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  • Writer's pictureCoffee, Book, & Candle

Coffee, Book, & Candle's 2023 Year in Books

We're baaaack! It's been forever since we posted, but we couldn't let the year end without our annual recap. Here we'll spill the tea on the best (and worst) parts of our reading experience this year.


NOTE: Click the titles or photos to see our reviews!


Coffee, Book, and Candle 2023 Year in Books


2023 WRAP-UP


2023 READING GOALS –– HOW DID WE STACK UP?


Jordan: It was a lazy reading year for me, as 2023 was when I finally buckled down and launched a business. I think I read 3-4 books at most for pleasure, then 2 books for pleasurable editing work. I did branch into Kindle books this year, finally! I also tried monster and dark romance, which were new ones for me 😂



Kori: While I did not meet all of my goals, I did manage to incorporate more audiobooks, read more NA and adult books, tried some romance books, and read a fanfic. I did read a classic this year, but it was a reread, not something new. I also found some cool new WEBTOON series!



NUMBER OF BOOKS READ


Jordan: Turns out, I read 6 books overall including the ones I edited! Definitely not my best year for bulk reading, but I enjoyed the majority of what I read. This isn't including the couple I DNFed. 🫣



Kori: I thought adding audiobooks in would help me read more. But somehow it looks as if I read less than last year. WTF?!


I only managed about 43 books. I can't get a more accurate number because I can't see all the books my mom and I borrowed and returned on KU. Aaaaand the fact that I started and stopped so many books this yearespecially nonfiction.





FAVORITE READ(S)


Jordan: My favorite reads this year were One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig, The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent, and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. I sadly don't have reviews for these yet, but soon!



Kori: This is a tough decision; there were so many great reads this year. It would be between The Priory of the Orange Tree, the Heroes of Olympus series, Mysteries of Thorn Manor, A Darker Shade of Magic, and Bookshops & Bonedust.



MOST DISAPPOINTING


Jordan: It's hard for me to say "disappointing" because I didn't go in with high expectations, but I don't think dark romance is for me, friends. Booktok raves about Haunting Adeline, but between the underwhelming writing style, plot and character holes, and the content that definitely wasn't up my alley, I don't think it was a great intro to the genre.



Kori: I really wanted to love Hunting Prince Dracula, but was underwhelmed. I also DNF'd The Only Purple House in Town because I just cannot stand when the entire plot hinges on the miscommunication trope.




FAVORITE COMFORT READ(S)


Jordan: One Dark Window may very well end up a comfort read for the dark fairytale atmosphere. It's one of the most transporting books I've read in some time.



Kori: I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but...


The Heroes of Olympus series, Mysteries of Thorn Manor, and Bookshops & Bonedust. Going back to some of my favorite characters and stories brought me so much comfort and coziness this year.



QUICKEST READ(S)


Jordan: My fastest read was Ensnared by Tiffany Roberts, my introduction to monster romance (outside vamps and werewolves). I read it out of pure curiosity, knowing full well I'm terrified of spiders, and I actually enjoyed it more than Haunting Adeline 😂 The writing and plot were solid, it just wasn't my cup of tea.



Kori: I had a few one-sitting reads this year, including Mistlefoe by Kimberly Lemming (novella), Persephone Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer (poetry), and Codex Black: A Fire Among Clouds by Camilo Moncada Lozano (graphic novel).



SLOWEST READ


Jordan: It took me ages to get through Jade, Fire, Gold by C. L. Tan. The book was marketed as a reimagining of Avatar: The Last Airbender where Zuko and Katara ended up together, but the characters were nowhere near their inspirations and lacked depth. I couldn't get attached to them or the barely-there plot, but I was determined to finish.



Kori: The Priory of the Orange Tree, through no fault of its own. It's just such a big book, and I kept having to put it down due to time constraints or mental fatigue. I wanted to give it my full attention because I loved it from the very beginning.



