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My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
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- California (3)
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- Australia (1)
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- England (10)
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My Progress:

28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

24 / 50 books. 48% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

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40 / 52 books. 77% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

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10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

26 / 100 books. 26% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

65 / 104 books. 63% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

44 / 52 books. 85% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

71 / 165 books. 43% done!
Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: A Winter Wonderland of TBR Books

Even though I've lived in the Arizona desert for over 20 years, it's still hard for me—a Pacific Northwest native—to feel like it's Christmastime when the temperature is in the 70s and 80s and people are wearing shorts and t-shirts instead of coats and gloves. It just doesn't feel right! The answer? Travel somewhere that does. A bunch of people I know are in Germany enjoying its famous Christmas markets right now, but I couldn't venture that far. Instead, my husband and I took advantage of some cheap domestic flights and headed back to the Motherland (aka Washington State). After visiting family in the southeastern part of the state, we headed north to check out Leavenworth. If you've read Ellie Alexander's cozy mystery series starring Sloan Krause, you're familiar with the quaint Bavarian-inspired mountain town. It's the quintessential Christmas village at this time of year, decked out with twinkling lights, enthusiastic carolers, old-fashioned sleigh rides, bustling shoppers, and laughing children sledding in the center of town. We enjoyed strolling through its postcard-perfect (albeit slushy) streets and soaking in the festive holiday atmosphere. Wandering through the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum was especially fun since I've collected the charming wooden figures since I first saw the ballet as a child. (We saw lots of bookish nutcrackers, but my husband photographed me with these particular ones so we could show them to my sister, who's a huge Potterhead. If you look closely, you'll spy other literary characters besides Harry and Hermione.) To continue the spirit of the season, we listened to A Christmas Carol (narrated by the incomparable Tim Curry) as we drove back to Portland, Oregon, to catch our flight home. The trip infused me with some much needed Christmas spirit and, since it was bookish in nature, I thought I'd share it with you!  

I'm worn out from the trip, so I'm glad today's Top Ten Tuesday prompt is an easy, straightforward one: Top Ten Books On My Winter 2023-2024 TBR List. The rest of my reading year will be spent on books I need to finish for book awards judging. I'll take a little break from that in January, so I'm going to focus today's list on books I plan to read in the first few weeks of 2024. 

These seasonal lists are my favorite, so I hope you'll join in the fun. All you have to do is make your own list and link it up at That Artsy Reader Girl. Easy cheesy.

Top Ten Books On My Winter 2023-2024 TBR List

1. Atomic Habits by James Clear—I re-read this motivational book at the beginning of every year. It's a quick read that teaches sound, easy-to-apply principles. Clear's advice always helps motivate me to actually make and keep New Year's resolutions as well as other short-term goals throughout the year.

2. The Shift: 7 Powerful Mindset Changes for Lasting Weight Loss by Gary Foster—Another self-help book, this one has been recommended multiple times at the Weight Watchers meeting I attend. I've lost 30 pounds so far this year by creating healthy habits, something I will continue in 2024. I'm always looking for motivation, especially when it comes to becoming healthier, so I'm excited to see what this popular guide is all about. 

3. Homecoming by Kate Morton—Since I'm always racing to meet my Goodreads goal during the last months of the year, I haven't yet picked up Morton's newest. She's one of my favorite authors so I'm always excited when she publishes a new book. This one is about a journalist who's researching an old mystery and is surprised to learn that she has a personal connection to it.

4. The Underground Library by Jennifer Ryan (available March 12, 2024)—Ryan is another one of my favorite writers. I'm always eager to read her World War II novels and am especially so with this one since it's about books. Yay! 

5. Murder on the Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict—What are the holidays without a little murder, amirite? The generous folks at Poisoned Pen Press just sent me a copy of this mystery. It concerns a sleeper train that derails in the Scottish Highlands, stranding travelers in the snowy middle of nowhere. As passengers start dying one by one, it becomes clear that a ruthless killer is onboard. Can they be stopped before more people die?

