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Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon.

I'm Gin Blanco.

You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I’m retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren’t aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I’m a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn’t made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.

400 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published May 5, 2010

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About the author

Jennifer Estep

87 books11.1k followers
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author who prowls the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer is the author of the Elemental Assassin, Section 47, Galactic Bonds, Crown of Shards, Gargoyle Queen, and other fantasy series. She has written more than 40 books, along with numerous novellas and stories.

In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys hanging out with friends and family, doing yoga, and reading fantasy and romance books. She also watches way too much TV and loves all things related to superheroes.

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit her website at www.JenniferEstep.com or sign up for her newsletter: http://www.jenniferestep.com/contact-....

Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/yyj59omw
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Amazon: https://amzn.to/39lCyX6
BookBub: https://tinyurl.com/y4dm3zso
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Jennifer's blog: https://tinyurl.com/2dj4afb
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Happy reading, everyone! 😎

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5 stars
8,242 (36%)
4 stars
9,212 (40%)
3 stars
4,155 (18%)
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173 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,040 reviews
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,255 reviews8,650 followers
May 13, 2016
3.5 stars

SO. Donovan Caine is EXACTLY as big of a chicken manboy LOSER FACE as I remembered him being. #dontletthedoorhityouonthewayout RAWRRRR.

Full RTC.

5/12/16: Getting a bit of a late start on this buddy (re)read with BB&B !

But better late than never, right? I mean, it's not like I was gonna bail--this book has OWEN. *swoons*

PM me if you're interested in joining. I have SWAG. ;)

Oh, oh! ALSO! It's currently ON SALE for $1.99:


Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16k followers
October 22, 2010
So basically I kind of like this series. First of all because Gin may be a bleeding heart who'll take a job just because she hears a sobstory - but it also turns out she's a real bitch. Something I can really appreciate.

I've never told anybody this before but I also relate to Gin because I too am a female assassin.

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This is totally me in my assassin garb getting ready to take down anybody I see dog-earring a book!

Okay... maybe not.

But I want to be! I plan on grabbing on of the fake katana from the tourist store my husband bought and trying to take him out tonight. Then I can be as badass as Gin.

This book, like the last one, was fun, easy to read, action packed, a little sexy and pretty alright.

My only complaint is that the end stank a little of dues ex machina.

Oh and Donovan is a little bitch.
Profile Image for Choko.
1,167 reviews2,569 followers
May 13, 2016
*** 4 ***

A weekly Urban Fantasy read with my fantastic buddies at BB&B!!!

We have a kick-ass southern lady assassin, retired, who will not back down in the face of danger, and will not blink an eye when taking down a mark! Ice runs in her veins and despite her ability to turn her skin into stone, she is not invulnerable, she is still human... Yes, she had it tough when she was a kid and she was on the brink of giving up before meeting Fin and his dad. Yes, she falls for the wrong guy and his treatment of her hurts her soul, and yes, even she has people she allows herself to care about and they are her weak spots... But overall, she is one cold and competent killer, unapologetic and free of guilt for any of her kills, and they are quite many! This professionalism is what makes me like her and the lack of moral ambiguity only makes us accept her exactly as she comes!

Gin's love interest, Donovan Cain, was not a good choice, but go tell that to the heart, or more appropriately, the animal, hormonal attraction they rocked for each-other... Despite Donovan being hot and attractive as hell, he can not accept Gin for who and what she is, making her feel bad about herself, tainting every moment they had together with judgment, guilt and negativity... He is, in my opinion, a pompous stick in the mud... And maybe he has sticks up some of the parts of his own anatomy, I can not be sure...

Luckily, we have some resolution to this problem, although it sucks that he manages to hurt Gin in the process... However, there is Owen Grayson who has arrived at the scene and is obviously interested.. Gin should give him a chance...

The rest of the cast, starting with the two Dwarf sisters, Fin, and several young ladies who frequent the Pork Pit, as well as the usual bad guys, make the world of magical Ashland, North Carolina, a very interesting and amusing place to live. Retired Gin has to rely on all of them to keep her from dying of boredom while not being hired to kill people... A girl has to keep herself busy, after all... So, she gets herself in trouble, does some pro-bono work, and manages to come out on the other side mostly in one piece... Mostly... The only true downer is Donovan...

This is the second book in the Elemental Assassin Series and you can tell that the author is gaining momentum and the writing, as well as the story telling is getting better. There are still things that bother me, mostly repetitions which make no sense, and I am truly tired of her telling me how gray her eyes are!!! I know already, let's move on, shell we??? But I digress... So, if you like actionny, light, and easy to read UF series, with a cool and bloodthirsty female lead, this book is absolutely for you!! There is some violence, and some sexual content, but it is not disturbing or overwhelming... You also get at least one southern cooking advice per book, and I already tried the one from the first book - it was received with pleasure by the guys in my household:):):) So, read it, entertainment is to be had by all!!!

Now I wish all of you Happy Reading and may you always find something to enjoy in every book you read!!!
Profile Image for Limonessa.
300 reviews509 followers
August 5, 2011
3.5 stars.

