It’s that time of year for the 2023 Goodreads Choice Awards to discover the best books of the year and I’ve got all the details on the titles in the running for the 2023 Goodreads Choice Awards Winner for Best Romance.
This book list has all 20 nominees for the 2023 Goodreads Choice Awards for best romance book, the only major book award decided by readers, so keep reading to see which book claims this year’s title as the best!
I’ve listed the books in order of most to least ratings on Goodreads to give you an idea of their popularity.
At first, I was surprised not to see Fourth Wing on the list for Best Romance but this year there is a Best Romantasy category and I’m sure it will snag the top spot for that award. I was also surprised Divine Rivals wasn’t on the list but it made the list for Best Young Adult Fantasy.
Honestly, only two books surprised me for having made the list (one I don’t agree with having read it, and another I haven’t read yet), but I am happy that at least 6 of the books that I consider the best romance novels of 2023 are up for this year’s award for Best Romance.
A huge congratulations to all of the nominees!
*Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
2023 Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Romance Book Nominees
Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they aren’t.
They broke up five months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.
Which is how they find themselves sharing a bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade.
Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other.
Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts.
Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show.
After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week…in front of those who know you best?
4.11 on Goodreads
238,414 ratings 17,738 reviews
My Book Review of Things We Hide From the Light
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Nash Morgan was always known as the good Morgan brother, with a smile and a wink for everyone.
But now, this chief of police is recovering from being shot and his Southern charm has been overshadowed by panic attacks and nightmares.
He feels like a broody shell of the man he once was. Nash isn’t about to let anyone in his life know he’s struggling.
But his new next-door neighbor, smart and hot Lina, sees his shadows. As a rule, she’s not a fan of physical contact unless she initiates it, but for some reason Nash’s touch is different. He feels it too.
The physical connection between them is incendiary, grounding him and making her wonder if exploring it is worth the risk.
Too bad Lina’s got secrets of her own, and if Nash finds out the real reason she’s in town, he’ll never forgive her. Besides, she doesn’t do relationships. Ever.
A hot, short-term fling with a local cop? Absolutely. Sign her up. A relationship with a man who expects her to plant roots? No freaking way.
But once Nash decides to make Lina his, he’s not about to be dissuaded…even if it means facing the danger that nearly ended him.
The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away at grading labs and teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure.
By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people-pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs.
Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig—until Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and arrogant older brother of her favorite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career and undermined the reputation of theorists everywhere.
And he’s the same Jack Smith who rules over the physics department at MIT, standing right between Elsie and her dream job.
Elsie is prepared for an all-out battle of scholarly sabotage but…those long, penetrating looks? Not having to be anything other than her true self when she’s with him?
Will falling into an experimentalist’s orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice?
4.27 on Goodreads
156,472 ratings, 18,129 reviews
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I’m the Kane brother everyone gossips about behind closed doors. Trust fund brat. Washed-up athlete. High-functioning alcoholic. No one knows the real me but her.
Lana Castillo—my childhood best friend and the only woman I ever loved. When I broke her heart six years ago, I promised to never return to Lake Wisteria. I kept my word until my grandfather’s will changed everything.
To receive my inheritance, I was tasked with spending a summer at the family lake house
before selling it. The request was simple in theory until my entire plan blew up on the very first day.
Turns out Lana doesn’t just live at the house, but she claims to own it, too.
Falling in love with Callahan Kane was a mistake. He told me so before destroying my heart and our friendship six summers ago. When he promised never to come back, I foolishly believed him.
But then Cal showed up again, intending to sell his grandfather’s lake house. The biggest flaw in his plan? My name is on the deed.
Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants?
Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale.
But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter.
And it’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likeable guy who’s terrible at first impressions.
Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her “sob closet,” and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses.
But when Jacob decides to give Briana the best gift imaginable—a kidney for her brother—she wonders just how she can resist this quietly hot new doctor . . . especially when he calls in a favor she can’t refuse.
3.71 on Goodreads
144,917 ratings 14,484 reviews
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Fern Brookbanks has wasted far too much of her adult life thinking about Will Baxter. She spent just twenty-four hours in her early twenties with the aggravatingly attractive, idealistic artist, a chance encounter that spiraled into a daylong adventure in the city.
The timing was wrong, but their connection was undeniable: they shared every secret, every dream, and made a pact to meet one year later. Fern showed up. Will didn’t.
