26 July 2011

Review: 20 Years Later by E.J. Newman

Hey guys! I have a review of 20 Years Later by E.J. Newman for you today! So, here's the synopsis:

20 Years Later
LONDON, 2012: IT arrives and with that the world is changed into an unending graveyard littered with the bones, wreckage, and memories of a dead past, gone forever.

LONDON, 2032: Twenty years later, out of the ashes, a new world begins to rise, a place ruled by both loyalty and fear, and where the quest to be the first to regain lost knowledge is an ongoing battle for power. A place where laws are made and enforced by roving gangs-the Bloomsbury Boys, the Gardners, the Red Lady's Gang-who rule the streets and will do anything to protect their own.

THE FOUR: Zane, Titus, Erin, Eve. Living in this new world, they discover that they have abilities never before seen. And little do they know that as they search post-apocalyptic London for Titus' kidnapped sister that they'll uncover the secret of IT, and bring about a reckoning with the forces that almost destroyed all of humanity.
I really liked this book! There was pretty perfect balance of everyting.  There was a nice balance of romance and action.  The storyline was really great! I really liked the relationship between Zave and Erin although I really would have like it to blossom. For me, I was really surprised that there were more people living with them, I really thought it was a monster!  I would've like Eve to be introduced early like Zane, Titus, and Erin. The relationship between Titus and his sister was really great!  They had such a great bond you could just feel their closeness.  I really liked the Zane's purity, it makes him who he is and makes him a really good character.  I loved the end of this book and how everyting turned out.  This is a great read and I can't wait till the second book :D

My Rating:

To buy the book: Amazon or BN

For more info on E.J. Newman click here

22 July 2011

Check Out Bona Fide Reflection's New Design courtesy of Blogovation Design

Hey guys I just finished Bona Fide Reflection's design so you should check it out and become a follower of her!  Here's a screenshot:

If your're looking for someone to redesign your blog then contact me at Blogovation Design :D

Follow Friday!!!!!

Happy follow friday guys! Follow friday is now hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Today's features are We Fancy Books and A Novella's Tale. Be sure to follow them! Now for the question:

Name 3 authors that you would love to sit down and spend an hour or a meal with just talking about either their books or get advice on writing from?

I would def have to choose Stephanie Meyer because I am a HUGE Twilight fan (Team Edward!), Maggie Stiefvater because I love The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and Ottilie Weber because I absolutely loved her book Family Ties!!! Those are my three authors! What about you?
21 July 2011

Another Blog Design Complete!

Hey guys! I just got finished designing Mind Reader's blog, so you should def show her some follow love and check it out! Here's a screenshot:

18 July 2011

Now Open for Biz!!

I decided to start a blog designing company and it is now up and running!   So go check it out at http://www.blogovationdesign.blogspot.com/ if you want a blog renovation. Our waiting list is currently open!   We are currently looking to sell a pre-made template to one person.  If your interested the click here. Here's what it looks like:

17 July 2011

The In My Dreams Experience (1st stop): Review

Hey guys! The In My Dreams Experience has started today and I am the first stop! Today I have for you a review of In My Dreams by Cameo Renae. Here's the synopsis:

In My Dreams 
It was happening again. The dreams. The nightmares. It was something seventeen year-old Elizabeth "Lizzy" Hayes thought she'd outgrown; dreams that would come true; detailed premonitions of how people would die. This time she dreams about her boyfriend, Michael Young, and soon discovers that he's been found... dead.
Michael hasn't crossed over because he was murdered, and now his murderer is coming for Lizzy. His spirit won't rest until she is safe, and as a newbie spirit, the easiest way for him to make contact is through Lizzy's dreams. When she dreams, it's as if he hasn't died.
Lizzy must learn to pull on her inner strength to survive horrifying events. Meanwhile, in the spirit world, Michael learns everything he can about his supernatural gifts to help. But will it be enough to save her? (Goodreads)
This is one of the most romantic books I have ever read! The relationship between Lizzy and Michael throughout the whole book is soo cute.  I loved it! I also loved that it wasn't just a romance novel, but also a murder mystery.  It really puts this sort of twist on the whole story.  After the first chapter or so everything starts happening and the action really at its starting point.  Some parts of the book are really sad and heart breaking to read.  It's so well written that you can actually feel the love that they feel for each other.  Win we finally learn what Lizzy's gift is it kind of reminded me of The Mediator series by Meg Cabot (which I loved!) because her gift is just like that.  This book is a real thriller it keeps you interested and wanting to know more throughout the whole book! This is def a must read!!


