There’s just something about a book.

You know.

The ones that you hold in your hand and they make you smile and laugh and cry and feel all the emotions as the words leap off the page into your heart.

Sigh.

Books are the BEST.

I’ve been all in on reading since Pa and Ma and Carrie and Mary and Laura started out in the big woods and went to Plum Creek and then took a wagon across the prairie. And since then? I’ve never looked back. There’s just something about the wonder and excitement and satisfaction found between the front and back cover of a really good book.

But this last year has been extra special. I’ve discovered some new authors and found some stories I couldn’t put down.

So today for my top 10 list I’m sharing with Leslie from My 100-Year-Old-Home and Janine from Happy Happy Nester, I’m sharing all about my favorite books.

Here are the top favorite 10 books I read this year in 2023.

10. Winter Garden

I love this book–Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah.

Yep.

I love this book. I took this book on the cruise at the beginning of the year and read it in two days.

It’s so beautiful and poignant and heartbreaking that I could not put it down.

The story is about two sisters and their relationship with their mother who is a survivor of World War II and Leningrad. The way Kristen Hannah writes you feel like you are there and the story unfolds in a way that you don’t expect.

My second favorite of all the Kristen Hannah books that I’ve read (there’s another one on this list, too).

You can see it here.

9. The Magnolia Palace

Y’all.

If you like historical fiction and glamour and a story that you think you have figured out, but then you really discover that you have no idea where it’s going?

This. Is. The. Book.

The Magnolia Palace.

Fiona Davis is a new author to me. Someone recommended her over Christmas break and I started reading her and never looked back. I love the way she has two separate stories that intertwine together at the end.

And there’s always kind of a surprise ending in her books.

I’ve now read four of them but this one is my favorite and she is such a good storyteller.

It is SO GOOD and you can read more about it here.

8. The Scarlet Thread

If you’ve read my book lists before, you know how much I love Francine Rivers.

She is such an amazing writer.

The Scarlett Thread starts when Sierra discovers an old quilt and journal of her great, great, great some kind of relative who travels the Oregon trail, Mary Kathryn.

It’s all about how their lives are super similar and the lessons that Mary Kathryn learns are the same ones that Sierra needs to understand.

I love anything by Francine Rivers, but The Scarlett Thread is one of my favorites.

7. Atomic Habits

Number 8 on our list is a non-fiction book that is SO GOOD.

Have you read this book yet?

Atomic Habits is a GAME CHANGER and kind of changed my 2023.

My husband got it for me for my birthday. We already are on James Clear’s email list and we share quotes and thoughts with each other each week. This book is SUCH a good read, starting with James Clear’s story at the very beginning.

It will change the way you look at things and how you can make such a difference with small every everyday changes.

You can see it here.

 

6. Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl

Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl was actually recommended to me by Audible based on all the other books I listened to.

It’s about Estee Lauder and her rise to cosmetic greatness.

It’s told from the perspective of her friend who has a complicated relationship with her father because he swindled tons of people during the depression. It’s set in the 1920s in New York City and it’s full of all of the glamour of the era. I’m adding this one to list this year because of the time period and how much I loved the characters.

It’s an easy read and there are a few plot twists that keep you guessing.

You can see Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl here.

5. Carnegie’s Maid

I was going through an entire phase with WWII history at the beginning of the year (ie the Nightingale), but now I’m all about the 1920s.

I just finished the second season of The Guilded Age on Max and I love a story set in the 1920’s.

Carnegie’s Maid had me from the very first page.

It’s about a maid (who’s not really a maid) and who she falls in love with and the ending TOTALLY surprised me. Audible recommended this to me and I’m so glad it did.

You can see Carnegie’s Maid here.

4. Snobs

My husband actually found this book, Snobs, for me at the library.

I have been the biggest Julian Fellowes fan since the first episode of Downton Abbey.

This isn’t historical fiction–it’s set in modern day but the story is as old as time. It’s about a girl named Edith who falls in love with a man named Charles who is part of the English aristocracy.  But when they rent out the house to a television crew with the most handsome leading man who is not Charles—she has to decide her future.

You can see more about Snobs here.

3. The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library has almost 250,000 reviews on Amazon.

It’s a story about choices. Somewhere on the edge of the galaxy, there’s a library. The library is full of books that tell the stories of people’s lives—with different endings. Some are stories of their life as they know it. Some are stories of their life that could have been.

Nora Seed is faced with which story to choose. The whole situation with the library is a little far-fetched at first, but as the book goes on–the concept grows on you and it makes you think about choices you make in your own life.

And what makes life worth the living after all.

You can see The Midnight Library here.

2. Remarkably Bright Creatures

Okay. You are going to have to trust me on this one. 

I went outside of my comfort zone on this book because Remarkably Bright Creatures is about an octopus named Marcellus.

Someone recommended it to me and I’m so happy they did because the book is amazing. A woman named Tova who works the night shift at a local aquarium. She has suffered so much sadness and loss and is at a crossroads in her life and the octopus is instrumental in helping her heal.

It’s kind of a mystery and a love story and a heartfelt story all rolled into one.

It’s one of my new favorite books and you can see it here.

1. The Nightingale

And for the number one book of the year……

….drumroll please.

