Today is International Women’s Day and to celebrate we’ve got a guest post from one of our fabulous female authors!
My Top Five Female Authors
I thought it would be apt to celebrate International Women’s Day by tipping my hat to my top five female authors. So, without further ado, here they are in no particular order:
My favourite Jane Austen novel is without a doubt Pride and Prejudice. I harp on about it any chance I get (like now!) and credit it as inspiration for my young adult novel When the World was Flat (and we were in love). My second favourite is probably Emma. I love that before writing this novel Austen declared, “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” Yes, Emma is unlikeable – but likeable heroines can get boring after a while!
For a long time I actually assumed Australian author Robin Klein was male due to her unisex name. I actually personally know more female than male authors, so I am not going to get into a debate here about what that says about the reportedly male-dominated world of writing (I will leave that to my writing colleagues who are better schooled in it!). My favourite Klein novel would have to be Dresses of Red and Gold, which is part of a series focused on four sisters growing up in rural Australia in the 1940s. My next favourite is Hating Alison Ashley, which was a staple book (and play!) for any primary school student of my generation here in Australia.
I absolutely adore Lauren Child for her abilities as both a writer and an illustrator. I own a beautiful coffee table book of Pippi Longstocking, which was illustrated by Child. That being said, her Clarice Bean books are my favourite, closely followed by Charlie and Lola (cannot go past I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato).
Sarah Dessen has one of the most beautiful writing styles I have come across in young adult literature – it is simple, yet effective. These words could also describe her plots, which feature very realistic young love. My top recommendation would be Lock and Key. It was the first novel I read by Dessen and remains my favourite to this day.
I grew up devouring Enid Blyton books, starting with The Magic Faraway Treeseries and continuing on to the Amelia Jane, Malory Towers and St Claireseries, plus many more of the close to 800 books she managed to write during her lifetime. She even wrote under the penname Mary Pollock.
Now that I have finished my top five list, so many other names are popping into my head. Notable mentions go to: Louisa May Alcott, Judy Bloom, Beverly Cleary, Susanne Collins, May Gibbs.
The internet has been packed with readers raving about Alex and her time travelling adventures and it sounds like it could be an instant classic, but before I give too much away, lets get on with the reviews!
The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen
“I never expected The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare to be as good as it was. It took me completely by surprise and turned out to be quite possibly one of the best novels from Strange Chemistry books to date. Forget popular books like The Hunger Games & Twilight, M.G. Buehrlen’s debut novel is something that every young adult fan should read.” – The Founding Fields
“This one was up there with one of the best YA novels I have read since starting online reviews. Alex Wayfare is a freakin’ gem of depth and color. You feel her angst, worry, anger, love…all of it. The author does a spectacular job of letting you into her psyche… I want more of this story and more of this author.” – Koeur’s Book Reviews
“…a fun, fast paced read that is enjoyable for both a YA and adult audience. It is a wonderful debut novel, and I hope to see a sequel from this author soon.” – Avid Reviews
“This is one book that has everything in it. Teen angst, romance, action, adventure, historical fiction, mystery, time travel, science-fiction, it has it all! I pretty much devoured this…I didn’t want this book to end, and I was trying to read slower because of it. I cannot wait for the next one!” – Book Nerd
“We’ve all read timetravel books before. But Buehrlen has come up with a really interesting new concept. It’s more like soul-traveling… All lovers of YA paranormal stories or timetravel stories will definitely love this book, I’m very sure of that.” – Challenging Reads
Wow, after all that praise you could be forgiven for thinking that it doesn’t get much better than that, however, for all you Alex Wayfare fans I can tell it does get better as a sequel is already planned for next year! So make sure you stay glued to Strange Chemistry for more information as it happens. Don’t forget that M.G. Buehrlen is in the middle of her blog tour so keep an eye out on her website for new posts and a big thank you to everyone who has taken part so far!
