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17 Books To Read This Winter When It’s Too Cold To Go Outside

By Sara Levine | December 6, 2021
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The weather is getting colder, and I don’t know about you, but the only thing I’m doing this winter is curling up with a good book. Now if only I could find a fireplace… In any case, there are plenty of books that are out or coming out soon. We’ve got holiday romances. We’ve got thrillers. We’ve got YA. We’ve got fantasy. We are mostly focusing on 2021, because my brain is not ready to come to terms with 2022 yet, but we’ve got a few 2022 releases. Point is, there should be something for everyone. Happy reading!

‘The Holiday Switch’ by Tif Marcelo (10/5/21)

The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo

I know this book came out in the fall, but it’s a holiday rom-com, so it counts for the winter list. In it, Lila Santos moonlights as an anonymous book blogger. During the holiday season, she works at the Holly, a local inn. (Very appropriately named.) But her holiday cheer gets a damper put on it when her boss’s annoying nephew, Teddy Rivera, becomes her coworker and they butt heads left and right. When Lila and Teddy accidentally switch phones one day, they realize they’ve both been hiding secrets from each other—secrets that change a lot. 

‘The Holiday Swap’ by Karma Brown (10/5/21)

The Holiday Swap by Karma Brown

I promise I didn’t make a mistake! These are two different books. The Holiday Swap is about two identical twins, Charlie and Cass, who switch places. It’s like Parent Trap but without the parents. It all goes down when Charlie, a judge on a reality baking show, gets hit on the head and loses her sense of smell and taste, making her incapable of judging. Cass, meanwhile, is running the family bakery and dealing with her annoyingly persistent ex, so she’s more than happy to escape that life for a bit. Switching places gets complicated when Cass and Charlie each meet hot guys who don’t know they’re not who they say they are.

‘All Her Little Secrets’ by Wanda M. Morris (11/2/21)

All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris

Elice Littlejohn is kind of living the dream. She has a degree from an Ivy League law school, a job as a corporate attorney in midtown Atlanta, a solid crew of close friends, and a FWB relationship… with her white boss, Michael. Everything is going great—until the day Elice discovers Michael dead of a gunshot wound to the head. Elice keeps her mouth shut about what she saw and gets promoted to Michael’s job. But it’s not the dream come true she thought it would be, because Elice discovers some sketchy company business, which puts her in danger. Make that more of a nightmare come to life.

‘The Fastest Way To Fall’ by Denise Williams (11/2/21)

The Fastest Way to Fall by Denise Williams

Emily Henry, the author of Beach Read and People We Meet On Vacation, called The Fastest Way To Fall “a true comfort read”, so I’m sold. We start with a romance between Britta Colby, who works for a lifestyle website, and Wes Lawson, a fitness app CEO-turned-personal-trainer. Britta’s personal trainer, to be exact. The problem? Britta is supposed to be reviewing Wes’ app, and Wes isn’t supposed to date his clients. Can their relationship work out? See what I did there?

‘Doctors and Friends’ by Kimmery Martin (11/9/21)

Doctors and Friends by Kimmery Martin

Calling all Grey’s Anatomy fans—Kimmery Martin is back with another medical drama. The novel was written before covid but might be a little too close to home: three med school friends reunite for a European vacation, but as they’re getting ready to set off, a virus sends the world into disarray. One is an ER doctor in NYC, one works for the CDC, and one is an OB-GYN in San Diego. All of their lives are thrown into chaos by the virus. Okay, what did Kimmery know??

Duke, Actually’ by Jenny Holiday (11/16/21)

Duke Actually by Jenny Holiday

Jenny Holiday is back with another contemporary holiday romance. It’s New York City during Christmastime, and Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is recently dumped, unemployed (what does a Baron even do anyway?), and on a deadline to find a royal-approved prospective bride. While in NYC, he links up with Dani Martinez, a smart and gorgeous professor he met at a royal wedding and struck up a friendship with. As they hang out more, and the holiday spirit activates, their friendship may turn into something more.

‘NOOR’ by Nnedi Okorafor (11/16/21)

NOOR by Nnedi Okorafor

Protagonist Anwuli Okwudili goes by AO, her initials as well as Artificial Organism, the name she’s given herself after a car crash forced her to undergo a number of body enhancements. When she’s attacked at a trip to her local market, AO goes on the run and meets a man who goes by DNA, and together they attempt to cross the desert to avoid capture. Not easy when you’re living in a dystopia where an evil capitalist government is controlled by an equally nefarious megacorporation.

‘Our Violent Ends’ by Chloe Gong (11/16/21)

Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong

The second in Gong’s NYT best-selling series is out. The YA retelling of Romeo + Juliet is set in 1920s Shanghai and tackles issues like imperialism, multiculturalism, and gender. In the sequel, Shanghai is teetering on the edge of a revolution. Juliette is out for blood, after sacrificing her relationship with her beloved Roma to protect him from the blood feud. But when the two are forced to work together to save Shanghai, their secrets may drive them apart.

