Favorite Quote: “Monsters are your friends, never forget that.”
Lila Merriweather is now a full-fledged member of the Sinclair Family and has discovered her relationship to the Draconi’s. Determined to stop Victor Draconi from killing the Sinclairs and other families in order to take over as the ruling family of Cloudburst Falls, Lila, along with friends, has been slowly working behind the scenes to keep that from becoming a reality. When the scions of the various families are kidnapped and held for ransom, Lila will have to use everything in her arsenal to save the young man and the people she has come to love.
Bright Blaze of Magic is the third and final installment in Estep’s YA based urban fantasy trilogy. Our heroine, Lila Merriweather has gone from an orphaned loner to a girl with a family, a boyfriend, and a mission to avenge her parent’s death. Estep has done an admirable job of leading us to this point; setting up the plotlines, slowly allowing her heroine to grow, and making sure readers have all the information needed as she starts this book off with a bang and give us a respectable ending.
Steady pacing, engaging dialogue, and action-packed scenes kept this reader entertained as Estep revisits the most magical place on Earth for the final showdown. I enjoyed seeing Lila finally settle into her role and accept the bounty she originally rejected. The storyline is pretty straightforward without any real surprises or plot twists. The foreshadowing is laid on with a heavy hand. As I stated earlier, Estep pretty much tells us what is going to happen in book two and in here we see how it plays out. Punches aren’t pulled as Estep stays true to her heroine, allowing her to learn with each new hurdle she is forced to jump though there is no doubt at all Lila will prevail.
The cast of secondary characters continues to entertain and add to the anticipation of the story. Everyone puts aside their differences in a great show of solidarity for the common good. Lila gets help from the most unexpected places as she prepares for the coming battle through I was a little disappointed by everyone’s obvious regulation to minor supporting roles.These characters have lived and trained for the fighting and skirmishes between their families yet they all back down and place their future in the hands of a seventeen-year-old. I was expecting more from them. I was also disappointed with the development of Victor Draconi. He didn’t live up to his hype from the previous books. We are informed this is an evil black-hearted villain yet for all his posturing he was nothing more than a mashup of ridiculous threats and loosely plotted avenues of destruction.
Estep tightens up all the loose ends and wraps everything up in a fight to the death that resolves the main conflict but leaves some small openings that could spell more visits to CloudBurst in the future. Overall I did enjoy this series though it is definitely geared towards a younger reader. I recommend it for all readers who enjoys an adventurous YA Urban Fantasy with a lightweight world filled with magic, and a strong relatable female protagonist for readers to cheer for.
I love Jennifer Estep’s writing. She is one of the few authors I have read who was able to cross from adult fiction to youth adult with no missteps or awkwardness in the transition. She has a powerful appealing voice that resonates through her characters. Her stories contain a good balance of normal everyday normal life with strong magical world building. Estep’s unique twists and turns keeps the pacing steady while witty dialogue and dynamic characters keep you entertained.
Jennifer Estep’s latest urban fantasy adventure revolves around a magical and deadly version of Disneyland and a reclusive teenager whose reluctantly dragged into a long standing family feud. Action, intrigue, suspense, and a healthy dose of snark introduces a new world that blends modern sensibilities with magical charm.
Cloudburst Falls was the most magical place in America and tourist town where fairy tales are real.
Yeah, fairy tales were real here alright...including the monsters that went right along with them. Monsters that were fe-fi-fo-fum hungry for all the blood and bones they could sink their teeth and claws into, mortal, magick, or otherwise.
Lila Merriweather is a seventeen year old thief with strong talents that steals on contract. Orphaned at a young age, she resides in secret at the local library. Her only friend is the owner of the local pawn shop who watches over her as he and her mother were very good friends. Shallow, selfish, and antagonistic, Lila avoids most human contact...especially the families that control Cloudburst Falls and all those who live there.
The families who rule Cloudburst Falls function with a mob style mentality. Powerful families whose never ending manipulations and feuds spell disaster and death to anyone who is stupid enough to interfere. As magick is measured by your talent and the amount power behind it, these families maintain the power structure on which the town is built. The Sinclairs and the Draconis are the most powerful and most antagonistic towards one another. Lila has good reason to avoid these two families in particular.
Part of me wanted to run after her, grab her shoulder, spin her around, and plant my first in her face for what she had done to me, for what her family had done to mine…
The themes of this book are change, growth, and possibility; as is the majority of Estep’s books. Estep creates characters who aren’t always likable or easy to relate too. She gradually and with a steady hand helps to chip away at their shells to reveal their hearts; then begins the hard battle of putting them back together. Lila changes when she is forced to shed her anonymity and engage actively with the families. Her pain, sorrow, and need for revenge has fueled her for so long, she is unsure how to act when she really gets to know the objects of all her hate. Especially the young man, Devon Sinclair, whom she saves from kidnapping and is rewarded by being blackmailed into protecting with her life.
