It feels like it has been forever since I did a Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is Hidden Gems: books that haven’t been talked about as much or haven’t been marketed as strongly that you think deserve some recognition. I’ve been reading a lot of hyped books recently, so this one will definitely take more thought.
The Color Alchemist Series by Nina Walker
What if color held the secrets to powerful magic?
Forced to move into the palace, Jessa begins training as a Color Alchemist under the direction of the kingdom’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Lucas. As an alchemist, Jessa must capture and harness the color of living things. Every color has a unique purpose, except red. Red is the untapped magic no one can access—until Jessa.
Prince Lucas is running out of time. His mother is deathly ill and healing magic hasn’t worked. When Lucas suspects someone is using alchemy to control her, he sets out to discover the truth, no matter the cost.
Prism was one of the earliest ARC’s I ever received and I just fell in love with it. I love the world, I love the characters, and I am fascinated by the system of color magic. I definitely want more people to read them so we can discuss and because they just deserve to be read.
Dancer by Colum McCann
Taking his inspiration from biographical facts, novelist Colum McCann tells the erotically charged story of the Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev through the cast of those who knew him: there is Anna Vasileva, Rudi’s first ballet teacher, who rescues her protégé from the stunted life of his provincial town; Yulia, whose sexual and artistic ambitions are thwarted by her Soviet-sanctioned marriage; and Victor, the Venezuelan street hustler, who reveals the lurid underside of the gay celebrity set. Spanning four decades and many worlds, from the horrors of the Second World War to the wild abandon of New York in the eighties, Dancer is peopled by a large cast of characters, obscure and famous: doormen and shoemakers, nurses and translators, Margot Fonteyn, Eric Bruhn and John Lennon. And at the heart of the spectacle stands the artist himself, willful, lustful, and driven by a never-to-be-met need for perfection.
This book is one of the most unique books I have ever read. It is beautiful and haunting and really eye opening.
My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares
Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has “the memory”, the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he’s previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.
Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel’s unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now “Lucy” in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.
Everyone knows Ann Brashares for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but I feel like a lot of people never found this gem. It was one of my favorites, and I still am hoping for a sequel….
Wildflower Hill by Kimberly Freeman
Forced to take her life in a new direction when an injury ends her ballet career, Emma returns to her home in Australia and learns that she has inherited an isolated sheep station from a late grandmother who would impart key lessons about love and motherhood.
I brought this book on a vacation, and finished the entire thing on the plane because I just couldn’t stop reading. It gave me SUCH a huge book hangover and I was obsessed with the characters.
The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard
Kirsten Hammarstrom hasn’t been home to her tiny corner of rural Wisconsin in years-not since the mysterious disappearance of a local teenage girl rocked the town and shattered her family. Kirsten was just nine years old when Stacy Lemke went missing, and the last person to see her alive was her boyfriend, Johnny-the high school wrestling star and Kirsten’s older brother. No one knows what to believe-not even those closest to Johnny-but the event unhinges the quiet farming community and pins Kirsten’s family beneath the crushing weight of suspicion.
Now, years later, a new tragedy forces Kirsten and her siblings to return home, where they must confront the devastating event that shifted the trajectory of their lives. Tautly written and beautifully evocative, The Mourning Hours is a gripping portrayal of a family straining against extraordinary pressure, and a powerful tale of loyalty, betrayal and forgiveness.
This book caught my eye because it takes place in Wisconsin, where I’m from, but I got really absorbed in this story. I loved the mystery of it, and thought the concept was gripping.
The Haunting of Hattie Hastings by Audrey Davis
Some people just won’t take death lying down …!
Part one of a fun-filled but moving romantic comedy about life, death and letting go.
Hattie Hastings is happily married, even if husband Gary drives her up the wall at times. When tragedy strikes, she is left alone and heartbroken, with only an assortment of family and friends to prop her up.
Struggling to cope, she is left reeling when her deceased other half returns to haunt her, popping up at the most inappropriate times, with an unorthodox way of flagging his arrival.
Hattie struggles to convince anyone that Gary has returned. Not even her best friend, Cat – now free from the cruel and controlling Stewart – will believe her story.
Why has Gary returned? Will he allow Hattie to find happiness again, or will he stand in the way of any future romance? And what will Cat do when her slimy ex-husband tries to worm his way back into her affections?
This book just warmed my heart. Split into three short novellas, this series is funny, sweet, and emotional. Anyone looking for a super quick and fun read should pick this series up!
Sorority by Genevieve Sly Crane
Prep meets Girls in White Dresses in Genevieve Sly Crane’s deliciously addictive, voyeuristic exploration of female friendship and coming of age that will appeal to anyone who has ever been curious about what happens in a sorority house.
Twinsets and pearls, secrets and kinship, rituals that hold sisters together in a sacred bond of everlasting trust. Certain chaste images spring to mind when one thinks of sororities. But make no mistake: these women are not braiding each other’s hair and having pillow fights—not by a long shot.
What Genevieve Sly Crane has conjured in these pages is a blunt, in your face look behind the closed doors of a house full of contemporary women—and there are no holds barred. These women have issues: self-inflicted, family inflicted, sister-to-sister inflicted—and it is all on the page. At the center of this swirl is Margot: the sister who died in the house, and each chapter is told from the points of view of the women who orbit her death and have their own reactions to it.
With a keen sense of character and elegant, observant prose, Crane details the undercurrents of tension in a world where perfection comes at a cost and the best things in life are painful—if not impossible—to acquire: Beauty. A mother’s love. And friendship… or at least the appearance of it. Woven throughout are glimmers of the classical myths that undercut the lives of women in Greek life. After all, the Greek goddesses did cause their fair share of destruction.
This book was so different than what I expected, but I loved it. It was insanely haunting and dark, and stuck with me a while after reading it. See my full review here.
Practicing Normal by Cara Sue Achterberg
Meet the Turners – a socially awkward genius child, an adolescent cat burglar, a philandering husband, and a doormat wife in desperate need of a backbone. The Turners are doing their best to craft a happy life and face down a history they have no control over in a neighborhood where only the houses are similar. And when relationships sprout from seemingly nowhere and secrets begin to unravel, practicing normal becomes harder than it’s ever been.
Combining her trademark combination of wit, insight, and tremendous empathy for her characters, Cara Sue Achterberg has written a novel that is at once familiar and startlingly fresh.
This book was a beautifully written look at a dysfunctional family. All of the characters were flawed and relatable and made you root for them.
Have you read any of these hidden gems? Have you found any that I should add to my list? Let me know in the comments! ❤