Cover Reveal: Stolas – Randi Cooley Wilson

Stolas
Randi Cooley Wilson
(Dark Soul Series, #1)
Publication date: Fall 2016
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal

An ancient legend draws them together. His dark soul will tear them apart.

Sometimes, the only fairy tales that exist…are the dark ones.

For the past two years, Hope Annandale has fought to hold onto her sanity. Plagued by voices and visions, she struggles to understand what’s real, and what’s an illusion. As the lines between reality and hallucination blur, Hope discovers things that shouldn’t be real, exist.

When Hope’s world falls apart, figuring out the secrets of her past becomes a matter of life and death. And the only one who can save her is the dangerously attractive demon prince, who is bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

The fate Stone has fought to escape is here. With destiny on one side, and desire on the other, Stone must protect Hope from the one thing he can’t hide from…his birthright.

What if the one person you were meant to be with could never be yours?

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Author Bio:

Randi Cooley Wilson is an author of paranormal, urban fantasy and contemporary romance books. Randi makes stuff up, devours romance books, drinks lots of coffee, prefers champagne, and has a slight addiction to bracelets. She currently resides in Massachusetts with her daughter and husband. For more information visit: http://randicooleywilson.com

Photo Credit: Gretje Ferguson Photography

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Cover Reval: Under A Million Stars – Rita Branches

Under A Million Stars
Rita Branches
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Can a beating heart bleed from the shattered pieces?

Her heart cracked when her best friend walked away; it completely shattered when she lost her family in a tragic accident.

Now orphaned at seventeen, Charlotte Peterson is forced to live with her former best friend, Jacob Parker. Charlie, a talented pianist, desperately wants their loving friendship back, but something is holding Jake back. The more she spirals into the darkness of depression, the more she needs him.

Jacob vowed to stay away from her—no matter how much he still loved her. Armed with secrets that would have destroyed both of their families, he chose to end their friendship and walk away, which nearly killed him. As he watches the girl he once knew begin to fade away, however, he realizes that their relationship is more important than the truth he’s hiding.

Now it’s up to Jacob to put the pieces of Charlie’s broken heart back together—even if it means revealing the secrets he so desperately wants to protect her from.

Will Jacob find a way to bring back the carefree, talented girl he once knew, or is it too late for both of them?

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StarsFull

Author Bio:

Rita Branches is an independent YA (young adult) author who enjoys spending every free moment (when she´s not reading) writing emotional stories. Visit: http://ritabranches.wordpress.com/

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Mini Review Round-Up: April-May 2016

I haven’t had time to write full reviews of all the books I’ve read recently…actually, I haven’t had a lot of time to read in general! But here are some mini reviews for the last couple of books I read (and didn’t talk about on Mind the Gap).

The Archived – Victoria “V.E.” Schwab

As you may know, I’m obsessed with V.E. Schwab’s Shades of London trilogy (here are my reviews of ADSOM and AGOS), so now I just want to read ALL THE THINGS she’s ever written. I loved the premise of The Archived, and even liked the characters (any love interest who wears guyliner is fine by me), but it took a while to really get going and there were moments where I felt like I had missed something. There was also a plotline that seemed predictable to me, but I liked how it was handled, and I found myself tearing up during some of Mac’s remembered conversations with her beloved grandpa. Even though her writing in this book is still a million times better than mine on a good day, it’s interesting to see how an author’s command over words can change over the years/books. (Rating: 4 interrobangs)

Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People – Douglas Coupland and Graham Roumieu

I decided to read this one because Douglas Coupland was going to be at my work and I figured I may as well give his writing a shot in case I ended up becoming his biggest fan. Spoiler alert: I did not become his biggest fan. I’ve always sort of suspected that I wouldn’t be into his style, but it was a quick read so I didn’t dwell on it for too long – just long enough to know that Sandra the babysitter was my favourite story. He’s one of those authors where I get the feeling I’m missing a deeper meaning (heavily veiled satire is not my jam at all). I did like the (occasionally gory) illustrations by Graham Roumieu – they have a Quentin Blakes-meets-Tim Burton vibe which is definitely something I’m into. (Rating: 3 interrobangs)

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand – Jonathan Stroud

This was the first Jonathan Stroud book I read (13 years ago!! Literally half my life!!) and I remember being floored by how amazing it was. Thankfully, it lived up to my memories (this is the first time I’ve reread it in ages) and reminded me of why I became a Stroud fangirl in the first place (you may recall that I gush about his Lockwood & Co series all the time). Personally, I love how sarcastic Bartimaeus is, and Nathaniel’s cold detachement makes him an interesting – if not always likeable – protagonist. I’m just about done the second book now, so maybe I’ll do a full series review in a month or so. (Rating: 5 interrobangs)

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

This book has won eleven billion awards and is super hyped up in the YA book community, but I was so underwhelmed. It took over 100 pages for anything good to happen…and, in this case, “good” is relative. I didn’t love the style (phonetic spelling in books will always drive me bonkers until it’s being used to denote an accent…and even then it can get old quickly), I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, and, while I find a dog talking about poo as funny as the next person, after the seventh time Manchee said “Poo, Todd?” it stopped being entertaining. I know people love this book, but I was so disappointed, possibly because it’s dystopian (aka my least favourite genre). With a series name like “Chaos Walking”, I expected something so much more epic. (Rating: 2.5 interrobangs)

Book Blitz: Sleeping Tom – E.V. Fairfall

Sleeping Tom
E.V. Fairfall
(Sleeping Tom #1)
Publication date: February 14th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Hitchhiking is a bad idea but Caden is desperate.

