I wrapped up 2023 at 123 books read (10 over my GoodReads goal!) That means I read a book every three days, on average.

Reading has become a daily habit and perhaps somewhat of an addiction as my brain seeks a different world from the one in front of me. Books allow us to travel to new places, meet new characters and learn some stuff along the way

My favorite books tend to be character driven and I love anything that makes me feel something.

Favorite Books of 2023

In review of the 123, I’ve included my top 20 reads of ’23 in three categories:

  1. Binge Reads: Read through in a day or two, couldn’t put down
  2. Thought Provoking or Weird: These ones stay with you, living rent free in your brain, memorable
  3. Sad / Potentially Triggering: Like I said, my favorite books make me feel, so good to be forewarned before going in if it’s one that stirs up all the feels! Don’t need to be crying in public.

As a member of the Book of the Month Club (BOTM), a good chunk of the books I read in 2023 were influenced by their picks. (Especially when they bumped up the books to five books!) BOTM help me find some new favorites!

I also joined Aardvark Book Club, which you may notice has a lot of books that fall in the thought provoking or weird category, LOL. They definitely have some interesting picks that I likely wouldn’t have picked up otherwise.

To note: I am an affiliate of Amazon, so buying off my links below supports my reading habit and helps show your support for my blog. Thank you!

Binge Reads

The Unmaking of June Farrow by Adrienne Young

1. The Unmaking of June Farrow

The Unmaking of June Farrow was my Book of the Month pick for October 2023 and OMG I loved this so much! Easily a top three favorite of 2023.

I didn’t know what it was about, but rather picked it up because it’s Adrienne Young and I’ve enjoyed her books in the past.

I’m glad I went in blind! This captivated me and made me want to stop all I was doing and binging it straight though.

A Fire Endless by Rebecca Ross

2. A Fire Endless

Book of the Month introduced me to Rebecca Ross and the Elements of Cadence series and I’m forever grateful because it is an epic duology!

While I loved the first book in the series, A River Enchanted, I think loved the second in the series, A Fire Endless, even more!

Ross has a great way of weaving in magical elements in a subtle way that feels warm and fairy tale-ish. I loved the conclusion to this one. Definitely a stand out and one I will read again.

Hell Bent: A Novel (Ninth House Series, 2)

3. Hell Bent

Hell Bent was my Book of the Month pick for January 2023. To prep for the second book in the series, I reread the first one in Bardugo’s series, The Ninth House.

I think reading them back to back helped with the experience. Hell Bent did not miss the mark. I enjoyed it more than the first.

I loved how this one wrapped up, but if I’m honest, I was hoping for more in the Alex + Darlington department. So. Much. Tension. 🔥🔥🔥

Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn - Recommended Books - Contemporary / Romance

4. Georgie, All Along

Georgie, All Along was my Book of the Month pick for February 2023.

This one pulled me out of a bit of a reading slump and hit the spot!

It hooked me right in and got me choked up at times. I related to Georgie and just simply loved Hank! 🥰

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross | Recommended Books

5. Divine Rivals

Divine Rivals is the first book in the Letters of Enchantment series by Rebecca Ross and I simply devoured it!

I love Rebecca Ross so much. Her writing always pulls me right in. Divine Rivals struck me right in the heart. 💛💛💛

From loss to found… the romance part is swoon worthy… and that ending! Good thing the second one is out, so you don’t have to wait like I did!

The Last Word by Taylor Adams

6. The Last Word

The Last Word was a Book of the Month pick for May 2023. As if I’d give it any less than a raving five star review! LOL.

I read this one in pretty much one sitting. Was some of it kinda cheesy? Yes, but I think that was the point.

I was rooting for Emma and Laika. For the love of the space dog 💛🐾

My Murder by Katie Williams

7. My Murder

This one pulled me right in! Quick, engrossing and stand out read for the year.

I love books like this that make you want to go back and re-read them again… with a new perspective, of course!

This Spells Love by Kate Robb

8. This Spells Love

This Spells Love ended up being a Book of the Month pick for December 2023, but I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy from NetGalley and I read it during October, aka witchy season.

This was a sweet friends-to-lovers story that crosses timelines. (The multiverse was a theme for me in October, haha).

A little witchy and quirky, with a nice dash of woo… and oh so steamy! 🔥🔥🔥 Friends-to-lovers has turned into one of my favorite romance tropes.

The Space Between Here and Now by Sarah Suk

9. The Space Between Here & Now

Many thanks for NetGalley for an advanced copy of The Space Between Here and Now in exchange for an honest review. This YA fantasy pulled me right in.

Our main protagonist, Aimee, has a unique condition called Sensory Time Warp Syndrome (STWS) where certain triggers make her disappear and go back in time.

Suk’s portrayal of Aimee’s experience with this rare condition was relatable to me as someone who has struggled with mysterious chronic illnesses. Aimee seeks answers in public forums and uses art as an outlet.

The struggle with her illness was done so well that at one point I thought about Googling this condition to see if it’s a real thing. LOL.

