Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Australian Books of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, participants were supposed to list their top new-to-me authors that they read in 2022, however, I am going to do something differently here at The Unseen Library.  I already completed and published this list last week as I knew in advance that I would be doing an alternate list today.  The reason for this, and the reason I delayed putting this list up by a day, is because tomorrow, 26 January, is Australia Day, so I thought I would take this opportunity to once again highlight some of the top pieces of fiction written by Australian authors that I read in 2022.

Each year, a ton of talented Australian authors produce an impressive and exciting range of fiction from across the various genres, many of which I am lucky enough to get copies of from the local publishers.  I tend to read and review a lot of novels by Australian authors, most of which turn out to be some outstanding reads that I deeply enjoy.  As such, for the last few years on Australia Day I have taken to highlighting my favourite pieces of Australian fiction for the last few years (check out my 2019, 2020 and 2021 lists).  I really love how much awesome Australian fiction there is now, and this list is the perfect way to highlight some of the best recent Australian authors.

Now I tend to take a bit of a different approach to Australian fiction than some other bloggers, as I focus on books written by Australian authors rather than novels purely set in Australia or featuring Australian casts.  To qualify for this list, a novel had to be released in 2022 and written by an Australian author, which I am defining as anyone born in Australia or who currently lives here (Australia is very good at adopting talented people as our own).  This resulted in a long list, including several novels that I considered to be some of the best reads of last year.  I was eventually able to whittle this novel down to the absolute cream of the crop and came up with a fantastic top ten list (with my typical generous honourable mentions).  I really enjoyed how this list turned out, especially as it features novels from a range of different genres, all of which were very awesome Australian books.

Honourable Mentions:

Retribution by Sarah Barrie

Retribution Cover

Following on from her brilliant 2021 thriller, Unforgiven, Sarah Barrie continued to impress with her dark and compelling new release, Retribution, which follows an unconventional rookie cop as she takes on the worst of Sydney’s underworld.

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The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan

The Justice of Kings Cover

One of the hottest fantasy debuts of 2022, The Justice of Kings, was written by English expat turned Australian author Richard Swan.  An excellent blend of fantasy fiction, political intrigue and crime fiction, The Justice of Kings lives up to its hype and comes highly recommended.

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36 Streets by T. R. Napper

36 Streets Cover

A gripping and truly unique cyberpunk thriller set in futuristic Hanoi, 36 Streets is a great read from an awesome Australian talent.

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The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth

The Crimson Thread Cover

Kate Forsyth continued her dominance of the historical drama world with an amazing novel set on Crete during World War II.  Providing a compelling examination of the Nazi occupation of Crete while following two Australian soldiers who both fall for the same woman, The Crimson Thread was an outstanding and powerful read that is really worth checking out.

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Top Ten List:

Headcase by Jack Heath

Headcase Cover

Let’s start this list off with one of the best crime fiction books of 2022, the grizzly and deeply entertaining novel Headcase by the always impressive Jack Heath.  Heath is swiftly becoming one of my absolute favourite authors, and his amazing books, Hideout and Kill Your Brother have appeared on my 2020 and 2021 top Australian book lists respectfully.  His latest novel, Headcase, might be one of his best and while I still need to write a review for it, it is an exceptional read.  Following Heath’s cannibalistic protagonist as he investigates the mysterious death of an apparent Chinese astronaut in the NASA facility in Houston, Headcase is a brilliant and shocking read that is an absolute blast from start to finish.  I had so much wicked fun with this book, and it is a very worthy addition to this list.

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Call of Empire by Peter Watt

Call of Empire Cover

The latest book from one of my favourite historical fiction authors, Peter Watt, is another easy inclusion on this list as he continues his outstanding Colonial series with Call of Empire.  The fifth book in the Colonial series (which has previously featured The Queen’s Colonial, The Queen’s Tiger, The Queen’s Captain and The Colonial’s Son), Call of Empire continues to follow an intriguing Australian family whose members are drafted into several major wars towards the end of the 19th century.  Providing an intriguing view at Australia’s earliest military actions, Call of Empire was another awesome action-adventure novel from Watt that is a ton of fun to read.

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Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

Stay Awake Cover 2

Talented Australian thriller writer Megan Goldin continued to impress in 2022 with another complex and powerful read, Stay Awake.  Building on the success of such books as The Escape Room and The Night Swim, Stay Awake featured a unique story of a woman who awakens in New York covered in blood and with no memory of the last two years.  Hunted by a killer and unsure of what has happened to her life, the protagonist must uncover who is behind the murders before she falls asleep and loses her memories once again.  Clever, powerful and deeply intense, Stay Awake was another exceptional read from Goldin and I cannot wait to read her next book later this year.

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One Foot in the Fade by Luke Arnold

One Foot in the Fade Cover

Actor turned fantasy author Luke Arnold returned in 2022 with a particularly awesome urban fantasy novel, One Foot in the Fade.  The third book in his Fetch Phillips series, One Foot in the Fade perfectly continues the story started in Arnold’s previous books The Last Smile in Sunder City and Dead Man in a Ditch.  Set in a dark fantasy world where all the magic has been destroyed, One Foot in the Fade continues to follow Arnold’s damaged and obsessed protagonist, Fetch Phillips, as he tries to bring back the magic and save the former magical creatures he doomed.  Taking the character on a deadly adventure where he battles monsters, greedy humans and his own dark determination, One Foot in the Fade was one of Arnold’s best books yet and I cannot wait to see how he continues to grow as an author.

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The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis

The Unbelieved Cover

Next up we have The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis, which was a very easy choice to include on this list.  An extremely powerful and captivating read, The Unbelieved follows a tired detective who investigates a series of sexual assaults in a quiet Victorian town, only to come up against sexism, corruption, and a long-established code of silence.  Petraitis did something really special with The Unbelieved and I was instantly hooked by its complex story and intense examinations of how sexual crimes are perceived by rural Australians.  Not only was this one of the best debuts of 2022, but it also appeared on my top books of 2022 list as well.  A highly recommended read from an exceptional new talent.

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The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

The German Wife Cover

Another book by an Australian author that appeared on my top books of 2022 list was The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer.  Rimmer, who deeply impressed me in 2021 with her outstanding novel, The Warsaw Orphan, once again dove into the darkness of Nazi Germany with The German Wife.  Following the struggles of a German family transported to America as part of Operation Paperclip, The German Wife explores their complex life, from the prejudice they suffer in America for being former Nazis, to the terrible truth about how their country betrayed them and forced them to become monsters.  One of the best historical dramas of 2022, The German Wife is such a great book, and I cannot wait to find out how Rimmer’s next book will break my heart in 2023.

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Wake by Shelley Burr

Wake Cover

While there were quite a few good Australian crime debuts in 2022, one of my favourites was the awesome and captivating Wake by Shelley Burr.  Set in a dying rural town, Wake sees a private investigator and a damaged survivor attempt to solve an infamous mystery of a missing girl who disappeared from her bedroom years ago without anyone noticing.  However, nothing is as it seems, and the characters are dragged through an emotional roller coaster as they attempt to discover the truth.  An insanely great debut, Wake was an epic read with a very clever mystery to it.

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Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

Only a Monster Cover

Another hot debut of 2022 from an awesome new Australian author was the powerful and complex young adult fantasy book, Only a Monster by Vanessa Len.  Following a teen protagonist who discovers she is really a monster who can travel through time, Only a Monster is a powerful and surprisingly dark read which I could not get enough of. 

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Daughters of Eve by Nina D. Campbell

Daughters of Eve Cover

Few Australian crime fiction reads of 2022 contained as many shocks and intriguing examinations of gender as Daughters of Eve by debuting author Nina D. Campbell.  A series of murders in Sydney quickly turns into a nation-wide crisis once it becomes known that violently abusive men are being killed off by a women’s movement known as the Daughters of Eve.  Sharp, fast-paced, and featuring a cynical, if accurate, examination of how men would react in this situation, Daughters of Eve was an outstanding book from an amazing new talent.

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Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone Cover

The final Australian book on this list is the very fun and utterly hilarious murder mystery book, Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson.  Set at a very hostile family reunion in an isolated Australian ski resort, Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone is clever and addictive homage to classic whodunnits, only this time every suspect is already a killer in some way.  Stevenson really taps into his comedy background to produce an amazingly entertaining novel that perfectly combines mystery, humour, and awesome references to the golden age of crime fiction.  A masterful novel that perfectly showcases Stevenson’s talents as a rising Australian author.

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Well, that is the end of this latest list and I am really happy that I got a chance to highlight some of the cool Australian releases of 2022.  The above books represent an outstanding collection of fiction from talented Australian authors, and each of them comes highly recommended by me.  I had a lot of fun coming up with this list and I cannot wait to find out what the best Australian books of 2023 are going to be.  Until then, stay tuned for more epic reviews and lists, and make sure you let me know who your favourite Australian authors are in the comments below.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2022

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  The official topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday was Bookish Goals for 2023.  While this was an interesting topic, I have a slightly different Top Ten Tuesday schedule planned and instead I will be moving forward the official topic from next week and looking at New-to-Me Authors I discovered in 2022.  This is a list I have covered for the last couple of years (make sure to check out my 2019, 2020 and 2021 versions), and it is one that I always have fun doing.

Each year I am lucky enough to read a great number of awesome novels and this often includes some that were written by authors whose work I was previously unfamiliar with.  2022 was a particularly good example of this as there were an incredible collection of amazing novels written by authors who were completely new to me.  This included some debuting authors, as well as more established writers whose work I only got around to this year.  Many of these new-to-me authors produced some truly exceptional reads, some of which I consider to be some of the best books released in 2022, and I really feel the need to highlight them here.  As a result, this list may feature a bit of overlap with my top bookspre-2022 books and audiobooks lists of 2022 that I have previously published on this blog.

To appear on this list, the book had to be one I read last year and be written by an author who I was unfamiliar with before 2022.  If I had not read anything from this author before last year, it was eligible for this latest list, although I did exclude debut novels as I had another list prepared for them.  Despite this, I ended up with a massive list of potential inclusions on this list, as it appears that I read a ton of great new authors in the last year.  Despite my best efforts, I had a very hard time whittling this list down, so in the end I decided to face the inevitable and leave it as a top 20 list.  While I still had to exclude several great authors whose books I really liked, I think that I came up with a good overall list that represents which authors I am really glad that I decided to try out for the first time last year.

Top Twenty List:

Andy Clark – Steel Tread

Steel Tread Cover

One of the first new-to-me authors I check out in 2022 was Andy Clark, who immediately blew me away with his impressive writing skill in the Warhammer 40,000 novel, Steel Tread.  A gritty and character driven war story set in the close confines of a tank, Steel Tread was an exceptional read and one that I was instantly addicted to.  Easily one of the top Warhammer books of 2022, I loved Steel Tread so much and I will be diving back into Andy Clark’s catalogue of Warhammer novels when I get a chance.

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Sarah Barrie – Unforgiven and Retribution

Unforgiven Cover

I actually enjoyed two books from talented Australian crime fiction author Sarah Barrie this year, her 2021 book Unforgiven and the sequel Retribution.  Both were excellent dark crime thrillers that saw a damaged vigilante go after the very worst criminals Sydney had to offer.  I deeply enjoyed both books and their unique style has made Barrie a must-read Australian author from now on.

