Need a good book to cozy up with this Christmas and winter? Check out my ultimate winter reading list and cozy up with a great book from around the world today!
Blistery cold winter days are the perfect time to cozy up with a hot cup of tea, chocolate or coffee, sit near a roaring fire (or in my case my favorite electric blanket) and a great book. I’ve been asking my book blogging friends and fellow book lovers for recommendations and they have helped me come up with this ultimate winter reading list of books you need to cozy up with this winter.
Now grab your blankets and coffee, it’s about to get cold in here as we talk about these wonderful wintery books from around the world! I’ve set up this list by location, have some suggestions for your kids to read and many of these qualify for these awesome reading challenges that will unleash your inner bookworm. Of course, they will all qualify for Travel the World in Books as you choose where your reading adventure takes you!
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The Ultimate Winter Reading List of Books You Need to Cozy Up with This Winter
Antarctica and the Arctic
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea* by Jules Verne (Antarctica, FREE on Kindle*, Try for FREE on Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks*)
Professor Aronnax, his faithful servant, Conseil, and the Canadian harpooner, Ned Land, begin an extremely hazardous voyage to rid the seas of a little-known and terrifying sea monster. However, the “monster” turns out to be a giant submarine, commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo, by whom they are soon held captive. So begins not only one of the great adventure classics by Jules Verne, the ‘Father of Science Fiction’, but also a truly fantastic voyage from the lost city of Atlantis to the South Pole.
I never enjoyed reading classics as a kid and I think I missed out on an early opportunity to become a bookworm and appreciate great works of literature at an early age. I enjoy reading classics now and want my kids to have an appreciation for them too.
With sea monsters, kidnapping, submarines and adventure on the high seas, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea* is a perfect book for my boys and I to read and talk about together in our own little family book club. I got this one from the library for my middle son/bookworm before I realized it took place partly in Antarctica (and partly in Atlantis). Adventure awaits!
Fram* by Steve Himmer (Arctic)
Fram is the story of Oscar, a minor bureaucrat in the US government’s Bureau of Ice Prognostication, an agency created to compete with the Soviets during the heyday of the Cold War and still operating in the present without the public’s knowledge. Oscar and his partner Alexi are tasked with inventing discoveries and settlements in the Arctic, then creating the paperwork and digital records to “prove” their existence, preventing the inconvenience and expense of actual exploration. The job is the closest Oscar has come to his boyhood dream of being a polar explorer, until he and Alexi are sent on a secret mission to the actual Arctic, which brings them into a mysterious tangle of rival agencies and espionage that grows more dangerous the farther north they travel.
What a unique story this is. It sort of reminds me of the comedy movie Spies Like Us* with Chevy Chase and Dan Akroyd, two “disposable” CIA employees who dream of being field agents and finally get their chance. They are rushed through training and sent to Russia on a mission but don’t know they are just decoys. Hilarious and a great winter movie, but I digress, back to the book…
My book blogging friend Sue from Book by Book recommended Fram* to us saying in her book review, “What starts out as a tongue-in-cheek look at government bureaucracy turns into a race to the Arctic complete with evil people and agencies in the shadows. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of Fram – its suspense, its original story, but mostly the very clever, intricate, and thoughtful way that all of its disparate pieces come together.” It sounds like there is much more to Fram* than it seems and a wonderful way to explore the Arctic from the comforts of home!
An African in Greenland* by Tete-Michel Kpomassie (nonfiction, travel memoir)
Tété-Michel Kpomassie was a teenager in Togo when he discovered a book about Greenland—and knew that he must go there. Working his way north over nearly a decade, Kpomassie finally arrived in the country of his dreams. This brilliantly observed and superbly entertaining record of his adventures among the Inuit is a testament both to the wonderful strangeness of the human species and to the surprising sympathies that bind us all.
Where do you dream of traveling to? Author Kpomassie was a teen in Africa when he dreamed of going to Greenland and made his dream come true. My Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge co-host Lucy recommended this book to us and it sounds like such a powerful and inspirational read. See Lucy’s review of An African in Greenland here.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society* by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows (historical fiction, WWII, Try for FREE on Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks*)
“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of
secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”
January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society* is a delightful and clever read. What started as an author trying to find a new book topic turns into a pen pal friendship with citizens of Guernsey. The quirky Guernsey citizens are an eccentric and amusing bunch who reflect on everything from petty squabbles to the difficulties of island life during the WWII. I thought The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society* was a unique, quirky and delightful novel, 4*.