This is not a review.
This is my rant directed towards one of the least likable love interests in the history of Urban Fantasy: Mr. Donovan Caine.
Or donovancaine, which has a certain assonance to a potent anesthetizer, and is truly appropriate, because that's exactly what he does to me. One of the most hypocritical, double-faced, backboneless men ever to have roamed the pages of a UF novel. And I loathe those kind of men - and who wouldn't?
Not only his ethics are just figments of his imagination and he takes advantage of Gin anytime that the chance arises, but what is most and fastidiously irksome is that he always and systematically gets post-coitum second thoughts - and let's face it, the coitus wasn't even that hot to begin with.
I really, really don't understand what Gin sees in him. She must be pretty desperate in her lonesome wolf-style assassin life. So I am proud to announce that, after his final backlessbone decision, that is to run from his issues and ignore them instead of come to terms with the not so virtuous bastard that he is, donovancaine is finally out of the picture. He left, not to see Gin ever again and face his true self. And good riddance.

Enter Owen Grayson, who I already like infinitely more than donovancaine. At least he's got a sense of humor.

Basically this second installment in the series is in line with the first one and I enjoyed it quite a bit. As readers of Spider's Bite should already know, Estep's problems are really minor and have to do with:
1- the fact that nobody has yet given her a Thesaurus for Christmas - the world sloppy repeated countless times in this book... I mean, WHY?
2- the fact that she perpetuates the belief that chicory coffee actually contains caffeine, which might be the problem with the previous point, that is Estep falling asleep on her manuscript without realizing it, and then forgetting she has used the word sloppy or the phrase "grey on gold" - and now the new entry "grey on violet" - too many a times.

Aside from that, the plot is really fast-paced and interesting and Gin is really a great character, probably without a doubt the main reason why I am going to keep on reading this series.

Maja says it gets better, and I trust her judgement.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,574 reviews1,463 followers
May 25, 2016
So far this isn’t my favorite UF series out there. That title is still held by the Kate Daniels Series and The Fever Series (1-5) I’m still pretending the other books didn’t happen.

It has potential….lots of potential but so far I’m struggling a little with the repetition in the writing. I don’t need a recap of what happened in chapter 1 in chapter 5 I read it under an hour ago I remember what happened.

The gist of the story

Gin is trying to be a retired assassin and current BBQ owner but there is a man who trying to get someone off their land for the mining rights and has escalated his tactics to get it. She might need to brush off her knives and save yet another damsel in distress and her grandfather.

What this has going for it

It has Gin. I don’t adore her yet but I do like that she is a sexually aggressive assassin that takes what she wants and goes after the bad guys. Just because you are an assassin doesn’t mean that you don’t kill bad people.

It has Finn. He is a totally likeable sidekick that had your back and will flirt with anything with two legs….like literally anything. But he is sorta adorable in a ‘I’m an loveable man whore’ kind of way.

There are a few other fun sidekicks that will probably have very cool backstories when we get to them and there are more and more hints about who the big bad really is and why Gin is going to take them down.

Another plus is the world. I’m enjoying this UF world with dwarves, giants, vampires and other nasties. Also the magic system of earth, wind, water and fire is different and might work up to be some thing really cool.

What hasn’t hit the mark for me yet

The writing. It is getting better all the time but like I said before there is a lot of repetition and I just want to get on with it.

There is also a love interest introduced in book only to be hustled out in book 2. I didn’t really care about him and everyone thinks he is an asshole he is a little but you know it is doomed from the beginning cop+assassin does not make a happily ever after. I think it had potential and could have been good if the author committed to the journey and struggle but I like the new guy so I don’t care at all.

I’m waiting for this to just catch me and take me on a ride and so far it hasn’t. I like it but I’m easily distracted by other things going on in my reading list.

Final thoughts

The is definitely something here and since this has like 10 books in the series so far I’m going to assume that the author figure out how to streamline her story just a little bit better later on.
Profile Image for Denisa.
1,147 reviews280 followers
May 5, 2016
In the previous book she was a badass assassin, who wasn't afraid to kill anyone and who bowed to no one.

In this book she's ever better!

I absolutely, absolutely love her! As I've said before, I am tired of killers with morals, who don't want to kill anyone but they have to do it, boo hoo, poor little them. Well, let me tell you, Gin is nothing like that.
I loved the fact that she's not all powerful, she got her ass kicked a few times and she's not afraid to ask for the help of her friends.
And everyone loves a girl who can handle her knives (in the kitchen and in... other situations).

She quit being an assassin, but she still loves to kill people and kick their asses. She just has better reasons now, not just money.

This was such a fast, entertaining read! At one point (at about 70%) I wondered how many pages the book has, in my mind it was impossible for it to have more than 250. When I saw that it has 400, I was stunned! I was hooked on this book, I couldn't put it down, I absolutely loved it!
Profile Image for Ian.
1,336 reviews188 followers
May 10, 2012
At the age of 15 Donovan Caine suffered a terrible life altering trauma. His mother stopped breast feeding him. He was disconsolate. Not even his extensive Furby collection could turn that frown upside down. The result...Donovan Caine became a complete ass-hat. ass-hat. ass-hat. ass-hat.

This book is really great but I'm holding the 5th star hostage. Ms Estep, if you want the 5th star kill ass-hat by 5pm, May 29. The method of death should be gruesome and humiliating...it would be nice if it involved public nudity, a porta-loo, and 200 meters of det-chord.

I loved everything about this book except ass-hat. Well worth a read if a dystopian alternate reality, inhabited by magic users, vampires, giants and dwarves sounds like your cup of tea.
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 28 books128k followers
July 30, 2010
YES! I love it when a series gets better from the first one! This book really got me into the groove with this character and this world. I really am interested in the magic, there were fun character twists and...


