The Top 10 December Books to Read When You’re Snowed In

Winter is officially here, and that means hot chocolate, twinkly holiday lights and cozy evenings tucked under blankets. It also means diving into a good book while the snow falls softly outside. Luckily, there are a lot of great new book releases this month — just in time to finish up all of that Christmas shopping!

Here are the top 10 that we can’t wait to wrap up as presents for our friends and family (or maybe even keep for ourselves):

Blood Vow, J.R. Ward (Ballantine Books, December 6, 2016)

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This is the second book in Ward’s Black Dagger Legacy series, a spinoff of her tremendously popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This story focuses on Axe, a new recruit who’s tasked with guarding – and eventually falling for – a woman named Elise who’s still reeling from her cousin’s death.

Seventh Plague, James Rollins (William Morrow, December 13, 2016)

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Named an Amazon’s Best Books of December 2016, Seventh Plague is a continuation of Rollins’ popular Sigma Force series. This time the entire world is in danger when a series of deadly plagues threatens to wipe out all of humanity.

Max, Sawyer Bennett (Loveswept, December 13, 2016)

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Part of Bennett’s sexy Cold Fury Hockey series, Max is all about the Carolina hockey team’s hot and single goalie, Max Fournier. Though when he falls for the overworked Julianne Bradley, the eligible bachelor might not be single for long.

Brant & May: Strange Tide, Christopher Fowler (Bantam, December 13, 2016)

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A sensation in England, this is the latest novel in Fowler’s Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery series. Detective Bryant and May tackle one of their most challenging cases yet – the body of a women chained to the post in the River Thames, with only one set of footsteps leading to the sight of her murder.

Take the Key and Lock Her Up, Ally Carter (Scholastic Press, December 27, 2016)

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This is the third book in Carter’s popular Embassy Row series, continuing the twisty and mysterious story of Grace Blakely, a girl who now knows that she’s the true heir to the throne of Adria. But unless she’s smart enough to out-maneuver her foes, that knowledge could possibly mean the end of her life.

The Twilight Wife, A.J. Banner (Touchstone, December 27, 2016)

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When Kyra Winthrop loses her memory of the past few years, she trusts her loving husband Jacob and the friends she has in her island town to help fill in the gaps for her. But as flashes of visions start to surface, she realizes that nothing about her peaceful life is quite as it seems.

Wyoming Brave, Diana Palmer (HQN Books, December 27, 2016)

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No one writes sexy cowboy romances quite like Palmer. In her latest (part of the Wyoming Men series), brokenhearted Ren Colter isn’t looking for love. That is, until he meets Meredith Grayling and allows the woman who’s being stalked to stay with him on his ranch.

Crystal Storm, Morgan Rhodes (Razorbill, December 13, 2016)

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Rhodes is back with this latest novel in her epic young adult fantasy series, Falling Kingdoms. With secrets exposed, prophecies to fulfill, and lovers at odds, the future of Mytica feels more uncertain than ever.

From Sand and Ash, Amy Harmon (Lake Union Publishing, December 1, 2016)

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Set during WWII, From Sand and Ash is about childhood friends separated by war and circumstance. As a Jewish woman in Italy, Eva Rosselli turns to her old friend, Angelo Bianco, now a Catholic priest, for sanctuary. But with the danger of their situation, their lingering feelings for each other, and the war raging around them, the two will face hurdle after hurdle as they fight to survive.

The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland, Rebekah Crane (Skyscape, December 1, 2016)

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Crane’s young adult novel tackles mental illness and depression as she tells the story of Zander Osborne, a teen who has no interest in the at-risk camp her parents send her to. But it’s there that she meets friends who will change her life – including Grover Cleveland – and realizes that maybe she belongs more than she thinks she does.

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Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.