Two Blogs and a Book – Braine and I discuss Venom by Jennifer Estep

September 24, 2013 4 Star Reviews, General, Two Blogs and a Book 4 ★★★★½

Two Blogs and a Book – Braine and I discuss Venom by Jennifer EstepVenom by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #3
Published by Pocket Books on September 28, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 389
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
What kind of assassin works pro bono?

It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. 

To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. 

At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.


My buddy, Braine of the spectacular blog Talk Supe, and I are doing a buddy read of the entire Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep.  You’ll find the first half of our reviews posted by Braine on her blog and here, on my site, is the second half.  

Please go by and visit Braine to see what we have to say about the book’s plot and conflict in addition to finding out what our favorite lines are because the series heroine, Gin Blanco, always has a great line.  Also, join in on the discussion.  We’d love to know what you think!



SWR:  What can I say about Gin that I haven’t said before?  I heart this woman.  She’s strong, smart, ballsy, tough…She’s gone through some serious crap and come out the other end of it intact.  For the most part.  But she carries scars; her heart hurts even if she won’t admit it.  Emotions are hard for her but she tries.  Venom brings her closer to that vulnerable side that we saw in the previous book, slowly that wall is coming down and it’s a testament to Estep’s writing that you can see this development happening over the course of the first three books.  Other characters that stood out to me…Donovan Caine is gone (thank gawd).  Owen Grayson is…intriguing.  He’s not what he seems and Estep made him much more interesting than I thought he’d be.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Sophia…we get hints about her past that I hope will get fleshed out over the course of the series.  And that new member of the Ashland police force I mentioned?  I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read the series but I loved this new character and the complications he/she introduces to the story arc.

TS: I never thought you disliked, Donovan Caine! Ha! Yeah he can be too emo for me but I’m a sucker for forbidden love so I still liked it despite Caine’s rigid moral values. But I agree, Owen is a better match for Gin, I’m excited how long that one will last. Sophia! I always wondered how the heck she does her magic, anxious to know more about the dwarf and why she doesn’t talk like literally. Gin has got some HUGE balls! For three books now I get nervous sweat when she’s sharing a scene with Mab and what she did in Venom is real testament that Gin is mad, real mad Joe Jackson! That’ll be an EPIC fight, I’ll keep on reading for that alone. AND the new and very important character? She’s a handful and a complication.


Favorite Scene

SWR:  I think my favorite scene has to be the one in which Owen Grayson confides his past to Gin.  It was a nice moment that opened his character up and created a connection with Gin that she wasn’t expecting and which took her by surprise.  I liked this scene for the emotion of the story, the insight it gives into Owen’s character, and the realization Gin makes that someone finally, truly, sees her.  

TS: True! That was a real good part, very heartfelt and raw. Mine was this part:

“You helped make me what I am. So really, you’ve got no one but yourself to blame for the cold, cold wrath that I am about to raid down on you and yours.”

Spider’s venom! She’s backing Mab into a corner and I wish Jonah’s next. That dude is getting on my last nerve and I’d really like to see Mab do her own dirty work for a change.

SWR:  I just have to say, Braine, that was a great pick for a scene.  Did you not want to just get up and pump your fist? 


Final Verdict

SWR:  Venom was a great book, another solid addition to an urban fantasy series that is quickly clearing some space out on my Favorite’s Shelf.  Gin Blanco defines the urban fantasy heroine – smart, tough, vulnerable (though she won’t admit it), and hell bent on a righteous vengeance.  Estep populated Gin’s world with equally fascinating secondary characters, and she created a series story arc that is ripe with dramatic potential.  The only issue I have is that some of the writing still has the tendency to get repetitious but that is now a minor gripe, one that has waned over the course of three books.  This is a great series.  Do yourself a favor and start it.  4.5 Howls!

TS: Amen, sister! When I was checking the book details Venom is close to 400 pages and it seriously didn’t feel that long. It was a breeze reading Elemental Assassin 3 and if not for my book tours and all that, I could seriously binge on the series. But the best part I guess is it doesn’t look like the series will lose momentum or have “filler” novels like others. It’s solid, packed with action, mysteries piled on each other, a fantastical Urban Fantasy series through and through.




  Have your read the Elemental Assassin series?  Tell us what you think!  

And don’t forget to visit Braine at Talk Supe to see what we have to say about plot, conflict, favorite lines, and Braine’s final rating for Venom!



About Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin adult urban fantasy series for Pocket. Books in the series are SPIDER’S BITE, WEB OF LIES, VENOM, TANGLED THREADS, SPIDER’S REVENGE, BY A THREAD, and WIDOW’S WEB. THREAD OF DEATH, an e-novella, is also available.

DEADLY STING, the eighth book, is set to be released on March 26, 2013.

Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington.

4 Responses to “Two Blogs and a Book – Braine and I discuss Venom by Jennifer Estep”

  1. braine

    We need to read book 4 Stat!

    Reading the series with you is so much fun. I take back the DCaine comment. I swear my memory is failing and I need to take Bvitamin shots before I get totally screwed!

    • shewolfreads

      Thanks, Jennifer! I’m loving this series. Each time we’ve read one I think to myself, why did I take so long to start this?