THANK GOD FOR THE LOVE INTEREST RESOLUTION! It was my main criticism from the last one, and so happy the author was brave enough to switch gears and it's looking like a GOOD DIRECTION! Ok, I wanna be vague, but I'm totally in for #3!
Profile Image for Emma.
2,385 reviews810 followers
May 5, 2018
This was better than the first one and that was good! 4.5 stars. I really like Gin Blanco as the main character. She makes no apologies for who she is. She is feisty and strong, determined to survive at all costs and can be ruthless. And yet I really felt for her vulnerability with the detective she likes so much and what goes down between them. I love Jo Jo and Sophia, her dwarf friends. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series as now Gin is getting set to avenge her family and has met some one new as a potential love interest in future books.
Profile Image for Jo.
957 reviews200 followers
June 20, 2016
“Isn’t that your cook from the Pork Pit? The one who was working when Jake McAllister tried to rob you?”
“Yeah,” I replied. “She moonlights as a badass, just like me.”

Gin has put aside her assassin cloak, or knife in her case ;-), trying to live a normal life. However life of a retired assassin is quite boring. But then two punks try to rob her barbecue restaurant, and of course one of them is the son of Jonah McAllister, a very successful lawyer, and one of Mab Monroe’s top lieutenants. Mab Monroe who basically runs their town, and who is a powerful fire elemental. But Gin doesn’t scare easily, and she refuses to let others bully her. So she makes a charge against Jonah’s son, and puts herself on Jonah McAllister’s radar.

And if that’s not enough, her restaurant is fired upon, but it seems that Gin was not the target. They were meant for Victoria Fox, the granddaughter of an old friend of her former handler. And so Gin agrees to help protect Victoria and her grandfather against an evil coalmining tycoon, who wants his land, and is prepared to threaten and kill for it.

So once again, Gin is doing what she does best – taking out the bad guys.

I love Gin, and how kick-ass she is. The way she is able to put aside her emotions and pain when she needs to be logical to get out of tough situations is simply amazing. And I love learning more about her past and how she became an assassin. Her life has not been easy, but instead of being weak, she fights with everything she has to survive. I have wondered since the previous book if maybe Gin is more powerful than she thought she was, and finally by the end of this book I had my answer. I cannot wait to see what more she is capable of.

Gin crosses paths with the powerful fire elemental Mab Monroe more and more, and I can’t wait to see how the final confrontation between these two are going to play out.

Finally things with the awful Detective Caine comes to an end, and I can’t express how happy I am about that. The fact that he would have preferred her to die, so that he would finally be rid of his obsession/craving for her, just made me want to stab him. What an ass.

“You could just run over him,” I said. “He’s already dead, and it’s not like you haven’t done it before.”
“Yeah, but I don’t want bloody bits of dwarf stuck in my wheels for the next two weeks.” Finn sniffed. “This is an Aston Martin, Gin. You don’t run over dead bodies in an Aston Martin.”
“Tell that to James Bond.”

As always, the banter between Gin and Finn had me laughing out loud. I just love their friendship. And Sophia and Jo-Jo are wonderful additions to Gin’s team.

“But let’s slow down, shall we?” Grayson said. “As I said before, I’ve always had a thing for sassy brunettes. I’ve decided I rather like you, Gin. You interest me. And no one’s done that in a very long time.”

Then there is a new hottie, Owen Grayson, on the horizon. And what an interesting man he seems to be. I can’t wait to see what will happen between these two. He is definitely a more worthy love interest for Gin than Dovonan Caine!

I must say I am really loving this series, despite the repetitive descriptions the author uses, which irritated the hell out of me. But the overall plot and characters are so interesting, that you can’t help being captivated.

A must read for all who loves a good UF, with a kick-ass female heroine, who is as bloodthirsty and violent as an assassin should be :-D

Profile Image for Angela (Angel's Guilty Pleasures).
1,524 reviews855 followers
September 14, 2018
'“You could just run over him, I said. “He’s already dead, and it’s not like you haven’t done it before.”
     “Yeah, but I don’t want bloody bits of dwarf stuck in my wheels for the next two weeks.” Finn sniffed “This is an Aston Martin, Gin. You don’t run over dead bodies in an Aston Martin.”
     “Tell that to James Bond.” 
     Finn shot me a dirty look as he pulled out onto the street. ' - Pg 100 quote from Web of Lies

Another suburb installment in the Elemental Assassins series. It’s packed full of suspense, action, snark, unforgettable characters, & mystery.

Web of Lies packs a punch. Fletcher, her adaptive father, left her a parting gift when he passed away and this gift had some important and unexpected information on her family’s murder. Besides learning more about Gin and seeing her adoptive family we get to see Gin at work helping the little guy. Tobias Dawson was a nasty character and seeing Gin deal with that issue; just unforgettable.

Gin I adore her. She’s a kick-ass women. We see so many different sides of her. I don’t always step into the heroine’s shoes, but with this series it’s not hard not to.

