Great Winter Reads

Staff PicksTakoma Park Library

Great Winter Reads

Books to read under a blanket and help you complete your reading goals for 2021!

Reading is a hobby that you can do year round but there is just something special about reading a book in the winter curled under covers with a hot drink. So today I wanted to highlight 10 books (1 bonus at the end) that I’ve enjoyed reading and feel would be great winter reads.

Note: There is a mix of Young Adult and Adult titles in this list and each book is linked to their physical and electronic books when applicable. (Click the title if you are interested in placing the book on hold!)

Cinderella is Dead by Kaylnn Bayron 
Have you ever thought about what happened in the world after Cinderella and her prince lived happily ever? In this novel we are taken for a roller coaster ride through the expectations of the King and his constituents. They expect every woman to dress up for a ball and get “bid” on by the men that are single. If you are not chosen by a certain age you go missing. Well, our main character doesn’t want the attention of any man; she just wants to run away with her best friend and stop hiding the fact that two women can be in love. When she runs away she learns what is really going on in their kingdom and what happens to the girls who “disappear." (There is a female-female romance that is a main element in this novel.)

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young 
In this novel we follow a Viking family as they defend their land from their enemy. Every five years they fight a war with their northern enemy to ensure that landlines stay where they are. In each war you are given a battle buddy to fight with; typically they are your sibling or best friend. After a normal day of fighting Eelyn realizes that she can’t find her brother -- and when she does finally find him he’s dead, or is he? Five years later, she is a hardened warrior and fighting to protect her only family left, her dad, when she sees him: her brother. First, she can’t believe it and then she realizes that she has to find out what happened. She follows behind him secretly in a foot of snow for miles until she can uncover why her brother betrayed their people. But, little does she know that sometimes your enemy isn’t your enemy at all. (There are elements of romance in this novel though they are not the main focus.)

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
This is the beginning of a trilogy where we follow a female running away from her problems. She travels across an ocean all the way to the United States, specifically New Orleans, to escape. But, when she gets there she is immediately wrapped up into a world where people aren’t so normal; they are in fact immortal. Little does she know that, though -- so while she gets wrapped up in the beautiful tall dark and handsome man, evil lurks in the background. (There are elements of vampires in this novel and the violent scenes aren't described in detail.)

Scythe by Neal Shusterman 
In this world humans have figured out a way to cure death. In doing so, there is no natural way for people to die. So, it is the job of some to make sure to complete population control. You get trained while you are a teenager and ultimately after graduating high school you become a Scythe until you die. Well, what happens if you don’t want to become a Scythe? What happens when people begin to kill in mass groups, while targeting those they no longer wish were alive? What happens when you start to bond with a fellow trainee that you’re competing against to become a Scythe? This is the first book in a trilogy and a binge worthy series where you will get goosebumps from some of the twists and turns. (There are hints to a romance in this novel though definitely not a main element.)

Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert 
A lot of people have read Talia Hibbert’s contemporary romance series following the Brown sisters and loved it for the romance, comedy, and family. This is a stand alone holiday themed novel that she wrote following a black young lady who gets fired from her job for standing up for the homeless gentlemen that comes inside to ask for a drink regularly. She ends up getting hired for a new job the same day by another customer that she’s had a crush on for a while. He, of course, is a dark and moody tattoo artist that has a troubled past. He can’t allow himself to date someone for more than a month and he doesn’t want to taint her. Little do they realize that the solution to their problem is a weekend holiday with his family. (This novel has an interracial couple representation, domestic abuse themes, and child abuse representation.)

Ice Planet Barbarian by Ruby Dixon 
This book series was TikTok famous this past summer among the romance community for good reason. We follow a group of female humans who end up getting kidnapped and stranded on a random "ice" planet. The brave females decide to go out to find food and water and determine if there are any life forms on the planet. Well, in this novel we focus on one of those females that finds herself instantly being protected, nurtured, and loved by one of the aliens. They can’t communicate with each other, they don’t look like each other, but that doesn’t matter when you can feel the connection. (The main element of this novel is romance though there are slight fantastical elements represented, and there are a lot of sexual scenes in this book.)

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh 
This is a quick one-sitting read where you follow the events of a rich adventurer, Tobias, going into a forest to discover whether a myth is real or not. He finds himself being watched by a tall mysterious wild man and for some reason can’t seem to figure out why. Tobias realizes though that “the wild man” is the only person that has survived in the forest and might know more than he says. So, with curiosity and desire Tobias begins to get close to the wild man in order to answer his questions about Henry Silver and the woods. (There is a male-male romance within this book though it is not the focus of the novel.)

Monstress by Marjoie Liu 
This is an interesting graphic novel where we follow a female who is trying to understand who she is and why she has such power and threatens so many people. The more she fights her situation the more she realizes that she is unleashing an ancient god that has somehow attached itself to her. This graphic novel follows an epic journey of our main character from one country to the next as she figures out what has happened and how to fix it. This graphic novel feels like winter because of the color pallet and overall illustrations.

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris 
This is a book within the Tattooist of Auschwitz series where we follow one of the secondary characters, Cilka, who has been in the concentration camps for a long time and just wants to get home and leave -- but she is a beautiful woman. Beautiful women are taken advantage of, used and abused, and not able to leave the camps unless accompanying their newborns. Right when Cilka has accepted her fate a man begins to help her in ways she couldn’t imagine. (This is a historical fiction novel that takes place during World War II within a concentration camp so there is representation of abuse, hunger, dehydration and death.)

Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water by Vylar Kaftan 
In this quick read we follow a female who wakes up in a cave and doesn’t know where she is. She begins to understand that she is being kept captive in this cave for breaking the rules. Days go by as she and her fellow prisoner await food, water, and hope for release. When they realize that isn’t going to happen she begins to search the cave for a way out. But, what happens when your reality isn’t really reality? How do you know if you are in a dream state or awake? We follow our character through her confusion, hunger, long lasting love, and more. (There is a female-female romance within this book though it’s not the focus of the novel.)

If you’ve read all the books mentioned above and would appreciate a bonus suggestion. I’d recommend looking into the book Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones. It is a quick read that is sure to have you crawling in your blanket because of the creepy imagery but also, it’s a horror novel.

I hope that this list of books not only helps you to find the perfect book to read during your holiday vacations but also allows you to reach your reading goals prior to the end of the year!