I think chances are good that at least one of you has an avid reader on their gifting list, so today I thought it might be helpful if I wrote up a list of all the books I’ve read this year, plus my lightening-fast reviews. I’m not going to give exhaustive feedback on each title because so much of reading is subjective (and the Internet is rife with in-depth reviews ready for your perusal, if needed), but I hope that my insight below is helpful in case you’re in need of a good book for your reading-obsessed loved one. These are literally all of the books I’ve ready this year (in order of how I read them), so there’s quite a range, but I think there’s something for everyone. From romance and thriller, to super natural and fantasy, here are 34 books that I can’t wait to tell you all about!
My 2023 Reading List And Book Reviews:
- The Husband’s Secret: This book is full of heart-breaking secrets that will keep you guessing to the very end—at least it was that way for me! I initially borrowed it from the library for my first read-through, but I just ordered it for my own personal collection because I will definitely re-read it again and again.
- The Summer I Turned Pretty: I started reading this after I found out it had been turned into a show, and I loved it. The book, of course is better than the show.
- It’s Not Summer Without You: Continuing from the previous item on my list, I couldn’t read this series fast enough! It’s the perfect quick summertime (or, really, anytime) read.
- We’ll Always Have Summer: The conclusion of this series was really good, I thought. It’s definitely worth going all the way through it, and then watching the show, too. I’m excited for next season.
- Where The Crawdads Sing: This was an abrupt departure from the “Summer” series I mentioned above. It’s dark, captivating, mysterious, and one of my all-time favorite reads of 2023.
- The Sins of the Father: I’ve loved the Harry Clifton books for years, and decided to reread this title this year. It never fails to grip me. It’s great when listened to on CD—especially when on a road trip. I borrow the CD version from the library.
- Lessons In Chemistry: This book is just as good as everyone has made it out to be. It’s not an easy book to get through (emotional, devastating, rage-inducing for feminists), but the characters are so fascinating to follow along with. Gosh, I love the dog…
- People We Meet On Vacation: This was a really, really light read and one that I took along with me on my beach vacation back in May. It was cute!
- Love & Other Words: I felt like this book had a ton of similarities with People We Meet On Vacation, but the character development felt a lot more emotional and like it went to a deeper level.
- The Hotel Nantucket: This was my first time reading an Elin Hilderbrand book, and I got so hooked. I read this on our 8-hour drive home from the beach and actually finished it! Light-hearted, yes, but still draws you in.
- A Gentleman in Moscow: This book is definitely my favorite read of the entire year. It’s fascinating, and not at all what I expected. I will be rereading this forever and ever. Felt a lot more intellectual than all of the “beach reads” I had devoured up to this point.
- Hot Money: My mom got me into Dick Francis mysteries years ago, and so I love slipping one or two of his books into my reading list for the year. This one didn’t disappoint, complete with tons of unexpected twists. The final culprit reveal took me completely by surprise.
- The Simple Wild: I. Loved. This. Series. The book is one of three (I list the others below), and I just thought it was so good! The action is set in Alaska, and I really adored getting to know that area of the country better.
- Remarkably Bright Creatures: I can safely say that I’ve never read anything like this book. The characters were all so beautifully intertwined, and I loved the occasional narration by an octopus—yes, really!
- Daisy Jones & The Six: I started this book a while ago, but couldn’t get into it. Then I watched the show, and decided to give the book another try. I ended up loving the book! I think watching the show helps you get a better understanding of the scripted flow of the book. You’ll see what I mean when you dive into it.
- The Identicals: This is another Elin Hilderbrand book, and one I genuinely enjoyed! Her beach-themed books are so great to get lost in if you want to escape the chill of the cooler months of the year.
- The Celebrants: What a sad, lovely story…I picked this up on a complete whim, and am so glad I did. The multiple perspectives are fascinating, and it puts a sweeter spin on the idea of death.
