This will have to be short and sweet because my computer is having some disc drive problems. I'm taking it in very shortly and not sure how long I'll be without, but I wanted to get this up in time for the end of the contest.
I actually won Jennifer Estep's Spider's Bite from Jackie over at Literary Escapism. Estep, author of Karma Girl, Hot Mama, and Jinx, kicked off her new Elemental Assassins series with Spider's Bite in February. Book two, Web of Lies, was released in June and Venom, book three, is due out in September. This should leave readers nice and hanging until April when the series continues with Tangled Threads : )
Spider's Bite introduces Gin Blanco, a stone elemental with some ice abilities as well. Gin is an assassin for hire and is one of the best. Known as the Spider, she's evaded cops, fellow elementals, and other assassins, until now. A big job, big enough to retire on, comes Gin's way, but it's a bit of a rush: a same day assignment that seems easy enough, with a huge payout. But things go wrong when another assassin shows up revealing that the plan is to frame Gin for the job and leave her body behind for authorities. They've underestimated the Spider, though, and now she has to find out who has it in for her.
Good stuff! I'm always up for a new urban fantasy with a twist. The elementals are something I've not seen much of (Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series would be a little comparable in terms of subject). And though Estep does incorporate other beings (vamps -- and dwarves -- but, oh, more vamps!) it doesn't, for me anyway, make the series any less of a stand out in terms of being different than the others out there.
I know, I know. Ten authors can handle the same subject ten different ways and I'll applaud each of them for making their book stand out from the rest. I have to admit to being a little overwhelmed by the bloodsuckers out there right now, so it's refreshing for me (and gets a mention every time) when I come across a new series that doesn't have them as the main focus. I once complained that a zombie book had vamps and Mike made fun of me by saying, "Hey, why are there vampires in my zombie soup?" I thought it was amusing and true.
(Oh, excuse any typos and ramblings. I usually employ the delete key more, but have run out of time!)