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March 21, 2014

Pack Review: By A Thread by Jennifer Estep w/ She-Wolf Reads + GIveaway

Series: Elemental Assassin 6
Format: Mobi
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: Purchased
Recommended By: Amber I. Awesomesauce Book Club 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation.

Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider—me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun. But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silver stone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand—permanently.

I have to admit, BY A THREAD made me nervous because Mab's arc was nothing short of epic and as it was wrapped up in Spider's Revenge, I'm not sure how the heck Jennifer Estep is going to keep the excitement in the succeeding books. Lee and I have been speculating behind the scenes and the only way for us to satisfy our curiosity is to read BY A THREAD

Elemental Assassin 6 is great and although I know that it won't top Spider's Revenge, at least it wasn't a let down. The plot of BY A THREAD is a one-off and though I miss having a strong storyline like Mab's, I'm still pleased with this follow-up. There's still lots of action and fantastic duels but the main point for me is the romantic intrigue between Gin, her current boyfriend, Owen, and her ex, Donovan Caine. 



1. So what's your verdict? Do you like this one-book storyline or were you expecting/hoping/looking for an arc like Mab?

LEE: This is really the million dollar question, isn't it? I have to say, for me, this book didn't miss a beat. I think the villain was super creepy, scary, and unrelentingly strong. Just like Mab, it was unclear if Gin could take him which made the stakes incredibly high. You add to this all the personal drama - Donovan, Owen, and Bria - and I felt BY A THREAD was equally as strong and absorbing as the previous individual books. That being said, I do think it needs an overall arc and the question continues to persist...what's next?

BRAINE: I have to say I have my doubts and although I know that BY A THREAD wouldn't be as epic as Spider's Revenge, I was happy that it was still a strong follow-up. I loved the duel between Gin and Randall Dekes because like you, I was doubtful of Gin's success. Essentially Randall used Gin's powers against her so really it's her quick thinking that saved her once again. Overall, I love how JEstep is keeping us guessing and speculative about the direction of the series at this point.


2. I know how you feel about Caine and now I've come to realize what a total dick he is. I feel bad for Callie because she has WORK ahead of her knowing Caine is still hung up on Gin. What was going through your head in all his scenes with Gin? I was imagining a mad She-Wolf and I can't help but chuckle while reading, I know you probably ripped Caine a new one.

LEE: I despised him in the earlier books and he annoyed me in BY A TRHEAD. I just cannot take his self-righteousness! I mean, seriously, you have angst and guilt and anger over your feelings for someone you shouldn't love? Fine, but he doesn't have to be such a douche! And his arrogance? The ARROGANCE of it all at the end! I love how Gin handled it. Owen is by far the better man. I hope Callie doesn't get hurt and Donovan sure as hell doesn't deserve her. Grrr....

BRAINE: Bahahaha! OMG! I'll let you have it... why did you hold back, Lee?! I know your mini rant there barely scratched the surface!


3. Bria and Gin, what do you think about these two's relationship?
LEE: I like it. It's got its issues and I think Bria's resentment was a little unfair but I appreciate the moment at the end when she and Gin come to an understanding. This relationship has a lot of potential to go so right or so very wrong, their emotions are so on the surface in a way that it's exciting to see where it will go and how Gin will be impacted by it.

BRAINE: Yup, that honest conversation in the end was loaded. I felt like a huge thorn was removed from both Gin and Bria's side because of that and I can tell they're on their way to having an understanding of sorts. I was applauding Bria when she admitted her resentment towards Gin and how bad she felt after seeing herself in Caine, that takes a lot of humility to admit something like that.  


4. I'm not sure if you've noticed it but aside from the recaps, there seems to be a formula in the books: Gin finds a target, Finn does the research, Jo-jo and Sophia help with the clean-up. I mean it works but I'm starting to look for a deviation from that. Thoughts?

LEE: Glad you brought this up. I would add to it "Gin underestimates target" since that seems to happen a lot. All I can say is "teamwork"? This is definitely a sort of formula for each book and while it doesn't bother me per se, for example, each person has his or her own job, it would be nice to see something totally different. I will say in BY A THREAD, Gin did have to dispose of several bodies without Sophia's assistance and that was new. 

BRAINE: True, and I wonder why she's still doubtful about herself after killing Mab. Although I know it's prudent not to be cocky but she's not The Spider for nothing. As for the formula, I'd like to see Gin without her team, that would be an interesting situation since her buddies always manage to save her just in the nick of time. I want JEstep to really push Gin outside the safety her "team" gives her.


5. What do you think of Gin's character development so far? I don't see a big change but I love how vulnerable she has become thanks to Bria, Owen and Fletcher's death.

LEE:  I feel like BY A THREAD marks a new start. A lot of the big character development happened in the previous books and in this one we see Gin sort of tie up a loose end (Donovan Caine) so I assume the next books will show Gin grow a bit more. And I have to admit that I peeked at the synopsis for the next in the series, Widow's Web, and l am eagerly waiting our next discussion because I think DRAMA is heading our beloved Gin's way!

