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14 In Books/ Lifestyle

2024 Winter Reading Challenge

2024 winter reading challenge - women holding coffee and book in blanket on the couch

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The 2024 Winter Reading Challenge is here!

I don’t know about you all, but while I am not a fan of winter, there is one thing I do love about it. And that is I fully embrace the opportunity to slow down. It’s the perfect excuse to cozy up and read a good book, or two or three.

If you were here last year, you may remember the Winter Reading Challenge. I started it as a way to motivate myself to read more for pleasure and it’s become something you all have loved and enjoyed.

Now just like with the previous reading challenges, we will be playing on Instagram!

Scroll down to see how you can take part in the 2024 Winter Reading Challenge and for some of my book recommendations.

How to participate in the winter reading challenge:

1.) Download the graphic below or save to your phone or camera roll.

2024 winter reading challenge virtual bingo card

2.) The idea is to read books in each category to try and get a BINGO or bonus points if you do a cover all and fill in all the boxes! Each time you read a book that checks off one of the boxes, share to your Instagram stories and tag me @ourtiny_nest.

3.) The challenge will end March 19th 2024. Be sure to share your finished template to your Instagram story with each box ticked off and tag me @ourtiny_nest to get credit! You must be following me @ourtiny_nest.

The challenge will be live from Tuesday December 26th 2023-Tuesday March 19th 2024.

Here are some book recommendations and suggestions to get you started

Or if listening to books is more your speed, click here for Audible Plus.

Book Set in Winter

Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times by Katherine May – this book is almost like a self care manifesto. It teaches you to embrace this cold, dark season or any difficult season you may be in and see it as a time for transformation or healing.

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake – this is a cozy little read you can hunker down to.

The Hygge Holiday: The warmest, funniest, cosiest romantic comedy of the year

The Resort by Sarah Goodwin– Mila and Ethan are on their way to her sister’s wedding at a ski resort when there car breaks down driving through the mountains. They plan to stay overnight in a cabin they come across but when Mila wakes up in the morning, Ethan is no where to be found. This one is described as twisty with a shocking ending if you love a good thriller.

The Resort: An absolutely addictive psychological thriller with a jaw-dropping twist

Winter Sisters by Robin Oliveira – This one is like historical fiction, a mystery, family saga and courtroom drama all in one. In 1879 a huge blizzard hits Albany, causing devastation and two orphaned girls to go missing. A civil war surgeon helps search for them and ultimately takes the girls in when they are found and helps fight for justice after everything the girls experienced.

Winter Sisters

 

New Release for 2024

 The Fury by Alex Michaelides– to be released January 16, 2024. I read his first book, The Silent Patient a few years ago and loved it! This is another twisty thriller, a story of an ex movie star and her friends go to vacation in the Greek Islands when they find themselves in a murder mystery.
The Fury
Mrs. Quinn’s Rise to Fame by Olivia Ford– to be released January 30, 2024.  Jenny Quinn sets out to do something for herself after years of 59 years of marriage and her husband’s declining health. She quickly rises to fame after joining a British Baking Show. This is a heartwarming story and a great reminder that you are never too old to chase your dreams.
Mrs. Quinn's Rise to Fame: A Novel
Sugar, Baby by Celine St Claire – to be released January 9, 2024. Agnes is a 21 year old who still lives at home and feels like her life is going no where. Then she meets a woman named Emily, who is the daughter of one of her clients who quickly introduces her to life of being a Sugar Baby. This is a story about race, wealth, and self discovery.
Sugar, Baby

Happy Reading!!!

And if you’re looking for more book ideas, make sure you check out this post on how to host A Book Exchange Brunch.

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2024 winter reading challenge virtual bingo card

 

15 In Books/ Lifestyle

15 books to read this fall 2023

15 books to read this fall 2023

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Autumn is the perfect time to curl up under a warm blanket with a cup of coffee and nestle in with a good book. I’m sharing 15 books for your fall reading list. Whether you’re looking for a cozy feel good story, a fall romance, or maybe a darker, suspenseful thriller, there is something on this list for you. Here are 15 books to read this fall 2023.  So grab a cup of pumpkin coffee (sharing my recipe for my pumpkin cold foam here) and get reading!

If audio books are your thing, click here to try Audible Plus.