The Experience Tours is hosting a giveaway throughout the whole tour giving away some cool prizes! To enter that click here.  From there you will also be able to see the prizes. Other tour hosts will also be hosting giveaways on their blog so be sure to follow along!

Be sure to follow the rest of the tour

July 17: Review @ Books Ahoy

July 18:Author Interview @ The Fable Faerie

July 19:Author Interview & Giveaway @ The Subtle Chronicler

July 20: Guest Post & Review @ Cup of Tea Reviews

July 21: Author Interview & Giveaway @ Bookish

July 22: Guest Post, Review, & Giveaway @ A Casual Reader's Blog

July 23:Review @ Keeping Up With the Rheinlander's

July 24:Review & Giveaway @ Enchantedbooks

July 25: Guest Post @ Letters Inside Out

July 26:Author Interview & Giveaway @ Darlene’s Book Nook

July 27: Review @ Books for the Insomniac

July 28: Guest Post, Review, & Giveaway @ I'm A Book Shark

July 29: Author Interview, Review, & Giveaway @ StephLikesBooks

July 30: Guest Post, Review, & Giveaway @ Much Loved Books

13 July 2011

My First Blog Design I Made For Someone

So, I made a blog design for Fuzzy.Coffee.Books and it was the first time I made a blog template.  So hop on over there and show her some follow love and check it out to see what you think! :D

Here's a screenshot of my design:

Christmas in July Giveaway Hop

Books Ahoy has decided to host a giveaway hop!!!  For those of you who have never participated in one, all you have to do is host a giveaway sometime between July 13- July 31 and leave the link to your giveaway in the linky below.  Put the button in your post and also get the code for the linky below to put at the bottom of your giveaway post to keep the hop going.  So let's get started!!



3 winners


Ends July 31
You don't have to be a follower but it's appreciated :)

The first winner will get to chose a book out of three ebooks, the second winner will chose a ebook out of the remaining two, and the third winner will get the last remaining ebook.

The ebooks are: Matched by Ally Condie (pdf), In My Dreams by Cameo Renae (any format you need), and Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday -ARC (pdf)

Enter the giveaway here

Keep the hop going!

get the code for this linky here
11 July 2011

Cover Crazy (1): Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

So I have decided to participate in the weekly meme, Cover Crazy, hosted by The Book Worms.  You choose a cover of a book that you like and explain why you like it so much. I chose Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday. Here's what it's about:

Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool. But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim. (Goodreads)
I chose this cover because it really pops!  I love the blue and her blue eyes really makes the blue stand out.  I also love the way that "cool" is spelt with headphones. I thought that was really cool.  So thats my cover crazy.  Be on the lookout for my review. What cover are you crazy about?

And the winners are.....

The winners of the 200 follower giveaway are.....


I'll be sending an email your way soon :D
10 July 2011

Interview: Mary Ting, author of Crossroads

Today I have an interview with Mary Ting. Mary Ting has just released her book, Crossroads.  The book is up next on my TBR list, so be on the lookout for the review!  For more information on Mary Ting, visit her at http://www.marytingcrossroads.com/.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
The biggest challenge for me was getting the book done. Being a wife, mother of two, a daughter, a teacher, it was extremely difficult to find time to write.

Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas to write this book actually came from my dream. Chapter one and two are real dreams. I had a friend who had the same first and last name as me and she passed away in a tragic car accident.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Every time Michael and Claudia were together, that was my favorite part to write. They are crazy for each other, but because it is forbidden, they resist.  But ultimately they give in because when it comes to loving that ONE, there is no stopping.

How did you come up with the title?
The place Claudia goes to in her dream, I named that Crossroads. This is a place between heaven and earth or life and death. Two boundaries crossing.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I read an article about Stephanie Meyer and how she started her book from a dream. So, I guess I can say that I was inspired by her. I first started writing from my dream and I thought maybe I'll write a few chapters. Maybe I won't have anything to say after that, but I was wrong. I had so much fun that I couldn't stop.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I first started about two years ago when my grandmother passed away. It was a way for me to heal. The character Gamma is inspired by my grandmother. Then I put it away thinking that this was ridiculous. After my friend read what I wrote, she told me I had to publish.

