100 books like Book of the Little Axe

By Lauren Francis-Sharma,

Here are 100 books that Book of the Little Axe fans have personally recommended if you like Book of the Little Axe. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Valentine

Lisa Boyle Author Of Signed, A Paddy

From my list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII).

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a history lover, but often find myself thinking about the untold stories. The people who were not writing the history books or commanding armies or ruling countries. I’ve always been more inspired by everyday people, especially women, who fought daily battles we know very little about. I find myself seeking out their stories. I love to imagine these women’s lives. What motivated them, what frightened them, what angered them. That’s what I’m most passionate about. Finding and telling their stories.

Lisa's book list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII)

Lisa Boyle Why did Lisa love this book?

Valentine handles some very heavy topics beautifully.

Many of the characters are connected by only one thread: they are women trying to survive in West Texas in the early 1970s. It centers around a brutal incident and the quest to find justice for a Mexican teenage girl who was violently assaulted.

Throughout the story we get such an intimate look at these women’s lives. I felt like I knew them. I felt like I was sitting right next to them in their kitchen or on their front porch.

These women were all hardened by the trials life had thrown at them, and were battling the urge to protect themselves with the urge to protect one another. I loved this book because it was just so honest. 

By Elizabeth Wetmore,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Valentine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A top ten New York Times bestseller. With the haunting emotional power of American Dirt and the atmospheric suspense of Where the Crawdads Sing: a compulsive debut novel that explores the aftershock of a brutal crime on the women of a small Texas oil town.

'The very definition of a stunning debut' Ann Patchett

'Brilliant, sharp, tightly wound, and devastating' Elizabeth Gilbert
'Quite simply one of the best books I've ever read' Jeanine Cummins, author of American Dirt

Mercy is hard in a place like this. I wished him dead before I ever saw his face...

In a place like…


Book cover of The Giver of Stars

Julia Jarman Author Of The Widows' Wine Club

From my list on improbable friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like the widows in The Widows’ Wine Club, I’m getting on. Unlike them, I’ve been a writer for forty years, often hunched over a keyboard, ignoring people. Amazingly, though, I managed to have a happy marriage and make some great friends. Phew! Because I’ve needed friends, especially since my husband died. Looking back, I’m interested to see that I didn’t instantly take to some of my closest buddies. Circumstances threw us together, and we got to know and like and love each other. I explore this in my book. 

Julia's book list on improbable friendships

Julia Jarman Why did Julia love this book?

I love this book because it has everything, believable, engaging characters, a riveting plot, a vivid setting, and a cause. Larger-than-life Margery O’Hare and lady-like Alice are unlikely friends, but friends they become in this great story.

When I first saw photos of those "librarians on horseback," the wonderful women who responded to Eleanor Roosevelt’s call to take books to the rural poor of Kentucky in the depressed 1930s, I longed to know more. Jojo Moyes gives us lots more. There’s an array of well-drawn characters, but it’s Margery and Alice who drive the story forward, defying the odds to achieve their aims and find men who love and appreciate them.

Yes, it’s a love story, too, and a whodunnit? Perfect!

By Jojo Moyes,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Giver of Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | A REESE WITHERSPOON X HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICK

"A great narrative about personal strength and really captures how books bring communities together." -Reese Witherspoon

From the author of The Last Letter from Your Lover, now a major motion picture on Netflix, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond in Depression-era America


Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve, hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when…


Book cover of Night Wherever We Go

Rae Giana Rashad Author Of The Blueprint

From my list on reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m drawn to stories of women whose journeys shed light on human nature. These women are often found in cautionary tales within dystopian and historical fiction. Their stories not only remind us of the past but also hint at possibilities—different versions of the future. To capture this truth, I wrote a novel that delicately blends the past with the near future.

Rae's book list on reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy

Rae Giana Rashad Why did Rae love this book?

Night Wherever We Go is the visceral story of six enslaved women defying their oppressors on a Texas plantation, determined to protect themselves from forced pregnancies. These women are cunning and resourceful!

Told in a first-person-plural voice, Tracey Rose Peyton's narrative is a powerful portrayal of collective resistance. It sheds light on a dark chapter of American history with unflinching honesty.

