Winter reads: the best books for December

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Grab your blanket, prepare your hot chocolate and get cosy as we delve into our must-read list

There really is no better time than winter to pick up a good book. Now that you’ve decked the halls, stocked up on blankets and topped up your tea supply, the only thing left to do is grab one of December’s most exciting new releases, and boy, there’s a lot to choose from. If you ask us, a winter read should be one full of mystery and thrill, just dark enough to match the haunting atmosphere of frosty nights. However, if mystery isn’t your niche, we’ve got heart-warming romance, fascinating celebrity autobiographies and even some magical fantasies to keep you warm this winter.

A Winter in New York, Josie Silver

If a winter read for you is a romance novel set in a snowy, dazzling landscape, then look no further than Josie Silver. Having written the million-copy bestseller, One Day in December, it’s safe to say that Josie knows a thing or two about a winter romance, and her latest book sings like a festive choir. A Winter in New York sees chef Iris arrive in the icy city of dreams after leaving behind a recent heartache. When she stumbles upon a gelateria that could be the saving grace to her culinary career, she also stumbles upon Gio, a leading man with a crisis of his own. Ensue: chaos, comedy and, of course, love.

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A Winter in New York, Penguin Books

The Vacation, John Marrs

Don’t hold your breath for any wintery settings in this one, as John Marrs’ latest release begins on the golden coast of Venice Beach. But worry not, its chilling storyline makes up for its sizzling backdrop. In a run-down backpackers’ hostel located on the beachfront, eight strangers find themselves corralled together, each hiding a secret from their past. If you enjoy complex characters, suspense and twists, we can guarantee that you won’t be able to put this one down. We can also guarantee that you probably won’t be able to guess the ending.

The Vacation, Pan Macmillan

My name is Barbra, Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand’s memoir has been long awaited, and it’s come at the perfect time. This winter, the world-renowned star takes us back to Brooklyn, where her story began, and tells the story of her path to success and becoming the first woman to write, produce, direct and star in a motion picture. Whether you’re a devotee or simply enjoy an inspirational story, this memoir will pull you deep into Streisand’s journey and leave you determined to take on your dreams. As Streisand says: “art challenges one to think”, and that’s exactly what this book does.

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My name is Barbara, Century

What the River Knows, Isabel Ibañez

Magical realism is a warming, transfixing genre that is the perfect antidote to a frosty night. This release by Isabel Ibañez boasts a beautiful combination of romance and magic that will keep your eyes glued to every page. Inez Olivera lives in the luxurious society of 19th century Buenos Aires, happily living in a bubble of bliss while her parents travel around the world. But when they mysteriously die, Inez travels to Cairo, determined to uncover the truth behind their deaths. What she finds in Egypt is just as enchanting and mystical as it is dangerous and thrilling.

What the River Knows, Hodderscape

After Eden: A Short History of the World, John Charles Chasteen

In his latest work, historian John Charles Chasteen argues that, to solve the problems of today, we must look to the past. In After Eden, he offers us a concise summary of the history of our world, exploring the phenomena of how we came to be, and how we ended up becoming so inhumane, despite our humanity. It’s in the past, he argues, that inspiration to live cooperatively, to end destruction and to face challenges together can be found.

Check & Mate, Ali Hazelwood

If you have TikTok, you’ve probably heard of Ali Hazelwood. If you haven’t, then it’s not too late to pick up your copy of The Love Hypothesis, which took the world by storm last year. Now, the author’s back with yet another romantic swoon-fest, and this one’s set in the world of competitive chess (The Queen’s Gambit, anyone?). This charming book is filled with witty prose, loveable characters and two rival chess players who are drawn to one another. Through the characters’ budding infatuation with winning, and each other, Hazelwood conceptualises yet another addictive relationship that we can’t help but root for.

Check & Mate, Sphere

The Engagement Party, Finley Turner

In The Engagement Party, Finley Turner brings us a whodunnit with a sexy, whirlwind of a twist. Kass Baptiste is newly engaged to Murray Sedgemont. When Kass arrives at her future in-laws’ home for an engagement party they’re throwing for her and their son, she’s shocked to discover that Murray’s family is one of the most powerful in North Carolina. As the party prep continues, Kass begins to receive anonymous threatening messages. What follows is a dead body found in the lavish home on the night of the event, Kass as a prime suspect and a deep investigation into her dark past and her fiancé’s family secrets.

 Pretty Boys are Poisonous: Poems: A Collection of F*cked up Fairy Tales, Megan Fox

At a glance, Megan Fox is the epitome of Hollywood glamour, drama and beauty. But behind her persona, she describes herself as having carried the sins of men throughout her life, and now, it’s her time to let them out. In this collection of wickedly funny, heart-breaking and dark poems, Fox chronicles all the ways in which she’s moulded herself to fit the expectations of others. Offering a truly honest reflection of a life in the spotlight, this collection of poems will have you thinking about the impact of fame and beauty, urging us to love ourselves before others.

Pretty Boys are Poisonous, Simon & Schuster

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