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Favourite Reads of 2023

I like looking back on the year and thinking about what my favourite reads have been. Do you do this?

I do keep a book journal so this one’s quite easy to do as I don’t have to think too hard about what I’ve been reading, it’s all there. I think I’d struggle to remember everything I’d read all year without it.

This year I’ve read a little over 60 books and these are the ones I’ve given 5 stars to as there was something about them that made me love them.

I give my 5 stars on a very personal level. There’s no criteria I stick to. If it resonated, if I loved the characters, if it absorbed me, if it changed me, if I didn’t want to put it down, if it made me happy, any of these reasons could make it a 5 out of 5 book for me. 

This is my Top Ten Books of 2023.

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I’ve shared a little summary of each book, and clicking on the title or book cover will take you over to Amazon to take a closer look. 

A Million Dreams by Dani Atkins
Beth Brandon always dreamed of owning a florists, but today the bouquets of peonies and bright spring flowers are failing to calm her nerves. Because today, Beth has a life-changing decision to share with her husband.

Izzy Vaughan thought she and her husband would stay together forever, but sometime last year, their love began to fade. They both find such joy in their young son Noah – but is he enough to keep them together?

Eight years ago, something happened to these two women. Something that is about to bring them together in a way no one thought possible…

I See You by Clare Mackintosh
You do the same thing every day.
You know exactly where you’re going.
You’re not alone . . .

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie
They say you can’t choose your family. But you can kill them.

Meet Grace Bernard.
Daughter, sister, serial killer…
Grace has lost everything.
And she will stop at nothing to get revenge.

The Lido by Libby Page
Meet Rosemary, 86, and Kate, 26: dreamers, campaigners, outdoor swimmers…

Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George.

Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She’s on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.

So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim – it is the heart of the community.

The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman
It is an ordinary Thursday and things should finally be returning to normal.

Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club is concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers.

Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill…or be killed.

As the cold case turns white hot, Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), while Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim chase down clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?

Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Your ability to change everything – including yourself – starts here

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, she would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.

But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality.

Forced to leave her job at the institute, she soon finds herself the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six.

But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook.

She’s daring them to change the status quo. One molecule at a time.

The People on Platform 5 by Clare Pooley
Every day at 8:05, Iona Iverson boards the train to go to work. As a seasoned commuter, she knows there are rules that everyone should follow:

· You must have a job to go to
· Don’t consume hot food
· Always pack for any eventuality
· You must never speak to strangers on the train

Iona sees the same group of people each day – ones she makes assumptions about, gives nicknames to, but never ever talks to.

But then, one morning, Smart-but-Sexist-Surbiton chokes on a grape right in front of Iona. Suspiciously-Nice-New Malden steps up to help and saves his life, and this one event sparks a chain reaction.

With nothing in common but their commute, an eclectic group of people learn that their assumptions about each other don’t match reality. But when Iona’s life begins to fall apart, will her new friends be there when she needs them most?

The Curfew by TM Logan
I should have known something was wrong. I should have sensed it. Felt it in the air, like the build-up of pressure before a thunderstorm, that heavy, loaded calm.

The curfew
Andy and Laura are good parents. They tell their son Connor that he can go out with friends to celebrate completing his exams, but he must be home by midnight.

The lie
When Connor misses his curfew, it sets off a series of events that will change the lives of five families forever.

The truth?
Because five teenagers went into the woods that night, but only four came out. And telling the truth might mean losing everything…

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
Laurie and Jamie have the perfect office romance
(They set the rules via email)

Everyone can see they’re head over heels
(They staged the photos)

This must be true love
(They’re faking it)

When Laurie is dumped by her partner of eighteen years, she’s blindsided. Not only does she feel humiliated, they still have to work together.

So when she gets stuck in the lift with handsome colleague Jamie, they hatch a plan to stage the perfect romance. Revenge will be sweet…

The Chestnut Springs series by Elsie Silver
There are 5 of these books, Flawless is the first…
The rules were simple . . . Keep my hands off his daughter and stay out of trouble.
But now I’m stuck with her. There’s only one bed. And, well, rules are made to be broken.

I’m the golden boy of professional bull riding. Or at least I was until it all blew up in my face. Now, my agent says I have to clean up my image, so I’m stuck with his ball-busting daughter for the rest of the season as my “full-time supervision.”

Handily, this is a top 10 list, a nice round number, and this is completely coincidental! This is every book I gave 5 stars to this year in my journal.

It’s a mix of genres and looking back at it now, I’m wondering if I can pick one as the stand out read of the year. 

Hmm, tricky. 

If I had to choose, I’d probably go for Lessons in Chemistry. It’s the first book that popped into my head when I thought about my favourite reads of the year and the story remains very vivid and real to me, despite having read many other books since then. Have you read it? 

While we’re chatting books, you can also take a look at my current bookshelves here, as I shared this just last week…

And this is my book wish-list at the moment, of course it changes all the time!

I hope this has given you a few ideas if you’re looking for something new to read.

Have you read any of these? What would be your stand-out read of the year?

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4 thoughts on “Favourite Reads of 2023”

  1. My goal is 50 books for the year and I am currently reading book #47 (there is still time and I am in holiday/Christmas book mode!). Here are my 5-star reads for 2023:

    1) Famous in a Small Town by Viola Shipman
    2) The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Lesson Down on Mischief Farm by Hilarie Burton Morgan
    3) Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
    4) Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
    5) Christmas Angels by Viola Shipman

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