My Favourite Reads 2023

I love reading, yet because I tend to read when I go to bed – I quite often doze off with the book in my hand. Because of this, I perhaps don’t get through as many books as some people do!

This year though I’ve read a good range of books including some by my old favourites.

Non-Fiction books:

The only memoir I’ve read this year has been Lenny Henry’s second book, “Rising to the Surface.”  I enjoyed it, but not quite as much as the first – however, still a very interesting book.

“The Actual” is a book of poems by British Nigerian poet, Inua Ellams. The cover has the last word of the title replaced by a gold block.  I’m sure you can all imagine what the word is, if you think of the saying that usually starts with, ‘What the actual %&*!’ Every poem in the book has a title with that %&*! Word preceding it. The poems though, are amazing and superb. One, F… Sunflowers reduces me to tears whenever I read it.

The other poetry book I’ve read this year is Roger McGough’s ‘Safety in Numbers’ which is wonderful – but he is one of my favourite poets.


I’ve also read some books by authors who I know personally. This is always a little scary, in case you don’t like the book. However, I thoroughly enjoyed these books and would recommend them:

  • “Abigail Returns” – Pauline Tait (Suspenseful Romance)
  • “Blood on Charing X Road” – Maurice Holloway (Thriller)
  • “Undercover Geisha – An Aunt Jessica Mystery” – Judith Cranswick (Mystery)
  • “The Price of Silence” – Nikki Copleston (Detective Series)

I’ve read another Antti Tuomainen book this year, “The Man who Died”, and have two others sitting by my bed.  His books always entertain – slightly off-the-wall view of life.

“Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” was a recommendation. I enjoyed most of it, but found the descriptions about gaming boring (as I’m not a gamer), and one whole chapter, I could have done without. But overall, I liked the characters and cared enough about them to read to the end.

There are some books not included in my photo, because I either borrowed it from someone or I gave it away because I knew I wouldn’t read it again!

My top 3 fiction books for 2023: 

1 All Souls Trilogy – Deborah Harkness

It took some time reading this trilogy, given my dozing habit, but, I couldn’t wait to finish one book and get on to the next.

Deborah Harkness’ writing is absolutely brilliant. She is a scientist and a writer, and everything she writes about science sounds totally believable, without being boring.  The characters are brilliantly drawn, and you are pulled along into the universe where Vampires, Witches and Daemons exist. There is a whole raft of creatures and humans, who are all important and add to the story.

The love story between Diana and Matthew is the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ idea where people don’t approve, but against all odds, their love survives. And not just day to day but through centuries too.

The first book, ‘A Discovery of Witches’ is set in the present, in Oxford where both Diana and Matthew are lecturers.  The second book, ‘Shadows of Night’ is set in the Elizabethan period, and in the third ‘The Book of Life’ Diana and Matthew returns to present day.

Harkness has created a totally believable world. I do love a good vampire story but these books are superb. 

To have created a book this detailed, and so convincing in its reality, takes a very clever mind, which obviously, Deborah Harkness possesses.

I’ve just found out there is a follow-on novel called ‘Times Convert’, which I can’t wait to read…

2 Divorced (not dead) by Harper Ford.

Harper Ford writes under several different names, and much of her other writing is historical novels.

I’m not a Romcom fan overall. I usually find them too slushy and predictable.  However, slushy is not a word that ever goes hand in hand with this book.

I follow Harper on Facebook, under her own name, and she is incredibly funny, sarcastic at times, and very entertaining.  This is why I bought this book! However, if you find strong language offensive, then don’t read this book – if it doesn’t bother you, you’ll be killing yourself laughing.

At the age of 50, Frankie, has left her husband of twenty years, and is starting from scratch. Her son has gone to university, so she is living alone, has started up a new business – a quilting shop, and decides to throw herself into the dating game.

Her best friend, Bel, encourages her to sign up to two dating apps.

As she navigates this new world, she realises just how much things have changed since she was in this position before, and it’s a jungle out there.

The story follows the highs and lows of her journey as she meanders through this nightmare of catfishing ghosting and GILFs and everything between. 

Does she find love in the end… you’ll have to read it to see.

Harper is writing a follow-up to this, and I can’t wait to read it.  Definitely one of the funniest books I’ve read for some time.

3 A Place Called Winter – Patrick Gale

I haven’t previously read anything by Patrick Gale, then my friend gave me the book to read. He is a wonderful writer very sensitive, with a great feeling of place. He uses lots of historical detail, which in places I found a little slow, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. The novel set in strict Edwardian times, is about illicit love, and because of this love, Harry Cane is forced to abandon his comfortable life in England and travel to the town of Winter in the newly colonise Canadian prairies.

The ending is both incredibly beautiful, and sad.

What are the favourite books you’ve read this year?