I hated him. I’d hated him for years, and was determined to hate him now, along with the rest of his stupid family. Lila growth is small but steady as she spends time with the Sinclairs and sees the truth behind the throne, so to speak. She learns they aren’t the heartless monsters she has always hated and feared. They to have suffered for their lifestyle and know the pain of losing the people they love. As she is forced to face some uncomfortable truths about herself, she discovers a small vein of sympathy for these people.
The possibility is presented as Lila comes to realize she is no longer alone in the world. Destiny has struggled to reassert itself and she now stands where her mother did before her. Not to say Lila learned forgiveness in her journey. Her ability to see both sides of the battlefield serve her well as she struggles to accept help from her enemies.
Estep has penned another exciting and action packed YA fantasy whose hints of darkness, violence, and, snarky humor offers a wide variety of potential in a young girl whose life is now dependent on the very people whom she faults for destroying it to begin with. ...more
Killer Frost is the sixth and final book in Jennifer Estep’s action packed mythological based urban fantasy series-Mythos Academy. A YA series that has followed high schooler, Gwen Frost, through her trials and tribulations as she is unceremoniously pulled into a secret war between the gods and goddesses. Heralded as Nike’s Champion, Gwen and her talking sword, Vic, learned in Midnight Frost (book five) that Gwen holds the key to defeating Lori and his band of Reapers. She just needs to figure out what that key is before Lori rises fully and destroys Gwen and everyone she loves.
TORI: So May, what did you think of Estep’s and Gwen’s finale? Overall I enjoyed the story though there were a few things that dragged it down for me. It starts out with Gwen having to use her gift to read some mythological artifacts. Rumor has it the Reapers are looking for one artifact in particular that will complete Loki’s transformation and everyone hopes Gwen will discover something that points them in the right direction. An attack by the Reapers pushes Gwen towards discovering the correct artifact but when the Reapers attack again, to close to home, Gwen takes matters into her own hands.
The book starts out slow in my opinion as Estep sets up the story line and places the players in position. There is still some uneasiness between Gwen and Logan and I liked that. In reality, he has let her down quite a few times and though she loves him, the trust is still trying to rebuild. Plus, it reinforces that for all that Gwen has been through, she is still a teenager with all the angst and drama that goes along with it. I also enjoyed her anger. Anger she is entitled to. She didn’t grow up in this world and she is unable to accept the unspoken adage that some losses are okay in order to win the war. Especially since she has lost so much to it. One aspect that did bother me was Gwen had a few to many pity parties in the beginning. She continues to bemoan being the Champion, her parent’s deaths, ect…What did you think, May?
MAY: I really hate to admit this Tori, but I had a hard time staying interested and actually reading this book. A number of times I actually had to force myself to not skim. I feel like I’ve known what the overall outcome was going to be of this series since the start and so for me I didn’t have a sense of urgency with this book.
Now don’t kick me out of the J.E. fanclub!! Seriously – this was a great series and I do think it was time for it to end. I liked knowing that there would be a set number of books and that when the story of Gwen battles Loki ended, the series would end.
Where to start talking about this book in particular? Well since I already admitted I had a bit of trouble being invested in it – let’s get dirty. I’ve gotta say I’m tired of the “Gwen the good girl who never puts out” squeaky clean bit. As a character Gwen has been getting on my nerves lately but I feel like she has this smugness to her – she’s so good, she’s such a champion, clearly she has control always. I wanted more darkness, more depth, and more raging teen hormones with Gwen! Get out of control, girl! Ok, so I know that we were not going to get any heat with this series (it is YA, after all) and I agree with Estep’s choice there. Annnnnnd now I’m dying to throw a “but” in here so I will stop typing and turn it back over to you!
TORI: I have to agree with you, May. As this is the last book in the series, the foreshadowing up till now pretty much tells us what’s going to happen and a little of the how. Similar to Midnight Frost, I felt this installment wasn’t as action packed as books one thru four. Once again, the focus is placed primarily on Gwen and her actions and reactions to events unfolding. I did wish for more darkness and depth. I do feel she achieves some of this towards the end but it resolves too easily to allow for any real sense of anticipation.
Since Logan and Gwen’s quintessential conflict which places them at odds, I too wanted them to have a special make up moment to solidify their love and commitment to one another. Of course, we weren’t going to get that. Sex isn’t on the table in YA that often and Estep uses Gwen as the first true love in Logan’s life. She changes him. I do feel his role went from an equal protagonist to a sidekick after they started dating and that bothered me a little. Rather, they conflict with each other until one needs saving, then all is forgiven.
Now on to the secondary characters. May, how did you feel their roles towards the end correlated with how they have been characterized through the series?
MAY: I think Estep was very consistent with her voice throughout the series – and with her characters as well. This is something I always love about her writing! I feel like if a character changes or develops in new surprising ways you can look back and see the reasoning or even realize you should have seen it coming. Love it when she surprises me.
When it comes to the secondary characters, I feel like some really developed nicely and others were always just filler. Nicomedes was by far and away the big surprise through this series for me – he added so much in his own ways, and he was a highlight of this book for me. Especially for a YA series – I really like seeing an adult character who is respected and who adds to the story as he did. Teenagers most certainly do not know it all – despite what they may think.
