Ultimate Beach Reads 2023: The Hottest Summer Reads

beach reads 2023
Ultimate Beach Reads 2023: The Hottest Summer Reads 82

Table of Contents

Ultimate Beach Reads 2023

The ultimate beach reads 2023 book list features all the books we’ve read since last June that we think are perfect for the beach. We included all of your favorite beach read authors like Christina Lauren, Riley Sager, Elin Hilderbrand, Carley Fortune, Emily Henry, and Ali Hazelwood. Don’t worry, we included some new authors for beach reads 2023 that you will adore.

Each of these summer reads features a quick review so you can pick your favorites. We have so many genres on this list, but they all have one thing in common: these are the best summer reads of 2023.

So no matter what genre of books you love to read, you can navigate ultimate beach reads 2023, by using the links below. There are so many amazing books on this list, you better get a pen and paper ready.

*Summer Reads 2023 post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions all our own.

Beach Reads 2023

Did you see our Summer Reading Bingo game last year? Be sure to check back because the new one will be coming in April. And you can look at the Beach Read Hub for all things related to summer reading. What pick from beach reads 2023 is at the top of your list?

Best Beach Reads / Fiction / Historical Fiction / Women’s Fiction / Romance / Thrillers / Mysteries / Fantasy / Non-Fiction / Young Adult Fiction

beach read Category Headers

Best Beach Reads 2023

Best Beach Reads 2023

Five Star Weekend

The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand

Hollis Shaw’s life comes crashing down when her husband dies in a car accident. In order to get her life back on track, Hollis decides to have a 5-star weekend- one weekend with her best friends from her teens, twenties, thirties, and middle age.

While not my favorite Elin Hilderbrand book, this delightful story was so much fun. The drama made for an entertaining story and a clear winner for one of the best beach reads of 2023. It had me reminiscing about my lifetime best friends and what a weekend with them all in one home would be like. It’s one of the most unique books about friendship I’ve ever read.

hula

Hula by Jasmin Iolani Hakes

Hula is not only one of the best beach read of 2023, but it’s also one of the best books of 2023! 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 who is 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, as well el as vignettes that explain Hawaii’s history, colonization, and the struggle of native Hawaiians today.

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! This is one of the best thought-provoking books I have ever read.

True Love

The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren

Felicity “Fizzy” Chen is a romance novelist who has never been in love and she is beginning to think she has lost her mojo. Connor Prince is a documentary filmmaker who is thrown off balance when he needs to create a reality TV show.

When he convinces Fizzy to be the star of this show, sparks fly. The two have undeniable chemistry but will this ruin the TV show that is supposed to be about finding Fizzy’s true love? The show is supposed to see if chemistry is the same as compatibility. It is in essence, the science of love.

This was a delightful celebrity romance and is perfect for anyone looking for books like The Love Hypothesis.

Every Summer After and more goodreads choice awards 2022 books

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

I absolutely adored this charming second-chance romance set at a lake house. It was one of the most popular books on Instagram this summer and for good reason.

Sam is the teenage boy we all needed in our lives growing up, and he gets better with age! Meanwhile, I was rooting for Percy to get her happily ever after with Sam the whole time. I was swept away by their summer love story and you will be too!

This is a must-read if you are looking for the best summer reads for 2023.

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

on fire island

On Fire Island by Jane L Rosen

I absolutely adored this magical realism book. It is a delightful magical realism book. Do not let the fact that it is a paranormal book throw you off if this is not your usual genre. The book is narrated by Julia Moore, a book editor who died at thirty-seven.

She follows her husband to Fire Island, her happy place, to spend one last summer with him and their friends on the Island. I absolutely loved this book. This is a powerful story about love, friendship, and happiness. It is one of the best picks for Ultimate Beach Reads 2023. This paranormal book is a heart-warming, feel-good book rather than spooky or creepy.

