Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

The rules are simple:

  • Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
  • Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
  • Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists.
  • Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

This week’s topic is Hidden Gems, e.g. books haven’t been talked about as much or haven’t been marketed as strongly that you think deserve some recognition.  In thinking about this week’s topic, I decided to select ten books to which I gave 4 or 5 stars but that still have less than 30 reviews on Goodreads despite having been published before 2018.  It’s probably significant that a lot of them are published either by small publishers or self-published, demonstrating how difficult it is to grab readers’ attention in a crowded marketplace.  Of course, that’s where book bloggers like us come in!

Click on the title to read the book description on Goodreads.


The Shady Side of Town: Reading’s Trees by Adrian Lawson & Geoff Sawers (Published by Two Rivers Press in 2017, two ratings and 1 review on Goodreads)

I described The Shady Side of Town as packed full of interesting detail that will appeal to those with an interest in trees, the natural world, environmental issues and social history and as ‘a labour of love on the part of the author and illustrator’.   Read my full review here.

The Good Father by S.R. Wilsher (Self-published in April 2017, six ratings and five reviews on Goodreads)

Opening amidst the Bosnian conflict of the 1990s, The Good Father is an intelligent, gripping thriller that builds to an action-packed conclusion.  Read my full review here.

And the Birds Kept on Singing by Simon Bourke (Self-published in January 2017, nine ratings and two reviews on Goodreads)

And the Birds Kept on Singing is a powerful coming-of-age saga following the same boy through two different possible lives.  The story very sad at some points however it is also powerful, moving and has an amazing sense of realism.  Read my full review here.

A Countess in Limbo: Diaries in War and Revolution by Olga Hendrikoff and Suzanne Carscallen (Published in November 2016 by Archway Publishing, eleven ratings and four reviews on Goodreads)

The book recounts the remarkable true story of Countess Hendrikoff who lived through two of the most turbulent times in modern history – World War I in Russia and World War II in occupied France.  There is much wisdom to be found within it: ‘All war seems absurd to me anyway. The victors often lose in the exchange, and the vanquished think only of revenge.’ Read my full review here.

Shadows on the Grass by Misha M. Herwin (First published in December 2008, four ratings and three reviews on Goodreads)

Set in Bristol in 1965, the book focuses on three generations of women who are each in their own way struggling to come to terms with their past, their Polish heritage and the modern day. I described it as ‘full of interesting ideas, rich in detail and characterisation’. Read my full review here.

The Moral Compass (Shaking the Tree #1) by K. A. Servian (First published in October 2017, twenty-two ratings and fifteen reviews on Goodreads)

Set in New Zealand, this is the story of Florence and her hapless brother, Bertram, who find themselves alone, orphaned and penniless.  I found myself captivated by the Florence’s story and wanting to find out what happens next (a sequel is promised).  Read my full review here.

Fires by Tom Ward (Published in October 2017 by Crooked Cat Books, eleven ratings and seven reviews on Goodreads)

Both an exciting, intelligent thriller and an exploration of the consequences of disaffection and social inequality, Fires tells the story of how power and money corrupt and to what lengths those who possess power will go to protect it.  There are shades of Fahrenheit 451.  Read my full review here.

The Biographies of Ordinary People, Volume 1: 1989-2000 by Nicole Dieker (Published in May 2017, 75 ratings and twenty-five reviews on Goodreads)

The Biographies of Ordinary People tells the story of the Grubers, focusing particularly on the three daughters of the family – Meredith, Natalie, and Jackie. Described as a Millennial era Little Women, it’s full of the details that made up everyday domestic life in the 1990s, reflecting the experiences of many of us growing up, I suspect: inventing games for entertainment on car journeys, starting school, forming new friendships, moving to a new town, going to the swimming pool, visiting the video store, attending your first prom.  Read my full review here.

The Existence of Pity by Jeannie Zokan (Published in November 2016, 73 ratings and twenty-two reviews on Goodreads)

A really interesting coming-of-age story set in the fascinating location of Cali, a city in Colombia.   I loved the insight the novel gives into the culture and landscape of Colombia and it’s engaging lead character, Josie. Read my full review here.

Letting Go by Maria Thompson Corley (Published in July 2016, twenty-five ratings and twenty-three reviews on Goodreads)

The novel charts the lives of two young people – Cecile and Langston. In separate story lines that converge at points, we see them navigate life, love and career over a period of more than twenty years.  I described it as ‘a character-driven, authentic story that really immerses you in the lives of its characters’.  Read my full review here.

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