I did not find myself surprised, impressed, or otherwise happy with any of the other adults in this book of the series which was a disappointment. Grandma, Matis, Nike, and even Logan’s dad seemed like they all had more potential for Gwen’s story. How did you feel about them?
TORI: I agree with you across the board. Estep has a fabulous voice that does well for adult and YA. I never felt as though I was just reading the story. She easily drags me in and consumes me. Nicomedes had to be, by far, my favorite character. He was the most developed and dynamic of the secondary characters. I enjoyed watching him and Gwen go from frenemies to allies to friends. Was it just me or did you get the feeling that “Professor Snapes” finally got his happily ever after? I couldn’t help but compare the two as the arc progressed. As for the other characters, they were all pretty much were regulated to a standby position, used to reinforce and elevate Gwen’s character. I was deflated by their lack of action in this installment. Though, I’m glad someone finally got their moment in the sun. *grin*
The storyline was predictable but the journey was interesting. I think the path Gwen chooses to take is noteworthy in it’s undertaking but reflects back on what you mentioned, May. Her need to be “the one.” I was irritated by her all her secrecy though she does explain her reasons why in a way that is understandable. Loki’s appearance definitely amps up the action and drama in the storyline, adding a sense of seriousness and dread to the storyline that’s been missing, but it wasn’t delivered with the “punch” I thought it would have. Vivian and Agrona were good, but after Crimson Frost, they seemed to have developed a juvenile tone in their scenes. What did you think, May?
MAY: I totally agree with you. In fact, I was going to comment on the overall juvenile (great choice of words, Tori!) feel to the villains. Even Loki felt like a cheap punchline and not a real threat. I needed a lot more from the bad guys, especially since they were the entire focus of this book. We didn’t have Gwen learning, growing, doing other stuff – she was 100% kicking ass and finishing up with them. I think that hurt the strength of this book for me because I was waiting for her to deal with a worthy adversary instead of trotting around so easily.
For me, this hurt the power of her choices at the end of the book because while yes, she’s been through hell and back, in this particular book she really hadn’t. As it has been quite a few months since reading the last book the power of previous events wasn’t still with me as I read.
Reading this book actually has me wanting to re-read the whole series though. Mostly because I think this is a series that would read much stronger if done back-to-back vs over a number of years as we did.
TORI: Yes, that is a good point. It’s such a strong cohesive series with so many ongoing plot lines, the time between each book seems to dampen the edge. The internal drama that usually surrounded Gwen wasn’t there. Her choices aren’t really choices. The path in here is predetermined and there wasn’t room to maneuver beyond it. Regardless of my issues, I do feel Estep wrapped this series in an acceptable fashion, giving us a action packed ending and some clues to the Gwen and Logan’s future. Small clues hint that perhaps Estep may revisit this world again. All in all, I was happy with the conclusion and will miss this series now that it has ended. I don’t recommend new readers starting here. The series is on going with an evolving arc that doesn’t do an in depth recap.
Favorite Quote: “ I understand your reasoning. Really, I do. But don’t expect me to save you in return.”
MAY: While this wasn’t the strongest book in the series, it is a fitting conclusion. I really liked how she ended this series, giving us enough information and a leisurely last few chapters to draw our own conclusions and say goodbye to this cast of characters. Overall, sitting on my shelf the complete series will be an excellent read for my daughters in a few years but also as enjoyable for myself to re-read.
“You know how… clumsy I can be with things especially artifacts. Who knows? I might… lose it or something.”
“It’s a risk I’m willing to take Gwendolyn,” Nickamedes replied in a soft voice. “Even if others are not.”
The librarian stared at me again, and I saw the certainty blazing in his eyes, along with his faith- in me.
My Unexpected Forever is a sweet angsty emotional love story between a single dad tattooed drummer and a single mom of twins whose lost her husband. IMy Unexpected Forever is a sweet angsty emotional love story between a single dad tattooed drummer and a single mom of twins whose lost her husband. Its a story of second chances, forgiveness, and healing. I absolutely ADORED Harrison. Such a sweet compassionate man. He gave Katelyn everything he could without asking for anything in return except a chance for her love. I admit I didn't like Katelyn as much. I understood her reluctance towards starting a relationship Harrison. She had been with her husband since age fifteen. He was her first everything. Her grief and confusion was understandable but she constantly sent mixed signals to him and put a lot of her issues off on him. Plus, I was a little put off by her bigotry towards his appearance. If they had just met, I would have understood but they have known each other almost a year. She knew he was much more than a tatted, pierced, stereotypical rock band drummer. I thought her treatment of him was cruel at times.
The secondary characters were great. We see a lot of Liam and Josie. Cray cray Sam is in this one and I'm positive it's not the last we've seen of her. The kids were fantastic and add to the story. I adored Harrison and his son's relationship. Such wonderful uplifting scenes as McLaughlin doesn't hesitate to show their love for one another.