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Adrian Tchaikovsky – Day of Ascension

Day of Ascension Cover

It seems ridiculous that it took me until 2022 to finally read something from acclaimed science fiction and fantasy author Adrian Tchaikovsky, but that’s what happened.  While I have had the opportunity to read some of his other established series before, my first experience with Tchaikovsky’s writing was his debut Warhammer 40,000 novel Day of Ascension.  A complex and captivating read that sees a Genestealer Cult rise to overthrow a despotic government.  This was an outstanding book that combined Tchaikovsky’s unique writing style with the iconic Warhammer 40,000 setting.  I loved the gruesome and impressive story that resulted and I will have to make an effort to read more of Tchaikovsky’s books in the future.

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Boyd and Beth Morrison – The Lawless Land

The Lawless Land Cover

This was an interesting entry that actually features two new-to-me authors with the writing duo of thriller author Boyd Morrison and historian Beth Morrison.  Together these talented authors wrote one of my favourite books of 2022, The Lawless Land, an exciting and deeply entertaining historical epic that followed a fallen knight on a quest around war-torn Europe.  I had so much fun with The Lawless Land, which featured intrigue, betrayal, duels, jousts, war and so much more, and I ended up coming away a big fan of this brother/sister writing team.  There is a sequel to The Lawless Land coming out later this year, and I will make damn sure to get a copy of it when it comes out.

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Steve Lyons –Krieg

Warhammer 40,000 - Krieg Cover

Steve Lyons was a new-to-me author who particularly impressed me this year with his compelling and concise Warhammer 40,000 audiobook exclusive, Krieg.  Following one of the more iconic regiments of Imperial Guard in the franchise, the Death Korps of Krieg, Krieg is an excellent read that combines a harrowing modern war tale with an intriguing dive into the history of the planet Krieg and its deadly soldiers.  A tight and effective audiobook, Krieg comes highly recommended and I had an outstanding time listening to it.

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Dan Koboldt – Silver Queendom

Silver Queendom Cover

I was very lucky to enjoy the latest works from awesome fantasy author Dan Koboldt this year with Silver Queendom.  A deeply entertaining fantasy heist read, Silver Queendom was a lot of fun and I will be making a huge effort to read more of Koboldt’s work in the future, especially if he comes up with a sequel to this great book.

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Justin D. Hill – The Bookkeeper’s Skull

The Bookkeeper's Skull Cover

Justin D. Hill is a very well-known author in Warhammer circles, and I was very happy to finally read one of his books this year with the Warhammer Horror novel, The Bookkeeper’s Skull.  A compelling read that told a harrowing tale of murder and mutilation on a cursed farm, The Bookkeeper’s Skull was a great horror read centred around a clever mystery.  I was really impressed with the dark and tangible feeling of dread that hung over everything, and I think it really speaks to the author’s skill that he was able to tell such a compelling read in such a concise book.  I cannot wait to try out some of Hill’s other books in 2023, and I already know I am going to love them.

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Neil Gaiman – The Sandman

Sandman Act 1 Cover

I finally got around to reading something from epic author Neil Gaiman and boy was it a doozy of a tale.  I actually listened to the audiobook adaptation of his iconic The Sandman comic, which was such an incredible and dark story.  Following the immortal Dream, The Sandman features a complex and captivating tale all read out by an all-star cast.  Gaiman really showcases his incredible, if slightly insane, inventiveness in this comic and I loved how well this new format portrayed this fantastic story.

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Robert Rath – Assassinorum: Kingmaker

Assassinorum Kingmaker Cover

Few 2022 Warhammer books impressed me as much as the excellent and highly addictive Assassinorum: Kingmaker by new-to-me author Robert Rath.  A complex and action-packed tale of assassins, royal politics and mecha warfare, Assassinorum: Kingmaker is very over-the-top, even for a Warhammer 40,000 novel, and I loved every damn second of it.  The entire intense story came together perfectly and Robert Rath is definitely an author I will be reading more Warhammer books from in the future.

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Gillian McAllister – Wrong Place Wrong Time

Wrong Place Wrong Time Cover

Gillian McAllister had a brilliant year in 2022 when she released her compelling science fiction thriller, Wrong Place Wrong Time.  A twisty and complex novel that saw a mother forced back through time as she attempts to uncover the dark story behind the murder her son committed.  This was such a clever read and I have a feeling that McAllister is an author I am going to see a lot of in the future.

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Ben Counter – Van Horstmann

Van Horstmann Cover

A lucky find in a second-hand bookshop introduced me to the writings of Ben Counter when I grabbed a copy of his Warhammer Fantasy novel Van Horstmann.  An intense and entertaining read that followed a magical student’s quick slide into darkness, Van Horstmann was one of the better Warhammer Fantasy books I have ever had the pleasure of reading and I cannot wait to see what other delicious and impressive reads Counter has produced for the Black Library.

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Zoraida Cordova – Star Wars: Convergence

Star Wars - Convergence Cover

Outstanding new Star Wars author, Zoraida Cordova, ensured that the second phase of The High Republic sub-series started off in a big way with her amazing Star Wars novel Convergence.  An exciting and powerful novel that perfectly sets up future storylines while following several complex characters, Convergence was a brilliant read and one that really sets up Cordova as an author to watch out for.

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C. L. Werner – Runefang

Runefang Cover

Another new-to-me Warhammer Fantasy author I deeply enjoyed in 2022 was C. L. Werner, who wrote the gritty adventure novel Runefang.  An awesome book, Runefang followed a band of doomed heroes on a quest to recover a legendary sword to stop an undead horde, in a great, classic fantasy narrative.  Loaded with twists and surprise deaths, Runefang was an excellent read and Werner really shows off his talents with this great book.

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Justin Woolley – Catachan Devil

Catachan Devil Cover

I had to include Justin Woolley on this list, especially after I had such a fun time with his Warhammer 40,000 book, Catachan Devil.  A compelling and thoroughly entertaining story that completely explored the legendary Catachan Imperial Guards regiment, Catachan Devil was a brilliant, soldier-focused story that is really worth a read.  I look forward to seeing what other brilliant books Justin Woolley has coming out, especially if they are as good as Catachan Devil.

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Jon Hollins – Fool’s Gold

Fool's Gold Cover

One of the more entertaining new authors I tried out in 2022 was fantasy writer Jon Hollins (Jonathan Wood), as I started his epic Dragon Lords trilogy with Fool’s Gold.  A comedic and relentless fantasy heist book, Fool’s Gold followed a group of desperate adventurers as they attempt to steal a tyrannical dragons hoard.  However, when their plans go terribly wrong, they find the fate of the entire realm resting on their shoulders and must come up with an even more elaborate plan to survive.  A sharp and very, very fun book, Fool’s Gold was pretty damn awesome and I cannot wait to see what craziness Hollins featured in his other Dragon Lords novels.

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Graham McNeill – Storm of Iron

Storm of Iron Cover 2

One Warhammer author I am particularly glad I got the chance to read in 2022 was Graham McNeill with his awesome standalone novel, Storm of Iron.  A brutal and captivating siege tale that sees a giant army of Chaos Space Marines besiege an impregnable space fortress, Storm of Iron was a blast from start to finish and was near impossible to put down.  I always intended to read all of McNeill’s books at some point, but Storm of Iron ensured that I will be moving most of his novels to the very front of my to-read pile.

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M. L. Spencer – Dragon Mage

Dragon Mage Cover

I finally got around to reading M. L. Spencer’s Dragon Mage in 2022, a book I have had my mind on for a while.  Dragon Mage was an elaborate and classic fantasy tale about heroes and dragons which really showcased Spencer’s imagination and writing talent and took the reader on a complex, character-driven ride.  A great book from an exceptional author.

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Alec Worley – Dredge Runners and The Wraithbone Phoenix

The Wraithbone Phoenix Cover

Another exceptional new-to-me Warhammer author I read for the first time in 2022 was Alec Worley, who really impressed me with his outstanding work.  I actually read two things from Worley this year, the fun novella Dredge Runners and the exciting and compelling full novel The Wraithbone Phoenix.  Both books followed a unique duo of criminals in a futuristic Warhammer city as they engage in a series of bungled heists and cons against a range of outrageous foes.  Both of these entries were pretty damn exceptional, and Worley really showcased his amazing writing ability with them.  A very talented author who I am very glad I came across.

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Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland – Path of Deceit

Star Wars - Path of Deceit Cover

The cool team of Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland pulled out an awesome and solid young adult Star Wars book with Path of Deceit.  Serving as an outstanding prequel to the previous High Republic novels, Path of Deceit was an amazing novel from these authors, and I had a wonderful time reading some from this cool team for the first time.

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Edoardo Albert – Kasrkin

Warhammer 40,000 - Kasrkin Cover

I doubt anyone is too surprised that the final author on this list, Edoardo Albert is yet another writer of Warhammer fiction.  I was very happy to come across Albert’s latest novel in 2022, Kasrkin, which follows an elite unit of soldiers as they brave a desert planet, only to face off against a series of dangerous foes.  Tight, action-packed, and making excellent use of its Warhammer 40,000 elements, Kasrkin did a good job of highlighting Albert’s superb ability and I had an outstanding time with this great book. 

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Well, that’s the end of this latest Top Ten list.  I think it turned out rather well and it encapsulates some of the best new authors I checked out in 2022.  I look forward to reading more books from these authors in the future and I have no doubt they will produce more epic and incredible reads.  Make sure to let me know which new authors you enjoyed in 2022 in the comments below and make sure to check back next week for another exciting list.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Meant to Read in 2022 but Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  For this week’s Waiting on Wednesday, participants were required to list their most anticipated books for the first half of 2023.  However, as I covered this last week with two separate lists (one for fantasy and science fiction, and one for other genres), I am instead mixing things up and instead featuring the top books of 2022 that I wanted to read but didn’t get a chance to.

2022 was a great year for novels and I had an outstanding time getting through a solid collection of cool new releases and older novels, which were pretty much all epic and impressive reads.  However, no matter how hard one tries, there are always a couple of books each year that I did not get a chance to read, either due to time constraints, lack of access or from being overwhelmed with other books that I really wanted to read.  As a result, this is a list that is rather tinged with regret, as each book I plan to mention below is one that I really wish I had taken the time to read.

To complete this list, I pulled together some of the more interesting and compelling sounding novels that I did not get a chance to read in the last year.  Each entry was released last year and while I knew that they were coming out, I did not get a chance to read any of them.  In many cases I have these books sitting on my shelf at this moment, silently and constantly judging me, and I think I will have to try and read them to stop their bookish glares.  I was eventually able to cull my list of regret down to 10 entries with an honourable mentions section.  The final list is an interesting collection of books from across the genres and includes a couple of big 2022 releases I did not get a chance to look at.

Honourable Mentions:

Road of Bones by Christopher Golden

Road of Bones Cover

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Three-Edged Sword by Jeff Lindsay

Three-Edged Sword Cover

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The Girl and the Moon by Mark Lawrence

The Girl and the Moon Cover

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Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham

Age of Ash Cover

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Top Ten List:

Kingdoms of Death and Ashes of Man by Christopher Ruocchio

Kingdom of Death and Ashes of Man Covers

A joint entry to start things off as there were actually two books in the excellent Sun Eater series by Christopher Ruocchio released in 2022.  Unfortunately, I missed both, but hopefully I get chance to read them in 2023 as this is an extremely good series to get into.

