This is a Good Book Thursday

As Tammy requested, please list the best books you read in 2023.

[They don’t have to have been published in ’23, that’s just when you read them.]

[Also, no worries if they aren’t books with my name on them. You know me better than that.]

My 2023 was so chaotic that my best books would all be comfort rereads, so I’m leaving this up to you all.

112 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday

  1. Demon Copperhead, Yours Truly, Nora Goes Off Script, Romantic Comedy, We All Want Impossible Things, Hello Stranger, Hello Beautiful, The Great Believers, On Fire Island.

    1. An enthusiastic second for Demon Copperhead. Not an easy read, and quite heartrending in places, but well worth it. A rich and deeply felt book.

    2. You all have the best recommendations! It’s been a while since I’ve been here and I immediately remembered why I visited so often. My 2 favorites for the year are: Riley Sager- The Only One Left, and Johnny Compton – The Spite House.
      I’m starting Lavender’s Blue today. =)

  2. Sci fi:
    • Princes’ Game series by MCA Hogarth – Edgy and sexy sci fi with a bit of fantasy. Some ruthless stuff in here so…the opposite of cozy. I was obsessed with this series.
    • Vixen War Bride series by Thomas Doscher – military, aliens, romance – what’s not to love?
    • Cici and the Curator by Sarah Wynde – Totally charming Sci fi/fantasy.
    • Janitors of the Apocalypse by Jim Hines – A great premise – aliens trying to recreate the lost culture of humanity – and so much fun.
    • Linesmen series by SK Dunstall – A space oater with one key focus – shows what can happen when a story is just really well written.

    M/M Hockey:
    • Draft Bust by Hannah Henry – Injured hockey star works with journalist on on his autobiography all alone together in a house…what could possibly happen?
    • Caught Off Guard by Catherine Cloud – She is surprised that anyone thinks she writes romance but the grumpy goalie and his sexy German backup goalie are indeed involved and…hella hockey.
    • Time to Shine by Rachel Reid – Sweet and fun relationship between neurodivergent demisexual goalie and his opposite.
    • Irish Exit by theundiagnosable (A03) – A hockey story built around the bet trope.
    • Ab+Huth by Ari Baran – Sweet and lovely novella.

    Two Guys Falling in Love and Solving Cases:
    • Spectral Files series by SE Harmon – The narrator is hilarious.
    • Memento Mori series by CS Poe – One of the guys has serious issues including an eidetic memory.
    • Come Unto These Yellow Sands by Josh Lanyon – One guy is a poet and the other the chief of police.
    • Seven of Spades series by Cordelia Kingsbridge – One guy practices the Israel martial arts Krav Maga.
    • Valor and Doyle Series by Nicky James – Yea Canada! Plus a guy named Aslan.

    Other Stuff:
    • A Suitable Bodyguard by R Cooper – Yes maybe not up to A Suitable Consort but that was an elevated height. I still loved this book.
    • We Could Be So Good by Cat Sebastian – To read her is to love her. Two journalists navigate the hostile anti-gay culture of ‘50’s America.
    • Two for Tea by CM Nascosta – Not her smuttiest and definitely her most insightful.
    • Lavender’s Blue by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer – My favourite of the trio!
    • An ARC by Chacha! that I can’t name until it’s published but it deserves anonymous mention – my gay BFF loved it too!

    1. If you like two guys falling in love and solving cases, you may like Gregory Ashe. They are definitely on the grimmer side, and the different series each have quite different vibes, but the same niche genre.

  3. As usual, I hate being asked for best book or Best author or best movie. If they didn’t suck, all of them had something to recommend them, or I wouldn’t have mentioned them on any given Thursday.

    That said, I’ll list NO ONE IS ALONE and EVERY SINGLE LIE by Rachel Vincent and the Sondheim movie INTO THE WOODS. Those are the ones that popped into mind before my forebrain started quibbling about all the other stuff I read and watched.

    1. Hah, yeah, I don’t have the energy to go dig through my book blog, but I just read Divine Rivals, and Ruthless Vows, and recommend them as a fantasy/gods/Shop Around The Corner/rivals to lovers storyline.

  4. I had a very safe reading year, looking back. All of my favorite books are by authors who are auto-buy for me. Jennifer Crusie, Cm Nascosta (Two For Tea was an instant favorite), Ilona Andrews, Martha Wells and Patricia Briggs. I also got very lazy about updating Goodreads, so if I read a book anywhere but on my Kindle, it has been lost to the ether. I will have to try to be better at noting them in 2024.

    1. And I was going to try to be more adventurous in 2024, but I have already dnfed 3 books, so that seems unlikely.

      1. True, but that isn’t very searchable and time has no meaning for me anymore… I used to remember everything I read clearly, but now I find my recall to be rather hazy. I can recall a plot of a book that I liked well enough, but not the character names or titles.

        I remember the ones that make me mad pretty well still 😛

  5. I was really taken with three widely different things this year.

    Lessons in Chemistry – I finished this, amazed at the found family and success through adversity, not to mention the intelligent dog. I searched for people who hadn’t read it yet, in order to press that book upon them.

    Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse – This series of space opera books took a small band of humans and pushed them to their limits. They succeed with a combination of grit, determination and the unconventional application of their specialized knowledge. Over the course of the three books, the individual members of the team each get to shine. The afterword of the third book gave poignancy to the story of Captain Mops.

    STEM romances by Ali Hazelwood – I’ve read two of them, and they both swept me up and kept me entertained. There is science, and women dealing with biases. There is communication between MCs. I just started the third last night (I probably have been reading these out of order, but I think they stand independently.)

  6. The first things that leap to my mind are the Liz Danger books, and Beware of Chicken (my wife loved those too).

    Then I went back through my list of books to (maybe) buy from this past year, and there weren’t any really great ones (other than the Liz Danger books). And then Gary J mentioned No One is Alone by Rachel Vincent, which definitely makes my list. And Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood. Lessons in Chemistry may be a step below those.

    Things I stumbled across that make the list, let’s see …

    The Tea Princess Chronicles (A Coup of Tea) by Casey Blair.

    The Kings Watch series by Mark Hayden (starting with The Thirteenth Witch)

    1. I loved the first two Beware of Chicken books. I was really looking forward to the third but with the change of setting, more plot, less Jin, it didn’t quite hit the same sweet spot for me. Maybe I should give it a re-read and see if I enjoy it more second time around.

      The other 2023 title that springs to mind is Kate Stradling’s Deathmark. That’s a keeper for me.

      1. I really enjoyed Deathmark. And it lead me to finally read Namesake, which is also great. Anything by Kate Stradling, really. The Ruses of Lenore books are comfort rereads for me whenever I’m sick.

