Bookish Posts

Seriously Underrated Books – less than 500 Ratings

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Even more underrated book recommendations for you all!

 

This time it’s books that only have 100-500 ratings on Goodreads.

 

Why did I use Goodreads and these arbitrary numbers? See my original post here

 

Now onto my recommendations . . . 

 

The Heart Healers: The Misfits, Mavericks, and Rebels Who Created the Greatest Medical Breakthrough of Our Lives by James S. Forrester

Fascinating, amazing, and great for all you medical nerds out there. Essentially a book about cardiovascular surgery, it’s history, and innovations in medicine. Complex and smart, but well explained for people not well versed in medicine. 

 

The Intimate Bond: How Animals Shaped Human History by Brian M. Fagan

A new way of looking at how animals affect human history beyond their adorableness as household pets. A fascinating combination of world history, animal science and anthropology. 

 

The Stress Proof Brain: Master Your Emotional Response to Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroplasticity by Melanie Greenberg

An incredibly fascinating and informative look at how and why our brain automatically reacts to certain situations with stress and anxiety. Filled with great checklists to help us take charge of our stress and anxieties.

 

A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor by Joe Starita

Exactly what the title describes and so much more! An intelligent, inspiring true life story of a hardworking woman determined to take care of her tribe, despite ethnic, racial, and gender prejudices. 

 

Pretend We Are Lovely by Noley Reid

 A family’s struggle to cope with the tragic death of their son and brother. Grief, secrets, and eating disorders consume the family as they each struggle in their own way.

 

Books by Candace Calvert including By Your Side, Step by Step,  Maybe It’s You, and Life Support

Each book tell the heartwarming tale of medical professionals, usually nurses, struggling in their personal and romantic lives. A perfect blend of an authentic behind the scenes medical setting and uplifting romance. 

 

It’s Not About Perfect: Competing for My Country by Shannon Miller

A memoir about a member of the Magnificent 7, the gold medal winning gymnastics team at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Stories from her childhood, years in the sport of gymnastics, and cancer diagnosis make up this intriguing, brave and inspiring book.

 

The True Tails of Baker and Taylor: the Library Cats Who Left Their Pawprints on a Small Town … and the World by Jan Louch

A purrrrfect book for cat and book lovers! An entire book all about adorable cats and their shenanigans in a library setting. What’s not to love!

 

This Is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky

The story of a teenage girl who cares for her mother suffering from bipolar disorder. Sophie hasn’t been able to live a “normal” teenage life ever. Then things change and with the help of others Sophie can start living her life for herself. A great book about children caring for their parents.

 

They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War by DeAnne Blanton

Did you know that women served in the military in the Civil War? Nope? Neither did I before reading this book. It’s fascinating to learn about the aspects of history that are rarely written about in the history books. 

 

Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease by Yolanda Hadid

How does this memoir not have more reviews? A heartbreaking, inspiring, educational look at what it’s like to live with a chronic illness, specially chronic lyme disease. I cannot stop talking about this amazing book!

 

I highly recommend that you give some of these underrated books a read. Click the titles to be redirected to Goodreads for a full summary. Enjoy!

 

I want to know . . . 

which books are you adding to your TBR list?

 

Also, look out for the last post in the series . . . next up: Underrated

Books with than 1,000 ratings

5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Classics · Literary Fiction · Young Adult

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 

Published by Harper & Row in 1943

Pages: 493

Genres: fiction, classics, young adult, bildungsroman

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: life changing books, classic literature that you will actually enjoy, coming of age novels

Read with food: roasted chestnuts and black coffee … treats of the era and enjoyed by France

 

Synopsis:

The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

Review:

I had put the audiobook version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on hold at my local library … a year ago. I was hoping to read it for the 2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. Obviously that didn’t happen. I read another book to meet that challenge. No big deal. I then figured that if I had waited this long, why not a bit longer to read it, and kept my place on the hold list at the library.

I am so glad that I did! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an amazing novel. A true literary classic that almost everyone can learn something from. 

I was captivated with Francie’s story from age 11 to 17. Her observations, intelligence, progressive nature, and life lessons are still relevant to me as an adult 100 years after the book takes place. I can absolutely see why people would read this multiple times. You could probably pick out a new life lesson with each reread. 

I can’t really say anything bad about this novel. Of course, there are some actions, societal rules, and words of the time that would be unacceptable today. But nothing that detracts from the story. 

I highly recommend this amazing novel! Don’t let the length deter your, it’s worth the time. 

 

Fun fact:

I learned a new word and book genre today, bildungsroman. Definition: a novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education. A sort of coming of age novel that focuses on psychological and spiritual growth. 

 

Also, bonus!

If you’re participating in the Great American Read, this is one of the books on the list. 

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · LGBTQIA+ Books · Literary Fiction

Book Review: Most Precious Blood by Vince Sgambati

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Most Precious Blood by Vince Sgambati 

Published by Guernica Editions On March 1, 2018

Pages: 300

Genres: literary fiction, LGBTQIA+ fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: authentic stories, struggles with one’s sexuality

Read with food: any sort of authentic Italian food . . . be sure to make enough for the whole family

 

Synopsis: 

Hard Luck Lenny Lasante is the quintessential good son, brother, and father. He fears a calamity will derail his son’s future the way his own dreams were derailed years ago and is adamant that Frankie leave home for college, but Frankie is preoccupied with thoughts of Gennaro DiCico, the son of a small-time mobster. Lenny’s fears are realized when a cabdriver’s son avenges his father’s murder. Most Precious Blood, set in the eleventh-hour of a declining Italian-American neighborhood, speaks of complex and often destructive loyalties, consequences, and forgiveness.

Review:

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. As always, an honest review.

Most Precious Blood tells the stories of Italian Americans living in New York City. Like most families, life is messy, filled with heartbreak, struggles, and attempts to find oneself despite what family might think. It’s Italian family life written into a story format.

At the beginning, I wasn’t really enjoying the book. It didn’t really draw me in. As I kept on reading, I learned more about all the characters and grew to enjoy their stories more and more.

Most Precious Blood mainly focuses on Frankie, a teenager growing up in the neighborhood. He’s in love with Gennaro, the son of a small time mobster. They don’t want to reveal their relationship to others, for fear of judgment and lack of acceptance. I ended up really enjoying the story as it continued to unfold. I could even see a sequel being written.

Overall, I would recommend Most Precious Blood for it’s traditional but open minded characters, rich storytelling, good food, and relevant topics.