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The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,651 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 Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament

Tonya Penrose Why did I love this book?

I’ve been a follower of Mickey Singer for decades and have had the pleasure of attending some of his gatherings. His insights are a beacon and a calling for us to go within on a journey of discovery.

Once again, Singer distills how our minds control our day. He calls us to the place where we find lasting peace and joy. Understanding where thoughts originate opens the door to freedom. It’s called Living Untethered, and Singer lights our way. 

By Michael A. Singer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The book you need right now is finally here! From beloved spiritual teacher Michael A. Singer-author of the New York Times bestseller, The Untethered Soul-this transformative and highly anticipated guide will be your compass on an exciting new journey toward self-realization and unconditional happiness.

Now more than ever, we're all looking to feel more joy, happiness, and deeper meaning in our lives. But are we looking in all the wrong places? When our sense of wholeness depends on things or people outside ourselves- whether it's a coveted job, a new house, a lavish vacation, or even the perfect relationship-sooner or…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Gap Creek

Tonya Penrose Why did I love this book?

Gap Creek drops you into Appalachian mountain life in the nineteenth century with characters so real you forget they don’t exist. You worry about them as you turn each page.

The reader is transported to a place that truly exists. I know it. Robert’s brilliance as a writer is evident from page one. His sense of place and purpose draws us in. We experience with characters Julie and Hank a hard knock life and how the spirit triumphs against all odds. And we’re all the better for having read their story. 

By Robert Morgan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Gap Creek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller & Oprah's Book Club Pick

Young Julie Harmon works “hard as a man,” they say, so hard that at times she’s not sure she can stop. People depend on her to slaughter the hogs and nurse the dying. People are weak, and there is so much to do. At just seventeen she marries and moves down into the valley of Gap Creek, where perhaps life will be better.

But Julie and Hank’s new life in the valley, in the last years of the nineteenth century, is more complicated than the couple ever imagined. Sometimes it’s…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Aliens among Us

Tonya Penrose Why did I love this book?

I discovered famous journalist Ruth Montgomery’s books many moons ago.

She fearlessly began an odyssey into the "unknown," and I went along with her, reading book after book on this fascinating subject. Recently, her work flashed into my mind as I began writing my next novel. Since aliens and their visitations have captured the news, I felt compelled to read Aliens Among Us and see what Ruth shared back in the 1980s on this timely subject.

Her connections to powerful people add credence to her sharing, but the “other” sources she taps into fascinated me the most. The book begs a reader’s open mind, and today, I think that’s a reasonable request. 

Ruth Montgomery opened the door to explore the here and the hereafter. Aliens Among Us is, at the very least, thought-provoking, but for me, it gifted incredible insights. Ruth, wherever you are, you are missed and loved.

By Ruth Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aliens among Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Best-selling author Ruth Montgomery, now offers dramatic new evidence of the extrarterrestrial aliens who are already among us and how they will guide us through the New Age about to dawn at the end of this century. In these pages, you will learn: The secrets of real men and women (including a U.S. president) who have encountered aliens; the secrets of the psychic power centers both on the earth--and beyond it; the secrets about UFO phenomena our government has covered up for decades; and more.


Plus, check out my book…

Welcome to Charm

By Tonya Penrose,

Book cover of Welcome to Charm

What is my book about?

A few unexplainable facts have left botanist Abby Drake dazed and confused: why she can’t account for three lost hours, why a road detour she was traveling changed into a closed loop around a mountain town called Charm, why she can’t find the place on her map and a route home, and way too handsome, Mayor Nash Walker has appeared offering an introduction to Charm’s uncommon ways.

She’s stuck in Charm. Needing to discover why and agreeing to complete a series of lessons taught by sage, Gita Greenleaf helps chart Abby’s course. Over the next couple of weeks, Abby recognizes the unique beauty of living a charmed life. Unable to resist her growing attraction to Nash, she questions her desire to return home, assuming the portal opens.