Kirsten Reviews: Pile of Bones by Bailey Cunningham

, by Kt Clapsadl

Pile of Bones by Bailey Cunningham
Parallel Parks #1

In one world, they’re ordinary university students. In another world, they are a company of heroes in a place of magic and myth called Anfractus……

The Cree called the area Oscana, "pile of bones," a fertile hunting ground where game abounded. The white settlers changed that to Wascana. And centuries later, it became Wascana Park, a wooded retreat in the midst of the urban sprawl of Regina.

For a select few, who stay in the park until midnight, the land reverts into a magical kingdom, populated by heroes and monsters. They become warriors, bards, archers, gladiators. In the city called Anfractus, they live out a real-life role playing game.

All harmless fun—until they find themselves in the middle of an assassination plot which threatens to upset the balance of everything. Politics are changing, and old borders are about to disappear. The magic of Anfractus is bleeding into the real world—an incursion far more dangerous than the students suspect. Only they know what is happening—and only they can stop it...

Pile of Bones by Bailey Cunningham offers an interesting premise for anybody who spends their time grading essays and also enjoys playing D&D or other role playing games. Four TAs (teachers assistant), Andrew, Shelby and Carl spend their days dealing with school-related matters, but there's something beyond their routines that promises entertainment and magic.

Wascana Park was once a hunting ground for the Cree, which they called Oscana or 'pile of bones.' Now the park is a place where, at midnight, a transformation occurs, and Wascana becomes a kingdom. Anyone who remains in the park has the opportunity to become a bard, archer, warrior, or take on other personae in a city called Anfractus. Inside the city, these TAs have new names and lives, allowing them to get away from their responsibilities, or so they think.

While taking on another life is at first fun, fairly soon they are embroiled in an assassination plot, political maneuvering and on top of that, the city of Anfractus is literally bleeding magic into the ‘real world,’ and this has dire consequences.

As the first book in any new series, Pile of Bones has to both introduce a world and a large amount of lore in a relatively short amount of time. The change in names from one world to another may be confusing to some people and there is also a large amount of vocabulary for readers to get their heads around.

With the two worlds, there should be some clear rules about how things operate in each realm, but at times this becomes cloudy, and it’s hard to tell what’s supposed to be going on, or if there’s a rule that hasn’t been explained well enough, or something is just a plothole.

With urban fantasy, there’s usually some kind of romantic element, and in Pile of Bones, there is definitely some of that as the plot moves forward. All of the students seem to be trying to find romance in this world or Anfractus, but at times, both their romance and their motives are too murky to figure out out.

Of all the points of view offered by the author, Carl and Shelby are the most entertaining, while Andrew is kind of boring, and once readers get past his section of the book, the action and storyline pick up noticeably. The book ends rather abruptly, and feels like it should have more resolution on several points. Hopefully these issues will be addressed and any sequels more well-structured to expand on the rules of Anfractus as well as the effect these events have had on the real world.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


Order Links:

Other Reviews:
     Paranormal Haven
     Miss M Recommends

Waiting on Wednesday (170)

, by Kt Clapsadl

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release we are greatly anticipating.

Our pick this week:

How to Run With A Naked Werewolf - Naked Werewolf #3
by Molly Harper
Publication Date: December 31st, 2013

Caleb Graham is a werewolf by nature, a tracker by profession. He uses his “extra gifts” to find people, and not always in the most legal or ethical manner. He doesn’t care what they’ve done, or who wants them found, as long as his considerable fee is paid. He likes his life simple and uncomplicated.

Anna Moder, former physician to Caleb’s pack, happens across Caleb during a particularly violent “negotiation” that has left him bloodied and unconscious. She helps him, despite the fact that he’s cost her a car, so he insists that she stay with him on the road for a while. As they grow closer, Anna looks past the gruff exterior and and the questionable job to thoroughly decent werewolf underneath.

Anna – who is careful to edit her involvement with Caleb’s pack from their conversations – doesn’t talk about why a nice girl wants to live in the middle of frozen nowhere, but she’s obviously on the run from something. When Anna’s past collides with Caleb’s current assignment from one of his sleazier contacts, Caleb finally has to make a choice—protect his job…or his potential mate?

Kinked Blog Tour - Review & Giveaway

, by Kt Clapsadl

Kinked by Thea Harrison
Elder Races #6

Two opponents must confront the cause of their obsessive fury in the latest Novel of the Elder Races…

As a harpy, Sentinel Aryal is accustomed to dealing with hate, but Sentinel Quentin Caeravorn manages to inspire in her a burning ire unlike anything she’s ever known. Aryal believes the new Sentinel to be a criminal, and vows to take him out as soon as the opportunity arises. But the harpy’s incessant wrath has pushed Quentin to the limit, and forces him to make a deadly vow of his own.

