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23 Hidden Gem Kindle Unlimited Books (2023)

These Kindle Unlimited books are the diamonds in the rough you've been waiting for. From Sci-fi to Fantasy to Nonfiction and beyond, this list of 23 indie books on KU is bound to fill up your library.

23 Hidden Gem Kindle Unlimited Books (2023)

Chosen by the IBR Staff

Hidden gem kindle unlimited books featured photo with kindle logo and books in background

Kindle Unlimited has over 4 million books to choose from.

How do you know which books are the good ones?

With a Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscription, you pay a monthly fee (now at $11.99 per month) so that you can read multiple ebooks per month without having to pay the full price per book. This includes eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines. There are super popular ebooks in KU (like Hunger Games & Colleen Hoover), but there are a lot of great indie books too.

Single eBooks usually range from about $4.99 to $14.99 depending on what you read (classics vs. new releases, indies vs. major publishers). The membership fee is meant to save you money if you read around 2-3 ebooks per month.

That’s a lot of choosing. So we put together this list.

But wait!

If you don’t have Kindle Unlimited right now, have you used your free trial yet?

Do you want to read these books for free?

Start the free trial (click below), and you can cancel whenever you’re done! Or, if you plan on buying a Kindle anyway, you can get three months of Kindle Unlimited free if you click the right button at checkout.

I’ll give you a moment to click! Get that free trial real quick. The books on this list are too good to be free.

Now that you have Kindle Unlimited, check out this research we did for you.

We have 25 reviewers on staff dedicated to finding the best in indie publishing. We have reviewed over 1,000 books since 2018, and we have found some absolute gems in the process. So we put together some of our highest recommended books on Kindle Unlimited.

Since it’s important to sustain a healthy reading diet with a lot of variety, we’ve got recommendations in a number of genres: sci-fi & fantasy, literary & general fiction, horror, mystery-thrillers, nonfiction, and books for younger readers.

Here are 23 great Kindle Unlimited books that you probably didn’t know you needed.

sci-fi and fantasy Kindle Unlimited books

1. The Devil Pulls the Strings

A dark magical quest steeped in musical folklore

Author: J.W. Zarek

Genre: Fantasy / Action & Adventure

ISBN: 9781736401330

Print Length: 252 pages

Recommended by: Andrea Marks-Joseph

What it’s about:

The story follows Boone, a seemingly ordinary boy with a tragic past and fierce friendships. He’s sent on a mission which turns darker and more perplexing with each reveal. Boone innocently travels to an address where he’s supposed to take his friend’s place performing in a musical concert. But when he gets there, it’s a murder scene—happening live—a body and piano falling from the sky, crashing down in front of him.

Whether the characters are running from terrifying monsters, sword-fighting sinister attackers, or fleeing from the scene of bloody murders, there’s always more going on. We wonder along with them: Is this time travel? An accidental trip through a magic portal? A mental break?

Equally reminiscent of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the surreal conversations with classical prodigies in Mozart in the Jungle, and particularly trippy episodes of The Magicians, this novel never stops surprising Boone or its readers. 

Why you should read it:

The Devil Pulls the Strings is a twisted, joyous, and bloody shifting kaleidoscope of a fantasy adventure. It is a story so arresting, so action-packed and personality-filled, that even readers unfamiliar with or not usually interested in the historical setting will be enthralled by it. 

Is is a charming novel filled with curious characters. There is violence, death, terror, and suspense, but as Boone works to avoid summoning the Devil, the overall mood of the book is upbeat. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable, wholly unique, and brilliant read.

Andrea Marks-Joseph

2. Commendable Delusions

At once entirely absurd and unsettlingly real

Author: A.T. French

Genre: Short Stories / Magical Realism

ISBN: 9781737950011

Print Length: 308 pages

Recommended by: Joshua Ryan Bligh

What it’s about:

A.T. French’s Commendable Delusions provides a breadcrumb trail of ten magical realist stories, each nestled in some unique nook of dream-tinted reality far from the bustle of cities and quotidian life. 

