I am collaborating today with a few other booktubers to share some books with cold settings! There is something so satisfying about reading a book under a cozy blanket with candles lit and a hot chocolate while reading a book that gives you chills! I tried to include a wide range of genres and will also be sharing some that are on my TBR.
Check out these videos as well:
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
The Bear and the Nightingale is a magical debut novel from a gifted and gorgeous voice. It spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent.
“Now hear me. Before the end,
you will pluck snowdrops at
midwinter, die by your own
choosing, and weep for a
I know that The Bear and the Nightingale is on every list like this, but that is for good reason! It wouldn’t feel right not to include it, so just add my name to the long list of readers who think that this is the ultimate wintery read. It is so atmospheric that it gives you chills and you can almost physically feel the cold. That is such a testament to Katherin Arden’s writing. The Russian wilderness is almost a character itself, but the story is also strong and Vasilisa is an easy character to root for.
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.
When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk–grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh–Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar.
But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love.
Channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale, Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry that readers will want to return to again and again.
Spinning Silver is my most recent read and one that I have been putting off since I did not get along with Uprooted, which was also written by Naomi Novik. Many people told me I would still love this and they were so right! This gave me similar feelings to The Bear and the Nightingale, which is something I have been searching for. So atmospheric and chilling!
A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, Burial Rites evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
“Now comes the darkening sky and a cold wind that passes right through you, as though you are not there, it passes through you as though it does not care whether you are alive or dead, for you will be gone and the wind will still be there…”
Burial Rites is arguably my favourite historical romance, but I am definitely due for a reread. It is set in Iceland and is based on the true story of a woman who has been convicted of murdering her former master and is facing execution. She is placed with a family who will hold her until the day of her execution and we see them form bonds with her and learn her side of the story. It is so harrowing and the isolated setting helps with that.
Atlanta is blanketed with snow just before Christmas, but the warmth of young love just might melt the ice in this novel of interwoven narratives, Black joy, and cozy, sparkling romance—by the same unbeatable team of authors who wrote the New York Times bestseller Blackout!
As the city grinds to a halt, twelve teens band together to help a friend pull off the most epic apology of her life. But will they be able to make it happen, in spite of the storm?
No one is prepared for this whiteout. But then, we can’t always prepare for the magical moments that change everything.
From the bestselling, award-winning, all-star authors who brought us Blackout—Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon—comes another novel of Black teen love, each relationship within as unique and sparkling as Southern snowflakes.
Whiteout is written by the same authors as Blackout, except this reads more like a novel than a collection of short stories. The highlight of the book for me was the setting. All of these romances take place during a blizzard in Atlanta, one that no one was prepared for. We get some great scenes of characters stuck on the highway, in a mall, at the airport, etc. This was really a sweet story and one that good be read in one sitting. It is not quite as good as Blackout but is worth checking out nonetheless.
With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow.
The community leadership loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again. Guided through the chaos by an unlikely leader named Evan Whitesky, they endeavor to restore order while grappling with a grave decision.
I have been wanting to read Moon of the Crusted Snow for years and I finally got to it and am so happy that I did. The cold and isolated setting is so important to the story, so I can see why it ends up on a lot of lists like this one. The author has said on Twitter that the sequel, Moon of the Turning Leaves, comes out next year and that title is giving me fall vibes.
Welcome to winter in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec, where the villagers are preparing for a traditional country Christmas, and someone is preparing for murder.
No one liked CC de Poitiers. Not her quiet husband, not her spineless lover, not her pathetic daughter—and certainly none of the residents of Three Pines. CC de Poitiers managed to alienate everyone, right up until the moment of her death.
When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Québec, is called to investigate, he quickly realizes he’s dealing with someone quite extraordinary. CC de Poitiers was electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament. And yet no one saw anything. Who could have been insane enough to try such a macabre method of murder—or brilliant enough to succeed?