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Fiction Beach Reads 2023

Fiction Beach Reads 2023

The Daydreams

The Daydreams by Laura Hankin

With all the reboots of hit classic shows happening in real life, it’s no surprise that someone finally wrote about it!

The Daydreams was a hit tv show in 2004 with a cast of teenagers who had it all until everything was ruined during the live season finale. Now, the fans are demanding a reunion but, will old secrets threaten everything they have worked for?

This is one of the juicy celebrity fiction beach reads for 2023. The secrets of the three former stars unravel in the present day and flashbacks had me nostalgic for my childhood. It was a wildly entertaining story that had me on the edge of my seat.

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.

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 perfect book for summer reads 2023.

The Bandit Queens

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

Geeta lost her husband 5 years ago, but now her small Indian village thinks she killed him! The rumors have helped her for a few years, but now other local women are asking for her help in getting rid of their own husbands.

I found myself laughing at this band of friends and their antics. If you liked Dial A for Aunties, this book about thieves is for you. It is a perfect fit for our best books for summer 2023 post.

Iona Iverson

Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting by Clare Poole

I have to say that I think this feel-good book was my favorite pick of 2022. The writing, the characters, and the storyline are all outstanding and I loved every minute of this book. If you are looking for books about friendship, this one will make your heart sing.

Iona Iverson has rules for commuting on the train and they start with never talking to anyone. When a businessman starts choking on a grape, this all changes. As the characters get to know one another, we see them all change, evolve and develop friendships. This feel-good book is heartwarming and delightful in every single way and we knew we needed to include it in our best summer reads 2023 post.

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.

Cover story

Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

Like everyone, I fell deep into the Netflix show Inventing Anna. When I realized this story was about a similar tale, I knew it would be the perfect summer book about con artists!

Essentially it’s about an intern named Lora who was taken in by an Elle editor named Cat Wolff whose glamorous life quickly takes over her own. But is Cat who she claims to be or is she someone else entirely?

Let’s just say this is one of those books where you get to the end and you want to go back and re-read. I gasped when I read the final chapter of this pick from summer reads 2023.

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Ultimate List of Contemporary Fiction

Love Contemporary Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Contemporary Fiction carefully divided by genres.

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Historical Fiction Beach Reads 2023

2023 Historical Fiction Beach Reads

The Cuban Heiress

The Cuban Heiress by Chanel Cleeton

While this story is set in the same time period as some of Cleeton’s stories about the Perez family, this book is not about the family! It is inspired by the real story of the S.S. Moro and its fateful last journey.

Add in a woman pretending to be an heiress, a fiance who isn’t what he seems, a thief, and a passenger out for revenge and you have the perfect historical fiction beach read of 2023!

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 a perfect pick for books set in Italy and a must for our ultimate beach reads 2023 post. If you love second chance romance books, this is one of the best there is.

River Sing me home

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

February 2023 Good Morning America Book Club Pick

Prior to reading this story, I had little concept of what the end of slavery meant in the Caribbean. I knew nothing of the apprenticeships and horrible conditions formerly enslaved people were forced to endure.

And I certainly had no idea of what it would take to reunite a family of formerly enslaved individuals who had been ripped apart when they were sold by their owners.

Rachel’s story changes that. She runs away from the plantation in Barbados to reunite with her family. She sets off on a journey to find her 5 children. What she finds out about each encompasses some of the many ways a formerly enslaved person’s life could turn out.

 I don’t think anyone will be able to read this story without shedding a tear and thinking hard about colonialism and the ripple effects it has had on generations. This is another book that is heavier in our ultimate beach reads 2023 post but you will not want to miss reading this pick.

Beyond that the Sea

Beyond that, the Sea by Laura Spence-Ash

I’ve read a lot of books about WWII but not as many books about what it was like after the war. This particular story is about Bea, an 11-year-old sent to America during the bombings in London. She assimilates into an American family with two sons during the war years, only to be wrenched away at the end of the war.

