s battling a magic more powerful than her own is a sexy distraction… especially when he wants her dead just as much as the enemy.
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Jennifer Estep Elemental Assassin 1. Spider's Bite 2. Web of Lies 3. Venom 4. Tangled Threads 5. Spider's Revenge 6. Thread of Death (novella)fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsNice Guys Bite (Elemental Assassin) Kindle Edition by Jennifer Estep (Author)

Spider’s Bite: Southern-fried noir

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Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

The atmosphere of Spider’s Bite might be described as “Southern-fried noir.” The setting is Ashland, an Appalachian city where magic is openly known and a ruthless magical mobster has her fingers in every pie. Most of the cops are corrupt. The hair is big and the food is gloriously unhealthy.

Gin Blanco is an assassin. She takes pride in her skill and doesn’t waste a lot of time brooding about her chosen career. Her profession makes her an unlikely heroine, but her tough, snarky voice and her surprisingly strong sense of ethics are likely to win you over in spite of yourself. She’s a fun character to follow, and to live vicariously through, for a few hundred pages. You might find yourself wondering whether you would have what it takes — not necessarily the willingness to kill people, but the cleverness to ge... Read More

Web of Lies: I’m not rushing out to buy the next book

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Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep

Web of Lies is the second book in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series about Gin Blanco, a young woman with elemental powers who was orphaned when she was a girl and was found and raised by an assassin who taught her the tricks of the trade. She’s known as The Spider — the best assassin in the city — and is now wealthy enough to retire, which she is trying to do. She spends her days running a barbeque restaurant, but trouble keeps finding her and she can’t turn her back on people who need her help... or people who need to be killed.

This time trouble is in the form of a college girl named Violet Fox whose family owns some property coveted by a man who’s trying to coerce them into selling it to him. He owns coalmines and wants to add their land to his domain. Now he’s getting ruthless and he will use any amount of force needed to ... Read More

Venom: Fun plot if you don’t think about it too much

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Venom by Jennifer Estep

Venom is the third book in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series about Gin Blanco, an assassin who runs The Pork Pit, a barbecue restaurant in Ashland, Tennessee. My review will contain spoilers for the previous books, so you might not want to read it if you haven’t yet read Spider’s Bite and Web of Lies.

Gin has been trying to retire from her assassin’s trade, but as long as the Fire Elemental Mab Monroe runs Ashland as if she’s a crime boss, there will always be people in distress who need Gin’s help. Gin is all too happy to help them because her eventual goal is to take Mab down because Mab killed Gin’s mother and big sister about 15 years ago.

This time the damsel in distress is a vampire named Roslyn who is being stalked by... Read More

Tangled Threads: Big changes in Gin’s personal life

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Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep

In Tangled Threads, the fourth volume of Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series, the plot advances satisfactorily. Since you’re reading this review, I’ll assume you’ve read the first three books, Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, and Venom. I’ll also assume you still like the series if you’re interested in a review of book four.

So, as I said, the plot advances, mostly with Gin’s relationships with both her new boyfriend, Owen Grayson, and her sister Bria Coolidge, the new top cop in town who doesn’t realize that Gin is her sister or that she’s Ashland’s vigilante assassin with stone and ice magic. Of course, fans of the series can’t wait to find out how Bria will react when she eventually discovers the t... Read More

Spider’s Revenge: Somebody, just shoot Mab now!

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Spider’s Revenge by Jennifer Estep

Spider’s Revenge is the fifth book in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series. You probably shouldn’t be coming to this book without reading the previous four books, so I’ll assume you’ve done that already if you’re reading my review. If not, beware of spoilers for the previous books.

In Spider’s Revenge, Gin Blanco finally decides it’s time to kill Mab Monroe, the evil Fire Elemental who destroyed Gin’s family decades ago and is now the crime boss of Ashland Tennessee. I’ve been complaining for a while now that Estep is dragging the plot out by making Gin have to deal with one of Mab’s cronies or minions in each book rather than just taking the shortcut of going after Mab herself. It seems to me that there have been two main plots going on: the firs... Read More

By A Thread: Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy!

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By a Thread by Jennifer Estep

Stop here if you’re planning to read Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series and haven’t read books one through five yet. This review is for book six, By a Thread, and will contain spoilers for the earlier books.