A nice ending that assures us Katelyn is in it for the long haul and her and Harrison have a real good chance at a happily ever after. ...more
A short but informative look at the events of Crimson Frost from Logan's POV.
Favorite Quote: “Tell her I’m sorry. Again.”
Spartan Frost is a light novella that falls between Crimson Frost and Midnight Frost and addresses the events from the hero’s POV, Logan Quinn.
In Crimson Frost, Logan was possessed by Loki and tried to kill his girlfriend, Gwen Frost. Guilt over his behavior and fear that Loki may once again possess him has sent Logan running from the academy and Gwen.
I enjoyed seeing what happened in the last few pages of Crimson Frost through Logan’s eyes. The entire series is told from Gwen’s POV so it was interesting to get Logan’s thoughts and feelings. Logan spends most of the book thinking about Gwen, giving us answers as to why he left without even saying good bye, and texting his friend Oliver to keep tabs on Gwen and get updates. He also uses the time to repair his relationship with his father, with whom he’ been at odds with for most of his life. While I enjoyed the novella over all, it isn’t much more than a brief look into Logan’s emotional state.. Those who follow the series will enjoy this brief interlude but it’s not a necessary component in advancing the arc of this series. I was a little confused as to why Gwen was on the cover. I would have preferred seeing Logan as it was his story.
Favorite Quote: “Oh, quit feeling sorry for yourself.”
Gwen Frost is back and recovering from her near fatal wound but if she thinks the Reapers are going to wait for her to be at one hundred percent…she’ll have a long wait. When her boss, Nickamedes, is poisoned by a Reaper instead of Gwen, she finds herself travelling to the great outdoors in search of an elusive antidote for the poison. She has a limited window of opportunity to succeed. If she fails, Nickamedes will die. Gwen and her friends go in search of the antidote, well aware that this could be a trap set by the Reapers and death may be all what awaits them.
***Tiny recap from Crimson Frost***
Once again, I enter the hallowed halls of Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy in her latest release, Midnight Frost, and found myself submerged into the story as if I never left. By the end of book four, Crimson Frost, Gwen has made the ultimate sacrifice to defeat the Reapers but it came at a huge price. Her relationship with Logan has come to screeching halt as his actions towards the end have caused him to leave her and the academy. Gwen is heartbroken but continues to live her life the best she can. Midnight Frost starts out with BANG when Gwen is attacked by Reapers in the library where she works and almost poisoned. Her boss ingested the poison instead and now Gwen must travel to Denver in order to secure an elusive flower that will negate the poison and save Nickamedes’s life.
I love all of Estep’s works. She is one of the few authors I have read who was able to cross from adult fiction to youth adult with no missteps or awkwardness in the transition. She has a powerful appealing voice that resonates through her characters. I adore this series. It continues to balance the normal everyday life of teenagers with a continuously evolving mythological world. Esteps unique twists and turns keeps the pacing steady while witty, snarky dialogue keeps you entertained. This series is a wickedly dark blend of magic, fun, and teen romance. We aren’t overwhelmed with intricate plots or long drawn out angst. Multiple subplots intertwine throughout but never confuse or isolate you from the main storyline. Heavily character driven, each character is imbibed with the personalities and enthusiasm to carry their own story and not be overwhelmed by our protagonist.
Midnight Frost may not be as actioned packed or as wild a ride as the last couple installments but Estep uses this book to almost focus entirely on Gwen. By changing the settings, it forces the focus onto Gwen’s emotional, mental, and physical growth since first coming to Mythos Academy. Gwen learns more about her past and her future. Gwen’s role as Nike’s champion has been fully accepted by the students at school, but being a champion is a heavy burden to shoulder as Gwen is slowly and painfully learning. I enjoy that Gwen isn’t subjected to the same prejudices as other Mythos students who were raised in the mythology they live and breath. Gwen is always willing to give the benefit of the doubt and will accept help from anyone willing to give it. Even if rumors and legends say otherwise. Friendship continues to be a large aspect of the story with is a huge appeal for me. I loved the fact that her unusual group of friends continue to stick by her side, even at risk to themselves. She has come along way from the social loner whom we met in book one, Touch Of Frost. She has friends, a boyfriend (maybe), and a cause.
The secondary characters remain a delightful addition to the story; continuing to elevate and evolve within it. Gwen’s Valkyrie bff, Daphne, has Gwen’s back through thick or thin. She has remained a constant in Gwen’s life and I’ve enjoyed their evolving friendship. The fact she shoots pink sparkles out her fingers when made makes me giggle. Vic, Gwen’s sword, may be an inanimate object but he has some serious skills and some hilarious dialogue. I find it funny that a favorite character of mine in this book is a sword. We are introduced to some new characters who situate themselves firmly into Gwen’s life and are used to address past issues while opening a new storylines.
