Most of you will have seen the 23 in 2023 Challenge floating around on social media, but for those of you who haven’t, let me explain. The 23 in 2023 Challenge is to choose and read 23 books in 2023. There is a lovely little template to use, created by @totallytales over on Instagram, which you can see below.
My 23 in 2023:
Here is my completed template with my chosen 23 books:
- Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston
Sequel to the New York Times bestseller Amari and the Night Brothers!
Artemis Fowl meets Men in Black in this magical second book in the New York Times bestselling Supernatural Investigations trilogy, soon to be a major movie starring Marsai Martin. Perfect for 8+ fans of Percy Jackson and Nevermoor.
After finding her brother and saving the entire supernatural world, Amari Peters is convinced her first full summer as a Junior Agent will be a breeze.
But between the fearsome new Head Minister’s strict anti-magician agenda, fierce Junior Agent rivalries, and her brother Quinton’s curse steadily worsening, Amari’s plate is full. So when the secretive League of Magicians offers her a chance to stand up for magiciankind as its new leader, she declines. She’s got enough to worry about!
But her refusal allows someone else to step forward, a magician with dangerous plans for the League. This challenge sparks the start of the Great Game, a competition to decide who will become the Night Brothers’ successor and determine the future of magiciankind.
The Great Game is both mysterious and deadly, but among the winner’s magical rewards is Quinton’s last hope . . . so how can Amari refuse?
- Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris
In this follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the author tells the story, based on a true one, of a woman who survives Auschwitz, only to find herself locked away again.
Cilka Klein is 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau is liberated by Soviet soldiers. But Cilka is one of the many women who is sentenced to a labor camp on charges of having helped the Nazis–with no consideration of the circumstances Cilka and women like her found themselves in as they struggled to survive. Once at the Vorkuta gulag in Sibera, where she is to serve her 15-year sentence, Cilka uses her wits, charm, and beauty to survive.
- The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh
A deadly prosecutor
They call him the King of Death Row. Randal Korn has sent more men to their deaths than any district attorney in the history of the United States.
A twisted ritualistic killing
When a young woman, Skylar Edwards, is found murdered in Buckstown, Alabama, a corrupt sheriff arrests the last person to see her alive, Andy Dubois. It doesn’t seem to matter to anyone that Andy is innocent.
A small town boiling with rage
Everyone in Buckstown believes Andy is guilty. He has no hope of a fair trial. And the local defense attorney assigned to represent him has disappeared.
A former con-artist
Hot shot New York lawyer Eddie Flynn travels south to fight fire with fire. He plans to destroy the prosecutors case, find the real killer and save Andy from the electric chair.
But the murders are just beginning.
Is Eddie Flynn next?
- The Accomplice by Steve Cavanagh
THE MOST HATED WOMAN IN AMERICA
The Sandman killings have been solved. Daniel Miller murdered fourteen people before he vanished. His wife, Carrie, now faces trial as his accomplice. The FBI, the District Attorney, the media and everyone in America believe she knew and helped cover up her husband’s crimes.
Eddie Flynn won’t take a case unless his client is innocent. Now, he has to prove to a jury, and the entire world, that Carrie Miller was just another victim of the Sandman. She didn’t know her husband’s dark side and she had no part in the murders. But so far, Eddie and his team are the only ones who believe her.
THE FORMER FBI AGENT
Gabriel Lake used to be a federal agent, before someone tried to kill him. Now, he’s an investigator with a vendetta against the Sandman. He’s the only one who can catch him, because he believes that everything the FBI knows about serial killers is wrong.
With his wife on trial, the Sandman is forced to come out of hiding to save her from a life sentence. He will kill to protect her and everyone involved in the case is a target.
Even Eddie Flynn…
- The Blackhouse by Carole Johnstone
A richly atmospheric thriller set on an isolated Scottish island where nothing is as it seems and shocking twists lie around every corner.
A remote village. A deadly secret. An outsider who knows the truth.
Robert Reid moved his family to Scotland’s Outer Hebrides in the 1990s, driven by hope, craving safety and community, and hiding a terrible secret. But despite his best efforts to fit in, Robert is always seen as an outsider. And as the legendary and violent Hebridean storms rage around him, he begins to unravel, believing his fate on the remote island of Kilmeray cannot be escaped.