In the previous book, Spider’s Revenge, Gin Blanco (as the title implies) took care of Mab Monroe, her nemesis and the crime boss of Ashland Tennessee. At this point, Estep’s fans have got to be wondering “now what’s Gin gonna do?” It seems like her life is set; she’s got an awesome boyfriend, she’s reunited with her sister, business is booming, and her enemy is dead. But life still isn’t easy for Gin. With Mab gone, all sorts of bad people have been trying to take Gin out and she just can’t get a break. So Gin, Bria, Owen, and Finn pack up and go on vaca... Read More

Widow’s Web: This formula seems to be working for Estep

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Widow’s Web by Jennifer Estep

Widow’s Web is book seven in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series. I wasn’t too impressed with book six, By a Thread, but I continue to read the series because I’ve already purchased most of the books at Audible and, even though I recognize the problems with the plot and the writing, the truth is that I like Estep’s setting and characters well enough that I don’t mind reading the books in order to get them reviewed for FanLit. Based on the high marks the series gets at GoodReads and Amazon, I’m guessing that many readers are perfectly happy to overlook the little “issues” I’ve mentioned in previous reviews. Clearly, the formula is working for Estep.

In this seventh installment, Gin and her friends are back in Ashland Tennessee after a disastrous vacation during w... Read More

Deadly Sting: A museum heist is a nice change of scenery and pace

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Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep

Deadly Sting is the eighth book in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series. Anyone who has made it to this point in the series probably doesn’t care what I have to say about it, so I’ll make this short.

Gin and Owen are taking a break from each other after the events of the last book, Widow’s Web, so Gin accompanies Finn to a fancy party at an art museum on an island where Mab Monroe’s stuff will be on display for all the wealthy folks in Ashland to see. Soon after she arrives, she encounters two big problems. One is that she discovers Mab had a couple of Gin’s family’s runes in her possession! Gin wants them back. The other problem is that Owen is at the party with another woman. How distressing!

While Gin’s sulking in the bathroom, a group of giants murd... Read More

Heart of Venom: Pretty much the same

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Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep

Heart of Venom is the ninth book in Jennifer Estep’s very popular ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series. I skipped it a while back because I’m not crazy about this series and I didn’t want to purchase it. I had the later volumes and went on. (I’ve only continued to read ELEMENTAL ASSASIN because I already owned most of the books and I wanted to report on it for FanLit.) However, a copy of Heart of Venom fell in my lap recently, so I read it. I feel the same way about it as I do about all the other books in this series, so I’ll be brief here.

Gin’s friend Sophia (the goth dwarf) is kidnapped by the man who tortured her many years ago. Gin must get her back because she has a hero complex — she sees it as her job to protect everyone she loves. So instead of asking her sis... Read More

The Spider: A prequel to the ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series

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The Spider by Jennifer Estep

The Spider, the tenth book in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series is actually a prequel in which we learn about Gin’s life and training before she became the infamous assassin, The Spider. Readers who haven’t been following the series could read The Spider with no problem, but they’d be missing a lot of the Easter Eggs that Estep leaves for her fans.

The story starts when adult Gin (the one we know and maybe love) is talking to her boyfriend Owen at The Pork Pit. (Gin and Owen are back together, a reunion I missed since I haven’t yet read book nine because I don’t own an audio copy, my library doesn’t have it, and I’m not willing to buy it.) A box of blue roses arrives at The Pork Pit without a card, but Gin knows exactly who they’re from. The memor... Read More

Poison Promise: Ready to give up on this series

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Poison Promise by Jennifer Estep

I’m not sure that I should continue reviewing Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series. My goal has been to get the entire series reviewed for this website because that’s one of our visions for Fantasy Literature, (get everything reviewed), but it occurs to me that it might be pointless. This series gets high marks at GoodReads and Amazon, so why would anyone who’s interested in Poison Promise, book 11, be reading my reviews when I’ve been kind of down on these books for quite a while now? Fans of the series — those who are considering reading Poison Promise — are probably not coming here to get information. They’re probably reading reviews by other fans. Right? (Please correct me if I’m wrong by leaving a comment.)

So, I... Read More

Black Blade

Black Blade — (2015- ) Young Adult. There Be Monsters Here… It’s not as great as you’d think, living in a tourist town that’s known as “the most magical place in America.” Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power. I try to keep out of it. I’ve got my mom’s bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick. But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend’s pawn shop, and I have to make a call–get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn’t. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I’m stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I’m going to end up just like her…

Cold Burn of Magic, Dark Heart of MagicDark Heart of Magic

Cold Burn of Magic: Power struggles in the magical Mafia

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Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

In Jennifer Estep’s Cold Burn of Magic, a 2015 young adult fantasy novel and the first book in her BLACK BLADE urban fantasy series, the world is divided into mortals and magicks, humans who have some type of magical power. The southern U.S. town of Cloudburst Falls, a hotbed of magical power, caters to tourists who want to see magical people and creatures. It’s reminiscent of Harry Potter World, except that it contains real magic, including pixies who are household servants and monsters like the aptly named lochnesses, who lurk under bridges and require a toll of jewelry or money from all who pass over their bridges. Cloudburst Falls is controlled by mafia-like families with powerful magical abilities, particularly the Draconi... Read More

Dark Heart of Magic: A fast-paced teen fantasy adventure

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Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Note: Some spoilers for the first book, Cold Burn of Magic.

