Today, I’m excited to feature Paola from A Novel Idea and Caroline from Big Book Little Book! Paola is someone I’ve known over the internet from another fandom life and it’s pretty cool how we both made the transition into book blogging. Caz is a fellow UK blogger, the self-proclaimed ‘mum’ of the group and is one of the loveliest people I know. Please give them a warm welcome and read on for their Top 5 recommendations!
Paola’s Top 5 UK Authors
This was a no-brainer! No one tells a story quite like Neil Gaiman. I love so many of his books that it’s difficult to choose a favorite, but I think the top spot belongs to Stardust. I have the version illustrated by Charles Vess and it has a special place in my heart and on my bookcase!
My favorite from Zoe Marriott is definitely Shadows On the Moon — there are a lot of Cinderella retellings out there, but I love this one for being so unique. It gives the timeless fairytale all these new dimensions, plus it has a compelling heroine and a living, breathing setting that just pulls you right in. And it doesn’t hurt that Zoe herself is one of the nicest authors out there!
I will never forget the first time I read through the His Dark Materials series and the incredible worlds that experience opened up for me. To this day it’s still one of my absolute favorite series ever. Another favorite from Philip Pullman is his recent anthology of Grimm’s fairy tales with his own notes at the end of every story, a must for fans of that genre as well as Pullman himself.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is an amazing read — I can’t even be articulate over it right now! It’s dark, a little bit creepy, and infused with this undercurrent of humor that makes for a perfect balance in my opinion. I love its exploration of magic through the two main characters but also the crazily long footnotes that often have entire fairytales or poems included.
It’s rare that I love the film as much as I love the book, but this is the case with Ian McEwan’s Atonement, which was an amazing story no matter how it was told. It never fails to be both heartbreaking and thought provoking every time I read it, with this ability to transport you back to another time and place through the power of memory alone.
Thanks for letting me be part of your blogoversary and many, many more years of blogging to you!
Caroline’s Top 5 US Contemporary Romances
When Daphne asked if I could write something for her blogoversary my initial thoughts were of course, no problem. Anything to help the lovely Daphne.
Then came the details. A list of my five favourite US authors or books.
The resulting twitter conversation went something like this:
Me: Five? Just five? It’s so hard!
Daphne: aww you can do it!
Me: I’m not sure I can! I might have to pick my favourite five of 2013 or of a specific genre.
So eventually I decided to list my favourite US contemporary romances (in no particular order):
From What I Remember by Valerie Thomas and Stacy Kramer
One cold and miserable afternoon I had a strong desire to curl up on the sofa with a heartwarming ( something might as well be warm) and comforting book. Despite having a TBR pile at the point of toppling, I just didn’t have anything to suit my mood at that moment, so I decide to check out some of my favourite blogs for inspiration.
After reading glowing reviews from Vivienne and Raimy, I immediately downloaded and read From What I Remember, and in a single sitting no less.
With it’s slightly out there, road trip plot, its sweet romance and laugh out loud humour, not to mention sunny setting, it was the perfect antidote a grey day.
Finding It by Cora Cormack
Finding It is the third and final full length book (*happy dances* Kelsey and Hunt have a novella due for publication in early 2014) in Cora Cormack’s Losing it series. While I love all of the books in this series, Cora definitely saved the best for last with Kelsey and Hunt. She’s an energetic, confident young woman, determined to make the most of her European trip and pin down that elusive..something. He has a closet full of secrets and a painful past. Throw in some off the beaten track/ road trip action and Cormack’s trade mark book-hugging romance, smirk inducing wit, laugh out loud humour, and empathetic cringe inducing honesty and you have my perfect contemporary. Read my full review here.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
While I enjoyed Anna and The French Kiss, I absolutely adored Lola and Cricket. I enjoyed them working through the misunderstanding and miscommunications of their past in order to reclaim their friendship and rebuild their trust in each other. I loved how they both had to tackle their individual issues, surrounding their identities and self belief, before they could come together as a couple.
It was announced at the start of November that Osborne would be publishing Stephanie Perkins’ books in the UK, making it much easier (not to mention cheaper) for fans, and new readers alike, to get a hold of her books. The first two books will be published in quick succession (Anna in January 2014 and Lola in June) allowing for Isla and the Happily Ever After to be published in the autumn in line with Stephanie’s US publisher.
Easy by Tammara Webber
*sighs* I absolutely love Easy. Although it contains some very serious and adult themes it is definitely a book that I would re-read when in need of something feel good, comfortable and stomach squeezing. In fact it is one of the (very) few books I have re-read since I started blogging back in 2011. In fact just writing about it has me craving another re-read.
One of my favourite elements of the book is Jacqueline’s character development into a confident, independent young woman. At the start of Easy we meet a young woman who has made some questionable decisions and allowed her life to be influenced by her relationship at the expense of her education and her personal safety. Following on from the events in the book, Jacqueline could have easily found herself relying on Lucas and his protective nature. Instead, with a little nudge from her friends, Jacqueline takes control of her life and take steps to ensure she is never that vulnerable again. Read my full review here.
If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Ok so strictly speaking this is actually two books but I don’t think it is possible, at least in my mine, to divorce one from the other. If I Stay is one of my most heartbreaking, ugly tear inducing, tension filled reads and this book alone cemented Gayle Forman’s spot on the list of authors I will automatically pre-order.
Where She Went will also always hold a place in my heart as it is the first book I ever reviewed for Big Book Little Book (unsurprisingly I have decided to omit that link, lol).
Note: I’m confident that out of all my UK blogging colleagues someone will have the good taste to mention my favourite speculative fiction authors, but just in case *gratutious cheating commences* you should check out the work of Maggie Stiefvater, Cassandra Clare, Rachel Hartman, Cristen Terrill, A G Howard, Veronica Rossi and Rae Carson
Congratulations on your second blogoversary Winged Reviews. I sincerely hope that you have many, many more.
Thanks Paola and Caz, absolutely fantastic recommendations. Have you read any of these books? Which ones do you love? Which ones do you think you’ll be giving a try?
As always, don’t forget to enter my giveaway! For more details and a recap of all the previous posts, see here. Good luck!
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