Thursday 31 July 2014

Book Promo - Mortis

In an underground school rife with duels and deadly classes, Jane hides in the shadows to stay alive. She is the invisible assassin. But as she prepares to graduate from Mortis and take her place in the world as a fully-trained killer, Jane stumbles over shadowy secrets revealing dark truths that affect more than her world. Will she embrace the darkness, or betray the school that raised her—and the boy she loves? Once Jane sets herself against her school, there is no turning back because in Mortis, failure always means death.

Hannah Cobb lives in Maryland, where she maintains a cover identity as a librarian by day and moonlights as a writer. She finished her first novel at the age of twelve, though sadly this charming tale of princesses, warrior maidens, and a middle school attempt at witty dialogue will never see the light of day. Since then Hannah acquired degrees in both English and Library Science, which involved reading a great many examples of genuinely good writing, and inspired her to pursue a writing career as an adult. When she isn’t writing, Hannah enjoys designing elaborate period costumes and collecting swords.

Purchase links:

Guest Post

Why Fantasy?
Twilight. Harry Potter. Newer sensations like Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. Teen fantasy has grown so popular that it requires a multitude of subgenres—we classify Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series as steampunk, and Holly Black’s dark Curseworkers trilogy as urban fantasy. Pick any two books off the YA fantasy shelf in your favorite bookstore, and I guarantee you’ll flip through two entirely different worlds. But this isn’t a post about what defines teen fantasy; it’s a reminder of the importance of fantasy, especially for teen readers.
Stories are windows into other worlds and other souls. They are also mirrors—they can show us both our best and worst selves. Today’s teens look at the world around them and see war, natural disasters, and terrorism reported in the news. If they haven’t experienced any of these hardships themselves, they turn to fantasy for windows into a world where this darkness can make sense, where evil is explained or defeated.  And there are plenty of teens looking for themselves in these stories, too, searching out mirrors of their better selves—better selves who overcome the hardship and defeat the villain, who are brave enough to speak up against evil or set off on a quest to save someone else with sacrificial bravery.
In a way teen fantasy is a mirror of the darkness in the real world; but it also, almost universally, offers a spark of hope in the midst of that darkness. Harry defeats Voldemort in the end (hopefully that wasn’t a spoiler for anyone). He faces seven thick books of struggle before that key moment—fighting himself, dark wizards, even his friends, but in the end Voldemort is destroyed, and the wizarding world is safe. Madeline L’lengle said it best in her old-but-amazing teen novel, A Ring of Endless Light: “Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” So don’t let readers of other genres demote teen fantasy to mere “escapism.” All the magic and mayhem in the latest bestselling YA fantasy will be a window or a mirror to many of the teens who pick it up. And no matter your age, it never hurts to read a reminder that the spark of hope is out there—whether it is lit by an orphan in a galaxy far, far away, or by the Chosen One in wire-rimmed glasses and long black robes.