Her time in America forever changes Bea, and she struggles to reconnect to her home country and her family. As she grows up, her American family is never far from her heart. I loved to see how she merged her two families over the course of her life. While often sad at times, it was truly a lovely tale and a perfect pick for our summer reads 2023 post.

Jacqueline in Paris

Jacqueline in Paris by Ann Mah

I had no idea that Jackie Kennedy spent a year abroad living in Paris in the year following the end of WWII. I was fascinated by Ann Mah’s take on what Jackie would have seen in post-war France.

This fictional biography covered it all! The rise of communism, the French people’s disdain for Americans, the struggle to make ends meet for many citizens, and the return to the glitz and glam of the gilded aristocracy.

As far as historical fiction books go, it was one of the most unique ones I’ve read in recent years. I immediately gave it to my francophile mother because I know she will adore it. This book was a must for our ultimate beach reads 2023 post.

Always Be My Duchess by Amalie Howard

Always Be My Duchess by Amalie Howard

I have a thing for historical romance books like Bridgerton, so I knew I had to read the first in the Taming the Dukes series that Amalie Howard wrote.

Lord Blackstone needs a faux-fiance to secure a land deal, and he stumbles upon the perfect partner in out-of-work ballerina, Geneviève. We all know what happens in faux-dating romances, and yet, it’s still satisfying when the couple falls in love EVERY TIME.

I’m looking forward to the next one in this series and is a perfect pick for our ultimate list of beach reads 2023!

The Italian Ballerina by Kristy Cambron

The Italian Ballerina by Kristy Cambron

This amazing WW11 historical fiction novel takes place in three timelines. While I was a little bit confused initially, I could not put the book down by the end.

This book is based on the true accounts of Syndrome K, the deadly and highly contagious disease that was fabricated by doctors in Rome to save Jewish people from Nazi extermination.

In the past, Courtney Coleman has had a troubled past and decides to enlist when Pearl Harbor is bombed. While he is there, he meets Julia Bradbury, an Italian ballerina, and together with another allied medic and the hospital staff, they work together to try and save the Jewish people from the Nazis.

In the Present day, Delaney Coleman has recently lost her grandfather, a WW11 veteran. Soon after, Delaney’s family is contacted by an Italian woman who claims they have a family heirloom. Delaney travels to Italy to discover her grandfather’s past. This is one of the newest books set in Italy on our list and is also a perfect pick for our ultimate beach reads 2023!

The London Séance Society

The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner

I was so excited about this new book written by the author of The Lost Apothecary, a book on our Ultimate List of Best Historical Fiction Books, and this newest book did not disappoint!

In 1873, The Seance Society is looking for answers about the death of their leader and turned to a renowned spiritualist for help. Out of loyalty and obligation, she leaves Paris and returns to London with her trainee, a woman seeking answers about her dead sister.

If you love magical realism books, this book is a perfect pick. The story takes twists and turns and kept me turning the pages. It was just too good not to include it in our list of best fantasy books for adults as well. If you are looking for a great fall read, this one is for you.

Historical Fiction

Ultimate List of Historical Fiction

Love Historical Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Historical Fiction carefully divided by time period.

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Women’s Fiction Beach Reads 2023

Women’s Fiction Beach Reads 2023

Audrey Hepburn Estate

Audrey Hepburn Estate by Brenda Janowitz

Emma, a celebrated chef and caterer, is upset that her childhood home is set to be demolished by a developer, Leo, who also used to live at the Audrey Hepburn Estate.

Emma was the housekeeper’s daughter, Leo, the chauffeur’s son, and rounding out their childhood trio was Henry, raised by his grandparents on the rolling estate out on Long Island. Long ago, Emma and Leo discovered a secret about Henry’s family and now that the estate is ready to be torn down, those family secrets are coming to light.

Part mystery, part love-triangle romance, this story has all the drama and intrigue I expect from Brenda Janowitz.

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 Mostly True Story

The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise

Tanner needs a place to live where she can sit and play video games to her heart’s content since she isn’t allowed to be at her house anymore. Louise Wilt’s daughter thinks she needs a caregiver.