Now the only thing I didn't care for and I saw this coming in book one, Spider’s Bite, was Detective Donovan Caine. He’s a douchebag. The only thing they had going was the scorching sexual chemistry. I couldn’t see any long term potential for them, so it was no surprise he left. I felt bad and sad for Blanco about the way she was treated and how it all blew up, but I'm glad Caine is gone. He wasn't right for Gin. Now I’m very intrigued with the introduction of Owen Grayson. Now, him I can't wait to see more of. There’s just something about him that makes go, oh ya!

What can I say. After two extraordinary installments I think it’s safe to say that the Elemental Assassin series is a must read for Urban Fantasy fans. I’m hooked and I had a wonderful time reading Web of Lies and can’t wait to pick up the next book.

Rated: 5 Stars

Profile Image for Lauren.
2,216 reviews162 followers
August 18, 2015
Web of Lies
3.5 Stars

Compelling world building, an entertaining storyline and well-developed characters but the pacing is off and the writing repetitive at times.

Gin is a truly engaging heroine whose snarky, tough-as-nails assassin persona conceals a warm heart, a profound sense of justice and an intense loyalty for those who have earned it. She does, however, have one significant flaw - her taste in men.

Donovan Caine's pathetic air of superiority and inability to love, respect or accept Gin without reservation or judgement make it impossible to consider him a worthy hero and also makes Gin appear weak. Thankfully, the issues surrounding his character are ultimately resolved so there is no need for me to throw my iPod against the wall when he starts sprouting about what he can and cannot tolerate…urgh!

Owen Grayson, on the other hand, is shaping up to be a far more viable love interest for Gin. There is something particularly intriguing about him and he is obviously more open and accepting than Donovan. One can only hope that Gin realizes, sooner rather than later, that Owen is far more deserving of her affections.

Other than Donovan, the biggest problem with the book is the repetitive writing. The descriptions of past events, character motivations as well as the runes and elemental powers are constantly rehashed throughout the narrative. How many times do we need to hear about the murder of Gin's family or the fact that her spider rune is the symbol for patience? Most readers probably got it after the first four times…

The plot is enjoyable with some exciting action scenes and some interesting developments in the overall story arc, particularly with regard to the evolution of Gin's magic, the search for her sister and the revelation of the fire elemental responsible for the attack on her family (although this is actually glaringly obvious).

Despite the issues noted above, the Elemental Assassin series has potential and it will be interesting to see what happens next.
Profile Image for Catherine.
523 reviews538 followers
March 6, 2011
4.5 Stars

This was a great follow up to Spider's Bite. Sometimes sequels just can't measure up, but that's not the case here. Gin is just as strong and badass as she was in the first book. I have a serious girl-crush on her and wish there were more heroines like her out there.

I loved how we opened the book straight in the middle of a robbery. It dropped me right into the action and gave Gin's personality a chance to shine right out of the gate. And shine it does. Her sarcasm and wit is just as sharp as it ever was. But that doesn't stop her from still getting hung up on the underdog. She's all about saving the little guy, though she'd rather brush that fact off.

Finn--one of my favorite characters--is Gin's companion throughout pretty much the whole book and makes for a great addition. His relationship with Gin is still as awesome and fun as it ever was, and their banter makes every interaction pop.

We also get more time with Jo-Jo and Sophie and get further insight into Fletcher, who looms large in Gin's mind. New characters are also introduced and one even seems like he'll play a larger role in the future.

We are treated to some great action/fight scenes and have bad guys irritating Gin left and right. We even get further developments with Mab. I, personally, can't wait to see how that will resolve.

There was also something very intriguing about Gin's magic included. I thought the author did a great--and logical--job with it.

So why is this not a straight 5 stars for me? Two words explain it all. Donovan Caine. I haven't understood that attraction since the first. It has grated on me as an off note in Gin's characterization because it just doesn't fit for me. Why would she be attracted to someone that hates everything she is? I just can't see her swallowing that crap for a hot body. There's a big difference between admiring someone's morals and letting them treat you like that because you're so attracted to them. It just doesn't work for me and never will.

Caine is just as much of a douchebag in this one as he ever was. Big surprise, eh? I have no patience for his emo attitude and dislike whenever he is on the scene. I can't really see exactly what the point of his character is in the long run and would have just preferred he never existed.

There comes a point in the story where Caine

Profile Image for Layla ✷ Praise the sun ✷.
100 reviews10 followers
May 18, 2016
What kept me from giving this more than 3 stars were my sheer frustration about Gin's behaviour when it came to Caine and all those fancy repetitions:

- "Then he handed me a thick towel. I lifted it to my face and breathed in. It smelled like the detective - clean and soapy. Mmm."
- "The rain had made it transparent too, and I could see the ropy muscles of his chest through the thin fabric. Mmm."
- "His lips crushed against mine, even as his tongue drove inside my mouth. Mmm."

And all this on just two pages.

It was painful to watch how Gin repeatedly threw herself at Caine even though she knew that she would only get disrespect and coldness from him afterwards.
And even though she knew that he despises her for what she is. A supposedly fearful, cold and self-possessed (former) assassin.

Where is your pride, Gin?
Where is your self-respect?
And where is your brain that should make you realize that it was all just physical attraction?

I almost ragequit the series because of this.

But I am glad I didn't. Because apart from the Caine part of the story, Gin really kicked ass and the writing was better than in the first book.
The plot was fast, action-packed and entertaining.
Parts of Gin's past were revealed and we got some more pieces of the puzzle that is her life.
That gave Gin much more depth and I can't wait to find out more about her.