The main conflict is eventful though calm in its execution. As stated earlier, this is Gwen’s story and a majority of it revolves around her without much external interaction. I would have enjoyed more insight into the Reaper’s agenda. Perhaps a scene from one of their points of view. A novella would be nice. (hint-hint). Suspense, intrigue, and some much needed information executes well to push us towards the end. Ms. Estep leaves us in a much happier place this go around and I think fans will be very pleased with the ending. I’m excited to see what is on the horizon next for Gwen, Logan, and the rest of Mythos Academy as we wait impatiently for the sixth installment of this series-Killer Frost-which is set to release in 2014. Midnight Frost has shown us some of the big picture and put Mythos Academy on the offensive. Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy series only continues to engage its readers and is a must have for all YA fans who enjoys a rich blending of snark and serious in an incredible mythological world.
Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep (Elemental Assassin #8) Releases: March 26, 2013 Urban Fantasy Pocket
Reviewed by Tori and May
Red is definitely my color. Good thing, because in my line of work, I end up wearing it a lot.
Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me— Gin Blanco, aka the Spider—it’s just part of the job. Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’s priceless possessions is not only the place to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place.
Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.
May: This is the eighth book in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, and nothing is ever quite what it seems in Gin’s world. The assassin slash BBQ joint owner is still recovering from the events in the last book, and Ashland’s underworld is still as seedy as ever.
So, where to start? First I will say that I’m a huge Estep fan, but going into this book I was scared. Would I hate the direction that Estep is taking Gin? Would I recover from the events of the previous book? How painful would this book be to read? I really should have had more faith. Not only did I tremendously enjoy this book, but I think that the depth of development and the way that the threads of this world are coming together are phenomenal. It was a very emotional read
– here are a few quotes:
Not for the first time I thought about pulling out my cell phone and calling him. The only problem was that I didn’t know what to say. I love you. I miss you. I killed your ex because it had to be done. Not exactly sweet nothings.
And this one…
My emotions felt as tangled and twisted as the briars around us. And every move I made, everything I did to try and make things better, just stabbed another sharp, brittle thorn deep into the desolate wasteland of my heart.
Gin is so vulnerable, and yet she’s more determined and better than ever.
Tori: I love Estep. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. I read both her adult Elemental series and her YA Mythos Academy series and I can honestly say she has a permanent spot on my favorite Urban Fantasy list. I think all of us died a little at the end of Widow’s Web. Gin had been put through the ringer and the one person she wanted, no, needed, to stand by her side, let her down. Oh, the heartbreak. *sigh* So, going into Deadly Sting, I was nervous. What else would Estep do to torture me? Would she fix it? Could she fix it? Deadly Sting brought forth a range of emotions that left me exhausted by the time I was done. Gin’s development has revealed a more complex character and with the main story line tightening up, we are beginning to see the Gin that will eventually emerge. I felt that trust was the main component on which this story is built. What do you think, May?
May: Absolutely! As an assassin Gin is known as the spider, and in this book I felt like Gin’s world, her web if you will, is really strong and a lot of things are taking shape. Speaking of taking shape, we’re going to have to talk about Owen. While I absolutely detested Owen and many of his actions, I was glad to see that Estep didn’t have him burning bridges completely, and I felt like his actions (while very hard to take at times) were spot on. Up until Widow’s Web Owen was absolutely perfect. The events of that book tested their relationship, and this book shows us both the fall out and aftermath of the choices that were made. I could really see why Owen is not just having a hard time dealing with Gin, but also himself. As a character in a series as intense as this one, I think that the complications and drama surrounding him really add to his depth and make him a better character. Without spoiling the plot by giving my specific reasons, I will just say that I found glimmers of hope where Owen is concerned.
Tori: Well, you’re more forgiving them me. lol Frankly, I’m ready to see some alternative POVs, preferably one where Finn, Bree, or maybe Xavier steps in and has a ‘come to Jesus’ moment with Owen. He broke my trust in Widow’s Web.
But, I agree with you, May. Their relationship was too perfect and this series is too dark to cary that for too long. They (and the readers) needed to see if their relationship could survive conflict. I found myself feeling sorry for Owen as I came to understand that his actions are more penance now because he assumes, and rightly so, that his actions and inability to trust Gin with his past helped facilitate the events in Widow Web.
“I always seem to let down the people I care about.”
The drama existing between Owen and Gin, while heartbreaking, is necessary to the overall character development and evolves the series to a whole new level.
May: Oh, I recall tweeting you some suggestions as to what part of Owen to string him up by when I was reading this. I definitely was not loving his actions at the start of this book, but like you I felt that the drama really has helped this series evolve. As for an alternate POV, I love this idea! I will cross my fingers and hope for someone to verbally backhand him for Gin.
We’ve discussed personal drama, how did you feel about the action side of things and the villain plot in this story? I really liked that so much of the story was based at the one event, and over a short period of time. Not only did it give us a very detailed and intense problem for Gin to sink her knives into, but it also made the personal interactions that much more intense. I am very interested to see who the mystery person turns out to be, and if they are friend, foe, villain, or what Estep has in mind. I like that while Mab is dead and gone she still affects Gin and Bree, and manages to be an important part of this book.
