Six for Sunday: Books to snuggle up with when it’s cold outside
The theme for this week’s #SixforSunday theme is books that you like to cuddle up with when it’s cold outside and it is perfect for a cold, rainy weekend like this one.
When I want a cosy read, I often tend to go for old favourites rather than new books or an addition to a series that I already know I love rather than something new. Middle-grade is usually a good option as the best middle-grade books can leave you feeling hopeful, even when they simultaneously break your heart.
Here are a few that I love (and I really struggled to keep it to only six!):
The Murder Most Unladylike Series by Robin Stevens
1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find a truly exciting mystery to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t.)
But then Hazel discovers the body of the Science Mistress, Miss Bell – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls have to solve a murder, and prove a murder has happened in the first place before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally).
But will they succeed?
And can their friendship stand the test?
It might seem strange to choose a crime/mystery series as a cosy read, particularly as crime isn’t one of my favourite genres. However, I have devoured every book in this series since it was first recommended to me by Amy @GoldenBooksGirl and I really enjoy them. The friendship between Daisy and Hazel just warms the cockles of my heart, the boarding school setting is perfect and I love that each mystery just gets more convoluted and cleverer. I know, when I pick up a book in this series, that I am in safe hands with Robin Stevens!
A Library of Lemons by Jo Cotterill
A poignant story about dealing with grief through the magic of reading and friendship.
Calypso’s mum died a few years ago and her emotionally incompetent Dad can’t, or won’t, talk about Mum at all. Instead he throws himself into writing his book A History of the Lemon. Meanwhile the house is dusty, there’s never any food in the fridge, and Calypso retreats into her own world of books and fiction. When a new girl, Mae, arrives at school, the girls’ shared love of reading and writing stories draws them together. Mae’s friendship and her lively and chaotic home – where people argue and hug each other – make Calypso feel more normal than she has for a long time.
But when Calypso finally plucks up the courage to invite Mae over to her own house, the girls discover the truth about her dad and his magnum opus – and Calypso’s happiness starts to unravel.
Or, in fact, anything by Jo Cotterill. Her book, A Season of Strawberries, was recommended to me on Twitter when I sent out an appeal for books to help me recover my faith in humanity after a particularly psychologically-bruising few days where I felt a bit battered by life. I have since read through pretty much everything she has written and feel that they are perfect books for curling up with next to a fire, with a hot chocolate in hand!
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
In 1842, thirteen-year-old orphan Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, her family’s ancestral home in an charmed village in England’s West Country, and she feels as if she’s entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort, that shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it. Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending.
The enchanted valley of Moonacre is shadowed by a tragedy that happened years ago, and the memory of the Moon Princess and the mysterious little white horse. Determined to restore peace and happiness to the whole of Moonacre Valley, Maria finds herself involved with an ancient feud, and she discovers it is her destiny to end it and right the wrongs of her ancestors. Maria usually gets her own way. But what can one solitary girl do?
A new-fashioned fantasy story that is as wonderful as the best classic fairy tales.
I read this book so often as a child that I could still probably recite most of the first chapter and various quotes from throughout the book verbatim. A childhood favourite is the ultimate winter warmer!
The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
“When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back, three from the circle, three from the track; wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone; five will return, and one go alone.”
With these mysterious words, Will Stanton discovers on his 11th birthday that he is no mere boy. He is the Sign-Seeker, last of the immortal Old Ones, destined to battle the powers of evil that trouble the land. His task is monumental: he must find and guard the six great Signs of the Light, which, when joined, will create a force strong enough to match and perhaps overcome that of the Dark. Embarking on this endeavor is dangerous as well as deeply rewarding; Will must work within a continuum of time and space much broader than he ever imagined.
This series is truly creepy at times, but it is a very satisfying read and perfect for reading, especially at this time of year! In fact, I often try to reread this around Christmas as it fits perfectly with the Winter Solstice and the dark days outside…
Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson
Arriman the Awful, feared Wizard of the North, has decided to marry. But his wife must be a witch of the darkest powers . . .
A sorcery competition is held to discover which witch is the most potent and fiendish, and glamorous Madame Olympia conjures up a thousand plague-bearing rats Belladonna, the white witch, desperately wants to be a wicked enchantress, but her magic produces flowers instead of snakes. How can she become more devilish than all the other witches?
Or, once again, anything by Eva Ibbotson. I read her books so often growing up that reading them again feels a little like coming home, even if it’s one that I didn’t read when I was younger. There’s a real human warmth in all of her stories.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
‘In the land of Ingary, where seven league boots and cloaks of invisibility do exist, Sophie Hatter catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell.’
Deciding she has nothing more to lose she makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above Market Chipping. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the souls of young girls… There she meets Michael, Howl’s apprentice, and Calcifer the Fire Demon, with whom she agrees a pact.
But Sophie isn’t the only one under a curse – her entanglements with Calcifer, Howl, and Michael, and her quest to break her curse is both gripping – and ‘howlingly’ funny!
And the entire Chrestomanci series. Absolutely fantastic and sure to leave you feeling warm after reading! The Studio Ghibli adaptation of this book is brilliant too, and is one of my favourite movies to watch on a day when I need a pick-me-up.
Which books have you read that make you feel warm and cosy?
Do you tend to reread favourites or go with new books?
Let me know in the comments!
While you’re here, why not check out my 5 Autumn essentials, how to say Autumn Leaves in ten languages, a tutorial to make adorable Autumn peg doll animals or my book reviews of A Different Pond, A Treason of Thorns, The Light Between Worlds or To Kill a Kingdom?
#SixforSunday is created by Steph from A Little But a Lot.
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Thanks for reading!