For her entire life, Maggie MacKay has sensed something was wrong with her. When Maggie was five years old, she announced that a man on Kilmeray—a place she’d never visited—had been murdered. Her unfounded claim drew media attention and turned the locals against each other, creating rifts that never mended.
Nearly twenty years later, Maggie is determined to find out what really happened, and what the islanders are hiding. But when she begins to receive ominous threats, Maggie is forced to consider how much she is willing to risk to discover the horrifying truth.
Unnerving, enthralling, and filled with gothic suspense, The Blackhouse is a spectacularly sinister tale readers won’t soon forget.
Loose Head by Joe Marler
The unfiltered truth about being a rugby player – from the horsey’s mouth.
This book is not just about how I got back on my horse and went clippity-clop all the way to the World Cup final in Japan.
It’s the story of how a fat kid who had to live up to the nickname Psycho grew up to play (and party) for over a decade with rugby’s greatest pros.
From just about surviving the equivalent of 30 car crashes a game and crooning Adele for team spirit, to extensive field notes on the smell of the Scrum and the fine art of on-pitch relief. Then there’s rugby’s secret naked wrestling scene and how it was exposed.
In my world, you never know how the ball will bounce…
- Spare by Prince Harry
It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow – and horror. As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling – and how their lives would play out from that point on.
For Harry, this is that story at last.
With its raw, unflinching honesty, Spare is a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.
Prince Harry wishes to support British charities with donations from his proceeds from Spare. The Duke of Sussex has donated $1,500,000 to Sentebale, an organisation he founded with Prince Seeiso in their mothers’ legacies, which supports vulnerable children and young people in Lesotho and Botswana affected by HIV/AIDS. Prince Harry will also donate to the non-profit organisation WellChild in the amount of £300,000. WellChild, which he has been Royal patron of for fifteen years, makes it possible for children and young people with complex health needs to be cared for at home instead of hospital, wherever possible.
- The Saturday Night Sauvignon Sisterhood by Gill Sims
‘Oh, for f*ck’s sake’ muttered Claire under her breath, as she opened the fridge to see what she could find for a no effort dinner. The children continued to fight behind her. They regarded any form of fish not encased in breadcrumbs as toxic, and were resistant enough to the delicious homemade fishfingers Claire had made for them, insisting they much preferred Captain Birdseye’s version. White wine was starting to look like quite an appealing dinner actually. Maybe just a small glass.
‘Are you having wine, Mum? You know you’re not supposed to have wine every night. We did about alcohol units at school. That’s quite a big glass of wine, how many units do you think are in it?’
’Bet the bastards didn’t tell you that wine is remarkably good at cancelling out whining though, did they?’ muttered Claire.
Claire’s family has gone nuclear. Her precious moppets keep calling Childline when she feeds them broccoli, she’s utterly Ottolenghied out at weekends, and her darling husband is having an affair with her best friend.
The question isn’t whether she needs a glass of wine, but is there one big enough?
Enter the Sauvignon Sisterhood, a new set of friends brought together by a shared love of liquid therapy. Together they might just be able to convince Claire that, like a good bottle of red, life really can get better with age. Or at least there’s more to it than the joy of an M&S non-iron school uniform.
- The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly
THIS REUNION WILL TEAR A FAMILY APART…
Summer, 2021. Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.
The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.
But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.
From the bestselling author of He Said/She Said and Watch Her Fall, this is a taut, mesmerising novel about a daughter haunted by her father’s legacy…
- Death Row: The Final Minutes by Michelle Lyons
In 12 years, Michelle Lyons witnessed nearly 300 executions.
First as a reporter and then as a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Michelle was a frequent visitor to Huntsville’s Walls Unit, where she recorded and relayed the final moments of death row inmates’ lives before they were put to death by the state.
Michelle was in the death chamber as some of the United States’ most notorious criminals, including serial killers, child murderers and rapists, spoke their last words on earth, while a cocktail of lethal drugs surged through their veins.
Michelle supported the death penalty, before misgivings began to set in as the executions mounted. During her time in the prison system, and together with her dear friend and colleague, Larry Fitzgerald, she came to know and like some of the condemned men and women she saw die. She began to query the arbitrary nature of the death penalty and ask the question: do executions make victims of all of us?
