Under-The Radar Books: Selected May Reads for You


Each month, hundreds of books are published, and many don’t get the attention they rightfully deserve. Maybe you’ve heard of some of these books; maybe there’s a new author here for you to discover. Under-the-Radar spotlights unique and exciting books every month. If you’re looking for something new and different to read, or want to find your next favorite author, look no further! We’ve included historical fiction, memoir, young adult, suspense, graphic novels and more in our selected books for MAY Under-the-Radar reads!

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

When Owen Michaels disappears, he leaves a note for his new wife that says, Protect her. Hannah knows Owen’s note meant for her to watch over his sixteen-year-old daughter Bailey, who is motherless. Now Bailey’s father is gone, and she wants nothing to do with her stepmother. But as the mystery of Owen’s disappearance brings the FBI and federal agents around, Hannah starts to understand that her husband of one year might not have been who he said he was. She needs Bailey to figure out what exactly has happened in order to discover the shocking truth about Owen.

The Rooftop Party by Ellen Meister

Dana Barry, Shopping Channel’s star host, is nearly assaulted by her boss at a company rooftop party, but just in time, she bolts for the dance floor. Grabbing a drink on her way, she blacks out, and when she comes to, her boss is dead. He either fell or was pushed from the roof, and Dana is a prime suspect. She doesn’t know what happened from the time she left her boss until the time she woke, but she is pretty sure she didn’t kill him and must prove her innocence to all who suspect her.

Ember of Night by Molly E. Lee

Harley’s only goal in life is to make it to eighteen and then get her sister and her out of the confines of their abusive father. But a mysterious stranger shows up as she’s about to put her plan into action, and this isn’t just any stranger. Draven is dark, hot and relentless, and he has news for Harley – she needs to stop a war between Heaven and Hell that’s about to unfurl. But, in a world where no one has looked out for Harley, why would she want to do anything to save everyone else?

The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter

When Delta Dawn is hired to photograph eleven-year-old Natalie’s birthday party, she makes a move to be more than just a photographer. Soon, she’s babysitting for Natalie, befriending Amelia, and listening to Fritz’s frustrations. She’ll do anything to get closer to the family in order to get the life she so desires. 

All Kinds of Other by James Sie

Jules and Jack are starting over at a new high school when they meet and there is instant attraction. Jules is navigating his life now that he’s come out, and Jack has just moved to L.A., looking for a fresh start where no one knows his past. The two must figure out what they want to do with their budding relationship – stay under the radar and avoid drama or be honest with their feelings for one another. 

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley

Piper Parrish has a perfect life, even though her husband Tom is dead. You wouldn’t know it though as she is carrying on as if he were still alive, cooking him breakfast, having their Friday standard date night. The people in town don’t know what to do about this, so they go along with Piper’s delusion. When journalist Anders Caldwell is sent to Frick Island on a rather boring assignment, he discovers a better story – one where a whole town is pretending a man still exists. 

I Thought You Said This Would Work by Ann Garvin

When their best friend Katie gets cancer and makes an odd request, Holly and Samantha – who are no longer best friends – take a road trip that will change them forever. Two-thousand miles, a VW camper theft and the retrieval of a long lost pet are the backdrop for this compelling story of friendship, second chances and self-discovery.  

The Dead Husband by Carter Wilson

This one’s a little personal for me. My daughter DOES NOT READ. She picked up The Dead Husband from my stack of books and continuously read for 24 hours until she got to the satisfying twisted ending. Carter Wilson crafts a mysterious thriller you will not put down about family, deceit, lies, and yes, murder.

The Next Wife by Kaira Rouda

Tish Nelson is the next wife, but Kate, the first wife, is still around, co-owner of the company she and John built. When Tish decides she and John need a romantic getaway, namely to get him away from the vindictive ex-wife, things take a turn for the worst. Or so readers think. There’s much more to this story and there’s no telling what will happen when love and revenge intermingle in this twisty suspense novel.