BRAINE: By all intents and purposes, BY A THREAD is indeed a new phase in the Elemental Assassin series and I know that our little chit-chat is probably stale news to older fans of the series. And like you, I'm excited to see where the story's going. Elemental Assassin seems to be one of those rare series that still manages to surprise its audience after 10 books so I'm sure that we're in for lots of drama, more action, menacing villains and plot twists that will leave both of our mouths hanging open. Now let's talk offline bout Widow's Web...

Read my BY A THREAD Q&A with Lee at She-Wolf Reads.
Click the cover arts to check out our previous Pack Reviews


ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN FREE READS








40 comments:

  1. I am so happy you both liked this one. I was scared about it too because with Mab all wrapped up, I wasn't sure where Estep was going to go next. But I liked this kind of in between book. It was a little bit of a change up and I loved how Gin handled Caine. Happy that is over.

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    1. Yes! Tight closure there and Caine was a dick!

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  2. You know . . . I didn't think about it until this post, but Estep was incredibly clever to go this route after the big Mab face-off. B/c you're right, it WAS epic. So what do you do after that? You bring back that a**hole Caine, and let Gin get hers, that's what! And YES, that ARROGANCE. GAH. He's lucky Gin didn't stab him through the eye with one of her knives. And his whole replacement Gin was like Spike with that dumb blonde he dressed up as Buffy. Creepy.

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  3. Great discussion! This sounds like a really good series and I have heard good things about this author. Thats pretty cool how the author wrapped up the main villain plot line but then still kept it going, very different!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

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    1. And confident too! She sure has some aces up her sleeves at this point, I'm sure.

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  4. OMG, Bria drove me nuts by this point. I'm glad she's finally coming around and glad she's still with Owen. <3

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    1. Yeah, Bria's on the extreme right but you know it won't last long, not if Finn is your boyfriend.

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  5. I really liked this one, even though Donovan Caine was in it. I HATE him!!

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  6. I still haven't started this series. It is on my to read list this year as I loved the Mythos Academy series and I think Jennifer Estep is wonderful. I need to meet these characters so I can understand what you are all talking about.

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    1. Then you'll love this even better! I hope you get around to reading the series sooner than later!

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  7. *headdesk, headdesk, headdesk* I own books one and two and so need to just start this series. Hmm, I might try to sneak book one in for challenge.

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    1. Be warned, once you pop you can't stop. This series is like Pringles you know

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  8. People are SO emotional about this series that I'm afraid to read it lol

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    1. Coz the characters are so great! It's a challenge not to get invested in them

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  9. This series has been on my TBR for far too long.

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    1. Time to move it up to your currently reading list ;)

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  10. I love the joint review! This is a series I really want to read in the near future. I even have a couple of the books. I hope I enjoy it as much as you do!

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    1. I know you're reading BDB now, it's not as romance-ridden as BDB but the fantasy/action aspect is real great.

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  11. Loved this review. This series is just getting better and better to me and I have a slight girl crush on Gin.

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  12. I heart this series so hard, and your pack reviews are always fun to read. Gin Blanco will not be running out of steam any time soon because Estep is a genius! I own all of these in audio, so I was very tempted to enter your giveaway, especially seeing how it's signed. But, alas I'm from Canada. LOL Maybe next time. It's not like I really need any more books on my shelves anyway. Want is another matter entirely. Hehe

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    1. Jen, Book Nympho, recommended that I listen to the audio. I just might one of these days, haven't really found the right fiction book to listen to.

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  13. Great post.guys. I have not read any of the books, but have seen them around. I love adding books to my collection, maybe I will have to start this series after I win the book. ^_^

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    1. Regardless if you win or not, this series is a collectible!

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  14. Wonderful, I always love reviews like that, so fun to read. I confess I'm so behind in this series. I only read book 1 ut I have book 2 and 3 in French at home. One day I'll go back to them!

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  15. I had to completely skim this because I'm only through book 1. *sigh* why can't I read faster! I have every intention of catching up soon though, I've seen so many reviews for this series lately and it's making me really want to jump back in.

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    1. I'm surprised you're not reading it fast enough. I remember book 1, I think I breezed through it because the pace was just fantastic!

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  16. Glad it was a satifying follow up, I have heard a lot about Jennifer but haven't read her yet

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    1. She has a YA series, maybe that will appeal to you more in case you want to try her work

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  17. Braine (& Lee), this was an awesome book chat! It's neat that y'all are discussing a series so that y'all can talk about it all in relation to this book. I'm glad you weren't disappointed with By a Thread even if it left you wanting a little something more.

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    1. Thanks, Brandee, I rarely gush about stuff as I'm not the biggest fangirl but it's fun to do it once in a while

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  18. Great chat! I absolutely despised Donovan Caine as well! I was glad Gin took care of that business and totally turned him down. I like Owen and he is so much more accepting of Gin after all the angst of Donovan. So glad that end is tied up!

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    1. I never disliked Caine until now. Before I understood his personal conflict over Gin, after this novel

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  19. I enjoyed seeing Gin & Co. focus on someone other than Mab. I do like the story arcs...the build up from book to book is wonderful...but occasionally it's good to have a few that are stand alone. I still can't stand Donovan but am so glad that Gin has Owen and now Bria who accept her as she is.

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    1. Am I the only who like Caine at first?! Jeez!

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