To put an end to the conflict, Dragos, Lord of the Wyr, sends them on a reconnaissance mission to the Elven land of Numenlaur. Forced to work together, Aryal and Quentin’s mutual antagonism escalates. Each fight draws forth more passion—culminating in an explosively sexual confrontation. But when their quest reveals real danger, Aryal and Quentin must resolve their differences in ways beyond the physical, before the entire Wyr is threatened.

For the past two years Aryal has been investigating Quentin, becoming a constant thorn in his side. She knows he's dirty, she just can't prove it. So when he wins a position to be a fellow Sentinel for Dragos, the two keep clashing like firecrackers. So much so that they are banished from the city and sent out on a mission to the Elven lands and told to resolve their differences or they both were done. Both think the assignment will be torture but as they start working with one another they realize that underneath all that hatred, there's actually a fierce attraction as well. But can they move past all the resentment or will they kill one another first?

To say that I've been looking forward to this book would be an understatement. Enemies to lovers is my absolute favorite trope, and you honestly couldn't get much more enemies than Aryal and Quentin. There's just something to be said about the sparks that fly with the tension, both sexual and otherwise. And boy was that tension flying in KINKED. You never knew whether they were going to brawl or just start getting down and dirty right then and there, and I honestly loved it. Unfortunately about halfway through the book that delicious tension really started to wane, much to my disappointment. Actually the transition from their weird hate/sexual attraction to being in love was rather abrupt if you ask me. I mean they have these somewhat sort of dominance games going on, (which were HOT), and there was all this set up as they bargain and walked circles around each other. But then as soon as their feelings started to show, all of that dominance stuff went out the window, and left me feeling a bit disappointed. I just really loved the push and pull between them, and was pretty bummed to have that fizzle out. Don't get me wrong, I realized that their relationship had to grow, I just was sorry to see all that awesome tension fizzle so far down, and wished it would have continued throughout.

The plot behind KINKED was the perfect complement to the romance in my opinion. It was interesting and fast paced enough to keep me more than entertained, but it didn't overshadow the relationship between Aryal and Quentin. But even so, I loved how their journey started out as just an excuse to get the pair of them out of everyone's hair while also helping out the Elves who have been so devastated. Of course in true Thea Harrison style things do not stay so simple, and I really loved the path she took with things.

I have to say other than my frustration at the change of "style" in the romance, KINKED was almost perfect. I really loved every minute of it, and it only further cemented my love for this series. Honestly, the only thing that would make these even better would be if the wait between each new installment was less than a year. So, all in all, fans of the Elder Races will be more than pleased with this latest installment as it includes all of the elements that have built this series to be what it is. From romance to danger, action to smoking hot smexiness, KINKED is not to be missed!

(Received a copy from the publisher)



Other Reviews:
     The Window Seat on a Rainy Day
     Cocktails and Books

Previous Books:
     1. Dragon Bound
     2. Storm's Heart
     3. Serpent's Kiss
     4. Oracle's Moon
     5. Lord's Fall

Q: What is one of your favorite Myths/legends to write about?

A: When I started to write my reply to this question, I realized it wasn’t going to be a simple or easy answer! I’ve had so much fun with the world building in the Elder Races series. It’s almost impossible to pick just one.

I really enjoyed taking the Oracle of Delphi and putting it into a modern context for Oracle’s Moon. When I turned my attention to the witches’ demesne in Louisville, I wanted to make sure it felt as rich and developed as the rest of the world building I’d done for the other demesnes and mythological creatures. That story was fun for a lot of reasons, because I also really enjoyed building the Djinn society based on Middle Eastern legends.

Another favorite has been developing the Elves, in Lord’s Fall and continued in Kinked. And a third was when I created my own version of Vampyres in Serpent’s Kiss. I have two more Vampyre stories that I’m dying to tell. When I get excited about a story, it’s hard to wait for the right time to tell it!

Q: You've been gifted (or cursed) with the ability to shift into another form by a witch. What kind of shifter are you and why? (All creatures, including mythological, apply.)

A: Awesome question! I think I have two answers for that one. If it was a gift, then I think it would have to be something winged and strong. I think there’s something to be said for being as fearless as a harpy, although I’m quite sure I wouldn’t win any popularity contests!