The Abominables* (Himlayas, Alps, Spain, England, kids book)
I saw The Abominables* at the library today while I was doing “research” for this post and totally fell in love with the title and cover (I love the way my little ones try to say Abominable). I expected that the abominable monster would live somewhere cold, but what I did not expect is that he travels from the Himlayans through the Alps and Europe on his way to England. An absolutely perfect read to inspire your kids to travel the world in books too! I will tell you what my middle bookworm thinks of The Abominables* when he’s through though honestly, I want to read it myself too.
Burial Rites* by Hannah Kent (historical fiction, murder mystery, Try for FREE on Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks*)
Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.
Burial Rites* has received many rave reviews from book blogging friends and since it takes place in Iceland I had to add it to this list. It opens with hearing Agnes tell us about waiting for her execution and boy did it send chills down my spine and had me anxious to read the rest. I think Burial Rites is what I will be reading this month. Since it is based on a true story, I want to see if Agnes can clear her name or if she really did it, there appears to be more to the story that her judges know. My book blogging friend Jennine from My Life in Books said in her review of Burial Rites, “Hannah Kent’s thorough research provides a strong framework for Agnes’s life story and Kent’s writing fills it out beautifully.”
Geography of Bliss* by Eric Weiner (Iceland, Netherlands, Caribbean, Bhutan, Indonesia, India, and others, nonfiction, recommended on audiobook, Try for FREE on Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks*)
Weiner spent a decade as a foreign correspondent reporting from such discontented locales as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. Unhappy people living in profoundly unstable states, he notes, inspire pathos and make for good copy, but not for good karma. So Weiner, admitted grump and self-help book aficionado, undertook a year’s research to travel the globe, looking for the “unheralded happy places.” The result is this book, equal parts laugh-out-loud funny and philosophical, a journey into both the definition of and the destination for true contentment.
Apparently, the happiest places on earth include, somewhat unexpectedly, Iceland, Bhutan, and India. Weiner also visits the country deemed most malcontent, Moldova, and finds real merit in the claim.
But the question remains: What makes people happy? Is it the freedom of the West or the myriad restrictions of Singapore? The simple ashrams of India or the glittering shopping malls of Qatar?
From the youthful drunkenness of Iceland to the despond of Slough, a sad but resilient town in Heathrow’s flight path, Weiner offers wry yet profound observations about the way people relate to circumstance and fate.
I listened to The Geography of Bliss* on audiobook and found it both humorous, as narrated by the self-proclaimed grump and author Eric Weiner himself, and insightful. We often dream of living in exotic places because we think we will be happy there. But is living in paradise as wonderful as we think it would be? What about the places, like Iceland, where it’s so cold and the sun hardly shines in the winter? How can people possibly be happy living in those circumstances? Well the Geography of Bliss will tell you and open your eyes to the various countries’ environments, culture and beliefs of its people and how it impacts their happiness. I think Weiner’s voice narrating on audio added to my enjoyment of this book, I recommend listening to the audio version of The Geography of Bliss* and it’s a fantastic way to travel to several countries at once for your reading journey!
The Snowman* by Jo Nesbo (crime thriller)
Internationally acclaimed crime writer Jo Nesbø’s antihero police investigator, Harry Hole, is back: in a bone-chilling thriller that will take Hole to the brink of insanity.
Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.
Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.
Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.
My real life friend Erin recommended The Snowman* to me and my book blogging friend Tanya from Girl XOXO gave it 5* on Goodreads. With dark, despicable and deeply flawed characters, this sounds like quite an unpredictable thriller and similar in nature to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, set in Sweden. Be warned, if foul language turns you off, steer clear of this one.
The Storm Sister* by Lucinda Riley (Norway, Switzerland, Greece, Germany)
Ally D’Aplièse is about to compete in one of the world’s most perilous yacht races, when she hears the news of her adoptive father’s sudden, mysterious death. Rushing back to meet her five sisters at their family home, she discovers that her father – an elusive billionaire affectionately known to his daughters as Pa Salt – has left each of them a tantalising clue to their true heritage.
Ally has also recently embarked on a deeply passionate love affair that will change her destiny forever. But with her life now turned upside down, Ally decides to leave the open seas and follow the trail that her father left her, which leads her to the icy beauty of Norway . . .
There, Ally begins to discover her roots – and how her story is inextricably bound to that of a young unknown singer, Anna Landvik, who sang in the premiere of Peer Gynt, set to Grieg’s iconic music, over a hundred years before. As Ally learns more about Anna, she also begins to question who her father, Pa Salt, really was. And why is the seventh sister missing?
