Bookish · Guides

Winter Holiday Reads: Books you should read this Winter

Winter happens to be my favorite season of the year and I don’t know about you but Winter/Christmas themed books hit different for me. If you’re like me, this post could serve as a guide for you to know what books you want to read this season.

From heart-melting and swoon-worthy romances to the most chilling crime, thriller, and mystery books, below is a list of the best Winter holiday reads for 2020.

2020 is almost at an end and this time seems like the best year to start a reading habit for all those people out there who don’t usually get the time to read. Since traveling is out for this year and possibly the next with the discovery of a new and mutant version of the COVID-19, this gives you a lot of time to start a new hobby or do something you don’t usually get the time to do. From captivating literary reads to the most chilling thrillers and mysteries to stories of romance and friendship to Christmas themed reads, here are the best Winter holiday reads for you to read.

Crime, Mystery, and Thriller Reads:

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

Irene Steele’s always had the perfect life– the perfect house, perfect husband and perfect family, but that all changes when a phone call in the middle of the night informs her that her husband has been found dead and she has to deal with the puzzling details surrounding his death. His body was found on a tropic island far away from their suburban life, where Irene travels only to discover that her husband had a secret second family. Over the course of the book, Irene investigates the bizarre circumstances of her husband’s death and is plunged into a web of intrigue and deceit.

Publishing Date: October 9th, 2018

Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Contemporary, Adult, Drama

Places to buy Winter in Paradise: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository


He Sees You When You’re Sleeping by Mary and Carol Higgins Clark

It’s a few days before Christmas and Sterling has been waiting 46 years to be allowed into Heaven. Finally, the day arrives and the Heavenly Council decides upon a test for him; he would be sent back to Earth and given a chance to prove if he’s worthy of being admitted into Heaven by helping someone else. He finds himself in Manhattan at a skating rink and among the skaters is a heartbroken seven-year-old, Marissa. She has been separated from the 2 people she loves the most–her father and grandmother, both of who are now in the Witness Protection Program because of 2 mobsters who want to keep them from testifying in an arson case. Sterling soon realizes that it is Marissa that he has to help. He comes up with a plan to eliminate the threat, the 2 mobsters, and reunite Marissa with her loved ones.

Publishing Date: November 4th, 2002

Genres: Mystery, Christmas, Fiction, Adult, Suspense, Thriller

Places to Buy He Sees You When You’re Sleeping: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository


The Santa Klaus Murder by Mavis Doriel Hay

The Yuletide-themed murder mystery is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. A classic country-house murder mystery, ‘The Santa Klaus Murder’ begins with Aunt Mildred declaring that no good could come of the Melbury family Christmas gathering at their country residence Flaxmere. So when Sir Osmond Melbury, the family patriarch, is discovered — by a guest dressed as Santa Klaus —with a bullet in his head on Christmas Day, the festivities are plunged into chaos. Nearly every member of the party stands to reap some sort of benefit from Sir Osmond’s death, but Santa Klaus, the one person who seems to have every opportunity to fire the shot, has no apparent motive.

Publishing Date: October 6th, 2015

Genres: Mystery, Christmas, Crime, Classics, Europian Literature, Murder Mystery

Places to buy The Santa Klaus Murder: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository


Murder in the Snow by Verity Bright

Winter, 1920. Amateur sleuth Lady Eleanor Swift is feeling festive. She is playing host to the entire village at Henley Hall for gifts, games, and gingerbread. As snowflakes fall, Eleanor is cheering on contestants in the traditional Christmas fun run on the grounds of the Hall. But tragedy strikes when one of the runners drops dead at the finish line. Dashing Detective Seldon is convinced it’s just a heart attack, but Eleanor isn’t so sure. When she finds a rather distinctive key where the man fell, Eleanor knows she’ll never rest until she finds out the truth about what happened in her own home. Next, the vicar is taken ill with what looks like poison and Eleanor starts to wonder if the two cases are linked when someone tries to frame her. Can she nail the true killer in time for Christmas?

Publishing Date: November 19th, 2020

Genres: Christmas, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Crime, Cozy Mystery

Places to Buy Murder in the Snow: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository

The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg

Returning to her hometown of Fjallbacka after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice-cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life. Erica conceives a book about the beautiful but remote Alex, one that will answer questions about their own shared past. While her interest grows into an obsession, local detective Patrik Hedstrom is following his own suspicions about the case. But it is only when they start working together that the truth begins to emerge about a small town with a deeply disturbing past.

