I’m a goal setter and a list maker. One of my favorite things about a new year is making lists of things I want to do: books to read, projects to make, things to learn. Here are my reading goals for 2023:
1. Read one classic a month.
I love classics: Austen, the Bronte sisters, and more. There are so many great classics I read in school and would love to read again, and even more that I’ve never read. This month, I’m starting with a classic series that I can’t believe I’ve never read: The Lord of the Rings. I’m currently in the middle of The Fellowship of the Ring and I love it!
2. Read one nonfiction per month.
Fiction is my favorite, but the older I get, the more I appreciate good nonfiction. I’ve discovered a love for crafting books and want to read more. I also love to garden, but I’m very new to it—last year’s garden was my first ever. I want to read more on the topic and learn all I can. I also have a big list of biographies I’d love to tackle.
3. Review every book.
I already give every book a star rating on Goodreads and I review a lot of them, but I want to do better and give each book a full review, even if it’s only a sentence or two.
4. Read my physical books.
I love doing book tours and review teams, so I read quite a few physical books. However, I rarely re-read books. Once I finish a book, I usually donate it to our church library or our local public library. I currently have a backlog of books from tours and giveaways that I need to read and donate.
5. Keep a book journal.
I’m on my third year of digital planning, and this year I added a digital book journal. I’m excited about it! Although I track and review my books on Goodreads, I wanted a more detailed log, too, a place where I can track quotes and more.
2023 is going to be a great reading year. There are so many new releases coming by some of my favorite authors! My top three genres right now are suspense, historical, and split time, and you’ll definitely see that reflected in my list. Here’s what I’m looking forward to the most in the first half of 2023.
February: A Cry in the Dark by Jessica R. Patch
Maybe this is a little bit of a cheat since I got to read an early copy of this book, but wow, I love this series! Patch writes some creepy serial killers that would give the Criminal Minds team a run for their money. If you love suspense, you have to check out this series!
February: The Weight of Air by Kimberly Duffy
I’ve become fascinated with historical circus books over the past couple of years. This is an author I’ve wanted to read for a while, and I’m really excited about this book! And this cover is so gorgeous.
March: The Metropolitan Affair by Jocelyn Green
Another historical fiction from a new-to-me author I’ve heard great things about.
March: Under Fire by Lynn H. Blackburn
Another favorite suspense author has the third book in her newest series releasing in March, and I can’t wait!
April: The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright
Jaime Jo Wright’s books are the perfect amount of creepy, with a ghost story feel (minus any actual ghosts). I’m so excited for this book!
April: Broker of Lies by Steven James
James is another Criminal Minds style suspense author. I loved his Bowers Files series!
June: A Fatal Illusion by Anna Lee Huber
The Lady Darby Mysteries are some of my absolute favorite books right now. Great characters, a wonderful setting, and an absolutely fabulous narrator for the audiobooks (which are the only copies my library has) make this a can’t-miss series.
June: To Calm a Storm by Heather Day Gilbert and Jen Cudmore
I love reading about the Vikings, and I loved book one in this series. Gilbert spins beautifully written stories with unforgettable characters.
June: The Best Summer of our Lives by Rachel Hauck
I don’t even have to know what a Rachel Hauck book is about—if she wrote it, I’ll read it, and I know it will be great.
What books are you looking forward to most this year?
2022 was a great reading year for me. I read so many incredible books that it was impossible to bring this list down to ten books. Here are my top sixteen for last year.
1. The Lady Darby mysteries by Anna Lee Huber
I’ll admit, I’m cheating a bit by listing several books here, but I can’t get enough of this historical mystery series! I’m eagerly awaiting the newest book, coming out this spring. This year I finished numbers 8-10 in the series. I highly recommend the audiobooks for these—the narrator is amazing and adds so much to the story.
2. The Record Keeper by Charles Martin
So. Many. Tears. This series completely broke me. I sobbed my way through all three books, but they are so powerful and beautiful.
3. The Souls of Lost Lake by Jaime Jo Wright
One of my favorite authors, Wright never disappoints. I think this is her best book to date, but you can’t go wrong with these eerie mysteries.
