Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Top 5 Books I Read in 2023

1. The Unmaking of June Farrow by Adrienne Young 

I didn't expect to love this book so much, especially not to have it be my top book of the year, but Adrienne Young blew me out of the water with this literary magical realism tale that was at times historical and at other times romantic. I don't know how to properly describe it without giving away some of the reveals that made it so magical for me, but I will say that there are magical doors and beautiful friendships and second chances. The writing is stunning. Don't look up anything more before reading; just jump straight in. 

2. Starling House by Alix E. Harrow 

This is my favorite Alix Harrow novel. This book is ethereal and transportive, perfect for anyone interested in reading about the dark secrets of a cursed town, a generational history that gets twisted through time, a pair of protagonists fighting for survival, a sibling relationship to envy and found family bonds stronger than steel, an unexpected yet swoony romance, and a house brimming with monsters. A creepy, old, gothic, sentient, house that may or may not be the real main character. This story captivated me from the beginning. 

3. Swordheart by T. Kingfisher 

This year I discovered T. Kingfisher, and she has become one of my favorite authors now. Swordheart was my favorite book from her this year. It's about a woman who has suddenly inherited an estate, and the man who is trapped in the enchanted sword that she finds within the house. It's a romantic novel, an adventure, and a comedy. It was such a fun and wholesome reading experience for me. Highly recommend to fantasy and romance fans. 

4. Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson 

An Asian-inspired romantic fantasy written by my all-time favorite author? Sign me up! This book pays homage to the movie Your Name, one of my favorite movies. The protagonists wake up in each other's bodies and basically have to watch the other person live out their life while they watch from spirit form. There's a magical noodle shop, magical energy lines, and magical stone stacking that can summon spirits. Very magical and fun and feel good. 

5. Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth 

This book helped me to realize that I do in fact enjoy horror novels. I loved everything about this. A trio of women in the past experiencing terrors at school, and a trio of women in the present day making a film about the historical trio but while experiencing their own terrors on the film set. There are wasps. There is romance. There is drama. There are drawings and poems throughout. I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to more from this author. 

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