The Best Winter Books to Snuggle up with in 2023
Mother nature seemed to know the minute it was no longer summer and the weather changed overnight. With that in mind, I am already preparing my cozy winter books. As soon as the weather changed, I just want to snuggle up with hot chocolate and read under a warm blanket.
These winter books will leave you longing for summer but craving a crackling fire to keep you warm while you turn the pages.
This post fulfills a prompt for the 2023 reading challenge! It’s not too late to join!
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Best Winter Books of 2022/ 2023
A Winter Wedding at Willowtree Hall by Alison Sherlock
This charming story is being released as an audiobook this year and it’s a sweet Christmas romance book for 2022.
Will is back at Willowtree Hall after his recent tabloid scandal and loss of his job. He thinks he can move into the Willowtree Lodge he’s expecting to inherit until Skye shows up claiming she owns the Lodge too.
Soon Skye is being welcomed into the community and Will is catching feelings – even if he wants the Lodge for himself. As they work together to help Will’s older brother get the Christmas wedding of his dreams, their romance blooms in a delightful way.
The Winners by Fredrik Backman
In my eyes, Fredrik Backman can do no wrong. I love his writing and I love his books. Let me start by saying that I do not love hockey. You do not need to even like hockey to read this trilogy. It will tear your heart out with its beauty and raw emotion.
In this epic conclusion to the Beartown trilogy, it is two years later. The peace the characters found at the end of the last book was short-lived. The book starts with a storm which is the perfect way to foreshadow the upheaval of the lives of everyone in this book. There is a little bit of everything in this book from corruption and pain to rape and abuse (content warning). It is a conclusion worth waiting for.
Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany B. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon
You know a book is going to be fire when this many heavy-hitting authors are involved.
This story, written by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon, is the perfect ya romance to read on a snowy winter day.
It’s set in Atlanta during a rare snowstorm and features multiple love stories set on the same night and interconnected when a group of friends is trying to help their besties get back together.
I was swept by each of the love stories and I loved the warm and fuzzy feelings this book gave me. Save this to read in front of the fire when it snows and you won’t regret it!
Fantasy Winter Books
Winterland: A Novel by Rae Meadows
I’ve always been a firm lover of the Olympics, so I was eager to read this historical fiction book set in the 70s and 80s Soviet Union about an Olympic gymnast.
Having read a few books about gymnasts in the past, I was prepared for Anya’s ill-treatment at the hands of her coaches and trainers. I found the added elements of Russian communist life to be fascinating and helpful in creating a reason for her drive to be a legend.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
This story which is based on Russian folklore was a slow build. I wasn’t sure about it until about halfway through when I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I went out to buy the sequel (The Girl in the Tower) immediately because I needed to find out what happens.
Vasya lives with her family on the edge of a Russian forest where they hear stories of the Blue-eyed winter demon and honor household spirits. When Vasya’s dad brings home a new stepmother who forbids these practices, misfortunes follow. Vasya now must use the gifts that she has kept hidden all these years.
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
This is a dual-timeline story about the invading Jacobites in 1708 that takes place at Slains Castle. A writer from the present decides to write a story about her ancestor from this time frame and begins to live the experience herself.
There is romance, ghostly memories, and a wonderful perspective of the famous Jacobite uprising we know from Outlander. How could we not include this pick on a list of books like Outlander?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Every word captivated me from beginning to end and I couldn’t put it down. The story was magical- both literally and figuratively and the descriptions are so vivid.
The stage has been set for a magical competition between the pupils of two very powerful magicians. The stage: the night circus. The pupils, a man and woman, are unsure of the rules, unsure of how to win or when the competition will end. As the competition continues, the opponents fall in love- a situation that only complicates their predicament.
This is magic in a way that I never imagined it before. The story has twists and surprises that left me wondering how I didn’t see what was right there all along. Not only can you find this book in our list of the Best Romance Novels of all Time, but you can also find it on our list of the Best Carnival and Circus Books, 24 Books Like the Hunger Games. And now, you can find books just like it in our post of Books Like the Night Circus. Can you tell we love this book?