15 Books To Read This Fall 2023

15 books to read this fall

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna – This story is great if you are a fan of Practical Magic. The story follows, Mika one of the few only witches in Britain who has been forced to hide her magic and is an orphan. The characters are well developed and this is a heartwarming read.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

A haunting on the Hill by Elizabeth Hand- If you loved The Haunting Of Hill House by Shirley Jackson or the Netflix series then this is a must read! A young playwright rents Hill House with her friends for her upcoming play. This is a great read for spooky season!

A Haunting on the Hill: A Novel

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham The main character, Chloe had her own father sent to prison when she was young after he confessed for being involved in the cases of 6 missing girls. Now years later, Chloe is a successful psychologist getting ready to walk down the aisle when another young girl goes missing.

A Flicker in the Dark: A Novel

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling This is a cute, witchy love story with some spicy scenes. Years ago, the main character Vivi puts a curse on the man who broke her heart. But then, he comes back, as a Welsh hottie and there is undeniable chemistry.  Grab a pumpkin spice martini and read alone 🙂

The Ex Hex: A Novel (The Graves Glen Series, 1)

Final Girls by Riley Sager Quincy becomes part of a group known as “The Final Girls” by the media after she goes on vacation with her friends and ends up being the only one alive. Years later, one of the girls in the group winds up dead, and the other ends up on Quincy’s doorstep  forcing Quincy to relive those traumatic events that happened years ago.

Final Girls: A Novel

Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak Ok I finished this one in 2 days. Mallory is fresh out of rehab and takes a job as a nanny for a young boy, Teddy who loves to draw. Teddy’s drawings begin to get more and more dark and Mallory begins to think that there is a supernatural force at play and needs to save Teddy before it’s too late.

Hidden Pictures

Haunting of Adeline (Cat and Mouse Duet) by H. D. Carlton- This one comes with a strong trigger warning. It is dark and touches on several sensitive topics and graphic sexual scenes. It was previously banned on Amazon so obviously I had to read it.

Haunting Adeline (Cat and Mouse Duet)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Two young magicians must battle it out but little do they know that there can only be one standing. However the duo soon finds themselves falling in love. The reviews on this one were mixed but if you like fantasy and magic this might be for you.

The Night Circus

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson – A story that weaves witchcraft, feminism, and religion. This would be great for fans of the Handmaid’s Tale.

The Year of the Witching

 

The Pumpkin Spice Cafe by Laurie Gilmore – a cozy romantic mystery that takes place in a small town and the author’s last name is Gilmore. Say no more. Add this to your fall reading list especially if you’re a Gilmore Girls fan.

The Pumpkin Spice Café

The September House by Carissa Orlando – Margaret and Hal are a married couple who just move into a beautiful Victoria house, what they think is their dream home. But suddenly they find out it’s haunted, and every September the ghosts that inhabit the home appear. Margaret is determined to stay as it is her house but her husband Hal suddenly leaves abruptly and can’t be contacted.

The September House

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V. E. Schwab  – Addie makes a pact on the eve of her wedding to live forever and ends up being cursed for 300 years with no one able to remember her. Centuries later, Addie falls in love with the owner of a book shop who has a story of his own.

The Only One Left by Riley Sager – This is Sager’s second book on this list. The premise of this one reminds me a little bit of the Amityville House. One night in 1929, a family is murdered in their house on the Maine coast. Lenora is the only one who makes it out alive and for years people assume she was the killer. Fast forward years later, Lenora is confined to a wheelchair and mute after a stroke. She decides that it’s finally time to tell her story to her nurse.

The Only One Left: A Novel

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig – the reviews say this is equal parts gothic and fairytale and for those who loved the series Yellowjackets. Annaleigh lives in a manor by the sea called Highmoor with her eleven sisters. Sister after sister suddenly dies, and Annaleigh begins having visions that what may have been thought to be an accident maybe wasn’t at all.

House of Salt and Sorrows (SISTERS OF THE SALT)

The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine by Kate Angell, Jennifer Dawson & Sharla Lovelace – The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine is a cozy little B&B in Maine. This book interwines 3 stories of 3 couples who come to the B&B for their annual Halloween party.

The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine (Moonbright, Maine)

 

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15 books to read this fall

10 In Books/ Lifestyle

14 books to read in 2023

14 books to read in 2023

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I am sharing some of my best book picks for this year.   There’s some romance, thrillers, historical fiction, new releases and even a few non-fiction and memoirs. Scroll down to see the 14 books you need to read in 2023.

