Top Five Wednesday; Underhyped Stars

It's Wednesday and time for a new Top Five Wednesday post, courtesy of the Goodreads group with the same name. The theme of the week was underhyped books that you wish more people in the book community knew about.

Here's my picks.

Pharcel: Runaway Slave by Alick Lazare
Description from Goodreads
Pharcel stayed in the hut long after Coree Greg had left it. His mind was in turmoil as it swung around the rationality of Coree Greg's caution, the boldness of Bala's call for present action and Paulinaire's ideas about programmed unity among all colored people and an organized campaign against the white government. He trusted the wisdom of Coree Greg and he wanted to follow him; but he found the stirring challenge put forward by Bala irresistible. Pharcel, a runaway slave, is heavily sought by all the political forces on the small island of Dominica-the white English colonists, the revolutionary French, and the rebellious mulattos-for his role in the slave uprisings.

Torn between loyalty to his race and a strong personal desire for freedom and acceptance by the colonial powers and the rising mulatto influence, he walks a razor's edge of duplicity and ambivalence until his natural rebelliousness is pitted against the full force of colonial power. In the end, he succumbs to an irresistible and nearly fatal attraction for the wife of a French planter. But in a fit of ruthless rage, Pharcel sets the colony ablaze. Can he rescue her from the hands of his archenemy?

Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman
Description from Goodreads
Aspiring scientist Arabella Holmes doesn't fit the role of a 1900s lady. Her father, Sherlock, landed her a position at the Mütter Museum to pursue her dream of becoming a purveyor of abnormal science, or what her father calls a "Boneseeker."

Henry Watson’s two-fold mission at the Mütter Museum is to join their team of forensic anthropologists in unearthing unusual antiquities and to watch over Arabella. If only he could get her to speak to him, instead of hurling knives in his general direction. Assigned to a most secret expedition to investigate a mysterious skeletal hand discovered in upstate New York, Arabella and Henry are soon caught in a scientific debate, and the search for the truth may have deadly consequences for those involved.

Are the bones from a Neanderthal? Or are they living proof of fallen angels known as Nephilim?

Watson and Holmes must put aside their differences, trust their instincts, and rely on one another to survive to uncover the truth.

Fifteen Seconds of Normal by Alex Marestaing
Description from Goodreads
“There’s an unfortunate side effect of love, an infinite ache that keeps us up at night.”

In a normal love story, she’d drop her papers, and he’d pick them up. They’d lock eyes, and their forevers would begin…but this isn’t your ordinary love story.

Fifteen Seconds of Normal chronicles the desperate days of three seventeen-year-olds struggling through the worst month of their lives. Kaeya, a transfer student on a quest to hide her Tourette Syndrome. Thatcher, a literature obsessed junior on the edge of a breakdown. And, Sam, an indie film maker with a secret of his own.

When the three meet in their school’s abandoned art gallery, they come up with a daring plan to rewrite the narrative, change the world, and find their fifteen seconds of normal.

Barnhill by Norman Bissell
Description from Goodreads
George Orwell left post-war London for Barnhill, a remote farmhouse on the Isle of Jura, to write what became Nineteen Eighty-Four. He was driven by a passionate desire to undermine the enemies of democracy and make plain the dangers of dictatorship, surveillance, doublethink and censorship.

Typing away in his damp bedroom overlooking the garden he created and the sea beyond, he invented Big Brother, Thought Police, Newspeak and Room 101 – and created a masterpiece.

Barnhill tells the dramatic story of this crucial period of Orwell's life. Deeply researched, it reveals the private man behind the celebrated public figure – his turbulent love life, his devotion to his baby son and his declining heath as he struggled to deliver his dystopian warning to the world.

Cooking for Ghosts by Patricia V. Davis
Description from Goodreads
Do hearts broken long ago forever leave a tangible trace?

A Vegas cocktail waitress. An Indian herbalist. A British chemistry professor. An Italian-American widow. Four unique women with one thing in common: each is haunted by a tragedy from her past.

Cynthia, Rohini, Jane, and Angela meet on a food blogging site and bond over recipes. They decide on impulse to open The Secret Spice, an elegant café on the magnificent ocean liner, the RMS Queen Mary, currently a floating hotel in Long Beach, California. Rich in history and tales of supernatural occurrences, the ship hides her own desperate secrets.

The women are surrounded by ghosts long before they step aboard, but once they do, nothing is quite what it seems. Not the people they meet, not their brooding chef’s mystic recipes, and not the Queen Mary herself. Yet the spirits they encounter help them discover that there’s always a chance to live, as long as one is alive.

Nominated for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, COOKING FOR GHOSTS is an unforgettable tale of love, redemption, and divine female power.

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