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An Empty Throne by Robert Fabbri

An Empty Throne Cover

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The Misfit Soldier by Michael Mammay

The Misfit Soldier Cover

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The Bladed Faith by David Dalglish

The Bladed Faith Cover

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Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Nona the Ninth Cover

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Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith by Adam Christopher

Shadow of the Sith Cover

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Falling Sky by Harry Sidebottom

Falling Sky Cover

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Khaos by Jeremy Robinson

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Warhammer 40,000: Witchbringer by Steven B. Fischer

Warhammer 40,000 - Witchbringer Cover

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The Starless Crown by James Rollins

The Starless Crown Cover

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Well, that is the end of my latest list and it looks like I have a lot catch-up reading to do if I am going to make a dent in it.  There are some truly amazing-sounding novels on this list and I fully intend to get through all of them at some point, although with all the outstanding books coming out in 2023, it might take me a little time.  In the meantime, let me know what books you most regret not reading in 2022 in the comments below.

Top Ten Tuesday – Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023 (Fantasy and Science Fiction)

Welcome to my second Top Ten Tuesday list of the week, were I look at my most anticipated fantasy novels coming out in the first half of 2023.  Traditionally I usually only do one list to represent the top upcoming books for the year, however, I was inspired to separate out the fantasy and science fiction novels into a second list due to all the awesome and impressive reads from these genres coming out extremely soon.

2023 is shaping up to be an outstanding year for fantasy and science fiction with a ton of epic and amazing sounding novels set for release throughout the year.  I am particularly excited about the next six months as there are some deeply impressive books coming out that I am extremely excited for.  This includes some fantastic sounding sequels, continuations to brilliant series, and several cool new novels from some very talented authors.  I have already highlighted several of these books in some previous lists and Waiting on Wednesday articles which has made me really appreciate just how awesome the upcoming year is going to be fantasy wise, hence this list.

Just like with my other list of the night, I am only featuring books that are set for release in Australia between 1 January 2023 and 30 June 2023 which I have some descent details about.  Despite only being fantasy and science fiction books, I ended up with a huge collection of exceptional novels that I wanted to feature, which made completing this list surprisingly difficult.  I was eventually able to break it down to the best 10 books (with honourable mentions), and I feel that I have capture the books that are going to be the best fantasy reads of 2023.  So let us see what made the cut.

Honourable Mentions:

Star Wars: The Battle of Jedha by George Mann – 3 January 2023

Star Wars - The Battle of Jedha Cover

The High Republic is set to continue in a big way in the coming days with the full-cast audiobook, The Battle of Jedha that will see a massive confrontation break out between the various Force cults on Jedha.

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Engines of Chaos by Richard S. Ford – 4 April 2023

Engines of Chaos Cover

The follow-up to Ford’s 2022 novel, Engines of Empire, Engines of Chaos will continue to explore Ford’s great steampunk fantasy world and the massive revolution brewing within.

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The Will of the Many by James Islington – 23 May 2023

The Will of the Many Cover

A fun upcoming fantasy read that will put a darker face on the classic magic school story.

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Top Ten List

Son of the Poison Rose by Jonathan Maberry – 10 January 2023

Son of the Poison Rose Cover

2023 is off to a very strong start on the fantasy front with the next upcoming book from the always amazing Jonathan Maberry, Son of the Poison Rose.  The follow-up to one of the best books and audiobooks of 2022, Kagen the Damned, Son of the Poison Rose will continue to follow broken warrior Kagen Vale as he attempts to save his kingdom from the reign of the murderous Witch-king.  Set to feature more adventures, deadly action and complex characters, Son of the Poison Rose is another guaranteed five-star book, and I cannot wait to see what happens in this complex series next.

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Downfall by Louise Carey – 10 January 2023

Downfall Cover

One of the best, underrated science-fiction series of the last couple of years has been Louise Carey’s Inscape trilogy.  Featuring the excellent novels, Inscape (one of my favourite debuts of 2021) and Outcast, this great series follows two damaged protagonists through a dark dystopian future of advanced technology and warring corporations.  Carey ended her second novel, Outcast, on a great cliff-hanger and I am really keen to find out how she plans to conclude this amazing trilogy with Downfall.

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Seven Faceless Saints by M. K. Lobb – 7 February 2023

Seven Faceless Saints Cover

A fantastic and fun upcoming young adult fantasy read that will set two different protagonists on a deadly mission to uncover a murderer within a corrupt fantasy city.  An intriguing fantasy mystery that has already grabbed my attention.

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The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan – 14 February 2023

The Tyranny of Faith Cover

After wowing the world with his 2022 novel, The Justice of Kings, Richard Swan will continue his epic Empire of the Wolf series this year with The Tyranny of Faith.  Following two supernatural peacekeepers in a deadly fantasy empire, The Tyranny of Faith will once again feature the great combination of mystery, politics, intrigue and magic that made The Justice of Kings such a great book.  I have no doubt this will be one of the most popular fantasy novels of 2023 and I look forward to reading it very soon.

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The Shadow Casket by Chris Wooding – 16 February 2023

The Shadow Casket Cover

One of the fantasy books that I am most excited for in 2023 is The Shadow Casket by Chris Wooding.  The follow up to his epic novel, The Ember Blade, I have been waiting for years for The Shadow Casket to come out and I luckily, I only have a month left before I can dive into to.  The Ember Blade was an exceptional and massive read and the sequel will see the surviving protagonists continue to try and ignite a rebellion against their despotic occupiers.  Sure to be one of the very best fantasy books of 2023, I am so very glad that I can finally continue this exceptional series.

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Star Wars: Cataclysm by Lydia Kang – 4 April 2022

Star Wars - Cataclysm Cover

I have been deeply enjoying the current phase of the outstanding High Republic Star Wars series, and the next major entry is coming out in April with Cataclysm by Lydia Kang.  While we don’t currently have a lot of plot detail about Cataclysm, it will no doubt continue the elaborate prequel narrative of this second phase and should produce an epic read.  All the books in this second phase have been really good and I am confident that will continue with Cataclysm.

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The Sword Defiant by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan- 2 May 2023

The Sword Defiant Cover

After absolutely killing it with his highly acclaimed Black Iron Legacy series, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan is once again looking to set the fantasy world on fire with The Sword Defiant.  An outstanding upcoming book with a very cool cover to it, The Sword Defiant will follow a legendary hero has he attempts to rally his former companions on a new quest to save the world.  However, the dark swords they claimed during this first mission together has corrupted them all, leading to a deadly and tragic new mission that will pit the protagonist against his former friends.  The Sword Defiant has an outstanding plot behind it and I feel it has the potential to be one of the very best books of 2023.

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The Book that Wouldn’t Burn by Mark Lawrence – 11 May 2023

The Book That Wouldn't Burn Cover

It is always a very safe bet that Mark Lawrence will have one of the best fantasy/science fiction books of a year and I am already hyped up for his next novel, The Book that Wouldn’t Burn.  Set in a massive fantasy library, The Book that Wouldn’t Burn is the first entry in a bold new fantasy series, filled with adventure, blood and knowledge, and I cannot wait to dive into it later this year.

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Witch King by Martha Wells – 30 May 2023

Witch King Cover

One of the biggest names currently in science fiction, Martha Wells returns to her fantasy roots in 2023 with Witch King.  Set to follow a deadly demon who awakens from his trap to find himself being controlled by a lesser mage, Witch King has a fun and entertaining plot to it, and I have a feeling I am really going to love this amazing upcoming read.

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Gods of the Wyrdwood by R. J. Barker – 27 June 2023

The final entry on this list could be one of the very best as one of the hottest and most wildly inventive fantasy authors of the current age presents an amazing new story with Gods of the Wyrdwood by R. J. Barker.  Barker has consistently been one of the very best fantasy authors of recent years with The Wounded Kingdom (featuring Age of Assassins, Blood of Assassins and King of Assassins) and The Tide Child (featuring The Bone Ships, Call of the Bone Ships and The Bone Ship’s Wake) trilogies.  Each of Barker’s books have been outstandingly complex and powerful dark fantasy reads, so I am very excited for Gods of Wyrdwood which will set up The Forsaken Trilogy.  While we currently don’t have a cover for Gods of the Wyrdwood, the plot sounds pretty damn exceptional as it will follow a former chosen one, whose destiny was stolen from him as he once again forced into the spotlight.  Sure to be one of the most compelling and powerful reads of 2023, Gods of the Wyrdwood is going to be so damn epic.

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Well that’s the end of this second list.  As you can see, there are some mighty impressive fantasy and science fiction books coming out the first half of this year.  All the above entries on this list have an incredible amount of potential and I have a feeling I am going to deeply enjoy every single of one of these great reads.  2023 is going to be an outstanding year for these two genres, not only with these amazing books, but because of some of the other ones potentially coming out later this.  I look forward to seeing how all these cool novels turn out and I think I am going to have an incredible time reading fantasy and science fiction in 2023.

Top Ten Tuesday – Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023 (Mystery, thrillers, comics and historical fiction)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. For the first Top Ten Tuesday of 2023, I will be listing my most anticipated upcoming books for the first half of the year.  This is a regular post I do each year and I always look forward to highlighting the most awesome looking books for the start of the year. I am actually planning to do two versions of this list, one that will exclusively look at upcoming fantasy and science fiction books, and this one that will focus on upcoming books from other genres, including thrillers, crime fiction, historical fiction, comics and more.

Despite only just starting, 2023 is already shaping up to be an epic and exciting year for books with a huge range of impressive and highly anticipated novels due for release in the next 12 months.  This includes exciting debuts, anticipated sequels and the latest entries in beloved bestselling series.  The first half of the year is looking particularly awesome, with a substantial number of incredible upcoming releases that I am deeply looking forward to. 

Even though I excluded fantasy and science fiction books, this ended up being a rather difficult list to pull together due to all the awesome releases coming out in Australia between 1 January 2023 and 30 June 2023.  There were way too many extraordinary upcoming books that I could have included, and I ended up having to make some very tough calls and cutting several novels that have an immense amount of potential.  Despite this, I am rather happy with the eventual choices that I made, and I think that this list reflects the upcoming novels and comics I am going to have the most fun reading.  I have mentioned several of these books before in my weekly Waiting on Wednesday articles, and some of them also appeared on my recent Summer TBR list.  However, there are also some interesting new books that I am discussing for the first time here, so that should give this list a bit of variety.  So let us get to my selections and find out which upcoming novels are my most anticipated releases for the first half of 2023.

Honourable Mentions:

The Last Kingdom by Steve Berry – 21 February 2023

The Last Kingdom Cover

The next entry in Steve Berry’s brilliant Cotton Malone series, The Last Kingdom has a lot of potential for a fun read.  Set to feature a compelling historical conspiracy, I know I’m going to have a lot of fun with this book and I can’t wait to read it.

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The Kind Worth Saving by Peter Swanson – 28 February 2023

The Kind Worth Saving Cover

I have been having a lot of fun with Peter Swanson’s crime fiction books lately and I’m sure his upcoming book, The Kind Worth Saving, is going to be awesome.

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Battle Song by Ian Ross – 28 March 2023

Battle Song Cover

A fantastic sounding historical read, loaded with war, corrupt knights and deadly tournaments.

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Top Ten List:

Unnatural History by Jonathan Kellerman – 14 February 2023

Unnatural History Cover

I am always guaranteed to have an amazing time in the first half of the year with the latest Alex Delaware novel by Jonathan Kellerman.  I have deeply enjoyed several recent books in this long-running series (including The Wedding Guest, The Museum of Desire, Serpentine and City of the Dead) and I am very excited for the next entry. Set to focus on the murder of a controversial photographer, the always entertaining team of psychologist Alex Delaware and his best friend, Lieutenant Milo Sturgis, must determine if his death was the result of his work or his uber-rich family.  Sure to be one of the best mysteries of 2023.

