Hello everyone! Today’s prompt is top 5 books of 2023… so far. I have narrowed this down to books released in 2023 to make it a bit easier. The covers all link to the book’s Goodreads page, and I’ve included the official covers and synopsis when available. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm, and is now being hosted at Meeghan Reads!
The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty
This was such a great adventure. I loved that the characters were older and had already seen some shit, and the setting of the Indian Ocean was fascinating and provided a fun playground for the colorful cast of characters.
Amina al-Sirafi should be content. After a storied and scandalous career as one of the Indian Ocean’s most notorious pirates, she’s survived backstabbing rogues, vengeful merchant princes, several husbands, and one actual demon to retire peacefully with her family to a life of piety, motherhood, and absolutely nothing that hints of the supernatural.
But when she’s tracked down by the obscenely wealthy mother of a former crewman, she’s offered a job no bandit could refuse: retrieve her comrade’s kidnapped daughter for a kingly sum. The chance to have one last adventure with her crew, do right by an old friend, and win a fortune that will secure her family’s future forever? It seems like such an obvious choice that it must be God’s will.
Yet the deeper Amina dives, the more it becomes alarmingly clear there’s more to this job, and the girl’s disappearance, than she was led to believe. For there’s always risk in wanting to become a legend, to seize one last chance at glory, to savor just a bit more power…and the price might be your very soul.
Only This Beautiful Moment by Abdi Nazemian
This was such a beautiful story about three generations of the same Iranian family. It is my favorite read of the year so far, and you can check out all my thoughts in my review to find out why.
From the Stonewall Honor–winning author of Like a Love Story comes a sweeping story of three generations of boys in the same Iranian family. Perfect for fans of Last Night at the Telegraph Club and Darius the Great Is Not Okay.
2019. Moud is an out gay teen living in Los Angeles with his distant father, Saeed. When Moud gets the news that his grandfather in Iran is dying, he accompanies his dad to Tehran, where the revelation of family secrets will force Moud into a new understanding of his history, his culture, and himself.
1978. Saeed is an engineering student with a promising future ahead of him in Tehran. But when his parents discover his involvement in the country’s burgeoning revolution, they send him to safety in America, a country Saeed despises. And even worse—he’s forced to live with the American grandmother he never knew existed.
1939. Bobby, the son of a calculating Hollywood stage mother, lands a coveted MGM studio contract. But the fairy-tale world of glamour he’s thrust into has a dark side. Bobby is forced to hide his sexuality for fear of losing everything.
Set against the backdrop of Tehran and Los Angeles, this tale of intergenerational trauma and love is an ode to the fragile bonds of family, the hidden secrets of history, and all the beautiful moments that make us who we are today.
Happy Place by Emily Henry
At this point, if there’s an Emily Henry release, it is going to be on my top books of the year list. I loved that this one focused on how friendships and life change in one’s late 20’s and early 30’s.
Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t.
They broke up six months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.
Which is how they find themselves sharing the largest bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blue week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.
Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week… in front of those who know you best?
A couple who broke up months ago make a pact to pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends in this glittering and wise new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry.t he really deserves.
The Bone Shard War by Andrea Stewart
I love this series so much. So, there’s no way that the last outing with Mephi and friends wouldn’t make this list.
The Bone Shard War is the epic finale to the unmissable, action-packed and magic-laced Drowning Empire series.
Lin Sukai has won her first victory as Emperor, but the future of the Phoenix Empire hangs in the balance – and Lin is dangerously short of allies.
As her own governors plot treason, the Shardless Few renew hostilities. Worse still, Lin discovers her old nemesis Nisong has joined forces with the rogue Alanga, Ragan. Both seek her death.
Yet hopes lies in history. Legend tells of seven mythic swords, forged in centuries past. If Lin can find them before her enemies, she may yet be able to turn the tide.
If she fails, the Sukai dynasty – and the entire empire – will fall.
Into the Light by Mark Oshiro
This was an intense story about the experience of homelessness by queer children and the horrors of Christian fundamentalism as it relates to conversion therapy. This book made me so uncomfortable, but it was also an incredibly powerful read.
KEEP YOUR SECRETS CLOSE TO HOME
It’s been one year since Manny was cast out of his family and driven into the wilderness of the American Southwest. Since then, Manny lives by self-taught rules that keep him moving―and keep him alive. Now, he’s taking a chance on a traveling situation with the Varela family, whose attractive but surly son, Carlos, seems to promise a new future.
Eli abides by the rules of his family, living in a secluded community that raised him to believe his obedience will be rewarded. But an unsettling question slowly eats away at Eli’s once unwavering faith in Why can’t he remember his past?
But the reported discovery of an unidentified body in the hills of Idyllwild, California, will draw both of these young men into facing their biggest fears and confronting their own identity―and who they are allowed to be.
For fans of Courtney Summers and Tiffany D. Jackson, Into the Light is a ripped-from-the-headlines story with Oshiro’s signature mix of raw emotions and visceral prose―but with a startling twist you’ll have to read to believe.
So, there you have it. My top 5 books of 2023… so far. What are your favorite reads of the first half of 2023? Let me know down in the comments!