The Deveraux sisters were a fun asset to the world, there were mean, evil villains, and my favorite side character had to be Finn, who always managed to make me smile with the weirdest scenes and dialogues.

“Finn?” I asked. “Yeah?” “Did you bring your laptop with you?” He sniffed. “Do I ever leave home without it?” Question asked and answered.
Sometimes I wondered how Finn pulled himself away from his computer long enough to chase after anything that had boobs.

Another thing that bothered me a little was the excessive hand-holding. I often figured out things before the protagonist did, and there were needless repetitions of character descriptions etc.

All in all, this was a pretty entertaining read though and I will continue the series.
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
August 16, 2011
3.5 stars

Web of Lies is the second book in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassins series. Our heroine Gin Blanco has now retired from her extremely lucrative career as The Spider and has now settled down working at her restaurant The Pork Pitt. Gin finds retirement a little boring. When the opportunity to help Fletcher’s old friend Warren Fox arises, Gin agrees to do the job.

There are a lot of things to love about this series. The author builds an imaginative world where some people have the ability to control elements such as fire, ice, stone, air or a combination of some of the elements. The descriptions of the magic were intriguing. Gin’s elemental ice magic was handy for cooling drinks, creating lock picks, and ice knives. Her stone magic was useful as an alarm system among other things. I liked how the characters used magical runes to symbolize their abilities and distinguish themselves. This world also has giants, dwarfs, and vampires. The giants were huge imposing figures, the dwarfs stocky and strong, while the vampires were a little wimpy for my tastes.

The cast of characters are great. Gin shines as an assassin trying to run a business in a very corrupt town. Gin is witty and thinks on her feet, she has confidence except when it comes to love. Her attraction to Donovan Caine drove me crazy. I couldn’t stand her mooning over this character. Donovan Caine behaved in a way that just did not jibe with his righteous and moral ways. I despised his character. I loved the characters close to Gin, namely Finn, Sophia and Jo-Jo. They are the closest thing Gin has to family. Finn was just an awesome character - I love Finn.

There was a lot of repetition in this book. We are told that Donovan Caine smelled clean and soapy several times. The author uses “eyes” a little too much – “my gray eyes” appears in the text well over 20 times. There are also a lot of extraneous details that could have been left out, for example her description of a chicken salad sandwich was pretty much the recipe. A tighter edit would have made this book more readable.

Despite these things, the story itself was good, with a lot of action and excitement. I will definitely continue to read this series.

Check out my review on Badass Book Reviews
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,810 reviews348 followers
April 3, 2017
This isn’t happy-clappy urban fantasy. Gin Blanco isn’t necessarily someone I’d want to drink blackberry ice tea with, but she makes for an interesting main character. She’s a supposedly retired assassin, romantically fixated on an upstanding cop. Staying retired isn’t easy, especially when Gin runs a restaurant on the wrong side of the tracks.

There’s good action in this series, although I wish Gin didn’t get so physically beat-up all the time. Yes, her friend Jo-Jo can (and does) fix her up afterwards, but why even go through all that pain? In some ways, Gin has female friends, like Jo-Jo and Sophia, the sisters that help her out regularly, but they aren’t really BFFs—she doesn’t know many intimate details of their lives and she keeps them in the dark about the nitty-gritty of her life too. That role seems to be occupied by her foster-brother, Finn.

I’m hoping for a change in focus in book 3 from upstanding cop to a new guy who’s been introduced who seems much more suitable for Gin. I’ve read the teaser at the end of this volume, which seems to indicate a whole lot more beating for Gin to endure, but I also have hope that the new guy’s sister might end up being a true friend to Gin.

Definitely going on to book 3!
Profile Image for Steven.
1,047 reviews385 followers
August 14, 2018
Gin Blanco is kickass. She knows it. Everyone else knows it. She makes a few mistakes in this one, but they end up with some positive results:

Solid entry. I've heard this series gets better and better. I'm having fun already, which means I'm in for a really great ride!
Profile Image for Thenia.
3,828 reviews168 followers
October 22, 2019
It's been quite a few years since I read the first book of the series, and what I remember most about it is not really liking Gin and not feeling much of an inclination to continue the series. I thought it's been long enough that I might have a different opinion now, so I decided to give this series another chance.

Gin is a strong character, with her own set of rules and flexible morals, evidenced by the fact that she's not particularly guilty about having assassinated a number of people in her career as the Spider.

This is the major issue between her and Donovan, the detective she's got a thing for, and things between them are as tense as ever, when their paths cross again.

Gin has decided to help Violet, a college girl who had been trying to contact her late mentor, Fletcher, aka the Tinman. Violet's grandfather, who used to be best friends with Fletcher once upon a time, was being harassed by a mine owner who wanted his land.

Determined to help them in an effort to see that other side of her mentor that she never knew existed, Gin finds herself in an investigation that brings her at odds with a number of powerful people.

Long story short, .

A new suitor has entered the picture in the form of the intriguing Owen, whom I already like a lot more than I ever did Donovan.

While I'm still not sure whether I like Gin as a character, I am curious to read more about her adventures that continue in Venom next.

Previous book reviews:
Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin #1) ~ ★★★ (25/04/2013)
Profile Image for Bj.
1,217 reviews263 followers
October 30, 2016
5 "What's a Retired Assassin To Do?" Stars for the story and narration!

