The Best Books of 2023! 5-Star Books to Read Now!

best books of 2023
The Best Books of 2023! 5-Star Books to Read Now! 48

Here is our ever-evolving list of the best books of 2023. Here’s the process:

Starting in January, Jackie and I start to compile our 5-star books for our best books of 2023 list. Once we have at least one book per category, we feel ready to publish it.

But the list is very much subject to change. We like to distill each category down to the best 3-4 picks per year, but since we read a combined total of more than 300 books a year, the competition gets tougher as the year goes on.

For example, if you are here in April, the best romance books of 2023 may look very different than they do in August or December! But we think that’s part of the fun.

In addition to listing the best books of 2023, we thought it would be fun to highlight our 3-4 favorite finds of the month too. Yes, we are primarily books, but if you follow us on Instagram, you know we share lots of lifestyle finds in our stories too. I love to chat about a product I love.

We are so curious to know if our picks for best books of 2023 match up with yours! Let us know in the comments.

*Best Books of 2023 post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you.

Table of Contents

5 Star Books of 2023

Historical Fiction // Romance // Middle Grade // Fiction // Beach Reads // Feel Good // YA Books // Celebrity Books // Fantasy // Thriller & Mystery // Non Fiction // Holiday // Kids //

The Best Books of 2023

Best Historical Fiction Books of 2023: 5-Star Books

Stars in an Italian Sky

Stars in an Italian Sky by Jill Santopolo

Where do I even start with this book? I loved it so much. In Genoa Italy, in 1946 Vincenzo and Giovanna fell in love. But, they belong to two different worlds. She is the daughter of a tailor and she is almost royalty.

In 2017, Cassandra and Luca are in love. When Luca asks Cassandra’s grandmother to be a model for his new painting, with his grandfather, the past and its secrets are revealed.

I cannot say enough about this book that is part contemporary fiction and part historical fiction. It had me absolutely bawling by the end, ugly crying, and I LOVED it. The ending was perfect, fitting, and cathartic. This is Jackie’s pick for the best historical fiction books of 2023.

Two Wars and A Wedding

Two Wars and A Wedding by Lauren Willig

Lauren Willig’s book Band of Sisters, is one of our favorite WW1 Books so I was eager to read this novel. It’s a dual-timeline story with a single heroine who finds herself caught in a war between Greece and Turkey in 1896 and in the Spanish-American War of 1898.

Betsy Hayes travels to Greece to study archeology but ends up embroiled in the middle of a war, where she becomes a nurse. After witnessing the horrors of war, two years later she’s off to Cuba to try to stop her friend from experiencing the same things.

As usual, I loved Willig’s writing. I was immersed in both stories as I rooted for Betsy and her spirited ways. It’s definitely one of the best historical fiction books of 2023.

The Frozen River

The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon

December 2023 Good Morning America Book Club Pick

I was so excited to read this pick from the 2023 book releases and let me tell you that I was not disappointed!

This historical mystery is inspired by the diary of Martha Ballard, an 18th-century midwife, who never lost a single mother in over 1000 deliveries.

When a man found entombed in ice, also happens to be the same man accused of a horrible attack, Martha tries to seek justice for the women that nobody else wants to protect. This book is brilliantly written and so well-researched that I could not put it down.

Favorite Finds: January 2023

This month has been all about new habits for both of us. I’m shoring up my skincare routine and trying a new undereye cream while Jackie has gone deep into setting up her new planner with the items below!

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Best Romance Books of 2023

The Hundred Loves of Juliet

The Hundred Loves of Juliet by Evelyn Skye

After a terrible divorce, Helene moves to a small town in Alaska to write a novel. When she meets Sebastian, a handsome fisherman, he is the personification of all the dreams she ever had of her perfect man.

Helene is determined to find the truth about her instant connection to Sebastian, but he’s determined to keep it from her.

I don’t want to spoil exactly how this Romeo and Juliet retelling is connected to the original story, but it’s a lovely romance with many mini-romances scattered throughout. This is a cozy book that will keep you turning the pages and smiling at the end. Jackie and I both think this is one of the best romance books of 2023.

Meet me at the lake

Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune

Will and Fern spent one amazing, adventure-filled day together in their early 20s with a promise to meet up again one year later. When Fern shows up and Will doesn’t, she is heartbroken.

