What a truly INCREDIBLE year 2023 was!! Oceans of Sand was published in June, fulfilling a lifelong dream. I had a launch party, went to book signings, and saw my book in libraries and bookstores all over. Words can't even describe how that felt.
Also, I had people come up to me and use my own made up swear words to describe how much they liked Oceans of Sand. Can't beat that 😂
It was also an amazing year for reading!! After much deliberation and difficulty narrowing things down, I've created a list of my top 10 favorite books of 2023. (Not including Oceans of Sand, LOL.)
Have you read any of these? Comment below! And be sure to send this article to a fantasy/romance reader in your life!
I read a LOT of YA fantasy, romance, and fantasy/romance. No surprises there. Enjoy!
In descending order from least to most favorite, here we go! (All of these books are clean and spice-free. Some have some swearing, and it is noted.)
10) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
This book was an EXPERIENCE. It's a sweet YA romance set in Paris, and I felt like I was really there. And the romance was *muah*. (There was some swearing.)
9) When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord
This was so cute and lots of fun! If you're a Broadway fan, you'll love it.
Millie Price isn't going to let anything get in the way of her dreams, not even Oliver, her drama club rival.
8) Moment of Truth by Kasie West
I love love love Kasie West so much. She always delivers on adorable, clean YA romance! This one was so cute.
Hadley is hyper focused on her swimming career. When a mystery guy crashes her swim meet, she's determined to find out who he is.
7) Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson
Finally some fantasy, sheesh! Am I a fantasy author or what? 😂
This is one of Sanderson's secret projects, and wow, it was stunning. A gorgeous book and an absolutely gorgeous story. The world-building was phenomenal, and a few twists in the plot completely blew me away. (The romance was subtle but it was SO CUTE.)
6) The Hanging City by Charlie N. Holmberg
This took me totally by surprise! I loved this book SO MUCH. It's a fantasy/romance that was totally clean and totally swoon-worthy. The world-building was so creative, too. The first half of the book was a little devoid of romance, but once it hit, HOLY CRAP I was so on board!
5) The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Suuuuper cute enemies-to-lovers romance that you do not want to miss! It's also got fake dating, which is one of my all time favorite tropes. Really enjoyed this one!
4) Gilded by Marissa Meyer
This fantasy/romance Rumpelstiltskin retelling was so creative and really sucked me in. It was a teeny bit dark at parts, so be aware of that.
Serilda has drawn the attention of the evil Erlking, and now she must spin straw into gold if she's going to survive the night. A mysterious boy agrees to help her... for a price.
3) By Your Side by Kasie West
I know, I know. I'm obsessed. Really you can't go wrong with Kasie West! She is probably my favorite romance author, and her books are always clean! This one was absolutely adorable. Two teens get locked in a library for the weekend, and of course she ends up falling for the last person she thought she would.
2) The Prince and the Apocalypse by Kara McDowell
This book blew me away. It was just so much fun! An exciting apocalypse story meets a super sweet romance as a girl and a prince make their way across Europe in an attempt to get to safety and her family. A must read! (One romantic scene was slightly more descriptive than I like to get in my books, just so you're aware.)
1) Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
This book was simply beautiful. It is a contemporary YA with a really sweet romance. Eliza feels more comfortable in the online world than the real one. Online, she's a famous web comic creator. In the real world, she's just awkward Eliza dealing with mental health issues. Definitely definitely read this one. (There was some swearing.)