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My Top Books of 2023

Monday, December 18, 2023

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

If you only read one book on this list, make it Remarkably Bright Creatures! Tova works the night shift cleaning at the aquarium. She is quite lonely, but ends up making friends with a grumpy giant pacific octopus that lives at the aquarium. Tova has been working the night shift at an aquarium, where she forms an unlikely friendship with a grumpy giant Pacific octopus named Marcellus. This book is a DELIGHT. If you read one book this year, let it be Remarkably Bright Creatures. It's just so sweet and just a lovely read. Marcellus is clearly the star of the show, and I absolutely loved reading his POV.

The Housemaid by Freida McFadden

Not exactly a groundbreaking piece of literature, but I ate this up! It's quick, and easy to get swept up in. It's about Nina, a woman with a troubled past. She starts working as a live in maid for the Winchesters. Working there is a big headache, but things take a weird turn when she realizes her attic bedroom locks from the outside. 

The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E Smith

Greta James is a musician who had a breakdown live on stage after her mom passed away. She's taking some time off, and somehow she gets guilted into taking a cruise with her dad. This cruise was supposed to be an anniversary cruise with her mom, so no one is too excited about it. Gosh, I enjoyed this a lot. All I want to do is take an Alaskan cruise now, but it really does make you feel like you are on this journey together. There are so many layers to this, and I felt like the father/daughter relationship was so relatable. 

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer 

Jack Masterson wrote a mega-best selling book series for kids in the 90's. Everyone has been waiting years and years for another installation in the Clock Island series. Finally, he's announced he's written another, but there is only one copy. Only a few people get to compete to win that copy - and Lucy Hart (a huge fan of the series) is one of them. Think Willy Wonka meets your favorite childhood book series like Nancy Drew (That's at least the book covers I pictured while reading).

If you liked to read as a kid, this book will feel extra special. It really captures how important those series can become to you as a child.
I loved Lucy and Christopher! This story might be a little predictable, but I was actually hoping it would be. It just felt like a heartwarming, sweet, wholesome story.

It's between this an Remarkably Bright Creatures as my top book for the year.

Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Sadie is a portrait artist, so when she is diagnosed with 'maybe temporary' face blindness after brain surgery - she's struggling to cope to say the least.

5 adorable stars! (For what's it's worth, I also loved Katherine Center's The Bodyguard!) Is this a completely unbelievable premise - yeah duh - but it's so cute. Sadie really goes through it and you can see her growth throughout this story. It's a sweet and fun rom com! I think there is exactly one page that has language.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Oh my goodness, this was a 5 star book for me. I can't think of any book better to read curled up in a blanket, next to a fire this winter. Based off of a Russian fairytale, it's set in Alaska in the 1920's. Jack and Mabel are a middle aged couple who have no children. One day they make a little girl in the snow. The next morning the snow girl is gone, and they see an actual little girl running through the woods. Gosh, this book was so emotional and the love just came off the page. It starts off very sad, and I'd say there are trigger warnings for suicidal thoughts and infant loss. But, quickly it turns into a story of hope and family. The whole time I had a pit in my stomach because I just knew it was going to end sad. And while it does, ultimately it's a sweet and happy book.

The Stored Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

AJ Fikry is a bookstore owner on Alice Island. Things are pretty rough since his wife died. Now to top it off, the one valuable book in his shop (a collection of Edgar Allan Poe) has been stolen. Then one night a mysterious package shows up at the shop that changes everything. 

A book that's full of treats for book lovers. I was so surprised with this story. I really wasn't sure about it as it started, but once the package shows up so many emotions play out and the character development takes off. It's really sweet! I'm glad I didn't know too much before I read this, because the package is quite the surprise. Lots of people call it heartwarming, but I'm not sure that's how I felt all the way through. I actually found it quite sad as grief plays a huge role in the story. 


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Hi friends! I'm Kristen, and this is the Life and Style of an early 30's Floridian living the Best Life Ever, with her husband and three pugs. Runner | Avid Reader | Small Shop Owner

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