When she accepts a ride from the first car to come by she meets Gabriel. He’s her age, hot, and the closest thing she has to a savior. Problem is, he is a total jerk. With nowhere to go, Caden convinces Gabriel to let her stay with him for one night. He reluctantly lends a couch.

That night Caden wakes up to strange noises. Concerned, she rushes into Gabriel’s room, already anticipating his bad temper. Instead, he’s kind, sweet, and suspiciously harmless—nothing like the man who gave her a ride. He seems like a different person altogether, and claims he is. By night he is Tom, and by day he is Gabriel. Caden finds herself drawn to the mysteries hidden in his eyes.

For Gabriel, Caden is an annoying mistake. One night turns into many, and despite all his anger towards her, she stays. She even seems to accept him and his flaws, but he still doesn’t trust her—is she staying for him, or has she already discovered more than he’s willing to share?

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Grab yours today for only 99cents (for a limited time only)!
Stay tuned for Waking Gabriel‘s release in July!

Author Bio:

The hunger is encompassing, so she feeds the beast books. But the hunger never settles… so she writes. E.V. Fairfall has an itch that drives her to the world of story telling. With several published short stories, and soon several books (fingers crossed), she explores the topics of humanity and hardship.

During the daylight hours, a book is always within reach. She spends her nights reading with her husband, surrounded by towers of tomes and three furry children curled in close. If she isn’t reading, she is browsing bookstores or hiking, but always awaiting her next adventure.

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Book Blitz: Shining Sea – Mimi Cross

Shining Sea
Mimi Cross
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: May 24 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Arion Rush has always played the obedient sidekick to her older sister’s flashy femme fatale—until a mysterious boating accident leaves Lilah a silent, traumatized stranger. As her sister awaits medical treatment with their mother, Arion and their father head to his hometown in Maine to prepare a new life for them all. Surrounded by the vast Atlantic, songwriting is Arion’s only solace, her solid ground.

Unexpectedly, Arion blossoms in the tiny coastal town. Friends flock to her, and Logan Delaine, a volatile heartthrob, seems downright smitten. But it’s Bo Summers—a solitary surfer, as alluring as he is aloof—that Arion can’t shake. Meanwhile, Lilah’s worsening condition, a string of local fatalities, and Arion’s own recent brushes with death seem ominously linked…to Bo’s otherworldly family. As Arion’s feelings for Bo intensify and his affections turn possessive, she must make a choice. How will Arion learn to listen to her own voice when Bo’s siren song won’t stop ringing in her ears?

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Author Bio:

Mimi Cross was born in Toronto, Canada. She received a master’s degree from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in music from Ithaca College. She has been a performer, a music educator, and a yoga instructor. During the course of her musical career, she’s shared the bill with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Sting. She resides in New Jersey.

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Book Blitz: Curse – Steven James

Curse
Steven James
(Blur Trilogy #3)
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: May 24th 2016
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

Don’t miss this intriguing and climactic conclusion to the Blur Trilogy.

As Daniel Byers prepares to attend a basketball camp before his senior year of high school, the terrifying blurs that’ve plagued him for the last nine months return.

Dark images begin to haunt him—creatures crawling from the deepest pits of his nightmares, glimmers of chilling memories from his early childhood. But before he can unearth the meaning behind his mysterious hallucinations, Daniel must team up with two other extraordinary teens to save a young woman who has been abducted by a scientist obsessed with enacting his own warped form of justice.

This atmospheric mystery picks up where Fury left off and takes readers into the uncharted regions where reality and madness intertwine.

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Author Bio:

Best known for his high-octane thrillers, Steven James is the award-winning author of eleven suspense novels. The Blur Trilogy is his first mystery series for teens. Steven has taught creative writing around the world and loves rock climbing, science fiction movies, and chicken fajitas. Find him at http://www.stevenjames.net.

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Book Blitz: The Heart’s Journey Home: A Layover in Doppelganger-Ville – Nikki Jackson

The Heart’s Journey Home: A Layover in Doppelganger-Ville
Nikki Jackson
(The Heart’s Journey Home, #2)
Publication date: April 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Picking up where The Heart’s Journey Home: California Blend Summer Vacation leaves off, book two in the series follows seventeen-year-old Tori Logan as she and her best friends, AJ and Kalea, accompany Tori’s archeologist father to Israel.