Airplanes, arid planes, and farmlands; each tale takes its venue and gently warps it into something surreal, serving as wholly engaging vehicles for the author’s messages on perception, connection, and our place in a jumbled reality. 

Why you should read it:

As with the best of magical realism, French’s stories use the unknown and unreal to provide better understanding of the world around us… French does well to create his individual style and ambiance, but I can’t help but draw comparisons to Jorge Luis Borges or Haruki Murakami, only to better prepare the reader for the joy to come upon reading these stories. 

Commendable Delusions is one of those hidden gems, a read that I’m glad has intersected my path. In only ten pieces, it does what the best of stories do: it at once imparts wisdom, inspires the mind, and entertains with a sense of playful joy.

Joshua Ryan Bligh

3. Season of the Dragon

Magic, dragons, and ancient mysteries

Author: Natalie Wright

Genre: Fantasy

ISBN: 9798987491218

Print Length: 482 pages

Recommended by: Alexandria Ducksworth

What it’s about:

Season of the Dragon opens with Quen, a Solian desert merchant’s daughter. She was born with two different eye colors and two souls. Her other soul is one of a darker nature she must calm with magic. Animals fear Quen whenever she approaches them, and the townspeople keep their distance from her.

One day, a mysterious woman approaches Quen’s father, announcing secrets about Quen and her deceased mother. The angry father casts the woman out of sight before Quen can learn more. Later, a dragon burns down Solia, killing Quen’s father. 

The strangest part about this tragic event? Dragons aren’t even supposed to exist.

Why you should read it:

There are some books you wish you could read forever. For me, Natalie Wright’s Season of the Dragon is one of them. The author writes with a deft hand, ensnaring us in the mystery that is our great heroine. Quen is a genuinely inspiring protagonist, and she’s never afraid to fight.

The Indrasi world is absolutely captivating. Wright has created a land with great cities, memorable characters, and curious customs. It feels alive. Those who loved Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina and other beloved dragon fantasies will enjoy this one.

-Alexandria Ducksworth

4. Cul-de-sac

A genre-blending mosaic with an unforgettable atmosphere

Author: Nick Perilli

Genre: Fantasy / Experimental

ISBN: 9781957010175

Print Length: 370 pages

Publisher: Montag Press

Recommended by: Joshua Ryan Bligh

What it’s about:

The Oughtside is here, and it is time to bathe in red. Nick Perilli takes you through a surreallist urban fantasy that dances a shadowy jib across genres as broad as soap opera, haunted house horror, and isekai. Perilli’s inspiration seems pulled from a wide creative interest, weaving together each piece into a singular, unique novel.

When Derek, referred to as “the boy” for most of the narrative, wakes up, he knows something has gone down. He is tipped off by the sky, a strange red hue basking his typically boring suburban cul-de-sac in an otherwordly glow. If that doesn’t close the deal, then the shadowy figure in his hallway sure does, apparating and whisking him away à la A Christmas Carol to serve as Judgment, witnessing the varied lives of his neighbors and either condemning or saving them.

Why you should read it:

Lively and surreal, something born of a Venn diagram of Dali, de Chirico, and David LynchCul-de-sac plays out with fascinating detail as a testament to the author’s imagination and playful style.

There is humor, resentment, passion, longing, missed chances, and more beneath the fragile surface of each of his characters, shining with a grounded clarity in an otherwise phantasmagoric landscape. 

Readers who enjoy the odd and spooky (without dipping into the kitsch of gratuitous horror) will find a crisp joy in Cul-de-sac.

