This has been the year of the book (and it’s only January).


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 month has been extra special.

I’ve discovered some new authors.

And found some stories I couldn’t put down.

So I wanted to share what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading and what books are sitting here on my bookshelf waiting for me to finish the books I’ve already started.

Here are eight books I couldn’t put down and what I’ve been reading lately.

1. The Magnolia Palace


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.

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 (another Fiona Davis book made the list, too) and she is such a good story teller.

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

2. The Scarlet Thread

I’ve shared this before, but I keep coming back to it like an old friend. 🙂

It 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 this is one of my favorites.

You can see it here.

3. Beautifully Organized

I had to share this beautiful book.

This was a Christmas present from my husband. There are so many clever ideas and the photographs are absolutely beautiful.

I’m not sure why—but beautiful pictures inspire me to organize even more. It’s by Nikki Boyd, creator of “At Home With Nikki” and she walks you through organizing room by room with simple, easy ideas for 2023 organizing.

You can see it here.

4. Winter Garden

I took this book on the cruise 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 (see number one below).

You can see it here.

5. The Perfect Couple

This was one of our book club reads and IT IS SO GOOD.

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand is a page-turner.

I love a book that you can’t figure out the ending until it surprises you in the end.

It’s a mystery that takes place at a wedding on Nantucket. The maid-of-honor is discovered dead and everyone is a suspect.

Spoiler alert. It’s NOT who you think it is.

This book is such a good read and you can see it here.

6. The Nightingale




If you only read one book this year? This is the ONE.

It’s historical fiction set during World War II and it tells the story of two sisters and how they endured the occupation of France by the Germans.

I could NOT put it down. I learned so much and I cheered them on and hoped for them and then I cried for them.

Such, such, such a good book.

You can see it here.

7. The Social Graces

This is currently sitting in my Audible account to read right now.

It was suggested to me when I was looking for other Fiona Davis books and it was named one of 2021’s Most Anticipated Historical Novels by Oprah Daily with over 4,000 reviews.

So I’m taking a chance. I’m obsessed with the Gilded Age after we went to Newport this summer and this is all about the feud between Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Vanderbilt.

I’ll report back (and comment below if you’ve read anything by this author).

You can see it here.

updated to add: I am about 3/4 way through right now and it’s SO GOOD!!!!!!! It’s a little slow to get going in the beginning—but then the story delivers. It’s a lot like Gilded Age if you watched that show on television. There are similar characters and the storyline (old money vs. new money) is the same. 

8. Martha Stewart Organizing

I ordered this book last year and I refer to it so much I’d thought I’d include it in the list.

My favorite thing about it?

It has a calendar with what you should be organizing every month. I really need this. I get all organized in January and then I don’t maintain it.

There’s so much organizing gold here.

You can see the book here.

And there you have it.

What I’ve read.

What I’m currently reading.

And what I’m about to read.

All coming to you from my winter reading nook at the top of the stairs.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you think or if you have a book I need to read.

I have a little bit of January left. 🙂

PS How do you read books? Do you order them online? Check them out from the library? Go to the bookstore? I do all of the above.

But lately, I’ve been using Audible. It’s really good if you go for a walk or are doing chores around the house. You can actually try it for FREE for 30 days.

Here’s the sign-up if you are interested.

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.


  1. Image for Nuss Laura Nuss Laura

    Love! Saved to my library app? Have you tried audible books? I walk on treadmill listening to my current fav author Adriana Trigiani! I sent you an email to admin :0) Happy monday

  2. Image for Lee Stearns Lee Stearns

    I’ve read every Elon Hilderbrand book and LOVE them! They have to be really good to keep me sitting/reading most of a day! Hers ARE!! I always figured you never read/slept or ate! You’re so creative, productive and full of projects- glad to know you “ do it ALL!” Another reason you’re my “ North Star”!

  3. Image for Kelly Kelly

    Kari Anne I Love all the book recommendations! This year my New Years resolution was to read more books than last year I also feel this is the Year of Books! I just finished my 7 th book since January 1st. Putting down my phone has given me more time to read instead of being on the internet or social media. A welcomed change! Thank you for the new book list I may add one or two.

