The best holiday books of 2018

holiday books

It may be early but I’ve been working on my Thanksgiving-to-Christmas TBR since July. Yup, July. In the weeks between these two holidays I like to immerse myself in holiday-themed and winter-themed stories that make me remember everything I love about the season, and take my mind off of the commercialism and my husband’s insane work schedule that December always brings. I haven’t read any of these yet, but they are all waiting patiently for me. I can’t wait to start reading the first one on Thanksgiving Day – the same day I allow myself to start playing Christmas music! These are the best holiday books of the year.

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

Violet Baumgartner treats the holidays like a routine because that’s exactly what she’s made it. So when her husband’s big retirement party is thrown into chaos by a secret Violet’s daughter has been keeping, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her world under control once again.


Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler

Haley Hanson never felt the Christmas spirit so she has always escaped the hectic holidays for a tropical vacation where she can focus on work. But this year, Haley’s boss is requiring her to endure a week at Christmas Camp because she needs an attitude adjustment. At first, Haley struggles with all the holiday hoopla, but at Christmas Camp, she soon finds a new view of the season and unexpected love.


Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber

When Josie signed up to spend her summer in Alaska, she never thought she’d be stuck there throughout the frigid winter. Falling in love and taking up a new job, Josie has no choice but to stay when she misses the last boat out of town before winter. Now, she has the chance to spend more time with the man she has fallen in love with, although she is missing things back home in Seattle.


The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

Suzanne McBride can’t think of anything better than a Christmas spent with her adopted daughters in Scotland. But when all the women come with their individual problems, turmoil is inevitable. Pressured to make the holidays the best yet, they’ll discover that being together is the one thing they all needed most.


Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

Irene Steele has lived an enviable life until she gets the news that her husband has been killed in a plane crash. She picks up her family and takes off on a holiday trip to St. John. But when she stumbles across secrets and a seemingly separate life her husband was leading there, she’ll realize she’s in for a lot more than a winter in paradise.


Christmas at the Chalet by Anita Hughes

Felicity and Nell are both looking for an escape from their complicated lives when they take a trip to a chalet in the Swiss Alps. Suddenly, their lives – which had been full of dilemmas, boyfriends who won’t commit and bickering parents – become simpler in ways they never imagined.


One Day in December by Josie Silver

Laurie cannot forget the man she locked eyes with through a bus window, and she spends the next year in London searching for him everywhere she goes. The next time she connects with him, he’s on the arm of her closest friend. A holiday love triangle and the pursuit of new and unlikely romances make this new novel simply magical.


The Adults by Caroline Hulse

When divorcees Matt and Claire decide to spend Christmas together with their daughter and new partners, they promise they’ll be adults about the event. What starts out as a seemingly normal Christmas celebration ends in a horrific call to the police.


Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

The pieces of Hannah’s life are just starting to fall into place when she stumbles across the notebooks of Essie Granger. Getting wrapped up in her New York life and the crimes that start out as fiction, Hannah quickly finds that Granger’s “fiction” is true and embarks on a quest to solve the crimes that the woman laid out so long ago.


Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire

This retelling of The Nutcracker is out in paperback and will offer something a little darker and more magical for those readers looking for holiday reads that aren’t the usual sweet stories.


The Corner of Holly and Ivy by Debbie Mason

Arianna Bell’s dreams of being a wedding dress designer end right before the holidays, making things not so jolly. But when her high school sweetheart shows up in town again, things begin to look up. Until she finds out that he is actually running against her as the town’s mayor. Will the two get their happily ever after?


Mutts and Mistletoe by Natalie Cox

Single and homeless just in time for the holidays, Charlie decides to take up residency at Cozy Canine Cottages, helping out at her cousin’s canine pet care center. No one has to know she’s not a dog lover, and she’s looking forward to this quiet Christmas. Doggy dilemmas and an attractive vet make this the perfect cozy read for the holiday season.


The Noel Stranger by Richard Paul Evans

Maggie Walther is going through a rough patch in her life when she meets Christmas tree lot attendant, Andrew. As the two begin to fall for one another, Maggie learns about a dark secret from Andrew’s past that could shake up her world and their relationship.


Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan

Flora is not in the holiday spirit. She’s carrying the child of her ex-boss and she’s not sure how to tell him or what his reaction might be, so she is hesitant to share the news. Meanwhile, Saif, a Syrian refugee, is trying to enjoy his first Christmas in the United States, even though his wife is missing.


Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane by JoAnn Ross

When Jolene’s mom is diagnosed with cancer, she returns home to take care of her. When she reconnects with her first love, Aiden, the two find that they might just have a second shot at love.


And if you really aren’t into Christmas or Christmas-themed books but still want to read with the season, here are two titles that you can pick up!

Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter

In this paranormal romance, warrior Knox is enslaved to his ruler, taking on new realms and winning wars. But with the promise of being set free, his last battle will be one he has to win. When he meets his enemy Vale, who he is consumed with, he must decide if he is ready to die for love.


The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason

It’s a harrowing winter in 1914 and medical student Lucius has just enlisted in the military, hoping to be working in a well-managed hospital. But when he arrives, it’s nothing as he had hoped. Thrown into the heart of World War I, he is forced to work as a surgeon, making decisions for all those around him that could change the lives of many.

Kate Olson

Kate Olson is a reader, blogger, librarian, wife and mother in Wisconsin. When not reading, she is buying books, taking pictures of books for Instagram, sorting and shelving books or writing about books. She is the founder of Kid Lit Exchange and blogs about lots of bookish things over at theloudlibrarylady.com

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