Being Louise’s caregiver seems like the perfect gig for Tanner and the two ignore each other happily. When Tanner starts to notice that Louise has a close resemblance to a jewel thief and Louise suddenly insists on a road trip, their adventure begins.

I absolutely loved this book about thieves – or potential thieves. It was everything I hoped for and more. The relationship between Tanner and Louise develops as the characters develop. Is Louise the famed jewel thief from years ago? This jewelry novel is perfect for ultimate beach reads and is a feel-good book at its finest.

The Most likely club and more family drama books

The Most Likely Club by Elyssa Friedland

Elyssa Friedland is quickly becoming an auto-order author for me with her quirky characters and unique plots. Fresh off the success of Last Summer at the Golden, The Most Likely Club is another fantastic book club book!

With a 25-year high school reunion as the backdrop to this story about 4 life-long friends, there is so much to discuss in this fast-paced, witty book. When the girls realize that they are not living up to the high school superlatives in their yearbook, they make a pact to supercharge their lives and career goals.

But is it possible for women in this age to have it all? Partly a feminist story, partly an ode to female friendships, you’ll be laughing and contemplating serious matters in the same breath. I adored this book about friendship which is a family drama story and can’t wait to share it with my own girlfriends! It is also a perfect book from best beach reads 2023.

Matchmakers gift

The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman

This is the story of Sara Glikman who in 1910, as a young child, was able to see the glow between her sister and the man who would become her husband. She very quietly arranged their match and many more for years.

Her granddaughter Abby is a divorce attorney who represents some of the biggest divorces in the city. When Sara dies, leaves Abby all of her diaries.

I loved this unexpected book. It is so unique and a pleasure to read. The story is such a wonderful feel-good book and we needed to recommend if for our summer reads 2023 post.

Bend toward the Sun

Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon

Rowan has a Ph. D in botany and is suffering from a setback in her research. She decides to take a position to help restore a winery vineyard until she is able to resume her research and start a post-doc position. She has her two best friends and that is all she needs after an emotionally abusive mother and a similar ex-fiance.

She does not expect to meet Harrison, an OB who has issues of his own. This is such a well-written romance and I loved seeing these two characters overcome heartache and distrust. This is a fun one that is also on our list of fiction books about wine and is such a great pick from ultimate beach reads 2023.

The Beach Trip

The Beach Trap by Ali Brady

Estranged half-sisters inherit a dilapidated beach house when their father dies. One is desperate to sell, the other wants to hold onto the memories. Either way, they need to get over their differences and fix up the home!

I loved the romances that bloomed for each woman with town locals. They were mature relationships where each party actually communicated like adults! I love a good home renovation book, so that made me happy too. What could be better for beach reads 2023 than a book that takes place on a beach?

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Romance Beach Reads
2023

Romance Beach Reads 2023

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

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 second chance romance novel! You can also find this book in our list of Hotel Novels to Indulge in on Vacation, and of course on our Ultimate Beach Reads 2023! If you are looking for books for summer, this one is for you.

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.

Romantic Comedy

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

April 2023 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

Sally Milz is a sketch writer for a late-night comedy show. She begins to write a sketch called the Danny Horst Rule, which makes fun of average-looking men dating gorgeous women, but the reverse rarely happens. Being set on a comedy show makes this the perfect setting for a funny romance!

When a pop music icon signs on as the musical guest and host for the show for the week, sparks begin to fly, but Sally doesn’t know if it is just in her head. After all, he is a gorgeous star!

We love Curtis Sittenfeld and could not wait to read this book. This is a slow-burn romance that I loved. Part of the book takes place over email correspondence during the COVID lockdown and I could not get enough.

This is one of my favorite summer reads for 2023 and true to its name is one of the best romantic comedy books of all time.