If the ability was a curse and meant to be nasty, the witch would probably turn me into my phobia—a spider! That would be the meanest, nastiest thing anybody could ever do to me!

Q: Since Aryal is a harpy and considered an immortal Wyr, how did you approach her character development in order to make her believable and someone that readers can identify with?

A: I’ll be honest, I was worried about writing Aryal. I really didn’t want to compromise her identity. Aryal has strong emotions but no real morals in the abstract sense, no true compulsion to do what is right for its own sake. She’s abrasive and dangerous… And I had to figure out how to also make her sympathetic.

My first decision was to not be in a hurry to write her story. I wanted to take the time to show her character from a couple of different points of view. The reader first sees Aryal from Pia’s perspective in Dragon Bound, but then in Storm’s Heart I was able to show Aryal from Tricks’ point of view, someone who loved her. I also wanted to make sure that humor came into the mix. Still, the real test came when I sat down and actually started writing Kinked. Then I had to get close enough to her to write her as a main POV character. It helped that I had so many established relationships and characters to work with—such as Grym, Dragos and Graydon—and the world-building in place. With that in place, I could concentrate on developing Aryal herself. I’m very grateful to my editor Cindy Hwang for providing such a supportive platform to write Kinked.

Q: Do you have an Elder Race Bible to help keep your facts start? If not, how the heck do you keep your facts start?

A: So far I’ve had two things in my favor—I’ve got a bit of a freakish memory for detail when it comes to writing, and I also have fantastic beta readers who are good at spotting issues. Still, the world has become big and complicated enough that I’ve got someone working on a series bible right now. It’s over a hundred pages by now and should be done by the end of the year.

Q: Who was the harder character to write Aryal or Quentin and why?

Neither character was as hard as I had feared they would be when I started Kinked. Still, Quentin was easier. I felt more confident writing his character, and I felt the stakes were pretty high on getting Aryal’s character right.

Q: Was there anything about Aryal that surprised you as her story unfolded?

A: I think I probably had the same experience as a writer that several readers have had so far in reading the book—I was surprised at how much I ended up liking and enjoying her. I wouldn’t want to rush out and befriend a real-life Aryal, but I think she’s pretty cool between the pages, and I’m really looking forward to writing more about her.

Q: In the event of an apocalypses (zombie, alien, solar flare or 4 horsemen) which of your characters would you like to team up with?

A: I would absolutely like to team up with Dragos—as long as I was someone he valued, otherwise he might ditch me in a heartbeat.

Q: What is next for the Elder Race series?

A: I’m now contracted for books 7-9, so I’m writing Graydon’s story which will be released around August of 2014. The main characters have also been decided for books 8 and 9, and I’m eager to get to those stories!

I also wrote a self-published project, a novella entitled Dragos Takes A Holiday, which releases November 25th. I loved spending time with Dragos and Pia, and their little son Peanut gets his POV debut.

It’s been a pleasure to visit with you. Thanks for having me!

Author info:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison is the pen name for Teddy Harrison. Thea has traveled extensively, having lived in England and explored Europe for several years. Now she resides in Colorado. She wrote her first book, a romance, when she was nineteen and had sixteen romances published under the name Amanda Carpenter.

She took a break from writing to collect a couple of graduate degrees and a grown child. She experienced waitressing as a teenager, has worked as an activist for a non-profit consumer rights organization, has been a receptionist, an office manager, a penniless graduate student, a director of development and research, and a single mom. Her graduate degrees are in Philanthropic Studies and Library Information Science, but her first love has always been writing fiction.

Her paranormal Elder Races series began May 3, 2011 with Dragon Bound, which won RT Book Review’s Book of the Year Award, and the Romance Writer’s of America RITA in the paranormal romance category.

All five of her full length novels in the Elder Races series have won Top Picks from RT Book Reviews. Book two in the series, Storm’s Heart, and book four, Oracle’s Moon, hit the USA Today bestseller’s list, while book three, Serpent’s Kiss, hit the New York Times extended bestseller list. Her fifth book, Lord’s Fall, hit both the USA Today and the New York Times extended lists.

She adores animals and currently resides with two small dogs that have very large personalities.

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Wild Card Cover Reveal

, by Kt Clapsadl

Today I'm very happy to be sharing the fabulous cover for Jamie Wyman's upcoming book. Wild Card. Before I show off the cover, here's a bit about Wild Card:

It was bad enough that gods gambled with human souls, but Catherine Sharp's soul just had to be won by the Greek goddess of Discord, Eris. As if working a dead-end tech support job didn't suck the life out of her as it was. Now, Cat finds herself performing random tasks for the goddess in her free time.

