I received this book for free from Let's Talk! Promotions, NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review + Excerpt: Snared by Jennifer EstepSnared by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #16
Published by Pocket Books on April 25, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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four-stars
If you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

I love Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series featuring one of the best butt-kicking heroines in urban fantasy today, Gin Blanco. I also love serial killer stories—I’ve read quite a few serial killer mysteries and thrillers and watched countless documentaries. So mash up the two like you see in Estep’s latest Elemental Assassin novel, Snared, and I’m pretty much guaranteed to like the result. Which I did. Keep reading to find out why, read an excerpt, and join a giveaway where you get the chance to get a free copy of the book or an Amazon gift card!

First off, I’ll say Gin and her crew are as kickass as ever. And the things that make Gin the person she is (both faults and strengths) continue to be true in this novel. The things that make this a quintessential Estep novel—edge-of-your-seat thrills, seemingly small intrigues growing into stuff-is-gonna-blow-up conspiracies, and sweet and funny moments woven into and between scenes of martial and magical kickbuttness—are present as well. All these things contribute to a fun read I devoured in one sitting.

There were some things I didn’t really have a problem with but still wished were done a little differently, though. One is that this is another of those build-up novels, which add clues and tension to and anticipation for the inevitable epic showdown between Team Gin and the evil Circle (the name for this shadowy organization with malicious intent still feels a little cheesy to me, but no biggie). Not that I don’t appreciate the way things about the Circle were revealed in this story; just that I’m getting a little impatient for them to actually do battle (as opposed to skirmish the way they have in previous books and in this one).

Another issue I had was with the mystery of who this novel’s particular bad guy was, since it felt pretty straightforward to me and I would have liked more twists and turns before discovering who the villain was. I don’t know, though, that I should expect crime novel-level intrigue in an urban fantasy; I might have been able to guess who the killer was because of all the other serial killer stuff I’ve read and watched, and this may have inured me to subtleties about the way this aspect of the plot was developed.

Overall, this is definitely worth reading if you’re a Jennifer Estep and Elemental Assassin fan. However, it doesn’t stand alone very well, so if you’re new to the series, I’d recommend starting with book 1, Spider’s Bite.

 

Feel Factor Rating

 

Excerpt

I bolted for the window, intending to yank it up and dive through the opening. Otherwise, I’d be caught, and all of my careful surveillance of Damian Rivera and the other Circle members would have been for nothing.

But I’d forgotten about the white velvet bow hanging from the window frame, and I ran straight into it. Even worse, the fabric decided to stick to me, like an octopus clutching at my clothes.

“Shit,” I hissed, trying to peel off the clinging velvet and open the window at the same time. “Shit, shit, shit!”

“Gin?” Finn’s voice rang in my ear, sharp with worry. “What’s wrong?”

I finally slapped the bow away and grabbed hold of the frame. “I thought you said that Rivera was attending some charity dinner tonight?”

“He is. According to my sources, he RSVP’d several weeks ago. It didn’t even start until seven o’clock, so the dinner shouldn’t be anywhere close to being finished.”

“Well, tell that to Rivera,” I muttered. “Because he’s right outside the office.”

“Get out of there, Gin.” Finn’s voice crackled with even more worry. “Get out of there right now.”

I hoisted up the window, wincing at the faint screech it made. “Way ahead of you.”

As soon as the glass was out of the way, I ducked through the opening and stepped out onto the roof.

At least, I tried to.

My foot caught on that stupid bow again, and my leg stuck straight out in midair, as though I were doing a complicated yoga pose. I ground my teeth and yanked my foot free of the clutching fabric. The sudden, violent jerking motion pitched me forward, but I managed to stagger away from the window and catch myself before I did a header onto the roof or, worse, fell off it completely.

The second I regained my balance, I whipped around and hurried back over to the window, reaching for the frame to push it down.

Across the office, the antique crystal knob turned, and the door rattled, as though someone was putting his shoulder into the wood to force it open.

“Damn door always sticks,” a deep male voice said.

The crystal knob turned again, and the door finally swung open. I grabbed the frame and shoved the window down as fast as I could. But I didn’t have the best grip on it, and I didn’t manage to close it all the way. I grunted, trying to force the window down that final inch, even as a man stepped into the office.

If I could see him, then he could see me, so I abandoned the window and lurched to the side to get out of sight. My heart hammered in my chest, beating up into my throat, and I snapped my hand down to my side, palming a knife and waiting for the inevitable shouts of surprise and discovery.

One . . . two . . . three . . . four . . . five . . .

Ten . . . twenty . . . thirty . . .

Forty-five . . . sixty . . . ninety . . .

I counted off the seconds in my head, but more than a minute passed, and no alarms blared. Instead, something else echoed out of the office and through the slightly open window to me.

Tinkle-tinkle.

The distinctive sound of ice cubes dropping into a glass, followed by the crack of a bottle opening and a steady glug-glug-glug of liquid, eased some of my worry. Still gripping my knife, I dropped into a low crouch, crept forward, and peered through the glass.

 

Elemental Assassin Series Reading Order

1. Spider’s Bite: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

2. Web of Lies: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

3. Venom: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

4. Tangled Threads: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

5. Spider’s Revenge: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

5.5. Thread of Death: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

6. By a Thread: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

7. Widow’s Web: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

8. Deadly Sting: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

8.5. Kiss of Venom: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

9. Heart of Venom: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

10. The Spider: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

11. Poison Promise: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

12. Black Widow: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

13. Spider’s Trap: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

14. Bitter Bite: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

14.5. Unwanted: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

15. Unraveled: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads • Read my review

15.5. Nice Guys Bite: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

16. SnaredBuy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

 

About Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Her Elemental Assassin series follows the life and times of Gin "the Spider" Blanco, a barbecue restaurant owner who also happens to be an assassin with magical control over the elements of Ice and Stone.

The Mythos Academy series focuses on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. She studies at Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors.

Her Bigtime paranormal romance books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love.

Estep's new Black Blade series is about 17-year-old thief Lila Merriweather, who has a Talent for sight, along with the ability to take magic others used against her to boost her own powers. She tries not to get involved with the Families who control much of the town, but ends up in the middle of a potential turf war.

 

Giveaway

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