It’s been quite a while since I have done a round-up of books that I’ve been into! This year has been a slower year for me in terms of reading since I have a lot on my plate (wedding planning, finishing my BSN, and finishing up my first year as a new grad nurse). Since I haven’t read as many books, I am being more intentional about what I am reading. I have also been taking advantage of Book of the Month (which I love!!). Here are 9 books that I have read this year and consider to be my favorite reads of 2023.
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My Favorite Reads of 2023
1. Carrie Soto is Back
Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a must-read. Originally, I was hesitant to read this book because I don’t enjoy sports. However, Taylor Reid Jenkins is a very talented author and can make any story engaging. It ended up being one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. The book tells the story of Carrie Soto, a retired tennis legend who is determined to make one last run at her favorite Grand Slam tournament.
Carrie is a complex and fascinating character. She is fiercely competitive, driven, and ambitious. But she is also vulnerable and insecure. She has been haunted by her past failures for years, and she is desperate to prove herself to herself and the world.
Carrie’s journey back to the top is not easy. She faces physical challenges, self-doubt, and the pressure of living up to her own expectations. But she is also supported by a cast of colorful and supportive characters, including her coach, her agent, and her estranged father.
In the end, Carrie’s story is about more than just tennis. It is about finding the courage to face your fears, to pursue your dreams, and to never give up on yourself.
If you are looking for a book that is both inspiring and entertaining, I highly recommend Carrie Soto Is Back. It is a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.
2. Spells for Forgetting
Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young is a captivating and atmospheric novel that blends elements of mystery, thriller, and magical realism. It is a story about love, loss, and the secrets that people keep.
The book is set on the remote island of Saoirse, where a young woman named Emery Blackwood is still grieving the death of her best friend, Lily. Fourteen years ago, Lily was found murdered in the woods, and Emery’s ex-boyfriend, August Salt, was accused of the crime. August has since left the island, but when he returns to bury his mother, Emery must confront her past and the secrets that have been hidden for all these years.
Spells for Forgetting is a beautifully written novel with a rich and atmospheric setting. The characters are complex and well-developed, and the story is full of twists and turns. It is a novel that will keep you guessing until the very end.
If you are a fan of mystery, thriller, or magical realism, then I highly recommend Spells for Forgetting.
3. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a captivating and glamorous novel that tells the story of Old Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo. At the age of 79, Evelyn decides to give her life story to Monique Grant, a struggling journalist. As Evelyn recounts her seven marriages, Monique uncovers the secrets that have been hidden for decades.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a captivating story about love, ambition, and sacrifice. Evelyn is a complex and fascinating character. She is fierce, determined, and unapologetic. She is also vulnerable and insecure. But above all, she is a survivor.
The novel explores a variety of themes, including love, loss, ambition, and the power of storytelling. It is also a celebration of Old Hollywood and the glamor and intrigue of the era.
This novel has been on my TBR for a while, especially because I am a fan of Taylor Reid Jenkins (if you couldn’t tell!). I am a little late to the game because I know this one has been popular for some time. If you are looking for a book that is both entertaining and thought-provoking, then I highly recommend The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
4. Love Theoretically
Love Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood tells the story of Elsie Hannaway, a theoretical physicist who is secretly working as a fake girlfriend to make extra money. When her fake boyfriend’s brother, Jack Smith, shows up at MIT, Elsie finds herself caught in a web of her own lies.
Jack is a charming and enigmatic experimental physicist who is determined to get to know Elsie better. But Elsie is reluctant to let him in, afraid of getting hurt. As the two scientists work together on a groundbreaking experiment, they begin to develop feelings for each other. But can Elsie learn to trust Jack with her heart?
Love Theoretically is a refreshing and heartwarming romance novel that celebrates women in STEM. Elsie is a brilliant and independent scientist who is not afraid to be herself. Jack is a supportive and understanding partner who encourages Elsie to pursue her dreams.
Love, Theoretically is not the first Ali Hazelwood book that I’ve read. Like her other books, it was an entertaining and light read. If you are looking for a romance novel that is both intelligent and entertaining, then I highly recommend Love Theoretically.
5. Daisy Jones & The Six
I really hate to make this list all about Taylor Reid Jenkins, but I promise it’s all for good reason! Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a captivating and immersive novel that tells the story of a fictional rock band in the 1970s. The book is told through a series of interviews with the band members and other people who were close to them, giving the reader a unique and intimate perspective on their story.
Daisy Jones is a talented and charismatic singer who is determined to make it big in the music industry. Billy Dunne is a brooding and talented songwriter who is struggling with addiction and personal demons. When the two of them team up with The Six, a band of talented musicians, they create a sound that is both innovative and electrifying.