Now, nine years later, Fern has inherited the lakeside resort that she never wanted to run, her ex-boyfriend is the resort manager, and she needs help. When Will shows up at the resort with an offer to help get things back in order, she doesn’t know if she can get over her old feelings and trust him again.

I absolutely loved this lake book. Set between Muskoka and Toronto, it reminded me of my childhood and teenage years! This is an absolute must-read romance novel! You can also find this book in our list of Hotel Novels to Indulge in on Vacation, and of course on our list of best romance books of 2023.

Love Theoretically

Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

Any romance novel by Ali Hazelwood has become a must-read so, it is no surprise that I jumped at the chance to read her newest STEMinist romcom!

Elsie has learned to live two lives; an adjunct professor in theoretical physicist by day and a fake girlfriend the rest of the time (to make ends meet). She has also learned to read people and become the Elsie that they want her to be.

When she interviews for her dream job as a theoretical physics professor at MIT, her two worlds collide. How? I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Elsie learns what she really wants an how to ask for it in a delightful and charming way.

This steamy romance novel is a must-read from our ultimate list of beach reads. It’s one of my picks for the best romance books of 2023 too! If you are looking for books for summer, this one is for you.

Favorite Finds: February 2023

For Valentine’s Day this year, I got each of my kids some games and a set of Lego flowers – perfect boredom busters for the colder winter months. I also fell in love with reusable paper towels that actually roll up onto a paper towel roll! I’ve saved so much money by not buying paper products, so I was happy to make this switch.

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5-Star Books: Best Middle-Grade Books of 2023

the one and only ruby

The One and Only Ruby by Katherine Applegate

The third book in the One and Only series is focused on Ruby’s stories about her time in Africa. As always, Ivan, Bob, and Ruby’s bond captivated my family’s attention. Our kids had a hard time deciding which was their favorite book in this series. This book definitely has some sad parts so we want to give fair warning for any sensitive readers.

However, if you are a Katherine Applegate lover, this book does not disappoint. Once again, Applegate makes our list of best middle grade books of 2023! #gifted

the grace of wild things

The Grace of Wild Things by Heather Fawcett

This tween fantasy novel is a retelling of Anne of Green Gables – except Grace (Anne) is in training with the witch (Marilla). Oh! And Matthew is a cloud.

Fantastical? Yes — and utterly delightful. I loved when retellings completely rework the story so readers get glimpses of the classics we love, while experiencing something completely new.

This story swept me away and was so sad when it ended. It’s one of the best middle-grade books of 2023.

Favorite Finds: March 2023

Our finthrds this month were focused on Spring Break! Jackie is addicted to her new hat when she’s in the sun. Friends on Instagram have told us they love it too! Kirsten found some new beauty finds while getting vacation ready and the game below had her children occupied for hours by the pool.

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Best Contemporary Fiction Books of 2023

The Heaven Earth Grocery Store

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

This pick from the best books to read in 2023 is from the National Book Award-winning author of The Good Lord Bird. When workers find a skeleton at the bottom of a well while doing work, who the skeleton was and what happened reveals some old secrets of the residents of Chicken Hill.

It is clear from the incredible writing in this book why it has been named a New York Times Notable Book and a Best Book by NPR, Washington Post, The New Yorker, and Time Magazine.

This is more than a mystery. It is a history of Pottstown, Pennsylvania where Moshe and Chona Ludlow, a Jewish couple, worked with the unofficial leader of the Black community to keep a deaf boy safe from authorities. It is a story of family, love community and survival. #gifted

big gay wedding

Big Gay Wedding by Byron Lane

Barnett has returned home to his mother’s farm in rural Louisana to announce that he’s getting married – to another man. Needless to say, introducing Ezra to his mom does not go down smoothly.

Byron Lane delivers a FANTASTIC novel filled with family drama, growth, acceptance, and a BIG GAY WEDDING. I think this is my favorite wedding novel of all time.

It’s over the top exactly where it needs to be and its heartwarming in the best way possible. Also, I cried over a sheep. I adored Barnett and Ezra’s families and especially their relationship. This one is a total must-read and a pick for the best books of 2023!

Pineapple Street

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson

March 2023 Good Morning America Book Club Pick

I loved this family drama book about the blue-blooded Stockton family, told from the perspective of sisters, Darley and Georgiana, and their sister-in-law, Sasha.

