Monday, 31 August 2015

Something Only We Know by Kate Long

I really enjoyed the in-depth view into anorexia. Although the storyline flows into the lives of the characters and melds flawlessly into the other sub-plots, there is still a level of understanding about this eating disorder, which is quite remarkable.

The kind of depth you usually only get when you read a book written specifically about eating disorders.

Kate Long really does have Helen's character down to a tee. Anorexics are often described in a way that defines them as victims, as attention seeking individuals, who could stop being anorexic if they wanted to.

Those descriptions could not be more wrong. It is a mental illness, a feeding and eating disorder. Girls, boys men or women, who suffer with it need professional medical and psychological help.

Getting back to the way Long has portrayed Helen. She has pinpointed the manipulative, cunning and deceptive nature of her personality. Anorexics learn to lie, deceive, cheat and manipulate their surroundings and the people around them.

Feeding and Eating disorders are about control. Controlling the one thing no one else can control for you or take away from you. The way you eat, how much you eat or if you eat at all. It takes an incredible amount of inner discipline to control your eating habits that way.

Helen describes the anorexia as an entity, a person, someone who lives within her and tells her how useless, fat and ugly she is. Alive to the point of having inner dialogues with her or it. Like an inner demon sitting on your shoulder.

Long also describes the way the anorexia can make and break a family. Everything evolves around the eating disorder, which means everyone suffers, not just the anorexic. In this story we follow the healthy sister Jen on her quest for love and her constant juggle of work-life balance. Even now her sister has recovered there is always this doubt about her honesty. Is she in distress, is she getting skinnier again or is she eating her food?

When Helen asks Jen to find one of the people partly responsible for the initial meltdown, she finds herself in the middle of a moral dilemma. Help her and perhaps watch Helen spiral into her anorexia again or trust that Helen will leave the past alone.

This isn't just a story about family dynamics when one of the family members suffers from an eating disorders, it is also a story about the relationship between two sisters and how romance can sneak up on you in the strangest situations.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author.

To buy at Amazon UK or any other retailer at Goodreads.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Leofric: Sword of the Angles by S.J. Arnott

Leofric is what I would call a wee bit of an anti-hero. He has the bad luck of a thrice cursed peasant, suffers with debilitating health issues and has the get-go of a snail.

Everyone around him equates his ill-health to an overall weakness in character, and because they believe it Leofric believes it.

Luckily, despite all that he is a sympathetic chappy, who just always seems to draw the short end of the straw. The real issue with Leofric isn't really all of the above, although it has a lot to do with it, is the fact he hasn't found his inner dragon yet.

In essence this whole story is about Leofric becoming the man he was always intended to be. The reader follows him on his road to growth, which is filled with violence, murder, fear and the occasional bout of wit.

Arnott has created a main character with flaws and a propensity for failure. He doesn't look for trouble, but trouble sure finds him quite a lot. Something tells me Leofric will eventually rise like the phoenix from the ashes.

I found myself being drawn in by Leofric and his unusual story. I needed to know what else could possibly go wrong for him. How on earth was he going to make it to the end of the book?

Arnott knows how to reel you without you even realising it. It wasn't just his storytelling though, for me it was the way I connected as a reader to the main character.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of his journey now that his inner dragon is starting to pipe up and breathe fire.
I received a free copy of this book, courtesy of the author, for purposes of review.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Blog-Tour: Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

Today I would like to welcome Mary Kubica and her book Pretty Baby to the blog. When I read her first novel The Good Girl, I knew she would be an author to watch. She has an intriguing way of mixing the boundaries of right and wrong, the criminal mind and the moral guidelines we live our lives by. I hope you enjoy the fabulous Q&A with Mary Kubica and my review of Pretty Baby.
About the author

Mary Kubica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature.

She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter. Her debut novel, The Good Girl, was an international bestseller.


Visit Mary online at www.marykubica.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/pages/Mary-Kubica-Author, and on Twitter at twitter.com/MaryKubica

Q&A

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty about your book, I would like to do a set of questions called 'Break the Ice.'

The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms want to know) 
Lori Nelson Spielman’s Sweet Forgiveness, which is a fabulous follow up to her internationally bestselling debut The Life List.

The last movie you watched, which you felt left a mark (in your heart, soul, wallet...you name it)?
12 Years a Slave.