- Malibu Rising: I love pretty much anything by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and this one didn’t disappoint. The beach setting was really cool, and the edgy characters charmed me right from the start despite their obvious flaws.
- Happy Place: I wanted to give Emily Henry another shot after reading People We Meet On Vacation, and I’ll be honest…I just don’t love her books. I like a little more depth in the books I read. If you like lighthearted, though, she’s probably going to hook you! Most everyone I know loves Emily Henry, so don’t write this one off just because I found it a tiny bit forgettable.
- Wild At Heart: This is the second book following The Simple Wild, and I adored it. Again, the Alaskan setting was so captivating to me, and it was fun to continue following along with the characters I had fallen in love with in the first book.
- I’m Glad My Mom Died: I tore so quickly through this memoir! I’m not usually a fan of non-fiction, but this one was so well written, in my opinion. Her recollection of life events was so crystal clear and evocative. I wouldn’t exactly call Jennette McCurdy likable, but the book was.
- The Four Winds: I didn’t love the ending of this book and it’s definitely a “downer,” but I would genuinely reread it if only to immerse myself in the history of the dust bowl. What a devastatingly fascinating time…It left me speechless imagining living through that.
- One True Loves: Not my favorite Taylor Jenkins Reid book, but it was a nice way of coming down off the drama that was The Four Winds. I loved the unexpected ending and the story felt very genuine all throughout. Sort of a spin on the movie Castaway.
- Nancy’s Mysterious Letter: As you may have picked up on, I love a good mystery! Nancy Drew books are a favorite from my childhood, so this was a really fun book to pick up in the middle of a year full of intense reading. It was fast-paced, quick, and just so charming.
- My Life In France: It took me a while to get through this book just because, like I said, I’m not great at reading non-fiction, but this is still one of my favorite memoirs I’ve ever read. The writing and recollections are so richly recounted, and the decadent food descriptions made me feel ravenous.
- Forever Wild: This was the final book in the Alaskan series I keep mentioning, and it was such a good one. I smile just thinking back on it now! It’s a short one, and all about Christmas, so could be perfect for popping into someone’s stocking (just make sure you give them the other two books, too).
- The House Across The Lake: The paranormal aspect was completely unexpected, but I still absolutely loved this book. I read it in, I think, just one or two days.
- Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: This book spans decades, and feels very monumental at times, especially as you witness the characters age and change. It dives into the world of video game design, which I found really interesting.
- Things We Never Got Over: If you love a good, light romance, this book is for you! I thought it hedged into the territory of erotic fiction, though, which I found really out of place. Just keep that in mind if you’re considering it. I liked the story and characters a lot, but it was too smutty for me to continue the series.
- Local Woman Missing: I have really enjoyed working thrillers into my reading list these past few months, and this one is at the top of my list. It’s right on the edge of what I can handle in terms of violence, but I would highly recommend it if you want a good thriller to read in the new year.
- Funny You Should Ask: I needed something light after reading the last book on this list, and Funny You Should Ask fit the bill. It was cute and I love how the real story unfolded slowly throughout the book so that you were left guessing for a lot of it.
- A Court Of Thorns And Roses: Everyone was raving about this fantasy book, so I thought I’d give it a try. I loved it so much! It’s sort of a mix of Twilight, Hunger Games, and Beauty & The Beast, in my opinion. I added the next book to my Christmas wish list.
- The Last Thing He Told Me: I devoured this thriller in less than two days. It was so good, and not gory at all. I can’t wait to watch the show adaptation.
- Every Summer After: I’m currently working my way through this book, and so far love it. It’s a great summer read, but goes a little deeper than some of the surface-level types of books you’ll find on most “beach reads” lists.
Have you read any of these books? Did you have a different interpretation of any one of them than I did? I’d love to hear all about your perspectives on these titles, and I’d also love to hear if I left a good book off my list. I’m constantly adding to my future reading list, so please do tell if you’ve got a good recommendation as we head into the new year.
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