Each woman has her own struggles with navigating life in the Stockton family. Sasha, a middle-class artist feels like an unwelcomed outsider. Darley struggles with living up to the Stockton family name after she gave up her identity to embrace motherhood. Georgiana, the youngest, needs to grow up and become a capable adult!

Each family member struggles on their own and within the family dynamic in this wonderful contemporary fiction. Each sibling faces dramatic struggles from sick parents to committing adultery to a lost job. I loved seeing how they each grew throughout this book for book clubs and ultimately how they strengthened their familial bond.

While the book had enough meat for me to get invested, it also had glimpses of the whimsy of the monied elite. The matriarch of this family in particular is a hoot! We had to include this book in our list of beach reads 2023 and the best contemporary fiction books of 2023.

maame

Maame by Jessica George

February 2023 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick

This story about Maddie, known as Maame to her family, was immersive and beautifully complex. Dealing with friendships, racism, familial obligations, and then grief, this story swept me away. Maddie lives in London as the primary caretaker of her father who has Parkinson’s. Her mother spends most of her time in Ghana.

I felt fiercely protective of Maddie while reading this book. There were times I wanted to swoop in to relieve some of the burdens of this wonderful character with a heart of gold. But it was more rewarding to see Maddie finding her inner strength and learning to prioritize herself and her dreams.

I can’t recommend this coming-of-age book about grief enough – especially as a book for book clubs. It’s one of the best books of 2023 and a great pick for a list of book club books. This is one of the heavier books in our beach reads 2023 post, but the list would not be complete without it. This is also one of the best novels about Africa I have ever read.

Favorite Finds: April 2023

This month was all about getting my wardrobe ready for spring and getting ready for the Taylor Swift concert we are going to next month! Below you’ll find some recent t-shirt finds and the shoe/bag combo I haven’t stopped wearing.

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Best Beach Reads of 2023

hula

Hula by Jasmin Iolani Hakes

I picked up this book based on the cover and the thoughts of the hula dance competition, but instead of the fun read I was expecting, I got a coming-of-age story about a light-skinned Hawaiian trying to prove she belongs by learning to Hula.

But this Hula isn’t just a dance, it keeps the legends and legacies of the Hawaiian culture alive. Sprinkled throughout this story, while Hi’i is fighting to prove her worth, we see glimpses of her mother and grandmother’s lives and vignettes that explain Hawaii’s history, colonization, and the struggle of native Hawaiians today.

Why I Loved it: There is so much to uncover in this book, so many layers to absorb. I was entertained while reading it, but more importantly, I learned so much. I’ll be raving about this for years to come!

Find this book in Thought-provoking Books / Beach Reads 2023 / Best Books 2023 / Best Female BIPOC Authors / Family Saga / Best Beach Reads of All Time

Happy Place

Happy Place by Emily Henry

Emily Henry is an author who is always consistent with her romances. She may be the queen of romantic comedy books. Nothing says “summer reads” like Emily Henry.

Harriet and Wyn have been together for years until they broke up 5 months ago. The only problem is that they still haven’t told their best friends and now they will be sharing a room during their yearly vacation with their friends.

How hard can it be to keep up the facade of a happy couple? If you love fake dating books, this is one of the best. And if you are hoping these two will have a second chance at love, you will not be disappointed.

There is something special in every one of Emily Henry’s romances and this newest book is no exception. It is one of the best books of 2023!

Find this Book in Emily Henry Books / Second Chance Romance / Romantic Comedy Books / Fake Dating Books

The Breakaway

The Breakaway by Jennifer Weiner

I absolutely loved this feel-good fiction. Abby Stearn has good friends, her bike, her bike club, and has come to terms with her plus-size body. When she is given the chance to lead a group bike trip from New York City to Niagara Falls she is happy to have the time to make some hard life choices.

She loves her fiance but cannot help questioning if he is the man for her. And if he is, why is her one-night stand from years ago still haunting her thoughts? When he shows up on the bike trip and her mother shows up as well, Abby will have to deal with a lot of truths.

This is a book that deals with body image and mother-daughter relationships with Weiner’s signature charm and humor. #gifted

Favorite Finds: May 2023

With warmer weather comes more time outdoors. Our finds this month are about getting outside and soaking up the sun. Be sure to check out the fans that keep insects away from food!