Are you more of a Game of Thrones, Outlander gal? (Any kind of TV entertainment that makes you smirk, giggle or gasp.)
I honestly don’t watch much in the way of TV. In our house, the television is incessantly tuned into the Disney Channel for the kids, though if I were to watch something it would likely be some sort of police drama or home decorating show.

Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet?
Joan of Arc. I’m a bit of a history guru and have always been fascinated with her resilience and fortitude.

Something you treat yourself to, now and again? (Cream éclairs totally count, I myself have a small Twinkie affliction.)
Anything chocolate! I have a terrible sweet tooth.

All of the above questions are actually a pretty elaborate pysch evaluation disguised as random questions. Have no fear here come the real ones. Let’s talk about Pretty Baby.

One of the elements I really enjoy about your stories is the way you mix our natural assumptions about what we perceive as good and bad in human beings. The boundaries between morally right and justifiably wrong. Readers are never quite sure where to place your characters, because often they cross back and forth over those boundaries, depending on the situations they find themselves in. So with that in mind...

The first question that popped into my head when I was reading the first few chapters, was about our society in general. Do you believe the bystander effect or bystander apathy is becoming more prevalent in our world and society, and if so, why?
I don’t know that it’s becoming more or less prevalent than before, but it is prevalent. It seems common for people to be apathetic to societal issues and believe that someone else will intervene in a certain situation (in the case of PRETTY BABY, the plight of the homeless or children falling through the cracks of an overwhelmed foster care system) and so instead we’re prone to watch and do nothing or simply walk away. We naively believe – or hope – that someone else will help. The person who does step in to intercede seems to be quite extraordinary these days.  

Would you have done the same thing for Willow and Ruby if it had been you in Heidi's shoes?
I would not. I think Heidi does a very noble thing by trying to help Willow and Ruby, and yet she also puts her family at risk when she brings this homeless girl and her baby into her home without knowing who they truly are. There are certainly other options for someone in Heidi’s position: she could have given Willow money or she could have sought the help of a homeless shelter or a social service organization.  But that said, Heidi did take the initiative to help, and I certainly commend her for this.    
Would it have been better for Willow in the long run, if she hadn't received any information about Lily throughout the years?
It’s hard to say what might have happened had things occurred differently in the novel.  Willow may have been able to move on and find distance from her baby sister had she not received regular updates from Lily’s adoptive family, or Willow’s mind may have made up for lack of details and taken her to places she didn’t want to go. It could certainly go either way.

At this point a shout out to social workers and the heavy burden they have to carry. Do you think a lot of children slip through the system and become easy prey, because most systems in place for children's welfare are overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work?
I can’t speak to this with any sort of certainty, as Willow is one fictional child who managed to slip through the cracks of an overwhelmed system, but I would have to assume it happens. We hear quite often about abused children and the flaws within the foster care system, and it seems as if more priority or manpower or financial backing needs to be placed on the plight of these children.

I felt as if part of the blame (most of it) for the Joseph 'situation' was placed on Willow by Louise Flores and Amber Adler, perhaps in an attempt to placate their own guilt. Although we see loads of campaigns about children speaking up about abuse, do you think society still makes them feel as if they won't be believed, because the truth is more uncomfortable for everyone?
Victim blaming is often prevalent in many crimes, whether it’s a child or an adult who is the victim.  Often times, these victims feel they won’t be believed, or that they have more to lose if they speak up against their ill treatment and abuse. I think it’s important that society makes victims feel safe and gives them a voice to speak up against their abuser without any backlash by the offender or society.

I couldn't decide whether to feel sorry for Heidi, annoyed by her or angered by her actions. I do think you hit upon an important subject where she is concerned though. Women are expected to deal with certain situations without complaining, despite their heart being torn in two. Do you think Heidi would have made the same choices in regard to Ruby and Willow if she had received adequate care and counselling at the appropriate time in her life?
Without giving away any spoilers, Heidi is suffering from the overwhelming effects of loss in her life, something which she has tried hard to ignore, leaving those feelings to stew rather than heal.  Her life most would certainly have taken a different route had she sought treatment for her grief at the appropriate time rather than masking the affliction for years.

Lastly I would like to thank you for answering all my questions, both the bizarre and the more story focused ones.
Thank you so much for having me!