At thirty-two, Fern’s life doesn’t look at all how she once imagined it would. Instead of living in the city, Fern’s back home, running her mother’s lakeside resort—something she vowed never to do.
The place is in disarray, her ex-boyfriend’s the manager, and Fern doesn’t know where to begin.
She needs a plan—a lifeline. To her surprise, it comes in the form of Will, who arrives nine years too late, with a suitcase in tow and an offer to help on his lips.
Will may be the only person who understands what Fern’s going through. But how could she possibly trust this expensive-suit wearing mirage who seems nothing like the young man she met all those years ago.
Will is hiding something, and Fern’s not sure she wants to know what it is.
But ten years ago, Will Baxter rescued Fern. Can she do the same for him?
4.47 on Goodreads
124,910 ratings 14,144 reviews
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Ryan: She’s a distraction, that’s what she is. I’m the newest Captain of the Devils, Chicago’s NBA team, and the last thing I needed this year was for Indy Ivers, my sister’s best friend, to move into my apartment. She’s messy, emotional, and way too tempting.
But when the team’s General Manager vocalizes his blatant disapproval of my promotion to Captain, referring to me as an unapproachable lone wolf with no work-life balance, I can’t think of a better way to convince him otherwise than pretending to date my outgoing roommate.
The only problem? Faking it feels far too natural.
Having a fake girlfriend wasn’t supposed to be messy but having Indy under my roof and in my bed is complicated, especially when she wants all the romantic parts of life that I could never give her.
Indy: I never imagined I’d be living with my best friend’s brother, NBA superstar Ryan Shay. Even more unbelievable? He needs me to act as his loving girlfriend who’s suddenly changed him into a friendly and approachable guy.
Because, well…he’s not. He’s controlling of his space and untrusting of others.
Our arrangement isn’t one-sided, though. I’m in a wedding coming up, one where every one of my childhood friends, including my ex-boyfriend, will be in attendance, and there’s no better date than my ex’s celebrity hero.
Blurred lines make it almost impossible to separate real from fake. Falling for my roommate was never part of the deal, especially when Ryan is quick to remind me that he doesn’t believe in love.
I’m a romantic and can’t help fantasizing that he’ll change, but soon enough, I find myself questioning if sharing a roof with my best friend’s brother was the right move after all.
3.70 on Goodreads
123,760 ratings 16,949 reviews
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Sally Milz is a sketch writer for The Night Owls, a late-night live comedy show that airs every Saturday.
With a couple of heartbreaks under her belt, she’s long abandoned the search for love, settling instead for the occasional hook-up, career success, and a close relationship with her stepfather.
But when Sally’s friend and fellow writer Danny Horst begins dating Annabel, a glamorous actress who guest-hosted the show, he joins the not-so-exclusive group of talented but average-looking and even dorky men at the show—and in society at large—who’ve gotten romantically involved with incredibly beautiful and accomplished women.
Sally channels her annoyance into a sketch called the Danny Horst Rule, poking fun at this phenomenon while underscoring how unlikely it is that the reverse would ever happen for a woman.
Enter Noah Brewster, a pop music sensation with a reputation for dating models, who signed on as both host and musical guest for this week’s show.
Dazzled by his charms, Sally hits it off with Noah instantly, and as they collaborate on one sketch after another, she begins to wonder if there might actually be sparks flying.
But this isn’t a romantic comedy—it’s real life. And in real life, someone like him would never date someone like her . . . right?
Related: Best Romcom Books
3.99 on Goodreads
90,842 ratings 10,453 reviews
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She’s his opposite in every way…and the greatest temptation he’s ever known.
Reserved, controlled, and proper to a fault, Kai Young has neither the time nor inclination for chaos—and Isabella, with her purple hair and inappropriate jokes, is chaos personified.
With a crucial CEO vote looming and a media empire at stake, the billionaire heir can’t afford the distraction she brings.
Isabella is everything he shouldn’t want, but with every look and every touch, he’s tempted to break all his rules…and claim her as his own.
Bold, impulsive, and full of life, Isabella Valencia has never met a party she doesn’t like or a man she couldn’t charm…except for Kai Young.
It shouldn’t matter. He’s not her type—the man translates classics into Latin for fun, and his membership at the exclusive club where she bartends means he’s strictly off limits.
