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The Best of 2023 – Charlotte’s List

This year my reading included many backlist titles and rereads. I didn’t get to as many of my 2023 TBRs as I’d like, but I did squeeze in more than a few new books that I pleasantly passed the time with. That said, for me, labeling anything ‘best’ requires a little more than just enjoyment. I need a story to be memorable – either by what happens in it or how good I felt after reading it. So, my list is a little short this year.

Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey

Narrated by Callie Dalton

One of the defining factors of whether I buy into a romance is how sensitive the protagonists are to each other’s unspoken needs/motivations. Natalie and August, the couple at the center of this marriage-of-convenience contemporary, do that really well. I listened to the audiobook while packing for a move – which I always find exhausting – and I think that made me particularly vulnerable to the sexiness of August, former Navy SEAL, and, as I like to call him: King of the Emotionally Intelligent. This man can do the heavy lifting of moving boxes AND the heavy lifting in a romantic relationship. I really enjoyed the audio – August and Natalie sounded very real to me, not just like characters performed by someone, and it made for a cozy, immersive listening experience.

Buy it at Amazon

Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

I’ve read a number of Center’s novels and I usually tear through them in a night and an afternoon. Center’s women’s fiction/romance mash-ups often tackle serious subjects – complicated family relationships, life-changing medical events – but with an underlying sense of hope and a belief in the value of human connection. Hello, Stranger is an excellent example of her work.

Buy it at Amazon

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