Monday 2 October 2023

A Look At My 2023 Goodreads Challenge

 Gone are the days where I used to get through 100 books a year. Looking back, I genuinely don't know how I ever did that and I'm sure I did it at least 2 years in a row too. I used to love nothing more than getting stuck into a good book but over the last year or so in particular, I've massively struggled with it. I went into 2023 with the challenge of reading a book a month, so 12 by the end of the year obviously. Right now I'm just ahead so I thought I'd do a little roundup of what I've read so far this year, a bit of a throwback post as I used to these almost monthly!All Your Perfects - Colleen Hoover

When I'm in a bit of a reading slump, I find books by Colleen Hoover to be the perfect choice. They're always such an easy read and I tend to get through them ridiculously fast. I've read quite a few of hers now but the first of 2023 was All Your Perfects. This follows Quinn and Graham's troubled marriage and their quest to repair it. Memories, mistakes and secrets have built up over the years but promises from the past could be the one thing that saves them. I gave this 4 stars as it wasn't my favourite of Colleen's but still a great story that had me hooked.

Taste: My Life Through Food - Stanley Tucci

I don't know about you but I love Stanley Tucci. His films, his Instagram, he just seems like such a nice person 😂 Taste is a memoir of life in and out of the kitchen. Stanley talks about his life before films like The Devil Wears Prada which turned him into a bit of a household name, the highs and lows of acting and family life and he also shares some of his own recipes which I'm still yet to try out. It was just a really charming read and I love that there was a bit of everything in it!

London Block By Block - Cierra Block

I got this for Christmas last year and I was so excited to start it. It's a great guide to all things London and it's illustrated beautifully! Cierra literally goes block by block and talks all things Notting Hill, Chelsea, Piccadilly and so much more. Each section has a list of must see things and there are some dedicated sections like top London bakeries to visit, restaurants etc. Just a really cool little guide that I know I'll come back to before a trip!

Just Got Real - Jane Fallon

I've read quite a few books from Jane Fallon now, in fact she's one of the authors I used to absolutely love when I was in my major reading phases a few years ago. I picked up Just Got Real earlier this year and it was another enjoyable read. This book is about Joni who meets Ant via a dating app and neither of them are being entirely honest about who they are. Despite this they start a relationship and all is well until Joni discovers Ant is still on the app and has several other women in his life. I love how normal Jane's books are, they don't feel super far fetched and always keep me guessing how they're going to end and this was no different.

November 9 - Colleen Hoover

The second Colleen Hoover book of the year so far and I doubt it'll be the last. This follows Fallon and Ben who meet on Fallon's last day in LA before she heads off on a cross country move. After a great day together, they plan to meet up every year on November 9th and they do but then one day Fallon discovers Ben has actually used her eventful life as inspiration for his novel. Was anything between them ever real or has he been fabricating something for the perfect story? I really enjoyed this and it was another of Colleen's books that I just didn't want to put down.

One True Loves - Taylor Jenkins Reid

I actually watched the film adaptation of this starring Simu Liu and Phillipa Soo first, which I loved, before I read the book but I don't think that would have made a difference to how I felt about it. I loved both and the book has actually become the only one so far this year to get 5 stars from me. One True Loves follows Emma who is married to her high school sweetheart Jesse who later goes missing one day and is suspected dead. Years go by and Emma has no choice but to move on. She reconnects with an old friend called Sam and eventually they fall in love. Happy at her second chance at love and life, she never expects Jesse to one day turn up at her door but he does. Who is actually her one true love and where do they all go from here? I just love how this was written. I felt I could really imagine what Emma was going through and put myself in her position and I cared for all of the characters. This is a close second favourite of mine from Taylor Jenkins Reid, only beaten by the greatness that is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Only Love Can Hurt Like This - Paige Toon

If you've been around since pretty much the start of my blog, you'll know my love for Paige Toon. I've read every book of hers so far and always have the latest release on pre-order so it was no different with Only Love Can Hurt Like This. We start by meeting Wren who has just realised her fiance is in love with someone else. On the other side of the world we have Anders who lost his wife 4 years ago and is struggling to move on. Wren decides to spend the summer with her dad on his farm in Indiana, hoping it will help her heal but when she meets Anders there, both of their worlds are turned upside down. As always with books by Paige though, someone has a big secret and it could have serious implications for everyone involved. I gave this 4 stars as it was another beautifully written, emotional book from Paige that I found myself racing through.

Happiness For Beginners - Carole Matthews

Carole Matthews is another author that I went through a real phase with and I've definitely read the majority of her books. Some of my favourites being The Chocolate Lovers series! Happiness For Beginners had been on my list for a long time but I'm going to be honest, it wasn't a favourite of mine. Molly Baker lives on a farm and is surrounded by pretty much every animal you could imagine. She has turned it into an alternative school for kids who struggle to thrive in mainstream education and this is where she meets Shelby, someone so far removed from a life like hers, when he enrols his son Lucas. Despite their differences, there's something there between them, could this be the start of something special? This was an easy read with lots of little happy moments but I just didn't find myself hooked by the story.

So that's where I'm at so far with my 2023 Goodreads challenge. My current read is None Of This Is True by Lisa Jewell so I'd love to know your thoughts if you've read it! Hopefully I'll be back at the end of the year with a few more books to talk about, I have a huge pile growing in my office just waiting to be read!

What's been your favourite book of the year so far?

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