Fiction, Lists

Books To Go With Cocoa And A Warm Blanket A Sweet, Warming List For The Cold Season

This Wednesday I’ve decided to give you a nice, warm list for when you have dainty snowflakes slowly drifting down outside that window and you’re bundled up all cozy with your warm drink. And hey, even if there’s no snow where you live – you can always imagine it! What I am going for here with this list is a feel of warmth, encouragement and positive emotion, even if it comes through hardship.

A Little Sweetness, A Little Suspense

Magic Bitter, Magic SweetMaybe I shouldn’t be starting my list with a book that’s quite.. err, so glum. But it fits the theme so well! Why? A non-comprehensive list:

  • cake
  • more cake
  • …so the book is primarily dedicated to cake
  • love
  • mystery
  • fairytales
  • magic (cake magic..?)

All of this goes with cocoa and a warm blanket for me. Granted, the main heroine suffers more than enjoys herself in her journey through this story, but it’s well worth it, in my eyes. It’s written beautifully, and it keeps its mystery throughout pretty much all of the book, as the main characters suffer from amnesia, so you don’t really get to find out what happens, before… you do. Which is… Right at the end. I’ve heard of people struggling with this bit, but I didn’t – to me, this book was an intricately woven canvas of emotions, all colorful, and all imbued with taste, particularly expressed through different kinds of confectioneries the main character concocts. And the frosting on top? Hints of fairytales are interspersed through the story, all connected through magic and… cake. What’s not to love?

[ Shelve on Goodreads | Buy at Book Depository ]

An Awkward Romance, A Lot Of Laughs

The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1)So you might be a aware that I almost don’t read romance, but this? This is a smart, witty and very funny romcom. And if you have had to deal with difficult and perhaps quite obstinate people? You’ll be able to relate. Don Tillman is a professor who is awkward at best, and he wants to find a wife. Thus begins his ridiculous quest which ends up completely unexpectedly for him (although maybe less so for us). The book teaches you that being different is okay (I mean, different in personality as well as different psychological build), but it matters whether you’re different and self-righteous, or different, and yet open to who others are, accepting of them. The book might be a little patronizing towards the main character, but it’s light, hilarious and it will warm your heart. I always remember this read with a smile, and I can never understand why I don’t read these kinds of books more often.

[ Shelve on Goodreads | Buy at Book Depository ]

A Cozy Graveyard? Only When It’s Gaiman.

The Graveyard BookAlright, so maybe cozy is not quite the word, but this is essentially a Junglebook retelling (shocking, I know! Don’t laugh at me that I figured this only after someone told me flat out.) So this is basically a story of a boy growing up, told in that middle-grade kind of way that Neil Gaiman is so good at. Magic, mystery, danger and affection. And even though the characters faced a lot of peril, there was a certain warmth and coziness involved. You’ll end up loving all the characters, I promise! This is the first book of Neil Gaiman’s I’ve read, and I haven’t been able to wean myself off of his stuff ever since.

[ Shelve on Goodreads | Buy at Book Depository ]

Warm Light From A Soul In A Lantern

Lantern (Lantern #1)Lantern was unbelievably sweet! A short novella for an evening, and the way I read it last year was precisely the way prescribed by this list. An innocent love story for middle graders as well as teens, and generally just a tale of souls finding one another, and of good work being done in the night. However, it will keep you on your toes, short as it is, because you’ll keep guessing what, who and why… Who’s the good guy, who is not?

Chess Desalls has released two other companion novellas to go with this one – Beacon and Torch. I have yet to read those myself! Let’s hope they would also work on this list.

[ Shelve on Goodreads | Buy at Book Depository ]

Look Back To Childhood Magic… And Maths

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet #1)I think most of you will have heard of The Wrinkle in Time, especially as the movie is coming out soon! For those of you who haven’t read it yet, it would be the perfect time to do so. This book might be written in a less linear and traditional way, with maybe some loopholes I’ll admit, but I still love it beyond any doubt! And that’s mostly for the messages it carries. The book talks about being different, about loving one another and the whole universe, and ultimately – about the magic of the world, every little particle, every little mote. It will also appeal to the geek in you – it features gifted kids who see the world quite differently and have different core virtues than your traditional middle graders, and so have a hard time fitting in. The magic of maths and science is presented wonderfully, as well as the need to defend and nurture who you are, be your own person – regardless of the fact whether society embraces you or not.

[ Shelve on Goodreads | Buy at Book Depository ]

Sweet Bean Paste And Sweet Friendship

Sweet Bean PasteYou might remember this book, because I’ve blogged about it quite recently. It’s a truly uplifting and endearing story about the unlikely friendship between a misfit who couldn’t care less and an old lady who has lived a life of hardship and so honed and perfected her character. The book addresses important and difficult topics of illness, separation, loss and loneliness, as well as inspiring you through the strength of the characters, their will to live and never give up, and… well, cake. We can never stray too far from cake. This book might go as a #2 right after Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet in terms of cake use, and it could be a great companion for your cocoa cravings.

[ Shelve on Goodreads | Buy at Book Depository ]

Some Oriental Urban Fantasy

The Secrets of Jin-shei (Jin-Shei #1)I read this one a while ago, years and years – and yet, I still remember it quite often. I can’t guarantee about the representation of Asian characters in this book because of the same reason, but if you take it with a grain of salt, I am sure you will enjoy it. It focuses on a sisterhood of sorts of women from all levels of society – rich as well as poor, of humble descent as well as nobility. It spans a long time and has a lot of fantasy elements, cause while it starts out in ancient China, it ends up in pretty much fantasy territory. What I liked in this book was the amount of detail, intricacy, other-cultureness (…that a word..?) and, of course, the bonds between the souls of the women. I know I couldn’t pry my nose from inside of that hefty book before I was done! Another interesting detail was that it was this book that introduced me to the fact that women had their own writing system in ancient China (as they were not allowed to study to read ‘men’s writings’.)