Wait for God to Notice by Sari Fordham 

In 1976, Sari’s family moved to Uganda to do missionary work in the middle of the jungle. There, it was not uncommon for monkeys to swipe tomatoes, ants to overtake the house and mambas to slink along the floor. Sari writes about Uganda politics, the family’s insular faith, and her overly cautious mother. Funny and observant, this unique memoir is a courageous love letter to Sari’s childhood, to her mother, and to her journey to healing.

The Guild of the Infant Saviour: An Adopted Child’s Memory Book by Megan Culhane Galbraith

This is a hybrid memoir that includes narrative with the author’s art project, The Dollhouse. The cultural history of adoption is explored as well as the author’s own personal journey as an adopted child. Mysterious and emotional, this book will affect readers who are curious about adoption and how memory, identity, shame, grief and guilt all play a role. 

Chronically Fabulous: Finding Wholeness and Hope Living with Chronic Illness by Marisa Zeppieri

When she was diagnosed with Lupus and nearly died in a car accident, Marisa Zeppieri felt stuck and broken. Instead of succumbing to the disease, she went on an emotional, spiritual and physical journey to heal her crushed spirit and nourish her relationship with God. Those with chronic illness – and those seeking to understand what the chronically ill deal with – will be inspired by this passionate book from the founder of LupusChick, a nonprofit supporting autoimmune disease.

Lucy Clark Will Not Apologize by Margo Rabb

Sixteen-year-old Lucy Clark finally retaliates against a bully at her boarding school, and there is major fallout. As punishment, she is sent to New York to care for an eccentric old woman. Edith Fox is not what Lucy was expecting – she is glamorous and mysterious… and living in fear that someone is trying to kill her. Does Lucy have a bigger job than she anticipated when it comes to caring for Edith – to keep a murderer away?

Negative Space by Lilly Dancyger

Lilly Dancyger idolized her artist father who was addicted to heroin. When he died suddenly, Lilly spirals out of control, feeling rage and anger at a world who had taken her father too soon. As an adult, she revisits her memories of childhood and her larger-than-life father to craft her memoir, Negative Space. Grief, anger and art swirl together to tell this story – a tribute to Dancyger’s father and to the memories they created together.

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Shelby Tebow goes missing, then Meredith and her six-year-old daughter Delilah disappear not long after. The close-knit community is rocked with fear as residents wonder what happened to them all? After a search that goes nowhere, the case is finally shut down. Eleven years later, a now seventeen-year-old Delilah returns home and everyone is desperate for answers, but will they be prepared to learn the truth of what happened long ago?

Fade into the Bright by Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz  

Two sisters are faced with the possibility that they might have inherited Huntington’s disease from their estranged father, so they agree to genetic testing. When Abby tests positive, she flees to Catalina Island, where no one knows about her history. She wants to live a summer free from worry and fear. Then she meets Ben, who is inquisitive and easygoing. Will Abby be able to guard her heart and keep Ben from learning what her future might be?

Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around by Camille Pagan

It’s thirteen years after Libby received a cancer death sentence, but she is a survivor, although lately, she’s not feeling very lively. Her husband is distant, one of her daughters isn’t well, and Libby isn’t over her father’s death. Although she’s an optimist, she can’t shake this dark mood so she decides the family needs a vacation. They head to the Puerto Rican island where she and her husband fell in love, in search of perspective and reconnection. When a tropical storm hits, Libby worries for her family and their safety. But, if they can get through this, it might be the best thing that has ever happened to them all.

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland

It’s decision time for the Goldman and Weingold families, who own the Golden Hotel. After sixty years of being best friends and business partners, things are starting to fall apart, including their relationship. The families must figure out if they will sell or save their ‘crown jewel’ of a hotel. From grandparents to millennial grandchildren, everyone has something to say about the future of the Golden Hotel, and business and pleasure get in the way as they figure out what will be best for everyone.

The Woman With the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff

In 1942, Sadie is eighteen and she and her pregnant mother are hiding from the Nazis in tunnels beneath the city of Krakow. When Ella Stepanek, a privileged Polish girl who has alliances with the Germans, discovers Sadie hiding, she takes it upon herself to help the girl. The Woman With the Blue Star is inspired by true stories and is a testament to friendship and strength, and the will to survive against the odds.

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