Felix stopped beside the roped-in dueling ring, waiting for Willy to thread her way down the stands.
She elbowed through the last of the crowd and emerged at his side, grinning. “I can’t wait to see his face when you win.”
Anyone else would have counseled caution. Felix found himself answering her grin. He tossed Willy his coat and rolled up his shirtsleeves. “It’s not his face I care about.”
“She’s here,” Willy said, answering the question he hadn’t asked.
His eyes rose to the stands again, and found Jane at once. He could see her fury in the tilt of her chin, in the inscrutable line of her mouth. She hadn’t spoken to him since the challenge.
Willy elbowed him. “Focus, Felix. She’ll get over it.”
“Is that supposed to comfort me while I face possible death?”
“If you die defending her, she’ll die of a broken heart a few days later. Just like in the ballads.”
Felix pulled his attention back to the ring. “You haven’t quite mastered the solemn tone of a dueling second, Will.”
“Yeah, well, I’m more used to being in the ring myself.” Willy straightened up, her hand settling on her own student sword. “Here he comes.”
Kade paused in the doorway, raking the room with a glance that laid ownership to everyone in the stands. He swaggered his way to the ring.
The school rioted in response, half the crowd cheering for Felix, the other half chanting Kade’s name, a rhythmic battle of sound. Felix ignored the noise. Kade preened in it, bowing and then bowing again, a sharp nod that set the bells in his hair jingling.
Then Kade deliberately swept his gaze over the audience. His stare fastened on Jane.
Felix saw Jane’s smile vanish, her expression brittle. His fingers tightened around his sword hilt. “Kade, this isn’t a player’s stage. Are you here to fight or to amuse the crowd?”
Before Kade could answer the hall fell silent, a stillness enforced by the masters’ presence in the doorway. Black robes brushed the floor as they strode to their places around the ring, one master for each of the twelve spikes holding the rope boundary.
Felix entered the dueling circle. He should have been afraid His gaze turned to Kade’s sword with its sixteen gold rings around the hilt, marking the older boy as a member of the senior class.
The sword in his own hand bore only fourteen gold rings.
He performed the requisite bow to his opponent.
“Begin,” one of the masters said.
Kade’s sword snapped forward. Felix felt the grind of steel against steel through his wrist and up his arm. His feet slid across the floor, sword flashing from strike to block to lunge without conscious thought.
The noise outside the ring hammered at him: Willy bellowing, “Hit him, Felix!” from the edge of the ring, catcalls when Kade stumbled, moans when the older student recovered and attacked again. The razor edge of Kade’s sword grazed Felix’s shoulder.
Kade drew back, smirking. “Want to give up, boy?”
Felix transferred his sword to his left hand and Kade bore down on him, forcing both their blades sideways. Felix slammed himself into his opponent. For a moment they strained against each other, feet planted on the floor in stubborn refusal to give way.
Kade’s hand twitched to the right and Felix wrenched free, hooking a foot around Kade’s leg and jerking the older boy off his feet.
The cheering from the stands vanished in a collective indrawn breath.
Felix stood over Kade and let his eyes rise to the stands, just for a moment.
Jane’s expression hadn’t changed, but this time her anger swept through him like a sturdy kind of warmth. She nodded to him, just once.
Willy flung herself into the ring, howling with delight, and the hall shook with the cheering, the stands rattling, the vaulted ceiling vibrating above them.
Felix remembered to breathe. The lightning-sharp anger of the fight sizzled inside him. It took an effort to hold his sword steady. 
He could kill Kade. He’d won the duel.
“You wouldn’t dare,” Kade hissed, arrogant even in defeat.
He wanted Kade dead, but not yet. Not like this.
Not with Jane watching.
He leaned down so only Kade would hear. “Next time you think of coming near her, remember this. Remember what it feels like to greet death.”
The tip of his blade flicked once, leaving a triangle of blood at the base of Kade’s throat.
Felix’s eyes bored into Kade’s.  “Remember that Jane is mine.”
He sheathed his sword, turned on his heel, and left the ring.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Author Interview - Sidney Blaylock (Fae)

Alpena, MI (July 22, 2014)World Weaver Press (Eileen Wiedbrauk, Editor-in-Chief) has announced FAE, a new anthology of fairy stories from classic tales to urban fantasy, edited by Rhonda Parrish, is available in trade paperback and ebook today, Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

Meet Robin Goodfellow as you've never seen him before, watch damsels in distress rescue themselves, get swept away with the selkies and enjoy tales of hobs, green men, pixies and phookas. One thing is for certain, these are not your grandmother’s fairy tales. Fairies have been both mischievous and malignant creatures throughout history. They’ve dwelt in forests, collected teeth or crafted shoes. FAE is full of stories that honor that rich history while exploring new and interesting takes on the fair folk from castles to computer technologies to modern midwifing, the Old World to Indianapolis. FAE bridges traditional and modern styles, from the familiar feeling of a good old- fashioned fairy tale to urban fantasy and horror with a fae twist. This anthology covers a vast swath of the fairy story spectrum, making the old new and exploring lush settings with beautiful prose and complex characters.
With an introduction by Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, and new stories
Sidney Blaylock Jr., Amanda Block, Kari Castor, Beth Cato, Liz
, Rhonda Eikamp, Lor Graham, Alexis A. Hunter, L.S. Johnson, Jon Arthur Kitson, Adria Laycraft, Lauren Liebowitz, Christine Morgan, Shannon Phillips, Sara Puls, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Kristina Wojtaszek

FAE is available in trade paperback and ebook via,,, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram. You can also find Fae on Goodreads.
Anthologist Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and is the editor of the benefit anthology, Metastasis. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. Her website, updated weekly, is at
World Weaver Press is a publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction, dedicated to producing quality works. We believe in great storytelling.