Publishing Date: June 15th, 2020

Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Scandinavian Literature, Suspense

Places to buy The Ice Princess: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository


The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

A woman’s body is found beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London Park, and Detective Erika Foster is called to lead the investigation. The victim who was a beautiful young socialite seemed to have a perfect life. When Erika digs deeper, she finds a connection between the murder and 3 other killings, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London. As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika. The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

Publishing Date: February 12th, 2016

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Suspense, Drama, Contemporary

Places to buy The Girl in the Ice: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository


Sun Storm by Åsa Larsson

Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the town she’d left in disgrace years before. A Stockholm attorney, Rebecka has a good reason to return: her friend Sanna, whose brother has been horrifically murdered in the revivalist church his charisma helped create. Beautiful and fragile, Sanna needs someone like Rebecka to remove the shadow of guilt that is engulfing her, to forestall an ambitious prosecutor and a dogged policewoman. But to help her friend, and to find the real killer of a man she once adored and is now not sure she ever knew, Rebecka must relive the darkness she left behind in Kiruna, delve into a sordid conspiracy of deceit, and confront a killer whose motives are dark, wrenching, and impossible to guess…

Publishing Date: December 26th, 2006

Genres: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Scandinavian Literature, Fiction

Places to buy Sun Storm: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository


Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan

Mordecai Tremaine, former tobacconist and perennial lover of romance novels, has been invited to spend Christmas in the sleepy village of Sherbroome at the country retreat of one Benedict Grame. When he arrives on Christmas Eve, he notices that the festivities are in full swing but as are the tensions between the guests. Midnight strikes and the guests realize that not only are there presents under the tree, but there’s also a dead body. With the snow falling outside and suspicions among the guests high, Mordecai has to sniff out who the perpetrator is before someone else gets murder for Christmas.

Publishing Date: November 12th, 2015

Genres: Mystery, Christmas, Fiction, Crime, Historical Fiction, Classics

Places to buy Murder for Christmas: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository


Contemporary and Romance Reads:

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, normally a wet hike from a stranded train in the middle of nowhere doesn’t usually end with an amazing kiss from a stranger. And usually, a trip to Waffle House in the middle of the storm doesn’t result in finding love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

Publishing Date: October 2nd, 2008

Genres: Christmas, Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction

Places to buy Let It Snow: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository


Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle

Kendall, a high school senior, who just returned from a life-changing semester in Europe, and Max, who is drifting through life during his gap year before college, struggle with questions such as What does it really mean to be kind and why does it sometimes feel like the hardest thing to do in the world? They both witness a tragic accident in NYC during the holiday season and when they’re filled with guilt, they accept a dare to perform random acts of kindness to strangers. The challenge pulls these two teens, who have a history together from back home, closer as they explore the beautiful city filled with other people’s stories and secrets. They can’t deny their growing bond, even though they both have other romantic entanglements and uncertain futures. As the clock counts down on New Year’s Eve, will they find themselves together at midnight?

Publishing Date: January 2nd, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Christmas, Realistic Fiction

Places to buy Together at Midnight: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository


Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Vivian Forest, who has only been out of the country once, tags along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member. She’s excited to explore and be out of the country but what she doesn’t expect is to be attracted to a certain private secretary, his accent, and his relentless formality. Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and not once has he given a personal, private tour–that is until now. He is fascinated by Vivian from the moment that he first meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her and get to know her. When their flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling. Despite a timer on their holiday romance, they are perfectly content with ending their romance come New Year’s Day…or are they?

Publishing Date: October 1st, 2019

Genres: Romance, Holiday, Contemporary, Adult, Christmas

Places to buy Royal Holiday: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository


In a Holiday by Christina Lauren

Maelyn Jones hates her nugatory job, lives with her parents, and just made the biggest romantic error possible. But the worst of all is that this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the whole world– the cabin where she has spent Christmas with her family since she was born, along with 2 other families. When driving away from the cabin one last time, she makes a futile wish to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy. The next thing she knows, there’s an accident and everything is black but when she wakes up, she’s on the plane to Utah where she starts the same holiday all over again. With disaster after disaster sending her back to the plane, she must figure out how to break free of the time loop and finally get her true love under the mistletoe

Publishing Date: October 6th, 2020

Genres: Romance, Time Travel, Christmas, Contemporary, Fiction, Adult

Places to buy In a Holidaze: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository


Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne

Nothing short of a miracle can restore Eliza Hayward’s Christmas cheer. The job she pinned her dreams on has gone up in smoke—literally—and now she’s stuck in an unfamiliar, if breathtaking, small town. Precariously close to being destitute, Eliza needs a helping hand…for her sick young daughter’s sake as well as her own. But she’s not expecting her holiday hero to almost run her down with his car! Rescuing Eliza is a pure instinct for tech genius Aidan Caine. At first, putting the renovation of his lakeside guest lodge in Eliza’s hands assuages his guilt—until he sees how quickly he could fall for her. Having focused solely on his business for years, he never knew that what his life was missing were Eliza and her little girl. But is he willing to risk hoping for a yuletide romance that could lead to forever?

Publishing Date: October 28th, 2014

Genres: Romance, Christmas, Contemporary, Fiction, Adult, Family, Women’s Fiction

Places to buy Snow Angel Cove: Amazon AE, Amazon US, Book Depository


The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

Suzanne McBride has 3 adopted daughters, all of who are coming home for Christmas. She has a perfect Christmas planned and can’t wait for them to come home but tensions are running high. Hannah is a workaholic and knows she can’t avoid spending holidays with her family 2 years in a row but there’s a life-changing secret that’s panicking her. Beth is a stay-at-home mom who is having a personal crisis. Posy has always been the dependable one and due to that, even though she isn’t sure she’s living her best life, making a change seems risky. But not as risky as falling for the gorgeous new neighbor Luke… As Suzanne’s plans unravel, she must rely on the magic of the season to bring her daughters together.

Publishing Date: September 25th, 2018

Genres: Holiday, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction, Adult, Family, Cultural- Scotland

Places to buy The Christmas Sisters: Amazon US, Book Depository


A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

The White family gathers for the whirlwind Christmas wedding of the youngest daughter in the family, Rosie. Maggie and Nick, the parents are determined to celebrate the milestone in their daughter’s life wholeheartedly even if they are hiding their own secret: they are on the verge of getting a divorce. They’ve been living apart for 6 months and the last thing they need is to be trapped together in a romantic winter wonderland. Rosie’s older sister, Katie, is dreading the wedding. Worried that her sister is making a mistake, she is determined to save her from herself. Only if the gorgeous best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans. The Bride-to-be loves her fiancé but is having second thoughts. As the big day gets closer and emotions run high everywhere, this is one Christmas none of them will ever forget!

Publishing Date: October 31st, 2019

Genres: Holiday, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Wedding, Adult, Women’s Fiction

Places to buy A Wedding in December: Noon, Amazon US, Book Depository


We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and has moved to London. It’s December and she’s taking a room in the Notting Hill House-share with 4 strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor and although they don’t kiss, the connection is undeniable. She starts planning ways to spend more time with him but when she comes back from a 2 week Christmas holiday, Alex has started dating someone else– the beautiful Emma who lives on the floor above them. Now, Jess has to face a year of bumping into (and sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams…and his woman.

Publishing Date: November 5th, 2019

Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Christmas, Fiction, Adult

Places to buy We Met in December: Amazon US, Book Depository


Mistletoe & Mr.Right by Sarah Morgenthaler

Lana Montgomery is a rich socialite with dreams of changing things for the better, and everything that the small town of Moose Springs, can’t stand. But Lana’s determined to prove that she belongs…even if it means trading her stilettos for snow boots and tracking one of the town’s hairiest Christmas mysteries: the Santa Moose, an antlered Grinch hell-bent on destroying every bit of holiday cheer (and tinsel) it can sink its teeth into. And really…how hard could it be? The last few years have been tough on Rick Harding, and it’s not getting any easier now that his dream girl’s back in town. When Lana accidentally tranquilizes him instead of the Santa Moose, it’s clear she needs help, fast…and this could be his chance to finally catch her eye. It’s an all-out Christmas war, but if they can nab that darn moose before it destroys the town, Rick and Lana might finally find a place where they both belong…together.

Publishing Date: October 6th, 2020

Genres: Romance, Holiday, Contemporary, Fiction, Adult, Women’s Fiction

Places to Buy Mistletoe & Mr.Right: Noon, Amazon US, Book Depository


If you’ve read any of the books above or if this list has helped you decide what books to read, let me know what you think about them in the comments! Since Christmas is over, I hope you had a great Christmas and hope you have a very Happy New Year!!

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