February 26, 2011

Review: Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep

Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin, Book 4)

Now that assassin Gin Blanco is semi-retired the only killing she's doing is taking out her nemesis Mab Monroe's henchmen. She's leaving a trail of dead bodies marked by her own spider rune long enough for Mab to hire another assassin, Elektra LaFleur, to take out the Spider. But that's not Elektra's only target. She's looking for the Spider, Gin and Detective Bria Coolidge. Since few know Gin and the Spider are one in the same she's got three names on her list and while she's busy tracking the Spider, Gin has plenty of time to make things a lot more difficult for the deadly assassin.

But that's not the only thing tricky thing about this whole situation. Bria has no idea that Gin is her sister and she has no clue that the woman she returned to Ashland to find is an assassin, which goes against everything she stands for as a cop. Figuring out how she's going to tell Bria that she's really her long lost sister is not Gin's only dilemma. She is growing closer to Owen Grayson. As her feelings for him increase so does the feeling that he's going to wake up and realize he can't fall in love with an assassin. The struggle to deal with these feelings may be just as hard for Gin as facing Mab and Elektra.

Once again I was immediately sucked into Estep's writing. She had a grip on me right from page one. I love that Gin is finally maturing into her dual Elemental magic at the same time as she's able to open up her heart to the new feelings within her.

Another small but fun part of reading this series is how Estep weaves in characters from her debut Big Time series (more great reads). It blends her two totally different worlds and helps make the read more interesting. I am a dedicated fan of Jennifer Estep and devour everything she writes. Up next will be Touch of Frost, a young adult urban fantasy out this August then another delicious installment of the Elemental Assassin series with Spider's Revenge in September. All Estep's books are must reads, go and get 'em!!

February 24, 2011

Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches: A Novel

In the magical world that Deborah Harkness creates there are witches, vampires and daemons that exist unbeknownst to us. When Diana Bishop was young she lost her parents and she turned her back on anything to do with magic. Now she's a scholar researching old manuscripts at Oxford's Bodleian Library.

During one session she calls up a manuscript that has a strange power. She instantly knows that it's bewitched and somehow resists the pull of the magic within. After she returns the book she notices that over the next few days there is a sudden increase in the number of magical creatures in the library and the general area. This is a concern because whenever a large number of magical creatures gather the chances of humans noticing something strange increases.

One of these magical creatures is Matthew Clairmont, a centuries old vampire. Matthew has a growing interest in Diana and takes it upon himself to protect her from the increasingly agitated creatures. It seems that the mysterious manuscript, Ashmole 742, has long been sought after by witches, vampires and daemons alike. The book holds secrets that can shift the power balance in our world.

Now together Diana and Matthew have to figure out how to call up the book again while avoiding those who want Diana for the power she has over the book. But as they grow closer they are thumbing their noses at the Congregation, the nine members (3 of each species) that rule the magical world because of the rule that forbids creatures of different species from mating. Will the pair avoid trouble and find the answers they are looking for before war breaks out between those willing to defend them and those that support the Congregation?

Phew, I think that is the longest synopsis I have ever written on my blog but this book is a whopping 579 pages and it's jammed packed with history and back story that was essential to a believable storyline.

A Discovery of Witches had a bit of a slow start but once I got about a third of the way through the book the pace picked up and the storyline got a lot more interesting. I love the way Harkness created such an authentic world for her characters. I was a little disappointed by the romance between Diana and Matthew. I understand that to a vampire that was born in 537 time is measured differently but the lack of progress in the relationship was a bit of a downer for me.

When I started A Discovery of Witches I had no idea that this was the beginning of a series. As I got down to the last few pages I started getting that feeling that there weren't enough pages left to get me to a satisfactory ending and sure enough there is a huge cliff hanger at the end but I was far from disappointed by the ending. I cannot wait for the next book and recommend this read for anyone who loves intrigue and paranormal suspense.