Hidden Gems: Books Edition!

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

You know those books that just… do something special for you? The ones that hit you in the gut, or make you laugh so hard you cry, or just feel impossibly relatable? We talk a lot about those kinds of books in the office. We swap favorite titles with each other and discuss our favorite scenes at lunch. There’s something beautiful about a really good book. So we wanted to share a few of our favorite titles with you, particularly some of the ones that get a little less love, because we want you to enjoy these as much as we do.

Shadows of Stars was a title we were really excited to pick up. It takes the “oppressed people with powers” trope to a whole other level. It reads smoothly and is filled with interesting characters with exciting powers that you can’t help but want to learn more about. The transition from the harmonious society in the early episodes, where Wielders live side by side with regular people, to the grim anti-Wielder society we see in the rest of the novel feels especially relevant in these divisive times.

Watered Down is the story of a girl who really lives up to her name. Serena drowns in a boating accident, but is given another chance at life for the low, low price of a hundred souls. It reads like a modern retelling of The Little Mermaid with a darker twist.

The Moon’s Permission is a period piece about two men falling in love in New York City in 1915. It’s a good period piece populated by a compelling cast of characters that really draw you in. Ethnic, religious, and class differences heighten tensions and really strengthen the power of this love story.

F*ck My Life: Stories I Wish Weren’t True is exactly what it says on the tin: it’s “for the underdogs with big dreams and bad credit.” Cat Rhinehart spins tales of life in New York city that feel so personal it’s almost like they happened to you. It’s just as funny as you’d expect form someone who makes their living writing for and acting in a variety of comedies. If you need a pick-me-up and life is feeling too hard, you should absolutely start reading F*ck My Life.

Dear Felicia is the kind of Medieval-era novel that die-hard historical fiction fans and Medievalists lose their minds for. It’s historically accurate to the inth degree, but that never gets in the way of the story. The main character, Felicia, is incredibly intelligent and astute, providing insight into the way her world works and all the interesting ways in which it doesn’t work at all. There’s romance, but even if love interests never arrived for Felicia, it wouldn’t matter. Felicia is fascinating in her own right, as are the friends she makes throughout the novel, and the romance is just icing on a very rich, period-accurate cake.

By the Blade is one of those books that takes you by surprise. It starts out a little slow, but mostly because the narrator’s whole life is slow. But as soon as she gets that first letter from “MGMT” telling her she’s been selected to participate in an illegal tournament where she’ll get the opportunity to fight to the death, things pick up significantly. The choices that Cyan makes, the fights she gets into, her unique take on life, and her desire to spend her very modern life honing her skills as a warrior is really refreshing. She’s the definition of a strong female character,

Have thoughts on our picks? Feel like we missed your favorite hidden gem? Tell us in the comments!

— Serena and the Tapas Team