I realize that we are right in the middle of winter, but I feel it’s appropriate to provide some winter reads for 2018. It’s getting colder and colder – which here in North Carolina is somewhat of a shock to the system. We are used to walking around outside in t-shirts until November – even some days in December. Where did this cold front come from … because I love it! But why is it that the surrounding areas near Charlotte are all covered in snow, and we aren’t? It’s laughable really. What I would give to have a snow day. To build snowmen and throw snowballs. Later, retreating inside for the warmth and a cup of hot chocolate. Relaxing in my chair by the window – snowflakes falling – and losing myself to a great book. Doesn’t that sound dreamy
So let’s pretend!
Take a seat in your favorite reading spot and snuggle into your coziest blanket. Grab yourself a drink, and allow one of these reads to engulf you for the winter.
*This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. My involvement in now way affects your purchase.
1. The Pillars of the Earth | Ken Follett
Set in the turbulent times of twelfth-century England when civil war, famine, religious strife and battles over royal succession tore lives and families apart, The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of the building of a magnificent cathedral.
Against this richly imagined backdrop, filled with intrigue and treachery, Ken Follett draws the reader irresistibly into a wonderful epic of family drama, violent conflict and unswerving ambition. From humble stonemason to imperious monarch, the dreams, labours and loves of his characters come vividly to life. The Pillars of the Earth is, without doubt, a masterpiece – and has proved to be one of the most popular books of our time.
I know, I know – right now you’re looking at the screen thinking I’m not going to read this – trust me, I thought the same thing. So much so that I carried this massive book [all 1088 pages] around in my purse for a month before committing to reading the first 100 pages. One of the best decisions I made in 2015. I’m not crazy about history, but Ken Follett notably creates a world filled with mystery, suspense, and love – centered around the construction of a cathedral. Follett’s character development will have you hooked. Choosing sides, gasping in disbelief, hating some and loving many. The drama that unfolds within the religious and political meddling in and around the town of Kingsbridge will consume you.
Clear your schedule and warn your friends, the distractions will be unwelcome. I adore this book and plan to reread Pillars of the Earth soon. Buy here.
2. No Ordinary Star | M. C. Frank
A soldier is summoned to the North Pole, days before the year changes, told to fix the great Clock for a celebration. He has no idea what to do. A girl, hunted for the crime of being born, almost dies out on the ice. She is rescued by the last polar bear left alive. A library waits for them both, a library built over a span of a hundred years, forgotten in the basement of an ice shack. The world hasn’t known hunger or sickness in hundreds of years. It has also forgotten love and beauty. The year is 2525.
Inspired by the short stories of Ray Bradbury, this futuristic novel is set in a world where Christmas -among other things- is obsolete and a Clock is what keeps the fragile balance of peace.
Written in three installments, this is the breathtaking and sensual story of how two unlikely people change the world, and each other, one book at a time.
Immerse yourself into the icy cold world of this scorching hot new novel.
Did you wrap your blanket tighter around you? The setting of this book just screams winter, and I can’t wait to read this book. Not only is the cover beautiful, but the synopsis is also absorbing all of my attention. I’m almost tempted to put down the books I’m currently reading. I can’t imagine living life without holidays. Wouldn’t it be interesting to get lost in a world that considers them a thing of the past? I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the absence of hunger, sickness or love. I wish you were here so you could hear my squeals of excitement. Buy here.
3. Magic Hour | Kristin Hannah
Contemporary Chick Lit
Dr. Julia Cates was one of the country’s preeminent child psychiatrists until a shocking tragedy ruined her career. Retreating to her small western Washington hometown, Julia meets an extraordinary six-year-old girl who has inexplicably emerged from the deep woods nearby–a child locked in a world of unimaginable fear and isolation. To Julia, nothing is more important than saving the girl she now calls Alice. But Julia will need help from others, including the sister she barely knows and a handsome doctor with secrets of his own. What follows will test the limits of Julia’s faith and strength, as she struggles to find a home for Alice . . . and for herself.
I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful this book is. I read Kristin Hannah’s Magic Hour when I was in High School and fell completely in love. To this day, Magic Hour remains one of my favorite books. It is the one book I own that I never see because I loan it out so often. I fear, at times, that it may never return – so I may buy a back-up copy, just in case.
I understand – for those of you that just don’t care for the chick lit or contemporary genre – if you think that this book “just isn’t for you.” I urge you to consider pushing those thoughts aside. This story encompasses the meaning of love for others. The trials of being forced out of your comfort zone (I’m looking at you non-chick lit/contemporary readers), pushing past the fear, and accepting help. It’s truly magnificent. A book you could read all year round, like all books, but snuggled next to a fire would do it justice. Buy here.
4. Glass Town | Steven Savile
In 1926, two brothers both loved Eleanor Raines, a promising young actress from the East End of London. But, along with Seth Lockwood, she disappeared, never to be seen again. Isaiah, Seth’s younger brother, refused to accept that she was just gone.
It has been seventy years since and the brothers are long dead. But now their dark, twisted secret, threatens to tear the city apart. Seth made a bargain with Damiola, an illusionist, to make a life size version of his most famous trick, and hide away part of London to act as a prison out of sync with our time, where one year passes as one hundred. That illusion is Glass Town. And now its walls are failing.
I don’t know about you, at first glance, the cover is typically the reason I’ll buy or rent a book. Case in point. I’m interested to see how this story plays out. The synopsis is enticing enough to want to find the meaning of the glass town and to learn the secret. But is there more? What else lies hidden within this gem? Buy here.
5. The Vanishing Season | Joanna Schaffhausen
Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She’s an officer in sleepy Woodbury, MA, where a bicycle theft still makes newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number seventeen in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. The only victim who lived.
When three people disappear from her town in three years, all around her birthday – the day she was kidnapped so long ago – Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next. She contacts the one man she knows will believe her: the FBI agent who saved her from a killer’s closet all those years ago.
Agent Reed Markham made his name and fame on the back of the Coben case, but his fortunes have since turned. His marriage is in shambles, his bosses think he’s washed up, and worst of all, he blew a major investigation. When Ellery calls him, he can’t help but wonder: sure, he rescued her, but was she ever truly saved? His greatest triumph is Ellery’s waking nightmare, and how both of them are about to be sucked into the past, back to the case that made them…with a killer who can’t let go.
Maybe it’s the chill in the air that draws me towards this mystery. A shiver down the spine from the feeling of being watched. Is there something lurking in the shadows? Will they escape?
This book seems to share similar plot lines to other mysteries I’ve read – the protagonist is cued into a fact, someone is stalking them, and no one ever believes them. However, the build-up in these novels keep me on the edge of my seat and eager. A real nail-biter? Let’s find out. Buy here.
When it comes to winter reading,
it’s all about finding the book(s) that will keep you glued to your seat and out of the cold. A great ending that leaves you warm and elated. A big smile. That satisfied sigh. Wondering if you’ll ever be able to read another book because that one has topped them all. Revel in this feeling, knowing that although it will dissipate, you’ll find it again soon.
What books are you currently reading this winter?
Anything you’d recommend?