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Blogoversary, Giveaway / November 12, 2013

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To kick off celebrations, I want to welcome the lovely Gaby from Queen Ella Bee Reads and author Claire McFall to the blog! Gaby is a New Yorker, who was a Londoner for a while and she discovered some wonderful books while she was here, Claire’s debut Ferryman being one of them. So when Claire was kind enough to participate in this blogoversary, I knew I had to pair the two of them together! Read on to find out Gaby’s top five UK authors and Claire’s top 5 US (or North American) books:

Gaby’s Top 5 UK Authors

I met Daphne (and a bunch of other UK bloggers) when I lived in London for two months. Guys, UK bloggers are the best. They totally adopted me – which obviously included introducing me to a bunch of awesome UK authors. So when Daphne asked me to help out for her blogoversary, I was like “DUH!” And then when she asked me to put together of 5 UK authors I love, I was like “DUH x10000”. So read and become educated, okay?


1. Jonathan Stroud (author of The Screaming Staircase and the Bartimaeus Sequence)
Not only is Jonathan Stroud the nicest and the best, he’s an excellent writer who knows just how to scare a reader. (Okay, I’ve only read The Screaming Staircase, but I’m so sure the Bartimaeus Sequence is an awesome read that I’m not even worried about recommending it.)

2. Claire McFall (author of Ferryman)
Do you guys know how much I love Claire McFall’s debut novel, FERRYMAN? Well, I love it so much that I’ve convinced at least one person they must, must buy it. I don’t usually do one-on-one, pushy recommendations of lesser known books I adore because I’m afraid of hyping up a book and having the other party hate what I love and never trusting me again. But I just couldn’t stop myself because I love this one so much.

3. Teri Terry (author of Slated and Fractured)
I’m not 100% sure Teri Terry is from the UK originally but she lives there now and that’s good enough for me. I love her Slated series. I’m really glad Betty (Book Rock Betty) forced me to read this one. It really is fantastic.

4. Sangu Mandanna (author of The Lost Girl)
This is another debut novel from a UK author I love so much that there just aren’t the words, really. You should actually stop reading this and go look into this book. (But don’t actually because it’s Daphne’s blogoversary and that’s way more important than all other things.)

5. Holly Smale (author of Geek Girl and Model Misfit)
Look up the definition of “adorable” in the dictionary and you will find a picture of Holly Smale. Or, maybe, look up the word “adorkable”. She’ll definitely be there. She also writes these super cute books about a geek who becomes a model and you should all read them.

There are a couple of other, obvious suspects: Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman and J.K. Rowling (good ol’ J.K.) are all British authors. But the 5 I picked for my list are maybe a little less well known. Except, perhaps, Jonathan Stroud. But I really like him, so I don’t care.

And that’s all from me. Happy Blogoversary, Daphne! To many, many more years of blogging!

Claire McFall’s Top 5 US Books

When I heard Daphne @ Winged Reviews was celebrating her blogoversary this week, I knew I had to harangue, cajole, beg or threaten her to let me come and visit (note: I didn’t have to do any of these, she very kindly let me without even a hint of bribery on my part…) because it’s also my birthaversary (Okay, whatever: birthday… so not as cool) on the 11th so it was just meant to be.

Anyhoo… I was charged with coming up with a list of my top 5 US novels or authors. Which I thought would be dead easy. WRONG! After humming and hawing and some cut-throat fighting between the Yankee books on my shelf, I wheedled it down to:


5. Heroes by Robert Cormier
It’s a short read, maybe more of a novella than a novel – but that just makes it more awesome because Cormier manages to pack so much into just over a hundred pages. It’s about Francis Cassavant (poor Francis!) who has come back from WWII with – in his words – “no face” after throwing himself on top of a grenade to save his platoon. Sort of. Really, he’s got another reason, but I don’t want to give it all away! So Francis has come home to Frenchtown and he’s waiting for a man named Larry who, he tells us, he plans to kill. But we don’t know why. Slowly, slowly, through a series of flashbacks, he reveals what really happened. I love this book. It isn’t fast-paced or all action, but the story-telling is beautiful and you can’t help but feel for poor Francis.

4. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
I’m kind of cheating with this one… Ms. Kearsley is from Ontario. But, if you think about it, Canada is part of the continent of North America so really I reckon it should count. Plus, I love the book. Well, mostly I love Daniel. Oh sigh, Daniel. This is actually an adult book (it’s not smutty or anything, the characters are just, you know, my age) and it’s set in Cornwall (I know, I know, it doesn’t really fit but never mind!). It’s a time travel romance – but don’t let that put you off! It’s not cheesy or ridiculous, I promise. If you can believe in angels and werewolves and witches, you can believe in accidentally ending up in 18th century England! I found this in a desperate search to fill the hole that finishing the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon left in my life. You know when you read a book and everything is just so lovely that it gives you yummy warm fuzzies? That’s what this book does for me. Not to say there isn’t excitement and murder and stuff… there is, but it’s the lovely romance between Eva and Daniel that took me to my happy place. Also, Fergal is awesome. If you’re grown up, read it. If you’re not quite there… put it on your To Read in five years time!

3. The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
I know it’s more fashionable to be having a pop at the Twilight books than singing their praises, but you know what? Don’t care! I loved them! I liked Bella, I liked Edward. I liked the vampires and the werewolves. And I liked Charlie – would that my dad had been like Charlie! I read them in pretty much one extended, four day sitting (summer holidays are great when you’re a teacher!), giving myself a monster migraine when I was done because I was staring at my Kindle for so long. Seriously, when I tried to walk the dog my vision was so blurred I nearly fell off the pavement. Then, when I was done, I went around daydreaming that someone would turn me into a vampire (or hey, be imprinted by a werewolf. I’m not fussy!) so that I could be in that world. And I haven’t done that since I wished I could wave my magic wand (yup, I have one) and yell alohomora and have something actually happen! Ergo, they make the cut.

2. Vampires in America series by D. B. Reynolds
More vampires. I’m really not a vampire junkie – or at least I didn’t think I was before I started compiling this list – but I came across this series on Goodreads and it totally hooked me. Again, it’s adult… but not 50 Shades adult. Think vampires that are properly scary and evil. All powerful and manly and yum. In the series, vampires have “come out” and peacefully exist with humans. They have “blood houses” which are nightclubs where vamps can go for a Happy Meal and humans can go to get nibbled on. The books are all named after big-wig vamps in Reynolds’ world, kicking off with Raphael who is scary, scary, yummy, yummy. Cynthia (dodgy name but she’s very cool) is a human PI who’s enlisted by the vamps to investigate some kidnappers and she finds herself being sucked deeper into the vampire world. Again, if you’re grown up, read it. If you’re not quite there… To Read!

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Sorry, I know I’m kind of jumping on the bandwagon with Twilight and then The Hunger Games… but there is a reason both series have been so successful! I’m really not a fan of present-tense fiction. It jars me. But in The Hunger Games it really works. What hooked me into the book, though, is Katniss’ narrative voice. It’s less story-telling and more just… telling her story. I don’t know what the difference is between those two, but there is one! The concept isn’t that original: sadly I’m old enough to have seen Arnie in The Running Man. But is IS a lot more brutal than a lot of YA dares to be. I mean, they’re actually killing each other! Hacking other competitors to bits and stuff. And it’s government sanctioned! I’m a fan of Melvin Burgess’ stuff, and The Hunger Games had the same daring, edge feel. Plus, I’m a sucker for a bit of dystopia. The first book in the series is definitely my favourite. Catching Fire was almost as good and I can’t wait for the movie! The trailer was on before Thor the other night and it looked amazing! The third book… hmm. Maybe I have to read it again, but it didn’t blow me away like one and two.

So, there you have it. My top five. Or at least… my top five today. Tomorrow it may change again. It’s like when someone asks you what your favourite song is and every single tune you’ve ever heard runs right out of your head. Except for really tunes by awful artists you don’t want to admit to like Jedward or the Cheeky Girls. As soon as this pops up online I bet I have a “Doh! I should have included…” moment, but no matter. These books are awesomeness personified anyway. Happy Blogoversary Winged Reviews! And Happy Birthoversary to me!

So big thanks to Gaby and Claire for sharing! Have you guys read and loved these books?

Stay tuned tomorrow for some more Across the Pond goodness, but for now, don’t forget to enter my giveaway! There are lots of things up for grabs (more details here) so good luck!

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5 Responses to Across the Pond Blogoversary Day 1: Gaby and Claire McFall

  1. Slated & The lost girl are both on my reading list. I really liked THG and I will take a look at all the other books 😀
    My recent post Review 213. Anne Ursu – Breadcrumbs.

  2. Hollie MBaT says:

    I have most of these books on my TBR pile, I'm definitely going to be picking up Geek Girl soon. And I need to check out the Vampires in America series, it sounds awesome!
    My recent post Top Five Book Covers I Would Redesign

  3. Pingback: Winged Reviews - 2nd Blogoversary Celebration!

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