-Joshua Ryan Bligh

5. The Bear & the Rose

The Bear and the Rose EK Larson Burnett

A brave bearslayer embarks on a quest to rescue her new love in this fantasy novel rich with folklore

Author: E.K. Larson-Burnett

Genre: Fantasy / LGBTQ

ISBN: 9781088084472

Print Length: 366 pages

Recommended by: Andrea Marks-Joseph

What it’s about:

The Bear and the Rose is set in a world where humans shift into bears and community elders make pacts with gods for protection. Rhoswen, the “warrior rose” of her town and the protagonist of this wonderful book, has pledged her allegiance and sworn commitment to protect her village from the vicious bears who attack during the “waking nightmare” that is the season of Spring.

This year, right after the first attack, Rhoswen meets a beautiful woman and all her plans change, almost immediately. Suddenly nothing matters besides freeing her new lover from the curse that keeps her under the torment of a dangerous forest. She ventures out into the world, abandoning her village for the first time, in the fierce hope that the instrument that will free her lover from the forest can also prevent the bears from attacking her people.

Why you should read it:

Written so lyrically that it often feels as though you’re listening to a melodic folksong, author E.K. Larson-Burnett weaves nature and beauty into this imagined world. This novel is bloody murder and befriending beasts. It is at times a brutal fight for love, loyalty, and revenge. 

The story is filled with all the wild creatures, dramatic gods, absurd dysfunctional families, and mythical tricksters you could want from a fantasy adventure novel, but it also moves with twists and turns and satisfying payoffs at a quick pace. If you’re looking for a captivating afternoon read that has a refreshing energy and richly woven lore, The Bear and the Rose is such a good choice.

-Andrea Marks-Joseph

6. Welcome to the Free World

A post-apocalyptic page-turner full of feverish exhilaration

Author: Lloyd Raleigh

Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopian

ISBN: 9798218088033

Print Length: 363 pages

What it’s about:

Will Robin is part of a group called “Scalpels,” and they are in opposition of the creators of the AI technology dominating the society he lives in. Scalpels work tirelessly to remove microchips embedded in the brains of individuals in society. 

As a part of Scalpels, Will’s job is to help individuals escape a totalitarian government that wishes to survey and control society through a metaverse where the “utopia” is in their heads. 

Of course, there are higher-ups who are not very pleased with the nature of Will’s job. Soon he finds himself on the run from assassins, the authorities, and everyone else who is against the work he is doing.

Why you should read it:

The world is so intricately woven together that readers are going to be sucked in from the moment they begin. Everything from the details of how the Aurora technology works to the state of the society has been so cleverly crafted that we always feel a part of the story and world.

Settle in to the comfort of your chairs for this story that grabs you by the throat.

Chika Anene

7. Tourist Trapped

Unique and abstract—a tale of trust and humanity

Author: J.B. Velasquez

Genre: Science Fiction / Metaphysical

ISBN: 9798987554104

Print Length: 320 pages

Recommended by: Audrey Davis

What it’s about:

Tobias Munch feels stuck. Stuck at a job he hates, in an apartment he hates. He’s recently divorced and looking for solace in the novel he’s been writing for the last eight years

Enamored with a vibrant barista, Mia, from the café he frequents, he yearns in secret until the night she accidentally hits him with her car. And invites him into her life.

He takes psychedelic drugs with her, desperate to impress her, but their trip takes them to a place called the “thein-between”—the afterlife between life and death. Tobias is trapped once again, it seems. And it’s up to him to find the answers.

Why you should read it:

Velasquez has a wonderful way of describing the intricate world in which we’re thrown. We see how people communicate through the vastness of this purgatory and spend time with activities they do to stay busy while there. The attention to worldbuilding is refreshing, and it keeps the pages turning quickly.

The author’s background in psychotherapy brings forward a unique perspective on introspection and how every aspect of character development is a type of growth.

Audrey Davis

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8. The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories

Stories that take nothing for granted

Author: David Joseph

Genre: Short Stories / Literary

ISBN: 9781735919119

Print Length: 238 pages

Recommended by: Madeline Barbush

What it’s about:

The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories is a collection of perceptive observations on people living on the Iberian Peninsula. A simple moment, like a quiet interaction between strangers, transforms into a captivating tale of lost time or lost love, newfound friendship or newfound hope, under the pen of David Joseph.