What do you do when you are not writing?
When I'm not writing, then I'm doing family stuff. Any minute I have, I'm on the computer. I'm also on my facebook site and goodreads, trying to promote my book and make new friends.

Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Yes, I'm currently working on it. Release date will be up to the publisher.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Believe that you can. Turn to your friends for guidance, support, and ask them to read your story to give you another perspective. I'm sure glad I did.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you for your interest in my story. I hope that it has touched you in some way. And for those of you who haven't read my book yet, fly with me through this incredible journey. Fall in love with the characters as much as I did and make Crossroads your place to be. Thank you for your support.

Thank you Mary Ting for a wonderful interview!  I can't wait to read your book!

Amazon or BN
09 July 2011

Review: Something Wicked by Alan Gratz

Hey guys! I realized that I never wrote a review for this book so here it is!  Here's the synopsis:

The Scottish Highland Festival in Tennessee is all set to begin, but there's one problem: Duncan MacRae, founder of the games, has just been murdered. The police arrested Malcolm, Duncan’s son, but is he really the killer? Horatio Wilkes, for one, has doubts. 
Horatio is attending the festival with his childhood friend Mac, Mac’s super-hot yet controlling girlfriend Beth, and geeky sidekick Banks. Once there, he quickly finds himself caught up in the cutthroat world of the Scottish games, where fair is foul and foul is fair . . . and his best friend may yet turn out to be his worst enemy.

Join Horatio as he navigates the sinister world of Shakespeare's Macbeth in this fun and clever follow-up to Something Rotten.(Goodreads)

I loved this book!  It's a modern YA retelling of MacBeth twisted into a mystery story.  I think its really cool how Alan Gratz turned the story of MacBeth into a mystery/whodunit novel.  I know what MacBeth is about and this books follows the orginal story pretty great.  The stories are just about parallel.  I loved the romance between Horatio and his girlfriend but it was also a real shocker what happened to her.  I liked how you can see the transformation of Mac's character throughtout the book.  I loved the mystery/detective aspect of the novel.  This is a really great book!

My Rating:

For more information for Alan Gratz click here

To buy the book: Amazon and BN

Modern Retellings of Classics Challenge

I love modern retelling of classics, Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray, so I decided to make a challenge for it.  It's a little bit harder than the Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Challenge, which you can sign up for here.

Here's what you gotta do:

1.Make a post about how your participating in the challenge and give the rules.

2. Get the button and put it in your sidebar and post.

3. Put the link to your post in the linky below.

4. The challenge is to read at least 30 modern retellings of classics.

5. This challenge goes from July 7, 2011 to July 7, 2012.

6. Whenever you review a modern retelling of a classic leave a link in the linky here.
Here's the button:

<center><a href="http://books-ahoy.blogspot.com/2011/07/modern-retellings-of-classics-challenge.html"><img title="Modern Retellings of Classics Challenge" src="http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x469/booksahoy15/ModernRetellingsofClassicsChallenge-1.png" width="90%" /><div style=" text-align: left; width: 160px; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 1px solid rgb(0, 0, 0);"><div style="width: 0%; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(192, 0, 0); font-size: 8px; line-height: 8px;"></div></div> 0/30 books</a></center>

get the code for this list here

08 July 2011

We Have A New Look!

Hey guys! Books Ahoy has a new look!  I have made new badges, new rating system, and a new sig to match the overall theme of the new layout.  What do you think? By the way, this awesome template was made by Nymphont.







live demo


Follow Friday is here!!

This Friday's feature is Read. Breath. Relax!!! So we should all go visit and become a follower! Now for the question:

Q. What is the worse book you've read and actually finished?

Hmmm......I don't think I've actually finished a book that I didn't like. I just can't get through it if it doesn't interest me or is just bad.

What about you?
Keep the blog hop going and follow some fellow book bloggers.