Review:

After the phenomenal success of her novel The Good Girl, Kubica is back with another compelling read. The type of read that makes you have a conversation with the fictional main characters of a book.

Women are expected to shut up and endure, swallow and forget. It doesn't really matter why or what, they are just expected to grin and bear whatever comes their way.

When you spend years of bottling up your emotions without any outlet, psychological and sometimes even physical damage is the result of those pent-up emotions.

In Heidi's case the shut up and put on a brave face façade begins to crumble when she invites Willow and Ruby into her house and her life. She slowly becomes obsessed with Ruby, and the thought of Willow leaving makes her almost irrational.

Once again Mary Kubica leaves it up to the reader to decide who the bad guys and the good guys are. Believe you me, it is never so cut and dry with a Kubica story. The truth of the matter is that there is a bit of both in all of us.

Kubica merges important social topics with emotional scenarios and family dynamics. She delves into the foster care system, child abuse and most importantly the apathy of our society towards the most vulnerable.

The opening chapters are an eye-opener and are food for thought. What would you do in the same situation? Look away or show some compassion? Unfortunately in the world we live in the number of incidents taking place in connection with the so-called bystander effect are on the rise. People look away rather than get involved. In a way this is one of the reasons Heidi reaches out instead of just turning her back.

This is a psychological thriller with muddied waters when it comes to the good guys and the bad guys, but then that is exactly what Kubica excels at.

Thank you to MIRA UK, Harlequin UK and Mary Kubica for my copy of Pretty Baby.

Buy Pretty Baby at Amazon UK or for other retailers go to Goodreads.

Read The Good Girl and Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

I suggest reading the first book in the series, Queen of the Tearling, before this one. It isn't a necessity, but it does make things a whole lot clearer. In the beginning of Invasion of the Tearling.

A lot of the fates of the characters from the first book are introduced in the first few chapters, so a new reader to this series might have a wee bit of difficulty keeping track of who, why and when.

It has one of the strangest present to past time evolution plots I have read in quite a while.The past is described as a post-apocalyptic misogynistic world, and the present is an almost medieval fantasy like world with plenty of magic, but with echoes of the 21st century.

Although the slipping from one life into another is quite interesting it doesn't seem to have much point other than to validate family connections.

Lily's story or rather the world she lives in is quite interesting. A world where women have no rights at all, and men are free to do with them as they please. Including abuse them when they feel like it. Sounds rather medieval, despite all the modern trappings, doesn't it? Whereas in Kelsea's world the women rule the roost. Although some of those misogynistic elements are reflected in Kelsea's world, especially in certain male high-born leaders.

Overall it is a creative fantasy driven by power struggles and family secrets.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner

This was my first Lisa Gardner and it certainly won't be my last. She really knows how to keep the story compelling to the very end.

Nicky is haunted by a girl called Vero. The two of them have conversations with each other all the time, or do they? Is it reality, a call from her subconscious or perhaps just hallucinations due to the complications of Nicky's traumatic brain injury?

Nicky comes to the attention of the local police when she is found hailing help by the side of the road and her car is found at the bottom of a ravine. At the scene of the accident she screams for Vero, so the hunt is on for the missing child.

When the police come up empty-handed they start to question not only the accident, they also question Nicky's sanity. Something just doesn't ring quite right for Wyatt and he starts taking a closer look at the husband, especially because Nicky has had multiple serious accidents in the last few months.

I really enjoyed the way Gardner kept the question about the identities very fluid throughout the book. Nothing is certain, and the reader is always second guessing who she might be. You automatically feel sympathy for Vero the child and Nicky the adult, regardless of whether they are in the past or present. For the victims of the abuse and the adult, who lives in sheer terror of the truth. Her own truth is so devastating she is literally falling apart bit by bit.

Although this is a Tessa Leoni mystery/case she doesn't really play a major role in this story. More like the sidekick to Wyatt. The two of them do get a wee bit closer, but overall she plays more of a secondary part in the book.
I have to admit it kept me riveted till the end.
I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Forgotten Ones by Brian McGilloway

There was so much going on and so many leads going in various directions that it often seemed confusing. However McGilloway does manage to pull every part of the story together successfully towards the end.

I would like to see McGilloway explore Lucy's past a little bit more or rather that of her parents. Perhaps there is more to the story about her mother and the reasons for her abandonment of Lucy.