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The Last Orphan by Gregg Hurwitz – 14 February 2023

The Last Orphan Cover

One of the best current thriller authors, Gregg Hurwitz, continues his deep and action-packed Orphan X series with The Last Orphan.  This latest book will see the former government agent turned vigilante protagonist Evan Smoak forced to decide whether to take one last contract for the United States Government or risk his freedom and his new life by defying the President.  This has been a consistently awesome series (I have had an amazing time with previous entries, Out of the Dark, Into the Fire, Prodigal Son and Dark Horse), and Hurwitz has set up some compelling and emotionally rich storylines heading into The Last Orphan.  I know I am going to love this book and I cannot wait to read it.

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Dead of Night by Simon Scarrow – 16 February 2023

Dead of Night Cover

One of my favourite historical fiction authors, Simon Scarrow, returns with another complex historical murder mystery set in Nazi Germany.  The sequel to his previous novel, Blackout, Dead of Night will present the reader with another dark murder where the principled detective protagonist is forced to go against the wishes of the Nazi regime.  I always deeply enjoy anything Scarrow writes, but I have a feeling this is going to be a particularly epic read.

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Burner by Mark Greaney – 21 February 2022

Burner Cover

Few books in the first half of 2023 have me more excited than the new Gray Man novel from Mark Greaney, Burner.  Following on from such epic reads as The Gray Man, Mission Critical, One Minute Out (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2020), Relentless (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021) and Sierra Six (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2022), Burner has a lot to live up to, but with Greaney at the helm I already know I am going to love it.  This latest book will place protagonist Court Gentry firmly between the CIA and the Russian mob in an explosive and entertaining confrontation.  This will no doubt be another five-star read and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

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Usagi Yojimbo: The Green Dragon by Stan Sakai – 21 February 2023

Usagi Yojimbo - Volume 38 - The Green Dragon Cover

I had to include the next entry of one of my favourite comic series on this list with the upcoming Usagi Yojimbo volume, The Green Dragon by Stan Sakai.  I absolutely love this epic comic series and every new volume is a must read for me, especially after some of the recent awesome volumes released in colour (Bunraku and Other Stories, Homecoming, Tengu War! and Crossroads).  This new volume will feature two amazing sounding stories and I already know I am going to have an exceptional time reading it.

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City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita – 28 February 2023

City Under One Roof Cover

One of the more intriguing debuts of 2023 is the excellent sounding murder mystery book, City Under One Roof by screenwriter Iris Yamashita.  Set in a unique community, City Under One Roof has an awesome story behind it and I am very excited to dive into this complex and compelling mystery.

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Her Sweet Revenge by Sarah Bonner – 6 April 2023

Her Sweet Revenge Cover

After presenting one of the very best debuts of 2022, Her Perfect Twin, author Sarah Bonner returns with another elaborate thriller in Her Sweet Revenge.  Set around two women who have very different reactions to the same mysterious note, Her Sweet Revenge looks set to be another twisty and addictive read that I have extremely high hopes for.

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Fatal Legacy by Lindsey Davis – 11 April 2023

Fatal Legacy Cover

The always impressive Lindsey Davis has yet another book in her long-running Flavia Albia series coming out in a few months with Fatal Legacy.  The 11th entry in this great historical murder mystery series (which has featured excellent reads like Pandora’s Boy, A Capitol Death, The Grove of the Caesars, A Comedy of Terrors and Desperate Undertaking), Fatal Legacy presents the reader with another intriguing case in the iconic setting of ancient Rome.  This time focused on a complex legal dispute between two rival families, Fatal Legacy has a great deal of promise and should be a wildly entertaining read.

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The Lake House by Sarah Beth Durst – 25 April 2023

The Lake House Cover Better

I have had an epic time with some of Sarah Beth Durst’s recent fantasy novels such as Race the Sands and The Bone Maker, so I am excited to follow her into a different genre with her upcoming young adult thriller The Lake House.  A fun and intense sounding book with some major horror vibes, The Lake House sees three young women arrive at a remote summer camp to find it abandoned with a dead body in the woods.  I can’t wait to see Durst’s take on a classic horror scenario, and I have a lot of faith that this is going to be an exceptional book.

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Empire by Conn Iggulden – 25 May 2023

Empire Cover

One of the very best historical fiction books of 2023 is definitely going to be the next book by legendary author Conn Iggulden, Empire.  The fourth book in his current series about ancient Athens (which has previously featured The Gates of Athens, Protector and Lion), Empire will follow the rise of Pericles and shows the early stages of the upcoming war between Athens and Sparta.  Set to be filled with exquisite historic details and outrageous figures from the fast, Empire is going to be an amazing read with a great story to it.

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That is the end of this list.  I am extremely happy with how my latest Top Ten Tuesday article turned out and this list contains an intriguing collection of upcoming books that should prove to be incredible reads.  I think that nearly every one of these books has the potential to get a full five-star rating from me and I cannot wait to see what amazing and exciting stories they contain.  While I am waiting to get my hands on these books, why not let me know if any of the above interest you, as well as what your most anticipated releases for the next six months are in the comments below.  Also, make sure to check out my other Top Ten List with the top upcoming fantasy books of 2023.

Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Books of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  In this final Top Ten Tuesday for the year, I am going to list my absolute favourite books of 2022, which is something I look forward to every year.  This is a bit of a continuation of a series of lists I have been doing over the last month which have highlighted some of the authors and books I have been most impressed with this year, including my favourite audiobooksfavourite debuts and my top pre-2022 books I read this year.  However, this list here is the big one as it covers my absolute favourite releases of the year, of which there are quite a few.

I think we can all agree that 2022 has been another roller-coaster year for the world, but thankfully readers got a bit of solace from the fact that this was an amazing year for books, with a huge range of incredible releases coming out across the genres.  Not only did several outstanding new series start but we had some exceptional debuts and several incredible trilogies conclude in a big way.  I have had an amazing time reading or listening to so many outstanding books this year and quite a few releases have become instant favourites.  I must admit that I somewhat struggled to pull this list together, as there were so many books that deserved to be mentioned.  Therefore, because I am a very soft touch, and because the quality of the books I read this year was so impressive, I have decided to expand this list out to 20 entries (just like I have the last three years).  These 20 books are my absolute favourites from 2022, and I would strongly recommend every one of them to anyone interested in a great read.

To make it onto this list a book needed to be released here in Australia during 2022 and I had to have read it.  I have naturally excluded anything I haven’t read yet, even if there were quite a few awesome-sounding books I sadly didn’t squeeze into my reading schedule for this year, although I am sure that several of those would have made the cut.  I decided to leave off my usual Honourable Mentions section as the extra 10 entries kind of make it unnecessary.  There will be a bit of crossover between the below entries and some of my previous lists.  Several novels also appeared on my Top Ten Favourite Audiobooks of 2022 list and my Top Ten Favourite Books from the First Half of 2022 list which I ran back into July.  Overall, I am fairly happy with how this Top 20 list turned out and I think it contains a pretty good range of novels that really showcases the different types of books that I chose to read this year.  So without further ado, here is the list.

Top Ten List (no particular order):

The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman

The Bullet That Missed Cover

The first entry on this list was a real no-brainer with the new Thursday Murder Club novel, The Bullet That Missed by British comedian Richard Osman.  The Bullet That Missed follows on from The Thursday Murder Club (one of my favourite books, audiobooks, and debuts of 2020) and The Man Who Died Twice (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021) and might be one of Osman’s best novels yet.  Featuring his deeply likeable cast of pensioner crime solvers, The Bullet That Missed introduced another compelling murder investigation, loaded with intrigue, comedy and some deeply human moments.  Impossible to put down once you start, The Bullet That Missed was a very easy entry for this list and comes extremely highly recommended.

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A Practical Guide to Conquering the World by K. J. Parker

A Practical Guide to Conquering the World Cover

One of the very first books I read in 2022 was another easy pick for this list with the awesome fantasy comedy novel, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World.  The third and final book in K. J. Parker’s loosely connected Siege series, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World is an addictive and wildly funny read that sees a scholar become ruler of a fantasy world through a series of schemes and strange coincidences.  Featuring another wildly unreliable narrator, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World is a brilliant continuation of the outrageous tales told in Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City (one of my favourite books of 2019) and How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It and it is easily one of the most hilarious and cleverest books of the year.

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Usagi Yojimbo: Tengu War! and Usagi Yojimbo: Crossroads by Stan Sakai

Usagi Joint Cover

Ok, so I am slightly cheating by combining two books into one entry, but when it comes to one of my favourite comic book series, the excellent Usagi Yojimbo comics by Stan Sakai, I have a hard time picking favourites.  Usually this isn’t an issue as Sakai generally only releases one volume of his comic a year.  However, in 2022, there were two Usagi Yojimbo volumes, the intense and compelling 36th volume, Tengu War! and the fast-paced 37th volume Crossroads.  Loaded with clever stories, complex characters, and some absolutely gorgeous artwork, both of volumes were extremely good and there was no way I could exclude either from this list.

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Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh! by Nate Crowley

Ghazghkull Thraka - Prophet of the Waaagh! Cover

2022 was a very, very good year for Warhammer 40,000 fiction and I have had an outstanding time getting through some of the best additions to this delightful extended universe.  Out of all this year’s releases, one of the best was Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh! by Nate Crowley, which features a unique and hilarious take on an iconic and ultra-destructive ork character.  A brilliant story told across multiple narrators (something that really pops in the audiobook format), Crowley featured all the right notes of action, comedy, dark treachery, and a clever examination of one of the game’s most iconic alien factions.  I had such an amazing time reading Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh!, and this is an absolute must-read for all fans of Warhammer fiction.

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Kagen the Damned by Jonathan Maberry

Kagen the Damned Cover

I doubt anyone is too surprised that the new Jonathan Maberry novel has shown up here.  I have featured several of Maberry’s recent releases on previous iterations of this list, although usually they are either horror or science fiction thriller releases, such as Ink, Rage and Relentless, however, in 2022 Maberry made the jump to epic fantasy fiction in a big way with the dark and despair-laden novel, Kagen the Damned.  The first book in an epic new series, Kagen the Damned follows a broken and devastated former hero who, after his royal charges are brutally murdered, finds himself damned by the gods.  But even hunted and damaged beyond all believe, he is still the deadliest man in the kingdom, and he sets off on a bloody mission of revenge.  Intense from the very first scene, Kagen the Damned was an exceptional read that gives you Maberry’s usual serving of blood, traumatised characters and dark deeds, this time in a great new fantasy setting.  I deeply enjoyed this exceptional read and I look forward to the next book which is being released very, very soon.

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Desperate Undertaking by Lindsey Davis

Desperate Undertaking Cover 2

The master of the historical mystery, Lindsey Davis, came up with another wonderful entry in her long-running Flavia Albia series this year with Desperate Undertaking.  A compelling murder mystery set in ancient Rome, Desperate Undertaking follows intrepid and clever investigator Flavia Albia as she tries to catch a deadly serial killer who stages their kills to mimic iconic scenes from ancient plays.  A very entertaining, compelling and dark tale, Desperate Undertaking is one of Davis’s best books yet and I was hooked almost instantly with it.

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The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne

The Hunger of the Gods Cover

I was very excited to read the new fantasy epic from John Gwynne, The Hunger of the Gods, this year, and it was a very worthy addition to this best-of-2022 list.  The sequel to last year’s exceptional novel, The Shadow of the Gods, The Hunger of the Gods continues Gwynne’s Norse-inspired fantasy tale, which follows several distinctive protagonists as they embark on multiple epic quests across a war-torn world whose destructive gods are re-awakening.  The Hunger of the Gods perfectly continued the amazing story started in the first book, and I once again fell in love with the detailed battles, intriguing dark fantasy world and the brilliant characters.  I had such an incredible time with this book and I cannot wait to see how Gwynne continues this awesome story in the future.

