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Bundle These 8 Classic Gifts with Cozy Books for the Ultimate Holiday Season

December 10 2020

The holiday season is upon us, and that means it’s time to start shopping! But gift giving can be hard, especially if you don’t want to give your loved ones the same gift year after year. With that in mind, we’ve decided to pair a few of our go-to gift ideas with the books that will complement them perfectly. While you’re browsing the web for your friends and family this season, try switching it up with one of these bookish gifts!

For even more book gift ideas, check out Simon & Schuster’s official Books I Love to Give holiday gift guide!

The Eyes of the Queen
by Oliver Clements

Book Club Snacks (Wine or Tea)

Searching for the perfect gift for your friends who love sipping some wine while chatting about books? Look no further than THE EYES OF THE QUEEN by Oliver Clements. This historical fiction tale will have your pulse racing. Queen Elizabeth I is headstrong and brave, but after her armies are decimated, she needs to find a way to win the war against Spain that won’t cripple her nation. The Spanish are determined to eliminate any who defy their Catholic orthodoxy, so the English Queen needs a new kind of weapon, one that can sneak into the battle and reclaim lost ground. Thus, Her Majesty’s Secret Service is born, with the charismatic John Dee leading the charge. Dee is loyal only to the Queen and is willing to risk his life to follow through on her orders . . .

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The Eyes of the Queen
Oliver Clements

“[A] rollicking new historical thriller…taut, made-for-movie-theater tension and delicious, snickering-from-the-back-row wit.” —New York Times Book Review

In this first novel of the exhilarating Agents of the Crown series, a man who will become the original MI6 agent protects England and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I from Spain’s nefarious plan to crush the Age of the Enlightenment.

After centuries locked in an endless cycle of poverty, persecution, and barbarity, Europe has finally emerged into the Age of Enlightenment. Scientists, philosophers, scholars, and poets alike believe this to be a new era of reason and hope for all. But the forces of darkness haven’t completely dissipated, as Spain hunts and butchers any who dare to defy its ironclad Catholic orthodoxy.

Only one nation can fight the black shadow that threatens this new age, and that is Britain, now ruled by a brilliant young Queen Elizabeth I. But although she may be brave and headstrong, Elizabeth knows she cannot win this war simply by force of arms. After her armies have been slashed in half, her treasury is on its knees. Elizabeth needs a new kind of weapon forged to fight a new kind of war, in which stealth and secrecy, not bloodshed, are the means.

In this tense situation, Her Majesty’s Secret Service is born with the charismatic John Dee at its head. A scholar, a soldier, and an alchemist, Dee is loyal only to the truth and to his Queen. And for her, the woman he’s forbidden from loving, he is prepared to risk his life.

A visceral and heart-pumping historical thriller, The Eyes of the Queen is perfect for fans of Ken Follett and Dan Brown.

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One by One
by Ruth Ware

Scented Candles

If you’re drawn to a pine-scented, wintery candle as a gift, consider Ruth Ware’s latest thriller, ONE BY ONE. A group of employees at a tech start-up, Snoop, head to a luxury ski chalet in the French Alps for a corporate retreat. But upon arrival, tension develops among the colleagues. One of the cofounders of the company escalates things by bringing up a lucrative and contentious buyout. The company is on the brink—depending on how the shareholders vote, it could mean disaster or a massive payday. In an attempt to take a break from the weighty decision they must make, the group decides to hit the slopes and mull things over. While out on the mountain, they get separated, and then a mammoth avalanche hits, causing a power outage and leaving them stranded. When one among them is found dead, the anxiety and distrust escalate, and the group starts to dwindle one by one . . .

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One by One
Ruth Ware

“The Agatha Christie of our generation.” —David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Diabolically clever.” —Riley Sager, author of Final Girls

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Turn of the Key and In a Dark Dark Wood returns with another suspenseful thriller set on a snow-covered mountain.

Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.

When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech startup, organizes a weeklong trip for the team in the French Alps, it starts out as a corporate retreat like any other: PowerPoint presentations and strategy sessions broken up by mandatory bonding on the slopes. But as soon as one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. The storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, however, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit.

As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further…one by one.