Tori: *laughing* Yes, Owen has had enough time to wallow in self pity, it’s time for him to man up. I enjoyed the action and the timeline of the story. It was an interesting set up that intersected with Gin’s past. Having everything happen in one day and with all of Gin’s friends in one area and only able to help on a basic level really cranked up the tension and suspense. The mystery person has me nervous. I’m also curious to see how things develop between Philip and Eva. Philip being a part of the underworld and Eva being Owen’s sister. Will Philip change? Will Eva?
May: If Jennifer Estep is reading, we need a novella or something that is Philip + Eva. I could so see them getting together and I want all the details! I really appreciate how in depth the supporting characters are, how important they are to the story and how much they continue to grow and evolve. I know we’re both Estep fangirls – but I can truly say she deserves all the praise. This isn’t one of those series where it gets mediocre but you stay with it for sentimental reasons. It continues to impress and delight me as a reader – even when I’ve got white knuckles and am biting my lip from the tension. Estep has amazing writing skills and I can’t recommend this series enough.
Tori: I agree. Lately I have been disappointed in Urban Fantasy because of the dreaded love triangle and how the internal storylines are being dragged out for a couple of books. Estep has a gift for knowing exactly when a particular storyline is done. She doesn’t employ cheap plot devices or radical cliffhangers in order to ratchet up the tension and force readers to commit to the next book. Her world is fresh and action packed with just enough emotional angst to keep you satisfied but not overwhelmed. Each character is strong enough to hold their own story and I can only hope we will get that eventually.
My favorite quote: Hope. Such a foolish emotion. One that could lift your heart to the heavens and then grind into the ground in the very next instant.
I give this a B+
May: I could talk about this book and series all day with you Tori – I am so anxious for Heart of Venom, and just talking about this book has me wanting to re-read the entire series.
My favorite quote: Steel toes tend to bolster a girl’s confidence in her ability to kick some serious ass.
Favorite Quote: “The dead can hurt us just as much as the living. Sometimes even more so. “
Note: Includes spoilers from previous books in the series.
Gin Blanco has done the impossible. She killed the most feared elemental in Ashland, Mab Monroe. But don’t think her life is about to get any easier. With Mab dead, Ashland’s most notorious underworld bosses are all vying to take Mab’s place and will go through Gin to get there. When Gin arrives at Mab’s funeral, she becomes the target of an intended assassination. Who’s trying to kill Gin? Is it Jonah McAllister? Jonah owes Gin for killing his son and now his boss and doesn’t plan on anyone getting in his way. Or was it Phillip Kincaid? Kincaid has a past with Gin’s boyfriend Owen and seems to have taken a deep interest in Gin and her skills. Either way, someone wants to put Gin in her place-right next to Mab’s grave.
Thread Of Death is a small novella that falls between Spider’s Revenge and By A Thread. It takes place in a single day, showing us Gin and her friends attending Mab Monroe’s funeral and what transpires during that time. I really enjoyed this energetic romp that takes place through multiple points of view. We hear from Gin, Jonah McAllister, and Phillip Kincaid. We learn what everyone thinks now that Gin’s secret identity has been compromised and some clues to what’s in store for her. Plenty of action and snark that makes this series so engaging is in full force here and it reads like a full length novel. No dragging or dead spots. I enjoyed the multiple POVs and being able to see into the minds of some of this series less visible characters. A very interesting sub story teaser is presented that has me excited to get the background on that story and where it will lead to. Owen once again is in the forefront with Gin and I just love how Ms. Estep is able to convey the deep emotional bond that Gin and Owen share. I loves him so much! Squeeeee.
This can be read before or after By A Thread in my opinion, but I definitely recommend reading. Once again, Ms. Estep delivers the goods on the exciting and delicious world of Gin Blanco and her Elemental series.
Favorite Quote: “ Let me in…let me in…LET ME IN… “
*A tiny recap from Dark Frost, so be warned, this could4.5 Stars Originally posted at Smexybook.com
Favorite Quote: “ Let me in…let me in…LET ME IN… “
*A tiny recap from Dark Frost, so be warned, this could spoil if you have not read the series*
Once again, I have entered the hallowed halls of Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy in her latest release, Crimson Frost, and found myself living every single moment as though I was a part of the storyline itself. By the end of book three, Dark Frost, Gwen’s relationship with Logan had grown in leaps and bounds, she discovered a new and scary aspect of her powers, but she inadvertently aided the reapers in releasing Loki. Crimson Frost starts out with the usual BANG when Gwen is arrested by the Protectorate for her role in helping to release Loki and is accused of being a reaper. The head of the Protectorate is none other than Linus Quinn, Logan’s father, which puts Gwen and Logan in an awkward position.
"Shocked gasps rippled through the coffee shop, and everyone looked at me. After a few seconds, the surprised stares shifted to horrified looks that quickly melted into harsh, accusing, angry glares."