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Best Feel-Good Books of 2023: 5-star Books

Wishing game

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Jack Masterson is the author behind the Clock Island series, a series of beloved children’s books. Now, years after he was thought to be retired, he has written a new book. There is only one copy of the book that will go to the winner of a contest held on Clock Island.

For Lucy Hart, winning the contest will mean everything to her. It will mean she can finally have the means to adopt Christopher, the little boy that she has grown to love.

Why We Love It: This book felt like an adult fairy tale. If you are looking for books about puzzles, this uplifting, feel-good book is the perfect book.
Find This Book in Books About Puzzles / Feel-Good Books

Love Scribe by Amy Meyerson

The Love Scribe by Amy Meyerson

Where do I even start with this amazing magical realism book? When Alice’s best friend has yet another horrible breakup, Alice wants to make her feel better by writing her a letter, the way she used to when they were young. Instead, she finds herself writing a story and as if by magic, Gabby meets the man of her dreams.

Soon, Alice is writing stories for everyone as her gift pours from her. When she is sent a letter that brings her to a mysterious mansion, she meets Madeline who wants to have a special story written for her. Alice is forced to deal with her own past in order to move forward. This is one of the contemporary fiction books for book clubs we have read and absolutely loved. It is perfect for Fiction Books about Writers and a pick for best books of 2023.

friendship breakup

The Friendship Breakup by Annie Cathryn

When it comes to books about motherhood, this is a must-read. As moms, we’ve all experiences the highs and lows of making new mom friends, but this story looks at what happens when friendships run their course.

Do you fight to keep the friendship alive or send it on its way? Well, Fallon is not letting them go so easily and her attempts to win back her friends are hysterical, but also poignant.

This book about friendship had me examining my own relationships and I knew I needed to include it in the ultimate list of beach reads 2023. It’s also one of my picks for the best books of 2023 and I knew this needed to be on our list of books for book clubs.

The Summer of Songbirds

The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Daphne, Lanier, and Mary Stuart met at Camp Holly Springs as 6-year-olds and have remained inseparable ever since. They have been through unplanned pregnancies and addiction, and have taken on each other’s hard things. 

Now, with the camp that they love so much in danger of closing, the three women come together to help Daphne’s aunt (and owner of the camp) save their beloved home. 

Why I Loved It: Every so often you read a book that brings you back to your childhood. Kirsty Woodson Harvey brought me back to my summers at camp. This book touched my heart. I loved every word! This is a real celebration of friendship and chosen family.

Find this Book in Best Books of 2023 / Lake Novels / Summer Camp Novels

Favorite Finds: June 2023

We went on a road trip for Memorial Day weekend and found the best items! Think small games for travel and a car trashcan that got a lot of use!

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Best YA Books of 2023: 5-Star Books for Teens

Checkmate

Check and Mate by Ali Hazelwood

Chess destroyed Mallory’s family four years ago which led to her quitting the sport. Now, she supports her family with a dead-end job. When she plays one last chess game in a tournament and beats the current world champion, Nolan Sawyer, nobody is more shocked than he is.

The cash from the win encourages Mallory to keep playing as a paid fellowship but soon things become even more complicated than the game when she starts to love chess and have feelings for Nolan.

Why I Love it: I am so honored that I was able to read a copy of this debut YA novel from the master romance writer behind the New York Times Bestseller The Love Hypothesis. It has everything I expected from a Hazelwood novel made appropriate for teens.

Find this book in YA Romances / Best Summer Reads 2024

We ship it

We Ship It by Lauren Kay

This charming YA cruise novel screams summer vacation read! Our nerdy heroine is dragged on a cruise by her family despite her desire to study for an upcoming presentation.

Despite being a little awkward, she meets a fun crew of fellow teens and a love interest. Sound fluffy? It is, but there are serious topics explored as well. Trigger warnings for drug use and overdose in pick for best ya books of 2023.

Warrior Girl Unearthed

Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

I loved the Firekeeper’s Daughter and I was so excited to read this book. I was worried that it would not live up to my expectations but it was a 5-star book and a best of 2023. This is an emotional and powerful, must-read book. It is a slower-paced book for me but I have been thinking about this book long after I finished the last page.