  7. I read a whole lot of romances mixed with some mystery and a few oddballs.

    Loved “Raiders of the Lost Heart” by Jo Segura, finished the Marion Lane trilogy by TA Willberg, only got to “Lavender’s Blue” last year, Anthony Horowitz’ “A Line to Kill”, and read the bulk of Ann Granger’s Campbell and Carter mysteries.

  8. I loved the Liz Danger books this year and am eagerly awaiting the audio versions.

    Currently, I’m reading and listening to Trisha Ashley’s Written from the Heart. Hilarious. Cheekier and funnier than other books by her that I love. The narration totally enhances the page and it will live in my re-read folder. I don’t know how I missed this one.

    Other favorite books this year are Tom Hank’s The Making of Another Major Motion Picture and Alexis Hall’s 10 Things That Never Happened. Nora Goes Off Script was memorable as well.

    Another fabulous read is Good Book Thursdays. I read the archives as well as current posts and while the recommendations are marvelous, the respectful community creates a rare space where it is safe to read the comments. My appreciation overflows for this site.

  9. Best of the Year? I’m not sure this was my best reading year, but the end of year discovery of hockey fic, and MM will certainly be memorable!

    On that note I’ve picked my MM faves (one from each of the authors I liked, somewhat randomly mostly hockey):

    I’m Your Guy Sarina Bowen (the only sweet one I’ve listed here, it was what got me into the genre- the rest are all angsty); Tough Guy Rachel Reid; Season’s Change, Cait Nary; Thrown Off the Ice, Taylor Fitzpatrick and Aftermath, LA Witt (not hockey, vino and veritas series).
    Had less luck with MF but I did like The Shameless Hour, Sarina Bowen.

    In other fic I really liked Louise Erdrich, The Nightwatchman; The Cat Sanctuary, Patrick Gale and The Galaxy and the Ground Within, Becky Chambers. Also more Lymond Chronicles (Dorothy Dunnett). I read Queen’s Play and The Disorderly Knights. I save them for holidays otherwise I’d have read more.

    Finally, a non fic. The Amber Route, CJ Schuler. He travels from Finland to Venice following the old amber route, and also tracing his Jewish ancestors and their fate in Europe. A really interesting, readable book.

    Looking forward to reading everyone else’s lists!

  10. This year I read a lot more than normal. Mostly romance and light fantasy.

    New to me romance authors :
    Penny Reid – The beard books are amazing. I particularly liked the mysteries that came from them.
    Molly Harper – Southern eclectic series was fun if you don’t take things too seriously. It’s about members of a family that run a bait shop combined with a funeral parlor. She also writes supernatural romances that are silly fun.
    Talia Hibbert – The brown sister trilogy.

    New to me Fantasy authors:
    Kate Williams – The Babysitters Coven series (Buffy crossed with Babysitters club).
    Jonathon Stroud – Lockwood & co series (Ghostbusters crossed with Sherlock)
    Rick Riordan – Finally started the Percy Jackson series.

    Favorite authors previously discovered but that wrote new books I loved and read this year:
    T Kingfisher
    Jennifer Crusie – the whole lavender series.
    DM Guay – horror comedy

    There were definitely more books I loved, but if I didn’t pick up a second book by them, they arent on the list, because this list is definitely long enough.

    1. I dearly love Molly Harper’s Southern Eclectic series. And they are fabulously narrated by Amanda Ronconi if you like to listen.

  11. I loved Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley, Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt, and The Hunger by Anna Katsu. (One of these things is not like the others.)

    These were all books I read in Q1 of the year and my year really went to hell after that, so that might have skewed my perspective.

    1. I’m glad you mentioned Remarkably Bright Creatures. I, too, loved that book. I recommend it to anyone who will listen.

  12. Some people naturally make this kind of list, either in writing or in their heads. Others don’t, and I’m the latter.

    The single most striking book I read last year was Neil Sharpson’s When the Sparrow Falls, striking on its merits and also partly because it far exceeded my expectations when my book club nominated it and because came from an author I’d never heard of (and who to date has published nothing else similar). (It’s fairly grim, but realistically so, in places, but has a happyish ending.)

    The new Crusie books were an unexpected pleasure, but it was a reappearance of work from a long-missed author rather than something entirely new.

    Thanks to various automatically computer-generated lists I can find most of what I’d read in 2023 and I could list some slightly lesser (for me) books; if I have time I’ll do that, but Sharpson and Crusie/Mayer will do for now.

  13. I’ve already commented on the best books I’ve read this year in this blog. But I will say that I LOVE that I can set my new Kindle to a font that I can read without the pesky glasses!!! That alone is worth the price of it.

    1. I was resistant to ebooks for a long time, but then authors who I loved would offer things that I could only get digitally. It didn’t strike me until later how beneficial it was for older readers. I was running an outreach program for housebound library patrons and large print books were in high demand, but of course hard to come by. Plus, they are heavy for people with arthritis.

  14. I went through my list and said “Wow! I DNFd a lot this year!” I’m not sure whether that was because a lot of books (mostly recommended here) failed to engage me, or whether I’ve been doing a better job of adding them to the list so I don’t try to read them again and go “meh, I tried this before.”

    Picking the titles that made my heart sing at the sight of them:
    Victoria Goddard At the Feet of the Sun (which I am re-reading right now)
    Martha Wells Witch King
    and System Collapse
    Ann Leckie Translation State which I’ve reread at least once, and maybe twice
    T. Kingfisher Bryony and Roses, and Paladin’s Faith
    Crusie and Mayer Rest in Pink (can’t explain why this is my favorite of the three.)

    I read plenty of other books that I enjoyed more than mildly, but these were the ones where I thanked the Publishing Gods.

    1. The Publishing Gods are sometimes kind 🙂

      I too loved “Translation State” and “At the Feet of the Sun” – the rest are tbr and I am looking forward to January!

    2. I have been bingeing Victoria Goddard, and I am Right With you on At the Feet of the Sun, it made me SO HAPPY (happy enough that when I saw a pin that looked like the joyful whale on the cover I bought it instantly). they seem to hold up on rereading as well! Fortunately!

  15. I have spent most of this past year reading comfort reads. Someone tried to get me “out of my reading rut” but I feel pretty happy here :).