Find this book in Celebrity Romance / Reese’s Book Club / Rom-Com Books

The Seven Year Slip

The Seven-Year Slip by Ashley Poston

Clementine has had her heart broken one too many times. She has inherited her beloved aunt’s apartment and is constantly mourning her loss. When she comes home one day and finds a man sitting there, she realizes that he exists seven years in the past.

And, the more time they spend together, the more she realizes she is falling for him. But she can never figure out when their paths will collide! This is a fantastic pick if you are looking for romantic comedy books.

Dead Romantics (GMA Book Club Pick July 2022) was one of my favorite books last year and this book did not disappoint! This is such an adorable time travel romance book and is perfect for our ultimate beach reads 2023. I needed to include it in our list of adult fantasy novels as well! And if you are not a fantasy lover, you can definitely call this a magical realism book!

maggie moves on

Maggie Moves on by Lucy Score

I love a good HGTV-type romance and Maggie and Silas’s story didn’t disappoint. Maggie purchased a massive home to renovate for her YouTube show. She hires Silas to be the landscaper of the enormous property in the hopes she can really flip the house for top dollar.

Maggie’s MO has always been to buy a house, flip it, and then move on to a new town, but she soon falls in love with the town of Kinship, Iowa, and the house itself. Will Silas be enough to make her put down roots? This is one of the renovation romances you will love and is a perfect pick for summer reads 2023.

Fake it till you bake it

Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley

Donovan is an NFL player who also owns a struggling cupcake bakery with a few of his friends. Jada is internet famous, and not in a good way. She rejected a proposal on a bachelor-like TV show and now she’s got haters all over!

After taking a job at Donovan’s store, she lies to a reporter and says she was still thinking of Donovan when she rejected the proposal. 

So now she is fake-dating Donovan and helping the cupcake store in the process. But can they turn this fake relationship into something more? 

Um yes, and with SIZZLING chemistry to boot! This is a fake dating book at its steamiest and a celebrity romance as well. You will love this pick from Ultimate Beach Reads 2023.

ultimate list of romance

Ultimate List of Romances

If you love all things romance, then this is the list for you! We have this list carefully divided by sub-genres like second-chance romance books, romcoms, and more.

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Thriller Beach Reads
2023

Thriller Beach Reads 2023

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.

drowning

Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 by T.J Newman

Six minutes after flight 1421 takes off, it crashes into the Pacific Ocean, and with twelve people remaining on board, it sinks.

Will and his daughter are among the passengers trapped with limited air and teetering on the edge of a cliff to the abyss. Their only hope of survival is Chris Kent, a diving professional, and Will’s soon-to-be ex-wife. She will not stop until her daughter is safe.

Why We Liked it: This terrifying and exhilarating thriller will have your heart pounding from the first page to the last.

Find this book in Plane Crash Novels / Ultimate Beach Reads 2023

Daisy Darker

Daisy Darker: A Novel by Alice Feeney

Daisy’s family is gathering for Nan’s birthday on a tiny, private, tidal island after not seeing each other for years. When the tide comes in, they will be cut off from everybody for 8 hours.

When Nana’s body is found dead with a creepy poem written on the wall beside her, they each begin to suspect each other- after all, one of them is a murderer. Soon, everybody’s secrets start to come out as the members of the family die one at a time.

This pick from isolation books had me guessing until the very end and definitely has the feeling of “And Then There Were None”. In the true Alice Feeney style, I had no idea what was going to happen next so, I stopped trying to guess so I could just enjoy the thrill of the ride. You will love this pick from the Ultimate List of Beach Reads 2023. It is a locked room mystery at its finest. If you are looking for books for fall to snuggle up with, this one will not disappoint.

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins and more January 2023 book releases

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins

I always love a great gothic suspense novel and what could be better than one set in an Italian villa?

Emily’s husband filed for divorce and she cannot seem to get her life and career back on track so when her childhood best friend and hugely successful writer, Chess. suggests they spend a summer together in an Italian villa where they can write and reconnect what could go wrong?

Oh, did I mention the mansion has a history that includes murder? This pick is one of the best books for summer 2023, no contest!