Loving this series! Great action, magic, and suspense! Moreover, looks like we may have a love triangle in the mix--though the romance angle in this series definitely takes a backseat to the UF plot points--which so far has worked just fine.

I suspect we will begin to see the romance angle unfurl more over the next few books in addition to us learning more about Gin's magic and what really happened to her family.

I can't wait to devour more of this series!

Source: Audible purchased copy.
Profile Image for Beth The Vampire.
308 reviews22 followers
March 2, 2017
Actual Rating 3.5 Stars

Part of me would always be the Spider – and it was time to put my skills to good use. To do the things that needed to be done.

Gin Blanco, restaurant owner, orphan, and retired assassin, is trying to move on with her life. The death of her mentor and handler in the first book still haunts her, but she has decided to comply with his last wish; that she would give up being a killer for hire. There is only one problem with that. It’s boring. So when a young women comes into her restaurant looking for help to save her grandfather’s land from a sadistic tyrant, Gin gladly steps in to help an old friend of her mentor. The problem has to do with a mine which was found to contain a very precious stone, and the powerful people willing to push everyone around to get it and make themselves richer. Despite being an assassin, Gin is a sweetie at heart, and can’t stand people getting pushed around, so she places her life and livelihood on the line to play superhero just one more time.

The story took a little while to get started, as we were side tracked by Gin’s feud with Jake McAllister (which I’m guessing is going to have further implications down the line), as well as Gin’s relationship with detective and all around good guy, Donovan Caine. I have to say that I never really cared for Donovan, and while Gin seemed to like him (for sex at the very least), I couldn’t see a future for them at all. It was clearly just a physical attraction, and it never really went any deeper, so I’m not sure what Gin was really seeing in him. Maybe it was because he was pretty much her opposite, but contrary to popular belief, they do no attract….well at least beyond the surface anyway. Donovan couldn’t part with his morals, and Gin asking him to look past it just shows that she doesn’t understand him at all. They were on different sides of the coin, and while there can be no fire without fuel, there was enough here to blow up the whole of Ashland.

There was a lot of repetition as well, with Gin having to mention about every second page that her family was murdered, that her sister is alive, and that she was tortured by a fire elemental which resulted in the scars on her hands. It was like trying to have something forced down your throat, and I just wanted to get on with what was happening in the here and now. Gin’s rune is the Spider, the symbol for patience, and it is a circle surrounded by eight thin rays, and burned into her palms with Silverstone as a result of her torture. See, I didn’t even need to look that up, it was imprinted in my brain. I don’t know why it got to me so much, it just did.

The revelation about the person who killed Gin’s family was one I kind of saw coming, but it holds great promise as to what will happen next. Despite Gin being retired, she seems to still be enmeshed in the world of an assassin. I think as much as she wanted to retire, it is really all that she has ever known, and it saved her from being helpless and weak, instead causing fear and despair in the hearts of the bad doers everywhere. It sounds cliché, but once you’re in, you’re in. And there is also no reason Gin shouldn’t put her considerable talents to good use.
Profile Image for Mariya.
566 reviews245 followers
September 25, 2011
I have to say that I'm impressed. WEB OF LIES has exceeded my expectations this time around and I am looking forward to zipping through this series fast. I have come to love these characters even more except *cough*DonovanCaine*cough*, I didn't think an assassins life could get anymore exciting, but boy, was I wrong.

Our heroine Gin is retired or at least she is trying to stay retired, but being The Spider, the best assassin out there has been calling for her to get that excitement back in her life. Gin has relaized it's become quite boring being retired and being an assassin is the most exiting thing ever. After months and months she comes face to face with the man she wants, who doesn't really want her, Donovan Caine.

"You're running away because your morals are more important to you than anything else, including what you could have with me."

Donovan Caine has gotten on my last nerve since book one and it hasn't gotten any better. I honestly found Gin's and Donovan's relationship nothing but lust. Between Spider's Bite and WEB OF LIES I did not see a real relationship because of they way he constantly treats her and the way he acts. I mean all he did was fuck her and went on his merry way and talk about how wrong she is all the time. I'm honestly sick of it.

"You turned your back on me at the mine because you were glad I was dead," I said. "Because the choice to be with me had been taken out of your hands, and your precious morals were still intact. And then I popped up again, still alive. And you were right back to square one. That's the real truth, isn't it?"

The god honest truth of the matter is Donovan was a sorry excuse of a love interest and I am still trying to figure out why Gin wanted him. Like Gin said she always had to make the first move in their so-called relationship. But thankfully Gin can move onto better things now, meaning Owen Grayson.

Owen Grayson shrugged. "I don't know what Detective Donovan Caine thinks or wants, but I consider him to be an enormous fool." "Why's that?" He stared at me. "Because he's down there looking for Dawson, and I'm up here with you."

Finally we have a new love interest and he is Owen Grayson. To be honest I would've taken anybody other than Donovan Caine. I swear it to god I would've. But Owen is more than I could've ever dreamed of. Okay, nothing has really happened with Gin and Owen yet. But he is cute, hot handsome, a total flirt and makes his intentions towards Gin very known to her. Oh, god. I can't wait to get more of this hottie in the next book.

"I have to confess I was quite surprised when you strolled into the ballroom tonight," Grayson began. "I hadn't expected to see you here, especially not wearing that cheap blond wig." "Don't care for blondes, do you?" I sniped. "Sassy brunettes are more my style." He grinned.