    Best books – can’t contain myself to 3 (I have no tv and read 2-5 books a week):
    Lessons in Chemistry
    The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies
    Lavender Blue, Rest in Pink, One in Vermillion (counts as one!)
    Role Playing by Cathy Yardley (and am reading her back catalogue now)
    Curves for Days by Laura Moher
    When Stars Collide – Susan Elizabeth Phillips
    The Book Charmer, A Cup of Silver Linings, The Secret Recipe of Ella Dove (a great Argh recommendation – counts as one!)
    The Rakes Daughter by Ann Gracie
    Grace Under Fire by Julie Garwood – perhaps not her best but she completed a story arch and I was saddened by her death
    Don’t Forget to Write – Sara Goodman Confino
    Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood – am working my way through the rest of that series slowly thanks to an Argh recommendation
    How to Murder a Millionaire by Nancy Martin – again working my way through the rest
    Ex and the Single Girl – how had I missed Lani Diane Rich? Now working my way through her back catelogue, thanks to you lovely people
    Dangerous Books for Girls: the Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained by Maya Rodale – non fiction and new to me and a really enjoyable and enlightening read
    Fix the System, not the Women by Laura Bates – again non fiction and blew me away

    Thank you to all the great recommendations, I feel I have found my clan (tribe)

  16. According to my Goodreads account, I read 36 books last year. I believe some of you are able to read that many in a week. 😉

    The highlights (fiction):
    – Liz Danger series and Agnes by Jenny and Bob
    – Shane and the Hitwoman by Bob Mayer with intentions of reading book 3 in the series in 2024
    – The Hamster Princess series by Ursula Vernon – These are AWESOME!
    – The MacKenzie brothers series (first 4 books) by Jennifer Ashley
    – A Most Agreeable Murder by Julia Seales – I hope this is the start of a series. It was like Clue and The Addams Family had a child. I really loved it!
    – I started the Chronicles of St Mary’s by Jodi Taylor
    – The Lady’s Guide to … cozy mystery series by Dianne Freeman (first 5 books)
    – Sanctuary for Seers by Kathleen Baldwin (long awaited) – a great series, this is book 5

    Highlights (non-fiction)
    – Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans – try stuff, keep what you like, tweak as needed
    – You, Happier by Daniel Amen
    – Please Sorry Thanks by Mark Batterson
    – the Guardian: Growing as an Ennegram 6 by Elisabeth Bennett
    – The Power of When by Michael Breus
    – When: the Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink

    One I read but kind of hated was Mary Poser by Angel A.

    I’m noticing I like series.

  17. This year was dominated by my new obsession with hockey, hardly any other topic stood a chance – I guess, it’s the perfect mix of mm with definitely manly MCs doing a very fast paced interesting sports.
    The books that got 5 stars from me on Goodreads are few:
    By Alexis Hall the one exception to hockey: 10 things that never happened. I listened to the audio which was FANTASTIC thanks to narrator Will Watt.

    5 stars hockey themed:
    By Rachel Reid Heated Rivalry and Time to Shine (I still have to re-/read the rest of the Game Chsngers series),
    By Cait Nary: Season’s Change (finished on NYE, now listening to the audiobook).
    AB+Hth novella by Ari Baran.
    Almost but not quite 5 stars but beloved keepers nevertheless
    Sarina Bowen’s hockey books (Ivy years, brooklyn bruisers and the new Guy series),
    Ashlyn Kane/Morgan James Hockey ever after Series,
    Some of Avon Gale’s Scoring (esp. books 1 and 4).
    E. Finley/S. James book 1+2 in the Puckboy series which both I and dd love.

    Apart from hockey, I also love Fearne Hill’s books – I was especially surprised how much I loved Cloud White, maybe because I just didn’t expect the two lawyer friend MCs to grow that on me.
    And Lily Morton’s books are great when I get nostalgic for the UK though they tend to be a bit too smutty to be 5 stars for me (I need more content/conflict than sexual attraction to fall in love with a book). The Blue and Black series of her provide such flesh to bite into ;-).

    The great thing is that many of the author’s I discovered this year (a distinct percentage thanks to this group!!) have series I can get sucked into.

    One book that left a bad aftertaste was Pucking Around. Yes, the story is sex positive, but the focus of esp. the heroine on her attraction to three of her “patients” (players on her team, she’s the doc) for me is unprofessional. The language was too gross for me – I seem to be far less acceptong when it’s a woman being and acting “vulgar”.
    Overall, reading has provided great escapism this year. And a new hobby…

  18. Yesterday, a high school teacher friend described the 1-term senior elective she’s currently teaching. It’s a course in which the students decide what books to read. My friend started them with Kitchen Soul by Michael Twitty. Now they’re proceeding to a student choice: The Premontion by Banana Yoshimoto. The students love taking chances on what they read. My friend does, too: the selection rules are (1) a book has to be recently published and (2) she must not have read it yet.

    Anyway, the Liz & Vince trio definitely wins for my best new reads of 2023. Connie Willis’s Road to Roswell was a hoot — and sent me back to reread Doomsday Book, my absolute favorite of the Willis canon.

    I recall enjoying other books in 2023, but their titles have escaped me at the moment.

    I agree with all the comments concerning Best Book Thursday as providing great conversations about books and other stuff.

  19. Looking at my 5 star reads from 2023:

    The Garden of Small Beginnings/Waxman. I’m late to the game on this author but just really liked the tone and relationships in this quick story of recovery from grief and finding family with a side of romance.

    The Green Flash and Other Tales of Horror/Joan Aiken. I’m not really a horror reader but these short stories were more supernatural, ironic and witty. Great to discover Aiken as a writer of adult fiction as well as YA.

    Tramps and Vagabonds/Glenn Aster Gray. This really caught me – MCs are young men during the depression, finding a way to live and to perhaps be with each other. Very evocative of the time and place.

    Time To Shine/Reid. Much mentioned here and always great writing and characters one cares about.

    And for NF, I discovered Ada Calhoun with both Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give and Why We Can’t Sleep…the former a book of essays about marriage and partnership, the latter an exploration of the pressures on and place in this world of GenX Women. Where I am right now, that interests me. And she’s funny.

    Best of the Great Christie Re-Read in 20023: A Murder is Announced. Team Marple.

    Here’s to great reads in 2024. Appreciate this group and its recs always!

  20. In alphabetical order (and leaving out Jenny’s trilogy):
    K. J. Charles: The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen & A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel (m/m Regency romcoms)
    Harper Fox: The Tyack & Frayne Mysteries (with the caveat that the series falls apart rather as it goes on; but great m/m romance in a haunting setting)
    Alexis Hall: 10 Things That Never Happened (m/m romcom)
    E. L. Massey: Like Real People Do & Like You’ve Nothing Left to Prove (m/m hockey romcoms)

    1. Good list! Re Tyack & Frayne where do they fall apart? And is it possible to leave them at a satisfying point.

      1. You know, I could have sworn I’d written myself a note about that, but I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find it. I think I must have decided it might strike me differently when I reread the series – and, of course, your mileage may vary anyway. She writes alternate versions – there’s a supernatural element – and it started to feel to me like she’s stretched the characters and stories too far. But I gorged myself on them, so that could have shaped my reaction.