By Tracey Rose Peyton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Night Wherever We Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A hugely impressive debut' SARAH WATERS

'A powerful and inspired achievement. This one is not to be missed' NATHAN HARRIS

'Extraordinary... I'm not sure I've recovered from the experience of reading it, or ever will, or ever should' ELIZABETH MCCRAKEN

'A haunting, powerful and utterly unforgettable read' RACHEL HENG

An intimate look at the domestic lives of enslaved women, NIGHT WHEREVER WE GO is an evocative meditation on resistance and autonomy, on love and transcendence and the bonds of female friendship in the darkest of circumstances.

On a struggling Texas plantation, six enslaved women slip from their sleeping quarters and…


Book cover of The Hundred Secret Senses

Lisa Boyle Author Of Signed, A Paddy

From my list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII).

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a history lover, but often find myself thinking about the untold stories. The people who were not writing the history books or commanding armies or ruling countries. I’ve always been more inspired by everyday people, especially women, who fought daily battles we know very little about. I find myself seeking out their stories. I love to imagine these women’s lives. What motivated them, what frightened them, what angered them. That’s what I’m most passionate about. Finding and telling their stories.

Lisa's book list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII)

Lisa Boyle Why did Lisa love this book?

Amy Tan is a master at telling stories that explore the complex dynamics of family relationships.

I’ve read a lot of her books, but The Hundred Secret Senses is my favorite because I adore Kwan, the main character’s half-sister from China. Kwan has a special secret that she can see and speak to ghosts, but Olivia always dismisses her as a little crazy and only pretends to believe her stories.

I love this book because it made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions and because it was so relatable.

We all have family members that we both love and can’t stand at the same time. This book goes back and forth between the 1990s and the 1800s.

If you love books about sisters, you need to read this one!

By Amy Tan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hundred Secret Senses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stunning reissue of an international bestseller, from the author of 'The Joy Luck Club' and 'The Bonesetter's Daughter'.

Olivia Yee is only five years old when Kwan, her older sister from China, comes to live with the family and turns her life upside down, bombarding her day and night with ghostly stories of strange ancestors from the world of Yin. Olivia just wants to lead a normal American life.

For the next thirty years, Olivia endures visits from Kwan and her ghosts, who appear in the living world to offer advice on everything from restaurants to Olivia's failed marriage. But…


Book cover of The Red Pyramid

Susan McCormick Author Of The Antidote

From my list on middle-grade YA fantasies entertain and educate.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a doctor, writer, and mother of middle schoolers, I was ready to scintillate the sixth-graders when I volunteered for the chicken wing dissection class, demonstrating the exciting connection between muscles, tendons, and bones. I opened and closed the wing, placed it in their hands, and showed them the thin strips of tissue coordinating all the action. Did I see fascination? Excitement? Feigned interest of any sort? Sadly, no. They were much more enthusiastic about a different topic I volunteered for. Mythology. Greek gods. Beasts with multiple heads. They knew everything, and I knew books like Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief series were the reason. Books can entertain and educate.

Susan's book list on middle-grade YA fantasies entertain and educate

Susan McCormick Why did Susan love this book?

Another great series from Rick Riordan. Set somewhat in the real world, a brother and a sister who don’t look alike discover they are descended from long line of a family of both Egyptian pharaohs and magicians. They have special talents to battle gods from Egyptian mythology and must save their father and the world.

Again, so much history and mythology packed into an exciting adventure story. Our whole family loved it.

By Rick Riordan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Red Pyramid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Red Pyramid: the first book in Rick Riordan's The Kane Chronicles.

Percy Jackson fought Greek Gods. Now the Gods of Egypt are waking in the modern world...

'I GUESS IT STARTED THE NIGHT OUR DAD BLEW UP THE BRITISH MUSEUM . . .'

CARTER AND SADIE KANE'S dad is a brilliant Egyptologist with a secret plan that goes horribly wrong. An explosion shatters the ancient Rosetta stone and unleashes Set, the evil god of chaos . . .

