Top Ten Hidden Gems

Top Ten Tuesday  is a meme hosted by the Awesome people over at  The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

I think that this weeks prompt was supposed to be contained by a single genre.  I couldn't possibly work like that.  In fact, I seem to havge gone out of my way to have as many genre's represented as possible on this list.  #rebel #notreally 

"Hidden Gem" seemed like such a nebulous classification.  Which of course led to me debating with myself for days as to the exact definition.  Do I take these things far to seriously?  Of course I do.  Anyhow, for purposes of this post these are books I enjoyed with less than 2000 ratings on Goodreads.

I love this cover

I love this cover

Iron Cast
by Destiny Soria

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: October 11th 2016
Rating: Full review of Iron Cast

"Ada supposed there was some kind of plan in place. Of course, there was always the possibility that Corinne had concocted an elaborate scheme to get in but hadn’t bothered with an escape route, in hopes that things would sort themselves out.”

More people should read this book.  Specifically more people should read this book who are artistic because I would like some fan art, dammit. Diverse historical urban fantasy. 'Nuf said.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard cover

A Quiet Kind of Thunder
by Sara Barnard 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: January 12th 2017
Rating: Surprised me

“Panic attacks are a lot like being drunk in some ways, you lose self-control. You cry for seemingly no reason. You deal with the hangover long into the next day.” 

I was fairly convinced that this was going to be some sort of melodramatic after school special kind of terrible.  Shows what I know.  The representation was sensitive and well researched and I loved the characters.  

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore cover

The Weight of Feathers
by Anna-Marie McLemore 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: September 15th 2015
Rating: Full Review of The Weight of Feathers

“He was beautiful in ways that made him ugly to his family.”

Magical realism can be hit and miss.  Sometimes the magic is so random that it jars you out of the story.  Here it feels naturalistic.  "Of course, he has feathers." Also: I ship it.

Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath cover

Like Water on Stone
by Dana Walrath

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: November 11th 2014
Rating: stays with you

“We eagles sing no soothing songs.
Our throats can only whistle.
Instead, we hunt them down,
take them from others.” 

This book has so many elements.  Magical realism, novel in verse, cross dressing for safely, niche historical event.  It is set during the Armenian Genocide during WWI and it haunted me long after I finished reading it.

Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught cover

Freaks Like Us
by Susan Vaught

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: September 4th 2012
Rating: Full review of Freaks Like Us

“Some people are so strong, they don't need to change... They change everyone around them.”

I read this in one sitting because I had to know what happened.

The Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne cover

The Inside of Out
by Jenn Marie Thorne 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: May 31st 2016
Rating: Full review of The Inside of Out

“But it occurred to me suddenly that trust wasn't an object, not something that arrived on your doorstep, solid and absolute. It was a decision, a leap.” 

The ultimate Ally novel.  Alternate title: Learning to Shut Up and Listen because It Isn't Always About Me and That is Okay.

What Can(t) Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez cover

What Can(t) Wait
by Ashley Hope Pérez

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: March 1st 2011
Rating: Full review What Can(t) Wait

“I can’t stand to feel all those bodies move against me. I don’t want anybody to touch me. Because there’s no way to know what they’re thinking, what they would do to you if there was nothing to stop them.” 

This book is so intensely real that I still sporadically worry about the main character.  

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo  cover

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War
by Annia Ciezadlo 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: February 1st 2011
Rating: Delicious.

“Luckily, just at the world’s outer limit, right where a wandering soul needs it most, is a bar where he can get a beer.” 

Day of Honey is probably my favorite memoir read in the last ten years.  There is idea about the food of Iraq as a deeper meaning of history and culture and invasion that I still think about.  There are recipes at the end that are not disappointing. I spent weeks searching for pommegranate syrup in Beijing so I could make one and I havge no regrets.

How To Be a Heroine: Or, What I've Learned from Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis cover

How To Be a Heroine: Or, What I've Learned from Reading Too Much
by Samantha Ellis 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: January 2nd 2014
Rating: False, there is no such thing as too much reading

“I don't know if I'll get a happy ending. But why worry about a happy ending? Why worry about any ending at all? I don't know where I'm going next, and for the first time in forever, I don't want to. I want my life to be picaresque. Fantastical. I want to say yes and.”

Sort of a combination of memoir, feminist manifesto, and literary critique.  The key is that Samantha Ellis is funny and likable.  I came around to her argument that Cathy Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights is probably not the most stable base upon which to base all idea of love and womanhood on.  

How do you define "hidden gem"? Do you keep yours secret or do you spend all your time shilling them to anyone who stands still long enough?