        1. Oh yes that can happen to me. I have a strict maximum two books by the same author in a row otherwise its like I’ve eaten too much chocolate. Occasionally I break the rule but generally I regret it.

          1. Thanks, Lian. I found it (15 September): I finished Harper Fox’s Tyack & Frayne series, but the 3-part ending (books 10-12, but listed mostly as 10a & b and 11) didn’t work for me. I wish she’d edited it down into one book, and not made it so grim. She mentions that much of it was originally episodes for her Patreon supporters, and it reads like a chaotic first draft to me. The third volume is more cheerful, but it hiccups on in a series of sort of epilogues, so I felt a bit downbeat by the end, and the characters and the way the storyworld worked had been so stretched and reworked that my disbelief had crashed.
            Unfortunately, I can’t remember each of the earlier books clearly enough to decide where it would be best to stop when I reread the series. I did enjoy most of them, but I think she was over-ambitious in the end, and seriously under-appreciated the importance of editing your work.

            Chacha replied: It would be interesting to see the entire Tyack & Frayne series fully compiled, filled in or trimmed as needed, then re-divided into more equal parts. It went from a handful of very short episodes into those three full-length books. I personally applaud what HF did with books 9-11, but the change in tone was pretty severe. On the other hand, she really had laid a lot of landmines and things were spiraling down; a bunch of explosions were kind of necessary

  21. Since I can hardly remember what I read last week, identifying my top 3 books of the year is hard. I read 2-3 books per week minimum and most of them are potato chips – delicious in the moment but not so memorable that I can recall them later. The ones that are the most memorable from 2023 are the Liz Danger series, Sweetland by Michael Crummy, Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman and RebeccaYarros’ The Forth Wing. Given that I read 75-80% romance novels, the last 3 may stand out because they are not in this genre. The middle two are reality blended with fantasy/mysticism so lots to think about after I finished them.

    I’m working on book club reading this week as well as a couple of romances.

  22. I think my favorite read of the year was the Ancillary series by Ann Leckie. I listened to them. The reader was excellent and the stories were fascinating.

    I also loved the Liz Danger series, of course, as well as the Witch King and the latest Murderbot by Martha Wells.

    1. These are some of my favs too! The Ancillary series is read by Adjoa Andoh (who also plays Lady Danbury in the Bridgerton series.)

  23. My favourite new books were Death before Dragons 1-7 by Lindsay Buroker ; Deep Secret by Dianne Wynne Jones; Counterfeit Madam by Pat McIntosh. Then of course some Donna Andrews, Murderbot, some Enola Holmes and comfort reading of Jayne Ann Krentz. I read more then last year, but still didn’t manage to clear my TBR library pile. Oh well onwards to reading in 2024

  24. It is hard for me to list best books. I liked many of them. According to GoodReads, I read 133 books in 2023, not counting the re-reads that I don’t mark there. One of my online writing friends played this game about the books she read in 2023, and I decided to participate too. Below are my answers. You might like to play it as well.

    My Year (2023) in Book Titles
    =====================

    So far, I would describe last year as being: In Your Dreams (Kristan Higgins)
    I’m tipping that the next big thing in Reality TV shows will be: Remarkably Bright Creatures (Shelby Van Pelt)
    I could have cried about: Half a Soul (Olivia Atwater)
    I would love to have some respite from: System Collapse (Martha Wells)
    The most unexpected thing that happened this year involved: Plan B (Sharon Lee, Steve Martin)
    My non-bookish friends would say I am: Ms. Demeanor (Elinor Lipman)
    My motto for 2024 will be: Bookshops & Bonedust (Travis Baldree)
    I am most looking forward to: Hotel of Secrets (Diana Biller)
    A recurring dream I’ve had this year features: Seasparrow (Kristin Cashore)
    If you looked under my couch you would see: The Work of Art (Mimi Matthews)
    If I could no longer blog, I would probably pursue a career in: Faerie Knitting (Alice Hoffman)
    Something most people don’t know about me is: Magic Unleashed (K.M. Shea)

  25. For the most part, comfort rereads. It was the year of gardening, so many garden books, cook books, non-fiction, study workbooks. Reading less.

    Murderbot
    Liz Danger series
    Eyes of the Hammer

    I read several new and liked authors, but, in a strange frame of mind when it comes to reading. Someone here, (sorry need to go back to find the comment), mentioned that perhaps it is bc of not wanting to be disappointed in the story. Often, read the last chapter after a few chapters of many books.

    PS. And…Reading my comments before hitting send bc autocorrect screws it up if I don’t double check. 😯

  26. Without counting rereads some of my favorites from 2023 were The Shuddering City by Sharon Shinn; and Wrapt in Crystal, also by Sharon Shinn; The Seeds of Exile (all of them) by Jilly Woods; as well as the Lavender’s Blue series.

      1. You’re welcome Jilly! And…will there be any more coming, down the road? I seem to remember a missing brother…😉

        1. Yes, I do indeed have more Caldermor books planned. Two Elan Escapes books, of which the first (good guess!) will be about the missing brother, Niol. Then skipping ahead a few years for another trilogy.

          I’m not sure of the likely timing, though. I have a lot of Niol’s story in place, but I need to let him simmer a bit, so for now I’m working on some lighter fairy tale inspired fantasy.

  27. Apparently I either read only comfort reads or books I can’t recall. That is less a comment on the books and more a comment on how much my parathyroid problem affected my ability to focus on new books and remember what I read. Next year should be better!

  28. Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk was hands down my favourite book of the year.

    But the arrival of Liz Danger and Vince in my life was also a major enhancement of the second part of the year.

    Best re-reads – The People’s Act of Love by James Meek and Away by Amy Bloom.

    1. Thank-you – I’ve never even heard of “Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead” and the reviews are very intriguing. Adding it to my tbr!

  29. I don’t pay much attention to Goodreads, and they don’t pay much attention to me. They have me as reading something I finished about two months ago. Best reads hands down.
    Liz danger series. Followed by
    The road to Roswell The book charmer. Dark Lord of Derkholm
    Was Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen published this year or last year?
    I enjoyed The House Witch series.
    My Kindle is full of books, so I haven’t touched yet including one by Nora Roberts, and one by Jude Devereaux. I loved reading everybody’s lists. List on!

  30. My favourite new to me books have been in no particular order:

    Dick Francis’ thrillers. I had never read anything by him before even though Jenny had done a very enticing post about him a little while back. Note to self: always follow Jenny’s recommendations.