I am a HUGE fan of Estep’s works. She is one of the few authors I have read who was able to cross from adult fiction to YA with no missteps or awkwardness in the transition. She has a wonderful, powerful voice that resonates through her characters. I absolutely adore this series. It continues to balance the normal everyday life of teenagers with fascinating evolving mythological world building. Steady pacing firmly engages you into the storyline while witty, snarky dialogue keeps you entertained. This is a wickedly fun series. We aren’t overwhelmed with intricate plots or long drawn out angst. Multiple subplots intertwine throughout but never confuse or isolate you from the main storyline. Heavily character driven, I find myself able to sink right back into Gwen’s world as though I never left with each new installment.
If Dark Frost was the game changer, then Crimson Frost is the large ante that is being placed upon Gwen to win this game. Her role as Nike’s champion has been solidified and she knows her mission is a heavy load bearing one that could eventually destroy her. She has to prove her innocence to not only the Protectorate but also the student body at Mythos Academy. Friendship continues to be a large aspect that the story is built upon. I loved the fact that her unusual group of friends continue to stick by her side, even at risk to themselves. We continue to see an emotional, mental, and metaphysical growth in Gwen that serves to heighten the anticipation of Gwen’s destiny. She has come along way from the social loner whom we met in book one, Touch Of Frost. She has instigated herself firmly into Mythos Academy with not only her improving warrior skills but also through some important friendships. Gwen is tested in ways that will leave in an emotional tornado and make it almost impossible to touch upon without spoiling. Lets just say that fans will NOT be disappointed.
"Every angry shout, every enraged scream, every bitter word twisted the invisible blade in that much deeper, making me want to vomit from the phantom pain."
The secondary characters remain a delightful addition to the story; continuing to elevate and evolve within it. Gwen’s Valkyrie bff, Daphne, has Gwen’s back through thick or thin. She has remained a constant in Gwen’s life. We are introduced to some new characters who situate themselves firmly into the arc and are used to address and resolve some past issues and bridge us towards the conclusion. We meet Logan’s father, Linus, and we learn some more of the story behind his and Logan’s separation. We also meet the young man whom Oliver met during the winter holiday. Estep not only introduces a new and exciting character for us to cheer for, but also paves the way for a secondary romance that I am thrilled with. Ms. Estep not only captures the unique individuality of each character but also forms a distinct place and position/action for them throughout the story. Though existing in a fantasy world, the realism of their actions and emotions only adds to the overall enjoyment. Gwen’s and Logan’s romance seems to finally be on track but circumstances will have you face palming and wondering why Estep hates us. Or maybe that was just me. Hmmm. Either way, it will leave you NEEDING the next book… NOW!
The main conflict is quite a Machiavellian journey of misdirection and deviousness as we follow Gwen and the clues to the end. High octane action, suspense, and intrigue will keep you glued to the pages as you watch Gwen fight for her friends, the academy, and her life. I was shocked by some directions the story took and found myself scrambling for purchase at the climactic finale. Ms. Estep leaves us to ponder what is on the horizon next for Gwen, Logan, and the rest of Mythos Academy as we wait impatiently for the fifth installment of this series-Midnight Frost-which is set to release in 2013. Crimson Frost has laid down the gauntlet and I am on pins and needles to see how Gwen and the students of Mythos Academy will keep Loki and the reapers from taking over the world. Estep’s Mythos Academy series is a must have for all YA fans who enjoys a rich blending of snark and serious in an incredible mythological world. I can’t wait for my next visit to Mythos Academy.
Favorite Quote: “We are all just chess pieces to you, aren’t we? Little dolls you can move around and play with however you like. “
Dark Frost, the third book in Jennifer Estep’s action packed Mythos Academy series, starts off with a BANG as Gwen and her fellow Mythos Academy students find themselves at the mercy of Reapers when they all meet up at a museum for a school report. With weapons flashing and blood spilling, Gwen shows off her improved swordplay while her BFF Daphne finally comes into her powers. When Gwen finds a map that one of the reapers drop, she realizes that the Reapers are looking for the last artifact they need to wake Loki, and they believe it is on school grounds. Gwen knows her mother hide the artifact and died protecting that secret so she feels it’s up to her to find it before the Reapers do.
I adore this series. Ms Estep’s voice is resplendent through here as she balances the normal everyday life of teenagers with fascinating, evolving mythological world building. Steady pacing firmly engages you into the storyline while witty, snarky dialogue keeps you entertained. This is a wicked fun series. We aren’t overwhelmed with intricate plots or long drawn out angst. Multiple subplots intertwine throughout but never confuse or isolate you from the main storyline. Heavily character driven, I found myself able to sink right back into Gwen’s world without a single misstep.
Dark Frost is the game changing book of the series. Friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness are the three key components this story is built upon. We see a huge emotional, mental, and metaphysical growth in Gwen that heightens the anticipation of where this series is headed. Gwen learns and deals with so much in here that it’s almost impossible to touch upon without spoiling. Lets just say that fans will NOT be disappointed.