4. The Do-Over by Bethany Turner
I’ve loved all of Bethany Turner’s books, but I think this is my new favorite. I’ll admit, I wasn’t a big fan of McKenna at first, but as the story unfolded, I came to understand her more. This is a great story about realizing maybe the life you’ve always dreamed of isn’t the right dream. And the ending is absolute perfection.
5. Her Darkest Secret by Jessica R. Patch
This book was non-stop! It kept me turning pages as fast as I could and guessing right up to the very end. This is the best suspense novel I’ve read in quite a while. I can’t wait for more from this new line of books!
6. One Fine Day by Rachel Hauck and Carrie Padgett
I love this sweet addition to the Heart’s Bend novels. The characters are so good, even the side characters. I really hope to see many of them return in future books. I also loved seeing favorite characters from previous books make an appearance. There’s a great theme of forgiveness and letting go of past misunderstandings. I’m so thrilled to be able to return to my favorite fictional town.
7. Quiet by Susan Cain
Every personality test I’ve ever taken tells me I’m 95% or more introverted. This book really celebrates introverts and shows our unique strengths.
8. To Love a Viking by Heather Day Gilbert and Jen Cudmore
“Viking historical” wasn’t a genre I’d even considered until I read Heather Day Gilbert’s novel, God’s Daughter, a few years ago. Thanks to Gilbert, though, I now love reading about this fascinating time period. To Love a Viking is well written, with unforgettable characters whose struggles are in many ways still relatable to people today.
9. The Summer We Forgot by Caroline George
Wow. It’s been a while since a read a book so intense I was reading at a red light just to try to squeeze in a little more of the story. The mystery unfolds so well and the tension is so high through the whole story. What a great book!
10. The Wonderland Trials by Sara Ella
It’s funny that I’m not a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, but I love so many stories based off it. This was such a great story full of twists and turns and surprises. I love the characters and will be counting the days until the next book!
11. Wishtress by Nadine Brandes
It’s appropriate for a book about tears that I shed so many while reading this book: ugly tears, happy tears, overwhelmed by the beauty of the story tears. The symbolism of this story was so powerful that sometimes I had set it aside and just absorb it all. I’ve read several of the author’s books and loved them, but this is on a whole level of writing.
12. You’ll Be Mine by Rachel Hauck and Mandy Boerma
What a sweet read! I absolutely love the fictional town of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, and I loved this return to it. The setting of a small town inn was quaint and perfect—its so easy to picture it in my mind. I loved the story of romance between two childhood sweethearts who grew apart after tragedy. I also loved the themes of misunderstandings, long held hurts, and finding grace and forgiveness. This is the ideal book for a stressful time, when you just want to relax with a sweet, happy, faith filled story.
13. The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright
What a terrifying thrill ride! The Premonition at Withers Farm perfectly tied together two murder mysteries—one from the early 1900’s and one from modern day. Both are so creepy and so fascinating!
14. The Bookshop of Secrets by Mollie Rushmeyer
The Bookshop of Secrets tackles the tough topics of trauma survivors and PTSD in a very hopeful and grace filled way. While the author doesn’t sugar coat the effects of trauma, she gives hope that survivors can find healing from their past pain. The characters in the book are so easy to love, and the setting of a small town bookshop is perfect. I love the added mystery the main characters work through. I also loved seeing characters with a diversity of special needs featured as major characters. This is a great read! I look forward to seeing more from both this author and this publisher. This is the second book I’ve read from the new Harlequin Love Inspired Trade line, and I have definitely found another publisher to add to my favorites list!
15. The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
It’s becoming a habit to say that the latest Julie Klassen book I’ve read is my favorite, but they just get better and better. I absolutely loved this book! The characters are great, and being a pastor’s wife, I was especially happy to see a pastor as a main character. The mystery was so good, and I was really surprised by some of the twists in the story. This really is my new favorite!
16. Authentically, Izzy by Pepper Basham
Absolute bookish perfection! This sweet romance, centered around book lovers, is so perfect. I love the characters, the setting, the epistolary style—honestly, I loved everything about this book. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
What were your favorite books of 2022? I’d love to see your list in the comments!