    K.M Shea King’s shadow series was a really fun light read.

    Cici and the Curator was great too and it was cool when the author commented on Argh after we squeed about it.

    In SF, the Linesmen series was great. It’d been on my list for a long while but I thought the premise wasn’t all that original but I was completely wrong about that.

    Finally Lessons in Chemistry was heartbreaking but ultimately a very uplifting book.

    In rereads, I really enjoyed revisiting Mary Stewart. Some of her books have pretty bonkers plots but they are good fun.

  31. There were so many in 2023 but my favourite book of 2024 is The September House by Carissa Orlando.

    Why, you ask?

    Because yesterday I sat in my comfy chair, light shining over my shoulder, and read for nearly 2 hours to finish it. That’s the longest I’ve read a paper book in probably 3 years. I’ve read on my Kindle and listened to many hundreds of hours of audiobooks but, damn, it feels good to be able to read a paper book again.

    It felt so good, in fact, that I’m going to find a book and do it again tonight after Paul goes to work.

    I seriously need a respite from The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman. It’s wonderful but The Thing has just happened and I have some big feelings about it.

    Of course, the Liz books were fantastic and I loved System Collapse, Bookshops and Bonedust, and so very many more.

    But I’m doing the happy dance for more paper books in my future. Probably mostly hard covers, I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle some of my vintage paperbacks until I get my prescription readers.

  32. The Goblin Emperor, Killing me Softly, Fire and Rain, Agnes and the Hit Man There were more, but these are and will be books that make me feel good.

  33. I feel like I forgot a lot of the books I read this year. Here are the ones I remember as particular favourites:
    Lavender House By Lev AC Rosen
    The Power of Strangers: The benefits of connecting in a suspicious world by Joe Keohane (nf)
    Nettle and Bone by T. Kingfisher
    Translation State by Ann Leckie
    Lavender’s Blue
    Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman
    The Witch King by Martha Wells

    1. I, too, put Nettle & Bone on my list. Kingfisher is amazing, and I read a bunch of her work this year (also loved “Swordheart” and “Illuminations”) but this was my favorite.

  34. I will get to read the Liz Danger-books in a little more than a month! Hurrah, yay and squee! And some more hurrah!
    My 2023 reading year wasn’t spectacular. Out of the 101 books I managed to squeeze in, 76 were rereads. Not one single new book got a 5-star rating. I really, really hope this year will be more exciting on the book-front. I also hope I’ll be able to take in and focus on new books, for there are so many out there I want to read. So far it’s looking so-so since I’m rereading right now (except for also reading cookbooks), but the year has just started, so there’s still hope.
    Wish you all a spectacular reading-year!

  35. Loved Last Devil to Die (and all the rest of the Thursday Murder club series. Densely plotted, absorbing and often surprising characters. Hard to beat.
    10 things that never happened by Alexis Hall, though not as great as the classics – Boyfriend Material and Husband Material, was certainly entertaining.
    Of course the Liz Danger books – delightful!
    I too loved Lessons in Chemistry (though I may have read that more than a year age.
    Thank you to whomever recommended The No Show – surprising and highly entertaining!
    Mystic Tea – a weird and wonderful book. If the first few pages don’t grab you, have faith! One of the most satisfying books I have read.
    Re-read all the Murderbots with great and abiding delight.
    Gosh, so meany more, but those are probably the tops.

  36. I, uh, well, I logged 429 books / novellas / shorts in 2023 and I have not yet gone back through the journal to choose my Fave Reads because I was, well, reading.

    I will blog my list fairly soon, though. 😉

  37. Favorite book of the year: Victoria Goddard’s “The Hands of the Emperor” – friendship, fealty & good government

    Favorite funny
    • “Lavender’s Blue” by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer – funny & sarcastic
    • “The Flatshare” by Beth O’Leary – funny & sweet

    Romance
    • “His Royal Secret” / “His Royal Favorite” duo by Lilah Pace – thoroughly satisfying slow romance
    • Tiffany Reisz’s “The Rose” – lush romantic fantasy
    • Lyn Gala’s “Fettered” – I like her contemporaries as much as her sci-fi, and this D/s contemporary hit all the right buttons.
    • Casey McQuiston’s “Red, White & Royal Blue” – total wish fulfillment
    • “Undone by the Ex-Con” by Talia Hibbert – angsty and honorable
    • “Role Model” by Rachel Reid – sunshine and not-quite grumpy
    • “Scrap Metal” by Harper Fox – gorgeous, painful, lovely
    • C M Nacosta’s “Morning Glory Milking Farm” – gloriously ridiculous

    Fantasy with romance:
    • Alexandra Rowland’s “A Taste of Gold & Iron” – gorgeous m/m romance plus politics & economics
    • Natasha Pulley’s “The Lost Future of Pepperharrow” – achingly, painfully romantic, timey-wimey, follow-up to “The Watchmaker of Filigree Street”.
    • Naomi Novik’s “The Last Graduate” – the whole Scholomance was excellent, but the middle book was my favorite, although for me the romantic sub-plot was pretty incidental
    • TJ Klune’s “Heartsong”: third in the surprisingly angsty Green Creek urban fantasy series, amnesia being of my favorite tropes, despite its implausibility.

    Sci-Fi with hopepunk
    • Monica Byrne’s “The Actual Star” – from the Maya in 1012 to the future in 3012, big and thinky
    • AnnaLee Newitz’s “The Terraformers” – compact and thinky, plus flying sentient trains
    • Adrian Tschaikovsky’s Final Architecture finale “Lords of Uncreation” – mysterious aliens and the borders of reality

    I could keep going, but I’ll stop there. So. Many. Good. Books!!

