the chills of winter | book recommendations

by - 2:00 PM

 Hello there! Happy DAY THREE of 2021's FIVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS where I attempt to post every day until Christmas starting December 20th. I originally wanted to do a Christmas playlist to books post today but was struggling to find books that matched the vibes so I thought I'd break that post into two and just share some books that give me all the wintery chills. 

I'm not much a seasonal reader but I have to admit that books with winter-esque settings or atmospheres tend to stand out to me more than ones with other seasonal references so here are five books from my shelves that fit perfectly with a cold winter night.

for the wolf by hannah whitten *

I'm actually currently reading this one and the cover is what inspired this whole post. I also think I subconsciously associate wolves with winter (see farther down the list for proof). This novel has been described as eerie, atmospheric, and folkloric and that checks off all the things I'm looking for in a fantasy when reading next to a candle. There's something about creepy forests and the monsters that live amongst the trees along with the sacrifice of an individual that just screams winter vibes I guess. The story follows Red who is the Second Daughter which resigns her fate to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Woods in hopes of bringing back the old gods. While I'm only 27 pages in at the moment, I'm already feeling chilled and the can confirm that the atmosphere is absolutely stunning.

the bear and the nightingale by katherine arden *
There is no winter book list if The Bear and the Nightingale isn't on it. It's been a minute since I've gushed over one of my favorite books ever so this is an opportunity not to be missed. Set in the freezing village of Northern Russia, the story follows Vasya as she navigates the crushing societal boundaries of medieval Europe alongside the changing landscape of religion versus cultural mythology. The entire trilogy is absolutely perfect for the winter season but the first book in particular is full of incredible descriptions of the harsh but beautiful Russian winter. That coupled with the delightful mythological creatures and the challenging conversation of Christianity's blind fervor makes this story both a magical adventure and a thought-provoking analysis.
read my review here

the wolf in the whale by jordanna max brodsky *

This is one of those books that I bought on an absolute whim, have heard almost nobody talk about, have to read since purchased years ago, and for some reason cannot seem to give it up. All I know about the premise is that it follows an Inuit shaman and a Viking as they try to save the world and prevent the gods from tearing everything apart. It's a combination of tradition and folklore that I haven't explored before which intrigues me and it's also been on every winter tbr list I've made since I bought it. Maybe this winter will be the year that I get around to picking it up and finally see if the allure of the synopsis lives up to my expectations.

the silence of bones by june hur *
I'll admit that this book has been on my radar for a while and I've been actively avoiding it since. The main reason being that I'm not the biggest historical kdrama fan and that factor of the story was heavily pushed during its publication. But, I have seen reviews about the atmosphere and the haunting vibes of the story and after many months, my interest is slowly getting piqued. I have also picked up June Hur's sophomore novel and found myself enjoying her writing style so maybe that's a sign to finally give this Joseon historical fiction mystery a chance. With murder, an unlikely friendship, and the chance to finally speak up, The Silence of Bones is slowly but surely growing on me.

the wolf and the woodsman by ava reid * 
Did I not say this post was almost entirely made of wolf related books? I read this back in June and despite the blazing temperatures outside had chills the entire time. This is another story with creepy trees and a forest that's out to kill anyone who crosses inside, but it also has some high-stakes scenes that take place with a blizzard and that's pretty wintery in my opinion. The Wolf and Woodsman is also a commentary on social and religious class as well as the displacement of cultures and it's absolutely fantastic so if you haven't picked this one up, definitely do so for the upcoming winter months.
read my review here

Will you believe me if I said that writing this list gave me actual chills? It's bright and sunny at the moment with no snow in sight but I swear I could feel the winter wind. That sounds incredibly cliched but now I just want to be on break already and read these books. I officially have one more day (technically a half day) and both teachers and students alike are counting down the hours.

What's your favorite winter read?

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  1. The Winternight Trilogy IS the winter books for me- they're just perfect! I have sooo many wintry books on my TBR, such as For the Wolf and Winterwood.

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    1. I'm literally waiting for it to snow here so I have an excuse to reread The Winternight trilogy! For the Wolf is also serving major wintery vibes so I can't wait to hear what you think!