  4. Image for francis c moore francis c moore

    Loved The Nightingale but not so much The Winter Garden. Be sure and read The Great Alone by the same author. It is a pageturner and disturbing.

  5. Image for Vicki Vicki

    I bought my Mom The Nightengale for Christmas and she read it in just a few days. Said it was excellent and gave it to me to read next. Looking forward to it.

  6. Image for Kathy M. Kathy M.

    Karianne Thanks for the book list. I love anything by Kristin Hannah and have been reading books by Barbara O'Neil this month. Also like Jodi Picoult. Her research into a subject is incredible. So many books so little time. Have a great Valentines Day with your guy with those twinkling eyes

  7. Image for Emma Emma

    “The Last Bookshop in London” and “The Librarian Spy”, both by Madeline Martin were two books I listened to in audiobook format last year and loved. Both are WWII pieces and were SO good. Thanks for sharing your favorites!

  8. Image for Bethanie Bethanie

    We have the same taste in books. Oh my heart, the Nightingale!!! I've read it over and over and shared it with everyone I know! I also loved Winter Garden! (Read Four Winds and The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah, you wont be sorry). If you love Historical Fiction, read The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer The Rose Code (Kate Quinn) The Tattooist of Aushwitz, Cilka's Journey, and Three Sisters all by Heather Morris. And on the same page of goodness as the Nightingale is Lost Book of Names by Kristin Harmel. Oh my goodness, Karianne, it is so amazing. Now Im going to go get the ones on your list that I haven't read and get busy. Another author that you would absolutely love is Charles Martin. Not historical fiction, but the man can tell a story like NO other!!!

    1. Image for Marci Walker Marci Walker

      I enjoyed most of these you mentioned here as well. My favorite Kate Quinn is The Alice Network.. I've listened to it twice now. I also play My Dear Hamilton on repeat and have listened to America's First Daughter a few times as well. I enjoyed A Gentleman in Moscow as well, great narration on Audible! For a quick read (listen in my case usually) I liked My Real Name is Hanna. And for a surprise- Remarkably Bright Creatures was a good one. I'm currently listening to Educated by Tara Westover, a bit of a break from Historical Fiction. :) Happy reading to all!

  9. Image for Stephanie Brown Stephanie Brown

    I love your book book! Looking for ideas for a book nook/ writing area. So loved your pictures! As you might remember, I have always adored not only your posts on blue and white, but also posts when you share your love of reading and your stories. So this one made my heart smile for sure! You can not go wrong with books by Kristin Hannah. Her growth as a writer has been amazing! She is truly the queen of historical fiction. The Nightingale will be a classic one day if not already. I love to find a new author and yes series! For a fun reading ride, you might want to try the Big Stone Gap series by Adriana. I enjoyed reading The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki. Will have to read some of Fiona Davis. Her covers are amazing. I am currently reading The Echo of Old Books by Barbara Davis and next The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Mitchard was also author of The Deep End Of The Ocean which has not only been made into a movie.. but was also Oprah’s Book Club first selection ever! Another must read and movie to see. Of course the book is always better.😊 Are you thinking of adding a book club to your many ventures?😉 It would be fun for sure. Stay warm! I am sure you miss the freezing rain like we are having this week in Kentucky!😜

  10. Image for Gwen Gwen

    Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite authors and “ The Niightengale” is top of my list too. Another close favorite that I recommend of hers is “The Great Alone”.

  11. Image for Patricia Patricia

    Several of these are now on hold for me at my local library. Now I'm hoping for some rainy days for reading. Nothing better than curling up with a good book while rain pelts my windows.

  12. Image for Laurel Laurel

    Another I think you’d love is: Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. I Love many of the books you’ve read and look forward to reading the others! Many thanks for your fun and inspiring posts!

  13. Image for Louverna Tomer Louverna Tomer

    I like the books you listed. Sounds like some good reads -- but, what is it with the books 'backward' on the bookshelf? Looks a little stupid to me, especially if you're looking for a book. I'm 80 yrs old and if any of my family came into my house and saw my bookshelf filled with 'backward' books , they would think I had finally gone off the deep end, and ready to be carted off to 'the home.' Just wondering.