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In a Holidaze
by Christina Lauren

Holiday Décor

Are you shopping for that friend or loved one who has their holiday decorations out of the closet by November 1? If so, the charming novel IN A HOLIDAZE by Christina Lauren is the perfect gift for fans of holiday cheer! Every year, Maelyn Jones and her family go to a cabin in snowy Utah with close family friends to partake in seasonal traditions and celebrate the holidays. But this year, Mae feels lost—she’s living with her parents again at the age of 26, hates her dead-end job, just made a huge mistake in her love life, and discovers that this will be their last year at their beloved holiday retreat. Dismayed as she drives away from the cabin after Christmas, Mae makes a plea to the universe: “Show me what will make me happy.” What comes next, Mae does not expect: the car crashes, and when she wakes, she realizes she’s trapped in a time loop, just like in the movie Groundhog Day. Stuck reliving December 20 over and over, she must figure out how to break free of this crazy situation and put her life back on track. This read had me laughing, swooning, and letting out a few expletives in frustration alongside Mae as she had to start the same day over again, right when she was getting so close to confessing her feelings to her crush!

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In a Holidaze
Christina Lauren

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

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Invisible Girl
by Lisa Jewell

Cozy Blankets

When it gets cold outside, who doesn’t love snuggling up under a warm blanket with a cozy mystery? Lisa Jewell’s INVISIBLE GIRL is an intricate thriller that will tuck you into the story with each page. Saffyre Maddox spent a few years under the care of a renowned child psychologist, Dr. Roan Fours. She doesn’t take it well when he decides their sessions should end and that Saffyre should move on. She tries to find ways to connect with him—like following him home and lurking outside his office. But through her stalking, she uncovers his secret and disappears into the night. Meanwhile, Owen lives across the street from the Fours family and has just been suspended from his teaching job due to allegations of sexual misconduct. While searching for professional advice online, he meets a charismatic and mysterious figure. Could Saffyre’s disappearance connect them all? Lisa Jewell’s stories always find a way to weave intricate plotlines together, and this mystery will keep you turning each page until you uncover the secrets these characters are hiding.

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Invisible Girl
Lisa Jewell

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

I absolutely loved Invisible Girl—Lisa Jewell has a way of combining furiously twisty, utterly gripping plots with wonderfully rich characterization—she has such compassion for her characters, and we feel we know them utterly… A triumph!” —Lucy Foley, New York Times bestselling author

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone returns with an intricate thriller about a young woman’s disappearance and a group of strangers whose lives intersect in its wake.

Young Saffyre Maddox spent three years under the care of renowned child psychologist Roan Fours. When Dr. Fours decides their sessions should end, Saffyre feels abandoned. She begins looking for ways to connect with him, from waiting outside his office to walking through his neighborhood late at night. She soon learns more than she ever wanted to about Roan and his deceptively perfect family life. On a chilly Valentine’s night, Saffyre will disappear, taking any secrets she has learned with her.

Owen Pick’s life is falling apart. In his thirties and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct—accusations he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel forums, where he meets a charismatic and mysterious figure.

Owen lives across the street from the Fours family. The Fours have a bad feeling about their neighbor; Owen is a bit creepy and suspect and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night. Could Owen be responsible? What happened to the beautiful missing Saffyre, and does her disappearance truly connect them all?

Evocative, vivid, and unputdownable, Lisa Jewell’s latest thriller is another “haunting, atmospheric, stay-up-way-too-late read” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author).

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Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
by Samin Nosrat, illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton

Cookware

What pairs best with the newest kitchen gadget you just got for the holidays? A cookbook, of course! This book has been a bestseller for a few years because it is that good! Whether cooking fuels your fire or you are just learning how to sauté, Samin Nosrat’s SALT, FAT, ACID, HEAT is the perfect holiday gift. Samin not only shares delicious recipes but also offers tips on how to prepare the ingredients for any dish. With this book, you’ll be able to prep the next holiday meal like a pro.

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Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
Samin Nosrat, illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton

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The Stationery Shop
by Marjan Kamali

Stationery

If your friend enjoys writing in a bullet journal, has a favorite pen, and loves to send handwritten notes, they would love to drift away into the story of THE STATIONERY SHOP by Marjan Kamali. In 1953 Tehran, Roya finds solace from the political upheaval in her country through the literary oasis that is her neighbored stationery shop. Among the books and pens and stationery is the wise shopkeeper, Mr. Fakhri, who plays matchmaker and introduces Roya to his other favorite customer, Bahman. Romance blossoms quickly and in just a few short months, on the eve of their wedding, the couple agrees to meet at the town square, but violence breaks out and Roya is unable to find Bahman. After desperately searching without luck, she loses faith and tries to move on. With a heart filled with sorrow, she seeks a new path. The story intricately weaves Roya’s coming-of-age tale with the historical events of Tehran’s political revolution.

