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I love new release books but honestly, have become frustrated lately with how much they dominate the book talk on blogs, social media and in the book world in general. I understand that publishers have a job to do and readers (me included) want to read mostly the new and the shiny. I get that it is important for the word to be spread about new books and creating buzz and excitement over an upcoming release helps the book world go around. However, I have recently been working my little blogger butt off to shine some light on older, non-new release titles. (See this and this post).
Combine that with an amazing book experience I recently had, and we have a true “aha” moment. I read a wonderful book this past summer that I had not seen mentioned much, if at all, by any of my book friends. Now, I am admittedly new to the book blogging world, but I read a ton of book blogs (and have for years), listen to several popular bookish podcasts, stalk Goodreads and other similar websites, follow a good number of reviewers on social media and am in more than a few Facebook book lover groups (each with thousands of members). This fabulous book I mentioned earned my top rating – 5 pizza slices (yep, I give books slices instead of stars) and it left me wondering one question: What OTHER amazing, unsung books are out there that I have never heard of and how can I find them?
The following list is my effort to shine light on some pretty amazing books that I feel don’t get much love. Some of them have quite a few Goodreads ratings and in some cases, more than a few mentions on social media BUT I still feel they are not books that are talked about frequently in bookish circles.
Full disclosure: I have not read all of these, but I did some homework on each one checking into reviews from trusted sources, social media mentions and also consulted knowledgeable book friends. For the seven I have not read, their covers are listed below with links below that to read reviews/synopsis/etc.
Not to worry, though, THE LAST THREE are ones I have read and loved (including the aforementioned book that started it all). Scroll down to see those three and to read my thoughts on them. Enjoy!
Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom (Harper, 2012); Leaving Lucy Pear by Anna Solomon (Viking, 2016); Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson; Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah (Lake Union, 2019); Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler (St. Martins, 2013); Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (Berkley, 2015); Summer that Melted Everything Tiffany McDaniel (St. Martin’s, 2016)
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz (Recorded Books, 2007): If you are a regular reader of this blog, you *might* be tired of seeing this one. Sorry. I love it and it is also on my all-time favorites list.
This Much Country by Kristin Knight Pace (Grand Central, 2019): This one is newer and made my favorite books of the year (so far) for 2019. Pace’s story about finding love after heartbreak amongst the Alaskan wilderness all while leading a sled dog team in some pretty crazy long races, is beautiful, awe-inspiring and made me feel so empowered as a woman.
The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook (Little, Brown & Co., 2018): Sorry, I made you wait the entire post to reveal that THIS IS THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL. I loved this book and it made me crave more knowledge about other (relatively) unknown (to me?) books. This is the story of a young girl’s obsession with tracking down and killing the panther who maimed her and killed her mother. Told through a series of letters written by her brother to a local judge in conjunction with a court case, this novel completely caught me by surprise with its gripping story line and interesting characters. It came out in 2018, but that did not stop me from listing it as a 2019 summer favorite.