07 July 2011

Review: Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray

Hey guys! Let's get this party started!! Today I have for you a review of Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray, which just came out Tuesday July 5. Here's the synopsis:

Falling for Hamlet
Meet Ophelia: a blonde, beautiful high-school senior and long-time girlfriend of Prince Hamlet of Denmark. Her life is dominated not only by her boyfriend's fame and his overbearing family, but also by the paparazzi who hound them wherever they go. As the devastatingly handsome Hamlet spirals into madness after the mysterious death of his father, the King, Ophelia rides out his crazy roller coaster life, and lives to tell about it. In live television interviews, of course. Passion, romance, drama, humor, and tragedy intertwine in this compulsively readable debut novel, told by a strong-willed, modern-day Ophelia. (Goodreads)

I love modern re-tellings of classics so I loved this book.  I've never read the original version of Hamlet but I have seen the play so I do know the story line.  Falling for Hamlet is an almost exact parallel with Hamlet, but the only difference is that it's told from Ophelia's point of view.  I loved the romance between Hamlet and Ophelia and also the crossed romances.  I also liked how throughtout the book you can see the interogation between her and the police and also the interview between her and a talk show host.  I thought that was really cool.  Towards the end the book gets really tense and tragic.  It's a really sad novel but a really great re-telling of a classic Shakespearean play.  If you love Hamlet and modern re-tellings of novels then this is the book for you!


For more info on Michelle Ray click here

To purchase the book: Amazon and BN

If you like modern retellings, Hamlet, and mystery novels then I have a great book for you here.

06 July 2011

Literary Spotlight (3)

Hi guys! I haven't done a Literary Spotlight in a while so here it is. Instead of choosing a top 5, I'm just going to choose the best one. Ok so here it goes! Today I have for you a short story by called "Sunrise Paving" by Simon Marshland.  This short story is from his new book A Case of Black Rock and other stories.

