At this time a year I always see a lot of Christmas books, especially Christmas romances, going around the blog-o-sphere. You know the kind, Hallmark movies in book form. A lot of people really love them, but if I’m being honest they are not for me. But I do like to read wintery books at this time of year. So I thought I would share some of my favorites for anyone who, like me, is looking for something a little less Hallmark-y this Holiday Season.
Okay, so half of these books are fantasy. That’s what I like, get over it. 😛
The Bear and the Nightingale
If you’re looking for atmospheric books set in winter, it doesn’t get much colder than the Winternight Trilogy! This book is lyrical, lush, and nuanced. Though the entire book isn’t set in winter, it’s sure to give you the desire to curl up with some hot coco by the fire (and maybe leave some toast in the grate for a domovoi). This has become one of my favorites these last few years. Read it!
The Cuckoo’s Calling
If you like detective novels, this one’s investigating a death that happened over the holidays in the midst of snow. Wintery London weather plays a big role in this mystery, and it’s got excellent characters. From the investigators to the investigated, it was the characters that really kept me reading. Related recommendation, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Super winter-creepy.
Like The Bear and the Nightingale, this fantasy by Naomi Novik is icy cold. It’s got a Rumpelstiltskin meets The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe vibes, and the writing is just amazing. I’m a huge fan of Novik’s, and this has a much quicker pace than Uprooted, as well as a larger cast of female leads. If you love fairy tales you’ll love this book!
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
I picked this book because it’s cozy. There’s talk of a long winter during the war, but I mostly just included it because it’s such a feel-good book. It’s got that Hallmark feel without the cheesiness. Plus, dreary weather in the best way for the win.
The Golden Compass
Armored polar bears. Do I need to say more? If you’ve never picked up this classic, now is the time! Read it before you watch it on HBO, you won’t regret it.
Okay, so this one technically takes place on Christmas. But that’s incidental, I promise! Landline has all of the elements of a Christmas romance except that it’s just not. It’s about a grown-up relationship going through tough times, and it might just take a little bit of magic to get everyone back on track. And not Christmas magic, time-traveling-phone magic. If you like Rainbow Rowell’s YA books, now is the time to give her adult books a try! This book is so sweet and touching, I swear I cried the whole way through.