Top 5: Favorite reads of 2023 (so far)

It’s a bit past the official halfway mark of the year but it’s only just occurred to me to share some of my favorite reads of the year so far. I feel like I haven’t had the same level of enthusiasm with the majority of books I’ve read as compared to past years but there have definitely been some gems. (And enough of them that I struggled to pick only five!)

#5 – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

A former DNF, I was inspired to pick this book up again when the Audrey app hosted a listen-along. I think I was still a teenager when I first attempted to read it. As an adult, I had a new appreciation for it, especially once I realized it wasn’t campy like the endless spoofs you see in pop culture. I didn’t find it scary, either, which was the alternative perception I’d taken in over the years. Instead, I was fascinated by the moral questions the book presents.

Admittedly, I found the first and last pages of the book incredibly boring, but the heart of the book was fantastic. I enjoyed Mary Shelley’s writing style. It reminded me a lot of a Daphne Du Maurier book.

Goodreads | My Review

#4 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

With the way I’ve been obsessing over this book, I’m surprising myself by not making it my top read on this list. It’s the first book I’ve annotated for myself in great detail and I’ve been flipping through the pages off and on since I read it. It’s sort of like my love for Daisy Jones & the Six. There’s so much I liked, so much I didn’t like, and there’s an overall question of why do I even like it when my lifestyle is the complete opposite of the characters’. In the case of Dirt Music, I really, really loved how spectacularly Tim Winton captures day to day life in the wake of traumatic pasts.

I never know whether or not to consider this book a romance. While it’s a strong element of the story, I personally had no interest in it and found it kind of ridiculous and unbelievable. I also thought I was going to eat up every word about Lu but I lost interest in his character quickly. I latched onto Jim more. Don’t know what that says about me… Of course, I also adored Georgie, though in the beginning I didn’t think I was going to like her much. The characters have ingrained themselves in me.

Goodreads | My Review

#3 – She and Her Cat by Makoto Shinkai and Naruki Nagakawa

This book had my heart. I am a total cat person and I think anyone else who has a cat can relate to at least something in this story. I don’t know what I was thinking choosing this as a vacation read because all I wanted the entire time was to be home with my two kitties.

It was a lot more emotional than I anticipated and there’s a lot going on for a relatively short book. I’m not sure how much of that is due to being a sappy cat owner. It’s also a cozy read. I definitely recommend this as a rainy day read with a cup of tea, and of course, a cat snuggled next to you.

Goodreads | My Review

#2 – Gone Tonight by Sarah Pekkanen

This was an ARC read and oh my gosh. I was absolutely mesmerized by this book. I usually need to be doing something mindless when listening to an audiobook to keep my focus but this one had me staring at the wall. I can’t wait until this book comes out and for people to read it so I can start discussing it.

While not the twistiest of thrillers, there are definitely some surprises. For me, it was the presentation because the conclusions were there to be drawn. Both of the narrating characters were fascinating and their strained relationship was done so well. I already want to reread it.

Goodreads | My Review

#1 – Code Name Edelweiss by Stephanie Landsem

Since reading Code Name Verity, any book with this title structure catches my eye. I keep pretty close tabs on upcoming historical fiction but only happened to see this one when scrolling on NetGalley. Given it’s marketed as Christian fiction, it’s not getting that much attention which is disheartening. I don’t think you need to be a Christian to appreciate what this book has to offer.

I’ve read enough WWII fiction to know what the typical formula is. While this book was predictable, it had a unique voice for the genre and wasn’t afraid to discuss more uncomfortable topics that were present at this time. I’m not spoiling anything by saying that Liesl was indifferent to Nazism and all that was happening in Germany. It’s easy for modern day writers to write a protagonist who is as informed as we are now, however, that wasn’t the case for a lot of people. There was no internet. It took time for the world to learn the extent of what was happened. This book wasn’t afraid to tackle these kinds of moral issues and making the characters learn lessons the hard way. I can’t recommend it enough.

Goodreads | My Review

What books have made your top five of the year so far? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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