Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top Ten Underrated/Hidden Gems I Read in the Past Year

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new subject each week and this week's theme is "Top Ten Underrated/Hidden Gems I Read in the Past Year.

Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

This novel is set in a world where only the privileged few can learn to read and write. The heroine is a slave who is appointed as a tutor in training to the prince so she gets to learn to read and write. Raisa plans to just keep her head down but the Resistance wants her to help them. I liked the worldbuilding, political intrigue and mythology. I think readers who liked An Ember in the Ashes or The Winner's Curse would like this too.

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

This historical fantasy has slight tones of the X-Men. Evelyn's sister Rosamund has disappeared and Evelyn heads off to London to find her, with the help of a neighbor. A young man she meets insists that Evelyn and her sister have special healing abilities and she soon discovers there are other people out there with unusual abilities and someone sinister has taken her sister.

Wanderlost by Jen Malone

Aubree is not very adventurous and as the baby of the family, her mom coddles her and is overprotective. When Aubree makes a mistake that leads to her older sister getting in trouble and missing out on a vital summer job as a tour guide, Aubree reluctantly agrees to go in her sister's place and pretend to be her. It isn't smooth sailing (she loses her cell phone and the itinerary on the plane) but there was plenty of humor and I enjoyed armchair traveling with Aubree. 

The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love

Graham is in love with his best friend Roxy and he has decided he is going to declare his love at the New York Comic Con. He has everything all planned out to give her the perfect day at Comic Con including meeting their favorite comic book creator who will be there in a rare appearance. Of course things don't go exactly according to plan. I thought this was fun and loved all the pop culture references as well as the characters and relationships. 

Flying by Carrie Jones

Mana's mom disappears and she finds out that one of her classmates is an acid spitting alien and that her mom is an alien hunter. She also discovers that she has some unusual abilities. This book is kind of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer but with aliens. There is lots of action as well as humor and it was a fun reading experience.

The Seafront Tearoom by Vanessa Greene

I wanted to read this because I love tea and visiting tea rooms but I found it to be a charming story about new friendships. 

A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Amy Scheibe

Set in Minnesota in the 1950s, this is the story of Emmy Nelson, a young woman growing up in a strict religious household. She is expected to marry Ambrose, her grandfather's protege, and live a quiet moral life but Emmy soon discovers that things (and people) aren't what they seem. I enjoyed this historical novel and seeing Emmy grow and change for the better.

The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay by Kelly Harms

Lily's life has hit a rough patch and now she has to leave her apartment too. While packing she comes across some paperwork she forgot to take care of--an annulment. She decides to look up her forgotten husband Ben and get the annulment taken care of in person. When she lands in Minnow Bay she finds an unexpected welcome (though not initially from Ben) and a chance to start over. I really enjoyed this one. There was humor, romance and some wonderful friendships. 

The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

Hannah and Kate have been best friends since childhood and now that they are both grown and married, they are still a big part of each others' lives. Hannah has always wanted to be a mom but has just found out it isn't meant to be. Kate decides that she would like to carry a baby for Hannah to give her best friend the ultimate gift. It seems like a miracle but then a tragedy happens. This book reminded me of Jodi Picoult and Nicholas Sparks a little bit. 

The Sheriffs of Savage Wells

Paisley Bell is running for sheriff though the townsfolk don't know what to make of a woman sheriff.  Paisley knows the quirky residents and she cares about them. She's been the acting sheriff since the previous sheriff quit and even before that she did his work for him. She also desperately needs the money to provide for her dad who is losing his memory. Unfortunately the town council has invited outside candidates from around the country to interview for the position, including handsome legendary lawman Cade O'Brien. I thought this story was entertaining and a touching romance with great characters.


  1. I'm pretty sure I brought home a copy of Geek's Guide from BEA last year. I think I'll seek it out. Thanks for sharing some of your favorite small titles.

    Here's my list of books you might have missed.

  2. I want to read Wanderlost! It sounds like a me book. :) I have a copy of The Geek's Guide. I need to read it soon! It sounds so fun.

  3. Sword and Verse I remember seeing around and it does look good. The Geek's Guide looks fun, and I love that cover of The Seafront Tearoom with the cups stacked like that. Don't know what it is but it's a nice cover. The Matchmaker's isn't bad either!

  4. Fantastic list. I actually almost included Wanderlost in my list as well. I agree with you regarding Fireproof Home - really enjoyed that novel as well as Matchmaker! There are a few others on here that I am hoping to read like Vicious Mask and Sword and Verse!

  5. I think I have the first four books on your list on my tbr pile somewhere. Thanks for sharing your hidden gems.

  6. Flying looks like it's totally fun and guilty-pleasure-ish and I love books like that :)

  7. Wow -- four or five of these sound like I'd really like them! Time to pull up my library's website and see if they have them yet. The Sheriffs of Savage Wells and The Seafront Tearoom especially intrigue me. Thanks for bringing them to my attention!

    My TTT is right here, if you're interested.

  8. Sword and Verse is on my TBR, so glad to hear you liked it.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/top-ten-tuesday-92/

  9. I like your picks. The Geeks Guide looks like a fun read.

  10. You've convinced me to seek out a copy of Flying. I can resist no longer. Thanks for sharing your list!

  11. I really want to read These Vicious Masks. I heard about the book from Becca at Awesome Book Nut. I've always said I don't like historical books, but I really love reading regency type books.

  12. I have Sword & Verse on my TBR already, but These Vicious Masks looks really interesting! Thanks for sharing :)

    ~Michelle @ FaerieFits


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