Set imprisons Dr Kane in a golden coffin and Carter and Sadie must run for their lives. To save their dad,…


Book cover of Blue Labyrinth

J.M. Adams Author Of Second Term

From my list on fearless female warriors.

Why am I passionate about this?

Female warriors add more depth to the action/thriller genre and make any character infinitely more interesting. I’ve read and watched enough Jacks, Johns, and Jakes to last a lifetime and I want some Janes in my reading life. I’ve been an avid reader for more than 40 years and always felt that there was a blank space when it comes to female protagonists. Many of my favorite female characters were relegated to supporting roles including some on my list, but when I find a great female character I end up reading her again and again. And if you haven’t seen it yet, watch Lioness on Amazon, it will leave you breathless! 

J.M.'s book list on fearless female warriors

J.M. Adams Why did J.M. love this book?

When it comes to Constance Greene, I hardly know where to begin.

She’s certainly the oldest and most deadly character in fiction writing today. I say she’s the oldest because she’s trapped in the body of a thirty-something-year-old woman even though she was born in 1873, long story.

She appears as a supporting character in multiple novels, as the love interest of Detective Aloysius Pendergast, but she is so much more than that. She’s eloquent, brilliant, and does not succumb to emotional distress under any threat of death.

In Blue Labyrinth, eight highly trained mercenaries pursue her and none of them live to tell the tale. At her most ruthless, she can kill with any tool at her disposal and she is loyal to the man she loves.

By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blue Labyrinth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


When a longtime enemy shows up dead on Pendergast's doorstep, the murder investigation leads him into his own dark past as a vengeful killer waits in the shadows.

It begins with murder. One of Pendergast's most implacable, most feared enemies is found on his doorstep, dead. Pendergast has no idea who is responsible for the killing, or why the body was brought to his home. The mystery has all the hallmarks of the perfect crime, save for an enigmatic clue: a piece of turquoise lodged in the stomach of the deceased.

The gem leads Pendergast to an abandoned mine on…


Book cover of You Don't Know Me

Abi Silver Author Of The Pinocchio Brief

From my list on challenging our views that justice prevails.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having spent my youth watching dramas Crown Court and L.A. Law on TV and reading Rumpole of the Bailey, it’s not surprising I became a lawyer and then went on to write legal thrillers myself. The courtroom is an inherently theatrical place, where emotions and tensions run high. It’s a place where egos collide, theories are propounded and punctured and the liberty (and sometimes the life) of the accused is at stake. It follows, then, that lawyers operate in a totally even-handed system, where they’ll always achieve a fair and just result and uncover the truth. All the books I’ve recommended challenge this notion in different (but equally brilliant) ways.

Abi's book list on challenging our views that justice prevails

Abi Silver Why did Abi love this book?

A young man accused of murder stands before the jury in court. Fed up with his barrister’s advice to ‘only tell the jury what they can believe’ he makes his own closing speech. He tells ‘the whole truth’ in his own words. 

In setting out the details of his chaotic life, he aims to provide an innocent explanation for the eight pieces of circumstantial evidence against him. It’s only if the jury can understand what it’s like to be him (echoes here of Atticus Finch’s famous line, "You never really understand a person until you… climb into his skin and walk around in it.") that he will receive a fair trial.

A highly original angle for the modern, courtroom drama, executed to perfection. Clearly (as is only right) there’s a subtly-woven, social commentary agenda too.

By Imran Mahmood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Don't Know Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2013 Christy Award winner!
2013 Carol Award finalist (ACFW)
To everyone who knows her, Annalise Decker is a model wife and mother. She’s a permanent member of the PTA, never misses her kids’ sporting events, and is constantly campaigning for her husband’s mayoral race.

No one knows that Annalise was once Deidre O’Reilly, a troubled young woman whose testimony put a dangerous criminal behind bars. Relocated through the Witness Security Program to the sleepy town of Deep Haven, Deidre got a new identity and a fresh start, which began when she fell in love with local real estate agent Nathan…


Book cover of The Son of Good Fortune

Asale Angel-Ajani Author Of A Country You Can Leave

From my list on badass mothers.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first time I learned that I was raised by a “bad” mother was when I was in the first grade. The teachers complained that my mother hadn’t shown up for parent-teacher conferences and never could get me to school on time. But I knew what they did not, that my mother worked a lot and was raising kids all her own and yet still had time to take us to the library to read books that were well beyond the ones at school. Because of my highly iterant life raised by a bookish and neglectful mother, I have always been interested in the relationship between children and their less-than-perfect mothers.

