Silverstone’s Book Blog Year in Review Part One

Hello and welcome to The Silverstone’s Book Blog Year in Review. The bloggers here will be reviewing their top three favorite reads of 2023. For me, it was a year of firsts as I published my first fantasy novel, received my first review, was invited to join Silverstone’s Book Blog, and participated in several contests for the indie community. I’ve made some amazing friends and hope to continue into 2024 with more triumphs.

I read over fifteen Science Fiction and Fantasy (SFF) books this year out of twenty-seven total books. I tend to read about twenty-four books a year, with thirty-two to thirty-four the most I’ve done. I have friends who read and review over one hundred books a year. I’m in awe of those who can get that much reading and review them for their blogs, bookstores, and other platforms.

Two of my books were rereads: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and The Red Knight by Miles (Christian) Cameron. I will not include them in my undertaking of my top SFF of the year but recommend both to be added to your TBR.

Several big names are on my list, including Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson, Sarah J. Maas, Robert Joran, and Holly Black. All these authors are hugely successful and beloved by many.

Other books well known to the TikTok community and Booktube are Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time and Through the Whispering Door by T. J. Klune.

I also dipped my toe into the indie side of things, starting several series, including Kings Ranger by AC Cobble, Eversong by AC Salter, The Traitors We Are by Michael Roberti, Platinum Tinted Darkness by Timothy Wolff, The Fear of Moncroix by Bryan Asher and Empire of Silence by Christian Ruocchio.

I begin with Horus Rising by Dan Abnett. This is the first book in the Warhammer 40K universe. There are prequels, sequels, and follow-ups, and from most of what I read, this is the one to start with, so I picked it up. One thing that came with this book, along with several others I read this year, was huge expectations and fan followings. Try to put those thoughts aside and embrace space marines, violence, vivid military and political situations descriptions, and cool-as-hades weapons.

Overall, this book was unexpectedly insightful and philosophical. There is darkness and violence, but it also offered interesting perspectives as it leaned into conquering worlds and colonizing peoples. I didn’t expect different religions and scientific thoughts along with the world-building that occurred.

My second book of the year is Brandon Sander’s The Way of Kings. I had my concerns about this book, and it’s not perfect. The book lingered in my thoughts, and my fingers twitched to buy the sequel after I finished. The story and world-building are grand, and like an addict, I wanted more.

My third book of the year is a surprise to most SFF authors. Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time. It is a story of a man who ages exceedingly slowly and a group of people, a corporation that works to keep his and other’s secrets. The book is emotional and filled with historical flashbacks hitting feel-good spots in my reading heart. A book that blends modern fantasy, historical fiction, and a light vampire horror vibe (no blood-sucking) just works for me.

*A slight caveat: You, dear reader, will see that my top three are traditionally published authors. That’s true, and I didn’t include any indie authors. Choosing between indie authors is exceedingly difficult. I interact with and know several of the authors on my list—some of whom I communicate with daily. To choose one, two, or three would be unfair. I do my best to lift everyone up. To that point, I plan on reading several of these authors’ follow-ups in the coming years. Out of all the indie books I read, I want you to check them out, as each story is unique.

So, if you want a book with Dune/Game of Thrones vibes, it’s out there; gods tempting humans and giant lizards performing gloriously, it’s out there, too. Whatever you wish, you can dive into a political multi-POVs conspiracy or Southern vampire intrigues.  Some like multi-general fantasy mash-ups, others dig a traditional sword & board series or even a historical fantasy set a place close to home; indie books have it all. Support Indie books, buy your local author a coffee, follow them, repost their posts, and, if you can, buy their books.

So please read, tell your friends, and support local bookshops, authors, and bloggers.


Matthew Zorich~