Perry Firekeeper Birtch has always known who she was (the troublemaker) and what she wanted to do (fish). When she gets in an accident and has to pay back her aunt for the cost of fixing the car, she spends the summer working to make it up to her aunt.

In the process, she discovers that the remains of her ancestors, the Anishinaabe, are not being returned to their rightful families, grave robbers are profiting from sacred artifacts, and the missing indigenous women are not being investigated. #gifted

Favorite Finds: July 2023

Jackie’s pool is open and she’s been living the dream! Meanwhile, I’ve been heading to the shore as often as possible. Below are our summer essentials for fun by the water.

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Best Celebrity Book Club Picks of 2023: 5-Star Books

Hello Beautiful

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

March 2023 Oprah Book Club Pick

I adored this family saga about the four Padavano sisters and the man that enters their family orbit. William Waters grew up in a house with indifferent parents, so he fell head over heels for Julia and then her family.

But William’s inner demons cause a rift between the sisters that shakes the family to its core and dramatically changes the dynamics between all the Padavanos. Told over decades, this story examines the ties that bind us to our family through the ebbs and flows of life.

As one of four children, this coming-of-age story really spoke to me. Napolitano does an incredible job of accurately depicting the individual sibling relationships with one another and the role each person plays within the larger family dynamic. It’s a tall order and a near-impossible challenge to nail the complexities of a big family, but Napolitano does it with aplomb.

It’s going to be one of the best books of 2023 without a doubt. It strikes a balance between creating moments for book club discussion but also being entertaining enough to be a beach read pick. It’s a book about sisters I’ll be recommending to everyone all year.

Chain gang all stars

Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

May 2023 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick

This book was a doozy in the most thought-provoking way. The story is about the stars of Chain-Gang All-Stars, the reality tv show that pits prisoners against each other in gladiator-type fights to the death.

Thurwar and Staxxx are stars of the show, brutally killing anyone they come up against, but as Thurwar gets ready to win her freedom after 3 years on TV, the creatures of the show throw many hurdles in her path.

Why We Love This Book: This searing look at racism and classism feels highly relevant to today’s world when a show like this could easily exist in some states. The reality TV book was so unique. Even days later I can’t stop thinking about the all-stars, the protesters fighting for their rights, and the stunning conclusion. I’ve been thinking about it all year, so it was an easy pick for the best books of 2023 pick!
Find This Book In Dystopian Novels / Read with Jenna Book Club

Tom Lake

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

August 2023 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return home and beg their mother to tell the story of her romance with a movie star from long ago.

Throughout their Mom’s telling of her summer theatre experience at Tom Lake, the daughters get the long-awaited answers to questions they’ve asked for years. The whole family also re-examines their lives and relationships through the new lens of information. While this is a pandemic story, it’s more of a plot device to get the family together than anything else. So don’t expect to be triggered!

Why I Loved it: Ann Patchett is an amazing storyteller and I love all her books, so it’s no surprise that this story is one of my best books of 2023 picks! I was completely enchanted by this story, especially because Meryl Streep reads the audiobook version.

Find this book in Best Books of 2023 / Novels Set on a Lake / Isolation Books / Family Dramas

Favorite Finds: August 2023

I know that it’s still boiling hot, but summer is coming to a close and so I recently picked up some fall gear! These jeans are so comfortable!

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Best Fantasy Books of 2023

miniscule mansion

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges

This is easily one of the most unique magical realism books I’ve ever read. Myra Malone blogs about a dollhouse mansion and has thousands of followers. But the mansion is more than it seems as rooms disappear and reappear overnight.

Across the country, Alex is shocked to see someone recreating the rooms of his home in miniature form. Alex and Myra correspond to determine their connection and in the process feel a pull to each other.

Fourth Wing

Fourth Wing (Empyrean Series Book #1) by Rebecca Yarros

If you have not heard of this book and love fantasy, this is the book for you. Don’t be intimidated by the length of this dragon book for adults, I started and finished this 528-page bad boy in a day and a half. I cannot remember the last time I did that!

Violet Sorrengail had spent her life studying to be a scribe until her father died and her mother, the commanding general, ordered her to join the dragon riders. Violet will become one of the hundreds of candidates who fight to the death to be a part of this elite group.

Unlike the other candidates who have worked towards this their whole lives, Violet is small and brittle and never meant for this to be her path. And other candidates do not have the children of rebel leaders waiting to take revenge.