6. The Women by Kristin Hannah (available February 6, 2024)—I'm thrilled to have an e-ARC of Hannah's forthcoming novel. It's set in 1965 and tells the story of a woman who joins the Army Nurse Corps on a whim after her brother is shipped out to Vietnam. Not surprisingly, what she sees during the war changes her life irrevocably.

7. Daughter of Mine by Megan Miranda (available April 29, 2024)—I also have an e-ARC of this thriller, which concerns a woman who is drawn back to her hometown and its many long-buried secrets when she unexpectedly inherits her childhood home. 

8. More Than a Body: Your Body Is An Instrument, Not An Ornament by Lexie and Lindsay Kite—My book club selected this non-fiction offering as our January read. Written by identical twin sisters, both of whom have PhDs in the study of female body image, the book sounds absolutely fascinating.

9. Artifice by Sharon Cameron—I've talked about this YA WWII novel multiple times. It's written by another one of my favorite authors. Santa will likely be sending a copy of this one down my chimney in a couple of weeks. It's uncanny that he always knows exactly what I want. It's almost like we share a brain...

10. My Darling Girl by Jennifer McMahon—McMahon's creepy novels are usually more suited to Halloween than Christmas, but her latest takes place during the holidays. I've mentioned it before, but here's the synopsis again: When Alison receives word that her estranged mother is dying from cancer and only has weeks to live, she reluctantly takes the older woman into her home. When strange, otherworldly things start happening, Alison begins to wonder who her mother really is and how she can protect her family from the nightmare the dying woman has unleashed on them.

There you go, the first ten books I'm planning to read in 2024. Have you read any of these? What did you think? What's on your TBR list this winter? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on yours.

Happy TTT!


  1. I haven't read any of these but I have some of them on my TBR list. First of all, so much looking forward to THE WOMEN. Think that one sounds great. I have copies of MY DARLING GIRL and HOMECOMING on my Kindle - to be read. Maybe early in the new year. Susan, so glad you and your husband got to travel and I love the pictures. Happy holidays!

    1. I've loved Hannah's most recent books, so I'm definitely looking forward to her newest. I don't think I've ever read a book about a woman serving in the Vietnam War either.

      I'm not very photogenic, but I thought the picture was fun and bookish, so I shared it. The scenic shot isn't the best. If you Google "Leavenworth Christmas," you can find much better ones. It's a beautiful place.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Kay!

  2. You've got the best list! I want to add all of these to my tbr now, and even though I've read Atomic Habits already and loved it, your post makes me want to reread. I hope you enjoy them all!

    1. Sorry/not sorry! LOL. I've read ATOMIC HABITS a few times and it motivates me every time, so I've just made it a habit (ha!) to re-read it at the start of each new year.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Haze!

  3. I love that you made it back to WA and it brought you some Christmas spirit! I need to check out Leavenworth at the holidays. I still haven't done that! I hope you love all of these books. I can't wait to hear what you think of The Women.

    1. It was a perfect way to get some holiday cheer! We visited Leavenworth last Sunday. I think it was the first clear day they had had after a few days of snow, so the place was PACKED. There were people everywhere, which was a bit annoying, but we had fun. It was very festive.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deanna!

  4. It sounds like you have earned a break as well!! I hope you enjoy all of these when you get a chance to read them!!

    1. I love judging book awards, but it's A LOT of reading, especially when I'm doing several of them at once. The books I really want to read have been put on the back burner for the last couple months. Hopefully, I'll be able to sneak a couple in between book awards nominees.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cindy!

