Between quarantining at home and embracing the chilly temperatures, there’s never been a better time to curl up by the fire with a good book. This winter is truly the peak time for this activity, which basically requires wearing fuzzy socks, sipping on hot tea, and snuggling with a dreamy blanket. Though you could choose to dive deep into a non-fiction novel on the best-seller list, or crack open a thriller that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, flipping through the pages of a romantic holiday book will keep things hot amid the cold weather.
In a year that’s been both chaotic and ever-changing, these novels are a wonderful escape. They allow you to invest in fictional characters who are falling in love for the first time, or getting set up on whimsical dates. Of course, each has a little holiday twist as well, which will make sitting next to a fireplace dressed up with stockings that much sweeter. As you work through the various chapters, you’ll imagine movie-esque scenes, like a snowy street in New York City, or a quaint cottage in England where a character could easily stumble upon their soulmate.
You’ll probably power through the romantic holiday novel you end up choosing in record time. If that happens to be your situation, grab another book off this list, then snuggle up near a fire again.
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1. ‘Royal Holiday’ by Jasmine Guillory
Jasmine Guillory’s Royal Holiday kicks off when Vivian Forest’s sister invites her to travel to England with her around the holidays. Vivian, who’s very excited to add some fresh adventures to her travel repertoire, decides to go, not knowing she’s in for a wildly romantic adventure. You see, her sister is jet-setting across the pond to style one of the royals, but Vivian’s trip will entirely focus on Malcolm, who’s a private secretary for the queen.
Their story is a dream come true for any person who’s hopped on a plane for vacay with wanderlust and a hopeless romantic’s heart.
2. ‘The Twelve Dates of Christmas’ by Jenny Bayliss
Love is never where you expect it to be. That’s the lesson Kate Turner learns in The Twelve Dates of Christmas. Kate is a designer, who’s essentially given up on dating and finding “the one.” When her best friend hooks her up with a dating agency, though, she’s thrown back into the scene — where meet-cutes and odd pick-up lines run amuck.
The dating agency has one heartfelt guarantee: She’ll find love before the holidays. Pick up this book if you’re a fan of Love, Guaranteed on Netflix or enjoy talking to your best friend about your dating lives.
3. ‘Every New Year’ by Katrina Jackson
If you were a major fan of Clare Crawley’s mini-season of The Bachelorette, then you’ll fall for Every New Year. The first of an ongoing series by Katrina Jackson, titled “Love At Last,” Every New Year follows Candace and Ezra, who clearly have feelings for each other but can never get the timing right. They build up their love story a little bit every year, kissing and hanging out on New Year’s Eve.
But things never seem come to fruition. This romance book covers their 20-year journey with each other, and brings you into their world of friendship and heartbreak. Don’t fret, though — every character will find true love by the last page.
4. ‘In A Holidaze’ by Christina Lauren
Christina Lauren’s In A Holidaze will put a real Groundhog Day situation on your hands. Maelyn Jones, known as Mae, is stuck in a time-loop that keeps putting her back on a plane to Utah. In this western state is her beloved family cabin, plus possible answers to her wish to find happiness. This novel is a mix of humor, romance, and real life, making it the perfect pick for anyone who loves to be entertained.
5. ‘This Time Next Year’ by Sophie Cousens
Minnie and Quinn’s story is one of “opposites attract.” Sure, they were born in the same place and on the same day, but that’s the only thing that’s similar about them. But, as many love stories prove, the universe has a bigger plan and keeps letting them run into each other.
This Time Next Year is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat, as this duo tries to figure out their relationship with each other. Why do the stars keep aligning for them?
6. ‘Written in the Stars’ by Alexandria Bellefleur
This holiday book is bound to remind you of the classic 1987 movie Can’t Buy Me Love, where a young and nerdy Patrick Dempsey strikes up a deal with popular Amanda Peterson: He’ll front her $1,000 for an outfit… if she dates him for one month.
Similary, this novel follows Darcy Lowell, whose brother is always setting her up on dates, and Elle Jones, an astrologer with a budding Twitter account. The two go on a date, which is either disastrous or so adorable, depending on who you ask. The “couple” strikes up a deal: Pretend to date through New Year’s Eve to avoid a myriad of family questions and get through the holidays pretty unscathed.
Will they end up actually falling in love? That’s for you to find out when reading Written in the Stars.
7. ‘Mistletoe and Mr. Right’ by Sarah Morgenthaler
Mistletoe and Mr. Right is about as whimsical as it gets. Based in Moose Springs, Alaska, this story follows Lana Montgomery, who’s on a mission to fit in amongst her community. How will she do it? By tracking down the town’s very own Grinch.
Of course, as with most rom-com novels, things don’t go as planned and she accidentally hits Rick Harding, a local man who hasn’t been dealt the easiest cards lately, with a tranquilizer instead of the Grinch. The two are both outsiders in Moose Springs, but basically destined to live there, together and happily with everyone else.
8. ‘Recommended for You’ by Laura Silverman
Shoshanna and Jake may work in the same bookstore, but they are not on the same page. Shoshanna sees him as competition, especially when there’s a holiday bonus on the line. But, as the sales come in and numbers go up, the two employees begin to find more common ground. Dive into Recommended For You, if you want to speed through a good read as quickly as shoppers speed through a store during the holidays.
9. ‘Let it Snow’ by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
Authors John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle teamed up to create Let It Snow, which is made up of three very captivating love stories. The novel follows a group of teens in the peak of high school, who unexpectedly find love in many different ways. Among them is a teen who falls for a lifelong friend while trekking to Waffle House in the snow, and another who works at Starbucks at the break of dawn and meets, possibly, “the one.”
For something magical and filled with holiday spirit, you don’t need to look much further than this piece of work.
10. ‘Rent a Boyfriend’ by Gloria Chao
Around the holidays, have you ever been so tired of your parents asking, “Do you have a partner?” that you’ve considered just renting one? In Gloria Chao’s Rent a Boyfriend, Chloe Wang is running with this idea. Now, she must introduce her family to someone she’s never met and hope that he impresses her very traditional parents.
When Chloe falls for her fake boyfriend’s real personality, she ends up making some tough decisions. As the whole persona unravels, she’s left to pick up the pieces and follow her heart.