An incredibly powerful and unique look at the complex story of capital punishment, as told by those whose lives have been shaped by it, Death Row: The Final Minutes is an important take on crime and punishment at a fascinating point in America’s political history.
- One Of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus
Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.
A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.
This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game.
Truth or Dare.
Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.
Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.
But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.
Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules.
The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling thriller everyone is talking about, One of Us Is Lying! There’s a new mystery to solve at Bayview High, and there’s a whole new set of rules.
- Surviving The Krays by David Teale
David Teale: groomed by the twins, controlled by threats, falsely imprisoned by the State for his ‘own protection’ as younger brother of Kray-informer Bobby. Turns out that’s only half the story.
David first met the Krays when he was seventeen years old. He was drawn into London’s underworld, and became Ronnie’s reluctant foot soldier, driver, errand boy. He was close to murder, and witnessed menaces and the increasingly psychotic behaviour of the most feared men in gangster land.
Unbeknown to David, his brother Bobby had bravely turned informer at great risk to his own safety and that of his brothers. That had its own consequences. But why, when the police were being furnished with eye-witness statements, from an impeccable source, were they seemingly incapable of bringing the twins to justice? The Krays were untouchable.
After tireless research through newly released documents in the National Archives, and piecing previously classified information together with his own, first-hand knowledge of the time, David Teale uncovers the shocking new truth, revealed in this book for the first time.
David’s story rewrites history.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman inthe eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. The novel was a succès de scandale and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895. It has lost none of its power to fascinate and disturb.
- The Trials of Life by David Attenborough
The third and final updated edition of David Attenborough’s classic Life trilogy. Life on Earth covered evolution, Living Planet, ecology, and now The Trials of Life tackles ethology, the study of how animals behave.
This is the third and last of Sir David’s great natural history books based on his TV series and competes his survey of the animal world that began with Life on Earth and continues with Living Planet.
In Life on Earth, Sir David showed how each group of animals evolved. In Living Planet he looked at the way they have adapted to the whole range of habitats in which they live. Now, in The Trials of Life, he completes the story by revealing how animals behave – and why.
- Steve and Me by Steve Irwin
When Terri Raines was twenty-seven years old, she took a vacation that changed her life. Leaving behind her wildlife rescue work in Oregon, Terri traveled to Australia, and there, at a small wildlife park, she met and fell in love with a tall, blond force of nature named Steve Irwin. They were married in less than a year, and Terri eagerly joined in Steve’s conservation work. The footage filmed on their crocodile-trapping honeymoon became the first episode of T”he Crocodile Hunter, ” and together, Steve and Terri began to change the world. In “Steve & Me, ” Terri recounts the unforgettable adventures they shared — wrangling venomous snakes, saving deadly crocodiles from poachers, swimming among humpback whales. A uniquely gifted naturalist, Steve was first and foremost a wildlife warrior dedicated to rescuing endangered animals — especially his beloved crocs — and educating everyone he could reach about the importance of conservation. In the hit TV shows that continue to be broadcast worldwide, Steve’s enthusiasm lives on, bringing little-known and often-feared species to light as he reveals and revels in the wonders of our planet.
With grace, wit, and candor, Terri Irwin portrays her husband as he really was — a devoted family man, a fervently dedicated environmentalist, a modest bloke who spoke to millions on behalf of those who could not speak for themselves. “Steve & Me” is a nonstop adventure, a real-life love story, and a fitting tribute to a man adored by all those whose lives he touched, written by the woman who knew and loved him best of all.
- Venom by Bex Hogan
Marianne has never wanted to be a fighter, but with unrest and discord threatening the Twelve Islands, she will have to battle threats both inside and out in an attempt to attain peace for her homeland.
Marianne is now the Viper, but her hopes for peace in the Eastern Isles are being frustrated. The corrupt King remains on the throne, bandits are proving hard to stop and Marianne is not sure who among her crew she can truly trust.
For the islands to prosper, the invisible bond that once existed uniting land and sea must be reinstated. There’s only one way that can happen – the return of magic. To do that Marianne must put aside all her fears: she must return to her roots, the Western Isles, and call on the power that runs in her blood.
She must become a Mage.
Only then, can she possibly command the army needed to finally take down the King.
- Vulture by Bex Hogan
Power, politics and pirates collide in Vulture, the finale of the epic YA fantasy series The Isles of Storm and Sorrow, perfect for fans of Pirates of the Caribbean.