Why you should read it:

David Joseph shines as a storyteller. He knows what his stories are about, and he knows how they should be told. His characters are simple but imagined through a lens so romantic, so compelling, that they stand clear in the mind’s eye.

I highly recommend immersing yourself in Joseph’s world of lovers and dreamers, strangers and lifelong friends. Each story offers an opportunity to make a meaningful connection with another human being, serves as a recollection of how intertwined we once were, and will be once again, with each other.

Madeline Barbush

9. Just Wide Enough for Two

A reimagining of Emily Dickinson’s life as a sweet love letter to deep sapphic love

Author: Kacey M. Martin

Genre: Historical Fiction / LGBTQ

ISBN: 9798218116293

Print Length: 328 pages

Recommended by: Andrea Marks-Joseph

What it’s about:

Just Wide Enough for Two is a love story between childhood best friends Emily Dickinson and Susan Gilbert, spanning years of complicated life changes where their passionate connection remains constant. 

Emily Dickinson is wild and offbeat, more comfortable running around outdoors and speaking out of turn than she is in any stereotypical “ladylike” capacity. 

Between vivid descriptions of the ever-changing natural landscapes, seductive descriptions when looking at each other, and the secret-coded letters slipped between breasts before sneaking off to rendezvous, open-hearted Emily and Susan always take center stage. 

Why you should read it:

Just Wide Enough for Two feels like a classic romantic comedy filled with grand gestures of love in a charming historical setting. There’s a powerful sense of longing and suspense while reading, as we cannot imagine how the women may achieve their happily ever after under these circumstances, but trust that they will.

A long-lasting romance with steady beats of delicious sapphic sexual tension, this book makes sure that even readers who are unfamiliar with the story of Emily Dickinson’s life will be pulled in by the beautiful, sincere, and poetic love depicted

Andrea Marks-Joseph

10. Navarro’s Gold

Hansen reinvigorates the Western form with Navarro’s Gold

Author: Dustin Hansen

Genre: Historical Fiction / Western

ISBN: 9798375315867

Print Length: 187 pages

Recommended by: Nick Rees Gardner

What it’s about:

Even though he is innocent, Cole Baxter is a wanted man.

After the love of his life, Maggie, chooses Cole’s best friend over him, he seeks out a treasure that he and Maggie have talked about for years in hopes that, with the treasure, he can win her back. 

What he doesn’t expect is for his former friend Doyle, Maggie’s husband, to put up a reward for his arrest. As Cole travels from town to town in search of a famous astronomer who can help him read the pirate’s journal to track down Navarro’s treasure, he is tailed by Pinkertons and bandits, making an already fraught hunt even more dangerous, often almost deadly. 

Why you should read it:

Hansen’s knowledge of the wild west landscape is matched only by his poetic diction in which he expresses the beauty of the natural world. Navarro’s Gold, is an adventure and treasure-hunting novel that harbors a sophisticated depth. The treasure hunt is not about the gold itself, but the history behind it, and the story of those who try to find it.

Nick Rees Gardner

11. Morphosis

Morphosis by AJ Saxsma book cover

A haunting horror story fraught with tension in which the monsters aren’t just killers.

Author: AJ Saxsma

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense / Horror

ISBN: 9798218143909

Print Length: 141 pages

Recommended by: Lindsay Crandall

What it’s about:

Ollie Hooper and his family relocate to a rural farm in Larton, home to approximately 3,800 people. Hooper has taken a job with the Sheriff’s Department, leaving his partner, Dwayne Brenner, as the primary caretaker to Hooper’s two children, Jodi Lee and Sam.  

In addition to catching a killer dubbed “The Visitor,” Dwayne attempts to guide Jodi Lee through her fledgling adolescence and first crushes in a new town.  Unfortunately, Jodi Lee is befriended by the daughter of the town priest. Dwayne’s medicine slowly starts to go missing; his home is being bleached and disinfected daily; and Jodi Lee won’t face him without a mask covering her face.