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
I adored this book by Novik. I loved the strong female characters, the story, and the writing. This book is an adaptation of Rumplestiltskin that complex and wonderful and the ending had me in tears.
Miryem’s family are moneylenders but her family is in poverty because her father does not collect his debts. In an effort to save her family, Miryem begins collecting the debts herself and soon a rumor begins that she can turn silver into gold. Soon, these rumors spread to the king of Staryk and Miryem’s life changes forever when he comes to see if the rumors are true.
Love Fantasy Books? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Fantasy for Adults and the Ultimate List of YA fantasy!
Thrillers Perfect for Winter
Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
This newest book by Alice Feeney is another great read. Her books always have me turning the pages. The book starts with Adam and Amelia Wright headed on a weekend away in a remote Scottish getaway to save their marriage.
Told from the point of view of both Adam and Amelia, it is clear that one weekend away may not be enough. Each year of their marriage, Adam and his wife exchange traditional wedding gifts, and she writes him a letter that she will not let him read.
Not every twist in this book is unexpected but there were a few shocks that were completely unexpected.
One by One by Ruth Ware
As a thriller, this book is fast-paced and heart-thumping as one person after another winds up dead. As a mystery, I had a problem with the fact that I knew who the killer was from the very beginning.
Where does that leave my feelings on the book? Although there were no surprises for me, this survival thriller had me cringing throughout. If you love novels about blizzards, check this one out!
The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
February 2021 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
Oh boy, was this a creepy story! I wish I had chosen to read it during the wintertime instead of the summer because seeing snow while reading it would have made it that much creepier.
With dead bodies piling up, and a blizzard keeping the guests of the fancy sanatorium-turned-hotel stuck inside, will Elin be able to solve the mystery before she becomes a victim herself? This is such a great blizzard book from mystery books and is a must-read if you love Emily Henry books.
The Shining by Steven King
Steven King has a way of finding just the right blend of reality to add to his books to make them truly terrifying. The Shining is no exception. I don’t think there is anyone who has read this book who can think of an isolated cabin as a relaxing retreat ever again.
Jack Torrence is a recovering alcoholic with anger issues. He accepts a job as a winter caretaker at the Overlook Hotel in the hopes of writing his first novel. He brings his wife and son with him in the hopes of reconnecting with them. Obviously, things go terribly wrong. This 70s book is one of the scariest novels I’ve ever read!
Love Thrillers? We created The Ultimate List of Best Thriller Books carefully divided by sub-genre. These will definitely keep you on your toes.
Winter Mystery Books
Still Life by Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1)
The first in the series of Chief Inspector Gamache. I fell in LOVE with the Inspector, the town of Three Pines, and its residents. Louise Penny CAN WRITE.
The mystery was great (and I didn’t solve it) but what got me the most was Penny’s writing style and reflections on the human psyche. This first Louise Penny book has the detective searching a piece of art for clues.
This is one of the best detective books and detective series I have ever read. You will fall in love with Three Pines and the people who live there. The wonderful community in this series is the best of what feel-good novels should be. Be sure to check out Louise Penny Books in Order: Complete Guide to Inspector Gamache
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
This is a classic and a must-read on our list of detective books. It’s one of those books that unless you know the ending, you would never guess it. So well-devised, this book is a definite favorite and it all takes place on a train in the middle of a snowy tundra.
Will you be able to guess who the murderer is before the famed Hercules Poirot?
Are mysteries your favorite genre? We created The Ultimate List of Mysteries carefully divided by sub-genre so you can find your next favorite read.
Contemporary Fiction Winter Books
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Another Kristin Hannah story, another NYT best seller – and for good reason! I liked this story about the Alaskan wilderness.
This book is so haunting. I could not get it out of my head. Kristin Hannah is an amazing writer with wonderful characters. Her stories feel realistic almost to a fault. They are heartbreaking and heartwarming and utterly unforgettable. I did not think that I would like a book about Alaska but, I could not put it down.