"Sunrise Paving"
by Simon Marshland

The pavement was hot. I could feel the heat burning through the soles of my sandals, making me pick up each foot in turn to cool, like the Sahara ants Mrs Bloomfield had told us about in natural history class. Not that I minded, it was fun being a Sahara ant and helped me forget the awful baseball cap Aunt Delia made me wear to keep the sun off my head. I was so busy being a Sahara ant I forgot to look where I was going until it was too late. But I was already deep in colours by then.
‘Watch out there, boy, what the hell do you think you’re doing?  Take those clumsy great feet of yours out of my meadow!’
An old man with scraggy long yellow hair, an unlit roll up cigarette stuck in the corner of his mouth, glared at me with angry eyes.
‘I’m so sorry,” I looked down, ‘I’m afraid didn’t see it there.’ I was standing in the middle of a bright green field with a herd of white cows grazing on rich grass beneath a clear blue sky.
‘Of course you didn’t see it, boy. You didn’t look! Hasn’t anyone told you to watch where you’re going instead of blundering about the place like a blind elephant? You’ve already walked slap through my Storm at Sea, the Desert Oasis, not to mention A Shropshire Sunset. If you keep on trundling carelessly about like that you’ll smash up the bridge of my QE 2 next. Open your eyes boy, see what’s going on in the world around you, instead of playing silly games of hopscotch.’
‘I wasn’t playing silly games of hopscotch,’ I said indignantly, ‘ I was being a Saharan ant to protect my feet and forget my baseball cap. Aunt Delia won’t let me out of the house if I don’t promise to keep something on my head. And it’s either this, or an awful floppy hat like the one Uncle Ben wears when he goes to the beach. But I am sorry if I’ve spoiled your pictures.’ I held out the pound coin Aunt Delia had given me to buy an ice cream, ‘will this pay for the damage? It’s all I have I’m afraid.’
Piercing grey eyes continued to glare at me with disapproval, then suddenly softened as a hint of a smile began to play around the corners of his mouth.  Leaning forward he rummaged amongst the loose coins lying in the upturned hat beside him and came up with a matching pound.
‘That baseball cap of yours doesn’t look so bad you know, and it certainly is a hot one. Dare say even a Saharan ant could do with a cooling vanilla or strawberry ice. I’d go myself but I’m stuck with the shop,’ he waved expansively at the pictures. ‘But if you went for both of us, I promise I’ll draw you for posterity when you get back.’ He laughed, ‘mind you, that’s if posterity doesn’t walk over it in the next hour or so. But then as you know, my work isn’t exactly permanent. He smiled to take the sting out of the words.
When I got back with the ice creams he was on his knees, putting the finishing touches to the repairs of A Shropshire Sunset. Catching sight of me he climbed to his feet, put the brightly coloured crayons carefully in a green felt wrap around holdall, wiped the chalk from his fingers on an old rag, then gestured to the wall behind the drawings. ‘Come and join me on one of these mat things, if you rest your back against the wall you’ll find it comfortable enough.’ I did as I was told and for a while we sat companionably, silently enjoying the sun, lost in the pleasures of cold ice cream.
‘Comfy things these cushion,’ he broke the silence, ‘gift from God you might say, well a loan anyway.’ He grinned, nodding across the square towards the Abbey. ‘Has to be at least a thousand or more in there, so I don’t suppose He will miss a couple, not for a day at least, and I’ll put them back before I go.’
‘Go, go when?’ I had only arrived a day ago and he was the first friend I had made.
Tomorrow I think. I’ve been working my way down to the coast for the past six weeks, and though I’m glad to say business has been pretty good on the whole,’ he jerked a thumb at the hat, ‘with September looming it’s time for me to head south. Doesn’t do to be caught in the cold in my line of work.  Liable to wind up in hospital, and once there you’ll get sick for sure.’
‘But you can’t go any further south than this!’ My geography marks were not the greatest, but even I knew when you reached the South Coast that was it, and the sea was only a few hundred yards away.
‘Well, yes, in a way you are right, boy. But even the South Coast can turn a bitter cold come November, and sometimes it stays that way right through to May if you’re unlucky. So I always makes a point of heading a long way further south than here. Work my way down through France to the Mediterranean, cross the Pyrenees into Spain, then try to make it down to Andalusia by autumn. That’s about the southern most tip of Spain. You can’t go further south than that. Mind you, even Andalusia can get more than nippy at times in winter, but if it gets really cold I take a job for a while, live indoors. Nowhere else to go, unless Africa takes your fancy.’
‘Africa! Have you really been to Africa?’ I had seen some programmes and pictures on the news, but never actually met anyone who had been there. ‘What’s it like in a war zone?’ There was always a war or something exciting going on in Africa, at least on the news there was.’
‘Yes, I’ve been there. Not that any war was going on, at least not where I was, but then I only stuck my toe in so to speak. Took the ferry across from Algeciras to Tangiers, and came back again the next day. Twenty-four hours in a place like that was more than enough for me, and I’ve never been back.  Didn’t take to the place you see, that and the way people kept spitting on my pictures.’ For a moment he looked quite fierce again, then crunched the last if his ice cream cone before grinning like a friend again.
‘Nasty habits they have over there, boy, dead nasty. But what about you, staying at your aunt’s for the holidays are you, with your Mum and Dad?’
No, only me. I usually come here for the second half of the summer holidays.’
‘Well, there’s nothing like a bit of independence I always say, makes a man of you. Where did you spend the first half?’
