Hello everyone! You might know that the two of us live in different parts of the world – Sabrina lives in Australia while I (Vera) live in Hungary – so we are currently in the middle of opposite seasons. This gave us the idea to do a fun recommendation post where we share a mixture of summer and winter recommendations. Obviously, what someone considers a winter or summer appropriate read is completely subjective, but we hope you can find something that fits your mood as well as the currently ongoing season in your country on our list.
Winter Book Recommendations With Vera
For me, there are two main genres I love to consume during the cold winter months: romance and thriller/horror. I know, I couldn’t have chosen two genres that are more different than these two, but I can explain, I promise. For me, much of winter, especially December, is all about romance novels. I love how comforting and relaxing they are, as they always come with a happy ending. It’s nice knowing that, even while the characters are separated or are hurting, there is 1000% going to be light at the end of the tunnel for them.
I know, I’m extremely predictable, but look, (1) I adore this series, (2) it brings me so much joy and comfort in stressful times, (3) I haven’t talked about it in a while on the blog (I think.) The two main reasons why I adore this series are its characters and its world-building. I love that Nalini Singh can deliver likable characters in each novel (there are a few exceptions, but with so many books it is expected that not every single character and couple would be a personal favorite) and that she always has something new to add to this world. If you are looking for a series in which you can get lost, Psy-Changeling is for you.
I wanted to bring you a really short, fast-paced romance novel that you can finish in a couple of hours and my choice fell on Technically, You Started It. The novel follows Haley, who starts texting with a boy named Martin Nathaniel Munroe II. As specific as that name sounds, Haley actually knows two boys with that name, one of whom she has a deep dislike for… If you enjoy the mistaken identity trope, Technically, You Started It will probably work for you. I recommend listening to the full-cast audiobook as it makes reading this novel really quick and fun.
After years of being interested in K.J. Charles’ novels, I finally picked some of them up at the end of December.. and I was really impressed! I think Charles’ characters are three dimensional and interesting, which makes it easy to get lost in her books. A Fashionable Indulgence follows Harry, who lived outside of the aristocracy his whole life, but now has to learn all about this world and its rules with the help of his mentor, Julius. These books are a great choice for winter because they are short, quick reads and I truly struggled to put them down; I read each book in the series in less than a day.
My final romance recommendation is a soft, wholesome YA contemporary, Foolish Hearts. This is easily one of the most comforting, sweetest books I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for a book that will feel like a warm hug. The best part of Foolish Hearts is that, besides having an adorable romance, it also focuses on friendship – we can see both a budding and an established friendship. If you are looking for something light for winter, I recommend not just Foolish Hearts, but also all of Emma Mills’ novels.
As I mentioned, the other genre I love consuming during winter is horror (and thriller.) I find these types of books really fitting for the winter months as they are the best to be consumed in the dark, which there is a lot of during winter. I love curling up with a blanket in the evenings with a horror or thriller novel, so let’s see some solid recommendations for these genres, shall we?
For some reason, I feel like Dowry of Blood is such a perfect winter read. It’s a beautifully written novel told in a long-letter format, and due to its length (it’s less than 300 pages long) it can be read in one seat / evening. It tells the story of a young woman, Constanta, who is turned into a vampire by an older man. At first, their relationship feels exciting, but as time goes by, Constanta starts to see the toxic traits of her husband. Dowry of Blood was one of the most special books I read in 2021 and I’d recommend it to anyone, baring those who would find abusive relationships triggering.
The Dead and the Dark is another favorite from 2021 – actually, if I had to write a list of the books that made me the most invested, this one would be towards the top. The novel follows Logan, a teen who moves to a small town with her ghost hunter fathers. My favorite part of this book was Logan’s complex relationship with her fathers, particularly with Brandon, as it was really well-written. Seeing their interactions and their past made me incredibly emotional. The slow-burn f/f romance was another highlight, even if it was a less significant part of the book than I expected. The Dead and the Dark feels like a fantastic winter read as it’s creepy, suspenseful, but also quite emotional.
Another 2021 favorite! Clown in a Cornfield is a fast-paced horror novel that does a fantastic job of utilizing some of the best horror tropes. The story follows Quinn who moves to a small town with her father. In an attempt to get to know her peers, Quinn accepts an invite to a party where, unexpectedly, a killer clown appears and starts massacring the teens gathered there. I loved how fast-paced this novel was – it was basically impossible to put it down, which is why I feel like this would be another great choice for a winter night.
