I like to make a five star prediction post every year! I have read eight of the ten books on last year’s list. I still really want to get to The Girl With the Louding Voice one of these days, but I am reluctant to read Upgrade at this point. There were so many mixed reviews when that came out! Four of the books on the list ended up being five stars, and they were Pachinko, Still Life, You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty, and Salt to the Sea.
So many of my bookish friends absolutely adore Daughter of the Forest and have recommended it to me. I think it has the potential to become a new favourite! This book was originally published in 1999, but it seems to have staying power and is finding new readers all the time. I saw it on quite a few “best books of the year” lists for 2022, which is incredible. This is a Six Swan retelling, which seems to be a popular myth to retell but isn’t one I am that familiar with. I have heard incredible things about Juliet Marillier’s writing and she has a pretty extensive backlist, which is fantastic because there is more to explore if I do end up loving Daughter of the Forest.
I have fallen in love with horror recently, particularly Gothic horror with a touch of vampires. A Dowry of Blood seems to be beloved even by those who do not typically read the genre. Apparently, it is beautifully written! I am intrigued by the fact that it follows Dracula’s first bride and that Dracula himself is never actually mentioned by name. I have plans to immersion read this, maybe even this weekend for 72 Hours in the Haunted House readathon!
Salt to the Sea was one of my five star predictions last year and it was indeed five stars, so I thought it would be smart to include another YA historical fiction on this list. My top two reads of 2022 were historical fiction, so I do love the genre when I pick it up! I am just picky about the ones that I read. I have heard nothing but praise for As Long as the Lemon Tree Grows and I know that it is going to shatter me, which is something I appreciate in my historical fiction.
I have been on a bit of a SciFi kick recently, and I have a feeling that I am going to have a good time with Ashes of the Sun! I have learned that I like a touch of humour in my SciFi for some reason, and I think I will get that here. I have actually been told that this falls somewhere in the grey area between fantasy and SciFi, which intrigues me! I also love stories that follow siblings who are on opposite sides of a war, particularly a brother and sister.
I like dark academia and I like weird books, so I think there is potential that I will love Vita Nostra! I don’t think I have seen a single negative review of this book and it seems to be loved by readers who don’t often have similar taste in books. I have realized that I like those books that people have a hard time talking about or describing! I love books that defy categorization!
Of course, I had to include a T. Kingfisher book on this list. Illuminations is one of her more recent releases and I haven’t seen anyone talk about it, but it seems to fall into a similar vein as A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking and Minor Mage, which are two of my favourites from her. I also love books that follow artists, which is the case here!
I wasn’t sure if I was going to include The Dead Romantics on this list because I wasn’t sure how I felt about a romance between a person and a ghost but then I remembered how much I loved the movie Just Like Heaven! This romance got a lot of love last year and I think it is going to be the kind of cheesy romance I love. Also, the irony of the main character being a ghostwriter who falls in love with a ghost is hilarious to me!
I came across Tears in the Water randomly and something about it caught my eye. This is a self-published novel with under 150 ratings on Goodreads, but those who have read it have adored it. This is a slice of life, character-driven story set at a university in a fictional country in the Mediterranean. From what I can tell, the found family is what stands out in this story, and you know found family is my favourite trope!
I decided to include only two 2023 releases on my list this year and they are both by authors whose books I have loved in the past! Martha Wells wrote the Murderbot Diaries, which is the series that got me into SciFi and will always have a special place in my heart. Not only is she releasing another book in that series this year (which has five star potential as well, obviously!), but she is also releasing Witch King, the first book in a new series. I have been into reading books about demons recently, so that makes me that much more excited about this one! If I end up loving the main character in this series half as much as I love Murderbot, this will be a five star book for me.
Fonda Lee obviously wrote the Green Bone Saga, which is a trilogy I still need to finish, but I am excited to have some new, and short, from her. Untethered Sky is a novella. There is nothing a love in fantasy more than an animal companion and I have been told that is truly the focus of this book. It is about the bond between a young girl and a roc that she is training in a quest to get revenge.