I took a little break from blogging, but I am back with my winter favorites! Every quarter or season, I like to look back and share some of the books I’ve loved in the past three months. And since I’m getting ready to jump into spring, it’s the perfect time to share my favorites from this past winter.
These are my favorite books from December, January, and February – the wrap ups from each month are linked below if you want to see what else I read. Honestly, I had a hard time coming up with favorites for these months. If I’m being honest, I didn’t read a ton of books I absolutely loved. But I came up with five, two of which surprised even me.
Here are my winter favorites (click the links below for my monthly wrap ups):
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
As soon as I started reading this one, I knew it was going to be one of those books that will stay with me for a long time. It’s the true story about one Jewish family living in Poland during WWII. They get separated, they each go through different atrocities and traumas, and, most importantly, they all survive. Written by one of their descendants, We Were the Lucky Ones is the story of a family that came out stronger on the other side of one of the worst periods in world history.
I absolutely loved this book. So much. Most of the time, when I read books where chapters alternate between points of view or characters, I kind of have a favorite. There’s almost always a part of the book I want to skip though to get back to the character I love most. Not in this case. I loved them all. I just adored this story, so much. I can’t say enough good things about it. If you like WWII fiction, this is a must-read.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
We all know that I’ve been getting more and more into reading romance over the past few years. And one author I have come to really love is Talia Hibbert. So naturally, when I did my reading experiment last mont in which I read seven romance novels by black authors, I had to include this one (which was a great decision, because after this it got weird).
But really, I just love how wonderfully diverse this series is. The love interests of this book are a bisexual black witch and a sensitive, muslim former rugby player. And it is lovely. I’m also just a huge fan of the whole fake dating trope in romance novels. But I just really enjoyed these characters. The story was kind of typical one-of-us-screw-up romance novel plot, but that’s fine. I still really liked it.
Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspoon
This one is not something I normally would have picked up. But I heard good things, so I decided to add it to my reading list for my romance reading experiment. And I am so glad I did! Because this was so unlike everything else I’d read. After reading several mediocre romances (and two bad ones), this was a breath of fresh air. I honestly can’t think of another romance novel in which both of the love interests acted like mature adults the entire time. Like, they had adult conversations instead of running away from their problems. Which, after everything else I’d read that week was kind of mind-blowing.
I feel a little weird including two romance novels on my favorites list, because that’s not something I’ve done before, but I really did love both of these. They were both fun and steamy and just really enjoyable to read. They were also a nice break from everything else I’ve been reading (two of the books on this list are about WWII, so romance was nice for a bit).
How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang
If I’m being totally honest, I was really not expecting to even like this one all that much. Which has nothing to do with anything other than that I am really not into westerns. I read a lot of different things, but westerns are very much not something I gravitate towards. But I read this for a future reading experiment post (that I’ll be working on all year), and I am so glad I did!
I literally read this in a single sitting. It took me a little bit to get into, but after I did, I couldn’t put it down. It’s about two orphans of Chinese immigrants who end up becoming outlaws as children. Their stories end up being very different, but I loved them both. This book explores race and gender and sexuality and so many things, and it somehow does it in a way that is relevant to today’s issues while also being set during the Gold Rush. This is one of those books that makes no sense on my personal favorites list, but it absolutely deserves a spot.
Beneath a Scarlett Sky by Mark Sullivan
This book is totally different, but it reminded me a lot of We Were the Lucky Ones. Which ended up backfiring. Because while this is also a novelization of a true story about real people living during WWII, this one does not have a happy ending (or really a happy anything). Not gonna lie, I definitely had to stop reading at multiple points in this book. But then I picked it right back up, because I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
This is the story of Pino Lella, an Italian teenager who enrolls in the Nazi army… to be a spy. And literally his first day he ends up translating for Mussolini himself. So things are pretty intense. Honestly, this book was so good. The story was just really impactful, and more so because it’s true. And yes, it made me cry. But I just loved Pino and his story, and I’m so glad this book exists so that I was able to experience it. I cannot wait for the movie adaptation that’s coming (Tom Holland is reportedly working on it).
That’s it for my winter favorites! I don’t know about you, but I am pretty excited for some spring reading. I’m also working on some really fun reading experiments (including one that will be up next week), and I’m very excited to share.
What books did you read and love this winter?