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Desert Star by Michael Connelly

Desert Star Cover

I have a very hard time excluding Michael Connelly from this list ever year and 2022 is no exception as I had a fantastic time with his latest book, Desert Star.  Once again teaming up two of his best characters, Desert Star was a complex and captivating crime fiction read that featured two great and emotionally charged cases.  I loved how this amazing book came together and I was especially impressed with the deeply personal tale Connelly told of his long-running protagonist, Harry Bosch, as he becomes obsessed with solving a murder that has long haunted him.  An excellent crime fiction book with a rich, character-driven narrative, Desert Star was an easy choice for this list and I am really intrigued to see what happens with this book’s main characters next.

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Sierra Six by Mark Greaney

Sierra Six Cover

Mark Greaney continues to shine with another great entry in his ambitious Gray Man series this year.  Following on from impressive reads like The Gray Man, Mission Critical, One Minute Out and Relentless, Sierra Six was another outstanding read that I really got drawn into.  Telling a multi-layered story set in both the past and the present, Sierra Six followed protagonist Court Gentry as he attempts to get revenge for one of his first missions with an enemy, he long thought was dead.  A tight, captivating read that makes excellent use of multiple timelines, Sierra Six was an amazing read that is highly recommended for all fans of the spy thriller.

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Against All Gods by Miles Cameron

Against all Gods Cover

Miles Cameron continues to showcase his writing range in 2022 with another five-star read in Against All Gods.  Set in a unique, bronze-age inspired fantasy world were angry gods rule humanity with an iron fist, Against All Gods follows a group of rebel humans who are dragged into a deadly, divine conspiracy by a crazed god of chaos who seeks the end of all her fellow deities.  A powerful and captivating read, Against All Gods was so much fun and I look forward to the upcoming sequel.

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Assassinorum: Kingmaker by Robert Rath

Assassinorum Kingmaker Cover

The other outstanding Warhammer 40,000 entry I had to include on this list was the incredibly epic Assassinorum: Kingmaker by Robert Rath.  This non-stop book follows three elite assassins as they must plot to assassinate a king, bonded to a massive mecha suit, while also ending an insidious conspiracy.  Extremely over-the-top, but with a compelling and well thought out narrative, Assassinorum: Kingmaker was a very addictive read that had so many great elements to it, from intense mecha warfare, to some complex and enjoyable characters.  An easy five-star read; this was one of the best Warhammer books I have ever read.

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The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

The German Wife Cover

Last year I was extremely wowed by the deep and captivating historical drama, The Warsaw Orphan by Australian author Kelly Rimmer, which was such an exceptional read.  As such, I was very happy to receive a copy of Rimmer’s new book this year, The German Wife, which also blew me away.  Another complex historical drama, The German Wife examined the compelling story of the family of a former Nazi rocket scientist who are relocated to America as part of Operation Paperclip.  Facing prejudice from their new neighbours who only see them as the enemy, Rimmer reveals the true story behind this troubled family and the various evils they faced during the Nazi reign.  Heartbreaking, incredibly touching and a timely examination of the insidiousness of evil, The German Wife was a powerful and poignant book that I had to include on this list.

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In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan

In the Shadow of Lightning Cover

Another amazing and highly addictive fantasy read was In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan.  The first book in an intriguing new series centred around glass-based magic, In the Shadow of Lightning was a very compelling read that followed four great characters as they get involved with elaborate conspiracies, deadly politics and a massive war.  Near impossible to put down, In the Shadow of Lightning was such an incredible read and I cannot rave about this new series enough.

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The Lawless Land by Boyd and Beth Morrison

The Lawless Land Cover

One of most entertaining reads of 2022 had to be the very fun historical adventure novel, The Lawless Land, by new-to-me writing duo, Boyd and Beth Morrison.  Set in the 14th century amongst war and plague, The Lawless Land follows a disgraced knight and a runaway bride as they attempt to keep a precious holy relic out of the hands of a corrupt cardinal and a deranged English noble.  A continuously exciting and historically detailed book, The Lawless Land really grabbed my attention and I had such an amazing time reading this awesome historical novel.  I hope this great writing team present more fantastic books in the future and I look forward to reading them.

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The Martyr by Anthony Ryan

The Martyr Cover

Few books impressed me as much this year as The Martyr, the gripping and action-packed sequel to Anthony Ryan’s 2021 book, The Pariah.  Continuing the tale of Alwyn Scribe, a former outlaw who now works for a religious zealot, The Martyr is an elaborate tale of war, politics and fate as Alwyn finds himself amid a deadly war for the future.  Filled with some amazing action, including two exceptional sieges, The Martyr was a blast the entire way through, and I had such an incredible time reading it.

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Death of the Black Widow by James Patterson and J. D. Barker

Death of the Black Widow Cover

I had so much damn fun this year reading the cool thriller, Death of the Black Widow, written by the superb writing team of James Patterson and J. D. Barker.  Following a cop who becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman he meets his first night on the job, Death of the Black Widow sees the protagonist get caught in a decades long investigation to find her and stop the strange deaths that follow her appearance.  An excellent and highly exciting thriller that features some clever horror elements, I had a fantastic time reading this amazing read and I just had to include it on this list.

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The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik

The Golden Enclaves Cover Better

After really showcasing her skills in the last two years with her excellent, dark homages to the magical school genre with A Deadly Education and The Last Graduate, Naomi Novik brings her Scholomance trilogy to an incredible end with The Golden Enclaves.  Now set outside of the magic school, The Golden Enclaves sees main protagonist, Galadriel “El” Higgins, attempt to save the magic world while also getting over the traumatic cliff-hanger Novik left us on at the end of The Last Graduate.  Living up to all its potential, The Golden Enclaves had a fantastic story that perfectly wrapped up the series while hitting the reader with some well-foreshadowed twists and revelations.  I cannot wait to see what Novik will write next, but I know I am going to love it.

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Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch

Amongst our Weapons Cover

I was very lucky to receive a copy of the latest Rivers of London book by Ben Aaronovitch this year, Amongst Our Weapons, and it quickly became a favourite 2022 read of mine.  Seamlessly blending a classic police procedural story with a unique fantasy setting, Amongst Our Weapons sees main character Peter Grant investigate a series of magical murders across London that were apparently committed by an angel.  The book’s tight mystery and well-thought-out fantasy elements are expertly combined to produce an exceptional narrative that I had a blast with.  An outstanding read that once again shows why Aaronovitch is one of the best urban fantasy writers now.

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The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis

The Unbelieved Cover

There were many amazing debuts in 2022 but one that I found particularly impressive was the gritty Australian crime fiction read, The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis.  Set in rural Australia, The Unbelieved follows a damaged cop as she attempts to investigate a series of sexual assaults in her seemingly quiet small town, only to run into a wall of silence from the locals.  A slick and powerful read that contains a great story, The Unbelieved also served as a commentary on the perception of sexual violence in modern society which really hits you hard.  Petraitis really showed herself to be an outstanding new writing talent this year and I am very glad I was able to include The Unbelieved on this list.

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The Voyage of the Forgotten by Nick Martell

The Voyage of the Forgotten Cover

The final entry on my list is another slightly cheeky entry, mainly because I haven’t finished it yet.  This book is The Voyage of the Forgotten by Nick Martell, one of my most anticipated fantasy reads of 2022 which I only just started listening to last week.  The third and final book in Martell’s Legacy of the Mercenary King trilogy, The Voyage of the Forgotten follows on from the exceptional novels, The Kingdom of Liars and The Two-Faced Queen, which introduced and expanded a massively complex and elaborate fantasy tale of betrayal, world-ending plots, magic, and battles between hidden immortals.  I had such a great time with the previous two books in the series and I am deeply intrigued to see how Martell wraps everything up in the final book.  I am about halfway through The Voyage of the Forgotten and it is proving to be a particularly epic and captivating read that I am having a very hard time putting down, especially as every scene seems to reveal a new secret or answer a question from the previous books.  I cannot wait to find out how Martell ends this incredible trilogy and based on how good the first half of this book has been, there was no way I could exclude The Voyage of the Forgotten from this best of 2022 list.

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Well, those are my 20 favourite books of 2022. It turned out to be quite a good list in the end, and I am very glad that I was able to highlight so many fantastic books.  2023 is set to be another excellent year for amazing reads, and I will be examining some of my most anticipated books for the first half of the year next week.  In the meantime, let me know what your favourite books of 2022 were in the comments below, and make sure you all have a happy and safe New Years.

Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Audiobooks of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  The official topic for this list was Books I Hope Santa Brings, and, while this did sound like a fun topic, I instead decided to continue my annual end of year wrap up of some of the best books of 2022.  In previous weeks I have highlighted some of the best debuts of 2022, as well as the best pre-2022 novels I read in the last year, but this week I am going to look at something near and dear to my hear, the best audiobooks of 2021.

Readers of my blog only need to check out my extensive audiobook category to know that I have a lot of love for the audiobook format.  In my opinion, the audiobook is often the best way to experience a good book, and in many cases, this format makes a book a lot more enjoyable for me.  As a result, I listened to quite a few audiobooks this year, and while several of them are books that had been released before 2022 and featured in my Throwback Thursday posts, a large majority of them were released this year. There were some truly outstanding and impressive audiobooks released this year, and I already know that I am going to have an extremely hard time coming up with the final version of this list. 

For this list I have only included audiobooks released in 2022 that I have listened to and completed, so I am excluding a few audiobooks that were probably pretty awesome, but which I didn’t have a chance to listen to.  Despite this, I still ended up with a long list of extremely good audiobooks, all of which were extremely worthy of appearing on this post.  To help cut this down, I too into account a range of consideration, including quality of the original novel, skill of the narrator, production value, pacing and other factors, including any featured music or sound effects.  Looking at all this I was eventually able to cut the list down to the absolute best 10 audiobooks (as well as an extended honourable mentions section).  I had to make some very hard decisions here, and I ended up losing several extremely good audiobooks from this list.  Still, I think it really represents the best audiobooks I enjoyed this year, and there are some amazing productions down below.  So let us see what made the cut.

Honourable Mentions:

Sylvanas, written by Christie Golden and narrated by Patty Mattson

World of Warcraft - Sylvanas Cover

An outstanding tie-in audiobook to the Warcraft video game franchise, Sylvanas provides a fresh retelling of the origins of one of the game’s most complex characters, Sylvanas Windrunner, all narrated by the voice of Sylvanas herself, Patty Mattson, in an awesome performance.

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Steel Tread, written by Andy Clark and narrated by Remmie Milner

Steel Tread Cover

The first of many Warhammer 40,000 novels that are going to appear on this list, Steel Tread is a dark and gritty war story that follows a ragged tank crew into the hell of war, all of which is deeply enhanced by a fantastic audiobook format.

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Star Wars: The High Republic: The Fallen Star, written by Claudia Gray and narrated by Marc Thompson

Star Wars - The Fallen Star

Star Wars audiobooks are always pretty damn awesome, but the one for The Fallen Star, which details a disastrous day in the High Republic, was exceptionally good, especially as the music, sound effects and excellent narration, helped to bring the listener right into the heart of the chaos.

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Outgunned, written by Denny Flowers and narrated by Phillip Sacramento

Warhammer 40,000 - Outgunned Cover

Denny Flowers continues to grow as an author with his second Warhammer 40,000 novel, Outgunned, this time following a propaganda expert as he follows a chaotic pilot into a strange new warzone.  This entire compelling scenario, as well as the distinctive main characters, are perfectly showcased in this audiobook, which is really worth a listen.