Following the bestselling The Seven Sisters, this is the second book in Lucinda Riley’s spellbinding series, based loosely on the mythology surrounding the famous star constellation.
The Storm Sister* by Lucinda Riley is totally a book I grabbed because of it’s cover. Seeing the The Northern Lights in person is on my bucket list, it’s gorgeous, right? I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see it with my own eyes because of my Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is why I started the Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge in the first place, so authors can help me visit these magnificent places in my mind’s eye.
I know Lucinda Riley is a popular author so I was pleasantly surprised to see that The Storm Sister takes place in several different countries as Ally tries to figure out her heritage. Check out this review and detailed map and information about the places visited in the book at The Book Trail, a fellow lover of traveling through books.
Anna Karenina* by Leo Tolstoy (romance, classic, FREE on Kindle*, Try for FREE on Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks*)
Leo Tolstoy’s classic story of doomed love is one of the most admired novels in world literature. Generations of readers have been enthralled by his magnificent heroine, the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with dashing Count Vronsky.
In their world frivolous liaisons are commonplace, but Anna and Vronsky’s consuming passion makes them a target for scorn and leads to Anna’s increasing isolation. The heartbreaking trajectory of their relationship contrasts sharply with the colorful swirl of friends and family members who surround them, especially the newlyweds Kitty and Levin, who forge a touching bond as they struggle to make a life together. Anna Karenina is a masterpiece not only because of the unforgettable woman at its core and the stark drama of her fate, but also because it explores and illuminates the deepest questions about how to live a fulfilled life.
When I think of Russia, I think of snow and when I think of Russian literature I want to read Anna Karenina is at the top of my list. In fact, I have it to read for both the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge and on my Classics Club Reading list to read before 2018, I better get to it! I’m a sucker for romance stories set in foreign lands and if I read any Tolstoy, Anna Karenina* will be it.
The Arctic Incident* (Artemis Fowl #2, Russia, Ireland, kids)
Artemis is at boarding school in Ireland when he receives an urgent e-mail from Russia. In it is a plea from a man who has been kidnapped by the Russian Mafiya: his father. As Artemis rushes to his rescue, he is stopped by a familiar nemesis, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon fairy police. But this time, instead of battling the fairies, he is going to have to join forces with them if he wants to save one of the few people in the world he loves.
Set in Russia and Ireland, the popular Artemis Fowl series* would make a fun family book club choice. Read the book together, grab some snacks, make some crossword puzzles to play and treat your kids to a book club meeting where you talk about the book. Add friends and their kids to the mix to add more fun. We did a moms-kids book club to read through the Harry Potter series and it was so much fun.
Winter Garden* by Kristin Hannah (family drama, WWII, fairy tales, Try for FREE on Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks*)
Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard: the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time – and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.
I finished Winter Garden* earlier this week that I bought at our county library sale 2 years ago. I’m very slow at reading the books I buy and I don’t know what took me so long to read this treasure. I stayed up till 2 am finishing this book and I fought the tears. Hard.
This is a beautiful story about how you can’t really know yourself without knowing where you come from. Meredith and Nina’s mother, Anya, was always cold and distant during their childhood. So when their father passes away, they feel like they’ve lost the heart of the family. The only time Anya shows emotion is when she’s telling the girls a particular Russian fairy tale.
Getting to know their mother after their father passes is a challenge but their journey to repair their bond and become a family is equally heartbreaking and heartwarming. Set partly in Russia during WWII, we see the truth about Anya’s past and it explains so much about their family dynamic.
An excellent story, 5* but read it with Kleenex nearby, I think Winter Garden* will easily be one of my favorite books of 2017 and the year just started! Kristin Hannah’s novels always get me in the heart. Don’t take just my word for it, my book blogging friend Erin from Read at Home Mama and Andrea from Good Girl Gone Redneck recommended this one too!
Winter Solstice* by Rosamunde Pilcher (Christmas, romance)
Her captivating bestseller of loss and the healing power of love now re-issued with a stunning new jacket look. Elfrida Phipps loves her new life in the pretty Hampshire village. She has a tiny cottage, her faithful dog Horace and the friendship of the neighbouring Blundells – particularly Oscar – to ensure that her days include companionship as well as independence. But an unforeseen tragedy upsets Elfrida’s tranquillity: Oscar’s wife and daughter are killed in a terrible car crash and he finds himself homeless when his stepchildren claim their dead mother’s inheritance. Oscar and Elfrida take refuge in a rambling house in Scotland which becomes a magnet for various waifs and strays who converge upon it, including an unhappy teenage girl. It could be a recipe for disaster. But somehow the Christmas season weaves its magical spell and for Elfrida and Oscar, in the evening of their lives, the winter solstice brings love and solace.
