Winter Book Crush: Cozy Up to 10 Hot Cocoa Reads

Winter book crush collageIn the words of the late David Cassidy,

“C’mon, get cozy!”

Well, he said “happy,” but in my book its the same thing. It started snowing today. As a Canadian expat, the sight brings me joy. Yes, I hate the icy roads as much as anyone, but winter is the best time for flat-out coziness.

I’m talking about nuzzling into blankets, luxuriating in the glow of candles, lamps and strings of twinkly lights. Embracing the “hygge” life, we sip hot chocolate with jaunty little marshmallows. It also begs–BEGS!–for a good book, a story to lose oneself in as we watch the snowflakes drift down to earth.

I love this time of year! And I especially love reading the coziest of books, 10 of which I have rounded up for you here. By the way, I enjoyed having a contest for my Fall book blog (See the lovely Terry of Canada below, holding her prize!).

Let’s do it again! Simply comment on what book on this list you wanna read and why (we want to know why, because we are book nerds), and I will randomly choose a winner. You can then decide on a book from this list as your prize!

Ready to get your cozy on?


Photo credit Brenda Godinez @Unsplash

1. Library at the Edge of the World

Winter premise crush Library at the Edge of the World

I gasped when I saw this title and gasped again when I saw the cover! You will believe me if I say I gasped again when I saw that this takes place in Ireland (which I recently found out, via Ancestry DNA, was one of four places in the world where my ancestors have recently lived; ie my “genetic community”). A gasping trifecta!

Here’s a review snippet from a fan:

“Much like a cup of tea and a cozy afghan, The Library at The Edge of the World is the perfect book to hunker down with. Prepare to be transported.” (LibraryReads, (Elizabeth Angelastro, Manilus Library, Manilus, NY )

 2. Mr. Dickens and His Carol

Winter Premise Crush Mr. Dickens and his Carol 

From a review by Anthony Doerr:

A charming, comic, and ultimately poignant story about the creation of the most famous Christmas tale ever written. It’s as foggy and haunted and redemptive as the original; it’s all heart, and I read it in a couple of ebullient, Christmassy gulps.” ―Anthony Doerr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All The Light We Cannot See

“Ebullient Christmassy gulps?” Yes, please. I’ll have what he’s having!

P.S. Reading this one now and am loving all the Dickensian, Christmassy details!

 3. Prairie Fire

Winter premise crush Prairie Fires

You guys, this biography of our girl Half-Pint is ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW‘S 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2017!

“Millions of readers of Little House on the Prairie believe they know Laura Ingalls―the pioneer girl who survived blizzards and near-starvation on the Great Plains, and the woman who wrote the famous autobiographical books. But the true saga of her life has never been fully told.

From what I’ve heard, this is pretty nitty gritty. I for one would invite the chance to know one of my lit heroines better. You?

4. The Deal of a Lifetime

winter Premise crush Deal of a Lifetime

I have heard from my bookish friends on Instagram that this is really NOT a Christmas story, though it kicks off on Christmas Eve. Reading the description of this short novel grabbed me, though, and made me want to read it in any season:

“Overwhelmed by the responsibility of fatherhood, he took the easy way out and left his wife and little boy twenty years ago to pursue professional success. Now he is left wondering if it’s too late to forge a relationship with his son, who seems to be his opposite in every way—prizing happiness over money, surrounded by loving friends in a cozy town where he feels right at home.

 5. Murder on the Orient Express

winter premise crush murder on the orient express

Need I say more? Aunt Agatha, as I call her, for no good reason except that one of my favorite bookstores, in bookish Ann Arbor, Michigan, is called “Aunt Agatha’s New and Used Mysteries, Detection, and True Crime Books,” is having a moment. The movie and all the attendant interest in cozy mysteries make me want to delve in. My 16-yo son just read and relished it, and my book club is giving this a crack in early January.

