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    31 Books From Target That Are Excellent For Cold Weather Reading

    The weather outside may be frightful, but your bookshelf is 100% delightful.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed collects a share of sales and/or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

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    If you love a good historical mystery and an enthralling modern-day thriller, The Lost Apothecary will scratch both of those itches. In 18th-century London, there’s an apothecary hidden away out of the prying eyes of the public whose clientele have…particular needs. Needs to right wrongs. Needs that require a certain dose of poison to meet. But a new patron — a 12-year-old girl — and a disastrous mistake set into motion events that threaten not only the apothecary and its proprietor, but all of its clients. Meanwhile, in modern-day London, a historian on holiday stumbles upon a vial that might hold the key to unraveling a series of murders from centuries ago — murders that involved a certain apothecary. Fast paced and atmospheric, Penner’s novel is one to file under Can’t Put It Down.

    Price: $13.99

    2. The Haunting Season: Ghostly Tales for Long Winter Nights by Bridget Collins et al.

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    Ghost stories aren’t just for Halloween; in fact, some places in the world have longstanding traditions of telling ghost stories later in the year, during the dark, cold months of winter. If that sounds like a good time to you, open up this collection of spooky stories and have at. Featuring tales by Bridget Collins, Natasha Pulley, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Sara Collins, Elizabeth Macneal, Laura Purcell, Andrew Michael Hurley, Jess Kidd, and Imogen Hermes Gowar, The Haunting Season will take you from bustling holiday markets in the city to looming estates in the countryside housing horrible secrets, and everywhere in between. Stoke the fire; you’ll need to the warmth to keep the chill from your bones.

    Price: $25.99

    3. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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    The first book in Seanan McGuire’s excellent Wayward Children series, Every Heart a Doorway starts with a familiar premise: Children who wander — or step, or fall, or tumble, or fly, or swim — into worlds other than the one they were born in. Fairylands, Underworlds, “Mirror” worlds, and more…they all exist here. But then, it asks something new: What happens to these children when they return from these worlds — worlds in which they often feel more at home than they did in their original world? Some find themselves at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Nancy is one such child; after she arrives at the school, however, a string of tragedies and mounting danger will ask much of her classmates — more, in some ways, than their other worlds ever did. I have been devouring this entire series over the past month, and this first volume, like the ones that follow it, is heart-stopping in its beauty and melancholy.

    Price: $11.69

    4. Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Ella Morton, and Dylan Thuras

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    Atlas Obscura is one of the most delightful corners of the internet; chronicling some of the more unusual wonders the world has to offer, it’s the modern-day equivalent of spinning a globe, putting your finger down in a random spot, and then heading off to the library to read up on wherever your finger landed. The Atlas Obscura book, now in its second edition, is similarly charming — and it’s great both as an actual travel resource and as a way to hit the road without, y’know, actually hitting the road, particularly when you're stuck at home during the chilly winter months. This one is a must for anyone who harbors a little (or a lot) of wanderlust in their day-to-day life.

    Price: $19.07

    5. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

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    Taking its initial cues from fairy-tale tropes and then running (or sledding, skiing, or skating) away with them, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Snow Child brings to life the frozen Alaskan wilderness in 1920 in more ways than one. Homesteaders Jack and Mabel are having a tough go of it, but when a young girl calling herself Faina shows up at their door, they have to wonder whether she might be the embodiment of a snowperson — a snow child — they built together during one snowfall when things didn’t seem so bad. There is more, though, to Faina than at first appears — and the same is true of Jack and Mabel’s beautiful but dangerous home. As Alan Cheuse wrote at NPR upon The Snow Child’s 2012 paperback release, “Ivey's delightful invention hovers somewhere between myth and naturalism — and the effect this creates is mesmerizing.” 