      1. Ummmm … OK!

        My 5* reads from last year by genre and author:

        Romance:

        Beth O’Leary The Flatshare
        Casey McQuiston Red, White & Royal Blue
        Christine Feehan Water Bound
        Georgette Heyer Devil’s Cub
        Georgette Heyer Venetia
        Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer Lavender’s Blue
        Jodi Taylor The Nothing Girl
        Lilah Pace His Royal Favorite
        Lyn Gala Fettered
        Rachel Reid Role Model
        Talia Hibbert Undone by the Ex-Con
        Tiffany Reisz Rose, The

        Fantasy:
        A J Hall Lust Over Pendle (Fanfic)
        Alexandra Rowland A Taste of Gold & Iron
        Ginn Hale Champion of the Scarlet Wolf: Book 2
        Ginn Hale Master of Restless Shadows: Book 2
        Grace Draven Entreat Me
        Jenn Lyons The Discord of the Gods
        Jenn Lyons Memory of Souls
        Naomi Novik A Deadly Education
        Naomi Novik The Golden Enclaves
        Naomi Novik The Last Graduate
        Natasha Pulley The Lost Future of Pepperharrow
        Sarah Rees Brennan In Other Lands
        T Kingfisher What Moves the Dead
        Terry Pratchett Carpe Jugulum
        TJ Klune Heartsong
        Victoria Goddard At the Feet of the Sun
        Victoria Goddard The Hands of the Emperor
        Victoria Goddard The Return of Fitzroy Angursell
        Victoria Goddard Til Human Voices Wake Us
        Wen Spencer Wolf Who Rules

        Science Fiction:
        Adrian Tchaikovsky Lords of Uncreation
        Annalee Newitz The Terraformers
        Astolat Affinity (Fanfic}
        Lois McMaster Bujold Komarr
        Lois McMaster Bujold Memory
        Monica Byrne The Actual Star
        Sharon & Steve Miller Lee Balance of Trade

        SFF Shorts (online, or anthologies as noted):
        Alix E Harrow The Long Way Up
        Iona Datt Sharma Give this letter to the Crows
        Jared Povanda Missing Pieces
        MKRNYILGLD The CRISPR Cookbook: A Guide to Biohacking Your Own Abortion in a Post-Roe World
        Karen Wyld Clatter Tongue. In: This All Come Back Now
        Marianne Kirby Limitations of Her Code. In: Glitter + Ashes
        Marie Vibbert We Built This City
        RJ Theodore A Future in Color. In: Glitter + Ashes
        Samantha Mills Rabbit Test
        Trip Galey Last Dawn of Targadrides. In: Glitter + Ashes
        Yoon Ha Lee Counting Casualties

    1. Someone else read CM Nascosta! I am so happy. It’s my goal in life to get more people to read her books.

  38. There have been three books this year that had a big impact on me:

    * Lessons in Chemistry (by Bonnie Garmus) I was blown away by this book as soon as I was 20 pages in, and I went to a bookstore immediately after finishing it to buy a hardback copy. The thing that hit me the hardest was the way the author was able to convey the atmosphere of a culture that predated modern feminism. I was a child during the 50s and early 60’s, but I remember the impacts of that culture on my mother, on female politicians and the intelligent women in the public eye, and when I was in college, I experienced the same kind of pressures to conform and always to cultivate the approval of male human beings. But this book was strongest in showing how persistence, honesty, and courage can make up for the troubles life can throw at a person, and I loved that.

    * Love, Theoretically (by Ali Hazelwood)

    I also loved this book by Hazelwood and the three other science-based love stories she published after that. They were set in scientific environments, but they weren’t just science-y — they were perceptive and often funny.

    * Wrong Place Wrong Time (by Gillian McAllister)

    This book is hard to categorize — it’s basically about a mother who sees her teenage son walking towards the house on his way home one night, and is horrified to see him do something horrible that will destroy his whole life. In the aftermath, she finally goes to bed and wakes up the next morning on what turns out to be the previous day, before it all happened. And the morning after that is again in her past — she’s dressed normally for that time, things are happening that she remembered having happened, but it makes no sense…and it keeps on happening, with longer periods back into a past she recalls less and less, and begins to learn things that she hopes will undo what happened. I couldn’t put it down, and boy was I exhausted every morning the week I read it, from staying up way too late reading.

    1. Jinx, it must have been you who put me onto Wrong Place, Wrong Time. It was so good, wasn’t it. Completely agree about couldn’t put it down.

        1. Yes to both! And I love the way that the wrong tentative conclusions on the FMC’s part led her to pay attention to confusing discrepancies that would eventually lead her somewhere else useful.

          Plus, the basic family group introduced at the beginning was so heartwarming, and I loved what happened to each of them.

  39. I read a wide variety of literature, and I read 325 books this year, so this is a varied list!

    “The Last Policeman” by Ben H. Winters – A really great police investigation mystery set as the world is literally ending. Kind of grim but very gripping.

    “World Without” by Sarah Lyons Fleming – The third book in her Cascadia series of zombie apocalypse novels (the third series set in the same world). I admit to slight bias as I worked as an editor on this book, but honestly, she’s such a gifted writer. She writes fantastic characters with intricate plotting. This was NOT am easy book to read, as she posits a very real situation in a post-apocalypse world (the characters are literally starving to death) but it has some very sweet and very funny moments, and the last part of the book is almost hopeful. Can’t wait for the next book, coming in August! Utilizes multiple POVs and the audio utilizes four different narrators (fantastic!). Fleming’s books are great on audio.

    “The Lives of Puppets” by TJ Klune – As always with Klune, imaginative, creative, often funny and deeply affecting.

    “Carrie Soto is Back” by Taylor Jenkins Reid – A really fantastic and well-plotted story about a tennis star’s return to the top tier of tennis after retirement. Great characterization! I admit that I come from a family of tennis players so I have a higher than average interest in, and knowledge of, tennis, but I don’t think it’s necessary to enjoy this book.

    “Legends & Lattes” by Travis Baldree — Cozy fantasy. Very sweet. A really enjoyable read!

    “Thank You For Listening” by Julia Whelan – A sweet little romantic comedy about audiobook narrators written by one of the best narrators in the business. (Not surprisingly, it’s great on audio!)

    “Nettle & Bone” by T. Kingfisher – I read a lot of great books by Kingfisher this year, but this was the one that stuck with me the most. A princess raised in a secluded convent goes on a quest to save her abused sister, the queen of another kingdom after an arranged marriage.

    “The Galaxy, and the Ground Within” by Becky Chambers – Chambers is always worth a read, and this was a sweet, imaginative little scifi book.

    “The Empire Trilogy” by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts – Fantastic and engrossing high fantasy that is, unlike a lot of classic fantasy, based on Eastern history rather than Western. Gripping! This was a re-read; I first read it almost 20 years ago.

    “Hail Mary” by Andy Weir – This was a re-read; I first read it when it came out in 2021. Just a fantastic book. Fun and funny and sad and imaginatively nerdy. Great on audio!

    1. Oh, I forgot — also, “Wild Country” and the other “World of the Others” books by Anne Bishop. These aren’t books I’ll probably re-read; Bishop’s heroines are very damaged and the books are a little grim. But there’s absolutely no doubt that she’s a very talented writer, and the books are very engrossing. I spent hours every evening racing through all of her “Others” books in a very short few days!