Asale's book list on badass mothers

Asale Angel-Ajani Why did Asale love this book?

The Son of Good Fortune (Excel) has an outrageous single mother who defies societal expectations. Maxima, a former B-movie action star in the Philippines, runs an online scam siphoning money from men.

She dominates the book with her humor and zest for life, even as she is forced to live in the margins as an undocumented immigrant, raising a child all on her own.

This is a funny and smart and poignant book. I loved the mother in this book and felt for her son, Excel, deeply.

By Lysley Tenorio,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Son of Good Fortune as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Recommended Book From:
USA Today * The Chicago Tribune * Book Riot * Refinery 29 * InStyle * The Minneapolis Star-Tribune * Publishers Weekly * Baltimore Outloud * Omnivoracious * Lambda Literary * Goodreads * Lit Hub * The Millions

FINALIST FOR THE JOYCE CAROL OATES PRIZE
WINNER OF THE NEW AMERICAN VOICES AWARD

From award-winning author Lysley Tenorio, comes a big hearted debut novel following an undocumented Filipino son as he navigates his relationship with his mother, an uncertain future, and the place he calls home

Excel spends his days trying to seem like an unremarkable American teenager.…


Book cover of 99 Red Balloons

Lorna Dounaeva Author Of The Family Trap

From my list on reads to keep you awake all night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of a number of psychological thrillers including The Perfect Family and The Wrong Twin. I like this genre because it really makes your blood pump. For the most part, these are ordinary people who get caught in extraordinary situations so it’s easy to relate. Once you start reading a really good thriller you can’t stop, it’s like riding a roller coaster. It feels exhilarating but it’s totally safe. And the really good ones get you thinking. What would I do in that situation? How would I react?

Lorna's book list on reads to keep you awake all night

Lorna Dounaeva Why did Lorna love this book?

A child is taken. A family is shattered. But this plays out a little differently than most missing child cases. I definitely did not expect that epic twist. It’s well written and you’ll tear through the pages with the song 99 Red Balloons playing in your head the whole time.

By Elisabeth Carpenter,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 99 Red Balloons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

Eight-year-old Grace is last seen in a sweetshop. Her mother Emma is living a nightmare. But as her loved ones rally around her, cracks begin to emerge. What are the emails sent between her husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is there more to the disappearance of her daughter than meets the eye?
Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Sharples sees a familiar face in the newspaper. A face that jolts her from the pain of her…


Book cover of Artie and the Wolf Moon

Priya Huq Author Of Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin's Hijab

From my list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller.

Why am I passionate about this?

Environmental storytelling in comics is something that I’ve always admired and want to be better at. As a cartoonist I’m always thinking of better ways to tell visual stories, because it’s fun.

Priya's book list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller

Priya Huq Why did Priya love this book?

Olivia Stephens is one of the most skilled cartoonists of our generation. I was lucky enough to blurb Artie: Artie and the Wolf Moon, like all of Stephens’ work, is heartbreaking and heart-mending, gorgeously and lovingly rendered with a voice and eye for the gentle and powerful ways characters interact with one another…“ Like the best graphic novels set in the Pacific Northwest, Artie’s story could not be told without dense forests that hold both danger and sanctuary.

By Olivia Stephens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Artie and the Wolf Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

“A heartfelt, magical family drama you can really sink your teeth into.” ―Nilah Magruder, M.F.K.

After sneaking out against her mother's wishes, Artie Irvin spots a massive wolf―then watches it don a bathrobe and transform into her mom. Thrilled to discover she comes from a line of werewolves, Artie asks her mom to share everything―including the story of Artie's late father. Her mom reluctantly agrees. And to help Artie figure out her own wolflike abilities, her mom recruits some old family friends.

Artie thrives in her new community and even develops a crush on her new friend Maya. But as…


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