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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.

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My favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Darlene Marshall Why did I love this book?

Absolutely delightful fantasy that reads like The Shop Around the Corner…with occasional zombies.

An epistolary love story with a gruff marshal and a hardworking undertaker, this is a sweet and quirky tale of two lonely souls who long for companionship but can only open their hearts in letters to their unknown penpals. Sexy, fun, poignant, I enjoyed it immensely.

By Megan Bannen,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A uniquely charming mixture of whimsy and the macabre that completely won me over. If you ever wished for an adult romance that felt like Howl's Moving Castle, THIS IS THAT BOOK." —Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient

Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the strange and magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.  

Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right…

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Hotel of Secrets

Darlene Marshall Why did I love this book?

This was, hands down, one of the best historical romances I've read this year. Great characters, engaging mystery, excellent sex scenes (one of the best depictions of gaining consent that I've ever read), a heroine who just won't quit, and a hero who is the quiet strength she needs at her back.

In addition, there are well-drawn secondary characters and a setting in Vienna at the beginning of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that's as sparkling and rich as a sachertorte set to a background of waltz music. I've enjoyed all the Diana Biller books I've read, but now she's an auto-buy author for me.

By Diana Biller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's Ball Season in Vienna, and Maria Wallner only wants one thing: to restore her family's hotel, the Hotel Wallner, to its former glory. She's not going to let anything get in her way - not her parents' three-decade-long affair; not seemingly-random attacks by masked assassins; and especially not the broad-shouldered American foreign agent who's saved her life two times already. No matter how luscious his mouth is.

Eli Whittaker also only wants one thing: to find out who is selling American secret codes across Europe, arrest them, and go home to his sensible life in Washington, DC. He has…

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of You Were Made to Be Mine

Darlene Marshall Why did I love this book?

I have enjoyed all the The Palace of Rogues series, but this one was especially good.

A damaged man is freed from prison and given a mission by a powerful peer--find a missing girl and a missing necklace. His journey leads him to the Palace of Rogues, a unique boarding house/hotel in London where we're reacquainted with the residents of that quirky establishment, he finds the girl (of course) and a difficult yet rewarding journey to a HEA commences.

I loved the ending so much, and I was anxious to find out not if the boy gets the girl (of course he does), but whether a certain potential employee of the Palace would give me the HEA I was really searching for.

I was also pleased to see there are more PoR books in the works, offering hours of reading pleasure in the coming months.

By Julie Anne Long,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Were Made to Be Mine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I am in awe of her talent."- Julia Quinn

In the fifth installment of USA Today bestselling author Julie Anne Long's charming Palace of Rogues series, a rakish spy finds more than he bargained for in his pursuit of an earl's enchanting runaway fiancee.

The mission: Find the Earl of Brundage's runaway fiancee in exchange for a fortune. Child's play for legendary British former spymaster, Christian Hawkes. The catch? Hawkes knows in his bones that Brundage is the traitor to England who landed him in a brutal French prison. Hawkes is destitute, the earl is desperate, and a bargain is…

Plus, check out my book…

Sea Change

By Darlene Marshall,

Book cover of Sea Change

What is my book about?

David Fletcher needs a surgeon, but when he captures a British merchantman what he gets is Charley Alcott, an apprentice physician barely old enough to shave. Needs must, and Captain Fletcher takes the prisoner back aboard his ship with orders to do his best, or he’ll be walking the plank. Charley Alcott’s medical skills are being put to the test in a life-or-death situation, Charley’s life as well as the patient’s. There will be hell to pay—and maybe a plank to walkwhen Captain Fletcher learns Charley is really Charlotte Alcott.

A war is raging on the world’s oceans, and the two enemies will fight their attraction to each other as they undergo a sea change neither of them is expecting but cannot deny.