And for those of you who like listening to audiobooks, click here to try Audible Premium Plus and get up to 2 books free!

14 Books To Read In 2023

Big Swiss by Jen Beagin

This book already has plans to be made into a movie. The main character is a transcriptionist for a sex therapist and becomes infatuated with one of the clients.

 

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

This thriller is a Reese’s Book Club pick. It’s a story about female friendship and a seven year journey to try to solve a “Who Done It?”.

Books to read in 2023 The House in The Pines

 

Spare by Prince Harry

By now, I don’t think there is a single soul who hasn’t heard of Prince Harry’s memoir. I hear that the best way to enjoy this one is by listening to it on audiobook. If you don’t already have it, click here to try audible plus.

books to read in 2023 Prince Harry Spare

 

The Family Secret by Kiersten Modglin

A newly engaged couple head out to live at the family estate after his parent’s die. But once there, the woman realizes that not only is she being watched by the house staff but they are covering family secrets. It sounds a little to me like the beginnings of the Dollaganger’s for any of you who read “If There Be Thorns” or “Flowers in The Attic”.

The Family Secret: An utterly gripping domestic thriller with a mind-blowing twist by [Kiersten Modglin]

 

You Just Need To Lose Weight And 19 Other Myths About Fat People by Aubrey Gordon

This New York Times Bestseller delves into the myths surrounding fat culture and offers fresh perspectives to bodies of all sizes.

“You Just Need to Lose Weight”: And 19 Other Myths About Fat People (Myths Made in America) by [Aubrey Gordon]

 

Locust Lane by Stephen Amidon

The reviews say that if you loved “Mystic River” or “Little Fires Everywhere” then you will like this one. A young woman is found dead in an affluent New England town. The three suspects are kids who were seen partying with her that night and each of their parents get involved, only muddying the waters.

books to read in 2023 locust lane

 

Happy Place by Emily Henry

This one debuts April 25th, 2023.

From the author who brought “Beach Read” and “The People We Meet On Vacation”. A couple who has been secretly broken up must fake it in front of their friends while away for a week in Maine.

 

This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

This is a good read for anyone who is in the medical profession or if you’re interested in the healthcare system at all. It follows a Junior Doctor in the United Kingdom and shows the contrast of a government run healthcare system compared to that in the United States.

books to read in 2023 this is going to hurt

 

Someone Else’s Shoes by JoJoe Moyes

Nisha lives an affluent lifestyle until her wealthy husband files for divorce. At the same time, Sam is at the lowest point until she finds Nisha’s gym bag and puts on her Laboutins inspiring her to change her life around. If you’re looking for a heartwarming story, read this one!

books to read in 2023 in someone else's shoes

 

The Woman With The Cure by Lynn Cullen

The story takes place in the 1940s and 50’s when Polio is wiping across America and causing many cities to go into lockdown. It’s based on the true story about a woman who races to find a cure. Set to be released on 2/21!

Books to read in 2023 the woman with the cure

 

The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman

This story is based on the real institution Willowbrook known for it’s shocking abuse to it’s residents.  Sage is a twin and she has always known that her sister was a little bit different. After their mother dies, Sage sets out to find her sister at Willowbrook but she is mistaken for her sister once she arrives.

books to read in 2023 the lost girls of willowbrook

 

The Housemaid’s Secret by Freida McFadden

This one sounds like a twisty page turning. A young woman is employed as a housekeeper for a stunning penthouse. She has yet to meet the lady of the house and was told not to step foot into the guest bedroom until one day she decides to knock on the door.

14 books to read in 2023 the housemaid's secret

 

The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell

To be released March 7th 2023. A group of bakers set out to a Vermont estate for a baking competition but then a body is discovered. The reviews say that it combines the likes of The Great British Bakeoff with Clue.

14 books to read in 2023 The Golden Spoon

 

Girls And Their Horses by Eliza Jane Brazier

This one doesn’t come out until June 6th, 2023 and I can’t wait! All about horse girl cliques, barn moms drinking wine, gossip, backstabbing and a suspicious death. You can pre-order it now!

Girls and Their Horses by [Eliza Jane Brazier]

 

Happy Reading!!! Now go get lost in a book.