My book blogging friend Isi who blogs at From Isi, recommended Winter Solstice* because “it’s so lovely and it makes you feel better.” It sounds like this books casts the feel good glow that the holidays bring. I haven’t read many books in Scotland, so it is going on my TBR list!
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo* by Stieg Larsson (crime thriller, Try for FREE on Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks*)
Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch—and there’s always a catch—is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson’s novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don’t want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.
A bestelling novel turned movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo* is a dark crime thriller and mystery novel set in Sweden. I got the entire series at our county library sale and I’m determined to get through the series. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the first book given the things I’d heard about it. The start is tough to get through as Larsson goes through intricate detail about the environment and financial industry (which was boring to some) and sexual abuse (which was offensive to some) but many raving fans claim that it is worth the effort.
My Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge co-host and friend Aloi from Guiltless Reading said in her review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, “my patience paid off. I pounded through this book in two days! This is a fantastic read! In many ways, it reminds me of Agatha Christie as it looks into the human mind, in all its perversity.” As a fan of Agatha Christie, Aloi convinced me to give The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo* and its subsequent novels another try.
Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in Lapland* by Barbara Sjoholm (nonfiction, travel memoir, Sweden, Norway, Finland, northern Russia)
A Frequent traveler to Northern Europe, Barbara Sjoholm set off one winter to explore a region that had long intrigued her.
Sjoholm first travels to Kiruna, Sweden, to see the Ice Hotel under construction and to meet the ice artists who make its rooms into environmental art. Traveling to the North Cape, she encounters increasing darkness and cold, but also radiant light over the mountains and snow fields. She crosses the Finnmark Plateau by dogsled, attends a Sami film festival (with an outdoor ice screen), and visits Santa’s Post Office in Finland.
Over the course of three winters, Sjoholm unearths the region’s rich history, including the culture of the Sami. As Sjoholm becomes more familiar with Kiruna, she writes of the changes occurring in northern Scandinavia and contemplates the tensions between tourism, the expansion of mining and development of the Ice Hotel, and age-old patterns of land use, the Sami’s struggle to maintain their reindeer grazing lands and migration routes.
In The Palace of the Snow Queen, Sjoholm relates her adventures in the far north, and considers how ice and snow shape our imaginations and create, at a time of global warming, a vision that increasingly draws visitors to Lapland.
My Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge co-host and friend Lucy from Fictional 100 recommends The Palace of the Snow Queen* to us. A memoir that chronicles the author’s difficult journey through beautiful, pristine and breathtaking terrain. She travels to the IceHotel which is another of those bucket list places I’d love to visit but don’t think my Rheumatoid Arthritis will allow me to do. I really want to hear about Sjoholm’s adventure to get there and what she learned from the Ice Hotel’s artists and creators. Lucy gives great detail of the author’s adventures in her review of the The Palace of the Snow Queen, that Sjoholm even visits Santa’s Post Office and an IceCinema, I want to hear all about it!
The Snow Child* by Eowyn Ivey (Alaska, based on a Russian folk tale, Try for FREE on Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks*)
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm, she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
I read The Snow Child* over 4 years ago and it still one of my favorite books of all time. When Mabel and Jack, a childless and heartbroken couple, move to the Alaskan wilderness in the middle of nowhere, they thought they were escaping the judgmental eyes and difficulties of their past. Then a child appears in the snow. Where did she come from? Is she real or a figment of their wishful imaginations?
This book was beautiful in its landscape, magical in its writing and raw in the emotion it evoked as a mother who has lost a child she only sees in her dreams. I read this in July and I seriously pulled the covers on me as I shivered with the descriptions of Alaska and was chilled by the story. 5*, The Snow Child* is a must read!
I’m not the only one who thinks so, my book blogging friend Sue from Book By Book raved about it here too saying “I devoured this magical, engrossing story in big, hungry gulps of reading pleasure and never wanted it to end.”
One Breath Away* by Heather Gudenkauf (drama, tragedy, Try for FREE on Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks* )
In her most emotionally charged novel to date, New York Timesbestselling author Heather Gudenkauf explores the unspoken events that shape a community, the ties between parents and their children and how the fragile normalcy of our everyday life is so easily shattered.
In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.
Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town’s children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.
As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.
One Breath Away* by Heather Gudenkauf is a book I bought at our county’s library sale after hearing so many rave reviews about it. The truth is I’m scared to read it. As a mom with kids in elementary school, it may hit too close to home and I know I’ll need a box of Kleenex to get through it. Have you read this book? Do you think you can or want to?
