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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 This Time Tomorrow

Marilyn Brant Why did I love this book?

I loved the insight into father-daughter relationships that the author brought to this story! I’d read a couple of books by Emma Straub’s father (horror and suspense writer Peter Straub) when I was younger, so I was fascinated to read her work as well.

I could tell she tried to honor her dad with this deeply thoughtful novel. The time-travel element of the plot appealed to me greatly, but the reflections the author gave her main character—particularly with regard to having a clear-eyed view of one’s past and living life in the present without regret—were especially meaningful to me. I found myself thinking about this story for months after reading it, and I’ve recommended it to many friends and family.

By Emma Straub,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked This Time Tomorrow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


“The pages brim with tenderness and an appreciation for what we had and who we were. I could not have loved it more."—Ann Patchett

“The kind of book that will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you call the people you love. Exceptional."—Emily Henry

"Delightful"—Boston Globe

"Poignant"—New York Times

What if you could take a vacation to your past?

With her celebrated humor, insight, and heart, beloved New York Times bestseller Emma Straub offers her own twist on traditional time travel tropes, and a different kind of love story.

            On the eve of her 40th…

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Book Lovers

Marilyn Brant Why did I love this book?

This story was just so charming, funny, and full of romantic sweetness.

It’s a true book lover’s novel, and the interplay between the hero and heroine—both of whom work in the publishing industry—was filled with bookish references that were an utter delight for me as a longtime romance reader and writer. I found it to be a perfect beach read (or cozy winter read...), and the author’s writing style was so breezy and light, I couldn’t help but grin throughout.

My jaw actually hurt from smiling so much! Plus, witty dialogue wins me over every time, and this story has a lot of it. I’ve already added more of Emily Henry’s books to my must-read list.

By Emily Henry,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Book Lovers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“One of my favorite authors.”—Colleen Hoover

An insightful, delightful, instant #1 New York Times bestseller from the author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation.

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Oprah Daily ∙ Today ∙ Parade ∙ Marie Claire ∙ Bustle ∙ PopSugar ∙ Katie Couric Media ∙ Book Bub ∙ SheReads ∙ Medium ∙ The Washington Post ∙ and more!

One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn't see coming...

Nora Stephens' life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream…

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Inheritance Games

Marilyn Brant Why did I love this book?

When I was a kid, I devoured mysteries, particularly ones that involved figuring out the answers to complicated puzzles, like The Westing Game.

This clever YA series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, which starts with the novel The Inheritance Games, is a smart and contemporary set of adventures in a similar vein...and, oh, it’s such a page turner! I quite literally could not stop reading and was so glad there were books 2, 3, and 4 to look forward to afterward, with more in the series on the way.

The characters were intriguing, the situations they found themselves in were unusual, and the plot was full of exciting twists that I couldn’t easily predict. A fun read for all ages!

By Jennifer Lynn Barnes,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Inheritance Games as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Don't miss this New York Times bestselling "impossible to put down" (Buzzfeed) novel with deadly stakes, thrilling twists, and juicy secrets -- perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why -- or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.

To receive her inheritance, Avery must…

Plus, check out my book…

Book cover of The Secret Life of Maggie Blake

What is my book about?

For fans of “True Lies”: In this Chicago-set romantic spy comedy, Maggie Santori Blake, a clever stay-at-home suburban mom with vivid daydreams of a more exciting life, is caught up in a dangerous game of espionage when an elusive motorcycle-riding hero returns to town.

The Motorcycle Maverick's top-secret government mission puts Maggie's life, her family's safety, and her marriage at risk...especially when she discovers that the sexy, highly skilled, and masked special agent is none other than Preston A. Blake III—her seemingly mild-mannered CEO husband. To protect those she loves, Maggie must not only confront the man she thought she knew and the decade of lies between them, she's also forced to put aside her fantasies and become the heroic woman of her imagination.