Best Reads of the Year So Far | Jo Linsdell

Best Reads of the Year So Far

Best Reads of the Year So Far


Best Reads of the Year So Far

As we're now half way through 2023 I thought I'd see which books are proving popular amongst my book blogging buddies so far this year. 

These books are the top selections from books these readers have read so far this year (not necessarily books published in 2023). 

Here are my favourite reads from this year so far:

Mid-Year Best Reads So Far

Five Will Die by L.A. Detwiler - My Review - Amazon - Goodreads

The Family at No. 12 by Anita Waller - My Review - Amazon - Goodreads

The Three Deaths of Willa Stannard by Kate Robards - My Review - Amazon - Goodreads

How To Keep A Husband in 10 Days by Jessica Hatch - My Review - Amazon - Goodreads

Thanks For The Memories by Cecelia Ahern - My Review - Amazon - Goodreads

A Cryptic Clue by Victoria Gilbert - My Review - Amazon - Goodreads

You might also like: How To Get Over 1000 Views To Your Blog Every Day

Now let's take a look at what everyone else is raving about.

Favourite Books Read in 2023 So Far

@cats_herding picked The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. 

I lived and breathed this book as I was reading.  It completely stole my heart and took my breath away and I couldn’t get enough of it. Check out the full review here.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech book cover

About the book:

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

@espressoedition picked Bring Me Your Midnight by Rachel Griffin.

Rachel Griffin brings a certain kind of magic to her book that I’ve yet to find elsewhere. While I was reading Bring Me Your Midnight, I found myself forgetting that it was a book. I wasn’t just looking at words on a page, I was living Tana’s story, feeling her heartache, and experiencing every salt and sea-soaked moment. Check out the full review here. 

Bring Me Your Midnight by Rachel Griffin book cover

About the book:

Tana Fairchild's fate has never been in question. Her life has been planned out since the moment she was born: she is to marry the governor's son, Landon, and secure an unprecedented alliance between the witches of her island home and the mainlanders who see her very existence as a threat.

Tana's coven has appeased those who fear their power for years by releasing most of their magic into the ocean during the full moon. But when Tana misses the midnight ritual—a fatal mistake—there is no one she can turn to for help…until she meets Wolfe.

Wolfe claims he is from a coven that practices dark magic, making him one of the only people who can help her. But he refuses to let Tana's power rush into the sea, and instead teaches her his forbidden magic. A magic that makes her feel powerful. Alive.

As the sea grows more violent, her coven loses control of the currents, a danger that could destroy the alliance as well as her island. Tana will have to choose between love and duty, between loyalty to her people and loyalty to her heart. Marrying Landon would secure peace for her coven but losing Wolfe and his wild magic could cost her everything else.

Amazon - Goodreads

@NatterBlog picked Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood.

Oh wow. Well this book certainly lives up to the title because it is an amazing story and I loved every page. It’s funny, at times intense and you never know which way it’s going to go next, or more to the point what Grace is going to do next. In fact, What Grace Did Next might have been a good title. Grace will make you laugh, sometimes she’ll shock you (but in a good way) which will make you cheer her on and shout ‘you go girl’. Check out the full review here

Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood book cover

About the book:

Grace Adams is one bad day away from saving her life.

One hot summer day, stuck in traffic on her way to pick up the cake for her daughter's sixteenth birthday party, Grace Adams snaps.

She doesn't scream or break something or cry. She simply abandons her car and walks away.

But not from her life - towards it. To the daughter who won't live with her anymore and has banned her from the party. To the husband divorcing her. Towards the terrible thing that has blown their family apart . . .

Today she'll show her daughter that no matter how far we fall we can always get back up again. Because Grace Adams was amazing. Her husband and daughter once thought so. They and the world might have forgotten.

But Grace is about to remind them . . .

Amazon - Goodreads

@_armedwithabook picked This is How You Lose the Time War By Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

The story is mesmerizing and I did not care how any of it came to be. The pieces of personal history from Red and Blue about their creation was enough. I would scream this from the top of a building (though probably social media would have a better effect) that this book is stellar and I have never read a love like the love between Red and Blue. Check out the full review here

his is How You Lose the Time War By Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone book cover

About the book:

Co-written by two award-winning writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There's still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That's how war works. Right?

