Friday, November 11, 2011

Reading the not-quite blockbuster books, Part 2

Earlier in the year, I featured a list of books that I'd read, reviewed and enjoyed, but had also noticed that on GoodReads the books had recieved fewer than 30 ratings. I really loved the response that I had to that post and decided to make it a regular feature. I'm always keen to read and review and highlight books that haven't had as much attention than others. Especially if I feel that these books are being overlooked and that deserved to be more widely read.

But this list of books below is special in another way as well. Not only are all of these books ones I've read and enjoyed, as well as not have as many ratings as I feel they should, but all of the books below are also written by British authors.

Hidden by Miriam Halahmy - 4 ratings I really loved this book! I loved the setting of Hayling Island and the interesting topics raised of immigration and asylum seekers. It really made me think and I love that it holds a mirror up to as well questioning different prejudices. The story revolves around Alix, a teenage girl struggling with some family problems, and her classmate Samir who together rescue a man from the sea who has come into the country in order to seek asylum.

This is a really wonderful and thought-provoking book, one in which I thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to the other books by Miriam Halahmy, set in the same series, especially the next book which is about Lindy, one of the minor characters from Hidden.

Duty Calls: Dunkirk by James Holland - 8 ratings Now I don't read a lot of historical fiction, and while I've always had an interest in World War II, I can't say that I know very much about famous battles or what war looks like from a soldier's perspective, so I wasn't entirely sure how much I would enjoy this book. I heard the author speak earlier in the year though and found him to be quite interesting so when the book came for review, I was happy to give it a chance. And I'm really quite glad that I did.

This is the story of 16 year old soldier, Johnny Hawke, and the group of soldiers that he fights alongside. I loved all the details of soldier's life - the food, the living conditions, the weaponry, the uniform but also how he feels about writing home and how he feels after killing a man for the first time. It's incredibly gripping stuff, and I really hope this book is the first in a new series exploring different battles!

Lottie Biggs Is (Not) Desperate by Hayley Long - 11 ratings Now everyone must know by now how much I love Lottie Biggs, right? Well I do. I adore her zany ways. And this, the second book in the series is really wonderful. It sort of steps away from Lottie's mental disturbance of a significant nature, and is more focused on Lottie's urges to have sex with Gareth Stingecombe. And of course it is hilarious!

In this book, aside from the Lottie and Gareth storyline, Lottie has a new part-time job to deal with as well as a falling out with her best friend Goose. The book's structure is diary-esque, and it's filled with all of these fantastic observations of Lottie's life together with some great drawings. There's so much to love with this series! And it is very, very funny! I would love more people to be Lottie converts! Get reading.

In the Bag by Jim Carrington - 13 ratings In the Bag is a book that I probably wouldn't have picked up on my own, but also one that I'm really glad to have read. It's a very interesting story, one that really made me think about my own choices and decisions. What would you do if you found a bag full of millions of dollars? Would you report it to the police? Or keep it for yourself? That's the moral dilemma facing two teenage boys in this fun novel. I loved the thought patterns of these two boys, as they go from excited to apprehensive to guilty, as they think more about what this money means and where it comes from. It's a really thrilling read as well, filled with lies and secrecy.

I read this book at the beginning of the year and I told myself that I really must pick up Jim Carrington's previous book, Inside My Head, but I haven't quite gotten around to it yet. I do hope now that I've remembered, I'll get on that fairly quickly.

Mistress of the Storm by ML Welsh - 15 ratings I really loved Mistress of the Storm! ML Welsh writes this story so magically. I loved Verity Gallant right from the start. A young girl who feels overshadowed by her older sister, a girl who doesn't fit in and feels she's large and plain with nothing special about her. And suddenly, she's thrown into this dangerous and important mission to save both her family and her little seaside village.

There's such an importance in this book on friendship and storytelling but also of action and adventure and a beautiful mix of fantasy as Verity struggles to find the strength within her to defeat an evil witch. Fab story, this one. I'm thrilled and excited to now have my hands on a copy of the sequel, out early next year!

An Act of Love by Alan Gibbons - 19 ratings An Act of Love is definitely a book that deserves to be more widely read, probably especially within secondary schools!

My heart absolutely ached when reading this story. An Act of Love is about two best friends, Chris and Imran, and how their friendship was torn apart by race riots and terrorist attacks like 9/11 and the tube bombings on 7/7. I've been aware of huge political and cultural changes and events within the UK over the past years, but reading this story and witnessing personal (though fictional) accounts of everything happening really opened my eyes to things that I've missed and not seen due to how little events like this have affected my daily life. I'm ashamed now of my decision to not be more interested or involved. It's important to know about these things and be aware of things affect different people. I'm not being very articulate here, but I think An Act of Love is a wonderful and powerful story. One I really recommend reading.

Long Reach by Peter Cocks - 23 ratings I don't read a lot of crime/thriller fiction. I've never really seen the appeal ... until reading this fab YA book. Long Reach is so fast-paced and gripping that I absolutely flew through the pages. And I loved how emotionally connected I felt towards Eddie Savage, our main character, right from the start.

Eddie is a 17 year old boy who's just found out two things about his older brother, Steve. The first is that's he's dead from a possible suicide and the second is that he was undercover for the police. Eddie decides to follow in his brother's footsteps and go deep undercover, trying to get close to the daughter of a powerful crimelord in London. What follows is edge-of-your-seat exciting and dangerous.

I'm really looking forward to more book in the Eddie Savage series and also reading more YA thrillers!


So there we have it. Which books have you read that nobody else seems to have read? How do you feel about these lesser-known books or the focus that bloggers have on the new, popular books? Are there any books by British authors you've read recently and feel like it should have more recognition? Would love to hear your thoughts.


  1. I feel really bad that I haven't heard of all fo these! I loved Cathy Brett's Verity Fibbs but that only has two ratings! Undead has a few more at 37 but not nearly enough.

    Really great post, Michelle!

  2. It seems such a shame that these books have so few ratings, most of them are on my wish list or shelves 'cos I've read such good things about them online.

  3. Great post, this is a good idea! I haven't read any of these, Mistress of the Storm sounds great - thanks for posting :)

  4. This is a great list and a great idea, Clover, thanks! There are a few books I've loved there. (I must check whether I rated them!)

  5. Thanks for plugging my yellow book ;-)

  6. Sophie - Thank you! I have a copy of Verity Fibbs I need to get around to reading and reviewing, so hopefully soon the ratings will go up for that book :)

    Jenni - They are all really wonderful books! I wish they had more people reading them as well!

    Zoe - Mistress of the Storm IS really great! I keep going on about it, but I just loved it so much. Sequel is published in January.

    Luisa - Thank you, I'm glad people are enjoying this feature :)

    Hayley - No problem whatsoever :)


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