Wednesday, February 24, 2016

ARC Review: BITTER BITE by Jennifer Estep

Bitter Bite
by Jennifer Estep
Elemental Assassin, book #14

Which is stronger: blood ties or a battle-tested friendship?

It’s not easy being queen bee of an underworld abuzz with crooks and killers. Wielding my potent Ice and Stone elemental magic will only get me so far—my real secret is my tight-knit makeshift family, a motley crew of cops and criminals, dwarves and playboys. My foster brother Finnegan Lane is my right-hand man, but when his suddenly not-dead relative comes back into the picture, I’m the one on the outside looking in. 

It’s funny how life works: one minute your best friend is rock-steady, and the next he’s doe-eyed and buying into this whole loving-relative routine to the point of ignoring you. I’d like to be happy for Finn, I really would. But all of my instincts are telling me that beneath the syrupy sweet demeanor and old-fashioned charm, this sudden interloper is planning something. The whole shtick leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. This person might have avoided the grave once, but I’ll put anyone who hurts Finn in the ground—for good. 

One of the things I love most about this series and specifically, Gin Blanco, is her unwavering loyalty to her friends and family.  It is her strongest characteristic and what brings me back every time.  Which now explains why I had so much anxiety about reading this book.  It pains me when someone close violates that trust.  

Finn, for all intents and purposes, is Gin’s brother. All of his life he believed that his mother was dead and then one day he discovers that his new client is actually his mother.  Despite his friends’ warnings to Finn to be careful about trusting her, he falls head over heals in love with her.  Jennifer Estep does a good job conveying Finn’s child-like yearning for a mother.  A yearning so fierce that he puts his relationship with Gin at risk to give his mother the benefit of the doubt.  Gin, trusting her intuition, refuses to let down her guard with Deirdre.  Gin knows the sting of betrayal.  Her current boyfriend, Owen, dismisses Gin’s warning about his ex-girlfriend in a previous book. Yup, that book was devastating to me too.  Maybe because this happened before, but I instead of being wrecked by Finn’s action, I am more disappointed in him.  Didn’t he learn a thing from what happened to Owen? 

At the end of the day, the real purpose of this book is to introduce the presence of a long-standing secret society called The Circle in Ashland.  Ms. Estep throws out just enough line for me to bite.  I cannot wait to see where she takes this next. 

This is a strong addition to the series. Not as action packed as some in the past, but I think testing the relationship between Gin and her brother, Finn is a good turn in the series. 

Thank you to the author, publisher, and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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