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The Stationery Shop
Marjan Kamali

A poignant, heartfelt new novel by the award-nominated author of Together Tea—extolled by the Wall Street Journal as a “moving tale of lost love” and by Shelf Awareness as “a powerful, heartbreaking story”—explores loss, reconciliation, and the quirks of fate.

Roya, a dreamy, idealistic teenager living amid the political upheaval of 1953 Tehran, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood stationery shop, stocked with books and pens and bottles of jewel-colored ink.

Then Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—and she loses her heart at once. Their romance blossoms, and the little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran.

A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square when violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she moves on—to college in California, to another man, to a life in New England—until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did you leave? Where did you go? How is it that you were able to forget me?

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MENTIONED IN:

The Best of 2020: The Top 10 Reviews of the Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 15, 2020

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Librarian Picks: 9 Books I Recommend Reading This Summer

By Carol Ann Tack | June 11, 2020

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Popular Books in February

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 28, 2020

7 Books New in Paperback This February We Can’t Wait to Read

By Keturah Jenkins | February 10, 2020

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The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
by Dinah Bucholz

Harry Potter Memorabilia

This makes the perfect gift for any Potterheads on your holiday shopping list this year. I wish I could wave my wand and conjure up the amazing treats that they had in the books/movies. But since my wand only seems to work in Harry Potter World, and they never teach you the spell for turning ingredients into dishes, I guess I’ll have to make these foods the Muggle way. Luckily, THE UNOFFICIAL HARRY POTTER COOKBOOK has some amazing recipes that we can all use to experience Mrs. Weasley’s cooking.

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The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
Dinah Bucholz

“A fun way to get kids interested in Harry Potter also interested in food.” —New York Magazine

Conjure up feasts that rival the Great Hall’s, sweets fit for the Minister of Magic, snacks you’d find on the Hogwarts Express, and more! This bestselling unofficial Harry Potter cookbook is perfect for chefs of all ages, from new readers to longtime fans—no wands required!

Bangers and mash with Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Hogwarts dining hall.

A proper cuppa tea and rock cakes in Hagrid's hut.

Cauldron cakes and pumpkin juice on the Hogwarts Express.

With this cookbook, dining a la Hogwarts is as easy as Banoffee Pie! With more than 150 easy-to-make recipes, tips, and techniques, you can indulge in spellbindingly delicious meals drawn straight from the pages of your favorite Potter stories, such as:

Treacle Tart--Harry's favorite dessert

Molly's Meat Pies--Mrs. Weasley's classic dish

Kreacher's French Onion Soup

Pumpkin Pasties--a staple on the Hogwarts Express cart

With a dash of magic and a drop of creativity, you'll conjure up the entrees, desserts, snacks, and drinks you need to transform ordinary Muggle meals into magical culinary masterpieces, sure to make even Mrs. Weasley proud!

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I Would Leave Me If I Could.
by Halsey

Concert Tickets

If you were planning to surprise a loved one with concert tickets this holiday season, maybe hold off on buying them until we can gather in large crowds safely again. Instead, pick up Halsey’s first poetry collection, I WOULD LEAVE ME IF I COULD, which will earn you major points with fans of her music. In this collection, you’ll find Halsey’s lyrical storytelling about her life’s highs and lows so far. These autobiographical poems delve into family ties, sexuality, mental illness, and more.

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I Would Leave Me If I Could.
Halsey

Grammy Award–nominated, platinum-selling musician Halsey is heralded as one of the most compelling voices of her generation. In I Would Leave Me If I Could, she reveals never-before-seen poetry of longing, love, and the nuances of bipolar disorder.

In this debut collection, Halsey bares her soul. Bringing the same artistry found in her lyrics, Halsey’s poems delve into the highs and lows of doomed relationships, family ties, sexuality, and mental illness. More hand grenades than confessions, these autobiographical poems explore and dismantle conventional notions of what it means to be a feminist in search of power.

Masterful as it is raw, passionate, and profound, I Would Leave Me If I Could signals the arrival of an essential voice.

Book cover painting, American Woman, by the author.

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photo credit: iStock / Evgenia Glinskaia

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