Amazon - Goodreads

@book_problem picked Beautiful Shining People by Michael Grothaus

This book hurt my heart and lifted me up at the same time. The writing is just beautiful, the world building impeccable, the characterisation so compelling that I read this book in one sitting because I was so invested in the people and the relationships depicted within. Check out the full review here

Beautiful Shining People by Michael Grothaus book cover

About the book:

This world is anything but ordinary, and it's about to change forever…

It's our world, but decades into the future…

An ordinary world, where cars drive themselves, drones glide across the sky, and robots work in burger shops. There are two superpowers and a digital Cold War, but all conflicts are safely oceans away. People get up, work, and have dinner. Everything is as it should be…

Except for seventeen-year-old John, a tech prodigy from a damaged family, who hides a deeply personal secret. But everything starts to change for him when he enters a tiny café on a cold Tokyo night. A café run by a disgraced sumo wrestler, where a peculiar dog with a spherical head lives, alongside its owner, enigmatic waitress Neotnia…

But Neotnia hides a secret of her own – a secret that will turn John's unhappy life upside down. A secret that will take them from the neon streets of Tokyo to Hiroshima's tragic past to the snowy mountains of Nagano.

A secret that reveals that this world is anything ordinary – and it's about to change forever…

Amazon - Goodreads

@KateBB76 picked End of Story by Louise Swanson.

By the end, my heart was beating double-time and my eyes were filled with tears, left speechless by the powerful themes and the beautifully clever way they were brought together in this incredible novel. Check out the full review here. 


End of Story by Louise Swanson book cover

About the book:


Once upon a time, there was a writer named Fern.

She was a bestseller. An award-winner. Loved by readers and critics alike. With her words, she changed the world.

Until her story took a turn.

Now Fern is a cleaner in a hospital. Condemned to anonymity. Because reading books is now a crime.

Only, Fern doesn't plan on going down without a fight. She'll keep writing, no matter the consequences. She will make her voice heard.

Because Fern's story is only beginning.


Amazon - Goodreads

@nsfordwriter picked We Can Be Heroes: A Survivor’s Story by Paul Burston

A brilliant, very moving memoir from journalist, novelist, producer and activist Paul Burston. He is the founder of the LGTBQ+ Polari literary salon and the Polari Prize book awards. Sometimes a controversial figure, his life, as documented in this book, is a rollercoaster of a journey. Check out the full review here.

We Can Be Heroes A Survivor’s Story by Paul Burston book cover

About the book:

Activist. Journalist. Survivor. One man’s journey from prejudice to Pride.

Paul Burston wasn’t always the iconic voice of LGBTQ+ London that he is today. Paul came out in the mid-1980s, when ‘gay’ still felt like a dirty word, especially in the small Welsh town where he grew up. He moved to London hoping for a happier life, only to watch in horror as his new-found community was decimated by AIDS. But even in the depths of his grief, Paul vowed never to stop fighting back on behalf of his young friends whose lives were cut tragically short.

It’s a promise he’s kept to this day. As an activist he stormed the House of Commons during the debate over the age of consent. As a journalist he spoke up for the rights of the community at a time of tabloid homophobia and legal inequality. As a novelist he founded the groundbreaking Polari Prize.

But his lifestyle hid a dark secret, and Paul’s demons—shame, trauma, grief—stalked him on every corner. In an attempt to silence them, he began to self-medicate.

From almost drowning at eighteen to a near-fatal overdose at thirty-eight, this is Paul’s story of what happened in the twenty years between, and how he carved out a life that his teenage self could scarcely have imagined. Emotional but often witty, We Can Be Heroes is an illuminating memoir of the eighties, nineties and noughties from a gay man who only just survived them.

Amazon - Goodreads

@AVoraciousReadr picked Rogue Darkness by Dianne Duvall

I love every book in this series and this book is no exception. With all the elements I love in a book I consider it the best entertainment around. Check out the full review here.

Rogue Darkness by Dianne Duvall book cover

About the book:

Immortal Guardians have hunted and slain psychotic vampires for thousands of years. Now someone is hunting them. Humanity remains oblivious to the existence of immortals, vampires, and gifted ones, so how does this rising nemesis even know who they are and where to find them? Could it be the machinations of an old nemesis—one they thought they defeated? Or is this something new? Because unlike the foes they’ve faced in the past, this one doesn’t just target immortals. He targets those who are near and dear to them.

gifted one under the Immortal Guardians’ protection, Nicole has worked hard to land her dream job—that of an Immortal Guardian’s Second or mortal guard—and loves working with Sean. He’s smart. He’s funny. And despite the sometimes dark existence he leads, the two of them laugh a lot. Years spent as a special ops soldier prepared Nicole well, enabling her to keep Sean safe despite his tendency to dive headlong into danger. But can it keep her safe? The enemy they face is determined and shrewd. Uncovering his identity may require new methods of engagement and force her to take a few risks.

