Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tour of The Tower of London

A few weeks ago, I was in London and went back to the Tower to revisit some of the sites that are important to TRANSCENDENCE. If you've read the book,  you know that the book opens with Cole taking a tour of the Tower of London with her sister Kat. There, she has some strange visions that start her on a journey that will change her life. 

This is the view from the Tower Hill tube stop just across the street. Cole has her first vision of the executions on the hill on this spot.

This is a view of the Tower of London from just up the hill. In the 1500s, there would have been a moat all around it where the grass is today. The smell would have been amazing.                                                          

These are some of the living quarters over the main entrance gate. Griffon's dad lives here.


Cole comments that it's odd to see all of the historical buildings with the modern glass structures just beyond the walls.  You can see what she means here.

A lot of the warders live on the grounds of the Tower - you can see their homes and the buildings they use for day to day life if you look around. 


A view across the main lawn.

A warder giving a tour.


Beauchamp Tower, where all of the prisoner's graffiti is located. Later in the book, Cole has a memory of sitting in the window that you see on the second floor overlooking the execution spot on the Green.


This is all prisoner's graffiti that is carved right into the walls.  This last one is the one I used as inspiration for the one that Cole finds on the wall that seems to be important to her.

The view from the window in Beauchamp Tower. You can see the glass memorial on the left hand side by the grass. The actual execution scaffolding would have been built on the right of the photo on the other side of the path.

The glass memorial to the executed.

The entrance to the Crown Jewels.

The Armouries Cafe where Griffon takes Cole to have some tea after she faints.

Axe and executioner's block that were used at the Tower.

 I think visiting sites where a book takes place really makes it come to life. If you ever visit London, make sure to stop by the Tower of London and run your hand over the ancient stone walls. You never know what might happen!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ADAPTATION by Malinda Lo - Giveaway!

Because I know important people (and okay, I begged a little bit) I got an advanced copy of Malinda Lo's amazing science fiction story ADAPTATION. I raced through the entire thing on a flight from San Francisco to London a few weeks ago and it was as great as I expected it to be. 


Reese can't remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She's different now.

Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.

Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won't tell them what happened, where they are--or how they've been miraculously healed.

Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction--and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.

And you don't have to just take my word for it - check out this great blurb from Holly Black: 
"A clever, fast-paced romantic adventure chock-full of unexpected surprises."

So now you want to read it, right? And you don't want to have to wait for the release date on September 18th? Well, I have a solution for you!

I'm going to give away my previously read (but in very good shape) ARC of ADAPTATION. Did I mention that it went to London, Nigeria and Rome? So not only is it good reading, but it's well traveled too. And because I've looked all over the house and can't find any hoops for you to jump through, I'm going to make it easy for you  - all you have to do is comment below. That's it! Just leave a comment before midnight on July 17th and I'll draw a winner. (I'm seeing Malinda on Friday, so I'll even get her to sign it.) 

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to limit this to readers in the US and Canada. I recently sent several packages to Singapore and Malaysia and I'm flat broke now. But if you live around here and want your very own advance reader copy - just comment below.