In Dark Heart of Magic, the second book in Jennifer Estep’s BLACK BLADE teen urban fantasy series, the adventures of seventeen year old Lila Merriweather ― orphan, ex-homeless person and pickpocket, current bodyguard, and swordfighter extraordinaire ― continue. In a world that contains both normal mortals and magicks, humans endowed with different magical powers, Lila has two extraordinary powers: soulsight, which enables her to read the emotions of another person by looking into their ey... Read More

Bright Blaze of Magic: Monsters and magic spice up a deadly feud

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Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Note: some spoilers for earlier books in this series.

The hair-raising adventures of Lila Merriweather conclude in Bright Blaze of Magic, the third volume of Jennifer Estep’s BLACK BLADE young adult urban fantasy series. Lila, age seventeen, is not only a highly skilled thief, but also has amazing sword-fighting abilities and extraordinary magical powers, not to mention championship snarking abilities. In the town of Cloudburst Falls, where magical power is so prevalent that the town attracts tourists who want to see magical people and creatures, people’s magical strength lends itself to political power. Lila is a bodyguard for the Sinclair Family, particularly the son and heir of the family, Devon Sinclair. S... Read More

More speculative fiction by Jennifer Estep

Mythos Academy — (2011-2013) Young Adult. Publisher: I am Gwen Frost, and I have a Gypsy gift. It’s called psychometry — that’s a fancy way of saying that I see images in my head and get flashes of other people’s memories off almost everything I touch, even guys. My gift makes me kind of nosy. Okay, okay, maybe a lot nosy — to the point of obsession sometimes. I want to know everything about everyone around me. But even I don’t want to know the secrets my friend Paige is hiding or the terrible loss that will send me to a new school — Mythos Academy, where the teachers aren’t preparing us for the SATs, but to battle Reapers of Chaos. Now I have no friends and no idea how my gift fits in with all these warrior whiz kids. The only thing I do know is that my life is never, ever going to be the same…
Jennifer Estep Mythos Academy 1. First FrostJennifer Estep Mythos Academy 1. First Frost 2. Touch of Frost 3. Kiss of FrostJennifer Estep Mythos Academy 1. First Frost 2. Touch of Frost 3. Kiss of FrostJennifer Estep Mythos Academy 1. First Frost 2. Touch of Frost 3. Kiss of Frost 4. Dark Frostfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews


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FanLit Asks: August 28, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
Got any personal news to share?
Ian Tregillis: This is shaping up to be a busy summer for me. In June, I submitted my fourth novel (Something More Than Night) to Tor.  In July, my first novel (Bitter Seeds) debuted in the UK, and a week later my second novel (The Coldest War) came out here in the US. And I just finished reviewing the copyedits for my third novel (Necessary Evil). I'm attending two conventions in August. Bubonicon in Albuquerque (yes, New Mexico's local convention is named after the bubonic plague!) and Worldcon in Chicago.



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FanLit Asks: September 11, 2012

Five of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
Got any personal news to share?
Sarah Beth DurstMy next YA novel, Vessel, comes out from Simon & Schuster/McElderry today. It's about a girl who lives in a harsh desert land and is destined to sacrifice herself so her clan's goddess can inhabit her body... but her goddess never comes. It recently received a starred review in Kirkus. (Yay!) Also, I sold three new books! They're my first books for adults: The Lost, The Missing, and The Found, and I'm really excited about them. Also recently, a bunch people in California parked a car on Mars, took some photos, and send them back, which I'm claiming as personal news because I stayed up late to watch it. Actually, I think Curiosity on Mars counts a... Read More

FanLit Asks: October 2, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
Got any news to share?
Steven R. Boyett: I'm excited that I will be reading at the opening weekend of San Francisco's massive Litquake festival, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2-3 PM. I usually record these things, so it will be on the media page of my blog soon afterward. In my mortal guise I'm also a semi-famous DJ, and I'm also hugely stoked that I'll be DJing the Litquake/Litcrawl closing party at  Read More