For more reading fun check out my

Winter Reading challenge

How to Host a Book Exchange Brunch

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17 In Books/ parties

How to host a Book Exchange Brunch

How to host a book exchange brunch

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Welcome friends! Today we’re combining two of my loves – books and brunch! Scroll down to see how to host a fun book exchange brunch with a free printable.

If you are new here, thanks so much for popping by! I’m Nicolle, a wife, mom to 2 boys, nurse by day, creator and homebody. I love being home and creating cozy spaces, getting lost in a good book with a cup of coffee and all carbs! If this sounds like you too, stay awhile and let’s become friends! You can follow me on Instagram @ourtiny_nest where I share more book picks and am currently doing a winter reading challenge!

Nicolle Our Tiny Nest book exchange brunch

How to host a book exchange brunch

I am happy to be joining some of my lovely friends for their monthly supper club. Thank you to Jen from Midwest Life and Style for inviting me to join this month! Obviously as a big book nerd I had to say yes! If you don’t know Jen, she is a wife, mom of 2, event planner by day and blogger who is from Nebraska. She makes the most delicious recipes, (check out her blueberry sour cream coffee cake, you won’t be sorry) and the most innovative tablescapes!  So make sure to follow her!

And if you are coming from my friend Jen at Midwest Life and Style, welcome!  I hope you will stick around!

I got the idea for this book exchange brunch from those little public library shares. The path where we go on our walks has one of those free little community libraries where you can take a book and leave a book. So I was inspired to do a brunch with a similar idea and have a book exchange.

Now the concept is, each guest needs to bring a book that they enjoyed to share and exchange with the other guests so be sure to include that in your invite.

The Tablesetting

Table Runner

I started by creating a table runner out of book pages. This was super simple to do. I had a bunch of used books from old book sales that I had on hand for crafts. If you don’t have a book on hand that you want to use for this purpose, check out your local Dollar Store. They have tons of books!

I ripped out the pages and started gluing them together to make a runner.

DIY book page table runner

Some tips for creating the runner – lay out the pages first in the desired length and width. I did it kind of haphazardly which I think adds a little dramatic effect and no stress about it being perfect. Then glue the pages together and allow to dry.

The place setting

How to host a book exchange brunch

I wanted to keep the place setting simple and all about the books.  At each place setting, I included this printout for guests to fill out about their book, why they love it and then put inside the book they were sharing.

I’m sharing my printable below for anyone that wants to do something similar, just click the link.

how to host a book exchange brunch

Click here to download the free printable

The Table Decor

For the table decor I stacked some books that I had.  I think hardcover works best and I took the book jackets off to display the original binding. You can also wrap some books in wrapping paper so that it fits your color scheme. I did a little of both.

Then I added mason jars with fresh flowers to give a little pop of color.

How to host a book exchange brunch - book page table runner and book decor

In the middle of the table I placed a basket where everyone could place their books and choose which ones they wanted to exchange.

 

I’ll link some of my pieces that I used to create the tablescape and similar decor below

beaded dish set beaded hobnail glasses brunch party brunch party tablescape with linen napkin hyacinth basket

blue hobnail glasses tiered tray tea party tablescape decor gold candles tablescape decor book club brunch and tablescape decor

For the exchange

Have you guests go around the table and choose a book out of the basket that they want to read and guess who the book is from before opening and reading the card aloud.  This is also a good way for the other guests to get ideas for books to add to their reading list.

How to host a book exchange brunch

You can check out the whole brunch menu here. It’s a pretty delicious lineup!

6 recipes for a book club brunch

 

And if you’re looking to join a little virtual book club of sorts, check out how to join my Winter Reading Challenge! I’m also sharing some books to kick off 2023!

 

Now be sure to head over to the ladies at Simply 2 Mom’s, Anne and AnneMarie to see their ideas for creating a tablescape for a book club gathering. I love the color palette they chose, it’s so rich looking with blacks, greens and golds. 

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how to host a book exchange brunch

Check out all of the beautiful tablescape ideas for hosting a book club brunch below

Rachel at The Pond’s Farmhouse

Book club brunch tablescape

Stacy from Bricks ‘n Blooms

Tablescape idea for book club brunch

Michele at Vintage Home Designs

Tablescape ideas for a book club brunch

Jen at Midwest Life and Style

Book club brunch ideas

Ann & AnnMarie from Simply 2 Moms

How to host a book club brunch