  5. What a great TBR and a great trip as well!

  6. I love Atomic Habits! I enjoyed Homecoming more than her last one (Clockmaker's Daighter). I think you’ll love Underground Library! Happy winter reading Arizona style! ~Carol @ ReadingLadies

  7. Atomic Habits I have read & loved - I like your idea of re-reading a motivational book at the beginning of the year.

  8. Leavenworth looks gorgeous with that snowy mountain backdrop and twinkling lights! I love the Pacific Northwest! We visit often. Sounds exactly the kind of trip to recharge. Oh, I like the sound of Murder on the Christmas Express! I'm going to see if I can grab a copy. I also like the sound of Megan Miranda's newest. I hope you enjoy your Winter selection, Susan! :)

  9. I was much impressed by Hannah's 'Four Winds" this year, so I will look out for "The Women"!

  10. These all look like great reads. have a wonderful winter of reading

  11. I read an arc of The Underground Library and loved it. I've requested The Women.

  12. I have a different Christmas Murder book lined up but if that doesn't work out, I'm checking out Murder on the Christmas Express!

  13. I hope you enjoy "Homecoming" as much as I did. Thanks to you I have added "My Darling Girl" to my TBR. Happy winter reading.

  14. It's interesting to me that I know three different bloggers in three different parts of the country who plan to read/are reading Atomic Habits. It must be a good book.

  15. I know what you mean about warm weather Christmases not feeling like Christmas - I grew up in south Florida! Living further north is so much nicer this time of year.

    Homecoming is on my TBR as well - saw her book listed with the GoodReads awards nominees. Hope you enjoy it and your other books this winter!

  16. I'm really looking forward to the Jennifer Ryan and Kristin Hannah books too! Hope you enjoy all your winter reading!

  17. The Underground Library sounds so good! I hope you enjoy your reading this season :)

  18. I've not heard of these books, but The Underground Library looks and sounds fantastic. I should check that book out. I hope you love all of these books!

  19. Christmas for me really does need to be cold 🤣 I love the look of that museum.

    Murder on the Christmas Express is good 😊

    Have a great week!

    Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog

  20. Given my job (I work for a habit tracking app), I've been meaning to read James Clear foreeever. Good to know it's a quick read! Hope you enjoy all these.

  21. Minnesota girl here so I get it! We weirdly don't have any snow right now. I haven't read any of the books on your TBR but Megan Miranda's supposed to be good. Enjoy :)

  22. Your little vaca sounds amazing! I haven't read any of these, but I've got Homecoming, The Women, and Daughter of Mine already on my TBR. I'll be adding My Darling Girl to my TBR now that you've introduced me to it! Have a good time reading your winter TBR!

  23. What a great list of books. I plan to reread Atomic Habits in the new year as well. I read it a couple years ago and really enjoyed it.

  24. Love your list of books and I need to read Atomic Habits once more (and this time consciously).. with my love for WWII books, adding Artifice and Underground Library to my TBR now!! My post is here

  25. Sounds like a fun trip. So glad you made the time for it.

    Loved Atomic Habits. So many of the others on your list also caught my eye. Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog Tuesday.

  26. I get what you're saying about weather and Christmas. I'm from Michigan but lived in San Diego for 10 years and it was strange. Although being back in MI doesn't guarantee a cold and/or white Christmas anymore.
    I've never read any of Jennifer Ryan's historicals, but I love her romantic suspense. I'll have to give one a try.

  27. I am so jealous! I love the Sloan Kraus series and Leavenworth has been on my places to visit list for ages. I have Murder on the Christmas Express and Homecoming on my TBR. I really meant to get to at least Homecoming this year but you know how that goes!

  28. 'Christmas Express' seems like it could be a fun read, and is a new to me title. Part of the reason it's so fun to visit everyone lists is discovering possible new titles. :) Hope you had an amazing trip and enjoyed the colder weather for the Christmas season!! Thanks a bunch for visiting my website this past week, too.

  29. The Underground Library looks great and after just reading Murder on the Orient Express, Murder on the Christmas Express sounds pretty interesting too.

  30. Sounds like you had a great trip! I hope you'll love all of these books.

  31. I asked Eric if he was going to buy me one but he said no. 🙄


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