[ Shelve on Goodreads | Buy at Book Depository ]

A Modern-Day Take On Pride And Prejudice


Eligible (The Austen Project #4)This book is soooo good with cocoa. It’s like watching a sitcom, but also reading it. I don’t know how to explain! If you know the story of the Bennet sisters, you will not be surprised with the plot, as it follows more or less the same line, but what I liked was how past-day social situations were translated into modern day equivalents! I will not list them out for you, cause spoilers, but some of them were quite accurate, and others? Downright funny. I liked the characters as well, and Lizzie’s family? You’ll hate them so much you’ll love them (…how does that even work..?) I must warn you though, approach this one only when you’ve let some time pass after your last reading of P&P because you might dislike certain facets of this retelling (I’ve heard that from a couple of my friends). Or if you are a loyal fan of the original, just keep in mind that this is a retelling, and it will change certain parts of the Austen story. Other than that, grab your cocoa and enjoy!

[ Shelve on Goodreads | Buy at Book Depository ]

Have you read the books on this list? Do you have any other cocoa&blanket recommendations for me? Please recommend me some, if you do!

21 Comment threads
26 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
20 Comment authors
Evelina AvalinahsBooksJackie B.Monthly Review: December 2017 – The Last PagePhanniePaul Liadis Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Paul Liadis

This is a timely post, as it is -16 C in my neck of the woods.

I don’t need any more books on my pile ( 🙂 ) but I’ll have to check back on this post later.


I liked the Rosie Project, as well. Great choices for the festive season.

Rosie Amber

The only one I’ve read on this list is The Rosie Project, but I’m attracted to some of the others too.

Jacqueline @bluejaybooks

I’ve only read the first half of the Graveyard book (I have trouble finishing stories that are more episodic), but you’ve just reminded me that this may be the perfect time of year to go back to it. . . Even if I do live in a place without snow, but I can pretend, right? 🙂


The Rosie Project was such a wonderful book. The sequel was a little tough for me, because Rosie and Don were having problems, but overall, I really enjoyed the series.

Laura Thomas

I’ve not read any of these and they look so inviting. That gif of Lucy cracks me up. One of my favorite episodes.


“Cozy reads” always makes me think of The Golem and The Jinny by Helene Wecker. It’s a book with a lot of atmosphere and I loved it very much. A true autumn and winter read 🙂

Olivia Roach

Can you believe I actually have never read any of these before? But I do own The Rosie Project and am really looking forward to eventually getting around to read it. Lovely recommendations <3 A lot of new to me books here!


What a cute list! The Graveyard Book speaks to me haha For me, winter months always call for crime fiction, and historical fiction from time to time!

ioana @dragonwaffles
ioana @dragonwaffles

Ah I appreciate all the cake appreciation in this post. I am a simple bookworm I see CAKE AND MAGIC I’m interested. Also it’s lovely that you say what these books MEAN to you (I had no interest in reading A Wrinkle in Time until I read this actually)!! Amazing list <3!!


magic cake? XD great list, what fun. I don’t think I read anything else on this list other than A Wrinkle in Time and yup, totally agree with this book being on the list


Oh! Eligible looks good – I enjoy a good P&P retelling! Totally want some cocoa now – great list! 🙂


I only read The Graveyard Book, but Sweet Bean Paste sounds perfect for a cosy winter night in.


Aahh !! Magic bitter, Magic sweet sounds right up my alley ! added to my virtual want to read. Aswell as Sweet Bean paste.

As for recommendation… mmmh.. id wanna say sweet things by renée Carlino as it match, hah ! but you don’t read much romance so heeeeeh… maybe in a dark dark wood by ruth ware that im currently reading ? gives me a “cold day” vibe~


Nice, good to have some books to warm up with on a cool winter day! 🙂

The Orangutan Librarian

Love this post so much!!! I really want to read Rosie Project! And I love Gaiman- I love how you described Graveyard book 😀 It’s an awesome book! I’m actually planning on reading Wrinkle in time soon- I’ll make sure to have a hot chocolate with it now 😀

Lashaan Balasingam

I might have to pick up A Wrinkle in Time soon! I’ve been interested in it for far too long. And of course, I need to go through that Gaiman book; I feel like I’ve said that for all his books though! 😀 Great list!!


Great post! However, I haven’t read nor have I heard of any of these books before. 🙂

Jackie B.

I really dig the twist you put on this list, Evelina. It’s adorable! And totally added to my TBR … you would. 😉 The books on this list I’ve read are A Wrinkle in Time, The Graveyard Book and Eligible. I love the idea of Gaiman’s novel being a cozy read– and you’re right! It definitely is. The Rosie Project and Lantern have been on my TBR for a while, but Red Bean Paste and The Secrets of Jin-Shei are both being added ASAP. Historical urban Chinese fiction?! YES PLEASE. Hm. Other recommendations? I’d add What’s A Soulmate? by Lindsay… Read more »

Monthly Review: December 2017 – The Last Page

[…] Books To Go With Cocoa And A Warm Blanket (Avalinah’s Books) • My Favorite Book Genres of 2017 […]

Jackie B.

Gotta love picking up short reads when you need to get another book under your belt! I have found some pretty amazing books in those situations before, honestly. Hopefully, we don’t have to do that for 2018, though! XD I really enjoyed The Wind in the Willows as a child. I love all sorts of books where each chapter is a stand-alone story. I feel The Hobbit also fits into this category. Wow, I haven’t read that in years. I totally should re-read it. Hmmm… Perhaps 2018 is the year? 😉 When I was checking my library to see if… Read more »