    Price: $11.11

    6. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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    There’s nothing like the winter season for mysterious New England campus intrigue, so if you haven’t picked up Donna Tartt’s 1992 debut yet, now is definitely the time. A twisting, winding story about in-groups, codependency, and relationships so toxic they can literally destroy the people involved, the mystery here isn’t really about who killed Edmund “Bunny” Corcoran; it’s about what led to his death — and about how the insular group of classics students Bunny was a part of unravels as a result of it. Widely acknowledged as the blueprint for contemporary dark academia, The Secret History will keep you up reading throughout the long, cold night. Get those flashlights ready; you’re going to want them for company when you curl up under the covers with this one.

    Price: $14.99

    7. Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

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    If you prefer your dark academia with a touch of the otherworldly, Catherine House might be more your speed. Catherine House is the name of the school in question here, but it’s not your typical university. For three years — three whole years, including summers — you give everything you have to Catherine House: You give up any connection to the outside world and spend your time wearing Catherine House’s clothing, living on Catherine House’s campus, eating Catherine House’s meals, reading only material available at Catherine House, listening only to music available at Catherine House, and communicating only with those who are at Catherine House with you. In return, you will, upon graduation, have the world at your fingertips. But as new student Ines quickly discovers, there’s a reason Catherine House appeals to the students who attend it — and there is more going on in its hallowed halls than at first it seems.

    Price: $13.59

    8. The Duke and I (Bridgerton 1) by Julia Quinn

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    Cozy, stay-at-home weather is the perfect time to break out a little warmth and romance – so if you can’t wait for season 2 of Bridgerton, why not give the series on which it’s based a try? The Duke and I, which provided much of the plot for the first season of the show, will let you revisit the world of Regency London in a whole new way. The first installment in the series, this volume introduces us to Daphne Bridgerton, Simon Bassett, and their devious courtship arrangement — and to what happens that arrangement starts to get a bit…complicated. The course of true love never did run smooth, right?

    Price: $4.99

    9. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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    Would you rather your historical romances have a bit more adventure and a few loveable rogues? The world of Mackenzi Lee’s Montague Siblings series might be exactly what you're looking for. This first volume introduces us to Henry “Monty” Montague, who was born into a family of wealthy aristocrats and is therefore expected to take over the family’s estate; Monty, however, is willing to do anything to stave off this fate. Together with his sister, Felicity, and the love of his life, Percy, he sets out on a grand tour of Europe to send his wilder days off with a bang — but things quickly take a turn, sending the trio off on a series of escapades peppered with pirates, highwaymen, and all manner of ne’er-do-wells. Readers can’t stop raving about how fun this pick is — and there’s nothing like a riotously joyous yet also poignant historical romp to curl up with when it’s cold out, is there?

    Price: $7.99

    10. Becoming by Michelle Obama

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    Michelle Obama’s deeply inspiring memoir shot up the bestseller lists pretty much as soon as it hit shelves in November of 2018; within a mere 15 days, it had already sold so many copies as to become the bestselling book of that year. And it’s no wonder: Obama writes with warmth and thoughtfulness as she recounts her life thus far, from her childhood in Chicago through her university and law school years to her political career and her marriage and beyond. Read this one when you need a pick-me-up during the darkest time of the year; it’s sure to lift your spirits.

    Price: $10.48

    11. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

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    Looking for a cold weather thriller that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end? Lucy Foley’s The Hunting Party ticks every one of those boxes. Set in an isolated lodge in the Scottish Highlands, this can’t-put-it-down pick follows a group of old university friends as they reunite for a celebration over the cold, dark days surrounding New Year’s. The problem? They wake up on New Year’s Day to find that one of them has turned up dead. Both a whodunnit and a whydunnit, The Hunting Party will make you want to bundle yourself up in a fuzzy blanket and hold your “friends” at arm’s length. (Just kidding. Your friends are awesome and would never try to, y’know, kill you in the dead of night. Right? … Right?)

    Price: $14.39

    12. Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

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    This delightful graphic novel is full of witches, werewolves, magic, and queer romance, and honestly, what’s not to love about all of that? Centered around Nova Huang, a teenage witch who lives with her two grandmothers and works at their magical bookshop in New England, and her childhood crush, Tam Lang, who happens to be a werewolf and needs Nova’s help battling their demons — figuratively and literally — Mooncakes is, in a word, enchanting. It is everything I want in a cozy story for chilly weather. Brew up a cup of tea and settle in. You’re in for a treat.