Why you should read it:

AJ Saxsma has delivered one of my favorite books of 2023. Morphosis operates with an undercurrent of tension exacerbated by a cast of characters all chasing something. It’s a tense LGTQ horror novel you aren’t going to forget.

-Lindsay Crandall

12. A Perfect Night

A jaw-dropping story about mental and external freedom

Author: Joseph Stone

Genre: Horror / Dark Fantasy

ISBN: 9798439670109

Print Length: 358 pages

What it’s about:

Fran has a gift of seeing spirits, but she also has some terrible secrets. She lives with her Aunt Laura after her mother dies in a terrible car accident and after her father gives up his only daughter and is never seen again.

Fran believes her mother’s spirit is still with her despite the naysayers. Whenever Fran is sad, her mother sends her ladybugs. Other times, her mother disciplines her for wrongdoings. 

When a wealthy relative enters her life, she learns that she’s not the only one with connections to spirits. Soon, the spirit that might not be her mother turns malevolent.

Why you should read it:

You think you have read dark fantasy—and then you read A Perfect Night. Stone weaves heavy scenarios you can’t stop thinking about. It’s like not being able to fall asleep after watching a horror movie. Stone really knows how to give us the creeps. Scenes are disturbing yet strangely captivating. Readers may become addicted to the drama. Be warned, A Perfect Night contains plenty of shock matter and death. 

Everybody involved in this gripping story has something to reveal, and the results are often jaw-dropping and downright scary. 

Alexandria Ducksworth

13. Unshod, Cackling, and Naked

A treasure trove of creativity; a dynamic story collection

Author: Tamika Thompson

Genre: Short Stories / Horror

ISBN: 9781989206980

Print Length: 261 pages

Publisher: Unnerving Books

Recommended by: Jaylynn Korrell

What it’s about:

In one story, a woman disappears on occasion and leaves her husband questioning how; in another, a man wakes up to discover his town is under siege by bats; another follows a woman as a tree overpowers her body and mind. The ten other stories will take readers on completely different journeys. What they all have in common? They’ll all leave readers with mouths wide open. 

Why you should read it:

More than once I thought to myself, “How did she come up with this?” And I have a feeling many other readers will think the same. Thompson displays an impressive range—stories of the supernatural, of hallucinations, of the all-too-real horrors of the human mind. From deeply heartbreaking to inspiring and destructive, anything is possible as these characters question what’s become of their realities. 

When I finished this collection, I wanted to clap like the annoying person in a movie theater. To say I enjoyed it would be an understatement.

Jaylynn Korrell

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14. In the Vanishing Hour

One river. Two tragedies. A mystery slowly unravels with growing unease.

Author: Sarah Beth Martin

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense / Literary

ISBN: 9781645993926

Print Length: 308 pages

Publisher: Encircle Publications

Recommended by: Melissa Suggitt

What it’s about:

Eight years after her brother Mac’s tragic drowning, 20-year-old Frances has never recovered. She became a shell of the girl she once was, and she longs to be something more, to see someone else when she looks in the mirror.

When she meets new model Gwen at the department store where she works, Frances is set down a new path and begins to explore the possibility that there could be more for her out there. But how can she move forward and live a life she dreams of when she can’t outrun her grief or control her newest obsession?

Why you should read it:

In the Vanishing Hour pairs suspense with drama and a touch of romance, for an effect that is pleasant and cozy. What a novel for a rainy afternoon.

Martin expertly moves between characters and timelines, jumping between 1959 and 1974, blending past and present together, all the while slowly unravelling details that keep the reader guessing and on the edge of their seat, desperate to know more.

The writing is poetic and detailed enough to give us a clear picture of this little town and its characters, both in their prime and in their decline. Martin’s dialogue flows so effortlessly and smoothly that you forget you’re not sitting in the moment with the characters.  