The one I’ve thought about and rethought about and shared with all of you how it impacted my heart is….

…..The Nightingale.

I’ve read other books by Kristen Hannah, but I’d never heard of The Nightingale until it was recommended by so many readers and it has almost 300,000 reviews on Amazon.

The story is so poignant and the ending is kind of a surprise. You think it’s going one way and then it doesn’t end like you think. I love a historical drama and this one is set against the backdrop of WWII and Germany’s invasion of France.

It’s the story of two sisters with romance and struggle and sometimes almost impossible choices and it’s amazing. I wish I would have read The Nightingale before I read her other books because it’s my absolute favorite book she’s ever written. If you haven’t read Kristen Hannah before? This is an amazing one to start with.

You can see The Nightingale here.

I hope you enjoyed my top 10 book list for 2023.

When I was little—my grandmother took me to the library every week.

Come rain or shine or expired library card, my grandmother would cart me in her Toyota Corolla to the place where dinosaurs wore top hats and kids walked through wardrobes into a winter wonderland and Nancy Drew solved every mystery with her notebook and bobby socks.

There’s just something so wonderful and amazing how 26 characters and some random punctuation can make your heart beat faster or your eyes fill up with tears or make you laugh out loud.

There are so many adventures waiting for all of us between the covers of a book.

I wish my grandmother was still here so she could see how those trips to the library instilled a love of reading that I still have after all these years.

I know what she’d do. She would smile and that Toyota Corolla would turn to the left.

Right into the parking lot of the library. 🙂

And now for a few other top 10 lists from some of my favorite friends

My 100-Year-Old Home

As you probably guessed, crafting is one of the most soothing and rewarding things I do. Today I am sharing your top ten favorite craft projects in 2023!

Top 10 Craft Projects of 2023

Happy Happy Nester

Top 10 Craft Projects of 2023

DIY crafts for home decor are really the best. They’re a fun, budget-friendly way to add a personal splash to your space, turning simple things into something super special and uniquely ‘you’.

disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

Comments

  1. Image for Christine Sara Salek Christine Sara Salek

    Loved so many of these books (Remarkedly Bright Creatures-Love) will be putting on my Libby list some of your others!

  2. Image for Jerre Perkins Jerre Perkins

    Not only are you a reader, you are a writer! Love reading your posts and I can hear your voice full of enthusiasm! Adding some more books to my reading list. Happy New Year!

  3. Image for trudy nickelson trudy nickelson

    Thanks for the recommendations. Just curious, do you purchase your books? I just have to have a book to hold so I don’t do kindle. I also don’t frequent the library but I should.

  4. Image for Lori H Lori H

    Ooops the link to Atomic takes me to LL Bean:0).....I'll look it up as that sounds like an inspiring read for sure!

  5. Image for Michelle Crowley Michelle Crowley

    Your timing is perfect! I'm looking for a good book to listen to TODAY as I start the whole taking down Christmas routine! I've read (translated - listened to) several your picks - but most I haven't yet! Which is your very, very favorite? I'll start with that one 😀

  6. Image for Pam smith Pam smith

    I absolutely LOVED Remarkably Bright Creatures!! I was very different from what I normally read, but so good. I just gave it to my parents to read too. I also read Nightengale a couple of years ago and loved it! I will add the others to my reading list! Thanks for the suggestions!

  7. Image for Kris Kris

    Carnegie's Maid was a good one. I'm intrigued by Remarkably Bright Creatures and will have to see if it's at my library. Sometimes it's good to read a new genre.

  8. Image for Wanda Wanda

    Thank you so much for posting your Top Ten books; I shelve books in a public library and have watched many of these titles circulate but there are so many books and so little time so it's always fun to see what other's are enjoying reading and work thru my 'to be read' list from there. Hoping to steal away and read at least 30 minutes/day in 2024. Also thank you so much for sharing your stocking stuffer finds recently on Amazon. I always seems to struggle thru stockings saving them for last and I never thought to look at Amazon; this year my peeps enjoyed some great stocking stuffers and I never had to leave the house...compliments of Thistlewood Farms and Amazon. God Bless and Happy New Year.

  9. Image for Ren Jetton Ren Jetton

    The Nightingale is definitely my favorite of the Hanna books that I have read. Well, I read it five or six years ago, I still think about it so often. One of my favorite books ever! You read a lot of good books this year!

  10. Image for Deb Voorhorst Deb Voorhorst

    Those were some of my favorites as well. I’m pretty curious about this trend of putting books in backwards ? Not criticizing but I treasure my favorites and wonder about this. I look at my book spines as pieces of my life, and love to be reminded of the joy. I wonder why this is such a trend. It seems to dishonor them😊. I’m weird though.

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Deb, LOL! I just did that for the picture because I get so many comments on the books in the bookcases! In real life they are all facing forward! Happy day! KariAnne

  11. Image for Spring del Pino Spring del Pino

    I so love all your post and your stories are my favorite. Can you tell me where you purchased your bookcases? They are exactly what I am looking for. Thank you, Spring

  12. Image for Carol Carol

    I’m a reader and love book suggestions. Thank you. Also a great author I just found in case you are interested is Kristan Higgins. It is hard to put her books down

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