This has been an intriguing reading year. According to Goodreads, I am ending the year with around 129 read books. This does not count books I edited or beta-read that are not yet published. If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve read over 160 books this year. Narrowing down that list to the top 5 was very difficult. There were many that I put on the list, only to take them off when I thought about another book. Most strange this year is that one traditionally published book and a children’s book are on my list. 

In no particular order:

The I Hate to Read Book by Jimmy Huston (for children of all ages) – It is a laugh out loud book that just begs for interaction. Whether being read by a child or adult, there is fun and smiles on every page. The best part – no illustrations! Seriously this opens up the reader or listener to use their imagination on every page. I pulled it out for my adult daughter to read over the holidays and she was laughing so hard she then had to read it out loud to her wife!

Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles – I belong to two serious book clubs. We do our reading and discussions at a professional level and they keep me on my toes. This book had us discussing the intricate details and our experiences reading it way past our usual time. The complex web and character relationships were a joy on every page and had me savoring this book. No speed reading here, as every word is essential to this tale. This traditionally published book will be recommended for a long time.

Deadly Keepsakes, The Tori Winters Mystery Series by Anita Dickason – This author regularly blows me away with her detailed and well researched stories. Kirkus recently named her book Operation Navajo as one of The Great Indie Books Worth Discovering. So when I learned that she was starting a cozy mystery series – I was all in. She takes a typical cozy and elevates it with characters I want to know and subplots that kept me guessing. The main character, Tori, has just had the world handed to her – or not? On the run after a murder trial, she and her inheritance have their fair share of secrets. Throw in a character I love to hate, and I will be reading every one of this series. Book 2 will be released in early 2023.

The Record Series by Winnie Winkle – This year saw the addition of Book 4 – Pixie Prick and Book 5 – Funkin’ Weird. I am slightly snarky and sarcastic – some may say a lot but I am nowhere near the level of this author’s characters, who are at a professional snark level. When one of the summaries states that “The whole world needs a drink.” – I’m reading it! In 4 poor Patra cannot catch a break with a rogue Pixie King. As a side note, I will never cross a fairy! In 5, immortals are dying and Patra is up to her cute bikini in puzzle pieces that do not fit with time running out. This is my go to series when I need a good laugh. While the books deal with some serious issues, the characters are always moving things along at an amusing pace.

Grey Dawn by Nyri A. Bakkalian – This gem was suggested and handed to me at a local Book Festival. From the first chapter, I knew I was going to love this book. The author captivated me immediately. This is a Historical Fiction, Urban Fantasy with time travel, Lesbian Military Fiction, Transgender Romance book – I know – mouthful and readful! Imagine a time when you could not be yourself – anywhere – 1862, and then you are dropped into the current day. There are changes, but some battles are unforgotten and still occurring. Between the incredibly well developed characters, a plot that just kept giving and a location steeped in its own history, this is a phenomenal book. I recommend this book to everyone I talk to and it was under the Christmas tree as a gift for my well-read daughter-in-law.

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