 6. Dear Fahrenheit 451

winter premise crush Dear Fahrenheit 451

I adore that this book exists at all, never mind that it’s written by a librarian and that it’s really funny, and it’s about books and more books…

“In Dear Fahrenheit 451, librarian Annie Spence has crafted love letters and breakup notes to the iconic and eclectic books she has encountered over the years. From breaking up with The Giving Tree (a dysfunctional relationship book if ever there was one), to her love letter to The Time Traveler’s Wife (a novel less about time travel and more about the life of a marriage, with all of its ups and downs), Spence will make you think of old favorites in a new way.”


7. The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living

Winter book crush City Baker

Again, even the title and the cover make me feel as snug as a bug in a rug, and that was before I knew about the  “cinnamon-scented” thing:

“Miller elevates the story by turning it into a Pinterest fantasy of rural America. . . [Her] visions of bucolic Vermont landscapes, cinnamon-scented kitchens, and small-town friendliness make this reverie of country life an appealing one.” –The New York Times Book Review

P.S. Louise is a real baker!

8. Little Women board book

Winter book crush Little Women

I can’t get enough of these ultra charming Baby Lit board books, illustrated by Allison Oliver. As I said in my Fall book blog, there’s a new one about my favorite, Anne of Green Gables, and you can be SURE that if you are my little great-niece that is what you are getting for Christmas! Digging a little, I discovered there is also one about my next favorite, “Little Women”!

9. Victora & Albert: A Royal Love Affair 

Winter premise crush Victoria and Albert

About a year ago, I was positively moonstruck by the “Victoria” series on PBS. So dazed was I that I ordered “Victoria,” the companion novel, and swooned my way through the whole thing.

Guys, Daisy Goodwin, the show’s creator, is a fine writer, and in fact was a novelist before creating the show. I can’t wait to read all about Victoria and Albert as a companion to Season 2! (Which debuts in the US January 14!)



10. Vivian in Red

winter premise crush Vivian in Red

If you love all things theater and Broadway, you’ll be beguiled by Michigan author–and my lunch friend–Kristina Riggle’s satisfying page-turner about an 88-year-old man who remembers his lost love, Vivian in Red. (Yes, “lunch friend.” We are ladies who lunch!)

Vivian in Red is an enchanting swirl of love, family, history, theater, and an ode to what we leave behind and what we still have left to discover. Add Kristina Riggle to the list of historical fiction masters.”
—Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of In Twenty Years

Alrighty, then. That was some cozy, good, clean fun! Tell me, which one of these books enticed you like a flashy ice fishing lure on a frozen lake?

And why? We all want to know WHY. 

Spill all your innermost thoughts in the comments below and be eligible to win your favorite! And check out this pic of my Fall books blog winner, Terry of Canada, holding her pick/prize “The Diary of a Bookseller.”



  1. Shannon Dunn says

    Let me just start out by saying that Baby Lit books are A-MA-ZING, my Lili is getting the Anne book for Christmas as well, and we already have Little Women, which is one of my favorites as well! As for the rest, I am blown away by your choices! And it’s so hard to decide what I would go for first, but . . . Laura Ingalls Wilder? That is my girl! So I have to choose Prairie Fires as my top pick! Pretty sure this will be going on my Christmas List! Thanks for the post! <3

  2. says

    All of these books sound like perfect winter reads! The ones that speak most to me are Victoria & Albert – A Royal Love Affair, The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, The Library at the Edge of the World and Dear Farenheit 451. Of those, I think The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living speaks to me most. There is something so cozy about reading about small towns and baked goods! I also heard this one recommend recently on the Thanksgiving episode of From the Front Porch and it sounded captivating!

    • Lorilee says

      Sarah, isn’t it affirming when two sources recommend the same cozy book? :) I also love your mini list from my maxi list…Great picks!

  3. says

    Prairie Fires is on my shirt list. I recently finished Little House in the Big Woods with my preschool aged son, and the story is so different reading it as a grown up. I’ve always loved Laura ❤️
    Murder on the Orient Express I want to read, too, but I didn’t feel right choosing it since I’ve already read it twice. Follow it up with Death on the Nile and you’ll be a Christie fan for life.

  4. Dana says

    The Deal of a Lifetime is my pick! The tree on that cover is gorgeous!! I have fond memories of tree-hunting as a girl. The book description is also captivating. Something that this world is struggling with, and it seems like it would have a nice cozy (happy!) ending!