‘Nowhere really, I stay on at school as a rule,’ I tried not to sound defiant for I really hated this bit, but people always asked you to explain. ‘ It’s not too bad and not at all like term time. You can even go into town in the afternoon, if you ask first.’
‘Your dad in the army or something then, always on the move?’
‘Not exactly, but my parents are always on the move, going off somewhere or other, which is why they don’t have time to come back for the holidays. But wherever they are I always fly out to join them for Christmas, Dad said Mum insists on that.’ I stared hard at a shop across the street, bracing myself for the questions that always followed. But he just nodded and lit his cigarette.
‘Know what you mean, spent more time than I care to think in school myself, though being a little older than you I was teaching. Leastways that’s what I thought I was doing, at one of those fancy Art Colleges. Not quite the kind of school you go to I know, but once you take away the flowery bits they all boil down to the same thing, and the terms still seem to go on for ever.’
‘Is that why you left? Because of the terms I mean. God, I wish I could!’ I didn’t usually bring God into things, but it was the first time I had had a real conversation with a grown up and it seemed an adult sort thing to say.
‘That was part of it,’ he blew a cloud of evil smelling smoke into the still air with evident pleasure. ‘ But mainly because I found out I was a fraud, well admitted it anyway, I must have known for years of course.  But then we all tend to avoid the obvious…. if it’s disagreeable.’
‘I’m not sure I understand…’
‘Of course you don’t, boy,” he interrupted, ‘ and why should you.  Pay no attention to me, I was just rambling. Comes from spending too much time on my own, makes you start talking to yourself. Anyway, you have your own problems to face, like those endless school terms stretching out like a life sentence before you, wondering how on earth you’re ever going to get through them all. But look at those people,’ he waved an arm, embracing the street, ‘most of them went through school as well, and I bet a lot of them hated every damned minute. But they survived the experience and I don’t suppose many of them give their school days a second thought now. Not that it helps much when you’re still going through it.’ He smiled as an idea occurred to him. ‘Tell you what, before I go I’ll to let you in on a little secret of mine. Doesn’t work for everybody, but if you’re prepared to practice a little, you might find it a help with your school problems and a few more you haven’t encountered yet.’
A couple of pretty girls with long tanned legs who had been admiring the pictures bent down to put some coins in the hat. ‘Thank you ladies,’ he gave them a beaming smile. The ice cream must have gone down a treat, for he had ignored most other people who had added coins to his hat. As if knowing what I was thinking and was somehow embarrassed about it, he rummaged in the hat and came up with a handful of coins.
‘Here, boy, take these and get us another round, same as before for me, and don’t pocket the change mind!’ He winked to show he was joking.
The morning was wearing on and there was quite a queue at the ice cream van, so it was a while before I got back. He was kneeling over a paving stone working busily with his chalks, and for a moment or so ignored me, though I sensed he knew I was there. Then he leapt to his feet, flung his arms wide and cried. ‘Behold Posterity, de da!’
It was a perfect portrait of me in vibrant living colours and the best present I had ever had. He had even drawn an oval frame to make the setting more real.  No one had ever done anything like that for me before. I wanted so much to thank him but suddenly my throat ached and I couldn’t speak. So I hugged him fiercely instead. It was the only way I could express the way I felt.
‘Hey there,’ he disentangled himself gently, ‘it’s only a picture you know, and I doubt it will last the day. Come on now,’ he smiled,  ‘let’s have our ice cream; see what goes into the hat, and whatever it is we’ll split. How does that grab you?’
I shook my head. ‘Thanks, it’s a great idea, but I can’t stay. As it is I’m going to be late for lunch, even if I run the whole way, and Aunt Delia does her top if anyone’s late for lunch, even including Uncle Ben. But would you mind telling me your name before I go?’ I asked shyly, ‘I would like to know, even if we never meet again, because of the picture and that.’
‘Why bless you, boy,’ he turned a little pink, ‘what a nice thought, there’s not many who bother to ask. But since you have, most call me the Painter Man, and I would be right pleased for you to do the same.’
‘Painter Man,’ I rolled the name round my tongue. ‘I like that, it suits you somehow.’
‘Descriptive anyway,’ he grinned. ‘And if you have to go I had better tell you about that other matter before I forget. Mind you, as I said before you have to put your heart in it, and even then it’s not for everyone.’ He paused, rolling another evil smelling cigarette, then changing his mind stuck the scraggy tube behind his ear.
‘Everyone needs a secret place to escape to when the going gets tough, somewhere really wonderful and beautiful, specially for you.’ Painter Man leaned forward and tapped me gently on the chest with his finger to emphasise the point.
I wasn’t sure if he expected a reply, but I couldn’t think of anything to say so I kept quiet and waited. It was the right move, for a moment later he continued.
‘But we have to create that place, boy, paint a picture of in our minds. Brush the canvass with bold sweeping strokes of imagination showing where it is you would like to be. The fine detail and artwork of things that mean the most to you. Memories, feelings and such can always be added later as you go along. Though you have to forget the bad ones, because they don’t belong there. This is your own private place, where everything is happy and free. As life moves on new features and new experiences will be added to the treasure without losing any of your familiar favourites. And the picture will remain with you always, a living haven of peace and happiness, waiting to welcome whenever you have need of it.’