We are all one misstep away from being the villain…
Marianne has passed the ultimate test required to be a Mage. She is finally powerful enough to reunite the Twelve Isles.
But having exposed herself to the darker side of magic, Marianne is struggling. The magic within her is nearly impossible to control, and she becomes cruel and violent, mercilessly pursuing those who have harmed her in the past, ignoring the pleas of those closest to her to remember what’s really important: saving the islands.
Everything she’s fought for has come down to this. Will Marianne be able to fulfil her promise to bring peace to the islands when she can’t even bring peace to herself?
Conquer the darkness. Control the magic. Save the Isles.
- Suffolk Ghost Tales by Kirsty Hartsiotis and Cherry Wilkinson
SUFFOLK – a peaceful, rural county with big skies, rolling fi elds, unspoilt beaches, quaint towns and villages. But all is not as quiet as it seems. Could that be the eerie clanking of gibbet chains at the crossroads? Did you see a desolate face at an upper window or a spectral white form lurking in the hedgerow? Cats are not always lucky – and beware a north Suffolk Broad in the still, small hours of Midsummer Night . . .
Kirsty Hartsiotis and Cherry Wilkinson retell, with spine-chilling freshness, thirty fabulous ghost tales from all corners of this beguiling county. So pull up a chair, stoke the fire and prepare to see its gentle landscape in a new light.
- Beyond The Wand by Tom Felton
They called for a break, and Gambon magicked up a cigarette from out of his beard. He and I were often to be found outside the stage door, having ‘a breath of fresh air’, as we referred to it. There would be painters and plasterers and chippies and sparks, and among them all would be me and Dumbledore having a crafty cigarette.
From Borrower to wizard, Tom Felton’s adolescence was anything but ordinary. His early rise to fame saw him catapulted into the limelight aged just twelve when he landed the iconic role of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films.
Speaking with candour and his own trademark humour, Tom shares his experience of growing up on screen and as part of the wizarding world for the very first time. He tells all about his big break, what filming was really like and the lasting friendships he made during ten years as part of the franchise, as well as the highs and lows of fame and the reality of navigating adult life after filming finished.
Prepare to meet a real-life wizard.
- First Born by Will Dean
*** From the acclaimed author of THE LAST THING TO BURN comes a new thriller about identity, rivalry and deceit. ***
THE LAST THING A TWIN EXPECTS IS TO BE ALONE …
Molly lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same.
Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.
But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin’s last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.
Delivering the same intensity of pace and storytelling that made THE LAST THING TO BURN a word-of-mouth sensation, FIRST BORN will surprise, shock and enthrall.
- The Lost Whale by Hannah Gold
What if you could communicate with a whale?
Rio has been sent to live with a grandmother he barely knows in California, while his mum is in hospital back home. Alone and adrift, the only thing that makes him smile is joining his new friend Marina on her dad’s whale watching trips. That is until an incredible encounter with White Beak, a gentle giant of the sea changes everything. But when White Beak goes missing, Rio must set out on a desperate quest to find his whale and somehow save his mum.
Dive into this incredible story about the connection between a boy and a whale and the bond that sets them both free.
- When Women Ruled The World by Kara Cooney
This riveting narrative explores the lives of six remarkable female pharaohs, from Hatshepsut to Cleopatra–women who ruled with real power–and shines a piercing light on our own perceptions of women in power today.
Female rulers are a rare phenomenon–but thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, women reigned supreme. Regularly, repeatedly, and with impunity, queens like Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra controlled the totalitarian state as power-brokers and rulers. But throughout human history, women in positions of power were more often used as political pawns in a male-dominated society. What was so special about ancient Egypt that provided women this kind of access to the highest political office? What was it about these women that allowed them to transcend patriarchal obstacles? What did Egypt gain from its liberal reliance on female leadership, and could today’s world learn from its example?
Celebrated Egyptologist Kara Cooney delivers a fascinating tale of female power, exploring the reasons why it has seldom been allowed through the ages, and why we should care.
- Wilder Girls by Rory Power
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.
Are you doing the 23 in 2023 challenge?
Have you read any of these books?
If yes, what did you think?
Let me know in the comments!
Disclaimer: My posts often include affiliate links, which means that I receive a small commission for any purchase made through my links, but with no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting me and my blog.