    1. Image for Debbie Debbie

      Ha!Ha! Arranging books backwards is the way some are styling these days. I see it often, although it isn’t very practical. I actually like to see colors. However Karianne has such style and personality and I love her home!

    2. Image for Leigh Hudson Leigh Hudson

      Ok first of all quit being so stinking CUTE all the time!! I adore you!! And second of all I love (almost as much as I love your posts) reading Kristin Hannah! So rich with historical fiction and an ability to weave a story like nobody's business! Also appreciate the comments with other recommendations. Thanks for all you do Karianne!

    3. Image for AnnTN AnnTN

      I can't wait until I'm 80 years old and I can tell other people their choices in how they choose to decorate/display items is "stupid." Until then I'll just abide by the "if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all." Anyway, I'm one that likes the look of backward books. It's all about the neutral colors of the pages. The different tones and variations of the neutral colors.

  14. Image for Joan Joan

    Thank you, Karianne, I always appreciate good book recommendations. I, too, loved The Nightingale. I wasn't as thrilled with Winter Garden. However, The Great Alone (a bit dark) and The Four Winds (depression era), both by Kristin Hannah are fantastic. I think you would enjoy them. Also worth reading are Lisa Wingate's The Book of Lost Friends, and This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. I had to laugh at the previous comment by Ms. Tomer. It was difficult for me to get used to seeing "backward books" too. I think it's an age thing! I like seeing the books I've read and am going to read on my shelves, but I do occasionally turn a stack backwards on the mantel or a table for decorative purposes. I'm learning in my old age!

  15. Image for Linda Linda

    I just ordered The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. I love her books and this one had great reviews. Cant wait to get it in the mailbox! Happy Monday!

  16. Image for Susan Susan

    You have listed my to favorite Kristin Hannah books. The Nightingale is at the top for me and Winter Garden is a close second. These two books are so worth reading. Thanks for the other recommendations!

  17. Image for Susan Spinney Susan Spinney

    I've read many of those same books! I also love Jodi Picoult (listening to Mad Honey right now). Chris Bojalian is one of my favorites. I'll have to get "The Social Graces" it sounds good!

  18. Image for Cherie Baker Cherie Baker

    Thank you Karianne for the great book suggestions! My book club read the Magnolia Palace and we all loved it. I plan to do more reading this year! I have an Audible account too and find i read more if i listen to books. Your blog makes such a welcome addition to my dailiy email. Thanks again!

  19. Image for Anne from Simply2Moms Anne from Simply2Moms

    So many great suggestions! I’ve just added the Magnolia Palace and the Social Graces to my “want to read” list in Goodreads! If you’re enjoying that era, be sure to check out Carnegie’s Maid and The Second Life of Mirelle West. I think you’ll love them too!

  20. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    I dont take much time to read, unless it is really good. I like shorter books. I somehow get distracted and dont return to longer books. I'm sure there is a name for what I am besides distracted. I was most interested in your Martha Stewart book. And the one you got as a gift from your husband. Those are my kind of books. Thank you for sharing. I always enjoy reading your stories. 😊

  21. Image for Jeanine Jeanine

    Thanks for this post! I highly recommend a book called Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber. It's one of the best autobiographies that I've ever read. I also recommend Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan.

  22. Image for Janice Byrd Janice Byrd

    I'm a librarian and an oral book reviewer/performer and I wanted to say a word about historical fiction. Generally, it falls into two categories. The most common meaning is that the book is a period piece, set in a past time, and the book references famous people, places, and events of that period. The second meaning is that the book is written around a specific historical event, usually not commonly known. The latter is my favorite, and one of my favorite historical fiction writers is Patti Callahan. Her latest book SURVIVING SAVANNAH is currently on the best seller list and centers around an actual shipwreck in 1838. The remains of this shipwreck were recently found off the coast of N. Carolina. Patti Callahan weaves the true story of a family from the ship with the fictional curator of the Savannah museum trying to discover who survived and who did not. Another one of Callahan's recent historical novels is BECOMING MRS LEWIS about the wife of C. S. Lewis. Callahan is a prolific writer. I recommend her highly.