Sidney Blaylock author of “Faerie Knyght”
What was the inspiration for your Fae story?
Surprisingly enough, Faerie Knight started with an idea of gaining mystical powers from the names of full moons and using that power for the greater good.  There are names for each of the full moons that vary depending on the source, but there were two constants: Hunter’s Moon and Harvest Moon.  I wanted a character that received his power during the Hunter’s Moon and then lost it once the Hunter’s Moon was over.  Tide played a huge role in the magical system, but I dialed that back in later drafters.
There was always a faerie element to the story—the original antagonist was a Redcap (a malevolent fae who dye their caps in their victim’s blood) along with two trolls.  They had stolen a changeling for the Queen of the Fae.  That story evolved after I rediscovered Spencer’s The Faerie Queene (which I had read excerpts from in a college class).  Using Spencer’s work as inspiration, the story started to fall into place and it morphed into the story that is in Fae the moment I reimagined the Faerie Queen as a force for good in the world.
Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?
No, I’ve written other things dealing with fairies.  I’ve written another short-story about an elven gunslinger called Knight of the Wylde West (tentatively coming out in November of this year).  I’ve also written the script for the first issue of a (projected) four issue comic book series entitled, Faerie Fire, which I liken to The Lord of the Rings meets Roger Zelanzny’s Amber series featuring warring factions of Elves for the throne of the Faerielands.  I’m hoping to find an artist for this project in the sometime soon, so I safely say that I don’t think the Fae are done with me yet.
I like the element of magic and it is the mystical nature of faeriekind that appeals to me.  I’ve always been interested in the fantastical and this has translated into a love of science fiction and fantasy.  Writing about the faerie allows me to create characters, plots, and settings that are far from ordinary, or like in Faerie Knight, have the mystical and fantastical hidden in our mundane world.  It’s that potential that makes faerie stories (or speculative fiction, for that matter) so appealing for me to write.
Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?
So, my story is a little different in that my protagonist is essentially a changeling.  He was abandoned by his birth parents due to his disability and taken in to the Seelie Court by the Queen.  The antagonist (which I call a Samhain) is not technically a faerie either, but the idea of Halloween.  Ive made it a faerie and not a very pleasant one at that.  His description (a pumpkin-head and a scythe) recalls the idea of the Halloween which was a harvest festival.  However, I tried very hard to ground my characters in a setting using traditional faerie tropes: the Seelie Court, trolls, a magical system based on Glamour (illusion vs reality), and elements of the good/bad elements of being a changeling..
My favorite type of fae would be elves. I was lucky enough to find Dungeons and Dragons early in its life-cycle (when TSR still published the system).  I loved the way that they portrayed elves: lithe, quick, preternaturally gifted and able to master whatever they set their mind to do.  Slight in build, but strong in heart and character, the elves in the D&D universe (which I later discovered was an evolution of Tolkiens elves from his works) were the model to which I aspired.
Sara Puls author of “Ten Ways to Self-Sabotage, Only Some of Which Relate to Fairies”
What was the inspiration for your Fae story?
My inspiration for writing this story was something pretty mundane--I had a bit of an ant problem at my house. Somehow, that got me thinking about a fairy infestation...
Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?
I have written one other fairy story of sorts--about a lady that works as a "matchmaker" for the fairy creatures, where fairies are loosely defined as "creatures that exist because we believe in them. Because we talk about them and write about them and dream about them." That story is available here.
Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?
Well, my story actually contains about eleven types of fairies, including pixies! selkies! dryads! and trolls! The most prominently-featured fairy, however, is a “mermaid fairy,” who contributes to a bit of friction between the two main characters.
Shannon Phillips author of “The Fairy Midwife”

What was the inspiration for your Fae story?
Mine is actually a modern spin on a traditional Celtic fairy tale. In its original form, "The Fairy Midwife" centers on a woman who is (at first unwittingly) hired to serve as a midwife to a fairy mother. She gradually realizes that all is not as it seems, and the story can take several turns from there: in some versions she is dutiful and circumspect, and is paid with an apron-full of coal dust that turns to gold when she reaches her home. In other versions, she's more curious and takes a dab of fairy ointment for herself. When the father realizes that she can now see through glamors, he plucks out her eyes as punishment!
Anyway, I was inspired by that old folktale, but I wanted to bring it forward into the modern world. When I started to think about how modern technology would change the fairies and their world, I started to picture the Greenbud birthing center, and Madon, and Tara. The story almost told itself from that point.

Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories? If no,  why do you write fairy stories? What is it about them that appeals to you?

No, it's definitely not my first fairy story. The first story I ever published was a fairy tale, and I've just kept writing them since. My novel, The Millennial Sword, is all about fairies in San Francisco. I love folklore and mythology--I grew up on it, especially Celtic literature. From Lady Wilde, George MacDonald, and Lloyd Alexander all the way back to the Táin Bó Cúailnge and the Mabinogion...I love it all. It's what I read, so it's what I write.

Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story? Is that your favourite type of fae?

They're pretty much your basic Sidhe--human-looking, mostly, but immortal and removed from human morality. I do write that kind of fairy pretty often, but I also love kelpies, selkies, brownies, tomte, pookas...even your little flower-skirted faires with butterfly wings. Love 'em all.

Monday 28 July 2014

Cover Reveal - Darkness Watching

Darkness Watching, by Emma Adams

Genre: new-adult, urban-fantasy, paranormal-romance

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Re-Release­­: September 1st, 2014

Cover Artist: Amy Chitulescu (



Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she’s losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits - and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere - little knowing that it isn’t coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons still stalk Ash, and their interest in her has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she’s looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be…

About The Author:
Emma Adams spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal for young adults.
She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).
Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in January 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, featuring disappearing uncles, invisibility potions and chimeras.
Emma also writes dark and creepy supernatural novels for older teens and adults. Her next book, Darkness Watching, is the first in the upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and was published in October 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.

Find Emma Adams Online:

Facebook ( | Twitter ( | Goodreads ( | Website (

Saturday 26 July 2014

FF (172)

Follow Friday is an opportunity to discover and follow other book related blogs! Want to join? Check it out at Parajunkee or Alison Can Read

This week's question feature is
What is your favorite tv series that you can watch over and over again on Netflix?

My Answer: I don't actually use netflix. But I have a lot of TV series on DVD.  My favourites are 'Friends', 'Merlin', 'Gilmore Girls', 'Pretty Little Liars' and 'Fawlty Towers'.  Tends to be a mix of comedy and fantasy. 

Happy hopping and Blogging!

Book Review - Department 19

Title: Department 19
Author: Will HIll
Series: Department 19 (book 1)
Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks
Release Date: 31 Mar 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0007354450

Jamie Carpenter's life will never be the same. His father is dead, his mother is missing, and he was just rescued by an enormous man named Frankenstein. Jamie is brought to Department 19, where he is pulled into a secret organization responsible for policing the supernatural, founded more than a century ago by Abraham Van Helsing and the other survivors of Dracula. Aided by Frankenstein's monster, a beautiful vampire girl with her own agenda, and the members of the agency, Jamie must attempt to save his mother from a terrifyingly powerful vampire.

My Review
I saw a copy of this in my local book shop ages ago and decided I would buy it. It was on sale and sounded like the sort of thing I would enjoy, but it has sat on my shelf ever since. Until I knew Will Hill was going to be at YALC, then I decided I had to try to read it so I could meet him.
I only started it the day before the convention as I had to finish the book I was already reading and I only got 100 pages into it, but in that first 100 pages I was hooked, the characters seemed to come to life off the page and I immediately felt connected and wanted to know more. 
I met Will Hill and he was very nice, friendly and we had a brief chat. He signed my book and I got a picture with him. It was awesome, and I knew I wanted to read the rest.
Unfortunately I have had a bit of a block lately, I just haven't been able to concentrate on reading, and it's not this book. I even tried re-reading some of my favourite books, and books from series I know I love, but nothing was working. 
However I had a break through yesterday and seem to be getting back into my reading swing, so I sat down tonight (as I had an evening in) and finished this book. I have also read 100 pages of book 2 already. :)
Department 19 is a secret organisation that trains operatives to hunt down supernatural beings, mostly vampires. Jamie thought he was an ordinary boy but when his dad is killed and his mum goes missing he starts to question everything and then he meets a large man named Frankenstein who introduces him to the Department and all it involves. His life changes for ever.
This book mixes fantasy with history and folklore. Dracula and Van Helsing appear in the story and play a vital part in the events. I liked the mix of old legends and new, it works really well and makes you feel like there is more to the story, more to discover. That the characters actually have a history. It somehow made it feel more realistic and believable. 
I think my favourite character is Larissa though, she is a vampire but also way more than that and she plays an important role in Jamie's life. She has a no nonsense attitude and puts on a tough front, but you do see her moments of weakness and doubts and how she fights through them, which just makes her all the more kick ass. 
There is quite a lot of violence in the book and also a fair bit of gore - descriptions of blood and guts. So younger readers should be aware. But although I am a bit of a wimp, I didn't find it too bad, in fact I was kind of captivated, totally hooked into the story, so it didn't bother me as much.
I am glad I picked up this book, and I can't wait to find out what happens to Jamie and the others.

