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Most anticipated releases of 2023

Usually the books I read and review have already been vetted by the masses. I like knowing that people enjoyed them before investing money in them, or better yet, I can borrow books that have already been read by someone whose opinion I trust. However, 2023 has some promising book releases that I’m extremely excited about. Here are my top three anticipated reads of 2023 (with honorable mentions at the end). 


“Hell Bent” (Alex Stern, #2) by Leigh Bardugo 


When I read “Ninth House” (Alex Stern, #1) by Bardugo last semester I hadn’t known it was part of a series. That’s on me for not doing my research. One of my biggest pet peeves is starting a series before it’s completed and having to wait for the rest of the series to come out. Personally I feel this ruins the reading experience because it’s better to read straight through so you remember all the details. I also hate paying for hardcover books and new releases typically don’t go into paperback until a year after their release. 


“Hell Bent” was released on Jan. 10, and while I’m really excited for the book, I’m scared it’s going to end up being one of those situations where it should’ve been one book, like the “Dance of Thieves” duet by Mary E. Pearson. I liked “Dance of Thieves” just fine but I absolutely hated its sequel “Vow of Thieves” so much that I low-key feel like it ruined the first book for me. The first book should’ve just been a little longer and avoided the need for a second book. However, this is not always the case. There is just a risk that comes with any series that the following books won’t be as good as the original (cough cough “The Red Queen” series by Victoria Aveyard). 


Now “Ninth House” did end with some loose ends that need to be tied up. It also ended with a serious cliffhanger that “Hell Bent” is set on answering. I’m excited for the potential of Alex and Darlington since I feel like their relationship never got the attention it deserved in “Ninth House.” I appreciate when novels aren’t overwhelmed by the romantic subplot, but in the case of “Ninth House” I feel like the connection between Darlington and Alex was never fully backed. And since you were jumping back and forth in the timeline I assumed we would get some sort of explanation at some point and that never really came. 


I’m interested to see more into Bardugo’s world. Bardugo is known for her world building in her other works in the Grisheverse. I’m excited to see that same sort of description as we head to hell and back again. 


I’m very excited, but if Darlington hates Alex and they don’t resolve their issues I will be mad. I want an enemies-to-lovers story and that’s it.


“Happy Place” by Emily Henry 


My queen Emily Henry is back with another romance book. While Sally Thorne is the author who got me into the romance genre I feel like Henry kept me roped in. I read through all three of her other romances pretty quickly last semester—courtesy of my sister for letting me steal her copies. Her books are always reliable for giving you a good time. They’re happy and upbeat and you know there’s a happy ending coming your way when you start. I’ve really enjoyed her books because of her writing and the twists she puts in classic love stories. 


And boy oh boy I just know I’m going to love this one from the description of the book: “A couple who broke up months ago make a pact to pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends.” I love it already. I need to know nothing else. I love watching love fall apart and fall back together. I love reading about characters who are expected to always be perfect and then spin out when suddenly they aren’t meeting their definition of “perfect.” 

Things I won’t be happy with if they’re in this book: 1) Cheating. I can’t support cheating even if it’s just in a narrative. 2) Miscommunication. I HATE THE MISCOMMUNICATION TROPE. It’s the worst trope hands down and oof just no. 


From the synopsis, “Happy Place” is honestly giving very similar vibes to “You Deserve Each Other” by Sarah Hogle. And I loved that book. Very similar vibe in that the main characters were perfect for each other until they weren’t and then they spend the story trying to find their way back to each other. 


Happy Place isn’t set to come out until April 2023, so we still have some time to wait. But I’m always excited for Henry, and let’s give her a round of applause for her fourth romance book in four years. Never drop your crown queen. 


“The Stolen Heir” (The Stolen Heir Duology, #1) by Holly Black 


Remember when I said I don’t start a series before they’re finished earlier in this article? Well I lied. I’m sorry, I have a tendency to be really contradictory. But I would lie for anything related to The Folk of the Air series. 


I loved The Folk of the Air series. I adored Jude and Cardan’s story and I love the magical world that Black creates in the series. The Folk of the Air series was very easy to read. It was one of those series where you could just absorb the words and before you know it you’re done. I had read The Folk of the Air books by the time they’d all been released so I could just read it straight through. But now with “The Stolen Heir” I’m caught between waiting for the series to be finished and wanting to see the characters from The Folk of the Air series again. 


In “The Queen of Nothing” (The Folk of the Air #3) we end off with most ties in pretty, neat bows. Black did a wonderful job drawing all her lines together and leaving us with a perfectly wrapped up story. It was a satisfying end, but not a permanent one. We are left with a couple of younger characters whose futures aren’t fully decided yet. Now enter “The Stolen Heir” and the kids are no longer kids and are ready to assume the roles given to them as children. I’m not usually one for spin-off books; I didn’t keep up with Cassandra Clare’s books—though I was a huge fan of her Clockwork Angel Series. Spin-offs—like sequels—offer up the potential to ruin the integrity of the other series. 


But Black hasn’t dropped the ball before. Yes she used the miscommunication troupe, but she did so in the funniest—and also, honestly, in the most Jude and Cardan way. This is the only time I will pardon the miscommunication troupe because it also led to the ICONIC Cardan letters begging Jude to come back. Black kept the narrative very interesting and unique over the course of The Folk of the Air trilogy, and I expect this to continue with Suren and Oak’s story. I loved baby Oak and I am excited to see where Black takes his character. 


I think this story line has a lot of potential and I think Black is for sure going to live up to that. This book was scheduled to come out Jan. 3, 2023. 


Honorable mentions go to Ali Hazelwood, author of the best-seller “The Love Hypothesis,” who is releasing “Love, Theoretically.” Cassandra Clare’s third novel in The Last Hours Series, “Chain of Thorns,” is coming out in January 2023 as well. Happy reading folks.

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