Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh. Twenty-eight year old Elena Deveraux is a vampire hunter. Gifted with acute senses, and, in another sense of the word, with weapons, Elena belongs to the Guild, an organization through which she is contracted to hunt wayward vampires and return them to their masters. The vampires’ masters are the angels — winged beings with special powers whose most powerful leaders, the archangels known as the Cadre of Ten, rule the earth.
After returning from one such mission, Elena hears from her closest friend and Guild Director, Sara, that she has been contracted to do a job for the archangel of New York, Raphael. Elena fully expects that if she fails at the task he has set for her, Raphael will kill her. If she succeeds, she may come to know too many of the Cadre’s secrets. Refusing the job means signing her death warrant as well as her friends’ and her family members’, but taking the mission on is only marginally less dangerous.
Raphael is a terrifying being, unused to being disobeyed, while Elena is fiercely independent and unwilling to kowtow to anyone. But despite this, a powerful attraction coalesces between them, one that unsettles Elena and intrigues Raphael — one that will change them both. Recommended by Janine (and Jane, but Janine wrote the wonderful review).
Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin is the next installment of Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, the "Mistress of the Art of Death.” Adelia and her forensic skills, gained at the University of Salerno, the only place where lowly women are educated suchly, have been called upon for a third time by the king. After a battle to put down a Welsh rebellion, Henry learns of a vision. A bard, who won’t stop singing, tells, after a degree of – shall we say – persuasion, of a sight witnessed by his uncle a monk, of a burial in Glastonbury Abbey twenty years ago. At Henry’s orders, the current monks dig deep and discover a coffin in which are the bones of two people, one very tall and one very short. What Henry wants from Adelia is proof that these are the bones of Arthur and Guinevere. Recommended by Jayne. The review will come on the release date of March 19. (unless you desperately want to read it. we can be pressured to put it up earlier).
This book can be purchased in hardcover from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.
Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn. Murder, death, investigations and sticky situations abound as Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane circle each other like wary cats. Will they finally get their HEA? Frankly I did wonder. ….As with “Sanctuary,” “Moor” slowly unfolds the story, gently leaving clues for the reader to pick up, turn over, contemplate and fit into the puzzle. Everything isn’t laid out in order and some things will be mentioned early in the book which will play a role much later on. And it isn’t just the actions of the living which influence the story but also of those long dead. The sins of the fathers do come back to haunt the next generation in this story.
I couldn’t help but think of Emily Bronte’s sole work of fiction while reading “Moor.” It’s set in Yorkshire, has a half-gypsy hero, there is madness and death, with angelic/demonic characters. Outsiders, including me, are horrified at what goes on there yet it makes a kind of sick, twisted sense. Recommended by Jayne.
The Sony Store is selling The Lady Julia Grey Bundle which are all three books for $13.96. Given that Silent on the Moor is a trade paperback, that’s essentially getting three books for the price of one.
Made To Be Broken by Kelley Armstrong. Nadia Stafford is a former cop who lost her career when she killed a suspect on the job. These days, she runs a lodge and has been rebuilding her life. But it takes a while to make a business profitable so to keep the lodge afloat, she works as a hitwoman for a small-time New York mafia family.
These days, things have been going well. She’s making enough money now that she can hire an assistant. It’s true the assistant in question is not the most personable or responsible of employees, but Nadia wants to help the girl, who’s a teenaged single mother and comes from a family known for being bad news.
If Exit Strategy explores the lines assassins refuse to cross and the conditions under which they decide to break their own personal codes, Made To Be Broken builds on that and adds in the layer of what makes a person worth saving. Nadia’s employee is written off as trash, just like her mother, who was just like her mother before her. But Nadia wanted to help her, because she saw a girl who’d never been given a chance to escape her family’s reputation. Recommended by Jia.
The Better to Hold You by Alisa Sheckley. This author never flinches from showing her characters in embarrassing situations or portraying them making unwise choices, but their witty observations and wobbly egos always save them from appearing less than bright. Instead, they come across as intelligent, insightful people with flaws, foibles and insecurities of which they are acutely aware. Like soft boiled eggs, Kwitney’s characters have outer shells that crack when they are hit, revealing a shaky layer that protects an even more vulnerable core.
All of this is true of Abra Barrow, the heroine and narrator of The Better to Hold You. A 29-year-old veterinarian interning at New York City’s Animal Medical Institute, Abra is also the daughter of a washed up B-movie actress and a Spanish director. Abra’s husband Hunter is a writer who recently visited Transylvania to investigate werewolf myths. Since his return to Manhattan, Hunter has been writing obsessively, craving meat, and playing dominance games both in and out of bed. Abra also begins to suspect that Hunter may be cheating on her. Abra is presented with the opportunity to do save someone when a scruffy man she previously saw on the subway comes to the institute and introduces himself as Red Mallin, a wildlife removal operator from out of town, and a friend of Pia’s owner. Abra decides to take the chance that Red is really who he says he is, and entrusts Pia to his safe-keeping.
The meeting is brief, but Abra is struck and flattered by Red’s obvious attraction to her, since she has never felt entirely secure in her marriage to Hunter. Though Hunter is much more her type — urban, handsome and well-educated — he has always seemed to Abra to be a little bit out of her reach. Going back as far as college, when their relationship began, Abra has never been certain that what Hunter saw in her — “a little nun, perfectly at peace with herself” — is really there. Recommended by Janine and Jennie. Check out their conversational review.
First Comes Love by Mary Balogh. Elliot Wallace, Viscount Lyngate, travels to the village of Throckbridge in Shropshire to find the Huxtable boy and inform him that he is now the Earl of Merton and in possession of a huge fortune. He’d like to capture the boy and get back to London to find the bride that he had promised his grandfather he’d acquire by the age of 30 which is now upon him. The last thing he wants to do is spend time in this tiny village, attending dated village soirees, and engaging in decidedly boring village conversation.
Vanessa, the plain one in the Huxtable family, offers herself up in a marriage of convenience to humorless and priggish Elliot to save her sister who is in love with another man. First Comes Marriage is all about watching two people who seem like polar opposites fall in love with each other. As a reader, I observed the hero and heroine start out disliking each other, actively, to growing to admire each other to finally realizing that the other was as necessary as breathing. Recommended by Jane
Tempted All Night by Liz Carlyle. Tristan, Viscount Avoncliffe (courtesy title as he disclaims being the Viscount of anything), is an irrepressible flirt who’s main direction in life is to dice in the worst hells and seduce the most women. Or be seduced by the most women. Because he has such a cheerful mien about his activities, it’s hard to be anything but charmed by him. His father, the esteemed Earl of Hauxton, is near death and begs Tristan to look into the death of a Russian. Tristan and his father have never had a great relationship but in the dark hour before his father’s death, Tristan cannot refuse.
Phaedra is a young woman of 22 years who may have some knowledge regarding the Russian’s death. She’s not terribly good at keeping her secrets and Tristan is alerted to some discrepancies in her story. His investigation brings him into contact with Phaedra time and again. Phaedra has all but retired from society, wearing old clothes, and generally refusing to partake in frivolity. There is some part of her past that has led her to believe that she is not worthy of a good marriage and has resigned herself to being a bluestocking and eventually a spinterish bluestocking.
Eventually Phaedra discloses that she is searching for her maid’s sister and the two join forces in investigating their respective problems. Tristan constantly flirts with Phaedra and Phaedra can’t help responding. Her family looks on half with chagrin and half with hope. It’s a classic Carlyle, but one full of wit and romance. Recommended by Jane. Review forthcoming.