These books might not be as cozy as I anticipated but I guarantee that they are wintery.
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
By Maggie Stiefvater
You can’t get more wintery then a book that starts every chapter with a temperature check. The cold is omnipresent and malevolent because with every degree the temperature goes down the closer in to losing his humanity. In the pantheon of werewolf stories this one is probably my favorite. There is a date to a candy shop and if thet isn’t my brand… Also, Sam is an adorable cinnamon roll of a character and needs to be protected at all costs.
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.
Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
by Leo Tolstoy
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Series: Stand Alone
Published: April 1877
Rating: Possibly the greatest novel ever written?
Times read: 2
Recommended by: See rating above. I don’t think anyone is sleeping on this one.
I know that the whole book isn’t set in winter but my brain still likes to picture pretty much everything in a winter wonderland/wasteland. I regret nothing.
Married to a powerful government minister, Anna Karenina is a beautiful woman who falls deeply in love with a wealthy army officer, the elegant Count Vronsky. Desperate to find truth and meaning in her life, she rashly defies the conventions of Russian society and leaves her husband and son to live with her lover. Condemned and ostracized by her peers and prone to fits of jealousy that alienate Vronsky, Anna finds herself unable to escape an increasingly hopeless situation.
Set against this tragic affair is the story of Konstantin Levin, a melancholy landowner whom Tolstoy based largely on himself. While Anna looks for happiness through love, Levin embarks on his own search for spiritual fulfillment through marriage, family, and hard work. Surrounding these two central plot threads are dozens of characters whom Tolstoy seamlessly weaves together, creating a breathtaking tapestry of nineteenth-century Russian society.
From its famous opening sentence — "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”—to its stunningly tragic conclusion, this enduring tale of marriage and adultery plumbs the very depths of the human soul.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
by Joan Aiken
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Series: The Wolves Chronicles #1
Times read: 10? A lot. A whole lot.
Recommended by: I went to stay with my grandma when I was 8 or so and we listened to this in her car as we drove around. Best part of the trip.
This shouldn’t be a “cozy” read. Two orphan girls battle abusive adults in the middle of winter? Idon’t care. This book and everything about it just makes me so happy. Simon! The cheese basket. Raw eggs! The cart with geese! The frickin’ tinker’s children’s disguises they wear (what are tinker’s children anyway?) All the best parts of childhood in book form. You know what? I need to reread this.
Wicked wolves and a grim governess threaten Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia when Bonnie's parents leave Willoughby Chase for a sea voyage. Left in the care of the cruel Miss Slighcarp, the girls can hardly believe what is happening to their once happy home. The servants are dismissed, the furniture is sold, and Bonnie and Sylvia are sent to a prison-like orphan school. It seems as if the endless hours of drudgery will never cease.
With the help of Simon the gooseboy and his flock, they escape. But how will they ever get Willoughby Chase free from the clutches of the evil Miss Slighcarp?
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Published: September 10th 2013
Rating: THAT. ENDING. I am still angry.
Times read: 1. Because I am still mad.
Recommended by: Pretty sure this book got a whole lot of buzz a couple of years ago.
Someone said that the difference between YA and adult books is the discovery of potential vs. the death of potential. I have furthered this theory that the difference between literary fiction and genre fiction is the amount of body oder and snot the main character exudes. This book is definitely an illustration in that. But is you can hack it’s bleakness the writing is spectacular and the meticulously researched setting of 19th century Iceland is unusual. It is also based on the true story of the last woman executed in Iceland. PSA: the audiobook is excellent.
A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, Burial Rites evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
My family had this book of 365 stories that had a story or part of a story to be read each night. There was a whole section on Vasilisa and Baba Yaga and I was so creeped out by it that to this day I still get the willies. But in, like, the best posible way.I am also a huge fan of retold fairy tales. The Bear and the Nightengale is a fresh retelling if the Vasilisa fairy tale but with the deliciously creepy feel that takes you back to childhood.
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind--she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed--this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.
Sort of Beauty and the Beastish but with a polor bear. That she has to marry. I swear it makes sense when you read it. Jessica Day George has a this lyrical quality to her writing that is perfect for this kind of story.
"Blessed" or "cursed" with an ability to understand animals, the Lass (as she's known to her family) has always been an oddball. And when an isbjorn (polar bear) seeks her out, and promises that her family will become rich if only the Lass will accompany him to his castle, she doesn't hesitate. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle, which is made of ice and inhabited by a silent staff of servants. Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth: the bear is really a prince who's been enchanted by a troll queen, and the Lass must come up with a way to free him before he's forced to marry a troll princess.
Frost Hollow Hall
by Emma Carroll
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Series: Stand Alone
Published: October 3rd 2013
Times read: TBR because there is no kindle version so I have to wait until the summer and get it them and drag it bak to China with my in my luggage.
Recommended by: Goodreads
I am crabby that I have to wait. China is getting me down.
Tilly's heart sinks. Will's at the door of their cottage, daring her to come ice-skating up at Frost Hollow Hall. No one goes near the place these days. Rumour has it that the house is haunted . . . Ten years ago the young heir, Kit Barrington, drowned there in the lake. But Tilly never turns down a dare.
Then it goes horribly wrong. The ice breaks, Tilly falls through and almost drowns. At the point of death, a beautiful angel appears in the water and saves her. Kit Barrington's ghost.
Kit needs Tilly to solve the mystery of his death, so that his spirit can rest in peace. In order to discover all she can, Tilly gets work as a maid at Frost Hollow Hall. But the place makes her flesh crawl. It's all about the dead here, she's told, and in the heart of the house she soon discovers all manner of dark secrets . . .
'Frost Hollow Hall' is a thrilling historical fiction debut. Told in Tilly's unique voice, it is a tale of love and loss, and how forgiveness is the key to recovery.
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
by Bill Watterson
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Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 6th 2005
Rating: The best comic strip ever
Times read: without number
Recommended by: My parents got us Calvin and Hobbes books every year for Christmas.
For a comic written 20 to 30 years ago Calvin and and Hobbes still feels current and fresh. My favorite strips are the ones set in winter. Calvin making snowmen, his defensive letters to Santa, the philosophical discussions that happen when they sled down a hill, I love them all.
alvin and Hobbes is unquestionably one of the most popular comic strips of all time. The imaginative world of a boy and his real-only-to-him tiger was first syndicated in 1985 and appeared in more than 2,400 newspapers when Bill Watterson retired on January 1, 1996. The entire body of Calvin and Hobbescartoons published in a truly noteworthy tribute to this singular cartoon in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. Composed of three hardcover, four-color volumes in a sturdy slipcase, this New York Times best-selling edition includes all Calvin and Hobbescartoons that ever appeared in syndication. This is the treasure that all Calvin and Hobbes fans seek.
This is the perfect anthology if you are looking for something soft, magical, and wintery. I have been reading it aloud to my seventh grade mentor group the last week and they got very into it.
A beautiful and classic anthology of frosty, magical short stories from acclaimed children’s writers such as Michelle Magorian, Berlie Doherty, Lauren St John and Katherine Woodfine, and edited by author Abi Elphinstone.
Dreamsnatcher’s Abi Elphinstone heads up this gorgeous collection of wintery stories, featuring snow queens, frost fairs, snow dragons and pied pipers . . . from classic children’s writers such as Michelle Magorian, Geraldine McCaughrean, Jamila Gavin, Berlie Doherty, Katherine Woodfine, Piers Torday, Lauren St John, Amy Alward and Emma Carroll, among others.
An unmissable, enchanting treat of a collection that will be enjoyed for years to come, by readers of all ages.