Favorite Books – Third Quarter, 2023

I had some of my best reading of the year this quarter. In total, I read 44 books in July, August, and September, and many were 4.5/5 star reads. I noticed that many of my books were ARCs (advanced review copies) because I am so worried about keeping my NetGalley score above 70%. Most of the new books were excellent, however I hope to read more backlist for the rest of the year. I also had several poignant contemporary fiction books that will be some of my favorites of the year. 

I wanted to include a book from my Booking It Through History: First Ladies project, but the most recent First Ladies didn’t have very much written about them. Luckily there were two new releases about First Ladies to fill this spot!

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Favorite Historical Fiction

Favorite book set in England:

The Bookbinder by Pip Williams

I just adored this book about a woman who works at the bookbindery in Oxford, England during WWI. Read my review here.

Favorite book made into a TV series/movie:

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

I loved reading the book one of my favorite TV shows (The Spanish Princess on STARZ) is based upon. Read my review here.

Favorite book based on an author’s family:

The Roaring Days of Zora Lily by Noelle Salazar

I loved this book about an aspiring fashion designer in the Roaring 1920s based on Salazar’s great-grandmother! Read my review here.

Favorite books set in a vacation destination:

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

This book set in 1950s Barcelona is like taking a walk through its cobblestone streets full of danger from Franco’s henchmen. It was the perfect read just before our family trip to Spain! Read my review here.

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin and and All the Ways We Said Goodbye: A Novel of the Ritz Paris by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

Since we were staying at The Ritz during our anniversary trip to Paris, I had to read these books about the hotel during WWII. I’ve also picked up this nonfiction book to accompany my reading. Read my review here.

Favorite books about hidden women in history:

The Woman at the Wheel by Penny Haw 

I loved learning about Bertha Benz who helped her husband create the first car. Read my review here.

The Other Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria’s Goddaughter by Denny S. Bryce

This novel about Queen Victoria’s African goddaughter was eye-opening. Read my review here.

Favorite Historical Mysteries:

A Traitor in Whitehall by Julia Kelly 

I loved the setting of this new mystery series – Churchill’s War Rooms! Read my review here.

One Puzzling Afternoon by Emily Critchley

This mystery set in a mind being lost to dementia hit me hard. Such a good portrayal of the horrible disease and how it affects the family. Read my review here.

Favorite Books about First Ladies:

The President’s Wife by Tracey Enerson Wood

I loved this novel about First Lady Edith Wilson and her time serving as the unofficial acting president. Read my review here.

The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Who knew Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary McLeod Bethune had a close friendship? I didn’t until I read this book about these trailblazing women! Read my review here.

Favorite Middle Grade Historical Fiction

There are so many great new releases for our kids! They can learn about women business pioneers, scrappy families in NYC during WWII, and presidential history while having fun!

Favorite History Nonfiction

The Six: The Untold Story of America’s First Women Astronauts by Loren Grush

I wanted to be an astronaut while in elementary school, so I loved learning more about the behind-the-scenes of the space program. Read my review here.

Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Culture by Lindsay M. Chervinsky and Matthew R. Costello

A fascinating look at how we as a country remember our presidents, this book was the perfect read during the month I was studying the first president to die in office, William Henry Harrison. Read my review here.

Favorite Contemporary Fiction

Most poignant family story:

Never Enough Time by Kimberly McMillan

This story about family and belonging will tug at your heartstrings. Read my review here.

Favorite book about middle age malaise:

Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood

I laughed and cried and empathized with Grace as she had a horrible day trying to get to her daughter’s birthday party. It’s a poignant look at life and its twists and turns. Read my review here.

Favorite time slip book:

The Good Part by Sophie Cousens

I love books where time bends and allows us to look at life differently. This one is one of the best I’ve read and is perfect for fans of What Alice Forgot. Read my review here.

Favorite holiday-themed book:

Love, Holly by Emily Stone

Stone’s books get me crying every time, and her new book is no exception. Read my review here.

Favorite Memoir

Waypoints by Sam Heughan

Sam is reflective and honest as he walks the West Highland Way, revealing his life story that leads to his star turn in Outlander. The audiobook is the way to go! Read my review here.

Whew, that’s a lot of books, but I read so many great ones! What was your favorite book that you read in the past three months?

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6 thoughts on “Favorite Books – Third Quarter, 2023

  1. Oh, there are SO many good books here! Thank you for sharing! I’ve read a few good books recently, though not as much historical fiction as I usually would. My favorite is probably Like a Ship on the Sea by Kellyn Roth.

  2. Thanks for sharing these, Jayda! I always appreciate your recommendations! You’ve been recommending so many “anticipated releases” lately, and I always wait for the library to acquire titles before I listen or read, so I am glad that most of these have been out long enough to be accessible now!

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