With his trademark compassion and courage, Gamache digs beneath the idyllic surface of village life to find the dangerous secrets long buried there. For a Quebec winter is not only staggeringly beautiful but deadly, and the people of Three Pines know better than to reveal too much of themselves. But other dangers are becoming clear to Gamache. As a bitter wind blows into the village, something even more chilling is coming for Gamache himself.
A Fatal Grace is the second book in the Inspector Gamache series, but these can definitely be read out of order! The series is set in a fictional town in Quebec called Twin Pines, so it inherently has some wintery vibes. A Fatal Grace in particular works for this because someone is found in the middle of a frozen lake during a curling tournmanet and they have been electrocuted. Wild!
When Holly White’s fiance cancels their Christmas Eve wedding with less than two weeks to go, Holly heads home with a broken heart. Lucky for her, home in historic Mistletoe, Maine is magical during Christmastime–exactly what the doctor prescribed. Except her plan to drown her troubles in peppermints and snickerdoodles is upended when local grouch and president of the Mistletoe Historical Society Margaret Fenwick is bludgeoned and left in the sleigh display at Reindeer Games, Holly’s family tree farm.
When the murder weapon is revealed as one of the wooden stakes used to identify trees on the farm, Sheriff Evan Grey turns to Holly’s father, Bud, and the Reindeer Games staff. And it doesn’t help that Bud and the reindeer keeper were each seen arguing with Margaret just before her death. But Holly knows her father, and is determined to exonerate him.The jingle bells are ringing, the clock is ticking, and if Holly doesn’t watch out, she’ll end up on Santa’s naughty list in Twelve Slays of Christmas, Jacqueline Frost’s jolly series debut.
I had the throw a wintery cozy mystery on this list because there are a lot of them and I think they create the perfect atmosphere and are ideal for this time of year. Twelve Slays of Christmas is my favourite Christmas mystery, and I recommended marathoning the entire series. The town is caled Mistletoe and it is so witnery and Christmasy. Just look at the cover!
You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you.
Because this book is FULL of impossible things.
Are you still reading?
Then let us begin . . .
A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.
I think there are a lot of fun, wintery middle grade books out there that are perfect to read in one sitting. You will find a few on my TBR! I have read A Boy Called Christmas and it was an adorable wintery adventure story. I read the entire series last year and it made me feel so festive and cozy. I also recommend the movie adaptation!
In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over what really happened. This gripping work of literary nonfiction delves into the mystery through unprecedented access to the hikers’ own journals and photographs, rarely seen government records, dozens of interviews, and the author’s retracing of the hikers’ fateful journey in the Russian winter. A fascinating portrait of the young hikers in the Soviet era, and a skillful interweaving of the hikers narrative, the investigators’ efforts, and the author’s investigations, here for the first time is the real story of what happened that night on Dead Mountain
There are actually a few nonfiction titles that I could have included on this list because I went through a phase where I was reading a lot of books about mountain climbing. Dead Mountain is the one that has stayed with me because it is truly harrowing and I thought that the theory that the author poses at the end was compelling.
A thriller about four strangers, a blizzard, a kidnapped child, and a determined young woman desperate to unmask and outwit a vicious psychopath
A kidnapped little girl locked in a stranger’s van. No help for miles. What would you do?
On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.
Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.
Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her?
There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?
Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.
But who can she trust?
I wanted to include No Exit on this list even though I didn’t love it because it is super wintery and isolated and it is a beloved books by many. It just taught me that I don’t enjoy this type of thriller where you know from the beginning who the killer is, but there is no denying that this is chilling in every sense of the word.
Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart when her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf—the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an ultimatum: If she lives with him for one year, he will ensure her father makes it home safely. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes.
In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, each room must be sewn together to keep the home from unraveling, and something new and dark and strange lies behind every door. When centuries-old secrets unfold, Echo discovers a magical library full of books-turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, the rooms begin to disappear, and Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up, otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.
Echo North is another book I didn’t personally love but still think is worth recommending on a list like this.