  40. Favorite books hands down: Liz Danger Series

    Second: Sleep No More by Jayne Ann Krentz

    (1st of her Lost Night Files series – 2nd book The Night Island due out 1/9)

    There were only 2 authors I did not DNF this year:
    Alison Goodman’s book The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies was good
    Donna Andrews series featuring Meg Langslow (I read the first 3 before wandering off)

    Looking forward to:
    The Rocky Start books by Crusie & Mayer
    The Night Island by Jayne Ann Krentz
    Simply The Best by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

    I have mostly re-read this year for a couple of reasons. I don’t trust new authors not to bruise me. And, I don’t want to get involved with a new author that I love enough to pursue their backlist because I want to finish a novel, any novel – soon.

    1. Re Donna Andrews: her books are pretty uneven, but I must say that her second (puffins) and third (flamingoes) were sort of trial efforts; I think she got a lot of interest in the first and tried to get the next ones out too quickly. Once she settles down in Caerphilly they’re a lot better generally. (They’re good “listening while houseworking” books, because I like the reader).

  41. I have to include the book I’m currently reading, though technically it doesn’t fall into 2023. ‘Corpus’ by Rory Clements is a thriller set in England in 1936, just before Edward VIII abdicates. Foreign powers are secretly trying to stop the abdication, and a Cambridge professor with an interest in Walsingham, Elizabeth I’s spymaster, gets caught up in the plot. SOOO good.

    CS Poe’s Memento Mori series. MM romance/crime.

    Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory – MM romance/thriller. London between the wars, and two men are assigned to watch a suspected terrorist, but only if they can pose convincingly as a married couple.

    A Rake of His Own, AJ Lancaster. MM romance/fantasy. My favourite of the Stariel books.

    Strange Practice, Vivian Shaw. Mystery/supernatural, as modern-day Dr Greta Helsing, who treats the undead in her consulting rooms, comes up against a company of murderous monks.

    RJ Barker’s Bone Ships trilogy. Deeply convincing alternate world with a protagonist who gradually comes into his own.

    SK Dunstall’s Stars Uncharted. Space opera. Probably not quite as good as their Alliance trilogy, but still a favourite.

    Jane Harper, The Lost Man. Slowly evolving thriller (sort of) set in the Australian outback, as a man tries to find out how his brother died. Atmospheric and chilling.

    Raynor Wynn, The Salt Path. Non fiction. An English woman and her husband, who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, set out to walk 630 miles of the coast, from Somerset to Dorset.

    Lots more, but I’d better stop.

  42. Liz Danger, of course, because anything J.C. is an automatic fave.

    I loved Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr.

    I enjoyed A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, and Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson. Am currently reading As Good As Dead, so that will be on 2024’s list of favourites.

    And of course, anything Jack Reacher.

  43. Top books I read this year are these: System Collapse & The Witch King by Martha Wells, Proof of the Pudding by Rhys Bowen, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, Thornhenge, the Liz Danger series (twice!), The Last Devil To Die by Richard Osman, A Sinister Revenge in the Veronica Speedwell series, The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, Frogkisser, Juniper’s Christmas, Check and Mate by Ali Hazelwood, A Killing of Innocents by Deborah Crombie, Killers of a Certain Age, Emily Wilde’s Encylopaedia of Fairies, Starter Villain, and The Blonde Identity.

  44. My reading has been so out of whack but I did read some great books in 2023. That was the year that I really delved into Cat Sebastian. I really like the Cabot series, my favourite is probably the last one, Daniel Cabot Puts Down Roots. I found T. Kingfisher last year too, my favourite series is the Paladins. My favourite that that is still probably the first one Paladin’s Grace. I also read a couple of books of essays, one that really stuck with me was called It Came Out Of The Closet: Queer Reflections On Horror. Oh and I know I’m late. Better late than never on this thread!

    1. Someone else read Cat Sebastian! I am so happy. It’s my goal in life to get more people to read her books. 😂

  45. Let’s see-I didn’t hit my reading goal mainly because of graduate school. I also got back into fanfic in a big way and hit some reading slumps. But I did read some good books this year!

    Sci-fi
    Salvage Right by Lee and Miller-one of the best books in the long-running Liaden series (back to the late 80s). It closes off the arc that began in Neogenesis. Just came out on audio too.

    Ninth House (reread) and Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo. Really loving the Alex Stern series

    New Ilona Andrews! Magic Tides and Magic Claims was a fun update and return to the Kate Daniels series. Enjoyed the time spent in Curran and Conlan’s POVs.

    The Keeper’s Six by Kate Elliot. A fun adventure with a older (60s) female protagonist getting the heist/adventure team back together for one last job to rescue her son. Bonus dragons!

    Reread of Network Effect and new Murderbot System Collapse by Martha Wells. System Collapse had a different tone as it dealt with trauma, but I really enjoyed it. Also read Witch King this year.

    Starter Villian by John Scalzi

    Also reread Jo Walton’s Thessaly series: Plato’s Republic, Socrates, Apollo and his children, Athena etc. Really brilliant series.

    Best scifi novel for me was The Future by Naomi Alderman.

    Romance
    True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren. Had a lot of fun with this one and its predecessor The Soulmate Equation.

    Flying Solo by Linda Holmes

    Two Abbey Jimenez books, Yours Truly and Part of your World. Honestly love everything she writes.

    Two paranormal authors new to me, Mia Tsai with Bitter Medicine and Megan Bannan with The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy. I would love to see a paranormal/urban fantasy revival in 2024.

    Not a 2023 book but new to me Ashley Poston’s The Dead Romantics. Will be looking for more from this author.

    Really enjoyed the Liz Danger books and Jennifer Kloester’s collection of short essays on all of Heyer’s novels. It also works as a biography of her which Kloester has already written of course.

    Hope to read more next year!

      1. You realize no one needs to see my AO3 history, right?

        If I get into a fandom, I’ll sort by kudos and then find a story/author I like. Then read the whole backlist and repeat. This is why I didn’t make my official reading goal!

  46. I had a good streak this year. The Blonde Identity, Last Devil to Die, Lessons in Chemistry, In The Still of the Night, The Liz Danger trilogy, Salt a World History (more interesting than it sounds), Swamp Story … that’s the short list and doesn’t count rereads.

  47. 2023 was a challenging year for me. Serious illness (mine and my husband’s) has meant that I haven’t poste here as much as I’d like (hardly at all), have read a lot less than usual) and have mostly read books by authors I already know and trust.
    My 5 star reads were

    T Kingfisher – Paladin’s Faith
    Lucy Parker – Codename Charming
    Terry Pratchett – Small Gods (re-read)
    Martha Wells – All of the previous Murderbot books (re-read).