  5. Amalie Gee says

    But how do I pick just one?! I have a sweet spot for classics and historical lit, so anything related to Laura Ingalls Wilder or the British crown leaps out at me!! I’d have to say The Library at the Edge of the World is my top pick, however, firstly because it sounds entirely enchanting, but also because I’m headed to Dublin for the first time this summer! It’s one of my goals for reading this year: read a book set in your dream destination! -love, @fromthenightstand (Amalie)

  6. says

    I want to read them all, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d say the Dickens book or the Library at the Edge. But wow—what a list! And I love that they’re called “Hot Cocoa Reads!” So perfect!

    • Lorilee says

      Thank you, Jeana! I love the idea of reading with a mug of something chocolate-y nearby! Winter is the coziest time to read!

  7. says

    Great post! I’ve already read and LOVE “The Deal of a Lifetime.” Two selections intrigue me and are at the top of my TBR: “The Library…” because I love books about books and love Ireland ☘️…….and “Prairie Fires” because I was a Little House fan and because I’m a “dakotagirl”

    • Lorilee says

      Really, which Dakota? I am from Winnipeg so have been to North Dakota MANY times. :) Also, we went to the Black Hills when I was 10, so I have been to South, too! I consider myself sort of a Dakota girl, too, or at least a prairie girl.

  8. Lydia says

    Oh what a fab list! So hard to choose.

    I think I have to start with “The Library at the Edge of the World”. Ireland is my favourite place I’ve ever been. I read and re-read Maeve Binchy’s books because I love that they get at the heart of small town Ireland. Also, the book smell as I entered the Library at Trinity College Dublin is one of my most memorable moments. What an incredible place!

    • Lorilee says

      Lydia, I can only imagine that the library at Trinity College smells like heaven on earth! I, too, love Maeve and am hopeful that Library at the Edge of the World might fill that hole a bit since she died.

  9. Sarah Ferguson says

    Some of these are already on my TBR list.
    I think of these, the tops would be Dear Fahrenheit 451.
    However, The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living sounds really good and I loved the series about Victoria and Albert, so I should add Victora & Albert: A Royal Love Affair to my TBR list too.
    And… Since we did a Laura Ingalls Wilder trip when I was a kid, Prairie Fires would probably be good too.

    Too many choices!

  10. Jennifer Van Hoy says

    The ones I want to read are Mr. Dickens and his carol, Prairie Fires, and Victoria and Albert. I’m intrigued by them all.

  11. Elysa Mac says

    Oh goodness. How do I even choose when they all are great books??? As a lifelong Little House fan, I guess I’d choose PRAIRIE FIRES as my first option and since Muppets Christmas Carol is our family’s Christmas Eve tradition, I’d go for the Dickens one as my 2nd choice. But honestly. I’d like any of them I’m sure!

  12. Melodee says

    I REALLY want to read Mr. Dickens and His Carol. I love A Christmas Carol and many other Dickens books, so it sounds like it will be right up my alley!

  13. says

    How to pick just one?!? I’m intrigued by so many of them. I guess because of my love for all things Irish I would have to pick The Library at the End of the World. However I’m planning on reading that Ingalls Wilder book too because I keep hearing great things about it. And is that Dickens book what they based the new movie on? So much good stuff in this list! Thank you for hosting a giveaway.

    • Lorilee says

      It’s not the same Dickens story, but they tell me the movie and book are quite complimentary! I plan on going to the movie this weekend!

  14. says

    Library at the Edge of the World is on my list to read! I love books set in Ireland. I’ve never read Murder on the Orient Express but want to & the Victoria & Albert looks so interesting to me.

  15. says

    I’d like the Charles Dickens one. Yesterday my daughter and I went to see the movie The Man Who Invented Christmas; it was so good!! I would love to read more about Dickens and his Christmas Carol.

  16. Emma says

    Oh my goodness, so many of these are already on my TBR list! If I had to choose just one, I think it would be The Library at the Edge of the World. I really do love books about books… a love of books and reading is always conveyed in such a lovely way in those stories. The Little Paris Bookshop, The Bookshop on the Corner, and The Book Thief were all some of my absolute favourite reads. Also, living in a big city and being a country person makes me crave books set in small, quiet locations.