Amazon

Top Ten List:

The Hunger of the Gods, written by John Gwynne and narrated by Colin Mace

The Hunger of the Gods Cover

After really wowing me with the first book in The Bloodsworn Saga series, The Shadow of the Gods (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021), John Gwynne returns with the epic sequel, The Hunger of the Gods.  Perfectly continuing the incredible narrative from the first book, The Hunger of the Gods was an exceptional book, which really comes to life in the audiobook format.  Featuring amazing narration by Colin Mace, The Hunger of the Gods was a remarkable listen that I cannot recommend enough.

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Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh!, written by Nate Crowley and narrated by Kelly Hotten, Paul Putner and Jon Rand

Ghazghkull Thraka - Prophet of the Waaagh! Cover

I had a lot of success listening to Warhammer 40,000 novels in 2022, so it is no surprise that a few are going to show up on this list.  Easily one of my favourites would have to be the new novel by Nate Crowley, who previously did such a great job with The Twice Dead King books, Ruin and Reign.  His latest release was Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh!, which retold the tale of the legendary ork warlord from a crazy new perspective.  While the story itself is pretty damn clever and highly entertaining, the real joy came from the amazing audiobook production which featured three talented narrators.  I loved how the narrators switched around multiple times throughout the production to correspond with which character was telling the story and it made for a distinctive and highly exciting listen that was a great deal of fun.

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Sierra Six, written by Mark Greaney and narrated by Jay Snyder

Sierra Six Cover

Mark Greaney had a very good year in 2022 as, in addition to his Gray Man movie and action-packed novel, Armored, he also produced another impressive Gray Man thriller with Sierra Six.  I have had an amazing time with Greaney’s previous Gray Man novels, including The Gray Man, Mission Critical, One Minute Out and Relentless, and Sierra Six was another excellent addition to the series.  Featuring an intense and highly addictive narrative that set protagonist Court Gentry against a dangerous threat in India while also diving into his deadly, tragic past, Sierra Six was an exciting and powerful read that I had a wonderful time listening to.  The audiobook format of this book was extremely good, primarily thanks to the excellent narration of Jay Snyder, and I was dragged right into the middle of the action when I listened to Sierra Six on audiobook.

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Assassinorum: Kingmaker, written by Robert Rath and narrated by Gareth Armstrong

Assassinorum Kingmaker Cover

Another exceptional Warhammer 40,000 audiobook I enjoyed in 2022 was the brilliant and high-octane Assassinorum: Kingmaker by Robert Rath, which saw three elite assassins travel to a feudal Knight World and attempt to reign in the mecha-suit wearing elite by killing a deranged king permanently bonded to a massive war machine.  This book was as awesome as it sounds and Rath wove together an exceptional and complex story of politics, conspiracies and assassins, focused around several impressive characters.  I deeply enjoyed the elaborate and powerful plot of this great book, which was further enhanced by the exceptional audiobook format.  Not only did narrator Gareth Armstrong perfectly encapsulate the fantastic characters, but his amazing tones allowed you to envision all the epic carnage in amazing detail.  I had so much damn fun listening to this audiobook and it is a must read for all Warhammer fans, as well as anyone who is interested in seeing assassins go up against mechas.

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Kagen the Damned, written by Jonathan Maberry and narrated by Ray Porter

Kagen the Damned Cover

One of my absolute favourite authors, Jonathan Maberry, made an interesting leap this year from science fiction thrillers to dark epic fantasy with Kagen the Damned.  Combining his typical writing style with a compelling new fantasy world, Maberry wove together the captivating tale of Kagen Vale, a once noble warrior and hero who is broken and damned after the royal children he was sworn to protect are ruthlessly murdered during a sudden and destructive military invasion.  An exceedingly intense and brutal fantasy read, I got extremely hooked on this impressive novel, especially as I made sure to grab the audiobook version.  I have always had an exceptional time with Maberry’s audiobooks and I was very excited to see that one of my favourite audiobook narrators, Ray Porter, was returning for this book.  Porter always captures the dark tone of Maberry’s writing perfectly, and Kagen the Damned was no exception as he imparts every gruesome detail of this story in his powerful tones.  At the same time, Porter effortless inhabits the multiple complex characters in this book, and really brings them to life in some amazing ways.  I absolutely loved this amazing audiobook and I cannot wait to grab the sequel, Son of the Poison Rose, in a few weeks time.

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The Bullet That Missed, written by Richard Osman and narrated by Fiona Shaw

The Bullet That Missed Cover

There was no way that the new Thursday Murder Club audiobook by Richard Osman, The Bullet That Missed, was going to be excluded from this list.  Following on from his awesome first two novels, The Thursday Murder Club (one of my favourite books, audiobooks and debuts of 2020), and The Man Who Died Twice, The Bullet That Missed sees your favourite group of crime solving pensioners return for another complex mystery.  Osman came up with another exceptional mystery storyline in this third book and I loved seeing his delightful and utterly hilarious protagonists once again use their unique insights and skills to solve it.  The audiobook version was once again exceptional, and I deeply enjoyed new narrator, Fiona Shaw, who I have been a fan of for years.  Shaw does a remarkable job narrating this third Thursday Murder Club book, and I loved how she provided a great range of fitting accents and tones for the distinctive characters, while also moving the plot along quickly with her fantastic voice.  An incredible audiobook that is near impossible to turn off.

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The Martyr, written by Anthony Ryan and narrated by Steven Brand

The Martyr Cover

Next up we have the outstanding second book in Anthony Ryan’s Covenant of Steel fantasy series, The Martyr.  The sequel to Ryan’s excellent 2021 novel, The Pariah, The Martyr continues to tell the unique story of Alywn Scribe, a former bandit turned scribe, who finds himself in the middle of tumultuous events that will change the world forever.  This time he must accompany his religious fanatic master on a deadly military mission to a foreign land, which will see him get involved in politics, espionage, assassinations and two epic sieges.  I actually held off reading this book until I got the audiobook copy, mainly because of how much I enjoyed the audiobook version of The Pariah last year.  Steven Brand provides some amazing narration for this compelling read and I really found myself absorbing more of the complex details of this fantasy word when listening to it.  Easily the best way to enjoy this exceptional read, I cannot wait to get my hands on the third Covenant of Steel audiobook.

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The Wraithbone Phoenix, written by Alec Worley and narrated by Harry Myers

The Wraithbone Phoenix Cover

The final Warhammer 40,000 audiobook on this list is the gripping Warhammer Crime book, The Wraithbone Phoenix by Alec Worley.  Set in a massive and crime-ridden city, The Wraithbone Phoenix follows an unlikely duo of abhuman criminals as they attempt to pay off their debts by recovering an ancient artefact from decommissioned space ship.  However, when the entire city becomes aware of their scheme, they are soon forced to go up against a range of over-the-top killers, thieves and bounty hunters, all determined to kill them and take the prize for themselves.  This was an extremely fun and captivating read, which was even more enjoyable as an audiobook as narrator Harry Myers had to voice a ton of unusual characters.  I had an outstanding time listening to The Wraithbone Phoenix and I look forward to more fun and fantastic Warhammer Crime audiobooks in the future.

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In the Shadow of Lightning, written by Brian McClellan and narrated by Damian Lynch

In the Shadow of Lightning Cover

One of the best fantasy books of 2022 had to be the epic and captivating In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan.  McClellan, who already created magic with his Powder Mage novels (such as Promise of Blood), did a remarkable job of creating a new elaborate fantasy universe where all magic is tied into glass.  Following several complex and damaged protagonists as they attempted to navigate war, politics and a dark conspiracy, In the Shadow of Lightning was a remarkable book that perfectly set up McClellan’s planned Glass Immortals series.  I had a wonderful and incredible time with In the Shadow of Lightning, and I absolutely loved how well it came out in its audiobook format.  Featuring the amazing voice of Damian Lynch, who dove right into the complex roles before him, this audiobook is extremely addictive and I powered through it extremely quickly.  A highly recommended audiobook, I am so damn excited for the sequel.

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Star Wars: The High Republic: Convergence, written by Zoraida Córdova and narrated by Marc Thompson

Star Wars - Convergence Cover

Finally, I had to feature at least one Star Wars book on a list about great audiobooks (it is an Unseen Library rule), and boy was I spoiled for choice this year.  While books like Path of Deceit, Midnight Horizon and Brotherhood all had excellent audiobooks, I ended up going with the Star Wars book I am currently listening to, Convergence by Zoraida Córdova.  Despite the fact that I still have a little more to listen to (I’m probably going to finish it tonight), I have been deeply impressed with Convergence and I think it has the best combination of narrative, characters and audiobook features of all the Star Wars novels I listened to in 2022.  The first adult book in the second phase of The High Republic, Convergence has a great story that explores a deadly war between two planets, while simultaneously introducing elements from an earlier period of Star Wars history.  This excellent story is greatly enhanced by the usual outstanding Star Wars production values of cool sound effects, emotionally charged music, and the fantastic voice work of Marc Thompson, who is one of the best audiobook narrators in the world today.  This was a remarkable read and I look forward to seeing how this new phase of The High Republic continues in 2023.

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Well that is the end of this latest Top Ten list, and as you can see, I have been lucky enough to listen to some awesome audiobooks this year (although I clearly focussed a little too much on Warhammer fiction).  All the above audiobooks are extremely good and I would highly recommend each of them in their audiobook format.  There is still a little time for me to listen to a few more great audiobooks this year, and I cannot wait to see how they all turn out.  Let me know what your favourite audiobooks of 2022 were in the comments below, and I will have to try and check them out as well.

Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Debuts of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday participants were encouraged to list the top ten books on their winter/summer 2022-23 to-read list.  However, as I already did that a few weeks ago, I thought I would instead continue my foray into highlighting the absolute best books of 2022.  This is an end of year tradition I do annually with several Top Ten Tuesday Lists, and I started again this year with last week’s list about the best pre-2022 releases I read this year.  In a continuation of my end of year highlights, for this week’s list I have decided to look at my absolute favourite debut novels of the year.

I mentioned multiple times throughout the year that 2022 was a pretty awesome year for debuts and boy did I mean it.  There were an incredible number of new authors releasing some impressive and entertaining debut novels this year, and I was lucky enough to receive a huge bundle of them to review.  I always love checking out new authors as they produce their first book or take a foray into a whole new genre, and I was blown away with some of the talent this year.  As such, I am really glad that I can highlight some of the absolute best in this Top Ten list.

To be eligible for this list, the book had to be either the first novel from a new author released in 2022, or a novel that was extremely different from an author’s previous work (their debut in the genre).  I ended up reading a huge collection of debuts this year, so I had a bit of a hard time coming up with the list, as there were a lot of good options.  I was eventually able to whittle it down to a manageable list of 10, with my typical generous Honourable Mentions section.  The result was an excellent list that I feel perfectly captures my favourite debuts of the year and highlights them accordingly.  So, let us see what made the cut.

Honourable Mentions:

The Maid by Nita Prose

The Maid Cover

A wickedly clever thriller about an atypical maid who finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation.  Best enjoyed for its fantastic central character, Nita Prose really showed she’s got a lot of potential as a writer, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

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No Country for Girls by Emma Styles

No Country for Girls Cover

A classic and entertaining road-trip thriller set in the Western Australian outback.  Fun, compelling and intense, this was a great read that I had an awesome time reading.