But she can’t deny that, beneath his cool exterior, is a man who could make her melt with just a touch.
No matter how hard they try, they can’t resist giving into their forbidden desires.
Even if it costs them everything.
Related: King of Wrath Series Order
4.14 on Goodreads
86,170 ratings 9,385 reviews
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Two childhood friends. Two broken hearts. One impromptu road trip to get away from everything. That’s all this was supposed to be. After all, I’ve been living in the friend zone for years now.
But hockey heartthrob Jasper Gervais isn’t looking at me like a friend anymore. And he isn’t touching me like one either.
To his fans, he’s the handsome, talented athlete on TV. To me, he’s still the lost boy with sad eyes and a heart of gold. The man I’ve loved in secret for years.
So when my life falls apart on my wedding day, it only makes sense that he’s the one to swoop in and save me. And when his world comes crashing down around him, I’m there to return the favor.
But the more time we spend alone, the more Jasper doesn’t feel like a friend at all. He feels like everything I’ve ever wanted and thought I could never have.
Our feelings aren’t straightforward though. They twist and turn around the pain of his past and the reality of my present.
Jasper Gervais acts like he wants me. But after years of turning me away, he’s going to need to prove it.
4.18 on Goodreads
80,271 ratings 10,647 reviews
My Book Review of The True Love Experiment
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Felicity “Fizzy” Chen is lost. Sure, she’s got an incredible career as a beloved romance novelist with a slew of bestsellers under her belt, but when she’s asked to give a commencement address, it hits her: she hasn’t been practicing what she’s preached.
Fizzy hasn’t ever really been in love. Lust? Definitely. But that swoon-worthy, can’t-stop-thinking-about-him, all-encompassing feeling? Nope. Nothing. What happens when the optimism she’s spent her career encouraging in readers starts to feel like a lie?
Connor Prince, documentary filmmaker and single father, loves his work in large part because it allows him to live near his daughter.
But when his profit-minded boss orders him to create a reality TV show, putting his job on the line, Connor is out of his element.
Desperate to find his romantic lead, a chance run-in with an exasperated Fizzy offers Connor the perfect solution.
What if he could show the queen of romance herself falling head-over-heels for all the world to see? Fizzy gives him a hard pass—unless he agrees to cast the contestants according to a list of romance archetypes.
When he says yes, and production on The True Love Experiment begins, Connor wonders if that perfect match will ever be in the cue cards for him, too.
Related: Best Office Romance Books
Annie Walker is on a quest to find her perfect match—someone who complements her happy, quiet life running the local flower shop in Rome, Kentucky.
But finding her dream man may be harder than Annie imagined. Everyone knows everyone in her hometown, and the dating prospects are getting fewer by the day.
After she overhears her latest date say she is “so unbelievably boring,” Annie starts to think the problem might be her.
Is it too late to become flirtatious and fun like the leading ladies in her favorite romance movies? Maybe she only needs a little practice . . . and Annie has the perfect person in mind to be her tutor: Will Griffin.
Will—the hot, tattooed, and absolutely gorgeous bodyguard—is temporarily back in Rome, providing security for Amelia Rose as excitement builds for her upcoming marriage to Noah Walker, Annie’s brother.
He has one personal objective while on the job: stay away from Annie Walker and any other possible attachments to this sleepy town.
But no sooner than he gets settled, Will finds himself tasked with helping Annie find the love of her life by becoming the next leading lady of Rome, Kentucky.
Will wants no part in changing the sweet and lovely Annie.
He knows for a fact that some stuffy, straitlaced guy won’t make her happy, but he doesn’t have the heart to say no.
Amid steamy practice dates and strictly “educational” tutoring lessons, Annie discovers there are more layers to Will’s usual stoic attitude.
As the lines of their friendship become dangerously blurred, Annie reconsiders her dream guy. Maybe her love life doesn’t need to be perfect—it just needs to be real.
3.98 on Goodreads
70,173 ratings 7,389 reviews
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My name is Rachel Price, and two months ago, I walked away from the perfect man. Sweet and funny, and so hot it should be illegal—we shared one magical night. No names. No strings. I never thought I’d see him again.
I was wrong. It turns out Mr. Perfect is the playboy grinder for the Jacksonville Rays, the NHL’s hottest new hockey team…and I’m his new physical therapist. Oh, and the jerk doesn’t even recognize me!