My Rating

Friday 25 July 2014

Book Promo & Author Interview

Publisher: Great Nation Publishing (25 July 2014)
NORMAL IS OVER The school year ending with Reject High's destruction was enough for Jason Champion. Summer break meant lots of time to split between his girlfriend Sasha and best friend Rhapsody. That is until predictions of a solar storm arrive, one unlike the earth has ever seen. Sasha tells Jason the sun's rays may affect his invulnerability and strength, while a mysterious new enemy is possessed with the belief that whoever absorbs the radiation will become immortal. With no other options and their enemies drawing closer to their goal, Jason and his friends join forces with the "Collective," a group that has guarded the origin of their power for a century. Its members think the storm will cause an explosion killing millions - a price none of them are willing to pay. The second installment in a young adult fantasy series, Sophomore Freak combines engaging characters inside of a page-turning, breathtaking adventure. Equal parts sci-fi, fantasy, and action-adventure, Sophomore Freak is a breathtaking page-turner written from the perspective of Jason Champion, a 16-year old teenager with rage blackouts and a penchant for getting in trouble, Equal parts sci-fi, fantasy, and action-adventure, Reject High is a breathtaking page-turner written from the perspective of Jason Champion, a 15-year old teenager with rage blackouts and a penchant for getting in trouble, Brian Thompson writes science fiction for both young adult and adult audiences. He is a celebrated writer, educator, and former journalist. He is also the author of speculative fiction/science fiction thriller The Anarchists and the third installment of the Reject High series, Forgotten, due in summer, 2015.

1)    When you write, do you plan the storyline or just go with the flow and see where it takes you? Plotter or Panster?
Both, actually. I started off a pantser, but in writing sci-fi and world building, that didn’t really work out. So, I became a plotter and I use sticky notes for my major plot points. If I feel the character(s) take me down a different road, I go with it. I’m writing the third book in the series now and I have to rewrite the climax and ending I’ve plotted because of that very reason. 
2) Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have a special spot?
I have a space in my office where I write. I also have a laptop that I tote around so that I can get writing time in where I can. The past few unconventional places I’ve written are a moving car and a train. We have two young children, ages 6 and 2, so you have to adapt in order to get things done.
3) Are any of your characters based on people you know?
My main character’s stepmom, Debra, is named after my stepmother. She’s one of two people I know on the planet who would willingly adopt a boy with rage blackouts and ADHD. Hers is the only case where a character is based off of someone I know. I do name characters after other people (with permission, of course) but generally, their characteristics are different.
4) Who was your favorite author as a child? Who is it now?
I don’t know that I had one. I loved the Sword of Shannara series by Terry Brooks and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Those are the authors that stick out in my mind. I’m more of a classic guy, so you could pick anyone from Shakespeare to Philip K. Dick and I’m happy.
5) Did you always want to be an author? If not what was your ambition?
Growing up, I wanted to be a doctor. Then a lawyer and a computer science major. None of those really worked out for me. My creative writing class in my senior year of undergrad at Morehouse College really sparked that ambition for me.

6) A lot of authors have playlists for their books. Do you like to listen to music whilst you write and if so can you give us any recommendations?
It depends – I’ve listened to The Roots, Lorde, contemporary Christian, R&B, Rush, Pink Floyd. It really depends on what kind of scenes I’m writing.
7) Can you tell us a bit more about your book and how it came about?
Sophomore Freak is the sequel to Reject High and the second part of a four book series. The first book, Reject High, centers on Jason Champion, a 15-year-old boy kicked out of his school for fighting and sent to the Regional Educational Guidance Collective Training Facility – an alternative school nicknamed “Reject High.” There, he meets his best friend, Rhapsody. She shows him an emerald crystal that gives them mysterious powers. They later find out there are six different colors of the crystals and each give them different abilities. Along with Sasha, the prettiest girl in school, and Selby, her ex-boyfriend, Jason and Rhapsody discover they are being watched by a group hoping to possess the emerald. 