Sean hasn’t been immortal long, but he knows the rules. And according to the rules, Nicole is off-limits. She’s his Second. His guard. His best friend. The one person who knows him better than anyone else. Though he loves every minute he spends with her, friendship is all they can ever have... isn’t it? Sean soon begins to question that as the two of them engage in a deadly cat-and-mouse game with the enemy, one that will reveal the true depth of their feelings for each other and drive him to abandon the rules altogether.

Amazon - Goodreads

@Mehsi_Hime picked This is Not My Home by Vivienne Chang and Eugenia Yoh.

The art was just absolutely stunning and I need more of the illustrator’s work + maybe some prints to hang on my walls. Because DANG. All in all, highly recommended. A gorgeous book about finding home, about family, about love, and about getting used to strange things. Check out the full review here.

This is Not My Home by Vivienne Chang and Eugenia Yoh

About the book:

A humorous and heartfelt reverse immigration story that will resonate across cultures and show us how a place can become home.

This is not my backyard barbecue.
This is not our car, these are not my fireflies.
This is not my farmers market and...
This is not my home.
When Lily’s mom announces their family must move back to Taiwan to take care of her elderly Ah Ma, Lily is devastated to leave behind her whole life for a place that is most definitely not her home. But Lily soon realizes, through the help of her family and friends, what home means to them. And perhaps someday—maybe not today, but someday—it might become her home too.

Amazon - Goodreads

@ReadingLadiesBC picked West With Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge.

I’m highly recommending West With Giraffes for fans of animal stories, multigenerational friendships, and coming-of-age content. Check out the full review here.

West With Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge book cover

About the book:

Woodrow Wilson Nickel, age 105, feels his life ebbing away. But when he learns giraffes are going extinct, he finds himself recalling the unforgettable experience he cannot take to his grave.

It’s 1938. The Great Depression lingers. Hitler is threatening Europe, and world-weary Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a twelve-day road trip in a custom truck to deliver Southern California’s first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. Behind the wheel is the young Dust Bowl rowdy Woodrow. Inspired by true events, the tale weaves real-life figures with fictional ones, including the world’s first female zoo director, a crusty old man with a past, a young female photographer with a secret, and assorted reprobates as spotty as the giraffes.

Part adventure, part historical saga, and part coming-of-age love story, West with Giraffes explores what it means to be changed by the grace of animals, the kindness of strangers, the passing of time, and a story told before it’s too late.

Amazon - Goodreads

@Bookmadjo picked An Unsuitable Heiress by Jane Dunn.

Jane Dunn has such an engaging writing style that I was immediately pulled into the story, to the point where nothing existed beyond my book. I shut everything out, heard nothing (sorry Mr Bookmad) and fully immersed myself in a regency world created by the author with such skill, and the subtlety that only a historian can bring to a fictional world. Check out the full review here. 

An Unsuitable Heiress by Jane Dunn book cover

About the book:

‘Do you realise, Corinna, just how hard it is for a young woman of irregular birth, without family, fortune or friends in the world? Marriage is the only way to get any chance of a life.’

Following the death of her mother, Corinna Ormesby has lived a quiet life in the countryside with her cantankerous Cousin Agnes. Her father's identity has been a tantalising mystery, but now at nineteen Corinna knows that finding him may be her only way to avoid marriage to the odious Mr Beech.

Deciding to head to London, Corinna dons a male disguise. Travelling alone as a young woman risks scandal and danger, but when, masquerading as a youth, she is befriended by three dashing blades, handsome and capable Alick Wolfe, dandy Ferdinand Shilton and the incorrigible Lord Purfoy, Corinna now has access to the male-only world of Regency England. And when she meets Alick's turbulent brother Darius, a betrayal of trust leads to deadly combat which only one of the brothers may survive.

From gambling in gentleman’s clubs to meeting the courtesans of Covent Garden, Corinna’s country naivety soon falls away. But when she finds her father at last, learns the truth about her parentage and discovers her fortunes transformed, she must quickly decide how to reveal her true identity, while hoping that one young man in particular can see her for the beauty and Lady she really is.

Amazon - Goodreads

Best Reads of the Year So Far

Enjoy this post? Share it on your social media by clicking the share buttons below

Are you a book blogger? Check out 101 Blog Post Ideas For Book Bloggers

If you'd like to support me, donating goes a long way to helping with the running of this blog. Thanks for your support 💗

Donate now


  1. So fun to see so many great recs! 🙌📚 ~Carol @ ReadingLadies