It’s that time of year again when we look back at the books we’ve read and loved this year, and while 2022 has been A YEAR, I was blessed with many fantastic books (and an evergrowing TBR from the ones I didn’t get too). It’s always difficult to narrow that down to ten (and I did sneak in an extra one), and then my absolute favourite on top of that (because I have no self control). Now these are my personal favourites, whether because of emotional resonance, sheer enjoyment, favourite characters or any one of the many criteria readers love books, and I’ve listed them in no particular order (because I can’t choose and they’re all bloody good and you should absolutely add them to your TBR for 2023 if you haven’t already read them.
This year, all the books featured are indie/self-published which reflects just how much of my reading falls into that category these days. There are wonderful trad books out there and I still really enjoy them, but indie books are just so wonderfully varied and the community so rich that I find myself leaning that way more and more.
The first list post of the week is taking a look ahead to 2023 as Hogmany looms. This year has been a great year for books, and next year is already shaping up to be a great year with both new releases and those already on my TBR.
For the purposes of this list, I have only included books that are (a) coming out in 2023 and (b) as confirmed as they can be (allowing for life and everything else that might get in the way.
And because I have no self control I might have snuck an extra one in too…
However, before we get into that list. I also want to shout out the following who may or may not have books out in 2023, but would be on my most anticipated list if and when they do (and who I will wait however long it takes for their books). Firstly, Sarah Chorn who has the Necessity of Rain in the works which is shaping up to be one of the most emotional and beautiful books, and I am already very much in love with this book and can’t wait to see the finished product whenever it is ready. Secondly, Luke Tarzian who is currently working on a project called Atrocious Puppets, and every snippet he has shared so far has been hauntingly compelling to read. Another is Nathan Hall who is working on A Fort of Winter which is the sequel to An Altar on the Village Green which was my favourite book of 2021. And finally, Jonathan Nevair who has just released Stellar Instinct which was such a fun read, and whose Wind Tide series is absolutely fantastic, and I look forward to discovering what his next project is going to be!
Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my o
ALL SHALL PERISH
The great wolf howls for Ragnarok to begin. The half-giant Einer leads an army of the dead to clash with the golden shields of Asgard. The nornir tie and retie their threads, as Loki’s and Odin’s schemes unfold… and unravel. For not even cunning gods and giants see every part of the web.
As the survivors of the burned village of Ash-hill converge on the final battle on Ida’s Plain, only two are truly free to choose their paths and prevent the annihilation of the nine worlds: a storyteller who holds all destinies in his hands, and a shieldmaiden with no destiny at all.
This is my very belated review for Shackled Fates by Thilde Kold Holdt as part of The Write Reads blog tour for The Hanged God trilogy, and I will have a review for Slaughtered Gods up tonight (unless the travel gods decree otherwise!). This series is one that is going from strength to strength, and it has been a pleasure to have the chance to read and review them, and a massive thank you to Solaris for the physical copies of Shackled Fates and Slaughtered Gods.
I’m kicking off today with my very belated stop on the Escapists Tours blog tour for A Bond of Thread by Allegra Pescatore & J.P. Burnison, the first book in the Moutain Fell series. Please do check out the other blogs that participated in the tour to see their thoughts on this book.
Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.
Enter the Nine Lands of the Mountain Fell.
Skye has only ever known pain and solitude since waking up with neither memories or magic. Hunted for being a Ruler in a time when they are scarce, she has survived in the wilds near the Rim, always on the run from the rest of her kind. Only starvation could draw her close to a village, but when a chance encounter and a bit of bad luck launch her into the arms of a man whose soul is bonded to hers, hiding who she is may no longer be possible.
Ilyas is a hunted man. Wanted for killing the last High Queen of Vine, he is plagued by his past of wholesale slaughter. He never wanted another Queen, and certainly not a half-feral, distrustful girl who gave up on the Fae a long time ago. Unfortunately, Soulbonds are not so easily walked away from, no matter how hard they both may want to, especially when trapped together in a cave with a pack of Feral Fae right outside.
With long-held enmities breaking out between the besieged villagers and all their lives on the line, Ilyas and Skye must learn to work together and trust each other if they want to survive.
Today I am delighted to be joining the Escapists Tours blog tour for Stellar Instinct, the new spy-fi thriller by Jonathan Nevair the author of the Wind Tide trilogy (Goodbye to the Sun, Jati’s Wager, No Song But Silence). This is a fantastic book and you can check out my review HERE, and I can’t recommend it highly enough! I would also like to thank Jonathan for the fantastic post that I’m featuring today.
There is also a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself, so check out the giveaway details at the end of the post.
