Saturday, December 9, 2023

Favorite Books of 2023

I guess I've sort of abandoned this blog in favor of Retropond, but I figured I would still post my favorites at the end of the year. I find I myself come back to these lists to see what I said were my favorites each year, so let's not stop now. The list below is of my favorite books of the year. Now, these are my faves of the books I've read, not necessarily what was released this year, though some of them were. 

On to the list!

Synopsis: The Reaper is a legend, more myth than man: the savior of worlds, the leader of the Rising, the breaker of chains. But the Reaper is also Darrow, born of the red soil of Mars: a husband, a father, a friend. The worlds once needed the Reaper. But now they need Darrow. Because after the dark age will come a new age: of light, of victory, of hope.

Why it made the list: Okay, well, it's no secret that I'm a big fan of this series. Once I started reading these, I couldn't put them down, and now I look forward to every release date in anticipation to find out what happens next. While a couple in the middle I didn't enjoy quite as much, these last two have been really epic and awesome, and I really can't wait until the final one comes out. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you're a fan of scifi and you haven't read these books, you really should. 

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

Synopsis: After a lifetime of bounties and bloodshed, Viv is hanging up her sword for the last time. The battle-weary orc aims to start fresh, opening the first ever coffee shop in the city of Thune. But old and new rivals stand in the way of success—not to mention the fact that no one has the faintest idea what coffee actually is. If Viv wants to put the blade behind her and make her plans a reality, she won't be able to go it alone. But the true rewards of the uncharted path are the travelers you meet along the way. And whether drawn together by ancient magic, flaky pastry, or a freshly brewed cup, they may become partners, family, and something deeper than she ever could have dreamed.

Why it made the list: If you're looking for a cozy fantasy novel that isn't all about big wars and epic magical stuff, I wager this one might hit the spot. And don't let the "cozy" moniker fool you into thinking that nothing happens, because there most certainly is a plot with twists and turns. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this one, so you might be too.

Synopsis of Book Lovers: Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby. Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute. If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

Synopsis of People We Meet on Vacation: Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since. Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees. Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

Why they made the list: Look, from here on out, I'll probably read every Emily Henry book, even if her latest one (Happy Place) I didn't love quite as much as all the others. I mainlined three of her books this year, and these two were my favorites, with Book Lovers getting the slight edge. There's something about the way she writes romance that isn't too over the top; it feels like you're watching a romantic comedy in written form. Seriously, if you like romance at all and you haven't read Emily Henry's books, what are you doing? 

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Synopsis: Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo. 

Why it made the list: To be honest, the synopsis of this book did not really make me want to read it. It sounded a little too, I don't know, trying hard? But like most books with a historical bent, once I started reading it, I really enjoyed it. I haven't had a chance to watch the show yet to see how it compares, but I did hear they changed some things, so we'll see. This book also does something that I don't really like, but I had to look past that because the rest of it was so good.

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Synopsis: Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders. But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away...because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them. With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant. She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise. Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom's protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret. Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die

Why it made the list: Now here's the thing, this book is what you might call a sensation in that it's extremely popular, but also extremely divisive. And while I have some issues with it, I couldn't put it down. Is it full of tropes and some questionable dialogue? Sure. But am I going to read the next one? Yep.

Other books I enjoyed this year, but wouldn't necessarily call my absolute favorites: Stars and Smoke by Marie Lu, Happy Place by Emily Henry

You can check out all of the books I’ve read on my Goodreads page, but let me know if you’ve had any favorites from this year that I should check out!

Past Years:
202220212020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012


  1. Great list! Fourth Wing is on my own TBR list because of your recommendation. I can't decide if I'm going to read it now or wait until the series is finished... I also really enjoyed Legends & Lattes and am looking forward to reading the prequel. Do you have any books you are excited to read in 2024?

    1. I hit recommend on Fourth Wing to you on Goodreads, and then was like wait actually I don't know if she'll like it or not! So I'll be curious if you do. It's not the greatest but I was still into it. As for books I'm looking forward to in 2024, there's a new one by Emily Henry coming out and I always enjoy hers, but otherwise nothing springs to mind! What about you?