Somehow, while I wasn’t looking, 2023 sped past, and here we are in the final weeks of the year. It’s inevitably time for looking back at what we’ve accomplished, what we’ve learned, and what we can improve upon.
Don’t worry, this isn’t that post.
With a full-time job and a renewed focus on finishing stories that have been languishing on my computer for far too long, my reading goal for the year was modest, to say the least. But I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey I’ve been on during this spin around the sun and thought I’d share some of my favorite reads of the year.
The books I read are, largely, for entertainment. I choose to be drawn into other worlds and to fall in love all over again and to cheer for other (fictional) people. So this certainly isn’t a high-brow list of recommendations, and I fully admit I’ve read far more spice this year than I have in the past.
In no particular order, here are my top book reads of 2023:
Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
The dialogue is so clever, the love story organic and not forced, the hard stuff handled perfectly, and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at a scene in a book that revolved around taking a photo! (iykyk)
There were times I had to walk away and give it a few days because I knew there were difficult things coming, and I had to prepare myself for them. That is how invested I got in these characters.
Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter
I was giggling at the banter as soon as the book started and didn’t stop. This was a spicy read that I’ve recommended to many of my friends, and a few strangers as well. The story was engaging, the dialogue hilarious and smart, the characters well-developed, and the sex HOT. One of my top faves.
One Day in December by Josie Silver
This was so delightful and heartwrenching and romantic, and I swear I nearly passed out at the end. These characters and the choices they had to make felt so real that I agonized right along with them. The fact that the story takes place over a decade only adds to the romance and beauty of it as these people grow and mature, come in and out of each others’ lives, and as their relationships change. The longing and love and heartbreak is so well done. I. Loved. This. My hopeless romantic heart grew three sizes after reading this book.
The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas
In case you were thinking I read nothing but romance this year, I submit to you The Hacienda. This was so very beautifully written. I read it quickly and didn’t want to put it down, veritably snarling at my coworkers when they interrupted my reading during lunch. The themes in this book are big, regarding racism, misogyny, the casta system, and religion, to name a few. Beatriz was strong, smart, and brave and I loved the way Padre Andrés was able to reconcile and meld together the two parts of himself. This was a wonderful read and I thought the ending was glorious.
The Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
Okay, not going to lie, this was easily my favorite read of the year. I have been pushing this book onto my friends and family like a drug, and they have all fallen in love with it, just as I did. This was an audiobook version and an outstanding listen. The narrator, Rebecca Soler, was very good, and I cried when she cried, my heart raced with her, my anger flared with hers. I can’t think of the last book I was as emotionally invested in! This story was crafted incredibly well with so many compelling storylines, and I bow to Rebecca Yarros and her ability to weave so many threads with such grace. I loved the romantic elements, fully fell in love with the love interest, and the heat between the characters is something that I think about almost daily. Enjoyed this immensely.