Other than the love interest drama we have Gin taking down another target that is doing bad rather than good in the world. And also there's the fact that her dead foster father, Fletcher left her a mysrterious folder about who she was and what all went down the night her mother and sisters were murdered and Gin finds a huge secret that makes her question the now dead Fletcher Lane.

There was enough action in WEB OF LIES keep me on the edge of my seat and lot more flashbacks to Gin's life when Fletcher Lane took her in off the streets and I am really looking foward to finding out more and more about what went down the night Gin's family was murdered as well as what will become of her and the delicious, Owen Grayson.

More of my reviews at Mystifying Paranormal Reviews
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,976 reviews363 followers
March 16, 2015
If I wasn't completely in love with the kick butt bad a$% that is Gin Blanco before reading Web of Lies, I am most certainly am now after finishing it.

Truly, this series has me, hook, line, and sinker.

Can this series get any better? A kick butt, strong heroine with a sense of self and a sense of humor. Side kicks galore that are pretty darn amazing and loyal themselves and action non stop as well as a paranormal (giants, dwarfs, vampires, magic) side and oh yeah, some pretty steamy sexual tension filled moments and “doing” ones that are even better to back up the tension and you have yourself one heck of an urban fantasy series that is sure to please even those that are hard to please.

I will be honest, I liked the first book and I knew I wanted to continue the series but in no way was I in love with any of it, not even Gin, but I sure as heck am now. In fact my only real complaint about this series so far (other than I need more hours in the day to read them all!) is that the only thing lacking is the world building. You get a great painted picture of how dark and bleak Ashland is but I honestly have no clue about anything else. Obviously the world is aware of the magical beings around them but...no other real explanation so far as to how all the creatures and magic came to be. Honestly, as much as that should really bother me, it doesn't. Like I said, it would be nice to know more, but there is so much going on in the story, so much that is interesting and intense, that that small lack of more about the world they live in, really doesn't detour you long from enjoying the rest of the plot and the wonderful characters in it.

I felt for Gin in this, with her past, with her fresh grief over losing her mentor, and of course the hard life she has chosen to lead and the consequences that means for her in respect to her relationships with others (ahem certain hardheaded stupid others).

I devoured this and will be jumping right into book three.
Profile Image for Carmel (Rabid Reads).
706 reviews381 followers
October 28, 2012
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

Thanks to Lauren Fortgang's mesmerizing voice, Jennifer Estep's poignant first person POV writing style and Gin Blanco's stellar personality; the Elemental Assassin books are rapidly turning into one of the best Urban Fantasy series that I have ever read. So much so, that I find myself forsaking all of the other lovely novels on my shelves because I can't seem to get enough of this amazing story. I rarely step into a heroine's shoes while reading but with this series it's hard not to. Now, whether adopting an assassin's mindset in my daily life is a good thing or a bad thing still remains to be seen but regardless, Web of Lies takes escaping reality to a whole new level.

Usually I only read a handful of audio books a year but after having had Estep's first two stories read to me I can't imagine experiencing the Elemental Assassin world any other way. Nailing the first person POV is not an easy task to begin with but Jennifer makes it look easy. Her incredible writing style paired with Fortgang's superb narration helps to tip the realism factor of these novels over the edge. Taking a break from reading a good book is never easy but Estep makes it damned near impossible with this series. They say that the first step to dealing with an addiction is admitting that you have one well, I full-heartily acknowledge that I have a problem and that I have absolutely no intention of fixing it. The story itself is exceptional, the characters are outstanding and the writing is to die for.

Oddly enough, I found that the earlier parts of Web of Lies were a little dull; I just couldn't get into the McAllister side plot. However, once Jake was "dealt with", the story really picked up from there. I guess that I've come to expect non-stop action from Jennifer Estep and when she actually took the time to focus on some the other important aspects of a good book I got a little impatient. Regardless, once Tobias Dawson showed his ugly mug it was go-go-go until the end. Speaking of the ending, talk about one hell of an "oh shit" moment! It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that I'll be reading Venom next.

Donovan Caine is a douchebag. Other than the scorching sexual chemistry between him and Gin, I had a hard time seeing any long term potential for them. Even though I felt sad for Blanco about the way she was treated and how everything kind of blew up in her face; I think that everyone's better off in the long run. Plus, I barely even know Owen Grayson and I'm already infatuated with him! There's just something about him that makes me go rawr, hubba-hubba! Yes, I realize that those are sound effects and not actual words but you get the idea.

After two stunning installments and more awesomeness on the way; I think it's safe to say that the Elemental Assassin series is a must read. Web of Lies is bursting at the seams with snark, badass-edness and unforgettable characters. The main plot that connects all of these books together promises to be a doozie and I for one can't wait to uncover Jennifer Estep's end game.

May 1, 2015
Actual rating: 3 ½ going on 4

This series just got a lot better! The original premise for this series as well as Gin’s character made the first instalment enjoyable but I thought the world-building wasn’t very satisfying. It really improves in Web of Lies. The elemental magic aspect of the book is developed and more preternatural characters are introduced. The series isn’t in the heavy-weights category of urban fantasy novels but it is well-written and entertaining, with interesting characters.