Ernt Allbright has come home from the Vietnam War traumatized and as his mental state deteriorates, his wife, Cora, and daughter, Leni, must learn to navigate the Alaskan wilderness on their own. If you love family drama books set in the 70s, this one is not to be missed.
Beartown by Frederik Backman
This is a heavy story that also has a lot of heart. It’s about a small-town hockey team, and the fallout when the star player is accused of raping the GM’s daughter.
Frederik Backman is a master story weaver. He doesn’t just tell a story but, he submerges his reader deep in the lives of his characters. This town will follow me for a long time. It’s my favorite of all the Fredrik Backman books.
Ultimate List of Contemporary Fiction Novels to Love in 2023
For more contemporary fiction books like these, check out our ultimate list for dozens of recommendations.
Winter Books About the Romanovs
The Tsarina’s Daughter by Ellen Alpsten
I’ve been enthralled with the Romanovs since I saw my first Faberge egg. While most of my reading has focused on the falling of the dynasty, I was intrigued by this story set after the reign of Peter the Great.
It was FASCINATING to see the cultural backdrop of Russia’s imperial court. I loved learning about the court intrigue and the ruthless way power changed hands. Royal reads about Russia are so much different that books about English royalty!
The Last Grand Duchess by Bryn Turnbull
I love stories about the Romanov Dynasty. Ever since I saw a collection of Faberge eggs when I was a child, the story of the last members of the Russian Imperial family have always fascinated me.
This historical fiction story revolves around the eldest daughter, Olga. Its dual timeline switches between the family’s life after the revolution and Olga’s childhood and the events that lead to the revolution in the first place.
We all know how this tragic story ends, so this book is all about the journey. I love that Turnbull focused on a sister other than Anastasia. It was quite well done and a great one for historical fiction fans!
Romances for Winter
One Day in December by Josie Silver
Another book I absolutely adored. This second chance love story takes place over 10 years and you’ll be rooting for this couple the entire time.
The perfect winter romance – this one is a bit steamy – that will have you smiling from ear to ear. I listened to this one from my local library, but it would be just as good in print.
Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
I’m an avid weather lover, so this was one of my most anticipated Winter 2022 new releases!
In this romance novel, weather girl Ari teams up with sports anchor Russ to get their feuding bosses back together Parent-Trap style. This sweet and hilarious office romance novel is perfect for a list of books like The Love Hypothesis as well.
Along the way, they kindle sparks of their own! There are lots of fun weather puns, adorable scenarios for both romantic pairs, and love scenes that aren’t for the faint of heart🔥🔥🔥.
The best part of all is that the book deals with REAL life issues like depression, body image, teen pregnancy, and complex families.
The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan
Jenny Colgan churns out another light beach read with heart. Cafe by the Sea is set on the gorgeous island of Muir in Scotland.
Scotland shines in this story about life in a town set in its ways and trying to resist the pull of modern life. There is a romance in this story, but the pull was more on the heroine reconnecting with her old life and family. If you love Jenny Colgan, be sure to check out our Jenny Colgan books ranked!
The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
This epic love story can almost rival that of Jamie and Claire. This saga takes place over decades and all over the world. An epic love story set in WW2 Leningrad.
It was a fantastic story from a historical fiction perspective because I really learned a lot about everyday life in that era. Like Outlander, it’s a whopping 1000 pages but I couldn’t stop! This is one of the best historical romance books about WWII.
Is Romance your favorite genre? We created the Ultimate List of Romances carefully divided by sub-genre so you can find your next favorite read.
Christmas Winter Books
Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle
If you only read one Christmas book this holiday season, let it be Just Like Magic. I adored this funny romance from Sarah Hogle. The premise is amazing. Down-on-her-luck Bettie Hughes accidentally summons the magical Holiday Spirit, who can’t leave her until he raises her spirit level.