This adult fantasy book has everything and I loved every second. It lives up to the hype and then some. There are some very spicy parts of this romance toward the end so I would agree with the adult rating on this book!

Find this book in Adult Fantasy Books / Fourth Wing Series in Order / The Best Books Like Fourth Wing / Grumpy Sunshine Romance

Tress of the Emerald Sea

Tress of the Emerald Sea: A Cosmere Novel by Brandon Sanderson

If you love fantasy books of any kind, stop now and make time to read this fantastic book. This is the book that you would get if The Princess Bride had a book baby that empowered women everywhere to be the heroes in their own story, seek out adventure, and be brave enough to become who they were intended to be.

Tress has grown up on her tiny island with her one friend Charlie, who is also the Duke’s son, to keep her company. When the Duke takes Charlie away and he doesn’t return, Tress sets off to rescue him from the Sorceress who lives on the deadly Midnight Sea. She will encounter pirates, talking rats, betrayal, love, and friendship on her voyage.

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. All the stars to this cozy book. While technically this is a fantasy book for adults, it is appropriate for a young adult or teen audience as well.

Find this book in Pirate Books / YA Fantasy / Best of 2023

Emily Wildes

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries (Emily Wilde #1) by Heather Fawcett

This is one of the best fantasy books of 2023! I knew I needed to read it as soon as I saw the name, but everything about it was wonderful. I loved this book.

Emily Wilde is an expert on the study of faeries who is writing the first encyclopedia on faerie lore. She has traveled to the village of Hrafnsvik to study the Hidden Ones. She is much better with her dog and faeries than she is with people so she is not happy when Wendell Bamblely shows up uninvited.

He is her handsome and lazy rival who is not opposed to making things up as he goes along. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time and was one of my favorite books for 2023. The sequel, Emily Wilde’s Map of the Overlands is already of of my favorites of 2024.

Find this book in Fae Books / Cozy Books / Best Books of 2023

Nocture and more February 2023 book releases

Nocturne by Alyssa Wees

I absolutely adored this pick for best fantasy books of 2023 because it’s pure magic at its best. What starts as a historical fiction set in Chicago in the 1930s transforms into a beautiful fantasy about a ballerina, her violin, and the kingdom of death.

When Grace becomes the prima ballerina at The Near North Ballet Company, she is overjoyed that her dream has come true. In accepting this position, she has become a patron of master LaRosa and must move into his mansion.

This Beauty and the Beast retelling is perfect for a list of books like ACOTAR. It is beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking. The writing is lyrical and I savored every minute. It is perfect for anyone who loves to read books like The Night Circus. You will obsess over this haunting pick from ultimate beach reads 2023.

Favorite Finds: September 2023

As the weather starts to chill, I find myself embracing the comforts of home. From the mug that keeps my coffee warm to this cozy blanket, these items are my favorite finds of the month.

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Best Thrillers and Mystery Books of 2023

puzzle master

The Puzzle Master by Danielle Trussoni

I was completely intrigued when I saw the description of this book. I had high hopes and this book exceeded my expectations. The description called this “books like The Da Vinci Code” which made this a must-read.

Mike Brink was once a promising football star until an injury ruined his career. It also had the side effect of a condition called Acquired Savant Syndrome which allowed him to have a perfect memory and an ability to solve puzzles other people cannot.

When Jess Price, an inmate convicted of murder sends Brink a puzzle he cannot solve, he gets sucked into her world and the world of the God Puzzle.

Why We Love It: I listened to this book in one day and was immediately taken in by the twists, turns, and puzzles in this book. It is such a unique book.
Find This Book In Puzzle Books For Adults

Happiness Falls

Happiness Falls by Angie Kim

September 2023 Good Morning America Book Club Pick

Happiness Falls is a captivating and heartwrenching tale about a Korean-American family in Virginia. When her dad mysteriously vanishes, Mia is convinced there’s a logical explanation. But as the search unfolds, family secrets unravel, and Mia’s younger brother, who is non-speaking Autistic, becomes the only witness.

Packed with shocking twists and thought-provoking questions, this book explores love, language, disabilities, and the lengths a family will go to understand one another. It was more than just a mystery. It was an exploration of the bonds of family.

