I feel like I tend to read a lot of books that never hit the mainstream conversation. These are the best books I’ve read this year that have less than 100 ratings on Goodreads.

Historical Fiction

Hooverville by Kayla Joy

“Annaleise Winston can never seem to fit in with the Society Girls, the strict rules that govern them, or their selfish indulgence during the Great Depression. Behind closed doors, her publicly perfect new fiance, Frank Alexander, is violent and dismissive, but without his financial security, Annaleise and her mother will be on the streets with not a penny to their name.

When Annaleise finally has enough, she runs away and accidentally becomes stranded in a Hooverville, a lawless homeless encampment in Central Park, where she must keep her identity a secret if she wants to stay alive. But a kind shoe shiner named Thomas Kelley may get in the way of everything she thought she ever wanted. As their love for each other grows, the Great Depression worsens, and Frank will pay any price to bring back his bride.”

It’s Magic

Succulents and Spells by Andi C. Buchanan

“Laurel Windflower is a witch from a family of magic workers – but her own life is going nowhere. Living in the damp, sunless side of Aro Valley, she works in a café, unable to produce anything more powerful than the most basic herbal potions. Until, one winter morning, Marigold Nightfield knocks on her door.

Marigold is a scientist, but she knows plenty about magic. There are strange things happening in her house, and her future discoveries require careful negotiation with monsters.

Laurel can’t walk away from a mystery – and she can’t walk away from Marigold either. But what lies ahead could reveal all of her shortcomings to the woman she’s trying to impress… or uncover the true nature of her power.”

The Frost Fair Affair by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Thanks to last Season’s scandal, Miss Mnemosyne Seabourne is now officially notorious. Wintering in Town, she hopes to use her new celebrity to campaign about the unfair restriction on portal travel for ladies… while being quietly courted by a certain handsome spellcracker.

As the river freezes over and a spectacular Frost Fair sets up on the ice, Mneme finds herself beset by secret societies, spies and sneaky saboteurs. Who stole her political pamphlets? Who is leaving dead bodies around printing presses for anyone to find?

Mr Thornbury knows more than he’s letting on. If she can’t trust the man she hoped to marry, Mneme is just going to have to unravel the mystery for herself, quickly enough to save both of their lives.

If you enjoy vintage spy adventures, flirtatious couples and cozy sleigh rides, you’ll adore this exciting sequel novella to Tea and Sympathetic Magic.”

All About the Food

Food Americana by David Page

“What is American cuisine? What national menu do we share? What dishes have we chosen, how did they become “American,” and how are they likely to evolve from here? In Food Americana, David Page answers all these questions and more.”

“When Anne Byrn’s The Cake Mix Doctor first appeared two decades ago, it amassed a cult following by delivering exactly what people wanted and needed: a shortcut for delicious and beautiful cakes that appeared to be from scratch that wouldn’t take all the time they didn’t have in their busy days. Since then, our lives have only gotten more frantic, and our palates have only gotten more discerning.Now Anne presents A New Take on Cake, which allows you to take just a little time and only a few ingredients to turn a mix into a masterpiece.”

“Practicing “fridge love” is a roadmap to eating healthier, saving money, and reducing food waste while enjoying a beautiful and harder-working fridge. This book—part organizational guide and part food-prep handbook—is your guide. Author Kristen Hong adopted a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet in an effort to lose weight and improve her health. But amidst the demands of day-to-day life and a busy family, she found it impossible to stick to. The solution? A smarter, better-organized fridge that served her real-life needs. In this invaluable resource, you will discover how a beautifully organized fridge can make your life—including healthy eating for the whole family—easier. It covers general fridge organization (for all models and configurations) as well as shopping tips, storage guidelines, the best meal-prep containers, and more than 100 easy plant-based recipes made for meal prepping.”

“Maggie’s in the running to be the next head chef at Michelin-starred Manhattan restaurant, Jean-Sébastien’s. Unfortunately, she’s competing against notoriously arrogant Ethan to prove she’s the best chef for the job.

Food critic Emily can make or break a chef’s career. When she visits the restaurant to see what interim head chef, Maggie, has to offer, Emily is having a particularly bad day…

Single mum Nayomi needs a job and Jean-Sébastien’s needs a kitchen porter – perfect! She just has to keep her head down and money coming in. But she’s desperate to speak up and help struggling chef Maggie – Nayomi’s own skills might be just the recipe to save Maggie’s career and impress Emily.”

What Do You Think?