In this book we see her mother try to connect with Lucy in a more emotional and intimate way. She isn't just the hard-nosed copper, who apparently wants Lucy to fail where she herself has succeeded. She is the woman, who wants to her daughter to acknowledge her as family.

Perhaps it was me, but I thought some of the sentences were phrased in a strange way. I thought it might be a slang or dialect issue, because it sounded like badly translated English now and again. (Not often, just here and there)

McGilloway points the spotlight on the more vulnerable people in our societies. The homeless, the mentally ill, runaways and children in care. The crimes committed against them often go unnoticed, because they fall into holes in the system. Unfortunately there will always be people willing to use, abuse and harm those men, women and children, who fall into those holes.

The Forgotten Ones is a fast-paced police procedural with a compassionate main character.
I received a copy of this book via Edelweiss.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne

It is quite hard to fit this into any specific category, genre or sub-genre, which I think is exactly what the author wanted. It doesn't fit in any box.

Sometimes literary fiction can suffer from trying to outsmart the reader by trying to be too intellectual, which is often to the detriment of the book.

I feel as if this story comes quite close to that particular quirk. A shame really, because it has some really interesting ideas in it, and I think Byrne has the potential to create something really memorable.

Byrne's ideas about the energy resources and the Trail are really very good. In fact they are the only thing that keeps the often confusing plot afloat.

The Trail is a fascinating idea, perhaps a premise worth returning to in another book. I found the chapters about the alternative energies, the building and use of the Trail, very creative. I was riveted by the actual idea, the practice room and the thought of the Trail being on and in the ocean. Kudos to Byrne for this particular idea.

Switching voices or narrators is quite common and works if it is done well. In this case the voices switch in a way that makes it hard to keep track of which character you're actually listening to or rather reading about.

Then there is the slightly obsessive need to bring sexuality in to every scenario. It might have been some confused and misguided attempt to create the image that sexuality is a flowing natural element in this futuristic setting, but I didn't flow for me at all.

Instead of a world free of bi, trans, gay or hetero restrictions or labels and a 'love the one you're with mentality.' you get a main character with impulse control issues. Her inner dialogue about feeling empowered by the thought of wanting to take someone by force 'like a man would' says a lot about her but nothing about sexuality in her society. The fixation on sex overshadows the experiences on the Trail.

Overall it had a lot of potential and some great ideas, but it ended up being a quagmire of confusion.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Awake by Natascha Preston

Scarlett seems like a normal happy 16 year old with a very normal family. She finds herself falling falling for new boy Noah, who appears to just be your everyday 16 year old, except he isn't.

He is in fact part of a religious group, who have come to reclaim their sacrificial lamb. In a nutshell that is the plot, which is surrounded by a lot of teenage angst and romantic anxiety.

It is definitely more on the teen side of YA. The language is simplistic, and a lot of the scenes seem to suffer from hop skip and jumps in the thinking.

What could possibly have been an interesting psychological thriller with a religious cult twist is unfortunately a very placid teen story, which lacks any kind of oomph or twist.

The characters need more depth and the plot could have done with being a bit more fleshed out. Less haste and more time to develop the story.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Bloodhound: Searching for my Father by Ramona Koval

You can definitely feel and read Koval's career or literary background in this book.

Her thirst for answers, searching in every nook and cranny, and not leaving any stone unturned. Even stones that have nothing to do with anything at all.

It isn't just her quest to find out who her father is, it is also the search for answers in her parents, and would-be parents past.

Learning about their personal journeys before, during and after the Holocaust. The way people, who have lived through the Holocaust, differentiate between Holocaust survivors and Holocaust refugees. Most importantly how each one of them has changed, due to the traumatic experiences in the time of mass extermination and expulsion of Jews and other persona non-grata before and during World War II.

The psychological trauma, post traumatic stress and emotional scars are there, but the layer of silence they have laid upon themselves, makes healing almost impossible. Then again can you ever forget, forgive or heal from the reality of  the Holocaust?

Regardless of whether they have learnt to survive under the most dire and brutal of circumstances or survived outside of the concentration camps, their experiences have changed them forever. The chapters describing the need of survivors to talk after their release from the camps, and then the inability to do so, is just so poignant. Like open-mouthed screams of silence.