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Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass

Black Drop Cover

A captivating and haunting murder mystery in late 18th century London, Black Drop combines fascinating historical political intrigue with a great mystery narrative.  Highly recommended!

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Black River by Matthew Spencer

Black River Cover

A dark murder mystery in the heart of Sydney, Black River was a captivating Australian thriller with some awesome twists to it.

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Top Ten List:

Her Perfect Twin by Sarah Bonner

Her Perfect Twin Cover

Few debuts impressed me in 2022 as much as Her Perfect Twin by outstanding new author Sarah Bonner.  A complex and highly clever thriller, Her Perfect Twin follows a repressed woman who finally snaps and kills her perfect twin sister.  Taking over her twin’s life to hide the murder, the protagonist decides to use this opportunity to escape her abusive husband.  However, the onset of COVID-19 keeps her trapped at home and forces her into a twisty battle of wits with her husband who knows way too much about what she’s done.  A fantastic and addictive thriller that will have you hooked all the way to the final twist, Her Perfect Twin was a particularly epic novel that I cannot rave about enough.

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The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis

The Unbelieved Cover

There were a ton of great Australian crime fiction debuts in 2022, but one of my absolute favourites was The Unbelieved by new author Vikki Petraitis.  Following a damaged cop as she attempts to find peace in small town Australia, the protagonist soon discovers that her new town is afflicted by several sexual predators and the women are afraid to speak out.  A powerful and deeply intense read that provides an exceptional commentary on the public perception of sexual violence in modern society, The Unbelieved was an extraordinary Australian debut that comes extremely highly recommended.

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The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan

The Justice of Kings Cover

One of the most popular debuts of 2022 is probably the cool fantasy book, The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan.  Swan’s first foray in fantasy fiction, The Justice of Kings is a brilliant and captivating read that follows a criminal investigation in a dark fantasy universe.  Combining distinctive fantasy elements with an excellent mystery storyline, The Justice of Kings got a lot of well-deserved love this year and is an outstanding book to check out.

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Wake by Shelley Burr

Wake Cover

The Australian crime fiction debut hits keep on coming, this time with the amazing and well-written outback thriller, Wake, by epic new author Shelley Burr.  Set years after an infamous disappearance of a young girl in a broken small town, Wake sees the victim’s sister and an ambitious private investigator with his own agenda team up to finally solve the mystery.  However, the answers they both seek cause far more harm than they ever imagined and result in a deep and amazing read.

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Blood Sugar by Sascha Rothchild

Blood Sugar Cover

Murder has never been more fun in the hilarious thriller debut, Blood Sugar.  Talented new author Sascha Rothchild presents a fantastic and outstanding character-driven read about a young woman who has an unfortunate habit of killing the worst people around her.  However, when someone close to her dies of natural causes, her entire life will be torn apart as the police try to pin it on her.  I had an exceptional time reading this clever and funny book, and you are guaranteed to love it.

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Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

Only a Monster Cover

One of the best fantasy debuts of 2022 had to be the exceptional young adult read, Only A Monster by Australian author Vanessa Len.  Following a young girl who discovers that she’s a life-sucking monster, the protagonist must learn to control her powers while also being hunted by her boyfriend, a ruthless and relentless monster hunter.  Impressively inventive and just a little heartbreaking, I had an exceptional time reading Only a Monster and Len clearly has a very bright future in fantasy fiction.

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Seventeen by John Brownlow

Seventeen Cover

If you are looking for a ton of action and a relentlessly entertaining protagonist, look no further than the exciting thriller debut, Seventeen by John Brownlow.  This book follows the world’s greatest assassin, Seventeen, who finds himself forced to go after the only person on the planet more deadly than himself, his retired predecessor Sixteen.  Featuring a high-octane battle of elite assassins, Seventeen is an outstanding read that I could not get enough of.

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Daughters of Eve by Nina D. Campbell

Daughters of Eve Cover

One of the first debuts I read in 2022 was one of the best with the outstanding Australian crime fiction read, Daughters of Eve by Nina D. Campbell.  After several despicable men are killed around Australia, the police are forced to investigate a mysterious group who are determined to get justice for women by any means necessary.  A clever mystery that also serves as a great examination of gender inequalities in Australia’s legal and criminal systems, Daughters of Eve was an exceptional read that had me hooked the entire way through.

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Essex Dogs by Dan Jones

Essex Dogs Cover

There was no way I could exclude the epic historical fiction debut, Essex Dogs by Dan Jones, from this list.  Following a loyal band of mercenary soldiers who get recruited for the English invasion of France at the start of the Hundred Years War, Essex Dogs is a powerful, character driven epic that I had so much fun with.  Loaded with cool battles and a ton of historical detail, Dan Jones really knocked his debut out the park, and I can’t wait to see how he follows it up.

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Dead Man’s Hand by James J. Butcher

Dead Man's Hand Cover

The final debut on this list is the compelling and awesome urban fantasy novel, Dead Man’s Hand.  Written by the son of legendary fantasy author Jim Butcher, James J. Butcher, Dead Man’s Hand is a wonderful and memorable read that sees a failed witch team up with a retired monster hunter to find a deadly killer.  Featuring an ultra-snarky protagonist, some cool magical elements, and an outstanding murder mystery, Dead Man’s Hand was a terrific debut and I look forward to seeing more from Butcher in the future.

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Well, that is the end of this list.  As you can, there were some incredible debut novels that came out this year and I had a blast getting through all of them.  Each of the above debuts are really worth checking out, and I had an amazing time exploring these talented authors’ first forays into fiction.  I am really excited to see what these authors produce next, and I have a feeling that quite a few are going to become major names in their genres.

Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Pre-2022 Novels

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  This week participants of Top Ten Tuesday get a freebie to list whatever topics they want.  So, I am going to take this opportunity to start my annual end-of-year lists here by looking at my favourite pre-2022 novels that I read this year.

Each December I have a lot of fun looking at some of the best and most impressive books and comics that I have read throughout the year in a series of Top Ten Lists.  While these lists usually focus on 2022 releases, for the last few years, I have also taken the time to list out some of the best novels with pre-2022 release dates that I have read in the last 12 months.  There are some excellent older novels out there that I haven’t had the chance to read before this year, and it is always fun to go back and explore them.  I ended up reading a bunch of awesome older books throughout 2022, including some pretty incredible novels that got easy five-star ratings from me and are really worth checking out.

To come up with this list I had a look at all the novels I read this year that had their initial release before 2022.  This list includes a range of pre-2022 releases, including quite a few that I had been meaning to read for a while.  I was eventually able to cull this down to a workable Top Ten list, with a descent honourable mentions section.  This new list ended up containing an interesting combination of novels, although there was a bit of an overload of entries from the Dresden Files’ series by Jim Butcher, as well as some Warhammer 40,000 novels, both of which I really got into throughout this year.  Still this honestly reflects the best pre-2022 novels I read throughout the year, so let us see what made the cut.

Honourable Mentions:

Space Wolf by William King – 1999

Space Wolf Cover

I was lucky enough to find a copy of this book in a second-hand shop and started reading it as soon as I could.  A brilliant start to a great Warhammer 40,000 series about a group of Viking inspired, werewolf Space Marines, Space Wolf was an awesome, classic Warhammer read that I am really glad I got a chance to read.

Amazon

 

Tribe by Jeremy Robinson – 2019

Tribe Cover 2

After having an epic time with Jeremy Robinson’s epic 2021 novels, The Dark and Mind Bullet, I went back to check out the preceding novel, Tribe.  Following a mismatched pair of newly discovered Greek demi-gods as they are chased by a deranged cult, Tribe was a fun and fast-paced read, loaded with so much action and excitement.  I can’t wait to continue this series in the future, as everything Robinson writes is pure fun.

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Dredge Runners by Alec Worley – 2020

Dredge Runners

A compelling and impressive Warhammer 40,000 audiobook presentation, Dredge Runners was a clever listen that followed two dangerous abhuman criminals as they navigate the deadly underbelly of an industrial planet.  Thanks to a clever story and some amazing narrators, this was an outstanding presentation, although I left it as an honourable mention due to it being a short story.  However, it did inspire me to check out Worley’s follow-up release, the 2022 book The Wraithbone Phoenix, which was particularly epic.

Amazon

 

Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie – 2021

Unforgiven Cover

A dark and captivating Australian crime thriller from last year, Unforgiven was an excellent book I checked out towards the start of 2022, which proved to be a gritty and memorable read.

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Top Ten List (by original publication year):

Vampireslayer by William King – 2001

Vampireslayer Cover

This year I made an effort to continue the excellent Gotrek and Felix series that was part of the awesome Warhammer Fantasy franchise.  Following on from such fantastic reads as Trollslayer, Skavenslayer, Daemonslayer, Dragonslayer and Beastslayer, Vampireslayer was a particularly epic entry in this series, that saw the protagonists chase a powerful vampire across the continent to most dangerous place imaginable.  A quick paced and exciting novel that explored vampires in the Warhammer Fantasy setting, Vampireslayer was an excellent read and one I powered through very quickly.

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Storm of Iron by Graham McNeill – 2002

Storm of Iron Cover 2

I was in the mood for some cool siege warfare this year, so I turned to the outstanding sounding Warhammer 40,000 book, Storm of Iron by one of the franchises best authors, Graham McNeill.  Storm of Iron sees a vast futuristic citadel besieged by the Iron Warriors, legendary siege experts, resulting in a massive and bloody battle to the very end.  I had an outstanding time with this elaborate and wildly entertaining read, especially as McNeill did a wonderful job setting the focus on the villains and showcasing their twisted tales.  A highly recommended read, this is easily one of the best siege novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

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Death Masks by Jim Butcher – 2003

Death Masks Cover

After all the amazing fun I’ve been having with Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files (see my reviews for Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Battle Ground and The Law), I had to continue this series in 2022 and I am exceedingly happy that I did.  I started by going back to the fifth book in the outstanding urban fantasy series, Death Mask, which placed the protagonist in the middle of a bloody battle to recover a sacred artifact from criminals and fallen angels.  Tense, powerful and so much fun, this was a particularly epic entry in the series, and I had an exceptional time reading it.

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Blood Rites by Jim Butcher – 2004

Blood Rite Cover

I had so much fun with Death Masks that I immediately listened to the next book in the Dresden Files series, Blood Rites, which saw the protagonist once again tangling with vampires.  While this was one of the more controversial entries in the series, I deeply enjoyed it, especially as Butcher featured several great enemies, a compelling murder mystery, and some major revelations that will haunt the protagonist for books to come.  A very fun and highly addictive read, I can’t wait to get through more of these books in the new year.

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World War Z by Max Brooks – 2006

World War Z Cover 2

I finally got the chance to listen to the iconic zombie novel, World War Z, by Max Brooks, who previously impressed me with DevolutionWorld War Z lived up to all the hype surrounding it as it explored a world-ending zombie apocalypse through a series of testimonials from survivors on the ground.  Extremely clever and highly inventive, this was an exceptional book, and it is made even better by its epic audiobook format which contains a ton of brilliant actors doing the narration.  Easily one of the best books I have read in a long time, World War Z comes highly recommended and I am exceedingly glad I managed to listen to it this year.

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Star Wars: Darth Plagueis by James Luceno – 2012

Star Wars - Darth Plagueis Cover

I was in a Star Wars mood earlier this year, so I went back and listened to the deeply intriguing Star Wars Legends novel, Darth Plagueis.  Telling the story of the Emperor’s hidden master, Darth Plagueis, this is a very compelling read that explores a never before seen figure in Star Wars lore, while also giving some insight into his apprentice, Darth Sidious.  Despite no longer being canon, this is a very compelling read for Star Wars fans, and I loved how it filled in several gaps in the Legends lore.  Highly recommended, this is one of the best Star Wars books I have ever read.

