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Staff Picks: 5 Books We’ve Been Saving for Winter

December 13 2021
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With temperatures dropping and festivities all around, it’s finally time to pull out the winter treats we’ve been waiting for all year. Yes, indeed, this means peppermint hot chocolate, snowman-building materials, and the wintry novels we’ve come across but haven’t felt ready to curl up with yet. Here are all the books we’ve been saving for winter and that’ll be sure to keep you cozy and warm through the end of the year!

Eight Perfect Hours
by Lia Louis

Molly’s Pick: Every year my book club dedicates our December pick to something cozy and charming. I love a beach read, but there’s no better reading atmosphere than a fleece blanket, a mug of hot chocolate, and twinkling lights. This year’s selection, EIGHT PERFECT HOURS by Lia Louis, was an easy one. We all really loved her last novel, DEAR EMMIE BLUE, so one look at the cover for EIGHT PERFECT HOURS was all we needed. And the plot sounds so endearing: Noelle is on her way home from a disappointing college reunion when she gets stranded alone in a traffic jam during a blizzard. All hope is lost until a handsome passenger from a nearby car, Sam, knocks on her window and offers to help. The two spend eight perfect hours together, but once the roads are clear, they assume they’ll never cross paths again . . . until fate intervenes. As soon as I make my first batch of holiday cookies, I’m going to dig in to this sure-to-be-charming novel.

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Eight Perfect Hours
Lia Louis

“I read Eight Perfect Hours in one sitting, in four perfect hours, because I couldn’t bear to put it down without knowing the ending. Lia Louis has become a must-buy author for me.” —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author

In this romantic and heartwarming novel, two strangers meet in chance circumstances during a blizzard and spend one perfect evening together, thinking they’ll never see each other again. But fate seems to have different plans. From the acclaimed author of the “swoon-worthy…rom-com” (The Washington Post) Dear Emmie Blue.

On a snowy evening in March, thirty-something Noelle Butterby is on her way back from an event at her old college when disaster strikes. With a blizzard closing off roads, she finds herself stranded, alone in her car, without food, drink, or a working charger for her phone.

All seems lost until Sam Attwood, a handsome American stranger also trapped in a nearby car, knocks on her window and offers assistance. What follows is eight perfect hours together, until morning arrives and the roads finally clear. The two strangers part, positive they’ll never see each other again but fate, it seems, has a different plan. As the two keep serendipitously bumping into one another, they begin to realize that perhaps there truly is no such thing as coincidence.

With plenty of charming twists and turns and Lia Louis’s “bold, standout voice” (Gillian McAllister, author of The Good Sister), Eight Perfect Hours is a gorgeously crafted novel that will make you believe in the power of fate.

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MENTIONED IN:

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The Heart of Henry Quantum
by Pepper Harding

Emily’s Pick: I’m a huge fan of Love Actually and Fredrik Backman’s A MAN CALLED OVE, so Pepper Harding’s THE HEART OF HENRY QUANTUM, a blend of both, is a book I’m really looking forward to reading this winter. The premise sounds like a storyline that could’ve easily developed between Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson’s characters in Love Actually. When middle-aged, unhappy Henry Quantum forgets to buy a Christmas present for his wife, he sets out two days before the holiday and ends up running into his ex-lover, Daisy—and their old flame reignites. We follow the various parties involved in this love triangle, evoking themes of heartbreak and unrequited love. A bittersweet story for readers who enjoy books on the sadder side around the holidays. 

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The Heart of Henry Quantum
Pepper Harding

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Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel

Emily’s Pick: I don’t know what it is about royal historical fiction that just begs to be read in the wintertime, but I know that WOLF HALL is the one that’s been calling out to me for months. Told from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, we follow along as he manages the volatile temper of Henry VIII and manipulates the Tudor court during one of the most fascinating eras of history. The stakes are high, the characters are complex, and the settings are grand. I can’t wait to dig in.  

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Wolf Hall
Hilary Mantel

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MENTIONED IN:

Staff Picks: 5 Books We’ve Been Saving for Winter

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The Butterfly House
by Katrine Engberg

Heather’s Pick: Nordic noir all but demands to be read in winter, right? Maybe that’s why I’m ready to bundle up and open the door to THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE, Katrine Engberg’s second Kørner and Werner mystery novel. It has been on my TBR list for months, but I must have subconsciously known I’d need it now. After solving the gruesome murder of a young woman in THE TENANT, Copenhagen homicide detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner catch another big case. Though Werner’s supposed to be on maternity leave and Kørner’s newly divorced, the partners will do whatever it takes to find out who’s killing innocent patients at one of the city’s top hospitals. 

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The Butterfly House
Katrine Engberg

“[E]ngaging, inventive…brimming with mystery and intrigue” —Crime by the Book

In this “engrossing piece of Nordic noir” (Booklist, starred review) and sequel to the #1 international bestseller The Tenant, detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner race to solve a series of sordid murders linked to some of the most vulnerable patients in a Danish hospital.

Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing. But in the coronary care unit at one of Copenhagen’s leading medical centers, a nurse fills a syringe with an overdose of heart medication and stealthily enters the room of an older male patient.

Six days earlier, a paperboy on his route in central Copenhagen stumbles upon a macabre find: the naked body of a dead woman, lying in a fountain with arms marked with small incisions. Cause of death? Exsanguination—the draining of all the blood in her body.

Clearly, this is no ordinary murder. Copenhagen investigator Jeppe Kørner, recovering from a painful divorce and in the throes of a new relationship, takes on the case. His partner, Anette Werner, now on maternity leave after an unexpected pregnancy, is restless at home with a demanding newborn and an equally demanding husband. While Jeppe pounds the streets looking for answers, Anette decides to do a little freelance sleuthing. But operating on her own exposes her to dangers she can’t even begin to fathom.

As the investigation ventures into dark corners, it uncovers the ambition and greed that festers beneath the surface of caregiving institutions—all the more shocking for their depravity—and what Jeppe and Anette discover will turn their blood as cold as ice…

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In a Holidaze
by Christina Lauren

Kaitie’s Pick: As a lover of all things rom-com and all things Christmas season, and a newfound fan of Christina Lauren, I’ve been saving this book all year to read at the right time. This novel opens with down-on-her-luck Maelyn Jones getting trapped in a Groundhog Day–style time loop, where she’ll navigate one hilarious escapade after another in her search for true love and happiness. Add in two handsome brothers, a little Christmas magic, Christina Lauren’s trademark wit and high jinks, and a whole lot of romance, and this will be the perfect read for me to curl up with in front of the fire and celebrate the holiday season.

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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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Photo credit: iStock / beralinka

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