This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is about underrated books, but in a much more objective way than usual: it's our 10 favorite reads that have under 2,000 ratings on Goodreads. This one was slightly tough for me because apparently most of the lesser-known books I've read are ones that I didn't like all that much! Still, I just managed to pick out 10 underrated books that I'd be happy to recommend. I avoided putting new releases on the list, but I did include a couple books that came out earlier this year that I think should get more recognition!
The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones
119 Goodreads ratings
"The Alaskan Laundry," the story of a young woman who escapes her troubled past in Philadelphia by heading to Alaska to work her way up in the fishing industry, just came out in April, but it has the second-lowest number of Goodreads ratings of any book I've read! It definitely deserves more recognition than that. The sense of atmosphere is amazing and our main character is a total badass. I'm not usually a big fan of character-drive novels, but this one is great!
Poor Your Soul by Mira Ptacin
146 Goodreads ratings
146 Goodreads ratings
"Poor Your Soul" is another book that came out this year, in January, and it deserves to have way more than 146 Goodreads readers! It's a poignant and raw memoir about an impossible choice and the grieving process that followed. The writing is so open and honest that you'll feel like you're friends with Mira by the end.
Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaugton
568 Goodreads ratings
I'm always surreptitiously checking out other people's tattoos and I often wonder (and sometimes ask) about them. "Pen & Ink" is a fantastic collection of stories about the personal significance -- or lack thereof -- of a bunch of random people's body art. The tales are fascinating and run the full gamut from "I was drunk" to extremely meaningful. And the hand-drawn replicas of the tattoos -- rather than photos -- just brings everything together.
The Adventuress by Tasha Alexander
(#10 in the Lady Emily series)
980 Goodreads ratings
I've been a devoted reader of Tasha Alexander's historical Lady Emily mysteries for going on 8 years now, and I was shocked and a little saddened to see last year's installment have so few ratings! The books are set in the late 1800s and feature an amateur sleuth who is far ahead of her time. The stories fall halfway between cozy mystery and crime thriller and, with the exception of one or two, they're all excellent for an enthralling historical diversion.
The Great Christmas Knit-Off by Alexandra Brown
1,016 Goodreads ratings
I probably wouldn't have picked this book up based on the cover alone, but since I'm a knitter I couldn't resist! It ended up being such a fun, delightful, fluffy, festive read and I recommend adding it to your holiday reading next Christmas! Despite featuring a knitter, you don't need to know the first thing about knitting to enjoy the story.
Boo by Neil Smith
1,242 Goodreads ratings
What a unique read this was! Outcast Boo has always been picked on, but he never expected to be gunned down in front of his middle school locker. After he dies, he goes to a special heaven for 13-year-old Americans -- and finally finds companionship with a group of misfits while setting out to determine the identity of his killer. The book was by turns hilarious, quirky and heartbreaking, and it's a superfast read. It'll appeal to fans of "Wonder," though it's much darker.
Fives and Twenty-Fives by Michael Pitre
1,255 Goodreads ratings
"Fives and Twenty-Fives," an Iraq war story skillfully written by an Iraq war veteran, was one of my favorite books of 2014. I picked it up because, as an Air Force wife, I try to read military fiction here and there, and I'm so glad I did. Even if you wouldn't normally read a war novel, you should check this one out for the fascinating story, the dynamic characters and the awesome writing.
The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman
1,360 Goodreads ratings
"The Fair Fight" has a totally unique premise: female boxing in the 1700s. It's the kind of historical fiction that will take you on an immersive journey back in time -- and then remind you that it totally sucked to be a woman 250 years ago. This book is not a fast or short read, but it definitely deserves more recognition.
The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron
1,557 Goodreads ratings
Sometimes you just need a wacky, light, fun read -- preferably, in my case, with a dog involved -- and "Midnight Plan" fits that bill perfectly. It's about a repo man (with a basset hound sidekick) who gets unwittingly pulled into crime-solving. It features an outrageous cast of characters and it was a fantastic piece of fluff. The second book in the series comes out next month and I'll definitely pick it up.
I'll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan
2,728 Goodreads ratings
Well, this is a bit of a cheat since it has more than 2,000 ratings, but it's one of my all-time favorites and I would love for someone else to read it because they saw it on my post! (And, really, 3,000 ratings is still pretty underrated.) It's an epistolary novel -- one of my favorite kinds of books -- set in WWII. It's told in letters between two very different women who are set up as penpals while their husbands are off to war.