Here we go again with our 5(ish) favorite reads of 2023! We try very hard to keep it to five, but it’s not always possible. So, there may be five or six suggestions, an A and a B list, memorable reads or just plain marvelous books.
This year we’re presenting our lists in bite-size chunks to make them even more digestible. We have more than 150 titles for you to sink your teeth into.
We hope to inspire you to read – and play! – some more.


Open Veins of Latin AmericaEduardo Galeano

Elena KnowsClaudia Piñeiro

Starter VillainJohn Scalzi

Bookshops & BonedustTravis Baldree

In the Lives of PuppetsT.J. Klune

Honorable Mentions:

The Vaster Wilds – Lauren Groff

Kings of the Wyld – Nicholas Eames


Aleksandra – Lisa Weeda (in Dutch)

This book follows a family in Ukraine from the early 20th century until the recent war. It’s a very sad story: how the farmers were treated and forced to leave their farms and loose everything, first by the Nazis, then the Soviets. And the misery continues until today.

The Old Man and The Sea – Ernest Hemingway

Over the summer, we were in Germany near the small town of Buchet, where I discovered the Hemingway trail. It’s called so because in September 1944, Ernest Hemingway stayed there as a reporter. I even saw his house. This made me decide to read one of his books. Now that I have read The Old Man and The Sea, I want to read his oeuvre.

A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler

Very funny writing, about a warm family and people getting older.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow – Gabrielle Zevin.

Nice to read if you want to know how a game developer lives. And how people struggle with their lives in L.A. I enjoyed, but I like Anne Tyler’s style better.

Het Groot Klussenboek – W. Aalders (in Dutch)

We had to wait so long for a plumber that we decided to try it ourselves. We managed to install a rain barrel, thanks to W. Aalders’s DIY book.


The Blonde Identity –  Ally Carter

This author’s YA Gallagher Girls series about a school for spies was a very formative reading experience for me, so I absolutely had to read her adult debut!

This was everything I wanted it to be: action-packed, witty and swoony. Our heroine wakes up in Paris in the middle of the night, with no memory of how she got there or even who she is. What follows is a high-stakes adventure through Paris with the handsome spy who found her, trying to stay ahead of the villains chasing them and figuring out what happened to her.

This book is entertaining, adventurous and just plain fun! The romance between our heroes is so playful and sweet, undercut by very funny banter. If you’re looking for a spy romcom, this is it.

The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies – Alison Goodman

My main thought while reading this was: Women! This is feminist historical mystery fiction set in Regency London, and it tells the story of unmarried twin sisters Augusta and Julia. As they are financially independent and in their forties, they decide to buck social convention and found a society dedicated to helping women in need. Of course, there’s a romance as well, which consists of our hero supporting the sisters as they enact daring rescues. This adds some lovely dimension to the sister’s relationship with themselves and each other.

This book is a dedication to the resilience, tenacity and power of women. The characters are all fleshed out, and even though I have no interest in living in an age where running water was not yet a thing, I would have loved to be their friend.

Bitter Medicine – Mia Tsai

Bitter Medicine provided such a positive reading experience. The author created an interesting and unique world with a well thought-out and distinct magic system based on mythology from lots of different cultures.

This is the story of Elle, a highly competent and powerful magic-user who can wield her magic through the craft of calligraphy, and Luc, an elf and secret agent. Bitter Medicine also encapsulates what I love about friends-to-lovers romance: there is a base of mutual respect, admiration and friendship to the eventual relationship. I love it when tropes are turned on their head. When you expect this story to go a certain way, it doesn’t, which is very refreshing!

Convergence of Desire – Felicity Niven

A historical romance novel with a neurodivergent heroine? Sign me up! I could never have expected that this book would completely blow me away the way it did. I read it over the summer, and I still think about it daily. This is such a tender, clever, beautifully written and deeply romantic story.

Harriet is devoted to mathematics and needs more time to spend on a theorem that has stumped mathematicians for centuries. Thomas is a well-known rake in need of funds to restore his estate. A marriage of convenience gives them both exactly what they need. During the course of their marriage, they get to know one another, and their unconventional (even for romance standards) relationship slowly turns into a beautiful, supportive and accepting romantic partnership.

We Could Be So Good – Cat Sebastian

This is such a gentle, soft romance made up of the little moments in life that make it all worth it.

Set in New York City in the 1950s, Nick is a newspaper reporter and Andy is the son of the newspaper’s owner. Despite that, Nick and Andy become fast friends and we follow them on their journey as they settle into becoming exactly the people they want to be, living the lives they want to lead. The beauty of this love story lies in its ordinariness, and even though there are many subplots (urban planning! being queer in the 1950s! police corruption! class differences!), the focus is always Nick and Andy.

Or: the grumpy one is soft for the sunshine one.