Archive | April 2014

Review – Venom (Elemental Assassin #3) by Jennifer Estep

venomThe Elemental Assassin series frustrates the heck out of me.  I officially gave up on it after the last book but found that I had already purchased this installment.  The frugal part of my brain wouldn’t let me just give it away without reading so here we are.

A 4-star rating?

Trust me, I was most surprised by this.  My schedule and workload have been off the charts.  Reading has been the drug of choice to help me maintain my sanity.  Well, reading and wine.  But I digress.

Because time has become such a precious commodity, I really look for books that can pull me in and transport me to a better place.  And, believe it or not, Venom did just that.  There was still some repetitive writing but it didn’t seem as egregious.  The story is fun, sexy and action-packed.  Gin, as always, delivers as the protagonist.  She makes bone-headed decisions and sometimes it is hard to believe she is a successful assassin.  But, you have to love her.  She’s loyal and has her own strict moral code.  Her love interest, Owen, definitely grew on my in this installment.  He is everything Donovan Caine was not.  That’s a good thing.

Sometimes a book can surprise you.  This one did and it made my day.

Review – An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

an echo in the boneFor several weeks I have been so busy with work that I haven’t been able to write reviews.  Of course, I’m still reading because that is one of the top priorities in my life but it is unacceptable that work is keeping me from my blog.  It’s too bad we all have to make a living but I live with the hope that I will one day be comfortable enough to focus more on the fun stuff.

An Echo in the Bone is the seventh book in the Outlander series.  Diana Gabaldon is one of my favorite authors and I continue to enjoy the adventures of Jamie and Claire.  Much of AEITB focuses on storylines featuring Roger/Brianna, Young Ian and William.  Others have expressed frustration with those diversions from J&C and I understand.  However, I enjoyed those sections as much, and in some cases more, than our main characters.

For the first time I am giving a book in the main series only 4-stars.  The writing style still works for me.  I love the characters as if I know them as part of my own family.  But…

AEITB hit a rough patch around 40%.  I found myself picking up other books instead and saying, “I’ll get back to Jamie and Claire tomorrow.”  That just doesn’t happen for me with the Outlander series and I’ve tried to pinpoint the reason.  (Och, I’m going to get flamed for this if the Outlander fangirls read this post.)  I’m just going to say it – the Jamie and Claire story seemed to just repeat adventures they had in prior novels.  Can they not go onto a ship without pirates or other ne’er do wells attacking them?  The ocean is a pretty big place.  It seems that they could have one uneventful trip.  And, let’s just be honest, Jamie is getting on in years.  Is he really going to be pulled into service to fight so often?  I would think they would go for a younger man.  After I got through that section (which took weeks), the story did pick up and become riveting again.  There is a ton of story movement in the last 100 pages.  Almost too much.  And, I agree with others that it ended way too abruptly.  Given that it takes 4-5 years for the next book to be published, it is a little disappointing to be left with such a cliffhanger.

I also want to touch on Outlander fans for a second as I think they had a pretty strong impact on my enjoyment of this novel.  When I discovered this series a little over a year ago, I was almost obsessed.  I had to read them all as quickly as I could.  Then I found that there was going to be a TV series as well.  I joined group after group on Facebook to get the latest news.  On Twitter, I followed other Outlander lovers.

Let’s just say that it got real old, real fast.  Once you start rolling your eyes at all the “Pocket Jamie” posts and the constant references to “Herself” (what the superfans call Gabaldon), you need to take a step back.  If it makes someone happy to be so into a book series and a TV series, then I say GO FOR IT!  Enjoy it!  But, for me, it was just too much.  If anyone dared say anything negative about the actors chosen (not the right eye color) or the speed with which the books are written and published, then they were attacked like they had killed a puppy.  God forbid you don’t worship at the feet of the author.  Are we not allowed to express our disappointment when publishing dates are pushed back?  Listen, I didn’t agree with many of the comments made.  I understood that Gabaldon needed more time and she should take all that she needs.  But that doesn’t mean another reader can’t be frustrated and express that disappointment.  Give me a break.

All of this online drama really tainted my enjoyment of this book.  I withdrew from all of the forums and took a long sabbatical from reading anything about the TV series.  It worked and I was able to re-locate my love for the books.  When I eventually re-read, I am sure this will join the others as one of my favorites.  I am looking forward to that.