It seems that early reviewers have been enthusiastically adding Stolen Songbird to their favourites shelves. Here’s why:
“The curse, the intrigue, the world- building, and the characters were all well done. Especially the world-building and the characters. If you love fantasies, romance, and political intrigue, then you really need to add this book to your wishlist and tell all your friends you want it for your birthday, because Oh my gosh, it is my new favorite book of this year. I am going to buy a hardback(if I can) and put that bad boy on my favorite books shelf right beside Graceling, Eon, and The Scorpio Races.”
- Book Marks the Spot
“If you’re looking for a YA fantasy full of magic and mystery and intrigue and romance and wonderful, heartfelt characters that you could easily accept to be trapped under a mountain with, then don’t just read Stolen Songbird—inhale it. Deliciously written in two POVs that are deep and personal and completely intertwined with one another, this book is at once like hot chocolate on a rainy day with a cat on your lap, and a shot of something wicked when you’re feeling wired. There’s nothing I even remotely disliked, and a list as long as most Welsh train station names of things I loved. Stolen Songbird was a dream to read, a dream to adventure through, and a nightmare to leave. I didn’t want to wake up—and neither will you.
- Jet Black Ink
“Overall, this lengthy fantasy novel offers a lot of adventure, romance and political intrigue. It would suit any voracious young reader looking for an entertaining read with thoughtful substance behind it. Highly Recommended.”
- Laura Dunford, Canadian Review of Materials, to be published in the Feb 14th issue
I’m thrilled to let you know about our new ARC up on NetGalley – Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen. This book has already been getting some fantastic early reviews and I can’t wait to hear what you all think of it!
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.
But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.
As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.
Blackwood is a haunting mystery novel that captivated readers, and has been put into development by MTV, with Lionsgate Television and Kelsey Grammer’s Grammnet Prods. Although these deals don’t always end in a finished series, this is still such exciting news!
From the moment this book came out, reviewers and readers have loved this much talked about book. So what makes Blackwood so special?
“This haunting, romantic mystery intrigues, chills, and captivates.”
- New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith
“Weird, wise and witty, Blackwood is great fun.”
- Marcus Sedgwick
“Miranda Blackwood’s battle against her own history is utterly modern – and utterly marvelous. She’s truly a heroine all readers can rally behind.”
- Micol Ostow, author of Family and So Punk Rock
“With whip-smart, instantly likable characters and a gothic small-town setting, Bond weaves a dark and gorgeous tapestry from America’s oldest mystery.”
- Scott Westerfeld, New York Times bestselling author of the Leviathan series
“A deft and clever debut! Bond takes some reliably great elements – a family curse, the mark of Cain, the old and endlessly fascinating mystery of the Roanoke Colony – and makes them into something delightfully, surprisingly new. How does she do that? I suspect witchcraft.”
- Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club
“Blackwood is an impressive debut novel for Ms. Bond and is hopefully just the first of many novels she plans to write.”
- Rob Bedford, SFF World
“Both Miranda and Phillips had great personalities, and that’s really what sold me on the book in the end.”
- Ashley, Booknook
“Blackwood is a terrific addition to the young-adult genre. Absolutely captivating”
- A Dream of Books
“Bond writes a compelling, addictive story that merges together so many genres it’s difficult to really call it one or the other: with elements of romance, mystery, the supernatural and even horror, Blackwood is a unique, exciting story that kept me glued to the page. It is an engrossing, detailed story that is deliciously written and marks Bond as a writer to look out for. She can write: her prose is quirky, fresh and absolutely fantastic. All in all, Gwenda Bond’s Blackwood is a gorgeous adventure of a book that simply must be read.”
- Jet Black Ink
“Blackwood is a solid debut YA novel: Bond’s prose is assured and accessible, the story races along and never lets up, and I was easily caught up in the narrative and story.”
- Civilian Reader
“BLACKWOOD puts a great paranormal spin on a piece of history. The unravelling mystery is tense and exciting. The story is creepy, absorbing and full of surprises. Blackwood is set in modern times in a small town with a rich history. The history of the characters and the Lost Colony weaves deep and is explored thoroughly, allowing the little pieces of the mystery to click together one by one. I thought it was fantastic.”