The band quickly rises to fame, but their success comes at a price. The pressure of fame and the tensions within the band take their toll on the band members, and their relationships begin to unravel.
I originally listened to this as an audiobook a couple of years ago and wasn’t too impressed. After the series Daisy Jones & The Six came out on Amazon Prime, I decided to give the book another try. I ended up loving it. It is a story about love, loss, music, and the pursuit of dreams.
6. The Spectacular
The Spectacular was one of the books that I got from Book of the Month this year. Set in 1956, The Spectacular by Fiona Davis follows the story of Marion Brooks, an aspiring dancer who joins the Radio City Rockettes, a renowned precision dance troupe, amidst the backdrop of a mysterious bomber terrorizing New York City.
Marion yearns for a life beyond her predictable future as a housewife, and the opportunity to be a Rockette offers her an escape from her mundane existence. However, her decision is met with disapproval from her family and fiancé, who believe her pursuit of dance is frivolous and unbecoming.
Despite the challenges she faces, Marion thrives in the demanding world of the Rockettes. As Marion immerses herself in the glamour and excitement of her new life, the city is gripped by fear as a series of bombings rock New York. The anonymous bomber, dubbed the “Big Apple Bomber,” targets public buildings, leaving the city in a state of panic.
Marion’s personal life becomes intertwined with the unfolding mystery when her father’s company, which is contracted to demolish an old theater, is targeted by the bomber. As the investigation intensifies, Marion finds herself drawn into the search for the perpetrator, using her dance skills to gather clues and protect her loved ones.
This was another book that I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, I ended up really liking how immersed I was in the story. This book had a little bit of everything including suspense and mystery.
7. The Wolf’s Den
As someone who loves Mythology and Ancient Greece/Rome, The Wolf’s Den has been on my to-read list for a while. I picked this book up around the time that I went to Greece this year, thinking it would be the perfect read for the plane.
The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper is a historical fiction novel set in Pompeii, Italy, in the year 74 AD. The story follows Amara, a young woman who is sold into slavery after her father’s death. Amara is forced to work as a prostitute at the Wolf Den, a notorious brothel owned by the cruel and unscrupulous Felix.
Despite her circumstances, Amara never gives up hope of escaping her life of servitude. She befriends the other women at the Wolf Den, and together they form a sisterhood that helps them to survive. Amara also uses her intelligence and resourcefulness to find ways to earn extra money and gain Felix’s trust. Throughout this story, she tries to climb her way to freedom.
This story is more raw than the others. While I was expecting a mythology retelling, in reality, this book was complete historical fiction. Still, it held my attention throughout the book, and the characters felt real.
8. It Happened One Summer
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey is a romance novel about a Hollywood socialite named Piper Bellinger who gets sent to a small Pacific Northwest town called Westport for the summer as a form of punishment. In Westport, she clashes with the grumpy and ruggedly handsome sea captain, Brendan Taggart, who believes she doesn’t belong in their tight-knit community. It Happened One Summer is Tessa Bailey’s most popular book, and took me by surprise!
It has an engaging plot, character development, some spicy scenes, and a captivating setting. I feel like it is the perfect romance book. I even gifted this set to two different people this Christmas. If you are looking for a fun and swoon-worthy romance book, you should add this one to your list!
9. Hook, Line, and Sinker
Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey is the second book to It Happened One Summer. While it doesn’t follow the same plot, it is a romance between Piper’s sister, Hannah, and one of Brenden’s friends and crewmates, Fox. Hook, Line and Sinker takes place after It Happened One Summer so I highly recommend reading the former first.
As a quick rundown of the plot, Fox is known for his carefree charisma and playboy reputation. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with Hannah, his best friend’s younger sister. Hannah, immune to Fox’s usual charm, sees past his facade and appreciates his genuine personality.
This book has the same romance banter, spicy scenes, charming setting (in Westport!), and character development as It Happened One Summer. It also has cameos from characters in the first book. If you liked the first book, I would highly recommend reading the second of the duo!
My Favorite Reads of 2023
Those were some of my favorite reads of 2023. Again, this year was not a year I read too many books, but Taylor Reid Jenkins seemed to be the standout. I also went down a rabbit hole of Tessa Bailey books.
This year I especially loved my Book of the Month (BOTM) subscription. I do have a referral code, so if you have been wanting to try BOTM, you can use my code here! I love getting to pick a new book or two to read each month. They also all look great on a bookshelf since they are all the same size + have the BOTM label on the top of the spine.
If you have any book recommendations, please let me know in the comments below or in my DMs! I would also love to know your favorite reads of 2023, or books that are on your TBR list for 2024!