Bright Young Women

Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll

Inspired by real events, this captivating tale takes you on a rollercoaster ride through the lives of two women determined to seek justice and bring down a serial killer. This mystery-thriller book flips the script on traditional serial killer tales, focusing on the female victims and the women impacted by the perpetrator’s horrendous crimes.

The killer is never named, instead the victims are rounded out and given depth in a way that highlights and celebrates who they were when alive.

Find This Book In: Best Books of 2023 / Fiction Serial Killer Books

Vera Wongs Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Vera Wong lives above her tea shop in Chinatown in San Francisco. When she finds a dead body in the shop, she calls the police immediately but also makes sure to clean up a bit, use a sharpie to trace the body, and take the flash drive out of the man’s dead hand. She is sure that she can do a better job of finding the murderer than the police.

She comes up with a plan to find the killer and finds four suspects who she grows to care for. I absolutely loved this best mysteries of 2023 pick. It is a perfect book to go on our list of Books Like a Man Called Ove and fiction books about tea. Sutanto does a brilliant job with her characters who you cannot help loving, flaws and all.

The house in the pines and more January 2023 celebrity book club spoilers

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

January 2023 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

As books with unreliable narrators go, this is the best I have ever read. Maya was days away from moving away to college when he best friend Aubrey mysteriously dropped dead in front of her. She blamed Frank, an older guy who she had been hanging out with that summer although there was nothing to prove that he had done a thing to harm Aubrey.

Now, years later, Maya is trying to overcome an addiction to the drug prescribed to help her overcome the loss of Aubrey. When she sees a video of a woman who drops dead in a cafe and Frank is sitting with her, she sets off in a spiral again and needs to prove that Frank is responsible. I love this book with a totally likable and yet, completely unreliable narrator. This is one of the best thrillers of 2023 pick for sure.

If you have not read this pick from ultimate beach reads 2023, run, don’t walk, to get it! It needs to be top of the list of your books for fall.

Favorite Finds: October 2023

Fourth Wing book 2 is coming and so is Thanksgiving! Jackie stocked up on gear to get ready for release day while I purchased some items to host my first Thanksgiving!

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Best Non-Fiction Books of 2023

kingdom of prep

The Kingdom of Prep: The Inside Story of the Rise and (Near) Fall of J.Crew by Maggie Bullock

An inside look at a brand that defined my 20s? Sign me up to read this bad boy! This feel-good nonfiction book takes a look at J.Crew’s creation, its juggernaut success in the 90s and 2000s, and what lead to the company’s declaration of bankruptcy at the outbreak of the pandemic.

With dozens of interviews and extensive research, Bullock delivers a non-fiction book about fashion that’s compelling and nostalgic while also being brutally honest.

Spare and more beach reads 2023

Spare by Prince Harry

I’m still reeling from the revelations and truths woven throughout Prince Harry’s narrative. His candor in taking us from the death of his mother to the death of Queen was refreshingly real and often poetic, no doubt thanks to the incredible skills of his ghostwriter.

I was struck by how much I had believed the press’s story of his life; accurate or not. To think that an entire family’s stories could be so fabricated or twisted into untruth was astonishing.

In revealing his own truths, however, he illuminated the dreadful antics of his family. Wills, Charles, Camilla, and the courtiers do not come out of this book without tarnish – and with good reason. There is so much to talk about, this is our book club book for next month.

At the end of the day, it’s hard not to judge everyone for lack of compassion but it’s a generational cycle that needs to be broken. I felt proud to see Harry putting in the work to make sure his own children don’t go through what he did.

This is a must for fans of books about the royal family and stories about royalty. This book is a best book for book clubs and a perfect pick from beach reads. Even if you don’t usually read memoirs, this is one of the best non-fiction books of 2023.

The Wager

The Wager by David Grann

David Grann writes the most captivating nonfiction books that read like novels. The Wager is no exception. It’s a tale of the shipwreck of the English boat, Wager in 1742.

Encompassing the events that led up to the wrecking, the mutiny that happened after, and the dastardly deeds of some of the crew before and after their rescue kept me enthralled.

While not quite a pirate book, this high-seas boat book read like Treasure Island and kept me entertained while I pondered what I might have done in the same situation.

the art thief

The Art Thief by Michael Finkel

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a nonfiction book that read so much like fiction. Imagine 2 people driving around Europe casually stealing billions of dollars worth of art from the most famous galleries and museums in the world.