Recommended overall for those who like YA fantasy with family dynamics and can relate to the mysterious illness piece. 💛

10. Fourth Wing

Did someone say dragons? Fourth Wing was recommended to me in my group book chat and I’m glad I picked it up. It’s a great romantasy story that is definitely binge worthy.

Thought provoking / weird

Desert Creatures by Kay Chronister

11. Desert Creatures

Desert Creatures was an Aardvark pick for January 2023. It falls in the horror category, so beware if that’s not your thing, LOL.

Intriguing from the start, Desert Creatures is a disturbing dystopia. There was an underlying unease at its core. Atmospheric and gross at times.

Chronister is a great writer. Scenes embedded into my mind!

12. Liar Dreamer and Thief

Liar, Dreamer, Thief was an Aardvark pick for February 2023.

Right off the bat I realized that this wasn’t one I could pick up and read without 100% focus. It started to hurt my brain a bit, haha. Certainly took a little warming to get to know Katrina.

But as things got going and the words started flowing, I started to connect to the her idiosyncrasies and began to understand her to a certain extent and was certainly intrigued to keep turning pages.

Dong does an amazing job depicting the “realities” of mental health and I loved the connection here to what most consider “fantasy”, but could also be another reality that some are just more sensitive to see. This book will stick out in my mind for that.

Overall an impressive debut and I will certainly read more from Dong!

13. Shark Heart

Shark Heart was a Book of the Month pick for August 2023.

It is a well written, unique debut that tugs at your heart strings.

It’s a mix of magical realism that requires some imagination, poetic writing including only short paragraphs on many of the pages, and interludes written in play scenes. Among the many books read, this one will be remembered 💛

14. Mister Magic

Mister Magic was an Aardvark pick for August 2023.

It was an addictive read. Creepy, atmospheric and intriguing.

Towards the end things got… weird and I had to reread some parts to try and understand WTF was happening.

But the author’s note at the end ties things together and helps to better understand the symbolism within. One to read again with new eyes.

Rouge by Mona Awad

15. Rouge

Rouge was an Aardvark pick for October 2023.

As it is with most of their picks, this was weird AF. Like a long drug trip…. LOL

It kept me intrigued enough to continue. However, I’m not sure I fully connected w/all the metaphors threaded within. And also wondering if all of it was metaphor or just… weird?

The vibe and imagery the story invoked made me think about the “conspiracies” around the Hollywood elite and their questionable beauty “treatments” that involve bad things and tortured beings.

What is the true price of beauty? You’ve been “chosen”. All we need now is your soul.

16. The Warm Hands of Ghosts

I was lucky to get an advanced copy of The Warm Hands of Ghosts from NetGalley. Arden is a wonderful writer and that shines again here.

While this is somewhat of a slow burn, it kept me engaged. It’s more character heavy and based around the brother / sister relationship and an unexpected relationship between a Canadian and German soldier during the First World War. There are different timelines that eventually converge as all characters come together.

There are some super natural / magical realism elements that open up discussion about the dark threads behind war, the human condition, memories and what makes us who we are. Some symbolism here with desire and mirroring what we want to see vs reality.

Seems this will be an excellent pick for the 2024 book clubs.

Telling Lies for Fun and Profit

17. Telling Lies for Fun and Profit

Published almost 30 years ago, Block’s words still ring true with timeless, helpful, down-to-earth advice on writing fiction.

Plus I loved the little drops of nostalgia in a time before the Internet was huge and accessible, when writing was banged out on a typewriter, words had to be looked up in the dictionary and facts confirmed by the encyclopedia.

The book explores a multitude of questions and concerns that many fiction writers have and Block’s advice was relatable and witty, at times making me laugh out loud. Recommended to anyone who has struggled to write fiction… it’s certainly harder than it looks!

Sad / potentially triggering

the house of eve recommended historical fiction book

18. The House of Eve

The House of Eve was an Aardvark pick for February 2023. It falls in the historical fiction realm and is sad and potentially triggering.

I loved how things wrapped up with this one.

Weyward by Emilia Hart | Recommended Books | Historical Fiction

19. Weyward

Weyward was my Book of the Month pick for March 2023.

Told from three perspectives and three timelines, the 1600’s with the witch trials, the 1940’s and 2019, from three women whose struggles connect down the female line.

Wild women vibes are present throughout and witchy vibes.

…And lots of potential triggers here: abuse, rape, miscarriage and general struggles of living in abusive relationships and the powerlessness that brings.

Hart is a great writer. Lyrical, without being too much. Overall an excellent debut.

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano | Recommended Books

20. Hello Beautiful

Slow burn, family drama, with a heavy ache spun throughout that was hard to shake, much like loss, depression and the choices made along the way that we cannot take back.

Hello Beautiful made me cry on more than one occasion. There’s a lot to unwrap here. 💔

What were your top reads of 2023?

Now it’s your turn! I’d love to know what your top books of 2023 were. Please share in the comments below.

I love connecting with fellow readers and am always looking for new recommendations. Feel free to friend me on GoodReads!

Much Love,