Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 Books I Read #YearInBooks


So many books! The reading world is a broad and beautiful place.

This year found me reading almost the entirety of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series (I started it in 2022), and I didn't get to tell you about it because I never did an end-of-2022 recap post! (We were travelling and by the time I came back, it felt very 2023.) I definitely would like to another one (waiting on book 10, Shannon Messenger!) but I was also glad to finish so I could move on with my life! I also read both Fourth Wing and its sequel this year and I liked them along with everyone else in the world, haha. 

Of course, the usual suspects are here - my annual Daniel Silva, a lot of romance novels, heavy on the Jewish content, and a bit of variety. I didn't like some of the books that other people loved and vice versa.

The end of this year was tough in the real world, and after a short slowdown, I was able to find escape in fictional worlds, which I really needed.

So here's the list:

  1. An Affair of Spies by Ron Balson
  2. The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
  3. Everblaze by Shannon Messenger (Keeper #3)
  4. Matchmaker's Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman
  5. Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro
  6. Neverseen by Shannon Messenger (Keeper #4)
  7. The People we Keep by Allison Larkin
  8. Lodestar by Shannon Messenger (Keeper #5)
  9. Nightfall by Shannon Messenger (Keeper #6)
  10. Flashback by Shannon Messenger (Keeper #7)
  11. Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner
  12. A Play for the End of the World by Jai Chakrabarti
  13. Legacy by Shannon Messenger (Keeper #8)
  14. Unlocked by Shannon Messenger (Keeper #8.5)
  15. Stellarlune by Shannon Messenger (Keeper #9)
  16. Summer of the Lost Letters by Hannah Reynolds
  17. Answers in the Pages by David Levithan
  18. We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman
  19. The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict
  20. Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott
  21. Shadows of Berlin by David R Gillham
  22. Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
  23. The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges
  24. The White Lady by Jacqueline Winspear
  25. Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr
  26. Maame by Jessica George
  27. Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
  28. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
  29. Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire
  30. Attack of the Black Rectangles by Amy Sarig King
  31. Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld
  32. All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody
  33. Queen Charlotte by Julia Quinn
  34. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
  35. The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry
  36. Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
  37. The Red Balcony by Jonathan Wilson
  38. Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley
  39. Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Torzs
  40. The Postcard by Anne Berest
  41. The Change by Kirsten Miller
  42. Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune
  43. Candle, Feather, Wooden Spoon by Zoe Klein
  44. Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
  45. Kantika by Elizabeth Graver
  46. The Witch of Woodland by Laurel Snyder
  47. Symphony of Secrets by Brendan Slocumb
  48. The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton
  49. Diary of a Lonely Girl by Miriam Karpilove
  50. The Collector by Daniel Silva
  51. The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende
  52. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal
  53. Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim
  54. Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon
  55. Happy Place by Emily Henry
  56. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
  57. Hotel Cuba by Aaron Hamburger
  58. The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton
  59. Weyward by Emilia Hart
  60. The Celebrants by Steven Rowley
  61. The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz
  62. The Blonde Identity by Ally Carter
  63. Kissing Kosher by Jean Meltzer
  64. Unorthodox Love by Heidi Shertok
  65. Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood
  66. Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross
  67. Kiss the Girl by Zoraida Cordova
  68. Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley
  69. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
  70. My Roommate is a Vampire by Jenna Levine
  71. The Brothers Hawthorne by Jennifer Lynne Barnes
  72. B'nai Mitzvah Mistake by Stacey Agdern
  73. The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom
  74. All the Broken Places by John Boyne
  75. Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan
  76. The Enchanted Hacienda by JC Cervantes
  77. The Golem of Brooklyn by Adam Mansbach
  78. The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
  79. Meet You in the Middle by Devon Daniels
  80. Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
  81. The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman
  82. The Lost Husband by Katherine Center
  83. Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros
  84. Witches Get Stuff Done by Molly Harper
  85. Cottage on Glass Lake by Amy Pine
  86. Hawaii by James Michener
  87. Emily Wilde's Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett
  88. The Last List of Mabel Beaumont by Laura Pearson
  89. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
  90. Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
  91. What You Do To Me by Rochelle Weinstein
Here are all the mini-reviews:

It's hard to choose favorites (often it's what I'm reading right now) but here is a good list of the ones I liked best:
Secret Book of Flora Lea
Hello Beautiful
Romantic Comedy
Tom Lake
The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone
Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
Matchmaker's Gift
The People We Keep
Black Cake
Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune

While I'm going to continue tracking on GoodReads, I'm also going to set up a StoryGraph account to track simulatneously. Lots of Goodreads drama, so I'll just dip my toe into something new. Plus I'll share monthly updates here and on the socials so stay tuned.

What do you think I should read in 2024? What are you reading? What were your favorites of 2023?

December 2023 Books


The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman - Oh this was a sweet and somewhat predictable read. That did not stop me from enjoying it immensely.

The Lost Husband by Katherine Center - I did not mean to read two books back-to-back that were about young widows. It felt a little odd. But anyway, this one was similarly sweet and predictable, and also quite enjoyable. 

Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros - I wasn't going to read this. I was annoyed at the long-book-with-cliffhanger-ending of the first one, and I vowed not to read this one. But the hype got to me and I couldn't help it and oh my, did I enjoy it. It was a little too long but it mostly kept my attention and damn if I am not already planning to read whatever she throws at me next.

Witches Get Stuff Done by Molly Harper - a fun and silly paranormal romance set in the Midwest. A great quick read, especially after nearly 10 days on Iron Flame! Apparently a series, but I'm probably not reading more.

The Cottage on Glass Lake by Amy Pine - Casual Jewish representation! Shabbat dinners! A Wisconsin lake house! Romance! Delightful!

Hawaii by James Michener - Technically, this is a re-read. I read this in high school, when I was going through a read-the-biggest-books-on-the-shelf phase. Michener's books definitely qualified. I thought I was very grown up. Anyway, I never fact-checked this book back then, but apparently it's quite accurate historically, and was an amazing re-read that I finished as we landed in Hawaii! 

Emily Wilde's Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett - a cozy fantasy that I didn't expect to enjoy but I definitely did!

The Last List of Mabel Beaumont by Laura Pearson - I am a fan of the older-woman-makes-chosen-family story. I can think of at least two or three others that fit into this category and I liked this one as much as the others (Iona Iverson, Lenni & Margot, Eleanor Oliphant...)

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett - Loved it! It felt so real to the pandemic experience of finding joy even when everything seems terrible, and connecting youthful love to married love...sigh. I didn't really want this book to end.

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson - One reviewer pointed out that "nothing really happens" in this book, and I am usually a plot-driven kind of reader. And it's true, nothing really happens. But it's a really interesting look at how class and money have a real impact on our interactions and behavior.

What You Do To Me by Rochelle Weinstein - This book is the imagined story of what might have inspired the song "Hey there Delilah" and I liked it. I was also glad for the Jewish represenation, although I think that Sara's parents come off as a little too harsh even though Sara clearly loves her Jewish life. 

January Books
February Books
March Books
April Books
May Books
June Books
July Books
August Books
September Books
October Books
November Books