It’s that time of the year again! Time for some seasonal book recommendations, that is. But, unlike the fall, here I’ll be highlighting some cozy reads with winter vibes.
I don’t have as many as in October, unfortunately, but I haven’t really read as many books with a frosty atmosphere. But I’ve still got a few that I can talk about, so let’s get started!
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Series: The Winternight Trilogy [Book #1]
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Literary Fiction
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.
Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.
But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
Ah yes, the winter-themed book on everyone’s winter-themed lists. It’s been a bit since I’ve read this, but I still remember quite vividly how I felt about it. It had such an eye-catching premise, and I started reading this immediately after I obtained a copy. But… I dunno, something about the writing style just didn’t gel with my tastes.
Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a pretty well-written novel! I just think it was too slow for my tastes. I also didn’t like following the MC’s entire life. It felt too expository, and like an almost book long prologue to the real story.
I do, however, admire that it’s inspired by the tale of Vasilisa: the famous heroine who defeated the witch Baba Yaga in Russian folklore. It just wasn’t for me, unfortunately. But it might be for you, so definitely check it out!
Winterspell by Claire Legrand
Length: 464 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: September 30, 2014
After her mother is brutally murdered, seventeen-year-old Clara Stole is determined to find out what happened to her. Her father, a powerful man with little integrity, is a notorious New York City gang lord in the syndicate-turned-empire called Concordia. And he isn’t much help.
But there is something even darker than Concordia’s corruption brewing under the surface of the city, something full of vengeance and magic, like the stories Clara’s godfather used to tell her when she was a little girl. Then her father is abducted and her little sister’s life is threatened, and Clara accidentally frees Nicholas from a statue that has been his prison for years. Nicholas is the rightful prince of Cane, a wintry kingdom that exists beyond the city Clara has known her whole life.
When Nicholas and Clara journey together to Cane to retrieve her father, Clara encounters Anise, the queen of the faeries, who has ousted the royal family in favor of her own totalitarian, anti-human regime. Clara finds that this new world is not as foreign as she feared, but time is running out for her family, and there is only so much magic can do…
I know that nowadays Claire Legrand’s most known for Sawkill Girls and the like, but this book came looonng before that. It’s also, incidentally, the only book of hers I’ve read, and it was years ago at that. This book got me out of a big reading slump way back in November 2015. A Nutcracker retelling? Yes, please!
And it actually lived up to the hype that the premise generated inside of me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’ve even gone back to it a couple of times since. So yeah, I definitely recommend it.
Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart [Book #1]
Length: 408 pages
Release Date: September 28, 2021
For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings…until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.
Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic, but wicked, Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.
But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game — and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…
Look, I was struggling to figure out at least one more book to put on here with winter vibes (that I’ve read), okay? Believe, I know that there’s been too many posts on this blog involving this book in the time frame it’s been active.
But yeah, this book’s setting is basically a winter wonderland for a huge portion of the novel. And winter wonderland = very wintery vibes. The winteriest. So if you want that, then definitely give this a whirl.
And that is, very unfortunately, all I have for you today. Have you read any of these books? Do you think they have the vibes for snowy season?
Thanks, as always, and join me next time for more bookish things!