The Christmas Wish: All I Want for Christmas/First Impressions* by Nora Roberts (romance)
Fall for romance this holiday season…
All I Want For Christmas
Identical twin boys Zeke and Zach only want one gift from Santa this year: a new wife for their lonely single dad, Mac Taylor, a builder who fixes things up in their small town. But convincing their love-wary dad that their music teacher, Nell Davis, is not only part of Santa’s plan, but Mac’s soul mate, isn’t quite as easy as they’d hoped…
When Vance Banning moves to rural Maryland, all he wants is peace, quiet and to keep away from women. The last thing he needs is his outspoken—yet infuriatingly sexy—neighbor, Shane Abbott, getting into his business. But he has no idea how determined Shane is when it comes to giving a helping hand—or a loving heart.
My book blogging friend Crystal from Sharing Life’s Moments called The Christmas Wish* a “quick, fun read”. Two romance stories that will warm your heart and soul this wintry season. See more of what Crystal is reading on her Bookworm Moments page.
Cover of Snow* by Jenny Milchman (Adirondack Mountains, thriller, Try for FREE on Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks* )
Waking up one wintry morning in her old farmhouse nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Nora Hamilton instantly knows that something is wrong. When her fog of sleep clears, she finds her world is suddenly, irretrievably shattered: Her husband, Brendan, has committed suicide.
The first few hours following Nora’s devastating discovery pass for her in a blur of numbness and disbelief. Then, a disturbing awareness slowly settles in: Brendan left no note and gave no indication that he was contemplating taking his own life. Why would a rock-solid police officer with unwavering affection for his wife, job, and quaint hometown suddenly choose to end it all? Having spent a lifetime avoiding hard truths, Nora must now start facing them.
Unraveling her late husband’s final days, Nora searches for an explanation—but finds a bewildering resistance from Brendan’s best friend and partner, his fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. It quickly becomes clear to Nora that she is asking questions no one wants to answer. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies a powerful conspiracy that will stop at nothing to keep its presence unknown . . . and its darkest secrets hidden.
Winter at Death’s Hotel* by Kenneth Cameron (New York City, mystery, historical fiction)
New York, January 1896. Arthur Conan Doyle, the renowned created of Sherlock Holmes, arrives with his wife Louisa at the Britannic Hotel in New York for his first American tour. While Arthur prepares his lectures, Louisa becomes entranced by the vibrant, dangerous metropolis brimming with debauchery and iniquity around every corner. When a woman’s mutilated corpse turns up in a Bowery alley, Louisa recognizes the victim as someone she’s seen in the hotel. Obsessed with the woman’s gruesome death, Louisa starts piecing together clues to reveal a story of murder and depravity — a story that leads back to the hotel itself and a madman who is watching her every move.
From Fifth Avenue’s glitzy opulence to the smoky boy’s club of the New York Express and the Tombs of Lower Manhattan, Winter at Death’s Hotel is an electrifying tale of a society caught in the throes of a story transformation and one woman determined to redeem it at whatever cost.
I’ve always been a mystery fan and since reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes*, I love all things Sherlock! So when I saw that Winter at Death’s Hotel* by Kenneth Cameron is a historical fiction and mystery about Sherlock author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Luckily, I won a copy during the Sherlock Holmes reading challenge a few years ago hosted by Mari Reads. I started sneaking a peek at this one and I think it will be great, a perfect wintry read!
Let it Snow* by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle (small town, young adult, romance)
Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.
My IRL book club read Let it Snow* last year and it was a quick holiday read with cleverly intertwined stories by three popular Young Adult authors John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. If you are pressed for time, a short story collection is a great way to sneak in reading time.
Ok, these are not set in our real world, but I can’t help but want to curl up with a good series when we are snowbound or I don’t want to do anything but curl up and read. These series always remind me of winter:
Harry Potter* – because there is nothing like Hogwarts at Christmas.
Chronicles of Narnia* – with the Snow Queen as a villain, I think of Narnia as a wintry read though I’ve yet to read it.
Well there you have it, our Ultimate Winter Reading List of Books to Cozy Up with This Winter. A mix of thrillers that will chill you to the bone, mysteries to keep you guessing, romance to warm your heart and kids books to snuggle with your favorite little bookworms, there is something on this list for everyone! Don’t forget to pick one of these or your own wintry read and join us for our Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge.
P.S. All this snow and winter talk too cold for you? Well you can head to the islands with my 35 Best Books Set on an Island recommendations.
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