Ellie Christie is thrilled to begin a new chapter. She’s recently returned to her tiny Colorado hometown to run her family’s historic bookshop with her elder sister, Meg, and their friendly bookshop cat, Agatha. Perched in a Swiss-style hamlet accessible by ski gondola and a twisty mountain road, the Book Chalet is a famed bibliophile destination known for its maze of shelves and relaxing reading lounge with cozy fireside seats and panoramic views. At least, until trouble blows in with a wintery whiteout. A man is found dead on the gondola, and a rockslide throws the town into lockdown—no one in, no one out.
He was a mysterious stranger who visited the bookshop. At the time, his only blunders were disrupting a book club and leaving behind a first-edition Agatha Christie novel, written under a pseudonym. However, once revealed, the man’s identity shocks the town. Many residents knew of him. Quite a few had reason to want him dead. Others hide secrets. The police gather suspects, but when they narrow in on the sisters’ close friends, the Christies have to act.
Although the only Agatha in their family tree is their cat, Ellie and Meg know a lot about mysteries, and they’re not about to let the situation snowball out of control. The Christie sisters must summon their inner Miss Marples and trek through a blizzard of clues before the killer turns the page to their final chapter.
People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.
Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.
Everyone’s invited…everyone’s a suspect…
For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.
All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.
They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.
Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.
The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.
Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.
Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?
“One night in December, a corpse is found in Room 622 of the Hotel Verbier, a luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps. A police investigation begins without definite end, and public interest wanes with the passage of time.
Years later, the writer Joel Dicker, Switzerland’s most famous literary ingenue, arrives at that same hotel to recover from a bad breakup, mourn the death of his longtime publisher, and begin his next novel. Little does Joel know that his expertise in the art of the thriller will come in handy when he finds himself investigating the crime. He’ll need a Watson, of course: in this case, that would be Scarlett, the beautiful guest and aspiring novelist from the next room, who joins in the search while he tries to solve another puzzle: the plot of his next book.
Meanwhile, in the wake of his father’s passing, Macaire Ebezner is set to take over as president of the largest private bank in Switzerland. The succession captivates the news media, and the future looks bright, until it doesn’t. The bank’s board, including a certain Lev Levovitch-Geneva’s very own Jay Gatsby-have other plans, and Macaire’s race to the top soon becomes a race against time… A matryoshka doll of a mystery built with the precision of a Swiss watch. Joel Dicker presents a diabolically addictive thriller where a love triangle, a power struggle, shocking betrayals and dangerous envy play out against the backdrop of a not so quiet Switzerland, where the truth twists and turns into something no reader will see coming. A European phenomenon, Dicker’s latest page-turner is his most personal novel yet”
When Gerta’s friend Kay is stolen away by the mysterious Snow Queen, it’s up to Gerta to find him. Her journey will take her through a dangerous land of snow and witchcraft, accompanied only by a bandit and a talking raven. Can she win her friend’s release, or will following her heart take her to unexpected places?
A strange, sly retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “Snow Queen,” by T. Kingfisher, author of “Bryony and Roses” and “The Seventh Bride.”
Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn’t believe in anything that can’t be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia’s help.
As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy’s own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.
A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale is about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.
It sounded like a respectable and worthy enough death for an explorer – tumbling from an ice bridge to be impaled upon a mammoth tusk – but Stella really, really didn’t want that to happen, just the same.
Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages . . .
When Stella and three other junior explorers get separated from their expedition can they cross the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale?
9 thoughts on “Books With Cold Settings // Recommendations & TBR”
Great list! Echo North and The Bear and the Nightingale are good. 😍
Burial Rites came on my radar when I watched your video!
Yay! That makes me happy!
Love to see Beartown on your TBR – that book was so great! And even though I never picked up the sequels, that one stayed with me for sure.
There’s something special about Fredrik Backman!
haven’t read Arden’s book yet, but I keep wanting to read it only during the chilly or winter months 😂
Now is the perfect time!!
This is a fantastic list! Out of all of them, I’ve only read The Bear and the Nightingale and A Boy Called Christmas but so many of these books look brilliant. Time to open up the TBR for additions again!
If you enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale, you have to read Spinning Silver!!