The secondary characters continue to expand and develop; defining themselves into top spots with our protagonist. Daphne is the perfect bff for Gwen. Snarky yet supportive. Her love for her geek is sweet and I like the direction Ms. Estep has taken Daphne. Gwen continues to solidify her place at Mythos with new friends and deepening her relationships with others. Ms. Estep captures her characters perfectly in here. It is a realistic blend of child/adult. They speak and react as any real teenager might and it only adds to the overall enjoyment. Everything and everyone has their place and Ms. Estep knows exactly when and where to put them. Gwen’s romance with her Spartan bad boy continues to remain bittersweet though fans will be happy with some decisions that are finally made. They both continue to flirt and fight with one another throughout the story, which only adds to the enjoyment. While you experience the some heart wrenching moments with them, we really wouldn’t want it any other way.
The main conflict is a shocking mix of machiavellian proportions. Action packed with a heavy mixture of suspense and tension as we follow Gwen to the very end. I am thrilled with the direction Ms. Estep has decided to take the storyline and quite pleased with the ending. Ms. Estep leaves a lot open for us to think about as we wait impatiently for the fourth installment of this series-Crimson Frost-which is set to release in January 2013. Dark Frost is a fantastic follow up to Kiss Of Frost and a must have for all YA fans who enjoy a rich blending of fun and serious wrapped around a healthy dose of fantasy. I do not recommend starting here if you are unfamiliar with the series. Though the main conflict is resolved at the end of each book, the long reaching arc is a continuation that requires starting at the beginning.
woo wee Estep doesn't hold back in this one. A new path has opened for Gin to follow and where it will lead is anyone's guess. Not an easy book to4.5
woo wee Estep doesn't hold back in this one. A new path has opened for Gin to follow and where it will lead is anyone's guess. Not an easy book to read but well worth the emotional journey you experience reading it. *sigh* ...more
Favorite Quote: “Kiss me or let me go. I don’t care anymore.”
Kiss Of Frost is the second book in Jennifer Esteps’s funny, action packed, addicting YAFavorite Quote: “Kiss me or let me go. I don’t care anymore.”
Kiss Of Frost is the second book in Jennifer Esteps’s funny, action packed, addicting YA Urban Fantasy series-Mythos Academy. Gwen Frost, a student at Mythos Academy, is a gypsy with the power of Psychometry. With a simple touch she can see and feel things about people they may not want her to know. She’s still harboring a huge crush on the very hot Logan Quinn, a fellow student who broke her heart. Recently she discovered that she is Nike’s champion; as was her mother and her grandmother. She still has questions about her family, her gifts, and exactly why she is at Mythos but agrees that she needs the training it can provide her. Especially weapons training. When Gwen is the victim of seemingly random attacks, she and her bff Daphne feel that the Reapers are once again zeroing in on her. The annual Winter Carnival seems like the perfect way for Gwen to get away from the danger and other problems at Mythos -aka Logan- but trouble has a way of following Gwen and when she is almost killed, Gwen learns that the past never stays buried and things are never what they seem at Mythos Academy.
I love this series. Ms Estep’s voice is resplendent through here as she balances the normal everyday life of teenagers with splendid mythological world building. A wonderful steady pace keeps you grounded as witty dialogue keeps you entertained. I like that this series is fun. We aren’t overwhelmed with intricate plots or angsty teenager emotions. Multiple subplots intertwine thorough out but never confuse or isolate you from the main storyline. Mainly character driven, I found myself able to sink right back into Gwen’s world without a single misstep. We see an emotional and physical growth in Gwen, though Ms. Estep stays true to Gwen’s characterization and allows her to grow slowly. No sudden super powers here. Gwen is human and she stays that way. She is making friends and slowly learning what her place may be in the mythological war against Loki and his followers-the Reapers.
The secondary characters are just as delightful as our protagonists. Daphne is a treat with her snarky comments and love for her band geek. We meet more characters who Ms. Estep hints will play a large part in Gwen’s life. Ms. Estep captures her characters perfectly in here. It is a realistic blend of child/adult. They speak and react as any real life teenager might and it only adds to the overall enjoyment. I look forward to seeing more of Oliver and where his eventual storyline will go. Everything and everyone has their place and Ms. Estep knows exactly when and where to put them. Gwen’s romantic interest is bittersweet as we watch her love her Spartan from afar. He has his reasons for staying away from his Gypsy girl though and those reasons are illuminated for us. I enjoy watching them side step and tangle with one another through out the story. While you experience the some heart pinching moments with Gwen, your proud to see she doesn’t allow herself to spiral into the emotional “Twilight” pit of despair.
The main conflict is quite a twisting journey of misdirection and deviousness as we follow Gwen and the clues to the end. I was shocked by some directions the storyline took and found myself quite pleased with the ending. Ms. Estep leaves a lot open for us to think about as we wait impatiently for the third installment of this series-Dark Frost-which is set to release in June 2012. Kiss Of Frost is a fantastic follow up to Touch Of Frost and a must have for all YA fans who enjoy a rich blending of snark and serious. I do hope Ms. Estep keeps the stories coming for I don’t want to leave Mythos Academy anytime soon.