One of my reading goals this year is to give lesser known books a chance. I think there are so many great books out there that aren’t getting the attention they deserve. And, I’d like to be able to share those books with all of you.
Today, I thought it might be fun to look at a few of the books I’ve already read and loved that have fewer than 1,000 ratings on Goodreads. Here are ten hidden gems I loved (and one honorable mention):
The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang. I was not expecting much from this book, but I absolutely adored it! I love weird historical fiction, and this book is no exception. So many elements of this book are just so good, not least of which is the diversity (which was incorporated brilliantly into a historical setting) and the romance, which still makes me feel warm and fuzzy, but didn’t overshadow the rest of the story.
The Language of the Bear by Nathanael Green and Evan Ronan. This isn’t the kind of book I would normally pick up, but I am so glad I did. It is a great historical story with really wonderful characters. I enjoyed the dynamic between the characters, and the historical context. I studied American history extensively in college, but this is the only book I’ve read from a Native American perspective in Colonial America, and I really appreciated that aspect of this book.
The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning. I went into this one with relatively low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised by this book. It’s a steampunk fantasy that strongly reminded me of the Jackaby series by William Ritter. I enjoyed this one a lot! It’s a fun story with interesting characters and great writing.
A Fist Around the Heart by Heather Chisvin. This is a wonderful historical fiction novel about a woman trying to figure out exactly why her older sister died. Anna Grieve has to think back to their childhood after they were forced to emigrate from Russia due to the persecution of the Jews, and how each sister reacted differently. This book was heartbreaking, but also incredibly interesting and had a strong feminist tone that I really appreciated.
These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung. This is a novel about four girls who come out to speak against the inappropriate sexual conduct of one of the teachers at their former private high school. I think this is an important book in the age of #MeToo. It’s a good reminder to stop brushing off things we know are inappropriate and letting others get away with things that could cause harm to others.
A Nation of Immigrants by John F. Kennedy. I was shocked to find out this book only has 519 ratings on Goodreads (as of my writing this). First of all, it was written by a former president, and an extremely well-known one at that. And second, it’s a wonderful book about how valuable immigration is, why we should embrace it, and how it makes America great. Seriously, go read this right now.
Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra. To be fair, I think at least part of the reason this doesn’t have that many ratings is that it seems to have only been released in Canada. Which is a shame, because the rest of the world deserves this, too! It’s a dark, historical mystery that is just the right amount of weird. I’d definitely recommend this if you liked A Madness So Discreet or These Shallow Graves.
Queens of the Conquest by Alison Weir. If you like history and drama, this is your book. It’s like Real Housewives of Medieval Europe, and it’s amazing. Seriously, people were batshit crazy back then, and it is so much fun to read about them. Also, this is nonfiction, so the woman who decided the guy she rejected actually would make a great husband because he had the guts to attack her in her father’s house? Yeah, she was real.
Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan. Detective mysteries are not something I gravitate towards (I can’t think of one I’ve read other than this one), which is strange considering how many true crime shows I watch. But this book might have just changed my mind. I particularly liked the psychological element of this story. And the main character definitely sold me on this series. I am planning on picking up book two.
The Darkling Bride by Laura Anderson. This one is a wonderful blend of contemporary mystery and historical fiction, and I enjoyed it so much! It was intriguing and atmospheric and I just fell in love. I was so sad when I finished this book because I wanted more. I immediately added other books by Laura Anderson to my TBR, and I’m excited to read them.
Honorable Mention: An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice by Khizr Khan. This book has just over 1,000 ratings, which prevented it from being included on this list, but I still wanted to mention it, because it deserves so much more love. It is one of my favorite memoirs that really just gave me hope. I can’t recommend this highly enough.
Are there any books you love that you think should be getting more attention?