Fantastic Reads to Kickstart Your Holiday Spirit and Reading

“Reading takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.” 

Hazel Rochman

It’s officially cozy reading season. Grab your blankets, books, and preferred hot drink. Hunker down. Crack open a good book. At least, that’s how I love spending my winters or days when it’s even remotely cold outside. Sometimes, I really find it hard to get into the holiday spirit even when I do all of the above. Last year, I just wasn’t feeling it, but this year I’m definitely getting into the holidays more and finding that I want to read a lot of Christmas-themed books.

If you want to dive head first into the holiday season, I’ve the got book recommendations for you. Below are some of my favorite holiday reads, books that come highly recommended, and a few books that I can’t wait to read. I hope they help you get cozy and in the holiday spirit, or at least a fantastic reading mood!

The 12 Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

Tis the season for hilarious Christmas reads. Kate has given up on love but finds herself on 12 disastrous dates leading up to xmas. Maybe, just maybe love was under her nose the whole time. This is a book that will make you laugh out loud a LOT.

It’s endearing and it’s just the ultimate feel-good read complete with belly laughs. I never got into holiday books before, especially Xmas books until this one last year. Now I’m on the hunt for more like it.

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox

Identical twins switch lives during the days leading up to Christmas. Turns out all they want for Christmas is a different life until things start to go wrong and romance kindles some problems with their plan.

This book has been on my shelf for a year and I am so excited to jump into it this holiday season. It looks like such a fun twist on a holiday book and I love a good switching identity storyline, especially when humor is involved.

Cat Cafe Christmas by Codi Gary

Apparently I’m now a sucker for holiday romance books that have a ton of humor in them. Enemies to lovers is one of my all-time favorite tropes because some well-written banter, pranks, and other hijinks make me happy.

Kara is a vet who decides to open a cat cafe to find forever homes for adoptable cats, but running the business quickly turns into a nightmare. Ben is a marketing genius who schemes to help the cafe get back into the green even though the two don’t like each other. Can they find homes for the cats and save business? I can’t wait to find out.

The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict

The 12 days of Christmas just got a whole lot darker. There are 12 clues and 12 keys, but how many people will die before the 12 days are over? Endgame House hosts the Armitages’ annual Christmas Game and this year’s gift? The deed to the house.

Traversing current and past murders this whodunnit is sure to send shivers up your spine. This sounds like the perfect holiday read for people who love spooky season. I’ve got this on my shelf and it’s very high up on the TBR list for the season.

One Day in December by Josie Silver

One day in December when Laurie has given up on finding love, she makes a once-in-a-lifetime connection with someone through a window in a moment of pure magic. Then her bus pulls away. Laurie spends the next year combing the bus stop and areas nearby in hopes of finding the man she fell in love with at first sight. When her best friend gleefully introduces that same man as her new boyfriend at a party, Laurie deflates.

What follows is 10 years of heartbreak, incredible bonds, friendship, and a heartwarming story you won’t find anywhere else except in the pages of this book. I devoured this book and wish I could read it again for the first time. You’re in for a real treat with this one.

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

Rachel has a secret… she’s a Jewish woman who loves Christmas and hides her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family for over a decade. When her publisher asks her to write a Hanukkah romance her inspiration runs dry. To try to regain her writing inspiration and drive she attends the Matzah Ball even if it means having to work with her nemesis. As the unlikely duo spends more time together, Rachel starts to learn to love Hanukkah and maybe a certain someone she thought she hated.

A book about falling in love with your culture AND an enemies to lovers trope? Yes, please. It’s also refreshing to read stories that aren’t about Christmas since all other holidays get shoved in a corner during this season.

The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan

Any book by Jenny Colgan is going to be filled with a cozy atmosphere, a great plot, and all the heartwarming feelings. Add in Christmas and you’ve got the perfect holiday read.

When Carmen finds herself jobless she moves in with her sister in Edinburgh and neither are enthused. Carmen starts working at a local bookshop and uses her design skills to breathe new life into the store. Will it be enough to save the charming little bookstore before Christmas?

Every book by this author has been great. Some are predictable, but all are worth a read and there’s something so comforting about them that make them perfect for the holidays.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Mistakes of epic proportions, job woes, having to live with her parents… Maelyn is not having a good holiday. She makes a wish driving away from her favorite place on the planet and the next thing she knows she’s in a car crash and everything goes black.

When she wakes up she finds herself reliving the same holiday all over again. Now she has to navigate a colorful cast of characters, shenanigans, lots of holiday events, and steamy moments to find a way out of the time loop she’s stuck in.

While I’m not a huge fan of steamy reads, everyone raves about this book. It seems like a hilarious read with lots of unforgettable moments. I’ll definitely be picking this one up.

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Vivian finds herself tagging along on her friend’s work trip to style a member of the royal family in England. She’s excited to see the sites of England and doesn’t expect to develop feelings for the private secretary of the Queen. Malcolm has worked for the Queen for years and has never once been distracted until Vivian comes along.

This holiday romance has a timer on it so you’ll have to read it to see if they end their steamy affair by New Year’s Day or if they upend their lives entirely.

How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior

Estranged from her entire family except for a long lost grandson, Veronica isn’t your average curmudgeonly grandma…unless your grandmother spontaneously decides to travel to Antarctica to join an expedition to save the penguins. It doesn’t get more wintery than Antarctica.

I love curmudgeonly characters and their relationships, so I was immediately drawn to this book. It’s perfect for people who don’t want to read romance, but want a great story with colorful characters and lots of sassiness that leaves you with the warm fuzzy feeling while also making you laugh a lot.

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler

Graham hates tourists but own their favorite bar. Zoey is on the trip of her dreams and nothing is going as planned. An act of kindness bring them both together for a hilarious Alaskan adventure that will change everything for both of them.

Is this a Christmas book? Nope, but it’s the perfect winter read. Lots of humor, winter adventures, and a good romance. What could be better to curl up with on a cold day?

The Christmas Killer by Alex Pine

All Christmas’s in small towns are filled with joy and cheer, right? Well… when DI James Walker opens a Christmas present left on his doorstep and realizes it’s a promise of 12 gruesome murders instead of 12 days of merriment, this sleepy little town gets more for Christmas than it bargained for.

I know there are more people like me who don’t always want to read romantic comedies over the holidays. Thrillers can be for Christmas too and this one is absolutely the dark, suspenseful holiday read you need.

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