Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara West (Chronicles of Elantra #1) - kindle price $2.99; Nook price $5.29
Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddled streets of Nightshade, knowing that something was after her. Children were being murdered -- and all had the same odd markings that mysteriously appeared on her own skin...
Since then, she's learned to read, she's learned to fight and she's become one of the vaunted Hawks who patrol and police the City of Elantra. Alongside the winged Aerians and immortal Barrani, she's made a place for herself, far from the mean streets of her birth.
But children are once again dying, and a dark and familiar pattern is emerging, Kaylin is ordered back into Nightshade with a partner she knows she can't trust, a Dragon lord for a companion and a device to contain her powers -- powers that no other human has. Her task is simple -- find the killer, stop the murders... and survive the attentions of those who claim to be her allies!
The Dulcie O'Neil Set (books one, two and three) by HP Mallory - kindle price $2.99; Nook price $6.99
Book 1: To Kill A Warlock:
The murder of a dark arts warlock.
A shape-shifting, ravenous creature on the loose.
A devilishly handsome stranger sent to investigate.
Sometimes working law enforcement for the Netherworld is a real bitch.
Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy. And not the type to frolic in gardens. She’s a Regulator—a law-enforcement agent who monitors the creatures of the Netherworld to keep them from wreaking havoc in the mortal world.
When a warlock is murdered and Dulcie was the last person to see him alive, she must uncover the truth before she’s either deported back to the Netherworld, or she becomes the next victim.
Enter Knight Vander, a sinfully attractive investigator sent from the Netherworld to work the case with Dulcie.
Between battling her attraction to her self-appointed partner, keeping a sadomasochistic demon in check, and fending off the advances of a sexy and powerful vampire, Dulcie’s got her hands full.
As the body count increases, Dulcie finds herself battling dark magic, reconnoitering in S&M clubs and suffering the greatest of all betrayals.
Book 2: A Tale of Two Goblins:
A Dreamstalker— a creature that stalks and kills its victims in sleep.
A fairy in law enforcement determined to stop him.
A potions smuggler who possesses something she wants.
A vampire with his own agenda.
And a partner who couldn’t possibly be sexier or more frustrating.
Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy working in law enforcement for the Netherworld.
When Knight Vander approaches her with a case regarding comatose victims, she agrees to help him, imagining the most difficult part will be combatting her attraction to him.
But, what Dulcie isn’t betting on is the fact that the case becomes personal when she learns all the victims are somehow linked to her.
When her best friend falls victim to the Dreamstalker, Dulcie must do everything in her power to ensure her friend’s survival, including associating with criminals and accepting the fact that desperate times do definitely call for desperate measures.
Book 3: Great Hexpectations
A misunderstanding turned deadly.
A fairy in law enforcement who won't stop until the truth is uncovered.
A vampire who seems to be her ally but appearances can be deceiving.
And a partner who would put his own life on the line to defend hers.
Dulcie O'Neil knows she's at fault for failing to arrest a wanted criminal but when her partner gets pinned for the crime, she'll stop at nothing to ensure his innocence.
What Dulcie isn't planning on is a trip to the infamous Netherworld where chaos rules.
Between battling the affections of a mysterious vampire, protecting herself from monsters and ensuring the innocence of the one man who would die for her, Dulcie's trip to the Netherworld isn't sunshine and strawberry daiquiris.
Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen - kindle price $2.99; Nook price $2.99
As a world-class equestrian and Olympic contender, Annemarie Zimmer lived for the thrill of flight atop a strong, graceful animal. Then, at eighteen, a tragic accident destroyed her riding career and Harry, the beautiful horse she cherished. Now, twenty years later, Annemarie is coming home to her dying father's New Hampshire horse farm. Jobless and abandoned, she is bringing her troubled teenage daughter to this place of pain and memory, where ghosts of an unresolved youth still haunt the fields and stables—and where hope lives in the eyes of the handsome, gentle veterinarian Annemarie loved as a girl . . . and in the seductive allure of a trainer with a magic touch.