‘When We Were Them’ by Laura Taylor Namey (11/16/21)

When We Were Them by Laura Taylor Namey

Willa, Luz, and Britton had a friendship that they thought would last forever—until Willa fucked it up when they turned 18. The week of high school graduation, all Willa has left of the friendship is a box full of mementos. As she goes through the box, she revisits their friendship and tries to figure out who she is without her best friends.

‘King of Battle and Blood’ by Scarlett St. Clair (11/30/21)

King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair

This book is all the rage on TikTok, of all places, and I can see why: it’s got vampires, murder plots, a love story, and a whole lot more. So here’s the plot. Most of us look forward to our wedding day (I hope), but Isolde Lara is not most of us. She considers it her death day. That’s because she’s marrying Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, the Vampire King, to end a years-long war. Once they’re married, she’s going to kill him—she thinks. But she doesn’t succeed and Adrian threatens to turn Isolde into a vampire if she tries to kill him again. But maybe that wouldn’t be so bad, because there’s some definite chemistry between them…?

‘Bed Stuy: A Love Story’ by Jerry McGill (12/1/21)

Bed Stuy: A Love Story by Jerry McGill

In this novel by writer, artist, and activist Jerry McGill, an unlikely romance sparks between Rashid, a young Black man from Bed Stuy, and Rachel, a married woman who’s 20 years Rashid’s senior. Their budding relationship forces them to confront a number of issues, like race, class, privilege, and more.

‘A History of Wild Places’ by Shea Ernshaw (12/7/21)

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

Travis Wren gets hired by families of missing people to find them after their cases go cold. He takes a job investigating the disappearance of Maggie St. James, an author of macabre children’s books who went missing—and it ends up being his last. Travis disappears after heading to Pastoral, an insular community founded in the 1970s, and where Maggie was last seen. Years later, Theo, who grew up in Pastoral, finds Travis’ truck. Theo’s efforts to figure out what happened to Travis end up unraveling a whooole lot of secrets.

‘If This Gets Out: A Novel‘ by Cale Dietrich and Sophie Gonzalez (12/7/21)

If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich

In this queer rom-com, 18-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight aren’t regular teenagers—they’re one-half of the biggest boy band in America. But underneath the carefully made-up and hair-sprayed exterior, there are cracks in the group, and Ruben is tired of being forced to stay in the closet by management. On a European tour, Ruben and Zach’s friendship turns into something more, and they want to tell their fans they’re in love. But their management is standing in the way, and Ruben and Zach have to figure out how they can stay true to themselves.

‘The Love Con’ by Seressia Glass (12/14/21)

The Love Con by Seressia Glass

Kenya Davenport couldn’t be more different than her STEM parents—she loves anime, gaming, and cosplay, and dreams of being able to cosplay full-time. When she enters a reality competition called Cosplay or No Way, her dream feels that much further in reach… but there’s a catch. For the final round of the show, the contestants must compete with their significant others… but Kenya is single af. Her best friend Cameron agrees to be her fake boyfriend for the show. Two close friends faking a relationship for the cameras? What could go wrong—or what could go right?

‘The Sorority Murder’ by Allison Brennan (12/28/21)

The Sorority Murder by Allison Brennan

Three years ago, sorority girl Candice Swain was last seen at a party, arguing with some of her sisters… and was never seen alive again. In present day, Lucas Vega decides to do his senior capstone project on Candice Swain’s murder. He produces a live podcast investigating the murder and teams up with former U.S. Marshall Regan Merritt. To everyone’s surprise, they start uncovering clues, which means they start angering someone who does not want to be found out.

‘Must Love Books’ by Shauna Robinson (1/18/22)

Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson

Book lover Nora thought she’d finally set out on the path to her dream job as an editorial assistant at Parsons Press, but five years later, she’s jaded, burnt out, and worse: facing a paycut. Nora decides to do a little work for her rival publisher to make ends meet, but when Andrew Santos, Parsons’ star author, enters the picture, Nora has to choose a side.

‘The Overnight Guest’ by Heather Gudenkauf (1/25/22)

The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf

In the summer of 2000, a sleepover with Josie Doyle and her best friend Becky turns traumatic when an unknown gunman kills Josie’s family. Josie’s life was never the same, and Becky hasn’t been seen since. Flash-forward to present day, and crime writer Wylie Lark is snowed in in the very house Becky and Josie were last seen in. As the snowstorm rages, Wylie gets an unexpected visitor: a young boy. Wylie tries to find out the child’s identity and parents, but he doesn’t want them to be found. The book alternates between the summer of 2000 and the present.

Images: Vertikala / Stocksy.com; Amazon (17)

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