      • Emma says

        YES absolutely! I love Jenny Colgan’s writing – it has such a cozy and familiar feel to it, like she’s personally telling you the story over a cup of hot chocolate. It’s a lovely little read :)

  17. Jean says

    Oh Lorilee, you come up with great books!! I always look at the cover to see if it catches my interest and two of them did. Prairie Fires, of course any books about Laura is a must for me! But I must say, The Deal of a Lifetime really pulled me in with the description on the back, so I would sit with hot cocoa and this book!

    Thank you!

  18. Catherine says

    Although I had a bit of a hard time choosing, I would absolutely love Mr. Dickens and His Carol. It sounds like such a fantastic read and the bonus would be to pass it to my 13 year old bibliophile who loves all Dickens. It would be a double win!

  19. Lauren says

    So many good picks here, hard to choose just one! Would love to dive into “The Deal of a Lifetime” or “Mr. Dickens and His Carol.” The covers on both are enchanting, but more importantly it’s what’s inside that counts and I know I would not be disappointed in learning the history of A Christmas Carol (which holds a special place in our yearly Christmas traditions in my family), or a new Backman novel since he wowed me with A Man Called Ove.

    Thanks for a great list!

    • Lorilee says

      The cool thing is, with your two picks, is that the Backman book is so short. You could read both together in a jiffy!

  20. says

    Oh my. What an awesome list, Lorilee. I’d love any one of them! For sure the Dickens one is tops on my list. I’ve been a Dickens girl for years. My Tiny Tim and Scrooge plus houses are all set up for Christmas. I’d love to read the backstory! Oh, and the Fredrik Backman is a definite TBR. I loved Ove. I’m reading Bear Town right now. Really different so far. I just love the Backman cover! And you’ve introduced me to the Baby Lit board books. I don’t have many littles in my life right now, but can I just get this for myself!?! Then there’s The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living. I’m feeling a little greedy. But all of these are going on my TBR list. Thank you, you wise readerly girl you!

    • Lorilee says

      Thank you for calling me a “wise, readerly girl”! :) I think you would enjoy the Dickens book, which is what I am reading right now.

  21. Carrie says

    Oh my, these ALL look so good! I already own the Babylit Little Women (and many others), but the rest were new to me. I think I would probably pick the Library at the Edge of the World, because the cover and title both caught my eye, but honestly I will be adding most of the others to my “want-to-read list” as well!

  22. Ruth says

    My choice to read first would be Library at the End of the World. Ireland is also my maternal ancestral home! I’m intrigued by the beauty of this country. Along with 2 of my daughters and 2-3 of my granddaughters, we have a WISH to travel to Ireland and also Scotland and Wales. Maybe someday we’ll get there. I can live vicariously through books set in those countries.

  23. Barbara Pollman says

    Several of these have caught my eye, especially The Library at the Edge of the World and Dear Fahrenheit 451. I love stories about books and book lovers! I am particularly interested in Mr. Dickens and His Carol, because A Christmas Carol is my favorite Dickens and my favorite holiday read.

  24. Alicia Mae says

    Hot cocoa reads is the perfect description! And ahh what lovely books, all of them. I’m so torn– Library at the End of the World, Prairie Fires, and Mr. Dickens and His Carol jumped out at me in particular… I think I’d settle on Prairie Fires. Laura Ingalls Wilder is truly one of my favorites. In elementary school I wrote many a book report and author biography paper on her works/ her :) And I managed to convince my parents to drive us all out to De Smet to visit the family’s homestead for my 9th birthday. I will say, the best part has been introducing her/sharing her with my (much younger) little sister.

    • Lorilee says

      You know, ‘Mom and Dad, let’s drive to South Dakota for my birthday.’ :) How fun! Please tell me you lived close by-ish?

