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The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,681 authors and super readers for their 3 favorite reads of the year.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

My favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Twisted Games

Dana Christy Why did I love this book?

Twisted Games is my number-one read of the year. The connection I felt to Bridget was unbreakable. Her family obligation and inner strength resonated with my childhood. 

I was sucked into the page-turning story of  Bridget, the dutiful Queen of Eldora, who took on the crown for her brother, allowing him to be with the one he loved. In turn, she sacrifices her own. Anyone who has siblings can understand her characters plight.

Reading this book, I connected deeply with Bridget and fell in love with her ability to understand how to use her power to change her relationship with her love, Rhys. Bridget stood against outdated laws and gave herself everything she wanted.

Her strength to sway an entire empire, prove she could fulfill her duties as queen, and have Rhys by her side was epic heroine power. I recommend this book and dare readers to try and put it down. I know I couldnt!

The book entrapped me with its beautiful words, powerful characters, and page-scorching romantic scenes between Bridget and Rhys.

By Ana Huang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Twisted Games as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author and BookTok sensation Ana Huang comes a contemporary royal romance!

Stoic, broody, and arrogant, elite bodyguard Rhys Larsen has two rules: 1) Protect his clients at all costs 2) Do not become emotionally involved. Ever.

He has never once been tempted to break those rules...until her.

Bridget von Ascheberg. A princess with a stubborn streak that matches his own and a hidden fire that reduces his rules to ash. She's nothing he expected and everything he never knew he needed.

Day by day, inch by inch, she breaks down his defenses until he's faced…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Haunting Adeline

Dana Christy Why did I love this book?

Haunting Adeline was tops. If you love dark romances, Adeline and Zade are it!

Adeline uncovers the murderous truths as she moves into her deceased Nanas mansion. The story twists through the gripping mystery of her Great-Grandmothers murder by a stalker.

Similarly, Adeline must deal with a stalker of her own, Zade. Torturously, I watched Adeline follow the same dangerous path, first fearing Zade but later falling for him. I love stories that take on winding roads of mystery and character development and shock me with every new chapter.

This story went further, taking a dark turn down the rabbit hole of the skin trade, and may not be for some readers, but for me, it was amazingly written and edgy. Often, I told myself, Only one more chapter,” but I ended up finishing the book in one day.

Its that enthralling! H.D. Carlton is a fantastic author; his books always hold my interest, But the Haunting Adeline series was more. The series had me on an emotional roller coaster. I cried, laughed, and celebrated throughout the story. 

By H D Carlton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Haunting Adeline as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Manipulator

I can manipulate the emotions of anyone who lets me.

I will make you hurt, make you cry, make you laugh and sigh.

But my words don't affect him. Especially not when I plead for him to leave.

He's always there, watching and waiting.

And I can never look away.

Not when I want him to come closer.


The Shadow

I didn't mean to fall in love.

But now that I have, I can't stay away.

I'm mesmerized by her smile, by her eyes, and the way she moves.

The way she undresses...

I'll keep watching and waiting.…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Fourth Wing

Dana Christy Why did I love this book?

Fourth Wing had me in another world. As an obsessed reader, I fall deep into novels—especially worlds filled with dragons and magical forestsFourth Wing is a strong fantasy novel that delivers everything.

Violet Sorrengail waited to follow in her father's footsteps and join the scribe quadrant but was sentenced to the rider's quadrant by her mother, the general. Violet's character arc is sweeping, from weak rider to the most powerful bonded rider in the rider's quadrant.

Not only encompassing the underdog niche perfectly, this book delivers more, giving us a Romeo-Juliet romance between bonded rider Xaden Riorson, who is part of the rebellion riders against General Sorrengail.

This mythical world whisked me away from reality while satisfying my love of page-turning twists. I dove into her story every day and immediately escaped, bonding my soul with Violet's. Like Violet, I have been underestimated as fragile but have shown true bravery when needed.

Violet is a character I hate saying goodbye to. Book two will be my next purchase!

By Rebecca Yarros,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Fourth Wing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Instant New York Times Bestseller
A Goodreads Most Anticipated Book

"Suspenseful, sexy, and with incredibly entertaining storytelling, the first in Yarros' Empyrean series will delight fans of romantic, adventure-filled fantasy." --Booklist, starred review

"Fourth Wing will have your heart pounding from beginning to end... A fantasy like you've never read before." #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout

Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders from New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Yarros

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history.…


Plus, check out my book…

A Heart's Salvation

By Dana Christy,

Book cover of A Heart's Salvation

What is my book about?

After a year free from pain and anguish, Madison is once again jolted back into reality as her past catches up to her. On the run for years, she is forced to return home, desperate for help. As despair grips her mind, she encounters a handsome young actor, Jackson Hunter, who is determined to get to know the complicated beauty, Madison Skye.

Feeling an immediate connection to her, Jackson refuses to accept her emotional disconnect and offers her a way to escape her past. Although fearful of her attraction to him, Madison accepts his help with intentions on leaving him before her past finds her once more. Fated to meet, and destined to be together, can their love endure the dark turmoil of Madison's tortured past?