Please check out the rest of the stops on the tour.
A secret agent. A gaming mastermind. Two players in a dangerous competition blurring the boundaries of entertainment and reality.
Mysterious signals pulse from an icy planet in a remote star system. GAM-OPs wants answers. Enter Lilline Renault, secret agent extraordinaire. To ordinary citizens she’s Keely Larkin, an adventure company guide with a flair for the daring and a penchant for writing trite poetry. Lilline’s at the top of the spy game, but publishing her literary work is proving harder than saving the galaxy.
When the mission uncovers a dastardly plan threatening billions of lives, Lilline leaps into action. Verses flow as she rockets through space, dons cunning disguises, and infiltrates enemy territory with an arsenal of secret gadgets. But to prevent the whims of a self-obsessed entrepreneur from turning the galaxy into a deadly playground means beating him at his own game. Lilline will need her best weapon to stand a fighting chance: her instinct.
Today it is my pleasure to be hosting a guest post from Cate Pearce, author of the Black Crown series from Hansen House Press. The second book, Defenders of the Black Crown came out last week so please do check out the series. Today Cate is talking about her experience with publishing with a small press.
Traitors of the Black Crown
Three women will betray the black crown. A Knight. A Duchess. A Queen.
Raena Schinen narrowly escaped when the Queen’s guard murdered her entire family. If Raena’s survival is exposed, she’ll be next. For fifteen years Raena has hidden as a male Knight, “Sir Rowan”, consumed by her vengeful desire to assassinate the Queen.
The moment Raena is close enough to exact her revenge, she is unexpectedly exiled to a foreign land. There she serves the common-born Duchess Aven Colby, whose suspicious kinship with the Queen further threatens Raena’s delicate secrets.
Just as they become united in a common goal to curb a looming invasion, unexpected heat and romance blossoms between “Sir Rowan” and Aven. The peril demands they set out on a journey to form clandestine political alliances, risking the Queen’s wrath, and drawing Raena and Aven closer together.
But no one in the kingdom could have imagined the sinister foe rising from below the surface. In order to save themselves and those they love, Raena, Aven, and the Queen must recognize who are the oppressors and who will unite against the Black Crown.
Defenders of the Black Crown
The Queen is dead.
A new enemy is rising to power from beyond the coastline.
Raena, an heir to the throne, takes her place as ruler of Candor. But she cannot reveal her true identity as a woman or she will surely be executed. Avenna, once a duchess, returns to her life as a commoner. She hardens her heart and leaves her true love Raena, but will a heinous assault reunite them? Sylas, a Lord displaced, is forced to lead the refugees and prisoners out of the Boen slaughter. He may be the only one to stop the next war between dwellers of the ocean and the land. And Bell, the noblewoman, finds the way to command a kingdom is sometimes through gaining the ear (and the bed) of a King.
In this second book of the Black Crown series, Raena, Aven, and their allies learn that it will take more than power and titles to overturn years of oppression, but they might die trying.
Today I am reviewing Through Dreams so Dark (Rai Ascendant #1) by Angela Boord…and I maybe got carried away, as aside from a deep dive post I think this might be the longest review I’ve written. And I haven’t come close to encaptulating just how much this chonky book achieves, and how much I loved it.
Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.
Sergei’s mother sacrificed herself to get her family across the Iron Curtain. Now it’s Sergei’s turn to save her…even if he has to cross realities to do it.
Sergei is determined to put his broken family back together, no matter the danger.
Not-rats and bugs hiding in his walls, listening to his conversations? He can live with that. The shadowy government organization trying to dig encoded information out of his nightmares? He’ll play along to learn what they know about his mother.
If he has to destroy his college career, his love life, and the best friendship he’s ever had—with his roommate Cam—he’ll do that, too, if that’s what it takes. He’s the only one who believes his mother is still alive.
Nobody else needs to get hurt if he doesn’t tell them what he’s doing.
But however hard Sergei tries to keep his double life a secret, Cam still shows up to save him whenever he’s in trouble, like Cam has some kind of magical sixth sense—a sense that keeps them bonded together no matter what. And when Sergei finally breaks through his dreams into a world where monsters lurk and reality changes on a whim…where having magic carries a death sentence…the stakes of this game could be far higher than Sergei wants to pay. Now it’s not just his life on the line—he’s dragged people he cares about into danger with him.
He thought he could risk himself alone. But will his single-minded mission to find his mother be worth the price everyone he loves has to pay?
Stranger Things meets epic fantasy in this portal fantasy set in a world of ever-shifting conspiracy and quantum magic, where reality itself can’t be trusted, and family isn’t just about who you’re related to.