Hello, everyone! I recently saw The Firsts of 2023 Tag on Celeste’s and Dini’s blogs. It looked simple and fun, which is something I’m always on the lookout for. So, I thought I’d give it a shot! This book tag was originally created by Tanya @girlxoxo.
First book read this year
My first book of the year was Alone with You in the Ether by Olivie Blake. Blake is one of my favorite authors, and I loved this book. It was a great start to the year.
Book Synopsis 📚
Two people meet in the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist, undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. By the end of the story, these things will still be true. But this is not a story about endings.
For Regan, people are predictable and tedious, including and perhaps especially herself. She copes with the dreariness of existence by living impulsively, imagining a new, alternate timeline being created in the wake of every rash decision.
To Aldo, the world feels disturbingly chaotic. He gets through his days by erecting a wall of routine: a backbeat of rules and formulas that keep him going. Without them, the entire framework of his existence would collapse.
For Regan and Aldo, life has been a matter of resigning themselves to the blueprints of inevitability—until the two meet. Could six conversations with a stranger be the variable that shakes up the entire simulation?
From Olivie Blake, the New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six, comes an intimate and contemporary study of time, space, and the nature of love. Alone with You in the Ether explores what it means to be unwell, and how to face the fractures of yourself and still love as if you’re not broken.
First book reviewed
The first book I reviewed this year was The Sapphire Altar by David Dalglish. You can find my thoughts on this one here!
Book Synopsis 📚
In this epic fantasy from a bestselling author, a usurped prince must master the magic of shadows in order to reclaim his kingdom and his people.
Cyrus wants out. Trained to be an assassin in order to oust the invading Empire from his kingdom, Cyrus is now worried the price of his vengeance is too high. His old master has been keeping too many secrets to be trusted. And the mask he wears to hide his true identity and become the legendary “Vagrant” has started whispering to him in the dark. But the fight isn’t over and the Empire has sent its full force to bear upon Cyrus’s floundering revolution. He’ll have to decide once and for all whether to become the thing he fears or lose the country he loves.
First book by a debut author
My first book by a debut author this year was Seven Faceless Saints by M. K. Lobb. I loved the mystery in this one and its dark and foreboding atmosphere. See all my thoughts here!
Book Synopsis 📚
In the city of Ombrazia, saints and their disciples rule with terrifying and unjust power, playing favorites while the unfavored struggle to survive.
After her father’s murder at the hands of the Ombrazian military, Rossana Lacertosa is willing to do whatever it takes to dismantle the corrupt system—tapping into her powers as a disciple of Patience, joining the rebellion, and facing the boy who broke her heart. As the youngest captain in the history of Palazzo security, Damian Venturi is expected to be ruthless and strong, and to serve the saints with unquestioning devotion. But three years spent fighting in a never-ending war have left him with deeper scars than he wants to admit… and a fear of confronting the girl he left behind.
Now a murderer stalks Ombrazia’s citizens. As the body count climbs, the Palazzo is all too happy to look the other way—that is, until a disciple becomes the newest victim. With every lead turning into a dead end, Damian and Roz must team up to find the killer, even if it means digging up buried emotions. As they dive into the underbelly of Ombrazia, the pair will discover something more sinister—and far less holy. With darkness closing in and time running out, will they be able to save the city from an evil so powerful that it threatens to destroy everything in its path?
Discover what’s lurking in the shadows in this dark fantasy debut with a murder-mystery twist, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kerri Maniscalco.
First book by a new-to-me author
The answer to this one is a bit of a lie. I don’t want to use the same answer twice. With that in mind, my first book in 2023 by a new-to-me author was Olympic Enemies by Rebecca J Caffery. I had high hopes for this one, but it ended up being just okay.
Book Synopsis 📚
Three weeks at the Olympic Village.
Two Gymnasts who’ve been rivals for half a decade.
One tonne of sexual tension.
Forced to share a room at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Oliver and Lucas are less than happy. After five years of fighting, the team needs them to learn to work together if they stand any chance of medalling.
To make matters worse, Lucas, king of lone wolfs, has absolutely no desire to become best friends with the three musketeers who make up the rest of the male British Gymnastics team.
So when the press becomes intrusive towards Lucas and Oliver finally steps in to defend him, things are looking up. Until that sliver of common ground truly demonstrates how thin the line between love and hate really can be.
However, when their fighting turns to kissing which results in headlines in every newspaper and potential heartbreak for the pair, it isn’t just gold on the line – it’s their hearts.
First book that slayed me
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin was the first book that slayed me this year. I was SOBBING and a total mess, especially during the NPC chapter.
Book Synopsis 📚
In this exhilarating novel, two friends–often in love, but never lovers–come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.
On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.
Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.
First book that I wished I could get back the time I spent reading it
This book got on my nerves so much. So many things about the setup just didn’t make sense to me, and it ruined what could have been an enjoyable read. See all my thoughts in my review!
Book Synopsis 📚
Scream meets Clown in a Cornfield in this young adult horror novel by bestselling Cale Dietrich featuring a masked killer who targets frat boys.
Freshman Sam believes that joining a fraternity is the best way to form a friend group as he begins his college journey – and his best chance of moving on from his past. He is the survivor of a horrific, and world-famous, murder spree, where a masked killer hunted down Sam and his friends.
Sam had to do the unthinkable to survive that night, and it completely derailed his life. He sees college, and his new identity as a frat boy, as his best shot at living a life not defined by the killings. He starts to flirt with one of the brothers, who Sam finds is surprisingly accepting of Sam’s past, and begins to think a fresh start truly is possible.
And then… one of his new frat brothers is found dead. A new masked murderer, one clearly inspired by the original, emerges, and starts stalking, and slaying, the frat boys of Munroe University. Now Sam will have to race against the clock to figure out who the new killer is – and why they are killing – before Sam loses his second chance – or the lives of any more of his friends.
Elements of horror, mystery, and a gay romance make this a story readers won’t want to miss.
Welp. There you have it! My firsts of 2023. I’m not going to tag anyone specific in this one, but I’d love to read the answers of others. So, consider yourself tagged. 😁