Top 10 Reads of 2023

If you’re like me, I tend to set reading goals every year. I always use Goodreads, but there are plenty of different apps to choose from to track your reading goals. 

I read 30 books in 2023. Not my best, but I’m still pretty happy with that number! My goal this year is to hit at least 40, so we’ll see where 2024 leads me. In the meantime, let’s talk about my top ten reads of the year that I absolutely love and HAVE to celebrate!

**no major spoilers, I promise!**

10. Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell – 4 stars

This mystery thriller was one of my favorites I read last year. I’m usually very wary about reading from multiple perspectives, but this story flowed together really nicely. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, just waiting to see what would unfold next. I listened to this one on audio and it made it all the more thrilling. The characters are so complex and the dark twists aren’t always what they seem. I also enjoyed the way the story wrapped up. 

Lisa Jewell novels are always a hit or miss for me, but this one was definitely a huge hit. 

9. It’s In His Kiss (Bridgerton #7) by Julia Quinn – 5 stars

I’m a sucker for a good romance. I couldn’t help myself after watching Bridgerton on Netflix, I had to read the books! This follows Hyacinth’s story, the youngest of the Bridgerton clan, and she is such a delightful force to be reckoned with. I absolutely adored her and Gareth’s love story, as their banter was so entertaining and they were constantly being thrown together to solve an intriguing mystery. Their romance progressed naturally and the plot was exciting. There was definitely a little bit of  “enemies to lovers”, which I always appreciate.

8. Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Bridgerton #3) by Julia Quinn – 5 stars

Yes, we have another Bridgerton novel on here. My favorite one of the series, actually! This story follows Colin and Penelope’s love story. From being friends, to having a very sudden falling out, Colin and Penelope are forced to navigate their relationship when they keep finding themselves drawn to each other. Seeing their relationship grow had my heart so full. I especially loved the dialogue in this one. It’s fast paced and the events happening outside of the romance kept me completely enraptured in the story itself. The chemistry was off the charts!

7. A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham – 5 stars

For being a debut novel, this story is absolutely incredible. It had me shouting at the pages while I stood in my kitchen, absolutely floored at what was happening. It starts off slow, but then starts to pick up speed, especially about halfway through. That last half had my mind whirling with theories. The characters made me question everything I was reading and I love getting inside the main character’s mind. There were so many twists I didn’t expect. I’m pretty picky when it comes to mysteries/thrillers, but this one is an absolute must. I had to tell everyone about it after I finished. 

My advice for anyone who reads this book: strap in, and TRUST NO ONE.

6. At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities by Heather Webber – 5 stars

This was such a cozy read. Filled with lovable characters and a dash of magic, this book was like a warm hug. Small town on the beach side, a nosy but kind community, lost love, new friendships, a semi magical coffee shop… I just enjoyed every aspect of this story. This story touches all kinds of emotions from newfound love to coping with grief. It stays with you in the best way, long after you’ve finished reading. Heather Webber’s writing always puts me right in the center of the story. I could smell the spray of the sea and feel the sprinkle of magic in the air. 

5. Throne of the Fallen by Kerri Maniscalco – 5 stars

Reading this was a no brainer for me. I’m absolutely obsessed with the Kingdom of the Wicked trilogy. This novel follows Envy’s story, one of the seven wicked demon princes. While you don’t have to read the original trilogy in order to read this one (which follows Wrath & Emilia), I highly recommend it. I find it all the more satisfying when old favorites show up to raise a little hell. 

This book is pretty thick, but it didn’t feel that way at all. I flew through it and couldn’t get enough of the daring plot or Envy and Camilla’s relationship. Envy has been my favorite from the beginning so I was really looking forward to his story. It did not disappoint whatsoever. 

Also, this book is VERY spicy, so be prepared! Their chemistry is incredible. 

P.S. Kerri Maniscalco just announced the next prince’s story. Gluttony! Throne of Secrets is now available for preorder.

4. The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon A Broken Heart #2) by Stephanie Garber – 5 stars

I wrote an entire blog post on this series! I wanted to lump the entire trilogy of Once Upon A Broken Heart into this spot, but my absolute favorite was the second installment. 

I chose this one because you really see Evangeline and Jacks’ journey come to a head. The tension is palpable, the stakes are higher, and not everything is as it seems… There was also something haunting about this one. The atmosphere is alluring and the romance is just swoonworthy. I love the characters so much, especially Jacks, and the world is so interesting. I kept wanting to learn more and more about them. 

However, I will say I was very glad I waited until the third book came out before I read this one. That ending had me REELING. 

3. A Fire Endless (Elements of Cadence #2) by Rebecca Ross – 5 stars

Rebecca Ross’s writing is so beautiful and lyrical. You can’t help but feel like you’re stepping onto the page. Scottish vibes, magical instruments, lands that shift beneath your feet, two strong romances that refuse to let go of your heart… I couldn’t have asked for a better adult fantasy novel to read! There are four perspectives total, and each character is so unique and meaningful to the overall story. 

This was one of my first reads of the year, the conclusion to the Elements of Cadence duology. (The only reason A River Enchanted isn’t on this list is because I read it at the end of 2022!)

2. Ruthless Vows (Letters of Enchantment #2) by Rebecca Ross – 5 stars

I waited to read Divine Rivals until I knew this one was a week within its release date. I already knew I would love the first book, and let me tell you, it was not easy to avoid DR spoilers all that time!

This story made me laugh, cry, and hold the book against my chest multiple times. Iris and Roman’s love story is just so beautiful. It’s the kind of story I’ll never stop thinking about. It was an amazing follow up to the first one, but I will say I missed the romance being at the forefront of the story instead of the war between Dacre and Enva. However, the first one did set it up that way, so I can’t complain much!

1. Divine Rivals (Letters of Enchantment #1) by Rebecca Ross – 5 stars

I can’t say enough about this story. It has “rivals to lovers”, a magical typewriter, letters exchanged through a wardrobe, life in the trenches of war, and an unforgettable romance. The journey of Iris and Roman is just beautiful and I loved every step we took to get there. There were many surprises, lots of love letters I will forever quote, and I grew so connected to every character I read about. 

I could feel every string of emotion that Rebecca Ross wove through these pages. The message of grief and how one grows because of it, and also having the bravery to open up your heart to another despite all the loss you’ve experienced… it just brought tears to my eyes. 

Iris and Roman’s romance is so organic and a wonderful slow burn that is ultimately worth it. The ending was a punch to the stomach, but that just made the story even more gripping! Make sure to have Ruthless Vows close by so you can jump right into it. 

What were some of your favorite reads of 2023? Did any make the list?

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