Thrillers

Ultimate List of Thrillers

Love Thrillers? We created this list and carefully divided it by sub-genre. These will definitely keep you on your toes.

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Mystery Beach Reads
2023

Mystery Beach Reads 2023

Symphony of Secrets

Symphony of Secrets by Brendan Slocumb

This is the newest novel from the best-selling author of The Violin Conspiracy, a GMA Book Club Pick. When a Professor is researching a newly discovered song from a famous American composer, he finds a connection between the composer and a black woman named Josephine Reed. As he digs further into the past, he will not stop until he uncovers the truth about Josephine.

Flashing between the present day and the 1920s, this story is a character-driven slow-burn until the 60% mark, when it turns into a heart-pounding thriller. I loved this summer book about music and I think you will too.

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 cleans up a bit, uses a Sharpie to trace the body, and takes 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 loved this mystery book and have recommended this cozy book too many times to count.

Find this book in Ultimate List of Beach Reads 2023 / Books Like a Man Called Ove / Fiction Books About Tea.

The It Girl by Ruth Ware

The It Girl by Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware’s slow-burn style of writing psychological thrillers continues to impress. This Dark Academia murder mystery focuses on the murder of April, an It Girl at Oxford.

Her accused murderer has recently died in prison, causing her best friend, Hannah to question if she wrongfully put the wrong person in prison. As Hannah reevaluates the murder a decade later, new information comes to light that has her questioning everything she knew about that time in her own life and April’s.

This pick from our summer reads 2023 is a long book and a slow burn, but I didn’t see the ending coming! I thought I figured out the murderer early on and was dead wrong.

The Golden Spoon

The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell

Every summer for the past ten years, bakers come to a Vermont estate for filming a hit television show with the famous host and estate owner Betsy Martin. This year, something is off with the competition as things start to go awry on the set. Suddenly, a body is discovered in this locked room mystery.

Why we love it: I read this book a day and absolutely loved it. It felt like Agatha Christie meets the Great British Baking Show. There is more than meets the eye with this cozy mystery and I loved every minute. As you get to know each character, the story becomes that much better they are equal parts delightful, hilarious, and suspicious.
Find this book in Novels About Food / Domestic Thrillers / Books with Colors in the Title

the other side of night

The Other Side of Night by Adam Hamdy

Everyone told me to go into this story blind and I’m so very glad I did. The story was completely unique and because I didn’t know much, I was shocked at the various twists and turns.

Adam Hamdy is truly a gifted storyteller. I was swept away by David’s telling of why he was separated from his son, Elliot. The mystery unfolded in a way that had me utterly captivated. We do not want to ruin any part of this pick from summer reads 2023 by telling you too much.

marlow murder club

The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood

Judith is a 77-year-old crossword puzzle author who enjoys her quiet life with her whiskey in her dilapidated mansion in Marlow. When she is out skinny dipping one nice in the Thames, she hears her neighbor get shot.

The police think nothing is awry so Judith takes to investigating. Soon, there are two more murders and Judith unknowingly brings two more people into the investigation with her- Suzie, the dog walker, and Becks, the vicar’s wife.

This book was an absolute delight to read. It was witty and funny, and I enjoyed every minute. I am looking forward to the next book in this series that is perfect for our list of ultimate beach reads 2023.

The Twyford Code

The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett

Name a more unique mystery writer than Janice Hallett. You can’t because her mystery books are unlike any I’ve ever read before. 

It’s not just the incredible mysteries that keep you on your toes – it’s HOW the stories are told.

The Twyford Code is laid out as a collection of audio file transcripts that you need to decipher to find the treasure. The ending BLEW MY MIND. The genius of Hallett to lay it out like that… I’m in awe of this pick from our list of ultimate beach reads 2023.

the last party

The Last Party (DS Morgan #1) by Clare Mackintosh

This is by far the best mystery I have read in a long time. One party, one body, and everyone had a reason for wanting him dead. This is a brilliant well-thought-out, locked room mystery that reminds me of Agatha Christie or the movie Clue- because everyone had motive and opportunity.