But everything will change yet again with one glimpse of a white striped gelding startlingly similar to the one Annemarie lost in another lifetime. And an obsession is born that could shatter her fragile world.
Blade Song by J.C. Daniels - The Colbana Files #1 - kindle price $1.99; Nook price $4.29
Kit Colbana—half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades—has a new job: track down the missing ward of one of the local alpha shapeshifters. It should be a piece of cake.
So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters—especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money.
Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails—she’s dead.
If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee…
Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult - kindle price $2.99; Nook price $2.99
One of America's most powerful and thought-provoking novelists, "New York Times" bestselling author Jodi Picoult brilliantly examines belief, miracles, and the complex core of family.
When the marriage of Mariah White and her cheating husband, Colin, turns ugly and disintegrates, their seven-year-old daughter, Faith, is there to witness it all. In the aftermath of a rapid divorce, Mariah falls into a deep depression -- and suddenly Faith, a child with no religious background whatsoever, hears divine voices, starts reciting biblical passages, and develops stigmata. And when the miraculous healings begin, mother and daughter are thrust into the volatile center of controversy and into the heat of a custody battle -- trapped in a mad media circus that threatens what little stability the family has left.
Awaken by Kate Kacvinsky - Awaken #1 - kindle price $3.99; Nook price $7.55
Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.
Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.
In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill - kindle price $1.99; Nook price $1.99
Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals...a used hangman's noose...a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, an item for sale on the Internet, a thing so terribly strange, Jude cant help but reach for his wallet.
I will "sell" my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder...
For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. he has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts--of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the band-mates he betrayed. What's one more?
But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost, no benign conversation piece. It's the real thing.
And suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door...seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang...standing outside his window...staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting--with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand...
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt - kindle price $2.99; Nook price $2.99
Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn't share his brother's appetite for whiskey and killing, he's never known anything else. But their prey isn't an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm's gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living-and whom he does it for.
With "The Sisters Brothers," Patrick deWitt pays homage to the classic Western, transforming it into an unforgettable comic tour de force. Filled with a remarkable cast of characters-losers, cheaters, and ne'er-do-wells from all stripes of life-and told by a complex and compelling narrator, it is a violent, lustful odyssey through the underworld of the 1850s frontier that beautifully captures the humor, melancholy, and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman - kindle (with audio/video) price $3.99
American Gods is Neil Gaiman's best and most ambitious novel yet, a scary, strange, and hallucinogenic road-trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American spirit. Gaiman tackles everything from the onslaught of the information age to the meaning of death, but he doesn't sacrifice the razor-sharp plotting and narrative style he's been delivering since his Sandman days.
Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. In fact, Wednesday is an old god, once known as Odin the All-father, who is roaming America rounding up his forgotten fellows in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired. Shadow agrees to help Wednesday, and they whirl through a psycho-spiritual storm that becomes all too real in its manifestations. For instance, Shadow's dead wife Laura keeps showing up, and not just as a ghost--the difficulty of
their continuing relationship is by turns grim and darkly funny, just like the rest of the book.
Armed only with some coin tricks and a sense of purpose, Shadow travels through, around, and underneath the visible surface of things, digging up all the powerful myths Americans brought with them in their journeys to this land as well as the ones that were already here. Shadow's road story is the heart of the novel, and it's here that Gaiman offers up the details that make this such a cinematic book--the distinctly American foods and diversions, the bizarre roadside attractions, the decrepit gods reduced to shell games and prostitution. "This is a bad land for Gods," says Shadow.
More than a tourist in America, but not a native, Neil Gaiman offers an outside-in and inside-out perspective on the soul and spirituality of the country--our obsessions with money and power, our jumbled religious heritage and its societal outcomes, and the millennial decisions we face about what's real and what's not.
Happy reading! What did you pick up to read this week?