I can honestly say I have come away with a lot from this personal journey. Koval presents her personal experience with a strong mixture of historical fact, witness statements, court documents and autobiographical excerpts. I have made a list of books to read, mentioned and quoted from by Koval in Bloodhound.

Kudos to her for pointing the finger at Poland. For some reason their part in the atrocities, always seems to be downplayed, as just being the country where they built concentration camps. The fact that Poland helped the Nazi's to kill almost all their Jewish population barring a few survivors, and then had the audacity to murder all but a few of the survivors returning from the camps. No, that doesn't get a enough attention at all.

Although I completely understand her journey and her obsession, and yes I do believe it had become an obsession, I am not sure she completely understood the implications for herself and those around her. Changing the family dynamics by changing what was previously assumed to be the truth about her parentage, and that of her sister.

When she goes deeper into the origins of her DNA ancestry, it has a slight tinge of elitism, which to be fair she does acknowledge. Other than satisfying a base curiosity those results are merely a distraction in her actual pursuit of the truth.

In the end I wonder if the lack of result or confirmation of the truth, whatever that truth may be, is exactly what Koval wanted to achieve. Perhaps not knowing and dwelling on possible scenarios is better than having to accept a truth and reality she would rather not accept.
I received a copy of this book, courtesy of the publisher, via Edelweiss.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Last Embrace by Pam Jenoff

All roads lead back to Addie's past and the way she was separated from her own family. Her inability to focus her affections on one person, her indecisiveness, and not being able to see beyond her rose-tinted glasses.

As a reader I found myself feeling sympathy for Addie, but also being annoyed at her thoughtless decisions and often devil-may-care attitude towards everything.

Saying that, the story takes place over the period of a few years and everyone involved is quite young, which explains the dramatic changes of heart and flighty behaviour.

Like many displaced families and people during war-time, Addie finds herself isolated and feeling as if she doesn't really belong. It isn't actually until well into the end of the story that she comprehends how much she loves her aunt and uncle, and how lucky she is compared to others in similar situations. Children, teens, young adults ripped from the warmth and security of their homes and family, not knowing that goodbye for now usually meant forever.

Addie encounters Charlie and his perfect family life at exactly the right time. She becomes enamoured with the thought of being part of their family, and some of them become enamoured with her.

Once again Jenoff shows the complexity of family dynamics in the midst of war-time and emotional fallout from tragedies within families.

Buy The Last Embrace at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @PamJenoff on Twitter, on Facebook PamJenoffauthor, or visit pamjenoff.com

Read The Orphan's Tale or The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff.

Friday, 7 August 2015

UPDATE: New Date for the Blog-Tour Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

****UPDATE****Pretty Baby Blog-Tour 18th - 26th August

The Pretty Baby Blog-Tour has a new start date! This Tuesday on the 18th till the 26th of August.

On the 23rd of August 2015 it is my turn on the Blog-Tour for Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica. I hope you will join me for my review of Pretty Baby and a wicked Q&A with Mary Kubica.

If you wish to follow the blog-tour and find out what my fellow bloggers have to say just click on the links below. You are in for a veritable treat and variety of guest posts, Q&A's and reviews.

18th August at wordsfromareader.weebly.com and 
                          off-the-shelfbooks.blogspot.co.uk
19th August at reviewedthebook.co.uk
20th August at thewelshlibrarian.blogspot.co.uk
21st August at rebeccabradleycrime.com
22nd August bestcrimebooksandmore.co.uk 
23rd August right here & mmcheryl.wordpress.com
24th August at chouett.com
25th August at lizlovesbooks.com 
26th August at crimethrillergirl.com

See you on the 23rd of August!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

This is the kind of story, which attracts the type of reader, who is looking for a bit of heartbreak with their romance.

I have to say the characters are still quite young and the story leans towards the teeny side of YA.

Avery covers quite a few important issues, such as omitting the truth to keep someone safe and the way grief is dealt with individually.

However in the midst of all the heartache, tears and general drama there are some rays of light.

Would you make the same choice to keep someone safe and from unravelling if they are in a combat zone? Knowing or assuming the truth might just break them or be the one thing that takes their attention away from more important situations. The kind of situations, which may just cost their life or others lives.

Was Kelsey's choice wrong? I think there can be some debate about that, because I think her decision was instinctive, altruistic and made with the best interest of Peter in mind. Was it also about holding on and not being able to let go of Michelle? Absolutely, but I don't believe Kelsey was aware of it at the time she made the choice.