That’s what this book about thieves is all about. I was floored by the writing, but the story is one I wouldn’t believe if it wasn’t true. It’s a fast, compelling book that art lovers, mystery lovers, and true crime aficionados must read.

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Best Holiday Books of 2023

Three Holidays and A Wedding

Three Holidays and a Wedding by Uzma Jalaluddin and Marissa Stapley

Maryam and Anna find themselves on a plane from Denver to Toronto in the middle of the storm of the century, they have no idea that they will spark an unexpected friendship.

When the plane is diverted to a small town outside of Ottawa with no end to the snow, they all must change their plans. Anna is not able to make it to Toronto to spend Christmas with her boyfriend, and Maryam’s sister’s wedding is in jeopardy.

This is an enchanting Hanukkah, Ramadan, romance Christmas book for 2023 with a charming small town, a snowbound inn, and a touch of fate that brings everyone together. This is a holiday book at its very best. #gifted

The Christmas Orphan's Club

The Christmas Orphan’s Club by Becca Freeman

I adore a found family story, which is why this Christmas book for 2023 made my best of list! On her first Christmas after the death of her parents, Hannah meets Finn, another orphan and together they decided to celebrate Christmas together.

It sparks a lifelong friendship, folding in two other friends into their annual holiday gatherings. But a dozen years into their tradition, life is about to change. Hannah is engaged, Finn is about to move across the country, and they have some quarrels they need to fix.

Will this be their best Christmas yet or the end of their friendship? I loved the deep look at friendship in this story. So often Christmas books revolve around romantic love and not platonic love – which is just as important!

If you are looking for a new Christmas book for 2023, grab this one immediately! #gifted

A December to Remember - Christmas Books 2023

A December to Remember by Jenny Bayliss

Jenny Bayliss is back with an exciting holiday book about the Winter Solstice. When Simone, Maggie, and Star, half-sisters with different moms, find out their father has died they also learn that in order to receive their inheritance, they must first solve a scavenger hunt and then relaunch the town’s Winter Solstice celebration.

The sisters don’t have a relationship outside of the one month each summer they all spend together with their father. Now, they are forced to work together and rebuild their sisterly bond.

Each sister is also working through something. One is a single-mom facing eviction. One is struggling with infertility. And one is a bit adrift and trying to start over and settle down.

I adored this holiday book about love and reconnection during the holiday season. It’s probably my favorite Christmas book for 2023. #gifted

The Christmas Appeal

The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett

The Fairway Players theater group is back and preparing for their Christmas play. They find themselves once again in the middle of a murder that threatens to halt their production.

Hallett puts you in the detective seat as you unravel clues, sift through Christmas letters, and dig into police transcripts to unmask the culprit before the final curtain falls.

I was crying laughing reading this story. It’s equal parts hysterical and cunning and one of the best mysteries of 2023. I can never figure out the mystery before the end of Hallett’s books. #gifted

Favorite Finds: November 2023

Jackie needed an outfit for some holiday parties and I wanted some metallic shoes for the same reason. aren’t these picks perfect for the season?

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Best Children’s Books of 2023

Bruce and the legend of soggy

Bruce and the Legend of Soggy Hollow by Ryan T. Higgins 

Mother Bruce is back in a brand new Halloween picture book! In an effort to get Bruce into the Halloween spirit, the animals try to get him to act out the legend of Soggy Hollow.

As they act it out, they just might find out it’s not really a legend after all!

the bright side

The Bright Side by Chad Otis

This moving book is about making the most of any situation. It’s also a heartfelt portrait of houselessness that will help explain the topic to young children.

The story is based on Chad’s own experiences as a child and is both uplifting and enlightening. This is one of our picks for best children’s books of 2023.

DOnt let the pigeon drive the sleigh

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Sleigh! by Mo Willems

Mo Willems is back with a new Pigeon book and this time it’s set at Christmas! Pigeon is back and trying to drive Santa’s sleigh in this charming toddler Christmas book. It’s one of the best children’s books of 2023 because Mo Willems can do no wrong!

Favorite Finds: December 2023

It’s all about cozy games and fun with the family this time of year. Here are some the gifts we are giving for the holiday.

How many of our picks for the best books to read in 2023 have you read?

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