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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 Wet Behind the Ears

Lydia Sherrer Why did I love this book?

I absolutely love W.R.'s snarky, intriguing, gripping urban fantasy books. They are like a favorite tea, delicate yet full of subtle flavor that you keep falling in love with the more you drink it.

Let me tell you. W.R. does tortured anti-hero SO WELL. He has lots of class (a nice departure from the usual angst). He fools himself into thinking he's fine with staying a tortured anti-hero when he knows deep down he's desperate to get back in the good graces of the people he loves (which he's afraid to admit he loves because everything he loves always gets ripped away and murdered). It is full of subtle emotions and tiny flashes of body language that give you exciting insights into the characters' psyche while also keeping you guessing until the very end.

I loved every minute of it. I cheered and laughed, groaned, and cried. If you like urban fantasy, tortured anti-heroes, redemption stories, twists and turns, and a hint of romance (plus Korean culture! It is set in Korea- so beautiful!), you will love this series.

By W.R. Gingell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wet Behind the Ears as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The King's Captive

Lydia Sherrer Why did I love this book?

K.M. Shea writes light, fluffy urban fantasy, the perfect comfort book snack. They're always sprinkled with a refreshing layer of goodness and deeper meaning, leaving you feeling refreshed and happy at the end.

The King's Captive, the first in the Gates of Myth and Power series from her Magiford Supernatural City world, is my absolute favorite so far because the main character CAN TURN INTO A CAT!! Squee!

The subtle humor, snarky narration voice of the main character, and sweet romance that develops is just perfect. Plus there was some great friendships for the main characters to lean on as they battled their interior and exterior demons. I loved the whole trilogy and was so sad there wasn't more.

By K.M. Shea,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The King's Captive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I can turn into a housecat.

It’s a fun magic, except in a world filled with vampires and werewolves, it doesn’t exactly make me a powerhouse. Instead, the supernatural community has classified me as an outcast, which means one thing: picking on me is open season all day, every day.

The local fae are the worst of all, and it’s during one of their regular “capture the cat-girl” sessions that I shift into my cat form and meet HIM for the first time.

Noctus is so powerful his magic radiates off him like a sun, and my fae captors can…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Butcher's Masquerade

Lydia Sherrer Why did I love this book?

This LitRPG series by Matt Dinniman is not my usual fare. It is far more adult (not sex, but lots of gore and language) and has higher stakes than I usually read, so readers should be aware that it is an adult series and not appropriate for young adults.

But it is SOOOOO freaking good. I’m usually not gripped by LitRPG stories because the world they are fighting in is fake (virtual, only exists in make-believe, etc.). But this story turns it on its head because the entire Earth becomes a massive role-playing arena. It is sort of Hunger Games meets Ready Player One meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

 It is ridiculous and gripping and funny. There are cheers and tears. And in the end, they are all fighting to take back Earth. It is very well-plotted, well-paced, and just a good time.

Plus, check out my book…

Beginnings

By Lydia Sherrer,

Book cover of Beginnings

What is my book about?

Saving the world is such a bother when it makes you late for tea.

If you were an introverted wizard with a magical library to look after, would you let your charming ne'er-do well friend drag you into his "professional witch" business? Of course not! Obviously.

Except, he's promising rare magical books as a reward. And you totally won't let him talk you into doing anything illegal this time. You really should investigate this deadly curse of his...for science...