I still love Gin as much as I did in the first instalment. Here we learn a lot more about her past, which makes for great character growth. Finn rocks and so do the Deveraux sisters. Donovan Caine I just can’t stand and I just want to see him out of the picture once and for all . His supposed high morals drive me crazy, he is completely full of himself, insensitive and has absolutely no respect for Gin. He is disgusted by his attraction to her but is always more than happy to have sex with her. Now that’s one healthy relationship! I just don’t understand what Gin sees in him or expects from such an insufferable, condescending male. STILL things are definitely looking up: in comes Owen Grayson! Eat your heart out Donovan Caine! Now there’s definitely some RAWR potential there and I can’t wait to see what Estep has in store for Gin & Owen in instalments to come.

The plot flows along effortlessly and although the fight scenes aren’t as amazingly gruesome as the ones in other series like Kate Daniels or Descent, they are still pretty entertaining. One minor quibble about the narrative: there are way too many repetitions. Phrases, sentence structures, names, events… It simply is too much and felt like the book lacked editing. It didn’t affect my rating at this point but I will definitely be looking out for repetitions in the next instalments. I don’t want to have the feeling I’m reading the same book over and over again!

The good thing about reading a series that started a few years back is that you don’t have to wait ages for each new instalment to be published: I already got my hands on Venom and can’t wait to find out what happens next!
Profile Image for Shanshad Whelan.
647 reviews33 followers
August 23, 2010
I really really wish I could say I liked this book--I like a lot of the worldbuilding, and the plotting is rather entertaining. There's steamy romance, a hard nosed assassin with a good heart and a great talent for cooking. There are some fascinating secondary characters. I have a minor grievance with opting for ice rather than water and stone rather than earth as the major elemental powers against fire and air, but that's authorial choice.

This big problem, and the reason I had to put this book down is that the author keeps repeating descriptions, explanations and phrases about her characters, motivation, landscape etc. I don't mind a little catch-up at the beginning of a story. I easily forgave the first chapters of rehashing, since every series author has to do some of it. But it didn't stop. I don't need to have Sophia's goth character mentioned every time she steps in screen. I don't need to know again that Finn is a ladykiller and a financial criminal. I don't need to have Caine's conflict with liking Gin reiterated again and again.

Please Please more show less tell. We don't need endlessly to be reminded of traits and the like. We know by now Southland is dangerous, that the Pork Pit means everything to Gin, that Sophia talks in grunts. Tell the audience once and then trust them to remember the details and simply show your characters without adding the narrative to explain them.

I can't finish this book. If there's one deathsong for me in a book that I should otherwise like, it's writing that keeps tripping me up and making me annoyed. Simon Green does it to me too, for different reasons. I really wanted to like Estep's series, but after this, I think I'll leave it to others.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,782 followers
March 1, 2015
This "series" (this is only the second in said series) drew me in when I read the first book. Our heroine (a former assassin) is well written and the stories move fast. There is what I've come to think of as the "obligatory" love interest (a detective) but in the first book that boiled down to some lustful dreaming on the female protagonist's part and one big steamy sex scene.

HOWEVER I am forced to drop my rating of this book down to 3 stars. I'm not writing off the series. I plan to try the next, but...this one was filled with a lot more angst and (pleas my female friends forgive me) estrogen soaked passages. I won't give any spoilers as a lot of this takes place throughout the book and to go into it would require tipping the book's hand on some of the plot. Still I will warn those of you who like me find a lot "woe is me" or "affairs of the heart" passages annoying the "relationship bug" with our opposite number love interest (uncorrupted detective on a corrupt police force and an assassin) takes up much more space than it did in the first book.

So, still lots of action, still interesting magic, (though the "rules" of the magic here are still very fluid) we get a fast moving story with a little built on our sub or background plot and I think it's still worth my time to follow it up.

I simply hope the "romance/lust interest" become "just part of the storyline" and doesn't take up quite so much "space" in the next one.
Profile Image for DjOfca.
1,125 reviews13 followers
March 29, 2016
4,5 Sterne Auch der zweiten Band der Elemental Assassin Reihe konnte mich wieder überzeugen. Der Übergang vom ersten zum zweiten Band ist hier sehr gut gelungen. Schnell findet man beim lesen wieder in die Geschichte hinein.
Die Protagonisten wurden noch einmal durch viele Details ausgearbeitet und einzelne Charaktereigenschaften genauer beschrieben.
Mit diesen außergewöhnlichen Protagonisten, humorvollen Dialogen und spannenden Szenen, ist Jennifer Estep wieder ein toller Fantasyroman gelungen. Durch die rasante Handlung kommt keine Langeweile auf.
Durch den lockeren Schreibstil der Autorin, habe ich das Buch sehr schnell verschlungen und freue mich nun auf den dritten Band der Reihe.
Zur Handlung an sich, möchte ich gar nicht viel vorweg nehmen, aber für alle die Band 1 gelesen haben: Auch der attraktive Detektive Donovan Caine spielt in dieser Geschichte wieder eine große Rolle ;-) und obwohl Gin sich eigentlich in den Ruhestand als Auftragskillerin zurück gezogen hat, lassen Ärger und Bösewichte nicht lange auf sich warten.

Ein rasanter und spannender Fantasy Roman mit viel Humor und Gefühl.
Einzige Kritik: Einige Wiederholungen, die haben mich doch schon genervt - sonst hätte das Buch von mir 5 Sterne bekommen.
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