Melissa Suggitt

15. Soiled Dove Murder

History, mystery, adventure, and action align as a 1920s schoolteacher takes on mobsters.

Author: Sherilyn Decter

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense / Historical

ISBN: 9781777515140

Print Length: 479 pages

Recommended by: Joelene Pynnonen

What it’s about:

School is out for the summer. Schoolteacher Lucie Santoro and Delores Bailey, her incongruous moonshiner companion, are using the break to help one of Lucie’s old pupils.

The once-impoverished student is now running a bordello of prostitutes in Virginia City. When one of her so-called “soiled doves” goes missing in suspicious circumstances and law enforcement doesn’t care, Ruth turns to Lucie, the one person she knows will help.

As a teacher in the 1920s, life is a delicate balancing act for Lucie. Being seen with the owner of a bordello would be enough to shatter her reputation and destroy her career. Little does Lucie know that losing her career may be the least of her worries. On this holiday, she’ll be in danger of losing her life.

Why you should read it:

I don’t know if you can really have a gripe with this book. It’s clever, nuanced, entertaining, and fun all at once. As with all of the books I’ve read from Sherilyn Decter, the historical attention to detail is remarkable. From the very first bumpy, exhausting bus ride to the portrayal of Chinese immigration in 1920s USA, it’s clear how well Decter understands the world she’s writing. 

What I love about these novels is that the protagonists aren’t immune to the values of their time. They judge and misstep, but they are fully rounded empathetic characters and the more they experience, the wider their understanding becomes.

-Joelene Pynnonen

16. Here in the Not Yet

here in the not yet by david spaugh book cover

A tale that blends the real with the nightmarish

Author: David Spaugh

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense / Psychological

ISBN: 9798374364569

Print Length: 214 pages

Recommended by: Akram Herrak

What it’s about:

The story opens as our protagonist (Ben) and his father (Mr. Knight) are departing on a road trip like they used to do when Ben was a child. A wholesome and thoughtful conversation is tragically cut short as a car accident claims his father’s life and traumatizing Ben.

After that event, Ben takes a morning jog that disturbs the fates and propels us on a thrilling journey that beautifully combines what is real with what is imaginary. Traumas from the past resurface and take form. How Ben reacts to them will define not only his fate, but his loved ones’ as well.

Why you should read it:

I’m struggling to think of a book that I’ve read in the last few years that resonated with me quite as much as Here in the Not Yet did. David Spaugh writes about trauma, death, separation, fears, and more in a way that makes them palpable.

The constant blend between two worlds lends the story an incredible sense of danger. It doesn’t care for reality or emulating it; it emerges out of the dark and makes its presence known, and with it comes everything that Ben has underneath. 

Akram Herrak

Reading nonfiction is a great way to read multiple books at once! Here are some more tips on developing a strong reading habit.

17. Life, Travel, and the People in Between

An insightful, feel-good travel memoir that shows how following your passion can change your life

Author: Mike Nixon

Genre: Nonfiction / Travel

ISBN: 979-8985945201

Print Length: 316 pages

Recommended by: Joelene Pynnonen

What it’s about:

At nineteen, working in a Comfort Inn motel, and studying at Norfolk State University, Mike Nixon dreams of having a bigger life. One that more resembles the lives of the guests checking into the rooms of his motel every day. 

Only when he travels to the Dominican Republic as part of his university’s study-abroad program does he realize what he’s been missing. Visiting new countries and meeting people from different walks of life calls to him. On his return to the USA, Mike’s only concern is how to repeat the experience. As a poor uni student, his options seem limited. But the calling to experience the world is far too powerful to refuse, and soon Mike is doing everything he can to follow it.

Why you should read it:

Life Travel and the People in Between is like an interesting discussion with someone talking about the life they love. It’s accessible, relatable, sometimes funny, and sometimes painful. It’s also one of those books that inspires you just by existing. For someone without a lot of means, either social, professional, or economic, it’s amazing how Nixon manages to build such a fulfilling, enriching life while following his heart.

