With Bated Breath: Winter Reads


January 26, 2013 by Heidi

With Bated Breath: Winter Reads

Most of you will probably think I am crazy, but I adore winter!  It’s my favorite season of the year.  I adore a countryside covered in snow and cuddling up with some hot tea under a warm blanket with a good book.  It follows that I love wintry books, here are some that I very much want to get my hands on:

The Snow Child by Eowyn IveyThe Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
February 1st, 2012 by Reagan Arthur Books

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

Icefall by Matthew J. KirbyIcefall by Matthew J. Kirby
October 1st, 2011 by Scholastic Press

Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Solveig, along with her brother the crown prince, their older sister, and an army of restless warriors, anxiously awaits news of her father’s victory at battle. But as winter stretches on, and the unending ice refuses to break, terrible acts of treachery soon make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst. A malevolent air begins to seep through the fortress walls, and a smothering claustrophobia slowly turns these prisoners of winter against one another.

Those charged with protecting the king’s children are all suspect, and the siblings must choose their allies wisely. But who can be trusted so far from their father’s watchful eye? Can Solveig and her siblings survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he succeeds in destroying a kingdom?

East by Edith PattouEast by Edith Pattou
May 1st, 2005 by Graphia

Rose has always been different.

Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose’s birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home… but she can’t suppress Rose’s true nature forever.

So when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it– in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family– she readily agrees.

Rose travels on the bear’s broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart– and finds her purpose– and realizes her journey has only just begun.

I also want to read these two retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, but East seems to have the best reviews (and my favorite cover of the three), so it’ll be first:

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day GeorgeIce by Sarah Beth Durst
Winterling by Sarah PrineasWinterling by Sarah Prineas
January 3rd, 2012 by HarperChildrens

With her boundless curiosity and wild spirit, Fer has always felt that she doesn’t belong. Not when the forest is calling to her, when the rush of wind through branches feels more real than school or the quiet farms near her house. Then she saves an injured creature—he looks like a boy, but he’s really something else. He knows who Fer truly is, and invites her through the Way, a passage to a strange, dangerous land.

Fer feels an instant attachment to this realm, where magic is real and oaths forge bonds stronger than iron. But a powerful huntress named the Mor rules here, and Fer can sense that the land is perilously out of balance. Fer must unlock the secrets about the parents she never knew and claim her true place before the worlds on both sides of the Way descend into endless winter.

Sarah Prineas captivates in this fantasy-adventure about a girl who must find within herself the power to set right a terrible evil.

Winter Town by Stephen EmondWinter Town by Stephon Emond
December 5th, 2011 by Little Brown BFYR

Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent’s divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she’s changed. The former “girl next door” now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, “Old Lucy” still exists, and he’s determined to find her… even if it means pissing her off.

Garden State meets Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist in this funny and poignant illustrated novel about opposites who fall in love.


Soonchild by Russell HobanSoonchild by Russell Hoban
March 1st, 2012 by Walker Books

Two internationally acclaimed artists create a groundbreaking, genre-defying adventure to transcend time, place, and identity.

In the cold north where the white wind blows lives Sixteen-Face John, a shaman. His wife is expecting their first child — a “soonchild.” But Soonchild won’t come out So John sets out to find the World Songs that inspire all soonchildren to leave the womb. Along the way, he must shift shape and size, converse with animals and ancestors, and face demons and death. But he also pursues an elusive golden-eyed presence that hints at a connection with his past. This breathtaking novel, as exciting as it is spooky, is a lyrical tribute to the forces of nature, magic, and family.

If you too love winter reads, here are three of my favorites:

Breadcrumbs by Anne UrsuFury by Elizabeth MilesOdd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

Have you read any of these? What’s your favorite winter read?

If you liked that you might like this:


  1. Charlotte says:

    I am looking forward So Much to the sequel to Odd and the Frost Giants!

    My own favorite winter read is Winter Holiday, by Arthur Ransom–if you’ve never read any of his books, about kids living wonderfully imaginiative lives in the Lake District way back when, this is a fine place to start!

    • Heidi says:

      Me too, Charlotte! I haven’t read any of Ransom’s series, though I’m intrigued…it makes me nervous because all of my friends either love or hate it.

  2. Ooh! I have Winterling in my Kindle—it was a daily deal a few weeks ago—and Snow Child sounds lovely.

    Ready for something silly, though? I’ve seen East at bookstores and libraries so many times, but I just can’t get past how much the cover looks like it should be Lyra and Iorek.

    • Heidi says:

      Bah, I’m sad I missed the daily deal on Winterling! I’m going to see if my library has a copy.

      Bwahaha, East DOES look like it should be Lyra and Iorek…maybe that’s why I’m subconsciously attracted to it. 😛

  3. I’ve heard of nearly all of these books, but I haven’t actually read them. The Snow Child and Breadcrumbs both have come very highly recommended to me and I recently read an excellent review of Icefall, so I definitely want to check that one out now. East is a book I’ve seen in my library a LOT, but the size of the book kept me from picking it up for some reason, so I wonder how you’ll enjoy it. I think that Winterling is written by the same author who wrote…umm…Thief? Magic Thief: Lost? I can’t remember the title, but the author’s name sounds familiar and I remember starting her debut series and enjoying it, but not enough to really finish it. (Although I suspect this is because I was tired of MG and wanted more YA, but I did like her writing style and characterization, world-building, etc.) I’ve also seen Ice and that’s the same author as Vessel, right? I hope you’ll enjoy that one too! 😀 Wonderful list of books, Heidi, and I hope you get to read all of them this winter!

    • Heidi says:

      Breadcrumbs is wonderful, Keertana! I love it. I’ve never seen how big East is, but of course now you’ve made me nervous. 😛 Ice IS by the same author as Vessel. I haven’t heard consistent love for her books, but I do still want to read other stuff by her. Winterling is by the same authro as the Magic Thief series. I’ve heard good things about it, but also not a lot of things.

  4. I LOVED The Snow Child. One of my favorite reads of 2012. Enjoy!

  5. Brandy says:

    I love Winterling, Icefall, and Sun and Moon Ice and Snow. I still need to read Odd and the Frost Giants. I don’t know why I haven’t. Okay-I’m just going to put it on hold right now. That will solve that.

    • Heidi says:

      Yay! I really enjoyed Odd and the Frost Giants, I personally enjoyed it much more than Coraline, but I’m a bit of a freak that way.

  6. I’ve been meaning to read The Snow Child since it came out. Soonchild was so evocative and interesting–I read it for Cybils consideration in December but didn’t finish it because I was so frenzied to read as much as I could. Definitely want to get back to it, though. I love the covers of these books. They make me want to snuggle up.

    • Heidi says:

      I’m glad to hear your thoughts on Soonchild! And yes, I’ve wanted to read The Snow Child since it came out as well…I havne’t heard a bad thing about it. I LOVE wintry book covers so much, if you make it snowy and pretty, it’s probably going on my TBR.

  7. Jasmine Rose says:

    Yay! Another winter lover!
    I wasn’t interested in Winterling when everyone was going crazy about it, but I’ve grown to like fantasy a little more and I think I’d actually enjoy it.
    Also, Wintertown looks so interesting! I heard some good and some bad reviews, but I’m still interested because of all the different illustration types all mushed up in there.

    • Heidi says:

      Same for me with Winter Town, Jasmine! I’m not sure it’s a ME book, but I keep coming back to the illustrations and wanting more, which is enough that I want to check it out. I adore winter, and snow in particular. I loved when it snowed in Washington because everything just shuts down out there–I think my first snow day ever was at University!

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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.