The answer is brilliant and kept me guessing until the last page- and I was still left with my mouth agape!!! This is a must-read from our list of mystery books and a great pick from our list of summer reads 2023!

Novel Ideas 68

The Ultimate List of Mystery Books

Love Mysteries? We created this list and carefully divided it by sub-genre for anyone who lives a good mystery as much as we do.

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beach read Category Headers

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Beach Reads
2023

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Beach Reads 2023

the shadow of perseus

The Shadow of Perseus by Claire Heywood

Shadow of Perseus is a multi-narrator Greek mythology retelling told from the perspective of the women in Perseus’s story. 

Heywood examines how facts can be manipulated into folklore, making everyday stories into monster-filled legends. Ultimately, the females in the story cast Perseus in a much different, and darker, light than traditional mythological depictions.

I love when mythology retellings turn a well-known story on its head – and this one does it exquisitely! I was riveted by Medusa, Andromeda, and Danae’s version of events and the setting of this boat book. We needed to include it in our ultimate list of beach reads 2023.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

This book for fall is definitely a feel-good book of the season. Mika Moon knows that she must hide her magic and stay away from other witches so their powers do not draw the attention of other people. She also knows that witches are destined to be orphans, a very lonely existence.

When she is asked to come and teach magic to three young witches, she finds the life that she had always dreamed of, even if it is temporary. But, does it have to be? Can she find the life she always wanted?

I listened to this charming witch book in one day and loved it. This adult fantasy book is a delightful pick from our list of ultimate beach reads 2023 and if you were waiting to read this one, it is a great book for fall.

Upgrade and more goodreads choice awards 2022 books

Upgrade by Blake Crouch

Logan Ramsey works for the Gene Protection Agency, a part of the government dedicated to ensuring genes are not being manipulated after the “Great Starvation”.

When Logan is caught in an explosion, it seems like there is nothing wrong at first. Then, he begins to notice the changes. He is smarter, stronger, faster, better, and multitasking. In short, his genes have been hacked and he has been upgraded.

It is not a coincidence that Logan was chosen. His family has a horrible legacy and now, he is the only one that can stop the plan that will change humanity forever.

I have loved all of Couch’s books and this one did not disappoint. I could not stop reading this book that has non-stop action and really makes you think!

Weyward and more of the best Summer reads 2023

Weyward by Emilia Hart

This is such a well-thought-out book and one of the best witch books I have read in a while. This adult fantasy book follows three Weyward women. In 2017, Kate is fleeing an abusive partner to her great-aunt’s cottage. In 1619, Altha is awaiting her own witch trial and in 1942 we meet Violet whose father keeps her trapped in her house because she cannot fit into what society expects of her.

Each of these women finds themselves and who they are as the story progresses and I found myself completely sucked in. I loved this debut urban fantasy novel and I cannot wait to see what comes next from this author. It is also a perfect book to read if you love the Practical Magic Series or the All Souls Trilogy. If fantasy books are your favorite, you will love this pick from ultimate beach reads 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.

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beach read Category Headers

Non-Fiction Beach Reads
2023

Non-Fiction Summer Reads 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.

my first popsicle

My First Popsicle: An Anthology of Food and Feelings by Zosia Mamet

This Anthology of stories is all centered around memories associated with food. Some of these stories are funny and some are quite poignant as they highlight how central food is to our culture, lives, and memories.

This book is different from any of the full cast audiobooks that I have listened to because each story is written and read by a different narrator. It is a quick read (or listen) from our list of ultimate beach reads 2023.

Rogues

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels, and Crooks by Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe is an award-winning author and it is clear why. He is a brilliant writer who meticulously researches his stories and whose writing is compelling.

This book about con artists and criminals includes stories featuring the almost unbelievable ways they committed their crimes. These 12 stories range from forging vintage wines to a black market arms dealer. Each story is more intriguing than the next on this list of ultimate beach reads 2023.