Sophomore Freak picks up three months later. Jason is being targeted by David King, a scientist who thinks the six crystals will explode during an upcoming solar storm. He also believes the radiation from the explosion will make him immortal. King threatens the lives of Jason’s loved ones until he collects all of the crystals for him.

The Reject High series came about from reading Rick Riordan’s Olympian books and I thought about how I would write a YA series with superpowers. I did some research on solar flares, which is a major plot point for the books, and it kind of went from there.  

8) What made you want to write for the YA market?

My editing partner Jackie read the opening pages to The Lightning Thief and it sparked something in me. I have experience in secondary education and I believe it’s because I have a voice that appeals to those ages.

9) Do you ever get writers block and if you do, how do you beat it?

Sometimes. I do a few things. I either walk away to do something else or I go back to the last pages I finished and rewrite them or add to them. That usually gets me back in the flow of things.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Thursday Thoughts (9)


Welcome to my new Weekly post - Thursday Thoughts.

This is going to be a weekly discussion post that I hope will get all my blog readers commenting and giving their opinion. I will pick a topic and write how my thoughts and feelings about it and then hopefully all you lovely readers will leave a comment below with your own opinions.

The only rule I have is that everyone is respectful of each other's opinions, there is no real right or wrong here, this is a chance to experience a topic from someone else's perspective. Please listen to each other and be nice.

If you wish to take a more active part in this discussion and make your own blog post about the topic, I will create a Linky list below that you can link your post to. If more and more people take part - the bigger and better it will become.

Some discussions will be light and silly, others will be more serious but they will all be about books and book related things.

So come on everyone, pull up a chair and lets hear your voice.

This weeks topic is:

Book Bench Hunt! 

This isn't such a discussion post, but I would be interested to hear what you think about the whole thing!

Books about Town

2 July - 15 September 2014

Books about Town is coming to London this summer! Find all 50 unique BookBench sculptures, designed by local artists and famous names to celebrate London’s literary heritage and reading for enjoyment. 
Basically 'Books about Town' in association with the Literacy trust has created 50 uniquely designed benches and placed them around London. There are 4 'trails' to follow to find them all.

My friend and I decided that we had to do this. Being masive book nerds this was something we knew we just could not miss.

So I printed off the trail maps, plotted a route between the benches as best I could. Worked out Tube transfers and got ready to explore.

We started with the 'Bloomsbury Trail', so hopped on the Picadilly line to Holborn and started to explore.

We found the first bench quite quickly (Peter Pan) and was so excited. We made our way round the trail, finding them in parks and squares, it was great fun. Some benches had people sitting on them and we had to ask them to move but everyone was really friendly and agreed to take our photo by the bench. The only hiccup we had was the 1984 bench wasn't there anymore - it had been damaged and taken away for repair, so we wasted 20 minutes looking for it which was very annoying but other than that we made good time and was feeling positive. 
I won't flood the blog with pictures, for each Bench we took 4 photos - 1 of the front of the bench, 1 of the back (as they were decorated both sides with a different picture), 1 of the information plaque about the book the bench was based on and 1 of my friend and I next to the bench. 
As you can see there were 11 benches on this trail and we found them all! My favourite was 'The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe' 