          • Alicia Mae says

            Nebraska is wonderful ❤️ Sadly no, at least not that I remember, but I’d love to go back and visit it someday! It wasn’t until after we moved to the south that I discovered Willa Cather. Perhaps another road trip is in order…

  25. says

    How does a bookish person choose which one they want most? I love Louisa May Alcott, an independent successful woman before that was done. But I also love Dickens, the muppets Christmas Carol was the first movie I ever saw in theaters without a grownup! And Library at the edge of the world looks perfect. I found out recently I am part Scottish (which I had always suspected in my heart) which is kind of close to Ireland? Mostly I love a good setting. And how about the City Bakers guide to country Living? It takes place in Vermont, White Christmas is my favorite Christmas movie! Thanks for the fun giveaway.

  26. Therese says

    Oh, I love a give away! I am eager to read Mr. Dickens and his Carol. I love reading the original “A Christmas Carol” and taking that trip back in time. This new book seems like a new adventure to a friendly place! Thanks for the offer!

  27. Ashleigh says

    Victoria and Albert! I must keep going with the series! Here in Arizona is when I finally get to grab a blanket and read outside. It’s the most magical time of the year!

  28. says

    Love this roundup! Enjoyed THE LIBRARY AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD (I totally want to live in her house) and have Victoria & Albert on my bedside table right now. Can’t wait to have kiddos to gift them all the BabyLit books but the one I’m most interested in is DEAR FARENHEIT 451 – how have I not heard of it until now?!

  29. Maegan says

    I was instantly drawn to A City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller because it looks so sweet and charming, perfect for cozy nights in. It also reminded me of a book I recently read, that I loved, about a cake baker; Memory of Lemon by Judith Fertig.

  30. Jana says

    All-time favorite is “Little Women.” More modern favorite MIGHT be “Angela’s Ashes.” Or “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” Or…too many to list. No matter what happens, I will add this book to my TBR list.

  31. Vanessa says

    Hi Lorilee,
    I love reading other people’s book list as well. So many books and so little time it seems. I was immediately drawn to Dear Fahrenheit 451. I do like other books on the list but Fahrenheit 451 is my all time favorite book. The first time I read this book, it left such an impression on me that I told myself my future daughter would be named Clarisse Silence of the Lamb changed that… however Fahrenheit 451 will forever remain my favorite book. Love to see a spin on the story. Thanks for the blog!

    • Lorilee says

      Vanessa, I had to smile at your comment…”Silence of the Lambs changed that…” I imagine it would have that effect on the naming of your future daughter! :)

  32. Crystal Kieloch says

    What a great stack of books! Dear Fahrenheit 451 sounds terrific but there are several I’ll be looking forward to!!!

    • Lorilee says

      I just gave Dear Fahrenheit 451 as a gift yesterday at my writer’s group Christmas tea. The recipient was so excited!

  33. Whitney Holder says

    Wow! So many lovely books on this list! I don’t think I could choose just one to covet. Definitely Little Women. It was the first really nice classic I was given and read in the 4th grade. Victoria and Albert is also quite enticing, as is The Library at the Edge of the World. I also have Dear Fahrenheit 451 on my Wish List. I’ll be adding most of the titles from this list to my TBR list!

  34. Ashley Hendrickson says

    Little Women is, and will always be, my favorite book. I’ve come to love it and more and more as I grow older because it gives me a sense of determination. I relate so much to Jo and her tenacity, especially her tenacity for life—not so much of the writer type, however! She’s my hero and I can’t wait to share her with my daughter one day!

  35. Denise says

    Baby Lit Books: Little women.

    I saw it at the library but was not able to check it out. Running after my 4yr old daughter!

    It was so cute and it has all the little things she likes. Talk about a great introduction to the love of this story.

    What a great gift will it be!

  36. says

    I almost bought Library at the Edge of the World while out Christmas shopping yesterday, but I had decided before I left that I was done buying myself “gifts”. Glad to see you recommend it.
    I also LOVE the Baby Lit books, so that Little Women board book looks like a dream. I’d love to buy that and cozy up with the littles I babysit to read!

  37. Amanda wiseman says

    Just bought library at the end of the world and I can’t wait to read it! I keep looking at Mr Dickens and his Carol on Amazon and haven’t actually bought it, Victoria and Albert is also very tempting! I hadn’t hear of Vivian in red before but I think I will be adding that to my list.

