stack of 3 books plus open book with pen. Title: Top Ten Tuesday

Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Here’s how it works: Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic for each Tuesday. If you check this link, you’ll find she’s assigned topics for several future weeks so you can plan ahead. She adds, “create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list . . . Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you!”

Each week Jana posts a Linky on her blog where you can (if you want) share a link to your post and check out other bloggers’ posts.

As of December 1, 2022, I am no longer using Twitter. Instead, I’ll be promoting blog posts—other bloggers’ and my own—on Mastodon. You can find me there under this name:

@[email protected]

You cannot search for people by their real names on Mastodon. To find someone, you must go to Mastodon and search for the user name. I think you have to have your own account with Mastodon to do this.

Today’s topic is My Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023. By far the one I’m most looking forward to is the April release of Alafair Burke’s continuation of Mary Higgins Clark’s 1975 novel Where Are the Children? 

Below are my choices, listed in order of release date. Included is a short description of each, but I must confess that I cannot document the sources of these descriptions. When the listings of books to be published in 2023 began appearing last fall, I started a spreadsheet to keep track of the ones that most appealed to me, including descriptions. Because I intended this spreadsheet for personal use only, I made note of the source but not the exact URL of the recommendation. The former academic in me cringes at quoting passages without documentation, but that’s where we are.

1. Kubica, Mary. Just the Nicest Couple. January 10, 2023

I didn’t even copy a summary of the book’s content because Mary Kubica is an automatic-buy author for me. So here’s one description I can document:

Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.

Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.


Although I’ve been disappointed by Kubica’s last two novels (The Other Mrs., 2020, and Local Woman Missing, 2021), I’m hoping she’ll get back to her usual high level of achievement this year. 

2. Harper, Jane. Exiles. January 31, 2023

I’ve admired Australian author Jane Harper’s writing since her debut novel, The Dry, featuring federal investigator Aaron Falk. She has become another automatic-buy author for me. Exiles, her fifth novel, will be the third, and final, Aaron Falk book.

3. Smith, Tom Rob. Cold People. February 7, 2023

I read Smith’s earlier novel, Child 44, back in 2012 and remember it as a well-done thriller. I also (probably like a lot of other people) went through an end-of-the-world reading phase in 2020-2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic. So this description of Smith’s upcoming novel caught my eye:

COLD PEOPLE is about the end of the world as we know it. Our planet has been taken over, and the last hope for humanity is a deadline for everyone who wants to survive to relocate to Antarctica. This book is a post-apocalyptic thriller, a conversation on what it means to be human, what we’ll do to survive, and ultimately how our society would evolve in the face of a brutal new landscape.

—Off the Shelf

4. Bartz, Julia. The Writing Retreat. February 21, 2023

I don’t know this author, but I’ve been loving the outpouring of metafiction over the last few years.

when the attendees arrive [at the writing retreat], Roza drops a bombshell—they must all complete an entire novel from scratch during the next month, and the author of the best one will receive a life-changing seven-figure publishing deal. Determined to win this seemingly impossible contest, Alex buckles down and tries to ignore the strange happenings at the estate, including Roza’s erratic behavior, Wren’s cruel mind games, and the alleged haunting of the mansion itself. But when one of the writers vanishes during a snowstorm, Alex realizes that something very sinister is afoot. With the clock running out, she’s desperate to discover the truth and save herself.


A writing competition, mind games, a haunted mansion, a snowstorm—what’s not to love?

5. Makkai, Rebecca. I Have Some Questions for You. February 21, 2023

a film professor and podcaster gets pulled into a cold case involving the long-ago murder of a boarding-school classmate.

—Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times

6. Miranda, Megan. The Only Survivors. April 11, 2023

Megan Miranda is another automatic-buy author for me.

This thriller follows Cassidy and her former classmates who share a dark past. Tensions are high on the tenth anniversary of a tragic accident—especially after receiving news that one of their classmates has recently died and another disappeared. Now, Cassidy must uncover the truth behind the original accident before it’s too late. With her talent for suspense and signature plot twists, I’m sure Megan Miranda will keep me guessing until the very last page.

—Off the Shelf

7. Burke, Alafair. Where Are the Children Now? April 18, 2023

[a] continuation of Mary Higgins Clark’s iconic Where Are the Children?

—Goodreads newsletter

8. Slocumb, Brendan. Symphony of Secrets. April 18, 2023

From the celebrated author of book club favorite The Violin Conspiracy: A gripping page-turner about a professor who uncovers a shocking secret about the most famous American composer of all time—that his music was stolen from a young Black composer named Josephine Reed. Determined to uncover the truth and right history’s wrongs, Bern Hendricks will stop at nothing to finally give Josephine the recognition she deserves.

—Goodreads newsletter

I recently read and liked The Violin Conspiracy, the debut novel by this Black, classically trained musician.

9. Kuang, R.F. Yellowface. May 16, 2023

Yellowface—a reference to the racist practice of altering one’s appearance in an attempt to look Asian—is a razor-sharp indictment of white privilege and cultural appropriation. June Hayward, who is white, steals the work of her late friend Athena Liu, who was Asian American, passing it off as her own using an ambiguous author photo. June sees her crimes as an innocent way to celebrate her friend, but when she becomes a best-selling author, many start to question whether she is telling the truth about her identity. How far is June willing to go to keep the fame she didn’t earn but believes she deserves?


10. Sager, Riley. The Only One Left. June 20, 2023

I’ve read and liked all of Sager’s previous novels except the most recent one, The House Across the Lake. I’m hoping Sager will return to form in this novel, which sounds promising.

Now reduced to a schoolyard chant, the Hope family murders shocked the Maine coast one bloody night in 1929. While most people assume seventeen-year-old Lenora was responsible, the police were never able to prove it. Other than her denial after the killings, she has never spoken publicly about that night, nor has she set foot outside Hope’s End, the cliffside mansion where the massacre occurred.

It’s now 1983, and home-health aide Kit McDeere arrives at a decaying Hope’s End to care for Lenora after her previous nurse fled in the middle of the night. In her seventies and confined to a wheelchair, Lenora was rendered mute by a series of strokes and can only communicate with Kit by tapping out sentences on an old typewriter. One night, Lenora uses it to make a tantalizing offer—“I want to tell you everything.”

—author newsletter

© 2023 by Mary Daniels Brown

3 thoughts on “Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023”

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      Yes, Liz, metafiction has been having a moment for quite some time now. And most of it has been pretty good.

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