Favorite Books & Series of 2023 with the Not Just a Mom Group

This month the Not Just a Mom group is looking at our favorite books and series. Since I read ALL the time and have an ever growing list of favorites; I decided to just focus on some of my favorite books I've read this year. I read around 150 books this year (my highest year ever) and I read SO many great ones that I had such a hard time just picking one favorite book from each month. 




Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren-- This was a delightful tale about Josh and Hazel.  Hazel met Josh in college and did not make a good impression so when she runs into him 7 years later she's shocked to realize that neither of them has changed much and yet Hazel just knows they're going to become best friends this time.  Hazel is quirky and loud and had no filter so Josh is never quite sure what she's going to say or do but he quickly realizes that she has the biggest heart.  They decided that since they would not be a good match for each other that they should set each other up on a double blind date-- only it turns into many double blind dates with each one having it's own disastrous effects. It was funny and sweet and I just loved these two characters. 

Memories in the Drift by Melissa Payne-- Claire has no short -term memory ever since she lost her unborn child 10 years ago.  She has learned to adapt though and keeps meticulous notebooks, phone reminders, and visual prompts all around her to keep her living a life as close to normal as she can. Living in a small Alaskan community surrounded by family and friends, Claire is left reeling after some major changes that all take place in just a short time- like when both her mother and the boy who broke her heart returns to town.  I really enjoyed this sweet story so much and it was unlike any other I had read before. 


A Girl Called Samson by Amy Harmon-- I'm not usually a fan of revolutionary war books but I needed a novel that set during war time but not WWI or WWII; when I saw this as a Kindle first option I thought it would fit the bill perfectly.  I ended up really enjoying this story A LOT. Deborah Samson is a young girl when she is delivered to a new family to work as an indentured servant . She dreams of schooling and adventure and freedom.  20 years later she disguises herself as a soldier and enlists in the Continental army. I was so shocked to read the author's note in the back and find that this was very loosely based on a true story!  I can't even imagine what it took to live and fight among men back during that time period with muskets and bayonets and supply shortages galore.


American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins-- I started listening to this book on my Libby app and was just riveted from the very beginning. Lydia and her son Luca are the only surviving members of an attack by the drug cartels.  Knowing that they are now in danger of being hunted down Lydia and Luca are on the run, hoping to flee their hometown of Acapulco and find safety in the United States with her distant uncle. Reading about the immigrant experience was so eye opening. 


Someone Else's Shoes by Jojo Moyes-- I thought this story was absolutely delightful! Nisha is a very wealthy globe-trotting woman who tries to be the perfect wife to her less than perfect husband.  One day at the gym her bag gets swapped with someone else's and Nisha's life pretty much falls apart from there when her husband announces abruptly that he's divorcing her and bars her from entering their hotel. With only the bathrobe and flip flops from the gym Nisha must figure out what to do.  Sam, meanwhile has accidentally picked up Nisha's bag and she's annoyed that she now has one more thing to add to her ever growing to do list.  With her husband suffering from depression all tasks fall to her and it's a struggle just to get her work done with a boss that seems to have it out for her. The story spirals from there and eventually the 2 meet but meanwhile have had some radical changes in their lives that both must contend with. 


Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher-- I needed a banned book for my 52 book challenge and this fit the bill nicely. I read the book in 12 hours (with stops to grocery shop and head to Lowe's!).  It was so good!  While I don't agree with book banning at all I can see why some schools might ban this one as we know that, for lack of a better term, suicide can be 'contagious.'  In this book Hannah has committed suicide and left behind a series of tapes outlining 13 reasons why she ended her life-- naming names and asking each person mentioned on the tapes to then mail them to the next one listed.  We read the story through Clay's eyes; a sweet boy that had a crush on Hannah who is mystified as to why he's received the box.  It was gripping and heart breaking and I just loved it.  