But when Coyote, the Native American trickster himself, claims to have won her own soul in Mayhem's weekly poker game, Cat wants in on the action. With five sneaky gods upping the ante, Cat needs to find a way to collect the winning chips that could save her soul.

Marius, a handsome yet irritating satyr with his own debt to Eris, might finally come in handy for something. If they play their cards right and work together, Cat and Marius may just get their freedom back. If they don't kill each other—or fall in love—first.

Isn't is gorgeous?

About Jamie:

After a misspent adulthood pursuing a Music Education degree, JAMIE WYMAN fostered several interests before discovering that being an author means never having to get out of pajamas. (However, she can eat/spin fire, tell you a lot about auditioning to be a Blue Man, and read/write in Circular Gallifreyan.) As an author, Jamie’s favorite playgrounds are urban fantasy, horror and creepy carnival settings. When she’s not traipsing about with her imaginary friends, she lives in Phoenix with two hobbits and two cats. She is proud to say she has a deeply disturbed following at her blog.

Jamie’s debut novel, WILD CARD, will be coming to an e-reader near you November 2013 thanks to Entangled Publishing. You can also find her short story “The Clever One” in the anthology WHEN THE HERO COMES HOME 2 (Dragon Moon Press, August ’13).

Covet October Releases & Giveaways

, by Kt Clapsadl

As long time readers of this blog know, I absolutely love all things Paranormal. So much so, that when the position for the Publicity Director of Entangled Publishing's Paranormal Romance line, Covet, opened up, there wasn't even a moment's hesitation in knowing this position was perfect for me. Covets have all the sexiness, emotion, and happily ever after that readers have come to expect and love from Entangled. They are firmly grounded in the contemporary world, but each novel brings in supernatural twists, breaking the contemporary and paranormal rules, alike. To find out more about our titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books you’ll be coveting next, visit the Entangled website, follow us on Twitter, and LIKE our Facebook page.

I love being able to combine work and play, so today I'm featuring our October releases. Make sure to check them out and enter the fabulous giveaways!!

Bad Cop by Angela McCallister
Bad Mouth Sequel

A cop who tosses the rulebooks to get his way…

Vampire Ian McCready doesn’t care for Alice Capshaw’s opinions about his version of justice. Her humanity makes her off-limits, but that does nothing to lessen his overwhelming desire for her. To Alice, Ian is just another bad cop as detestable as the one who destroyed her family. She’s attracted to him, yes, but he threatened his way into her agency’s murder case and has too many secrets.

When a new case resurrects ghosts Ian believed long dead and buried, his law-bending ways might result in his execution. The second Alice becomes a target, his cold heart flares into blinding existence. But following the law for her sake may end with devastating results.

Four Weddings and a Werewolf
Seattle Wolf Pack #2

To have and to howl…

Logan Black, former Marine and bodyguard for the Seattle Wolf Pack, hates weddings and has no plan to walk the path to matrimonial misery. But when he’s hired to protect a hot-to-trot wedding planner with a werewolf stalker, he’s forced to put his feelings aside. Not such an easy task when the damsel can turn him on with a single smoldering glance.

Wedding planner Veronica Vale knows werewolves exist, but hates them. One bit her sister, changing their lives forever. When a sexy Marine shows his gorgeous face at one of her wedding appointments, Veronica finds it hard to focus on the task at hand.

The chemistry drawing Logan and Veronica together seems fated, but with Logan’s playboy attitude, Veronica’s hatred for werewolves, and a stalker lurking in the shadows, these two need more than passion to keep them together.

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Monday Wrapup (170)

, by Kt Clapsadl

It's Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Journey, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Reviews for the past week:

The Lair by Emily McKay (Early Review)
"I'm still in awe at how intense this book was, from the romance to the constant threat of the ticks, plus the overall arcing issue of the vampires and politics, and survival. I could go on and on."

  Darkness Splintered by Keri Arthur (Early Review)
"I think the biggest indicator of a phenomenal author is one that can write book after book that keeps the reader coming back for more, and this surely fits Keri Arthur. It's pretty much a guarantee at this point that I can pick up any one of her books and know that I'll love it, and this one is no exception. Honestly, Keri Arthur should be on every urban fantasy lover's auto buy list, which she proves yet again with this fabulous showing in DARKNESS SPLINTERED."