    I also loved three from Neil Gaiman

    Marvel 1602 – Graphic Novel
    The Sleeper and the Spindle illustrated by Chris Riddell
    Stardust – illustrated by Charles Vess (re-read)
    In all three cases the illustrations were a huge part of the enjoyment for me.

    I also really enjoyed these I rated 4 stars

    Ben Aaronovich – Night Witch (Graphic Novel)
    Casey Blair – A Coup of Tea
    KJ Charles – The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen & A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel
    Jenny Colgan – Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop
    Loretta Chase – Mr Impossible & Lord Perfect
    Jenny Crusie – The Liz Danger Trilogy
    Sally Gardner – The Weather Woman
    Lisa Goldstein – Summer King, Winter Fool
    Susanna Hoffs – This Bird has Flown
    Elmore Leonard – Split Images
    Naomi Novik – The Golden Enclaves
    Stella Riley – The Shadow Earl
    Ann Swinfen – The Bookseller’s Tale
    Jodi Taylor – Santa Grint & About Time
    Lisa Tuttle – The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief
    Martha Wells – System Collapse

    I hope to do better with the reading and the posting this year.

      1. Thank you, very much appreciated. My husband is being treated for cancer and we are currently awaiting the results of the first scan to show if it is working. It’s a tense time.

  48. One of my favorites was the graphic novel The Talk by Darren Bell (creative non-fiction). I also enjoyed The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman, a new-to-me author, Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby van Pelt, and Lucy Score’s (another new author for me) Things We Left…series. I also like The Last Thing He Told Me.

  49. “The English Understand Wool” by Helen DeWitt.

    Amazing. I think authors might especially appreciate the story and the humor.

  50. Unholy Night by Karpov Kinrade
    Corrina Chapman mysteries by Kerry Greenwood
    His Quiet Agent by Ana Maria Soto
    The Monsters Wendy Defy by Lesley Penelope
    Strange Love by Ann Aguirre

  51. I “read” some of the Terry Prachett books that came out with new readers. Most of the new versions I really liked. Some were good, but not as good, as the originals.

    I loved the Liz Danger series, so great to hear your voices again.

    The new Murderbot.

    The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies, Alison Goodman, Kristin Atherton, et al.

    The Gravesyde Priory Mystery series, Patricia Rice

    The Countess of Harleigh series is entertaining.

    The Widow of Rose House, Diana Biller

    A Conjuring of Assassins, Cate Glass

    The Road to Roswell, Connie Willis

    I guess I enjoyed more books than I remembered!

  52. I don’t really have a system to track what I read and when, and I haven’t been posting here because while last year was less of a garbage fire than the year before, it was only slightly less.

    Things I remember in this moment:

    Murderbot. You were all correct, and I should have read them much sooner.
    The Thursday Murder Club series. Very funny, very clever, and a strong sense of moral justice.
    The Tea Princess Chronicles, by Casey Blair. The world building and found family are great, and the tone is somehow gentle even as the stakes are raised to save the world proportions.
    The Angry Women’s Choir, by Meg Bignell. About the power of female friendships, and rage. Simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting, with a deeply satisfying ending.
    The Magiford Supernatural City books by K M Shea. I overdosed on urban fantasy as a teenager and usually avoid it as an adult but these sucked me in anyway, maybe because the romances are so slow burn that they’re believable.
    Page & Sommers, by Cat Sebastian. MM romantic mysteries set in postwar England, with very sweet, slightly damaged MCs. Tammy, you were right.
    The New Guy and I’m Your Guy, by Sarina Bowen. I read a lot of MM hockey romances, but from this year’s crop this is the first to come to mind. Probably because I haven’t read Time To Shine yet.
    Liz Danger. Healthy boundaries and believable romance for the win.

  53. It’s funny, isn’t it? I guess it’s just normal — ‘one man’s meat= something someone else can’t stand’ or whatever. But when I was leafing through my library records I very frequently came across titles that I couldn’t place at all. And yet when I looked them up, they were definitely books I’d read and enjoyed, but they didn’t come up for me when I thought about the BEST books I’d read this past year. Especially those nice romances between nice people who like each other very quickly, then get parted by a misunderstanding which gets cleared up by events and things are suddenly better, and sex ensues, and then the world is good thereafter. I read these, and like them at the time, but do they stick in my mind? Not usually. I guess this is why I get so drawn into books where the feelings and thoughts and observations of the main characters are given a lot of attention and make a difference in the feelings of others, as well as the plots themselves. You can see why I’ve liked Mary Balogh so much. 🙂 And why I especially liked the three books that did come to my mind immediately. It may be a good thing that we are all so different, right?

    1. I agree with you on Balogh, Jinx. There’s always a deeper examination going on in her books-often trauma. I think you’ve just nailed why I’ve bounced hard off a lot of contemporary romance this year. I need at least a little complexity of life or psychology.

  54. The ones that stick in my memory are:

    the Linesman series by SK Dunstall – a frequent re-read this year, also good in audio. I love Ean Lambert so much that these have become comfort reads.
    To Say Nothing of the Dog – Willis
    Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers – Sutano
    Spinning Silver – Naomi Novik
    Vespertine – Rogerson
    Book Lovers – Henry
    Paladin of Souls – one of my all-time comfort reads with a fantastic audio performance by Kate Reading.

  55. I wasn’t able to join in the festivities on Thursday and am just catching up and so grateful for all the new books that on my TBR pile thanks to this GBT!

    My favorite books of 2023:

    M/F romances:

    — The Love Hypothesis series by Ali Hazelwood. Specially “Love Theoretically” though they are all excellent.
    — The Liz Danger Series, specially Lavender Blue (so wonderful to have that Jenny Crusie voice back)
    — The River Between Us by Liz Fenwick.

    Hockey M/M was new to me this year and I am so grateful to those who put me on this genre (Tammy, I’m looking at you…) They definitely figure prominently in my favorites list

    — Thrown off the ice by Taylor Fitzpatrick. No HEA here but a great love story.

    — The Between the Teeth series by Taylor Fitzpatrick. Only two of 3 parts are out on kindle so that is frustrating having to wait for part 3, but the first two were wonderful.

    — Game Misconduct by Ari Baron.

    — Heated Rivalry by Rachel Reid My favorite of the “game changers” series (they are all good.)

    Detectives, police chiefs and guys investigating (M/M)

    — Dal Maclean’s “Bitter Legacy” series. Gay detective inspector at the Met.

    — The Thomas Lynch series by Stephanie Gayle. A gay police chief in small town USA. Loved this well written series.

    — The Doyle and Valor series by Nicki James. Fun series with believable cases.

      1. I wish she would write some more. I keep looking but nothing seems to be projected at the moment…

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