This fellowship is going to be the longest ten months of my life. Mr. Perfect Mistake will do anything to get back on my good side.
Meanwhile, his best friend is the surly new equipment manager always riding my case. Worst of all, I’ve got an uncooperative goalie who thinks I can’t tell he’s hiding an injury!
This is my chance to prove myself, and I’m not risking it for anything. But with one unexpected night, one secret revealed, these men are ready to test all my limits.
I can’t fall for a player…let alone three. But if love is a game, these guys are playing to win.
3.97 on Goodreads
59,677 ratings 8,752 reviews
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Maple Hills students Russ Callaghan and Aurora Roberts cross paths at a party celebrating the end of the academic year, where a drinking game results in them having a passionate one-night stand.
Never one to overstay her welcome (or expect much from a man), Aurora slips away before Russ even has the chance to ask for her full name.
Imagine their surprise when they bump into each other on the first day of the summer camp where they are both counselors, hoping to escape their complicated home lives by spending the summer working. Russ hopes if he gets far enough away from Maple Hills, he can avoid dealing with the repercussions of his father’s gambling addiction, while Aurora is tired of craving attention from everyone around her, and wants to go back to the last place she truly felt at home.
Russ knows breaking the camp’s strict “no staff fraternizing” rule will have him heading back to Maple Hills before the summer is over, but unfortunately for him, Aurora has never been very good at caring about the rules.
Will the two learn to peacefully coexist? Or did their one night together start a fire they can’t put out?
4.31 on Goodreads
54,287 ratings 4,581 reviews
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Have you ever heard of a man-in-waiting?
Yeah, neither has my best friend’s soon-to-be monster-in-law. Ooo, sorry, I meant mother-in-law. Nor has she heard of the term, what the bride wants, the bride gets.
With wedding planning underway and a short timeline, my best friend, Lia, has recruited me to help her battle the snarly beast that is Mrs. Beaver.
Not scared at all, I accept the challenge as her man-in-waiting–aka, man of honor–and take matters into my own hands.
The only problem is, with every second we draw closer to the wedding, I’m starting to see my best girl in a different light.
She’s always been beautiful to me, but now . . . I find myself staring a touch too long. My hand lingering for one more minute. And when she’s upset? Allowing her to sleep in my bed.
And before I know what’s happening, it hits me like a ton of bricks. I’m in love with my best friend. Not just in love, but infatuated.
No one compares to her and nothing seems to distract me from that realization. Not the girl I try to date while I help plan Lia’s wedding. Not her angry fiancé who thinks I’m growing too close. And not the looming deadline of her nuptials.
Which means, there’s only one thing left for me to do. Prove to Lia I’m the one she should be with instead.
But with the pressure of her engagement, the stress from her soon-to-be mother-in-law, and the breath-stealing nerves running through me, I’m finding it a lot harder to claim the girl than I would like to admit.
Say a little prayer for me . . .
When Izzy Astor gets on a plane to go home, she isn’t expecting much. It’s the usual holiday travel experience: busy, crowded, stressful.
Then she spots her seatmate, who is anything but ordinary. Nate Phelan sports dark hair, blue eyes, and a deliciously rugged charm that Izzy can’t resist.
Their connection is undeniable. Izzy never believed in destiny before, but she does now.
Just ninety seconds after takeoff, their plane goes down in the Missouri River.
Their lives change. They change. Nate goes on to a career in the military while Izzy finds her way into politics. Despite a few chance encounters over the years, the timing never feels right.
Then comes a high-stakes reunion in Afghanistan, where Nate is tasked with protecting Izzy’s life.
He’ll do anything to keep her safe. And everything to win her heart.
Sadie Montogmery has had good breaks and bad breaks in her life, but as a struggling artist, all she needs is one lucky break.
Things seem to be going her way when she lands one of the coveted finalist spots in a portrait competition.
It happens to coincide with a surgery she needs to have. Minor, they say. Less than a week in the hospital they say. Nothing about you will change, they say.
Upon recovery, it begins to dawn on Sadie that she can see everything around her, but she can no longer see faces.
As she struggles to cope—and hang onto her artistic dreams—she finds solace in her fourteen-year-old dog, Peanut. When Peanut gets sick, she rushes him to the emergency vet nearby.
That’s when she meets veterinarian Dr. Addison. And she’s pleasantly surprised when he asks her on a date.