- Kate Ormand
“Gwenda Bond’s debut novel, a YA paranormal about the lost colony of Roanoke, moves along at a breathless pace, investing a humdrum plotline with a remarkable sense of urgency. Blackwood is not quite unputdownable—I did put it down once, at about five in the morning—but it’s close. This quality is achieved not through cliffhangers or whodunits, but through Bond’s exquisite sense of pacing. Every chapter adds a new piece to the puzzle.”
- Maya Chhabra, Strange Horizons
“Overall I have to say that Blackwood is a great debut and one that has me excited to see what Gwenda Bond will come up with next. If you’re looking for a story that brings history to life and then puts a supernatural spin on it, a story that will keep you gripped and make you desperate to uncover the mystery then look no further.”
- Feeling Fictional
“I enjoyed Blackwood because it had a brilliant lead character and some unique and interesting ideas which kept me guessing throughout the book.”
- The Overflowing Library
“I really enjoyed this book, it incorporated the legend of the Lost Colony well into a contemporary setting blending the past with the present cleverly. The way the plot twists and turns keeps the book exciting from start to finish, there were a couple of moments that left me feeling completely surprised. I shall certainly be looking forward to reading whatever Gwenda Bond writes next.”
- Book Angel Booktopia
“The story does have a nicely creepy X-Files-esque vibe that is present in the entire narrative, this sets a good tone. The pacing works and the final reveal fits snuggly within the confines of the rest of the story. The author’s descriptive skills are well honed and it’s easy to picture the remote locations as the plot unfolds. If you enjoy supernatural teen dramas liked Teen Wolf or The Vampire Diaries then I think that Blackwood may be the book for you.”
- The Eloquent Page
“With two endearing and lovable main characters and a creative supernatural spin on a very real historical mystery, Blackwood is a well-crafted and intriguing paranormal explanation of the events surrounding the lost colony of Roanoke.”
- Refracted Light Reviews
“Offbeat and imaginative, Blackwood mingles past and present, dark forces with a hint of pulp SF, along with many kinds of drama – from Shakespearean revenge to an amphitheater show where the island’s legend is just an entertainment for passing tourists. Whether viewed as young adult, genre mix, or a first novel, it belongs with the year’s best.”
- Faren Miller, Locus
“Gwenda Bond’s debut novel is an intense read, perfect for YA readers who enjoy a darker kind of Fantasy. Blackwood is a perfect book for those bored with the usual paranormal aspects and want to try something new, and will be enjoyed by a wide audience because of its easily accessible themes.”
- Speculating on SpecFic
January’s issue of Total Filmnot only features on-set exclusives for Spider-Man 2, interviews with Colin Farrell, and reviews of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug but excitedly, there is a FREE eBook of Blackwood by Gwenda Bondfor every reader!
Blackwood- a haunting, modern, mystery -has been put in development by MTV, with Lionsgate Television and Kelsey Grammer’s Grammnet Prods. As much as it can be hard to predict if/when these deals come to fruition, we’re excited to be celebrating the success of Blackwoodthus far!
Christine Norris: “I am so excited to be working with Strange Chemistry Books, and so happy that they will be bringing A Curse of Ash and Iron to readers. It’s a story close to my heart, using Victorian-era Philadelphia as a backdrop for a fairy-tale retelling, and I think that Strange Chemistry is going to do a fantastic job. I couldn’t have chosen a better publisher to work with!”
Amanda Rutter:“Christine’s writing has such a fabulous quality – drawing you in effortlessly to a story that makes the heart beat faster. With the historical richness of a Libba Bray novel, and the fairytale elements of Jackson Pearce, A Curse of Ash and Iron is a novel that I am so proud to be bringing to you through Strange Chemistry.”
A Curse of Ash and Iron
Eleanor Banneker is under a spell, bewitched and enslaved by her evil stepmother. Her long-lost childhood friend, Benjamin Grimm, is the only person immune to the magic that binds her. Even if he doesn’t believe in real magic, he cannot abandon her and must find a way to breach the spell – but time is running short. If he doesn’t succeed before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, Ellie will be bound forever…
Christine Norris is the author of several works for children and adults, including the Library of Athena series. When she’s not out saving the world one story at a time, she is disguised as a mild mannered school librarian, mother, and wife.