  23. Image for Linda A. Charlton Linda A. Charlton

    The Nightingale is in my top 5 best books I ever read. It transported me back to the era of WWII, the years right before I was born. I loved every word. And was quite surprised at the ending. I have read other books by Kristin Hanna and have enjoyed them as well. I belong to 2 book clubs and the push me to read books I would never read otherwise.

  24. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Thanks for the recommendations, KA! I too am an avid reader and it will be nice to discover a few authors I have not yet read in your list. Appreciate the post.

  25. Image for Marilyn Marilyn

    Thank you for this list. I am reading The Fairy Tale Girl, it is the first book in a trilogy by Susan Branch. The next one is Martha;s Vineyard and the last is A Fine Romance Falling In love With The English Country Side.. The first on is her diary she started in her 20s. I also enjoy any Amish books,historical novels Irish, English and French history and biographies. Marilyn

  26. Image for PJ PJ

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll see if my local library has some of those. May I ask why you turn the books in the bookcase around so you can't see the spine? I'm thinking it's a visual thing, but isn't it frustrating trying to find something? Have a good week.

  27. Image for PJ PJ

    Book posts are among my very favorites. I have read a few that you mentioned and will add the others to my "to read" list. I get my books from the library (both in paper form and e-content) as well as from my lovely, local independent book store. I agree with you about The Nightingale which is one of my favorite books ever. Two very brief, but beautiful books, that I have read recently are Foster and Small Things Like These, both by Claire Keegan. And if you have not yet read Lessons is Chemistry, I recommend that as well, Happy Reading, KariAnne!

  28. Image for Julie Littleton Julie Littleton

    Thank you for all of your suggestions! Hope to find the time to read them! Love your jeans! Do you happen to have a link for them?

  29. Image for Ann Y. Ann Y.

    Thanks for the great tips - Kristin Hannah's Four Winds is another one I loved. I am hooked on historical fiction...and try to listen to nonfiction on the Libby app from my library while walking or doing chores. Right now listening to Left on Tenth by Delia Ephron. Happy Reading!

  30. Image for Eileen Azzinaro Eileen Azzinaro

    Thanks for the book recommendations. My library allows 30 books out at one time. Thank goodness I usually use the audiobook selection or I'd be living in my own library!!!!

  31. Image for Connie Connie

    Thanks for sharing your reading list. I have read most of these and look forward to trying the others. I love your natural wood bookcase!! Where did you find it? Thanks for sharing! Connie

  32. Image for Chris Brown Chris Brown

    I'm a reader. I have been since I was a little girl. In grade school I was a fan of Albert Payson Terhune and his beloved collies, The Black Stallion series, and who didn't cry over Black Beauty and Beautiful Joe? My grandmother introduced me to Hemmingway, Steinbeck and Zane Grey in junior high. Since then I've read every genre there is. I love nothing better than to curl up in a comfy chair with a good book and my furbaby at my feet. I've read all Kristin Hannah's, I'm a big fan of Jodi Piccoult, Lisa Gardner, Lisa Jackson and Lisa Unger, I also love John Sandford and Greg Isles (suspense and mysteries) If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend Where the Crawdads Sing. I just finished a charming series written By Louise Penny, the Armond Gamache series and the citizens of Three Pines. I especially loved the character of Ruth Zardo, the elderly poet. There is humor in the dialogue and the mysteries are finely crafted. Anita Shreve is another fave. And of course you MUST read the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, whose prose sometimes reads like poetry. She is just that good. I get my books by the bagful at Goodwill, Salvation Army and library sales. Abe Books, and Thrift Books online and of course, Amazon. I read 57 books in the 4 months I was recovering from cervical fusion surgery and was in a brace. Best forced time off ever! Not a fan of audible books, I like to hold them and feel the weight. Besides when I walk I want to be aware of my surroundings and listen to the breeze in the trees and bird song and I'm afraid an audible book will interfere with those small joys. But I'm also one for trying new things, so ya never know! I love hearing what books others are reading so I can expand my universe!! Thanks for sharing your favorites with us!

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