5 Underrated Books I Love

 

I wanted to give some of my underrated faves some love today, it’s Friday, though it’s like every day is Friday for some of us…still! I think it’s a great day to celebrate underrated books!

Here are my top 5 underrated books, and I would LOVE to hear your underrated favorites!

 

The Phantom Forest

GoodReads:
Every tree in the sacred Forest of Laida houses a soul. Though each of those souls will return to the mortal world for many future lives, not all of them deserve to.

Seycia’s father told her this story as a child — a story of the most holy place in the Underworld, The Forest of Laida, where all souls go to rest before embarking on a new life. But Seycia’s father is dead now, and his killer has put a target on her back.

After being chosen for her village’s human sacrifice ritual, Seycia is transported to the Underworld and must join forces with Haben, the demon to whom she was sacrificed, to protect the family she left behind from beyond the grave. In this story of love, survival, and what it means to be human, Seycia and Haben discover that the Underworld is riddled with secrets that can only be unlocked through complete trust and devotion, not only to their mission, but also to one another.

Snippet of My Review:
Liz Kerin’s creativity flows off the pages and right to the heart. Not to mention she gives you characters that you desperately wish only the best for but as all good authors tend to do, she doesn’t leave your heart in one complete piece. Haben shows great growth and development and Seycia is my favorite, a true strong personality and stubbornness that runs in not only her but her brother Miko.

 

 

The Family Tree: The most emotional and compelling literary debut of 2020

GoodReads:
‘Poignantly paints the extraordinary in ordinary lives. A brilliant first book from Hussain.’The Sunday Post
‘An evocative portrayal of love and family.’ Ayisha Malik
‘Invites you in, not as a stranger but as a family friend. I loved it.‘ Katie Fforde
‘Hussain weaves a tale of fragility and resilience. A wonderful debut.’ Catherine Mayer
‘Both unflinching and full of hope; the writing is compassionate and true.’ Stephanie Butland
**
‘One of the best new books by black and POC authors in 2020’Cosmopolitan
‘Top Book Releases To Look Forward To In 2020’Bustle
‘Top 10 Books by British Asian authors to look out for in 2020’Asian Image
**
Your roots can always lead you home…
Amjad cradles his baby daughter in the middle of the night. He has no time to mourn his wife’s death. Saahil and Zahra, his two small children, are relying on him. Amjad vows to love and protect them always.

Years later, Saahil and his best friend, Ehsan, have finished university and are celebrating with friends. But when the night turns dangerous, its devastating effects will ripple through the years to come.

Zahra’s world is alight with politics and activism. But she is now her father’s only source of comfort, and worries she’ll never have time for her own aspirations. Life has taken her small family in different directions – will they ever find their way back to each other?

The Family Tree is the moving story of a British Muslim family full of love, laughter and resilience as well as all the faults, mistakes and stubborn loyalties which make us human.

Snippet of My review:
This is a multigenerational story about a British Muslim family who suffers from tragedies, inequalities, racism, fear, loss, and so much more. BUT this is not a story of despair only, on the flip side of the things, we have…the beauty and love of a religion, the acceptance of cultural differences between different communities [say, Zahra’s best friend, or, the gym owner that Saahil encounters], the love of family, hope, strength, and reunions.

 

The Return of King Lillian

GoodReads:
The Return of King Lillian is a mythic journey tale – a metaphysical fantasy for dreamers and nonconformists of all ages.

So, why the manly moniker in tandem with the womanly name?

“The Firstborn Child of The Emperor-King Inherits the Ruling Crown, the Title of Emperor-King and All Powers Thereof.” (Item 37, The Royal Manual)

Enter Lillian, the firstborn child of said Emperor-King. Cast out of her Kingdom by malevolent forces, mysteriously waylaid by Destiny, the spirited, self-reliant Lillian sets off on an exuberant journey to find her way home and claim her birthright. As she travels through marvelous and mystical lands in search of her origins, Lillian encounters and befriends a kaleidoscopic cast of characters. Most of the tale is told by Lillian herself, as she chronicles her extraordinary adventures.

The audiobook of The Return of King Lillian is performed by the author, Suzie Plakson.

 

Snippet of My Review:
This is probably one of my favorite retellings ever now. I do have a soft spot for retellings in general but Plakson just knocks it out of the park for creativity. Lillian is such a bright, enigmatic, and innocent character with a heart so full and pure that I cheered her on from page one. This has a bit of a ‘Princess Bride’ meets ‘Wizard of Oz’/’Alice in Wonderland’ feel. It’s whimsical in all the best ways and though beautiful and lush with some darker moments it can fit a wide range of ages as far as reader audience goes.

 

The Red Labyrinth

GoodReads:
The massive labyrinth was built to protect Zadie Kalvers’ isolated desert town. Unfortunately, living in the maze’s shadow makes her feel anything but safe. Even without its enchanted deathtraps and illusions, a notorious killer named Dex lurks in its corridors, terrorizing anyone in his path.

But when Zadie’s best friend vanishes into the labyrinth-and everyone mysteriously forgets he exists- completing the maze becomes her only hope of saving him. In desperation, Zadie bribes the only person who knows the safe path through-Dex-into forming a tenuous alliance.

Navigating a deadly garden, a lethal blood-filled hourglass, and other traps-with an untrustworthy murderer for her guide-Zadie’s one wrong step from certain death. But with time running out before her friend (and secret crush) is lost forever, Zadie must reach the exit and find him. If Dex and the labyrinth don’t kill her first.

Snippet of My Review:
Tate gives us a story where the one without the skills is rare and weak. There’s no doubt that Zadie knows she’s no match for a person with skills, whether it’s just one skill or more. But this is kind of a nice approach, she’s not special in the sense that she’s overpowered, but in that she isn’t. So her strength will have to come from somewhere else and it will have to show up along the way or she’ll never survive the maze.

 

A Spark of White Fire (The Celestial Trilogy, #1)

GoodReads:
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.

It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.

Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.

Snippet of My Review:
This book is a siren among books, it drags you in, the moment you read the first chapter, and that is it, you’re hooked. Your life? It’s over.

The characters are great, you love every single one of the cinnamon rolls, and even those that are hard to love, I at least appreciated the work that went into them. Mandanna fleshes out her characters so that those who are ‘stars’ feel intimate to a reader.

There are so many complex familial relationships and it’s what sets it apart from other Space Operas in my opinion [That and I’ve never read one inspired by the Mahabharata]. It feels real because of the relationships between characters and the romance though present, doesn’t steal the spotlight from what Mandanna wants to convey to us.

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