We then made it to Russell Square tube and made our way over to 'St Pauls' to complete the 'City Trail'
We knew this one would be slightly harder but I had planned to start with the cluster together on the left then walk up to 'Brick Lane' bench then head to the right and catch the more spread out ones. 
Well, St Paul's is quite a confusing network of connecting streets, but even so we soon found Mary Poppins and those around it, we got the first 4 in about 20 minutes and was feeling hopeful, we then headed to find the Jacqueline Wilson bench, this is where it all went downhill. I don't know how well you can see on the map, but the label for JW covers the road names and there are no particular signs as to where it is. We walked all around this area for 45 minutes, we found the Bridget Jones bench in the process but couldn't get the other. We didn't want to give up, we both read her books as a child and we wanted to get them all.
What I didn't realise when I downloaded these maps were that they were actually interactive and could be zoomed in, but I just printed them how they were thinking that was all you could get. So partially my fault for not checking but the map did cause some problems. We had to give up in the end and because we were so behind time we decided we would miss out the 3 floating ones at the top (Brick Lane, Laura Marling and Cricket) Instead we stopped to buy a drink of water as it was so hot out, and then hopped back on the Tube and got off at Bank to get Stormbreaker etc. 
We were feeling a bit dejected at this point, no benches in almost an hour! but when we got off at Bank we found the next 3 very quickly and our spirits rose again.
We then headed to Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman, this was a highlight for us as we are both massive fans of the books, and we literally ran screaming towards it when we spotted it! 
But I have to say my favourite for this route was actually the last one 'Katie in London' it was beautifully designed.

So slightly more hopeful and with plans to come back later to the ones we missed if we had time we set off across the River Thames to complete the 'Riverside Trail'

Very hot and a bit hungry with aching feet and backs we powered through, determined to see as many as possible. We were on a time limit, our railcards were 'off-peak' only so we had to be on a train home before 4:30 or we would have to wait until after 7:30, but we both had places to be in the evening so that wasn't an option.
It was already nearly 3:00 by this point but we were sure we could do it. We had an hour, that was enough!
The first four were in a nice sqaure and very easy to find and some of the more colourful and beautiful benches. We had a slight problem with the Dr Seuss bench in which case a woman refused to move so we couldn't take a picture, but we did all the others and when we made it clear we weren't going to leave without our pictures she did move. She muttered 'God, it's only a stupid bench'. Which I found equal parts annoying and funny. She just couldn't see why this was important to us. But we got our picture!!!
Most people we met throughout the day were supportive and interested, so it was overall a nice atmosphere.
We got the other 2 close ones, Julia Donaldson's was very busy, but I can tell why, she is amazing and the bench was gorgeous. We then made our way along down the riverfront, as the next 2 look like they are still on the water's edge. As you walk you have to cross London Bridge, which actually means you have to go away from the river a bit, and up some steps into a courtyard area that then leads off into streets, we followed it round. At one point there was a slight fork and we followed the left, as the right hand side looked like a dead end with tall buildings. We soon realised we must have passed the benches somehow but couldn't understand where they were, but by then we had nearly reached the Shakespeare bench so we kept going. We realised we would have to double back to get to London Bridge tube station to get home, so it was easier.
We snapped Shakespeare then made our way back. Still not spotting these benches, but as we came back to that fork we spotted people walking down towards what we thought was a dead end, turns out there is a path hidden in there that leads to a really nice courtyard so hallelujah we found the last 2! Riverside trail complete. Paddington Bear and Great Expectations were our last.

we look so relieved to have found it!!! Finished!

We then walked rather quickly back to the Tube Station to catch a train back to the main station St Pancras and then home. I made it with 5 minutes to spare!!!

We didn't manage to do the 'Greenwich Trail', it's so much further out and needs a DLR connection, we never would have made it, but the way we see it - this means we can go back for another day. Already planning it.
 There are some benches there I am really excited to see so we will be going to do them soon, and also finding the ones we missed on the City Trail. Looking at the website there are also 2 benches not on the trails. There are actually only 48 on the trails, the 2 making it up to 50 are spread out elsewhere, there is an "Around the World in 80 Days" bench near Stanfords in Leicester Square and "Worlds Biggest Flip Book" in Waterloo. So we will try to get them too.

There was a good variety of benches. It was a bit strange but there were 2 Peter Pan benches, one in Bloomsbury trail and the other on City. I was actually disappointed that there wasn't a Harry Potter bench - how could they miss such an iconic series as that? Maybe they will add some extras. A 51st bench has been voted and will be Neil Gaiman 'Neverwhere'.
I would also have loved to see a Percy Jackson bench - how cool would that be!?

If you want to see pictures of all 50 benches just visit the official website and they are all there. Once I have found the rest of them I am going to make an album with all my snaps, can't wait.

Which books would you have loved to see as benches?

Would you go and hunt them down if you could? Or have you done it already?

In September they are going to Auction off the benches with all money going to charity, which bench would you buy if you could afford it? Would you want to own one?
I would definitely buy the Narnia one, but I loved so many of the others too. I wish I could win the lottery!!!