So going by the name of Hal, he poses as her boyfriend for her week-long family Christmas vacation. His use of magic throughout the week is hysterical. It also helps that the chemistry between Hal and Bettie crackles. It’s unlike any other Christmas story I’ve read in the best way possible!
Christmas by the Book by Anne Marie Ryan
This is kinda like Love Actually in a bookshop. Nora and Simon’s bookshop is failing, but that doesn’t stop them from anonymously sending out 6 Christmas books to locals who need cheering up.
We see how their gifted books inspire changes in the lives of the recipients, how much their bookshop means to the community, and how all the of their lives intertwine.
I cried a few times while reading this heartwarming tale, but it deals with some pretty heavy subjects like death of a child and suicidal thoughts/depression. It’s really a wonderful book for the holiday season. Any true book lover will adore this Christmas tale.
More Winter Books
The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
Kate Quinn’s stories of the women heroes of WWII continue to dazzle every time. The subject for this story is Soviet Sniper Mila Pavlichenko, commonly known as Lady Death.
The story flashes between her time in on a diplomatic tour of the U.S. when she befriended Eleanor Roosevelt and her life leading up to and during the war. We learn about what motivated her to become the most decorated sniper in the army, what life was like on the battlefields of war, and how love plays a role in her life.
But the tension is really heightened by the narration of an assassin out to kill President Roosevelt and frame Mila for the murder. Another amazing story by Quinn.
Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
Irene Steele gets the shock of her life when she gets a phone call saying her husband has died in a plane accident while on a business trip.
When she travels down to St. John to collect his things, she finds out that he actually has an entire second family. With her two adult sons along for the journey, she realizes that not only is her world unraveling, but her sons have hidden secrets as well. Told across multiple points of view, this is Elin at her finest. And while the book technically has no snow and ice, with the name Winter in the title, we had to include it in our list of winter reads.
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
As a book blogger, I find pride in reading across genres. I have pretty eclectic taste so it’s rare to find a well-known author I haven’t dabbled in. A friend of mine insisted that I read this book when he discovered I had never read a Chabon book. I can honestly say that I would NEVER have picked this book on my own.
A failed Israel leading to the Jewish state being formed in the wilds of Alaska? A Yiddish police force solving murders before their state reverts back to US occupancy? No thanks… but instead… I enjoyed it! It’s grittier than my normal picks, but I love the subtle details, the little bits of world-building about the area and the faux history.
YA Winter Books
Ski Weekend by Retkok Ross
This YA survival thriller had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. I can see why it has won so many awards. Fair warning if you read it before a ski trip- you might want to wait until you get back!
Six teens and a dog go on a ski weekend but how many of them will return? When Sam, her brother, and 4 friends go on a ski weekend, the last thing they expect is to crash in a snowbank with little food and no cell phone reception. What would you do to survive?
A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Geir
What a cute story. Taking place at a dated luxury hotel at Christmas time, there is an abundance of antics afoot. Jewel thieves, ghosts, kid-nappers, back-door dealings, and teenage drama fill this tome.
This Young Adult Christmas book is an adorable read for the holiday season and a perfect feel-good book for as well.
Middle-Grade Winter Books
Winterhouse by Ben Guterson
We like to listen to books as a family when we are in the car together or doing a puzzle. The standout book for me this month was Winterhouse.
This middle-grade mystery was as enthralling to me as it was to my boys. I loved the slight bits of magic in the story and the captivating setting of an expansive ski hotel on a snowy mountain at Christmas time. If you love a cozy mystery, pick this one up!
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
This middle-grade mystery reminded me of Harry Potter in some ways. A child is trying to uncover the secrets of Greenglass House, a hotel for smugglers and spies before the adults do.
We read this as a family read-aloud and it was wonderful.
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
The iconic book is actually the second book in the Chronicles of Narnia Series. However, since the first book is technically a prequel, I consider this the first and it can be read independently of the rest of the books in the series,
When four children discover a secret passage from a wardrobe into the Land of Narnia, they find a land enslaved by the white witch. They find friends, enemies, and magic in this book that has withstood the test of time.