For the Love of Friends by Sarah Goodman Confino-- I was hooked on this story by the end of the first page! It was so funny.  When Lily is asked to be a bridesmaid in 5 weddings (all at pretty much the same time) she ends up starting an anonymous blog where she vents about the ridiculous brides, their momzillas, the crazy costs, the body shaming, and other overbearing bridesmaids she's encountered.  Of course, at some point she gets outed and has to make good with everyone she hurt-- though I honestly thought most of the snark was totally warranted as some of the brides and other wedding members were just nuts! It made me laugh out loud a few times and I just love books like this.


I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy-- I listened to this book on my Libby app and hearing the story told the author herself was very powerful.  I felt so sad listening to how dysfunctional Jennette's relationship with her mother was and while I think many people are shocked at how harsh the title is... I really do get it.  


One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke-- A fun murder mystery! Six women travel to a lovely villa in a secluded area on one of the Greek Islands for a fun and relaxing bachelorette party before Lexi (the bride) gets married. But nearly all the women are harboring a secret and it's stated in the first chapter that someone ends up dead... but the twisty tale of who ends up dead and how and why was quite the fun little page turner! 


Class Mom (the WHOLE series) by Laurie Gelman--  The series starts out with Jen Dixon acting as class mom to her kindergarten son, not the typical mom though since Jen has 2 girls already in college. Hoping to fit in and bring a little fun to the role, Jen writes witty little emails to all the class parents.  But not all the parents appreciate Jen's humor.  I know I am real late reading this series; I didn't think I'd "get it" since we don't have class moms up here and my boys were only in school for a year or two before we turned to homeschooling.  But I loved and devoured all of these books!


All You Have to Do Is Call by Kerri Maher-- I wanted to love this book and in many ways I did but I found I had to keep putting it down and taking breaks since at the same time I was getting so angry knowing that we're going to be right back here with the overturn of Roe V Wade.  Once I really got into the story though I found I just could not put it down. Based on the true story of the Jane Collective that worked in Chicago in the late 1960's & early '70's, this book is about a group of women helping women empower themselves with access to birth control, education about women's health and reproductive health, and even access to safe but illegal abortions. 


The Blonde Identity by Ally Carter-- I LOVED this adorable and funny book.  When a woman wakes up in the middle of a Paris street with a handsome stranger staring down at her yelling "Run, Alex" she takes of running.  Not remembering anything about her previous live she assumes her name is Alex and once people start trying to shoot her she assumes she must be a spy... Told from "His" and "Her" points of view it was a really fun book. Turns out Mr. Hot Guy realizes Alex is in fact NOT Alex but her twin sister and the is tasked with keeping her safe until the two can either find Alex or the drive that all the bad guys are looking for. 



I read 10 books in January



11 books in February



12 Books in March



12 books in April



10 books in May



14 books in June


12 books I Read in July


16 books in August


14 books I read in September


13 Books in October

I read 12 books in November

And so far I've read 10 books in December! But my summary post won't be out until after the new year has started. 

We will be back next year but we're switching our group name to Sharing Our Lives 2024 and have a whole new list of topics each month. I hope you'll mark your calendars to join us on the second Monday of every month! 

Our New Graphic:


And our list of topics!  



You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Comments

  1. I read the Lucy Clarke book- so good and it ended so satisfying! Lots of good books here- I have not read any other books on your list but I have heard good things about many of them.

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  2. I loved the Class Mom series, too! I want to check out For the Love of Friends. That sounds hilarious.
    Sarah @ Sunshine & Books

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  3. I you liked All You Have To Do Is Call then you should also check out Looking For Jane. It's a similar story but set in Canada. I thought it was very good. I'm definitely checking out some of the books on your list!

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  4. Oh I always love when you share your reads! Someone Else's Shoes was a great one- I loved it too! :)

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  5. I’m starting my list for 2024 and several of these are going on it!

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    1. My list for next year is getting crazy long already!

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  6. Your list of favorite books includes so many amazing stories. I haven't read any of them and enjoyed your descriptive phrases so much. I don't know if I could handle the sad story of the girl who left tapes of why she committed suicide. At almost 76 I have consciously chosen to read stories that uplift me and avoid the darkness of many books. I would have dove right in on all of your choices when I was younger. It's just a choice I've made at this point in my life.

