Goodbyeeeeee 2023. Hi, remember me? It’s been some time. There were a lot of positives this year, but the year wore heavy on me. I feel a weight being lifted the closer we approach 2024 so let’s do the thing and wrap up 2023.
I started the first six months of 2023 on track with my reading goals. Then the wheels came off and I struggled to get back on track. Third trimester pregnancy complications began resulting in two hospital visits and weekly appointments much sooner than I wanted. I have made it full term and deliver our third next week (yay!). I quickly found myself 30, then 40, and now 51 books behind my Goodreads reading goal. Such is life.
I’m feeling a renewed energy towards reading, the reading community, and my overall focus. Before 2024 begins, I want to reflect on my favorite reads of the year.
Year after year I say that I am going to finish a series or begin a new one that I’ve been anticipating. I missed the mark again. I did not read and/or finish anything I was anticipating to read. I like being a mood reader but I have no direction. I started Malazan this Spring and loved the first two chapters..absolutely loved… but for some unknown reason, I put it down and never picked it back up. The same thing happened with Assassin’s Apprentice early in the year. I wanted to read The Shadow of What Was Lost. I had hopes of finishing The Divine Cities trilogy. I can’t say how often I re-discover a book on my shelves that I forgot I owned (hellloooo again Eleventh Cycle). It’s almost like I avoid finishing books I’m loving because I’ll never get to experience it for the first time again. Anyone want to explain that?
I’ll discuss this further in a 2024 anticipated reads post but I think my priority for next year is to be more purposeful with my reading.
I have completed 79 books for 2023 that were largely adventurous, dark, emotional, and mysterious.
My average rating for 2023 was 3.38 stars across 79 books.
Here is a breakdown on format- ebook/audiobook/print. For the sake of my physical tbr, I’m aiming to raise my print percentage next year.
Favorite Reads of 2023
In no particular order….
We Spread by Iain Reid– I fell so hard for this book. This, in my opinion, is a book that must be listened to in order to immerse oneself in the plot. The audio performance is a work of art.
Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman- A deeply unsettling and bleak world and stays faithful to the themes of love and sacrifice. I listened to the audio narration and thought Steve West did an overall good job with the variations in voices. There were parts to this story that were downright terrifying to listen to.
A Shade of Madness (The Ashes of Avarin, #2) by Thiago Abdalla– Brimming with intrigue, betrayals, plot twists, frenzied madness, and fervor worship, A Shade of Madness is aptly named and an extraordinary showcase in characterization and well controlled pacing. My full review.
Belladonna (Belladonna #1) by Adalyn Grace- If Death asked, it would be a yes from me.
A River Enchanted (Elements of Cadence, #1) by Rebecca Ross– I loved the characters, relationships, and Scottish folk atmosphere. The writing was steady and beautiful. I recommend the audiobook as the flow and narration elevated the entire experience.
The Reckoning (Zodiac Academy #3) by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti- This book and series sucked me in and hasn’t let go since July. It’s a series people either love or hate. It’s polarizing. I fall on the side of loving it. It brings me back to why I read. I will always stand next to and up for those books that make me feel something.
The Stardust Thief (The Sandsea Trilogy #1) by Chelsea Abdullah– A fantastic story of ancient lore, found family, and mystery.
Galatea by Madeline Miller- A haunting re-imagining of Galatea and Pygmalion that is my favorite short piece of the year. In so few words, Miller evoked immense emotions and visceral feelings.
Night Music by Tobias Cabral– Set on a mysterious and unsettling Martian world, Night Music brought forth an otherworldly force that drew from its eerie origins. Months later and I still find myself thinking about some of the ideas presented here. My full review.
Favorite Rereads of 2023
Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga #4) by Pierce Brown (3rd Reread)- I’m always shocked that Iron Gold is considered the weakest book in the series by many people. I found that it’s the best book in the series. After finishing another reread of Dark Age, my position on IG is unshakable now. My blog post discussing this.
The Foxhole Court (All for the Game, #1) by Nora Sakavic (7th Reread)- BURY ME WITH THIS SERIES I was going to take the year off from re-reading this but somehow it just happened. Honestly, there is no point summarizing the plot because the only way to understand this series is by reading it because of how much depth there is but I will give a brief sentence on what it’s about. This is a contemporary story featuring the runaway son of a crime lord that becomes recruited by a dysfunctional college sports team that is full of players all with troubled pasts. M/M. CHECK TWs because there’s a BUNCH. My full review. Nora recently announced that we are getting a spin off.
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater (3rd Reread)– How can I possibly articulate how this book makes me feel? The feeling is indescribable, visceral, intuitive. I felt this book spoke to me on a soul level from the storytelling to the imagery to the relatable voices. I became lost in the magic and mysticism of Henrietta and Cabeswater. It’s whimsical and sweet and mysterious. It’s a lazy summer afternoon. It’s an extraordinary adventure. It’s youth and innocence. My full review.
Thanks for reading. See you in 2024.