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13 / 30 books. 43% done!

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74 / 104 books. 71% done!

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50 / 52 books. 96% done!

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83 / 165 books. 50% done!
Tuesday, January 02, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Reads of 2023


Happy New Year! I hope everyone has had a safe, enjoyable start to 2024. I'm in the middle of getting all my Christmas decorations down as well as organizing my desk, my calendar, and my life for the new year. Phew. It's definitely time to take a little break for TTT. Today's prompt is, not surprisingly, Top Ten Favorite Books of 2023. Of the 223 books I read last year, I marked 32 of them as favorites. In order to winnow my list down to just 10, I'm going to skip the re-reads and most of the sequels I enjoyed and focus on my most favorite favorites. 

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Head on over to her blog to give her some love. While you're there, join in the TTT fun. I'd love to know which ten books you read in 2023 were the most enjoyable for you.

My Top Ten Favorite Books of 2023
- in no particular order - 


1. The Rockton/Haven's Rock series by Kelley Armstrong—This is a bit of a cheat, but I read six books in this series in 2023 and they were all favorites. These crime novels are on the grittier side (at least for me), but I just can't get enough of them. Armstrong knows exactly how to pull me into her stories and keep me coming back for more!


2. The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede—Although this nonfiction account deals with a horrific event in U.S. history, it's a hopeful, uplifting book about how people can come together in perilous times to make a difference in each others' lives. Very inspiring.


3. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman—When books get too much buzz, I tend to shy away from them, shunning what everyone is reading out of principle. That's what I did with this one, until A Man Called Otto came out. Everyone was raving about the movie and I can't resist Tom Hanks, so I broke one of my cardinal rules and watched a film based on a book without first reading the book. Scandalous! After loving the movie, my book club decided to read the novel, and guess what? I adored it too. I guess sometimes when everyone loves something, it really is something worth loving!


4. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White—It's possible that I read this children's classic as a kid, but I don't remember doing so. Bummer because it's such a sweet, wholesome read. I liked it more than Charlotte's Web, which I've read several times. 


5. Calamity Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows—This delightful YA romp is the third installment in the Lady Janies series, a collection of alternate history novels starring famous women. Calamity Jane is the only one I've read so far, but oh my goodness, what fun it is! I listened to the book on audio and enjoyed every minute of the experience. It's funny, engrossing, voice-y, and just all kinds of entertaining.


6. The Wild Journey of Juniper Berry by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown—One of my favorite middle-grade reads of the year, this novel is about a girl who was raised far off-the-grid and has never experienced life in "civilization." When her brother gets sick, her family is forced into the "real" world so that he can get prolonged medical treatment. As Juniper tries to make sense of her new normal, she questions which life is the right one for her and her family.


7. Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.—I can't stop thinking about this nonfiction book which concerns the vast fortune of American industrialist W.A. Clark. It talks about how Clark made his money, how he spent it, and what happened to it when it passed on to his last heir, Huguette. It's an absolutely fascinating story that asks big questions about wealth—how it should/should not be spent, how much is enough, the responsibility of the mega rich toward society, etc. I suggested Empty Mansions as a book club read because I want to discuss it so badly with other people who have read it.


8. Exiles by Jane Harper—I've read all of Harper's novels and Exiles is my favorite. The third book in the Aaron Falk series, the story is about Falk—a federal investigator—returning to his small hometown in Southern Australia to attend the christening of a friend's child. The town's annual fair is taking place, prompting Falk to look into the disappearance of a young mother during the same event one year earlier. 


9. The Labors of Hercules Beal by Gary D. Schmidt—Another middle-grade novel I love, this one is about an unassuming, recently orphaned boy who's tasked with recreating the labors of his namesake for a quirky school assignment. As he tackles his grief while also trying to figure out how to be heroic, he learns that he's more like the famous Hercules than he ever could have imagined. 


10. A Girl Called Samson by Amy Harmon—Based on a true story, this historical novel recounts the life of Deborah Samson, a young woman who longs for freedom and adventure. Disguising herself as a boy named Samson, she enlists in the Revolutionary War in order to do her bit. Is she up to the task? Can she hide her real identity long enough to make a difference? What will happen if she's found out?

There you go, my ten favorite reads of the year. Have you read any of these? What did you think? What were the best books you read in 2023? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog. I also reply to comments left here.

Happy TTT!

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Homecoming by Kate Morton

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The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King



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