Joelene Pynnonen

18. Whole Body Prayer

A tall glass of water for the parched soul

Author: Yan Ming Li

Genre: Nonfiction / Memoir

ISBN: 9798985131512

Print Length: 208 pages

Recommended by: Alexandria Ducksworth

What it’s about:

Yan Ming Li was born and raised during the Maoist China era. There was little freedom, people toiled endlessly in factories, and food was strictly limited. His parents had little time to spend with him and his siblings, as they were busy working 10+ hour days to make sure their children were fed. 

Li eventually was introduced to the Light, an inner guide to everything in his life. It told him where to go and whom he will meet. It is the qi inside every one of us, our natural energy system. Li uses this unique energy to heal people.

Why you should read it:

Whole Body Prayer is incredibly inspiring and spiritually magical. The book reads like Yogananda’s The Autobiography of a Yogi and Kosta Danaos’s The Magus of Java. A warm wave of peaceful energy emits from the pages of Li’s memoir.

Whole Body Prayer reveals an important message: we all have a gift to share. Li’s gift was his qi. Not only does he use it to help hundreds of people, he reminds others that they can heal themselves.

-Alexandria Ducksworth

19. The Anthropocene Epoch

About as good of a book on the climate crisis as I could have asked for. 

Author: Bruce Glass

Genre: Nonfiction / Climate & Environment

ISBN: 9780578995304

Print Length: 220 pages

Recommended by: Joe Walters

What it’s about:

Author Bruce Glass tells a complete story of how we’ve arrived and where we are going. The earth has gone through extinction-level events before (five to be exact), and we go through each one early on in the book. Then, we arrive at the small fraction of time humans have been on the planet. We may be making our lives more convenient and our standards of living higher, but we have “altered nearly half of our planet’s land surface area.” We have dammed and diverted almost all major rivers. Cut down trees. Filled our air with enough cow farts & burps to rapidly change our atmosphere. 

And the earth is responding with warmer climates and catastrophic storms.

What can we do to stop this? 

Why you should read it:

The Anthropocene Epoch: When Humans Changed the World is about as good of a book on the climate crisis as I could have asked for. Supremely readable and undeniably informative, it has what it takes to transform everyday citizens from unknowing contributors in the end of the world to enthusiastic and active participants in its possible salvation.

A terrifically important piece on the future of our planetThe Anthropocene Epoch will inspire readers to take an objective view of our choices and to act on them before it’s too late.

-Joe Walters

20. Kingdom of the Silver Cat

An enchanting experience to a land you won’t want to leave

Author: Thomas M. Carroll

Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy

ISBN: 9781733091701

Print Length: 414 pages

Recommended by: Jaylynn Korrell

What it’s about:

After their school bus travels through a mysterious blue light and ends up in a strange field, a group of kids quickly discover the truth—that they won’t be going to school today. They assume the adult in charge (their bus driver) will figure things out for them, but when he fails to return from searching for help, they soon realize that it’s up to them to get themselves back to where they came from.

But not long after arriving, the kids begin to show unique magical powers. While the world and powers seem exciting, they still know they need to get back home, for the road back is filled with challenges they never could have imagined.

Why you should read it:

I read most of this book with a smile on my face, happy to feel a part of the group that evolves because of this magical bus ride. Ranging in age from 8 to 13, each child is on a personal journey along their trip back home.

Carroll’s imaginative writing really brings the world of Hevelen to life. The way he describes each new aspect of the land gives the reader a clear image that is often exciting and unique to imagine. The fruit he describes makes your mouth water, the animals seem realistic despite their kooky differences, and when danger arrives, the hairs on your neck will stand tall. I feel impressed by the care given to each small detail.

Carroll’s imagination seems to know no bounds, as do the places that this series can possibly go in the future.