  38. Peggy Savage says

    The description of The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living had me at “cinnamon-scented kitchen”! But I’d have to say that The Library at the Edge of the World comes skidding in at a close second. Because, face it, libraries are my happy place. Thanks for the opportunity to win a book because I’m so afraid that my TBR list might fall below 5000!

    • Lorilee says

      Peggy, they had me at “cinnamon-scented,” too! :) and I laughed at your comment about your TBR falling below 5000! Quelle horror!

  39. Karen Murphy says

    I would like to read Prairie Fires and Library at the End of the World especially. And the Dickens book and City Baker books also sound interesting.

  40. says

    I want to read every last one of them, but I MUST read Prairie Fires! Laura Ingalls Wilder is my absolute favorite. I’ve read everything she’s written. I just adore her.

    • Lorilee says

      I’ve just peeked at it, Michelle, but WOW! It’s astonishingly well written and so compelling–a must for any Laura fan!

  41. says

    Omigoodness, “Dear Farenheit 451″ really captured my attention. The inspiration title is one of my favorites, and the way she spins the title is enchanting.

  42. Jennifer Roudebush says

    Hard to choose between these, but I’d have to go with Vivian in Red. I’m a sucker for a love story and historical fiction! I’m also a Michigan girl (Holland), so I have to go with the Michigan author :).

  43. Lisa Watson says

    Prairie Fires is the book that speaks to me most. I grew up reading the Little House books many times. I even checked the yellow Little House on the Prairie cookbook out of my elementary school library dozens of times, often renewing it. As an adult I own this cookbook and all the novels. I still read the novels regularly. I also recall watching the TV show in the 70’s and 80’s and still watch it today. I often dream about a simpler life.

  44. Caitlin D. says

    I’ve been following your lovely Instagram feed for awhile, and I’ve just started your blog! What fun and great reading inspiration. :)

    I would love to read each and every book on this list, but Prairie Fires is particularly meaningful. My mom grew up adoring all of LHOP books and even named my sister after Caroline Ingalls. My sister and I shared her affinity for all things Laura Ingalls Wilder. I almost gasped when I saw that the author of Prairie Fires is also named Caroline! Whether or not I win this giveaway, I’ll be giving my mom this book for Christmas, and I hope to read it too!

  45. Paula McElrath says

    If I had a Holiday favorite it would be the Mary Janes Staples Adam Family Chronicles where they celebrate Christmas with a proper Knee’s Up!

  46. Ruth says

    Ohhh, so many good choices I’ve never even heard of! The Library at the Edge of the World totally grabbed my attention and kept it through the entire list. I mean library + Ireland?! Earlier this year I read The Bookshop on the Corner and ever since I’ve been looking for another bookish book set in Ireland or Scotland. That Victoria and Albert book looks good too. I’ve mean meaning to watch the series!

  47. says

    Hard choice! I would say that with Christmas right around the corner and how much I loved the movie The man who invented Christmas, the Charles Dickens and his carol probably is standing out to me the most!

  48. Rebekah says

    I’m in loooove with the baby lit books and want all of them for my little one, but I’m also so intrigued by the Library at the edge of the world

  49. Melissa says

    Well for starters I want to read them all! I would have to put Prairie Fires at the top of my list, because I love Laura And everything to do with the Little House books.

  50. Rachel says

    I want to read all these books! Love your blog :)

    We bought our daughter the baby lit Little Women for her Christmas gift “to read”

    Merry Christmas to you!

  51. says

    I love them all but I have to say “Laura Ingalls” I love “The Library at the Edge of the Earth to. I’m a fan of little house still today and anything with a library in it I can read until the end of time!

  52. Sarah Hucks says

    I would love to read Prairie Fires. I love all things Laura Ingalls. My middle daughter and I have a bucket list dream to road trip to all of the Ingalls/Wilder homesites .

  53. Julie Curtis says

    Thank you for all the great suggestions. I just added several to my Overdrive app Wish List. I have too many items checked out that I have to finish first, one of which is Prairie Fires, which is EXCELLENT!

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