BEST SPICE


Jordan: Honestly, the spiciest book I read this year was Ensnared and uh 😂 The bit of spice in The Serpent and the Wings of Night was more my speed.



Kori: Forget Me Not by Julie Soto was HOT! Who can resist a broody, tattooed florist?! Kimberly Lemming deserves an honorable mention.




BEST PLOT TWIST


Jordan: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater had so many twists. I could not put that book down.



Kori: Once again, The Priory of the Orange Tree! There were a few twists I did not see coming.



SADDEST READ


Jordan: Eye of the Ouroboros by Megan Bontrager, one of the books I edited, tore my heart out in a couple places. I'm not typically an emotional reader, especially when I'm focused on work, but I was editing through tears during one scene.



Kori: I'm not saying I'm a crybaby, but I definitely got misty-eyed a few times while reading, especially during The Priory of the Orange Tree, The Stolen Heir, and The Buried and the Bound.



WANTED TO THROW


Jordan: Haunting Adeline. Nothing against dark romance, but ahahhh tis not for me. It had the opposite effect on me than I think it was supposed to.



Kori: I'm happy to report that I didn't have any reads that made me want to abuse them this year.



MIXED FEELINGS


Jordan: One Dark Window gave me mixed feelings. While I adored the plot, world, and writing style, the main character didn't have enough personality to carry the emotion. Still, it was a really enchanting read and one I'd read again for the side characters and atmosphere.



Kori: Exalted by Anna Dorn –– you'll find out why soon, when I post my review.




FAVORITE SHIPS


Jordan: My favorite ships were Oraya + Raihn (The Serpent and the Wings of Night) and Gansey + Blue (The Dream Thieves).



Kori: Nathaniel + Elisabeth (Mysteries of Thorn Manor), Percabeth (Heroes of Olympus), and Morgana + Oz (Morgana and Oz)! I would do just about anything for these characters!



FAVORITE FRIENDSHIPS


Jordan: Once again, the whole crew from the Raven Boys sequel The Dream Thieves is close to my heart. But the main friendship Theo + Quinn from Eye of the Ouroboros was one of the most wholesome and bittersweet ones I've read in awhile.



Kori: There are quite a few, so bear with me.


Alex + Dawes (Hell Bent), Aziza + Leo (The Buried and the Bound), Viv + Fern (Bookshops & Bonedust), Leo + Festus / Nico + Reyna (Heroes of Olympus), and Arteloth Beck + any friend of his friends (The Priory of the Orange Tree)––honestly no one deserves him!




2024 GOALS


READING GOALS


Jordan: I know better than to place a number on my hectic schedule, so my goal is just to catch up on my massive backlog. That's it, this year is for reading as many unread books on my shelf as I can get to. *faraway stare at the sea of books*



Kori: Again, I got so close to 50 reads this year. So I'm going for it again in 2024! I also plan to incorporate more BIPOC books and witchy nonfiction.



2024 MOST ANTICIPATED READS


Jordan: I'm super excited to try Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett, Six Scorched Roses and The Ashes and the Star-Cursed King by Carissa Broadbent, Murtagh by Christopher Paolini, and the latest Percy Jackson book The Chalice of the Gods!



Kori: House of Flame and Shadow is at the VERY top of my list, and thank the gods it comes out in January. I'm also excited to buddy read The Chalice of the Gods with Jordan, A Day of Fallen Night, and finish the Shades of Magic series.



BLOG GOALS


Jordan: Catching up on reviews I've yet to write is goal numero uno. I read so many books last year I need to tell you guys about, plus I've been working on new blog pages and features in the background! Going into the new year, you'll start seeing a cleaner blog design, fun extras, as well as book witch services & merch.



Kori: Spend my work's off-season building a backlog. I have soooo many reviews to write, from fiction to informative witchy books. I'm also excited about some creative writing posts I have planned!



Thank you all for tuning in, for spending part of your year with us, and for sticking around through our hiatuses! We greatly appreciate every read, like, comment, and share.

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