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The Best of 2023 – Kayne’s List

It’s time for the AAR team to take a look back at their favourite books of the last year, and we’re kicking off our annual round up with Kayne’s choices for the Best of 2023.

I love books with humor and so it is no surprise that most of my favorite books this year are romcoms. Here are my top ten picks for 2023, not in any particular order.

The Love Wager by Lynn Painter

This book was so much fun – it’s a terrific romcom with lots of witty banter. Jack and Hallie meet at a wedding and end up having a one night stand. Afterwards they decide to just be friends and to help each other find their soulmates. It was really funny to watch them date other people and so special when they laugh and fall in love with each other. I happily recommend this feel-good romance.

Buy it at Amazon

The Burnout by Sophie Kinsella

This had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. It’s Sophie Kinsella at her best. Sasha works for a travel app and she is burned out. Finn is an overworked management consultant who had a meltdown at work. They meet at a hotel where they both used to stay when they were young. It’s a heartwarming story and a must-read for anyone who has experienced burnout or is looking for a fun romcom.

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Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Fourth Wing  was so good – there are dragons, romance, friends and enemies. Violet has been preparing her whole life to be a scribe when her mother tells her she must learn to be a dragon rider. Xaden is a wing leader and their romance is hot. I recommend this story to anyone who enjoys fantasy romance.

Buy it at Amazon

Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez

This novel has actual letter writing, a large family, fake dating and a sweet rescue dog named Lieutenant Dan. The story opens with Dr. Briana Ortiz finding out the promotion she wants so badly could go to the new doctor, Jacob. She is also helping care for her younger brother who is in desperate need of a new kidney. Jacob thinks Brianna is beautiful and smart and she makes him feel calm and normal. This is a refreshing delight and I highly recommend it.

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Forget Me Not by Julie Soto

This is a tender and steamy story with Ama, a wedding planner on the rise who has been hired to plan a celebrity wedding. But Ama must work with Elliot Bloom, a hot, broody florist who is a family friend of the couple and also Ama’s ex. This is a lovely second chance romance.

Buy it at Amazon

Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood

This book is Hazelwood’s first YA novel and it is so good! Mallory has not played chess in years until her best friend asks her to play in a charity chess tournament. Mal ends up beating Nolan, the bad boy of chess and top player in the world! Mal is so snarky and Nolan is sweet. This story has a great plot, sweet romance, family drama, and fun, nerdy characters. I highly recommend it!

Buy it at Amazon

You, With a View by Jessica Joyce

This story has all of my favorite things: a road trip, witty banter, a psychic and a sweet romance. Noelle has hit rock bottom – she’s laid off from her job, living with her parents and grieving the death of her grandmother (Gram). When she discovers old photos of her Gram with a man named Paul, she is surprised to find that Paul’s grandson is her old high school nemesis, Theo. They all decide to take a road trip that her gram and Paul had planned. I loved seeing them explore incredible scenery as they hike on trails, boat through canyons and take a jeep tour with amazing views as Noelle and Theo fall in love.

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Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

This book was funny and fresh. Sally is a writer for The Night Owls (TNO) a fictional version of Saturday Night Live (SNL). We get a peek behind the scenes as the cast members put together a show full of comedy sketches. I found myself laughing along as Sally, Noah, the guest host and the TNO cast worked together on the sketches.  I loved when Sally and Noah opened their hearts and took a chance on love.  This book is a feel good story and I recommend it, especially if you are a fan of SNL.

Buy it at Amazon

Happy Place by Emily Henry

Happy Place is full of heart and humor. Harriet gets a surprise when she meets up with her college friends and finds her ex-fiancé, Wyn, is there. The story takes us back to when Harriet and Wyn first met and fell in love through to the present time. The story is about friendships, family and love and I think it’s the author’s best book yet. Harriet and Wyn are soulmates and their friends are funny and loveable – I found myself rooting for all of them. While there is humor throughout the book, this is not a light romcom. It tackles topics like grief, depression, self-growth along with an angsty second chance romance. The ending is immensely satisfying.

Buy it at Amazon

The Good Part by Sophie Cousens

This is a time leap story and I loved it. Twenty-six year old Lucy is having a very bad day and is ready to ’skip to the good part’ with a good job, a person to love, and a decent place to live. The story is heart-wrenching, and wonderful and is now my new favorite Sophie Cousens book. I laughed and I cried as I rooted for Lucy. This is a wonderful story and I recommend it to readers looking for a feel good story with depth and a side of romance.

Buy it at Amazon

Have you read any of these and if so, what did you think?

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