Tori Logan is used to her life looking a little different from the lives of other girls her age. She’s also used to having plenty of adventures, so when she and her best friends see an excavated quarry in one of Jerusalem’s most famous archeological sites, they waste no time checking it out for themselves. Adventurous and fiercely independent, Tori leads her friends into the quarry where they happen upon what appears to be a secret passageway. As the trio laughs and jokes, small rumblings turn into big quakes and the walls start to crumble around them. Kalea and AJ escape, but the site collapses before Tori can find her way out.

When she comes regains consciousness, Tori realizes she’s traveled back in time to ancient Jerusalem. With her quick wit and drive to survive, she concocts a story about why she, a foreigner, is there and finds shelter with a widow woman named Judith – who looks exactly like her father’s live-in girlfriend, Rachel.

As Tori encounters other people who are spitting images of loved ones back at home, she must reconcile truths about herself with the hard realities about the situation in which she finds herself. But will these lessons last once she’s back at home?

Will she even make it home?

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Author Bio:

Nikki Jackson considers herself to be an Indie Writer, Journeyman and Traveler. She’s camped out in the Grand Canyon just to see the sunrise over a stupendous backdrop and she yet dreams to travel to Mount Everest, not to climb any part of it but to simply stand at the North Base Camp and take it all in, in person. Nikki’s love of adventure was inspired at an early age at the local library where she spent summers reading about young travelers going cross-country and around the world. She loved the adventures that took her out of the bottom bunk of her bed (her favorite reading spot) and had her soaring across the clouds to lands filled with wonderful and diverse people. It was then and there Nikki decided she wanted to be a writer – she wanted to have the same effect on people reading books had on her. The Heart’s Journey Home is the beginning of the adventure.

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Mini Show Reviews: May 2016

Since I’ve been to a couple (well, three) shows in the past week-and-a-half, I decided to write mini reviews rather than dedicate a full post to each one.

Pearl Jam – May 12

PJ_photo_2016

My sister and I bought these tickets for our dad (who really only goes to shows if one/both of us is with him) since he’s been listening to Pearl Jam for years. I have to admit that I only knew a handful of songs on the setlist, but that didn’t stop us from having a good time – you gotta love some nineties grunge/alternative. A personal highlight for me was “Daughter“, which I like warbling at my dad, and when they surprisingly played “Last Kiss” (if you ever want to feel sad, listen to that song). For a bunch of “old” dudes (the band has been around literally as long as I’ve been alive), they had a lot of energy and played for over two hours straight with maybe a five minute break before the encore. My dad also loves that Eddie Vedder swigs from a bottle of wine while on stage, but miraculously is still coherent (well, mostly – we had a hard time understanding him, but it could have been our nosebleed seats). They’re also some pretty stand-up guys: they mentioned a couple of benefits they’re working with, not to mention the fact that some of the proceeds from their show were going to Alberta to help for the Fort McMurray fires.


Enter Shikari – May 19

EnterShikari_Tokyo_TomMartin

Admittedly, one of the reasons I was stoked for this show was the opening band – those wonderful Australian chaps, Hands Like Houses – but Enter Shikari were brilliant as well.

HLH’s set was short but tight, and I can only imagine how insane their headlining shows are. They’re so full of energy and the setlist – mostly tracks from their recent album, Dissonants, including the epic “I Am” – flows together really well.

I also found myself really getting into ES this time around. One thing I like about them is the combination of some of my favourite musical elements: a sick beat and some unclean vocals. They didn’t stop to chat too much (though there was one hilarious moment involving a crowd-surfer who lost his shoe), but powered their way through their set, playing some tracks off of The Mindsweep such as “Anaesthetist” and older tunes including “Solidarity“, plus their new single, “Redshift“. The crowds are always so wild during an ES show, so I tend to sit on the balcony if I can manage it, but I do think it’s about time for them to be ungraded to a bigger venue (it was hot as balls in the club because of all the people).

P.S. You can read my interview with front-man Rou Reynolds for idobi radio here!


The 1975 – May 201975This was our fourth time seeing these English gents, first time since they released their second album, and the show was, of course, amazing. Matty’s gotten a bit chattier since that first time they played in Canada, but they genuinely seemed to be having fun. Their drummer had been injured about a week or so ago, so they had a replacement – but you could barely tell he wasn’t an original member because they sounded so put-together. It’s also wonderful to see the way they’ve grown as a band, both in terms of their sound and the tightness of their set, but also their popularity: they went from playing to 600 people in 2013 to 5000 people in 2016, which is pretty impressive. Of course I loved the older songs – “Chocolate”, “Robbers”, and “Sex”, in particular – but the new songs were also beautiful – especially my faves off the album, “A Change of Heart“, and “UGH!“. They also paid a mini tribute to their original fans with “Fallingforyou“, a song off of one of their first EPs.

If you get a chance to see The 1975 live, do it! They’re completely worth the money (and the hype)!