Is it predictable, well yes, but I think many who use that particular word tend to forget the fact romance readers really do like a specific pattern to the stories they read. Predictable then becomes exactly what I needed and what I wanted to read today.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep

I have to be honest I kind of miss big bad Mab. Things were so much more fun when Gin was always trying to find a way to slay that nasty piece of work. Gin needs another arch-enemy asap.

Now you may wonder why I think that, well that’s because I think there were far too many giants in this story.

In fact the author seems to have forgotten that there are actually other supernatural beings or elementals who could serve as villains. It made this all a bit one-dimensional. It was just all a bit easy for Gin.

True it might have been because the whole scenario takes place in the space of one night, which I must admit is quite an interesting concept. Gin does her version of Bruce Willis in Die Hard.

Owen deserves a slap round the face with a wet kipper as far as I am concerned. Talk about being a drama diva. He needs to wake up and smell the roses before Gin moves on to greener pastures.

In fact I think the author should introduce a new hot-blooded male, preferably dark and dangerous, to get her pulse racing and to make Owen reconsider his actions. Gin needs someone who will accept her regardless of the fact she might have to kill the odd ex-girlfriend of her boyfriend’s. I mean that could happen to anyone right?

This did feel like an interim book. Sort of an in between morsel till the next. After the book with the epic showdown with Mab and Owen acting like a complete plonker, any book after that was going to have trouble living up to the hype. Not as strong as the previous ones perhaps, but one that fans will lap up anyway. I think Estep is keeping all her eggs in a basket for the next one in the series.
I received a free copy of this book via Edelweiss.
Read more of the Estep's Elemental Assassin series here: Spider's Trap, Poison Promise, The Cold Burn of Magic, The Spider, The Black Widow and Heart of Venom.

Spider's Trap by Jennifer Estep

Getting another glimpse of the young Gin before she evolved into the Spider is always quite interesting. The reader gets a chance to understand her motivation a little bit better, and just how much Fletcher shaped her as an assassin and as a person.

This time it isn't quite as obvious whether Gin has a new nemesis or not, because neither the target nor the intention of the new enemy is clear.

Snippets of memory are dragging on Gin's subconscious. Her gut feeling is trying to warn her and make her remember something she has locked away in a tidy little box in her head.

It's strange that Gin feels guilt rather than a sense of empathy with the actual target of the attacks. They have a lot in common, and yet perceive each other as enemies.

As a reader you can still feel the ripple of mega Mab being gone. So far not one person has lived up her evil scheming ways and ice-cold heart. Gin is just chewing them up and spitting them out like old bubble gum.

Estep needs to make sure to keep the story fresh for long time readers and intriguing enough that new readers want to go back to the beginning. It's time for a real challenge and not just another ode to her greatness.

Estep slips in the next potential threat in a very subtle way. A person who will certainly wreak havoc on Gin's family and friends, Can't wait to see the fallout from that in the next book.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
To read more about the The 'Gin Blanco' Spider series by Jennifer Estep: The Cold Burn of Magic, The Poison Promise, Deadly Sting, Heart of VenomThe Spider and The Black Widow.

Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep

After the lukewarm performance of the previous book in this series I am happy to say that both Gin and Estep have got their groove back.

After the unfortunate demise of Mab, Gin has been in dire need of a worthy opponent. The psycho sibling villain combo in this book fit the bill quite nicely. Gin has to settle an old debt from the Fletcher’s past. She gets all gung-ho and forest ninja to try to save an old friend.

I liked the fact that the author took Gin back to her feisty murderous self in this story. She doesn’t spend an entire book wondering about Owen or beating herself up about killing Salina. Gin goes back to her old mantra of some people just deserve to die and she is the one that should help them on their way.

After all the hardcore Spider action I wasn’t overly keen on the way the book ended, but who cares Gin got her groove back. It is a Gin with a huge slice of humanity bouncing round inside her though and I wonder whether that will have some impact on her insect antics further on down the line.
A cracking read.
I received a copy of this book via Edelweiss courtesy of the publisher.
Read more of the Estep's Elemental Assassin series here: Spider's TrapPoison PromiseThe Cold Burn of MagicThe Spider and The Black Widow.