Kirsten's Book of the Week:

Casino Infernale by Simon R. Green (Review)
"The story is fun, and the combination of Eddie and Molly are sure to equal banter and action in equal amounts, but by this point in the series, it feels like there needs to be a big shift in order to keep further stories fresh and interesting."

Other Posts:

We featured the Edge October Books + giveaways
The Spider by Jennifer Estep was featured for Waiting on Wednesday
The Cold Blooded Tour stopped by + giveaway
We received 22 books in the past month. Check our Stacking the Shelves, October Edition.

Upcoming List:

Kinked by Thea Harrison  (Early Review)
Daylighters by Rachel Caine (Early Review)

Kirsten Reviews: Pile of Bones by Bailey Cunningham

Ever After October Releases & Giveaways

, by Kt Clapsadl

Find Your Ever After in Under An Hour

October is the official release month for the all new Ever After. Ever After features paranormal, sci-fi, and horror novellas, all with the romance you've come to love from Entangled--just in a shorter format.

 Ever After is celebrating in style with four new releases and great giveaways, including a Kindle Fire. Make sure to like their new Facebook Page and follow them on Twitter

Vampire Games by Tiffany Allee
Otherworlder Enforcement Agency #4

She’s seen the past…

OWEA Agent Beatrice Davis is haunted by the death visions that help her solve crimes. When Detective Claude Desmairis, her vampire ex-lover, asks for her assistance on a case, she’d rather help him than take the mandated leave to stave off her burn-out.

The truth won’t stay buried…

Pressed to solve a series of crimes before the perpetrator blows the vampire world apart, Claude turns to a woman he thought he’d been able to leave behind. But he was wrong, and his feelings for her will only bring trouble in an investigation this dangerous. As their passions reignite, they see a possible future together. Until her visions show her the face of the murderer—a man Claude can never betray.

Ghosts of Kingston Cottage by Libby Bishop

She believes in ghosts.

Medium and paranormal investigator Arabella Pierce is sent with her crew to Kingston Cottage, a haunted Maine seafarer’s cottage on an isolated island, but for this investigation, her boss has stuck them with skeptical reporter Lucas Brown. Though he’s hot as they come, Arabella can’t trust a man whose sole job is to discredit her and the work she does. Not after what happened with the last few skeptics...

He believes in evidence.

But Lucas isn’t as skeptical as he seems—he wants the truth, no matter what that is. When the ghosts appear, he and Arabella must work together—in tight quarters—to convince the resident ghosts to move on before a storm strands the entire crew on the island. If Arabella can put aside her prejudices, she and Lucas just might have a shot at a lifetime.

Ghost of the Falls by Sarah Gilman

Determined to prove she’s fit for the family business, exorcist Jade Clarence knows the assignment waiting in Maine is her last chance. Born into a family of exorcists, Jade’s unorthodox ideas have gotten her into trouble in the past...and cost the life of a client.

After haunting a Maine state park for more than a century, Dutch Hutchinson will do whatever it takes to bring an end to his unfulfilling existence. When an act of arson brings a beautiful exorcist to town, Dutch takes corporeal form in order to spend his last hours in her company.

Jade quickly uncovers Dutch’s true identity and finds herself falling for the man behind the spirit. But when Jade’s legacy threatens their future, they will have to overcome the greatest of odds—life and death.

Less Than Perfect by Kelly Jensen

Mikayla’s read every book in her collection of post-apocalyptic novels at least twice. She thinks she’s prepared for aliens taking over Earth. She’s not.

Nor is she prepared for the attention of a good-looking refugee named Reg.

All Mikayla and Reg want is a safe place to see out the end of the world, hidden away from the aliens that call themselves The People, but cities of the depopulated United States not infested with The People are rife with gangs, the detritus of civilization and disease.

On a mission to restock their supplies, Mikayla and Reg are captured by The People and prepared for the procedure that will make them perfect, but no longer quite human. In order to escape, they need to rely on each other…if Mikayla can trust a man who seems too good to be true.

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Stacking the Shelves (30)

, by Kt Clapsadl

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

So I've become really bad at keeping up with these posts on a biweekly basis, so I've decided to just do them monthly on the last Saturday of each month. So without further ado, here is our October 2013 Stacking the Shelves:

For Review:

Thank you Ace, Berkley, Jove, Roc, Signet, Viking, & Zebra!!

From Netgalley:

Thank you Delacorte, Harlequin Mira, K-Teen, Signet & Thea Harrison!!

From Edelweiss: 

Thank you DAW & Pocket !!

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