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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

Currently reading

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ann J. Lane
Wizard and Glass
Stephen King, Dave McKean
River of Blue Fire
Tad Williams
Richard Ford
Progress: 36/420 pages

Venom / Jennifer Estep

Venom - Jennifer Estep

It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most.

To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists.

At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.


Gin Blanco is ready to quit skulking in the shadows and declare war on the criminals who are worse than she is. That’s right, our assassin main character is done being the patient Spider and is ready to deal with the Big Bad that is controlling everyone in her town of Ashland. She begins small, by trying to protect Finn’s vampire lady friend from a large, aggressive stalker (who is, of course, one of the triumvirate who holds the town hostage).

Gone is a lot of the annoying repetition of certain phrases, although some instances remain. Gone also is the brooding, guilty, conflicted love interest—and good riddance. But somebody’s gotta be the ultra-good guy, so enter Gin’s long lost little sister, Bria, as the new arrow-straight lawman (or woman) in town. This arrangement is perfect—Gin gets have her hot-as-Tabasco love relationship, but still have a law-abiding cop to court, since Bria doesn’t know of their relationship.

Although there is still a lot of focus on Gin’s romantic life and on her relationship with her foster-brother, Finn, this installment shows hope that she may get some female BFF’s soon, with whom to share secrets and drink gin. Creeping closer to Bechdel test territory, I hope the next book reaches the tipping point with this situation.

I am looking forward to attending some sessions at the When Words Collide conference in August where this author will be speaking.