To close this section, I wanted to throw in a mystery-thriller recommendation for those who aren’t comfortable reading horror but want something that’s in the same vein. Sweet Little Lies – and the whole Cat Kinsella series – follows Cat, a detective who investigates a new crime in each novel. I don’t tend to enjoy detective novels as I find them dry, but this series blew my mind – I found the character complex and well-written and the mysteries thrilling and full of twists. The main reason why I chose this one for my final recommendation is that it’s a series of three books so it’ll occupy your attention for a while if that’s what you’re looking for.
Summer Book Recommendations With Sabrina
My favourite books to read during summer are those set during hotter months or just generally hot, summery places. I find it nice to commiserate with the characters about the stifling heat! I also like quick reads this time of year – books that aren’t too dense and have a faster pace – so I can get some reading done while also having time and energy to participate in my favourite summer activities. All my recommendations today are books I would consider quick reads (no matter their page length) and they’re all summery in some aspect or another!
Everything I’ve read by Akemi Dawn Bowman has been incredibly hard-hitting, but this book, in my opinion, swings the hardest. It follows Rumi who is trying to cope with the death of her sister, Lea, as well as the grief caused by being sent away to Hawaii by her mother in the aftermath. Rumi and her sister used to write songs together, but since Lea’s death, Rumi’s relationship with music hasn’t been the same. I thought this story about grief was done so well, especially with how it managed to keep moments of lightness and hope – this was particularly helped by the side character Kai, a surfer who seems full of joy.
Set mostly in the heat of Accra, His Only Wife is a compelling, and oftentimes frustrating, book about a marriage. Afi, the main character, is all but forced into marrying some rich guy named Elikem – who, by the way, doesn’t even show up to their wedding – without knowing that there are many ulterior motives behind the marriage from everyone involved in its orchestration. There is so much drama packed into this short book that it kept me glued to the words, and I loved the way the story ended.
This is surprisingly the only magical book I’ve included in my list! The story follows Nita, who dissects supernatural beings to sell their body parts on the black market. When her mother brings in a specimen who is still alive, she starts having second thoughts. It mostly takes place in the tropical heat of a jungle and, despite its length, it’s a very fast paced read. It’s also quite dark and gory, especially considering it’s YA. I loved this book both because of its fast paced and action-packed nature, but also because of its exploration of morality, which continues to be dissected in the second book.
This YA contemporary follows Emoni, a young mother navigating senior year, trying to make plans for life after school and struggling to follow her dreams of cooking professionally when there are bills to pay. Although this book takes place over the course of a whole year, it still feels summery to me – how could it not, with this gorgeous cover? I sped through it in a day or so and I absolutely loved it. The main character is one of my favourites ever and I adored all the descriptions of food included in the story as well as the nuanced relationships between the characters.
I love Alyssa Cole’s romance novels and I’m happy to say I enjoyed this thriller by her too. It follows Sydney, whose Brooklyn neighbourhood is slowly, and strangely, changing. When she starts researching the history of her area for a tour she is creating, she finds some information that is even more disturbing than she is expecting. This story really got under my skin and the descriptions of the heat made everything feel all the more sinister. By the end, my heart was pounding and I was terrified for Sydney and her community.
This is another adult mystery/suspense, but this one takes place in rural Australia – and you truly feel that while reading it! The landscape is harsh and scorching, and is a crucial element of the plot, as the central mystery is the sun-induced death of the main character’s brother in the outback. I loved the focus on the characters and their relationships in this book – I was particularly compelled by the ways their shared grief impacted them. Of course, I also appreciated the intense atmosphere of the dangerous, isolated location and how that fuelled tension in the story.
I have no idea what season this book takes place during, but the tropical cover and the fact that I read it last January make me believe it was summer – either way, it’s a quick, fun romance that would be perfect for reading by the beach! It’s about two actors filming a new TV series, both of whom have their own reasons for not wanting to get into a relationship – especially publicly – right now, but as this is a romance… I’m sure you can guess that those reasons don’t stop them for long. I found this book so heartwarming and otherwise emotional – I highly recommend it!
Switching to a YA romance now, we have a favourite of mine from 2019! It takes place over spring break, not summer, but the weather is still warm, if not hot, throughout this book. It follows Zayneb and Adam who meet in Doha, Qatar, while they are both experiencing different and difficult challenges in their life – Zayneb has been suspended from school for standing up against a Islamophobic teacher and Adam has been struggling with the loss of his mother and a recent diagnosis of MS. I loved these characters’ interactions with each other and they constantly put a smile on my face, helping to balance the tough topics discussed in the story.
What are your favorite winter and summer reads? Out of curiosity, what season are you currently in?