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    1. I can totally understand that. As it is I have to pair said/upsetting books with something light and fun so I can take a break in-between.

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  7. I loved the first two in the class mom series. I added more to more tbr.

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    1. I didn't think I was going to like them at all but I really did love them.

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  8. I have to do my favorites for this year still, but I'm not ready! I've read some of these but not all!

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    1. I figured the chances of me hitting a fabulous one between now and New Year's was pretty slim... but if it really was that good I could always cheat and add it to next year's favorites. :)

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  9. Wow, they all sound great! Thanks for sharing with SSPS, your posts always offer so much to think about.

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  10. Wow, so many books! I love the Class Mom ones too, she's such a great writer, I hope she comes up with another one.

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  11. Lots of nice looking books here! I hope 2024 is as successful for you. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  12. Josh & Hazel's Guide sounds really cute! I'll have to check some of these out next month.

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  13. I have not read ANY of these but then again I am behind in my reading. You always have such an amazing list going.
    XOOX
    Jodie

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  14. I wish I could make the time to read like you do. It sounds like you have had a great year of reading!
    I love the sound of Someone Else's Shoes and I have heard that I'm Glad My Mom Died is really good.

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    1. I like to listen to audiobooks when I'm cleaning house or driving by myself and find that memoirs make great listening.

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  15. 150 books is incredible!! I felt the same way about American Dirt, it really makes you have empathy for peoples journey and living conditions. I read For The Love of Friends after your suggestion and LOVED it! I recommend it to a lot of people if they need something happy. I am halfway through the Class Mom series and love that too.

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    1. Thank you; I was stunned since the most books I've ever read before was 120 and I remember after setting and reaching that goal thinking "never again" because it had been so stressful to read 10 books a month.

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  16. I can't believe how many books you read this year...wow! I just got Tween Spirit from the library...looking forward to a few laughs. Thanks for continuing the link party! Tanya - The Other Side of the Road

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  17. I read American Dirt. My daughter later told me the author got a bit of backlash because she was not Mexican. I also really liked (I think that is the right word) the book by Jennette McCurdy. It was not what I was expecting and found it so sad.

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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    1. Yes, I heard that too after reading it and thought it was a bit crazy. We don't get mad at historical fiction authors for not being there...

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  18. I'm reading Someone Else's Shoes right now. I loved American Dirt. I will have to check out some of these other books. You read a lot!

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    1. I really did; I don't normally get through nearly as many books in a year. I think it helped that I started listening to audiobooks more too.

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  19. I always appreciate good book recommendations. I just finished "Boys in the Boat," which is an amazing and well-told story (based on a true story). If you haven't read it yet, put it on your list! Thanks for sharing this post at the Will Blog for Comments #18 linkup. Hope to see you next time, too.

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    1. Oh I will definitely have to add that to my list!

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    2. They've made a movie of it which comes out on Christmas Day, but definitely read the book first--it's wonderful.

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  20. That's amazing how many books you've read this year! I've never read that many in a year I was keeping track. Thirteen Reasons Why looks sad and interesting, and I wonder why I don't remember hearing about it before.

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  21. You've been super productive! And you've spent time with some very good books and writers!

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  22. How could I forget about the Class Mom series? So good!

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    1. I really didn't think I was going to like them (or "get" them) but I just loved them.

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  23. I love Christina Lauren so I just added Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating to my list! It sounds so cute!

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  24. These sound like amazing books. I'm glad you shared your review of many of these because some of them have been on my to-read list too.

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    1. You're welcome! I'm so glad my reviews helped.

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  25. Congratulations, Joanne! This post was one of the most-read at the Will Blog for Comments #18 linkup! It will be in the spotlight as a featured favorite during the next linkup which runs for 2 weeks due to Christmas and New Year's, Dec. 25 - Jan. 6. To celebrate, you're welcome to save the "This Post was a Featured Favorite" image there to share with your readers here. I hope to see you sharing posts at the next linkup as well. :)

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