But she doesn’t want anyone to know about her face blindness. Least of all Joe, her obnoxious neighbor who always wears a bowling jacket and seems to know everyone in the building.
He’s always there at the most embarrassing but convenient times, and soon, they develop a sort of friendship. But could it be something more?
As Sadie tries to save her career, confront her haunting past, and handle falling in love with two different guys she realizes that happiness can be found in the places—and people— you least expect.
4.30 on Goodreads
42,677 ratings 8,442 reviews
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Sometimes, the worst day of your life happens, and you have to figure out how to live after it.
So Clementine forms a plan to keep her heart safe: work hard, find someone decent to love, and try to remember to chase the moon. The last one is silly and obviously metaphorical, but her aunt always told her that you needed at least one big dream to keep going.
And for the last year, that plan has gone off without a hitch. Mostly. The love part is hard because she doesn’t want to get too close to anyone—she isn’t sure her heart can take it.
And then she finds a strange man standing in the kitchen of her late aunt’s apartment. A man with kind eyes and a Southern drawl and a taste for lemon pies. The kind of man that, before it all, she would’ve fallen head-over-heels for. And she might again.
Except, he exists in the past. Seven years ago, to be exact. And she, quite literally, lives seven years in his future.
Her aunt always said the apartment was a pinch in time, a place where moments blended together like watercolors. And Clementine knows that if she lets her heart fall, she’ll be doomed.
After all, love is never a matter of time—but a matter of timing.
Related: Best Time Travel Romance Books
3.69 on Goodreads
23,433 ratings 4,280 reviews
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Adalyn Reyes has spent years perfecting her daily routine: wake up at dawn, drive to the Miami Flames FC offices, try her hardest to leave a mark, go home, and repeat.
But her routine is disrupted when a video of her in an altercation with the team’s mascot goes viral.
Rather than fire her, the team’s owner—who happens to be her father—sends Adalyn to middle-of-nowhere North Carolina, where she’s tasked with turning around the struggling local soccer team, the Green Warriors, as a way to redeem herself.
Her plans crumble upon discovering that the players wear tutus to practice (impractical), keep pet goats (messy), and are terrified of Adalyn (counterproductive), and are nine-year-old kids.
To make things worse, also in town is Cameron Caldani, goalkeeping prodigy whose presence is somewhat of a mystery.
Cam is the perfect candidate to help Adalyn, but after one very unfortunate first encounter involving a rooster, Cam’s leg, and Adalyn’s bumper, he’s also set on running her out of town.
But banishment is not an option for Adalyn. Not again. Helping this ragtag children’s team is her road to redemption, and she is playing the long game. With or without Cam’s help.
Related: Best Grumpy Sunshine Trope Books
3.72 on Goodreads
16,100 ratings 3,546 reviews
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When Ari and Josh first meet, the wrong kind of sparks fly. They hate each other. Instantly.
A free-spirited, struggling comedian who likes to keep things casual, Ari sublets, takes gigs, and she never sleeps over after hooking up. Born-and-bred Manhattanite Josh has ambitious plans: Take the culinary world by storm, find The One, and make her breakfast in his spotless kitchen.
They have absolutely nothing in common . . . except that they happen to be sleeping with the same woman.
Ari and Josh never expect their paths to cross again. But years later, as they’re both reeling from ego-bruising breakups, a chance encounter leads to a surprising connection: friendship.
Turns out, spending time with your former nemesis is fun when you’re too sad to hate each other.
As friends-without-benefits, they find comfort in late-night Netflix binges, swiping through each other’s online dating profiles, and bickering across boroughs. It’s better than romance. Until one night, the unspoken boundaries of their platonic relationship begin to blur.
Related: Best Enemies to Lovers Books
What do you think of the 2023 Goodreads Choice Awards best romance book nominees? Share in the comments below!
Past Goodreads Choice Award Nominees:
- 2022 Goodreads Choice Awards Nominees for Best Romance Book
- 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards Nominees for Best Romance Book
- 2020 Goodreads Choice Award Nominees for Best Romance Book
- 2019 Goodreads Choice Award Nominees for Best Romance Book
Related Book List:
- Best Romance Novels of 2023
- 2023 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Romantasy
- 2023 Goodreads Choice Awards Snubs
- Most Anticipated New Romance Books of 2023