‘I’m afraid I couldn’t do that Painter Man. I don’t have much imagination; in fact Aunt Delia says I haven’t any at all. So I wouldn’t know where to begin.’
‘Rubbish boy, doubtless your aunt has many aptitudes, but character assessment is obviously not one of them.’ He was looking fierce again, though whether at Aunt Delia or me I wasn’t sure. ‘Of course you have imagination, boy, everyone has. Just picture a scene where you felt really happy. It can be anywhere, a landscape, a garden, an orchard, a house, or even a particular room. Just close your eyes and let it come to you.’
I tried, I truly did. I would have done anything to please the Painter Man, but I couldn’t come up with a single idea. In the end I just opened them again and stared at him in dumb apology.
‘You can’t recall being happy anywhere?’ He shook his head slowly, some dust or a fly must have flown into his eyes for he blinked rapidly and rubbed them with the heel of his hand.
‘Well now, lets see,’ he blew his nose loudly on the bit of rag. ‘Is there any place you’ve enjoyed looking at, perhaps at a certain time of day maybe?’ He paused, head cocked on one side like a suspicious chicken.
I thought for a moment then smiled happily, at least I could answer him with something. ‘I can see the sea from my bedroom window, and if I’m awake in time I love to watch the sun come up from the horizon first thing in the morning.’
His face broke a broad smile and he danced a little jig right there in front of me. ‘You see boy, you see, I knew we would find it if we tried hard enough, just knew it.’ He grabbed my hand and we jigged wildly together for a moment, uncaring of the curious crowd. Then holding me at arms length he looked deep in my eyes. ‘ Now boy, you had better be off or your aunt will kipper you for sure. We probably won’t meet again, you and me as my ferry sails soon after five-tomorrow morning. But I want you to promise me you will come back here by seven, no matter how difficult it might be. I can see you’re a determined boy, so I want your promise you’ll be here no later than seven. Will you give me your word on it?’
I nodded dumbly, not trusting myself to speak. Yet I had to know one last thing about him before he went. Taking a deep breath to steady myself I said. “Before you go Painter Man will you tell me why you were unhappy at that school?’          
‘Why bless you boy, of course I will.’ He smiled to show he understood how important the matter was to me. ‘I had been teaching art to students for more years than I care to remember, until one day I finally had to admit to myself I couldn’t paint. No matter how hard I tried I was a fraud you see; a teacher who had pressed his counterfeit knowledge on countless talented students, while my own was restricted to drawing picture post cards,’ he pointed at the paving stones. It hurt like hell at the time, but then moments of truth often do. But I got over it, and over that bloody school as well, not that it was the schools fault. But instead of being the end of everything, it turned out to be the beginning. I won’t say there haven’t been ups and downs; of course there have, and the world would be a dull place without them. But it was my admission that day that gave me my freedom. The chance to do what I do well, and to do it when I like and anywhere I please. And mark my words, boy; such freedom represents riches most people can only dream about. So always remember, whatever you think you want may turn out to be not what you need or want at all.’ He winked and smiled at me head askew to satisfy himself I would remember what he had said, then satisfied dropped to his knees and began work on a new picture.
              I never saw Picture Man again, though I kept my promise, climbing out of the kitchen window in time to get to his pitch by seven the following morning. Fifteen minutes before the street cleaning truck came by to wash the pavements, but just in time to commit my secret place to memory before it was brushed from human eyes forever.
All the pictures had been scuffed beyond recognition by passing pedestrians overnight. All that is bar one, which he must have drawn in the first light of day, long after the last reveller had retired to bed. It was a magic scene looking out from the dunes. The tide was out and beyond the sweep of clean wet sand a gleaming silver sea stretched out to meet the breaking dawn. Bright shafts of sunbeams reached up like searchlights to bathe the morning clouds in gentle hues of pink and gold against a background of growing azure blue. Standing on a sand dune in one corner of the picture, a young boy stood, gazing with hope at the magnificent panorama unfolding before him. A baseball cap on his head and an ice cream cornet in one hand.
            Over the years the composition has changed in harmony with events just as he said it would, but the basic picture remains the same. I couldn’t count the number of times I have visited that beach in times of stress or trouble and watched the breaking dawn from my favourite sand dune. And thanks to Painter Man, I still do.

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02 July 2011

Coming Soon To A Blog Near You (2)

Hey guys! I know I haven't made a post in a while and that's because I was having some Internet problems :/  But it's all good now :D!  Ok so I have a few updates for you guys.  Ok so first I have always wanted a cool avatar to represent my blog so I got one and her name is Lily.
So what do you think?  She is officially the new face of Books Ahoy!  Ok next I wanted to let you know that the first Experience tour is coming up!!!!  I'm very excited and it's called the In My Dreams Experience! Here's the button that is going to be used to advertise it:

You can get the button here! So...yeah that's whats been going on and about to go on here on Books Ahoy!  What's coming soon to your blog?

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