-Jaylynn Korrell

21. The Journey to Jumbalot

A spectacular tale of tiny beasts making big differences

Author: Ryan Wakefield

Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy

ISBN: 9798553853532

Print Length: 198 pages

Recommended by: Samantha Hui

What it’s about:

Fat housecat Alby loves three things: naps, a filled food bowl, and his owner Professor Wizoom. But Wizoom soon disappears through a bright triangular door in the name of science. A mysterious voice from beyond beckons, telling Alby to be brave and leave the safety of his now owner-less home. It’s time for him to take the leap.

On the other side of the door, Alby discovers the bright and fantastical world of Jumbalot and its inhabitants. But he soon discovers that the once-friendly kingdoms of Jowla and Wolvoon are warring over the powerful Gem of Jumbalot.

Why you should read it:

Ryan Wakefield’s Journey to Jumbalot is as entertaining as it is smart, addressing themes of courage, compassion, friendship, and more. It is a classic fantasy tale at heart, but Wakefield brings a delightful originality to it in creating this world and his “jumbo:” the beasts and creatures of Jumbalot who are composed of different Earth animals. Firephants, warthawks, and deermations keep our imaginations churning on this fantasy friendship adventure for the whole family—pets included.

This book is sure to be a bedtime favorite with the family. It is jam-packed with adventure, action, and heart, and it would be a great book to teach your children how to handle problems with love and compassion and show them how to lead with their hearts.

-Samantha Hui

22. Wicked Blood

Part murder investigation, part supernatural feud, all fast-paced Berlin adventure.

Author: Margot de Klerk

Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

ISBN: 9781919621333

Print Length: 322 pages

Recommended by: Andrea Marks-Joseph

What it’s about:

A shapeshifter travels to Berlin in search of her father, where she ends up tangled in a deadly feud with the city’s supernatural creatures.

What at first feels like a novelty, or a result of not visiting the right tourist spots, turns out to be a supernatural crisis: Cynthia hasn’t seen any supernatural beings in Berlin—no vampires, shifters, witches, or hunters—because they have gone into hiding, or worse, may be dying en masse. 

Why you should read it:

De Klerk’s worldbuilding is rich with fresh takes on old magic. The fascinating mechanics of being a shapeshifter are by far my favorite. Shapeshifting is described clear as day, as if you’re watching on screen. The rules of Cynthia’s magic create challenges just as exciting as the opportunities they cause. The supernatural in Wicked Blood is wonderfully accessible and conversational, bringing you into the experience with ease. 

In this tale of abandoned buildings and misplaced trust, Cynthia finds Berlin’s history entangled with ancient magical theories and creatures. Wicked Blood is easy to sink your teeth into and such a sweet thrill to read. 

-Andrea Marks-Joseph

23. Dawn of Deoridium

You’re going to fall in love with the world that Ting has created here.

Author: Jeff Ting

Genre: Young Adult / Sci-Fi & Fantasy

ISBN: 9798406654538

Print Length: 352 pages

Recommended by: Chika Anene

What it’s about:

16-year-old Kaili, who is next in line of the queens of the kingdom of Kalulishi, is no ordinary royal. She possesses electromagnetic power caused by The Shiftan upheaval of the earth’s magnetosphere more than three hundred years ago

When Kalulishi faces an attack by an outside force bearing the name Iron King, Kaili puts her life on the line and travels to the deadly Dead Lats to find Deoridium—a mythical element that possesses unmatched electromagnetic energy that her father spent a great deal of time searching for while he was alive—in order to save her people.

Why you should read it:

From reading Dawn of Deoridium, one thing is clearest to me—Jeff Ting is one heck of a talented writer. 

The descriptions in Dawn of Deoridium are so alive, and the banter shared between clansmen of certain cities during Kaili’s journey, or the little children who eagerly want her to perform tricks with her powers, are great specific details added to the already strong worldbuilding. You’re going to love the world Ting has created here.

Chika Anene

What are the best Kindle Unlimited books you’ve ever read? Let us know in the comments!

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