The LIght we carry and more summer reads 2023

The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama

I loved Michelle Obama’s first book so much that it was listed on our favorite non-fiction book list. I was little nervous to read her self-help style advice book, but I shouldn’t have been.

With true grace, Obama breaks down ways to help unwind, prioritize, and regroup, using her own life experience as examples. She talks about the power of using your hands to free your mind, of embracing your community when you need it, and when to give yourself grace.

I found her insights to be inspiring and spot-on. I found myself wishing I had read this one instead of listening so I could underline passages to come back to when I need encouragement. This was a must-read on our list of ultimate beach reads 2023.

The Palace Papers and More  of the Best beach reads 2023

The Palace Papers by Tina Brown

This was like reading a JUMBO issue of People magazine. All gossip in the best way! It’s perfect for our beach reads 2023 list! Tina Brown goes deep into the scandals of the British Royal Family over the past 40 or so years.

I didn’t learn anything new, but I loved hearing the hot gossip laid out in book form. This is perfect for our list of books like The Crown and our Royal Reads roundup. This is definitely one of our favorite books about the royal family to take on vacation.

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beach read Category Headers

YA Beach Reads
2023

Young Adult Beach Reads 2023

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.

Magnolia Parks

Magnolia Parks by Jessa Hastings

This #booktok sensation is full of toxic relationships, high fashion, and DRAMA. Is it the best-written book? No. Did I read all 430+ pages in one day? Hell yeah.

It’s basically Gossip Girl set in London High Society featuring a bunch of 20-somethings as they party, date, and globe-trot. Magnolia Parks and BJ Balletine’s relationship is at the heart of this toxic romance book, but there are tons of secondary characters with equally dramatic lives. It’s the first in what will be a 7-book series – they are the perfect summer reads!

davenports and more beach reads 2023

The Davenports by Krystal Marquis

What a fun read! I was eager to start a new Historical fiction romance series and the cover of this one drew me right to it.

The Davenports is a Gilded Age story about a successful Chicago Black family who made a name for themselves after slavery was abolished. Now the talk of the season, the three Davenport children are all looking for their spouses and trying to buck societal norms in the process!

Be warned! This YA historical romance book ends on a cliffhanger and the book is perfect for our list of beach reads 2023.

best beach reads 2023

The Fraud Squad by Kyla Zhao

After reading a few heavier books this month, I craved a YA book that would put a smile on my face. Enter The Fraud Squad, a story about 2 socialites who team up to convince Singapore’s high society that working-class, Samantha is one of them to help her secure her dream job.

This name-dropping, bejeweled story is like Crazy Rich Asians for teens. It was fun to revisit Singaporean high society through the eyes of young adults. It is fluff and fun in the very best ways. This book about con artists is a pick from summer reads 2023.

Family of LIars

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart

We are back with the Sinclair family BEFORE. The same family with more secrets and lies.

Carrie and her sisters are back to spend the summer on their private island near Cape Cod but this summer is different. Carrie’s youngest sister drowned the summer before and they are all silently grieving.

What starts off as a summer of new beginnings, quickly turns into a summer that none of them will ever forget for all the wrong reasons. I really loved the first book and included it in our list of books with unreliable narrators. This one lacked that “wow” moment. However, this was a fun, quick summer read and perfect for our list of ultimate beach reads 2023.

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Our Beach Favorites

What are some good summer reads?

This year our top five picks are:
1. Hula by Jasmin Iolani Hakes
2. On Fire Island Jane L Rosen
3. Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
4. Only One Left by Riley Sager
5. Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

Depending on which genre you like, we have a complete list of 90 of the best summer reads for 2023. So whether you like fiction, fantasy, women’s fiction, or non-fiction, we have you covered.

Did you find some beach reads for the summer 2023 season?

Best Summer reads 2023
Ultimate Beach Reads 2023: The Hottest Summer Reads 83

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