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Blog – Posted on Friday, Apr 19

10 of the Best Books You've Never Heard Of

10 of the Best Books You've Never Heard Of

When your website is a playground for reader discovery, one great advantage is how that discovery is not solely confined to your readers. You and your team get to know plenty of great new books, too! As the Editorial Director of BookTrib, I am blessed with a position that affords me the opportunity – and privilege – to learn about up-and-coming books and authors every day.

In the spirit of reader discovery, here are 10 recent books from a variety of authors you may have not heard of, but should definitely know – they are wonderful storytellers and masterful wordsmiths. Discover away below!

Such Stuff As Dreams

1. Such Stuff As Dreams by Thomas Garlinghouse

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The ghost of William Shakespeare plays a key role in the plot – and in exploring matters of the human soul – in this entertaining and inventive novel. The year is 1936, and Hollywood screenwriter Joe Holliday has a secret: he can see and communicate with ghosts. When the mercurial head of Apex Studios tasks him with writing a modern version of a Shakespeare play, Joe reopens himself to the spirit world, which brings him into contact with an old acquaintance with some unfinished business the two had embarked upon… over 400 years ago.

Our Lives In Between (The Enlightened Series)

2. Our Lives In Between by Billie Kowalewski

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In this wonderfully futuristic YA coming-of-age tale, it has been five years since the accident that derailed Veronica’s life, leaving her suffering from a strange flu-like illness. Thanks to a barrier implanted in her mind at birth, she can’t remember that her name is actually Harmony – and indeed, that this is not her “real” life. She has no memory of the many lives she lived before this one, and how several of those lives had been cut short. Now she must uncover the reason why those lives had ended so early – and how this moment may hold the key to understanding – or she risks losing herself and Earth forever.

Third Collection of Short Stories

3. Third Collection of Short Stories by Stanislas M. Yassukovich

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I was first introduced to Yassukovich when someone handed me James Grant. This was a long, dense novel about a privileged yet troubled young man – a tome I never thought I could get through. As it happens, the breadth of story, characterizations, themes, insights and emotions had me longing for more.

Since then, Yassukovish has turned to short stories as his vehicle of choice, and he once again delivers in spades with his latest work: another diverse and rare collection of 14 tales tackling social class, relationships, human nature, good and evil, deceit, and various historical perspectives – frequently placing characters in a struggle to separate right from wrong and navigate the proper course.

The Rainbow Diary

4. The Rainbow Diary by Mitch Maiman

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Be warned – it’s only a novel. But readers get a sense of what they are in for from the very first words of protagonist Kenneth Talbot: “I know, now, that I am dying. Not someday soon, or a week or two. No, I am dying right now. I know this for a fact.” Maiman’s setup lays the groundwork for the caring, vulnerable, and imperfect Talbot – in his final moments, as he claims – to reflect on life. He meditates on his complicated bond with his son Brian; on the disappointment of a marriage gone bad; and, strangely, on what the future holds.

The Canticle of Ibiza

5. The Canticle of Ibiza by Justin Kurian

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John Balkus’ outwardly successful life is in shambles. In this soon-to-be-published novel, Balkus rejects his elitist girfriend’s offer of marriage and quits his vapid job at the financial firm where he wasted 15 years making rich people richer. He decides to look for answers by seeking his old college friend whom he previously snubbed – big time – on the mystical island of Ibiza, Spain. It’s 1988, and hedonistic villa parties, hidden Buddhist temples, lost marijuana farms, and outlandish artist communes abound. Will Balkus be able to find his friend Gunther and start his life anew?

BE A SCRIBE! Working for a Better Life in Ancient Egypt: Working for a Better Life in Ancient Egypt

6. Be A Scribe! by Michael Hoffen, Christian Casey and Jen Thum

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This book, written by a 16-year-old (with the help of a couple of academics), might be the most entertaining and informative book you read all year. It represents an extraordinary translation of a papyrus dating from ancient Egypt’s Middle Kingdom era – translation done primarily by Hoffen, with the help of co-authors Dr. Christian Casey and Dr. Jen Thum.

Originally known as The Instruction of Khety, it tells the tale of a teenage boy, Pepi, living almost 4,000 years ago, and how his father, Khety, who works in the mines, wants a better life for his son. He takes him on a journey upriver to a school that will train him to be a scribe – a much more prestigious vocation than the 18 other jobs that Khety describes to his son. Populated with many illustrations and images of artifacts, Be A Scribe is bound to fascinate not only young readers, but adults as well.

One Year, One Night (2nd Edition)

7. One Year, One Night by S.L. Roman

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It can be difficult to return somewhere you’ve left behind – especially when the memories you've been running from suddenly resurface. In this marvelous young adult read, Annie returns to her home village after a long absence and rediscovers the diary she kept when she was 16: the year that changed her life. We follow Annie as she navigates a blossoming love story with a handsome soldier and her growing affection for an evacuee child. With tender and amusing moments, this tale – set in a small English village during World War II – explores love, resilience, and loss with a fresh new voice.

Teaching in the Dark: A Memoir

8. Teaching in the Dark: A Memoir by Genét Simone

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When our BookTrib reviewer finished reading the riveting memoir Teaching in the Dark, she felt as if she had just spent months living in the small remote village of Shishmaref, Alaska – right along with the author. That’s how thoroughly entrancing the writing is. Our reviewer could completely envision the village, the scenery, the weather, the culture, her experiences, and the author’s thoughts and feelings.

In terms of the story itself: Genét is a 24-year-old college graduate with a teaching degree in hand, but with no experience and in need of a job. When the opportunity arises to take a teaching job in Alaska, it seems like a great adventure. But little does she know exactly what she signed up for…

Wolf’s Head Bay: Journey of the Courageous Eleven (1)

9. Wolf’s Head Bay by Jeffery Allen Boyd

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For the ultimate work of suspense and tension, Wolf’s Head Bay delves into the murky depths of the global criminal industry, intertwining a gripping tale of survival with real-world scandals and cover-ups. Author Jeffery Allen Boyd’s story is both chilling and thought-provoking, drawing readers into a world where the line between fiction and reality blurs.

It begins with a camping trip in northern Michigan, but quickly escalates into a heart-pounding race for survival when Lynn, one of the teens in the group, is abducted with the help of a charismatic boy. What follows is a harrowing journey into the terrifying world of human trafficking.

Caretaker: The Goodpasture Chronicles (Book 1)

10. Caretaker: The Goodpasture Chronicles by R.J. Halbert

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R.J. Halbert has delivered a fast-paced, thought-provoking tale of a small town, an old property and a family on the brink of insanity in Caretaker, the first book of The Goodpasture Chronicles. It’s incredibly well-written, chock full of suspense, cluttered with objects and rooms that appear and suddenly disappear – keeping readers on a string and trying to make sense of the pieces presented to solve the bigger puzzle. It’s also the debut novel of an Emmy and Grammy-award winning producer and songwriter, and its careful crafting is precisely what you would expect.

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Jim Alkon is Editorial Director of BookTrib.com, a website where readers discover new books and authors.

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