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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

Best of 2023

Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you are new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases.

Bears waving.
How's it going, y'all?

It’s the last Wednesday of 2023. Damn, wasn’t it only yesterday that I was posting a special anniversary Death Match? Wasn’t it just Pride Month and I was telling you all about gay vampires? Wasn’t I just heading down nostalgia lane reading The Royal Diaries? Oh, we did so much this year. We read so many books. Our hearts broke over so many fictional characters. We spent so much time crying over fictional characters.

Which brings up today’s post. It’s the last post of 2023 and you know what that means. It’s time to wrap up this year. Time to leave you with the best books I read this year.

But before we get to that, I must say thank you. Thank you to everyone who has joined me on RHRML at any point this year; even you hate readers, even you. Thank you all, dear readers, for stopping by to read a post or two. I’m very grateful for all of you and I hope you’ve enjoyed your time here. I’ve had the most fun reading and reviewing so many books this year and delving into some madness. Cheers to the new year!

Jay Gatsby cheers-ing.

Now let’s get into why we’re all here. What are my favorite reads from 2023? What reads have stayed in my mind since I cracked into them? Let’s find out. As always, I’m going to try to pick reads that released this year, but I never manage to keep that promise. At this point, I just like writing the prior sentence. Anyway, here are my top five reads of 2023!

5. One Blood by Denene Millner

I was kindly sent a copy of One Blood from Forge Books and I’m very grateful that they did. This book is phenomenal. It follows three generations of woman as they navigate life, love, hope, dreams, ambitions, tragedy, and pain. One Blood paints a very clear picture of the notion “hurt people hurt people” as the story delves into generational trauma and long buried family secrets. If you’re interested in reading more about this book you can click here to read my full review. My TL;DR of One Blood is that it is a labor of love full of hyper-realistic characters and raw emotions. This book is incredible.

Book cover of One Blood by Denene Millner.

4. All Of Us Villains and All Of Our Demise by Amanda Foody and C.L. Herman

We did it, folks. I’m only on the number four spot of my countdown and I’ve included reads that didn’t release this year. Oh well. The All Of Us Villains duology captured my mind when I picked up the first book just the other month. I could not put these reads down. The Hunger Games but with magic? Yes, please!

Book covers of All Of Us Villains and All Of Our Demise by Amanda Foody and C.L. Herman.

3. The Only One Left by Riley Sager

Riley Sager is one of my favorite authors. He announces a new book? I pre-order. I am a simple girl. Anyway, I was counting down the days until The Only One Left released this past summer. It was giving Lizzie Borden and also Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The second inspo I got thanks to the vibes of the book cover. Don’t make me explain why, the vibes just match and I cannot explain further. Now I didn’t write a full review on The Only One Left, but if you follow the blog on Instagram then you may have seen the quick review I left on my Insta story. It read as follows: “The Only One Left is for all the messy bitches out there. It’s for those who live for drama and gossip. 10-out-of-10.” And it does. It most certainly does.

Book cover of The Only One Left by Riley Sager.

2. Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen

At number two on my list, we have Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen. I love crime novels! And this one is great. I still think about the twist/reveal to this day, and I read this novel back in February. Counterfeit has been on my mind for a very long time. That’s truly the test to determine if a book is good or not. Does it stay in your mind for nearly a year? If so, it’s a good book, and Counterfeit is a phenomenal book. I have a review of Counterfeit right here if you want to read those ramblings.

Book cover of Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen.

1. FantasticLand by Mike Bockoven

Finally, at number one, we have FantasticLand by Mike Bockoven! Y’all! You need to read this one! It’s a great, semi-realistic horror, thriller that does Lord of the Flies better than Lord of the Flies ever could. FantasticLand is a read that I stayed up all night to finish. It’s worth the lack of sleep. I also have a full review of this one if you’re interested. FantasticLand kicked off Spooky Season so please enjoy the review.

Book cover of FantasticLand by Mike Bockoven.

Thus endeth our list! Thank you for joining me today, and for the entirety of 2023. The year went fast but not horrible so. I hope you’ve enjoyed another year worth of reviews, listicles, Death Matches, and the trials and tribulations of falling in love with a new book nearly every week. I shall see you all again in the new year!

Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.

Bears waving.
See y'all next year, bye!

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