To celebrate December, here’s a list of my favourite books I read this year.
THE RARKYN’S FAMILIAR by Nikky Lee
GENRE: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
If you haven’t read my review, here’s the link.
This young adult fantasy is for those who enjoy Garth Nix and Trudi Canavan. The worldbuilding is amazing and the characters are complex. The second book in the series, THE RARKYN’S FALL, is yet to have a release date, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for that.
THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS by Ali Hazelwood
GENRE: New Adult, Contemporary, Romcom
Who doesn’t love a story about two nerds finding love? THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS is a new adult romance between a stem-science university PhD student and a professor – yes that does not sound appropriate but they’re only fake-dating, and the professor isn’t teaching any of her classes – the two made sure of that. So, it’s all goods.
Just read the book. It’s good.
KINGDOM OF THE WICKED TRILOGY by Kerri Maniscalco
GENRE: Young Adult, New Adult, Paranormal/Gothic Fantasy, Romance
Soooo…this was kind of a guilty pleasure read. It’s not deep, but it’s a lot of fun. The premise is a witch must team up with a prince of Hell to uncover the truth behind the murder of her twin sister. Along the way, there’s blood, demons, goddesses, magical tattoos, mystery, death, and sex…lots of sex. Chapters of sex – a small addition to the trilogy…
ANATOMY: A LOVE STORY by Dana Schwartz
GENRE: Young Adult, Gothic/Paranormal Romance
Set in 1800s Edinburgh, the story follows wannabe surgeon Hazel Sinnett who uncovers a dark secret regarding the disappearance of its citizens, and it’s not all to do with the Roman fever. If you enjoy gothic romance and you didn’t faint when you dissected a frog in biology, you’ll love this book. One thing to note, Schwartz compares this book to FRANKENSTEIN. I see this book as more like THE STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE. Or maybe a mix of both. You decide.
ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART and THE BALLAD OF NEVER AFTER by Stephanie Garber
GENRE: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Romance
ONCE UPON A TIME meets SABRIEL – definitely! Heartbroken Evangeline makes a deal with the Prince of Hearts (Jacks) to mend her heart. But striking deals with immortals isn’t wise, and Evangeline must travel to the magical and mysterious North to save herself and those she loves. If you don’t mind your childhood faith in true love and happily-ever-afters being destroyed, you should read this trilogy. The third and final book, A CURSE FOR TRUE LOVE, comes out September next year and Garber better let Evangeline and Jacks have their happy ending. Or I’ll cry.
CIRCE by Madeline Miller
GENRE: Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Retelling
Superb. Incredible. Rich. Hands down, my favourite book of this year. It’s Greek mythology from the perspective of the enchantress/minor goddess, Circe. Through her point-of-view, a spotlight is shone on the misogyny of the Greek gods. Despite this, Madeline Miller is able to weave in hope, love, joy and passion through her complex and rich characters. Definitely worth a read.
LITTLE THIEVES by Margaret Owen
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling, LGBTQ+
Very few books accurately portray PTSD, but Owen has nailed it in this retelling of the Goose Girl. I absolutely believed Vanja and her experience. Vanja, daughter of Death and Fortune, escapes her parents by stealing the identity of her old friend, the princess Gisele. There’s so much I liked about this book, especially the shape-shifting demigod, Ragne, who is given the responsibility of “keeping an eye on Vanja.” I think Ragne should have her own series. The second book in the duology comes out next year. Will totally be reading it.
THE FORBIDDEN WISH by Jessica Khoury.
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling
I rarely like Aladdin retellings because they are often Disney rip-offs and have little to do with A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS. However, this retelling is an exception. Aladdin felt so real, as did the description of his appearance and behaviour as a peasant in ancient Arabia. And he was likeable. Zahra, the genie and narrator, was also a fascinating character. It’s not often books are told from the perspective of an immortal, and I thought Khoury did a good a job at making her feel believable.
THE CATS WE MEET ALONG THE WAY by Nadia Mikail
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
The world is ending, and we have a road trip, and we don’t want the world to end because we love the characters and their cats so much. Yes, I was moved by this book. It was so sweet, so sad, so human. If you want to have faith in humanity during hard times, read this book.
WE ARE OKAY by Lina LaCour
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
I talk about WE ARE OKAY a lot because it’s SO FLIPPIN’ GOOD. It’s the first book that’s made me cry – EVER. The story follows Marin, who, after the death of her grandad and main caregiver, fled to New York without telling anybody. However, Marin must still face the tragedy of her grandfather’s death, when her ex-girlfriend and best friend Mabel visits with questions. I loved this book so so so so much and FINALLY a story with accurate lesbian and authentic mental health rep.
I loved Circe too! Many of the others are on my TBR. I’ll be posting my “best of 2023” in the next week or so.