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Van Horstmann by Ben Counter – 2013

Van Horstmann Cover

Warhammer Fantasy fiction really does not get much better than the clever standalone read, Van Horstmann by Ben Counter.  A twisted tale of ambition, revenge and change, Van Horstmann gives history to an old-school character from the Warhammer game and showed the reader his complex youth as a student wizard in the enlightened and pure Light Order.  However, Van Horstmann has his own plans, which see him burn the order down from the inside to get what he wants most in the world.  This was a brilliant and very intense read, and I loved all the awesome twists and turns that Counter featured throughout it.

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Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller – 2013

Star Wars - Kenobi Cover

Another excellent Star Wars Legends book I checked out this year was the intriguing Kenobi by John Jackson Miller.  An outstanding, currently non-canon, book that explored the early years of Kenobi’s exile, this great read sees the titular character caught up in all manner of trouble as he tries to settle down on Tatooine.  I mainly read it in preparation for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series this year, but this book really stands on its own and is very much worth a read.

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Dragon Mage by M. L. Spencer – 2020

Dragon Mage Cover

The most recent pre-2022 book I read was Dragon Mage by M. L. Spencer, a massive fantasy epic that has been on my radar for a while.  Following a gifted protagonist and his friend as they discover their inner magic and learn to ride dragons, Dragon Mage is a highly compelling read with a great, classic fantasy vibe to it.  While it took me a while to get through this book, it was extremely worth it, and I am very happy I managed to cross this off my to-read list this year.

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The Sandman – Act 1 by Neil Gaiman – 2020

Sandman Act 1 Cover

The final entry on this list is the audiobook adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s epic comic series, The Sandman.  Read by an all-star cast, this audiobook production perfectly brought to life the first several The Sandman comics and told the elaborate story of Dream, who is captured and imprisoned by a magician, who must escape and reclaim his kingdom.  I loved the complex and multifaceted narrative contained within this comic, and I cannot emphasise how impressive the audiobook version was, especially as you have some major talented really diving into these insane characters.  Easily one of the best audio productions released in recent years, this is a highly recommended listen that I could not get enough of.

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And that is the end of this list.  As you can see I have managed to check out a bunch of epic pre-2022 novels this year.  Each of the above were exceptional and fun reads and I would strongly recommend them, especially if you are in the mood for some fun fantasy or science fiction adventures.  I look forward to reading some other older books in 2023, and it will be interesting to see what makes my next version of this list then.  I imagine it will end up looking a little similar, especially as I have plans to continue several of these series, especially the Dresden Files, as well as examining some other outstanding Star Wars and Warhammer novels.  Make sure to check back in next week for some other end-of-year lists as I continue to highlight some of my favourite reads from 2022.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books on my Summer 2022/23 TBR

Top ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  The official Top Ten Tuesday topic for this week was around cozy reads, however, I decided to instead move up my quarterly post about the best upcoming books to read (TBR) for the following three months.  This is a regular post I do at the start of each season, and as this Tuesday is just before Summer (Winter for folks in the Northern Hemisphere), this is the ideal time to put this up.

For this list, I have come up with 10 of the most anticipated novels that are coming out between 1 December 2022 and 28 February 2023.  There are quite a few very cool novels set for release in the next few months that I am extremely excited for, including some of my most highly anticipated reads for the end of 2022 and the start of the New Year.  Due to how impressive some of these upcoming books are, it took me a little while to finalise my list but I was eventually able to whittle it down into a Top Ten list (with a few honourable mentions).  I have primarily used the Australian publication dates to reflect when I will be able to get these awesome novels, and these might be somewhat different to the rest of the world.  I have previously discussed a number of these books before in prior Top Ten Tuesdays and Waiting on Wednesday articles and I think all of them will turn out to be pretty incredible reads.

Honourable Mentions:

Three-Edged Sword by Jeff Lindsay – 6 December 2022

Three-Edged Sword Cover

The third book in a super fun heist thriller series by the author of the Dexter novels.  Three-Edged Sword follows on from Just Watch Me and Fool Me Twice and is a guaranteed thrill ride.

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Red Dirt Road by S. R. White – 5 January 2023

Red Dirt Road Cover

One of the more intriguing pieces of Australian fiction in the new year, Red Dirt Road follows on from the outstanding 2021 read, Prisoner, and presents a compelling and unique murder mystery in the Australian bush.

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The Last Kingdom by Steve Berry – 28 February 2023

The Last Kingdom Cover

There is no way that I am going to miss the next Steve Berry book, The Last Kingdom.  The latest entry in Berry’s long-running Cotton Malone series (which has featured such great books as The Malta Exchange, The Warsaw Protocol and The Kaiser’s Web), The Last Kingdom will see Cotton Malone roped into a deep historical conspiracy regarding the Bavarian royal family and sounds pretty damn fantastic.

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City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita – 28 February 2023

City Under One Roof Cover

Iris Yamashita will be bringing in one of the most compelling and highly anticipated debuts of 2023 with her great book, City Under One Roof, which will pit a detective against a mysterious community in Alaska.

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Top Ten List:

Warhammer 40,000: Witchbringer by Steven B. Fischer – 14 December 2022

Warhammer 40,000 - Witchbringer Cover

The first book I need to highlight on this list is the fantastic upcoming Warhammer 40,000 read, Witchbringer by Steven B. Fischer.  Set deep in the battlefields of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, Witchbringer will follow an Imperial psyker, a living weapon who is reviled and barely tolerated by the rest of humanity, who is forced to return to her old unit and help them on a deadly mission.  Sure to be extremely exciting, while also diving into the dark side of humanity in the future, Witchbringer sounds extremely awesome and I can’t wait to end my year with another top Warhammer book.

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Star Wars: The High Republic: The Battle of Jedha by George Mann – 3 January 2023

Star Wars - The Battle of Jedha Cover

The new year is already looking pretty good, especially as one of the first books coming out is the fantastic Star Wars: The High Republic audiobook, The Battle of Jedha.  Part of the second phase of the excellent High Republic series, The Battle of Jedha will see an all-out war break out on the planet of Jedha and promises to be one of the more exciting pieces of recent Star Wars fiction, especially when read out by a full cast of talented narrators.

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Son of the Poison Rose by Jonathan Maberry – 10 January 2023

Son of the Poison Rose Cover

I am exceedingly excited that one of the first books I will be reading in 2023 will be the fantasy epic, Son of the Poison Rose by one of my favourite authors, Jonathan Maberry.  The sequel to Maberry’s exceptional 2022 novel, Kagen the Damned, Son of the Poison Rose will continue the outstanding dark fantasy storyline contained in his first book as a failed royal guard attempts to save the remnants of his fallen kingdom from a dark ruler determined to destroy everything he loves.  Son of the Poison Rose will easily be one of the best books of 2023 and I cannot wait to check it out, especially in its audiobook version narrated by the always epic Ray Porter.

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Downfall by Louise Carey – 10 January 2023

Downfall Cover

I will definitely be grabbing a copy of Downfall by Louise Carey early next year, which sounds extremely awesome.  The final book in Carey’s Inscape series, Downfall will follow on from Inscape (one of my favourite debuts of 2021) and Outcast, and will take the reader back into a technologically controlled dystopian future.  This time the protagonists will have to take down the company they have long served after it uses its insidious technology to take control of everyone they know and love.  I have had an incredible time with this great science fiction series, and I cannot wait to see how it comes to an end, especially after that cool cliff-hanger at the end of Outcast.

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Unnatural History by Jonathan Kellerman – 14 February 2023

Unnatural History Cover

I have been having a lot of fun getting into Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series over the last few years, with such great and compelling murder mystery books as The Wedding Guest, The Museum of Desire, Serpentine and City of the Dead, and I am quite excited to read another one of his books in 2023.  This new book, Unnatural History, will see Kellerman’s compelling protagonists investigate another complex case, this time involving a dead photographer who made a living exploiting homeless people.  I am going to have an amazing time with Unnatural History and it will probably end up being one of the more impressive mystery novels of the new year.

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The Last Orphan by Gregg Hurwitz – 14 February 2023

The Last Orphan Cover

Few spy thriller series have been more impressive in the last few years that Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X books.  Following a former elite government assassin turned vigilante, the Orphan X books form an action-packed and powerful series that I have really grown to love, especially with great entries like Out of the Dark, Into the Fire, Prodigal Son and Dark Horse.  Naturally, I am pretty excited to see how the series continues and I only have to wait until February to find out.  The next book in the series, The Last Orphan, will see the protagonist dragged back into government service and must choose whether to return to his assassin roots or risk the lives of everyone he loves.  This is set to be an extremely moving and exciting entry in the Orphan X series, and I cannot wait to see what will happen to Hurwitz’s brilliant and complex protagonist next.

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The Shadow Casket by Chris Wooding – 16 February 2023

The Shadow Casket Cover

After years of waiting, we are finally going to get a sequel to Chris Wooding’s outstanding fantasy epic, The Ember BladeThe Ember Blade was a particularly impressive fantasy novel that saw a group of desperate freedom fighters steal a legendary blade to inspire their country into rebellion.  The Ember Blade was something very special, and I have been eagerly waiting for the sequel, The Shadow Casket, which is set to feature even more blood, rebellion and heroics.  This is definitely going to be one of the top fantasy books of 2023 and I cannot wait to dive into its elaborate and addictive narrative.

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Dead of Night by Simon Scarrow – 16 February 2023

Dead of Night Cover

Few historical mystery books have more potential than the upcoming Dead of Night by Simon Scarrow.  The sequel to Scarrow’s excellent novel Blackout, Dead of Night will return to wartime Berlin and follow a police detective’s attempt to solve a terrible murder while going up against the corrupt Nazi Government.  I am very excited to see how this amazing mystery unfolds, and I know I am going to have a wonderful time reading this book.

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Burner by Mark Greaney – 21 February 2023

Burner Cover

Mark Greaney returns with another amazing entry in his bestselling Gray Man spy thriller series, which has already featured outstanding reads like The Gray Man, Mission Critical, One Minute Out, Relentless and Sierra Six.  The new book, Burner, will see impressive protagonist Court Gentry, go up against both the CIA and the Russian mafia to try and save a man’s life.  However, he will also have to compete with his love interest, as they try to work out why so many people want their target dead.  I have no doubt that this is going to be another epic novel from Greaney and I look forward to see the next chapter of the incredible Gray Man series unfold.

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Usagi Yojimbo: Volume 38: The Green Dragon by Stan Sakai – 21 February 2023

Usagi Yojimbo - The Green Dragon Cover

The final upcoming book I need to highlight is the next volume in the awesome Usagi Yojimbo series by Stan Sakai, The Green DragonUsagi Yojimbo still remains one of my favourite comic series of all time, and I am always extremely eager to get my hands on a new volume as soon as it becomes available.  This next volume will see Usagi and his companions go up against ghosts, ninjas and other dangerous foes, as they continue to journey around their chaotic version of Feudal Japan.  I already know that I am going to love this comic when it comes out, and I am very, very excited to get my hands on it.

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Well, that is the end of my Top Ten list.  I think it turned out pretty well and it does a good job of capturing all my most anticipated books for the next three months.  Each of the above should be extremely epic, and I cannot wait to read each of them soon.  Let me know which of the above you are most excited for and stay tuned for reviews of them in the next few months.  In the meantime, it looks like I have quite a few books to get through soon and they should all be pretty awesome.