    Price: $13.49

    13. The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath

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    The Reckless Kind may be set in the icy Norwegian fjords in 1904, but the story that unfolds within its pages will warm your heart right up. In it, we meet Asta, an asexual young woman with Waardenburg syndrome who is told time and time again she should be grateful for her pending but unwanted marriage to Nils; Gunnar, Asta’s best friend, who is living with depression and several other disabilities; and Erlend, Gunnar’s boyfriend, who has anxiety. Bucking against a society that constantly tries to convince them they are not enough, the three of them are determined to form a family of their own. As Publishers Weekly put it in a glowing review, “Smooth writing brings the historical background to life while, through Asta and Gunnar’s dual narration, delicately exploring themes of disability, independence, found family, and various forms of love.” 

    Price: $18.99

    14. The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody

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    Being stuck at the airport is no fun. Being stuck at the airport when you’re trying to get somewhere on a holiday is even less fun. But for Ryn, who is grieving the loss of her best friend on the one-year anniversary of her death, and Xander, who has his own baggage (pun intended), a night snowed in at the Denver airport — a night which also happens to be New Year’s Eve — what starts as no fun turns out to be exactly what they needed, thanks to an accidental phone swap and an ensuing adventure. A bittersweet exploration of grief and loss — and learning to live with both — The Chaos of Standing Still is a 24-hour romp you won’t want to miss.

    Price: $8.59 

    15. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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    Set against the backdrop of the Russian wilderness, The Bear and the Nightingale centers around Vasilisa, a girl for whom folktales and traditions are everything. After her mother dies, however, and her father remarries a woman from Moscow — a woman from the city, a woman who doesn’t believe in the stories and traditions Vasilisa grew up with — she finds herself in the middle of a fairytale of her own. There is an evil in the forest, you see; it’s slowly emerging from the trees, stalking the village Vasilisa knows and loves — and it’s up to her to stand up to it. Steeped in Russian folk traditions and buried deep in the snow, this wintery epic will make you want to go questing yourself...or maybe just snuggle further down into your pillow fort.

    Price: $17.89

    16. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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    Do you like magical, slightly spooky circuses? Yes? Then you will love Erin Morgenstern’s 2011 fantastical adventure, The Night Circus. The Victorian circus at the center of the story, le Cirque des Rêves — the Circus of Dreams — arrives, as the novel’s first sentences tell us, “without warning”; “it is simply there,” we are informed, “when yesterday it was not.” And the story that follows — a tale of competition and fantasy, a battle between magicians, and, of course, more than a touch of romance — absolutely lives up to that stunner of an introduction. It is an excellent read for chilly weather; bury yourself in a pile of pillows and don’t plan on leaving for a while once you crack this one open. (PS: Morgenstern’s long-awaited follow-up, 2019’s The Starless Sea, is also a wonderful, magical read, so once you’re done with The Night Circus, definitely pick that one up, too!)

    Price: $16.44

    17. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

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    True crime is tricky; it can easily become exploitative, and it sometimes has a habit of putting the perpetrators on pedestals while ignoring or blaming the victims. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, however, is a shining example of true crime done well. Devoted to tracking the serial killer operating in California in the 1970s and '80s whom McNamara dubbed the Golden State Killer, the book builds off of her 2013 Los Angeles Magazine piece on the case; it’s also as much about the Golden State Killer as it is about McNamara’s own relationship with the case — published posthumously, the final third of it was pieced together from her remaining notes by investigative journalist Bill Jensen, crime writer Paul Haynes, and McNamara’s husband, Patton Oswalt. Sensitive and gripping, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark showcases the genre at its best.

    Price: $11.22

    18. White Is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

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    Helen Oyeyemi’s third novel, White Is For Witching, is simultaneously a ghost story, a haunted house story, and a vampire story — and at the same time, it’s somehow none of these things, and also much more than the sum of its parts. (It's a lot, I know, but it's 100% worth it.) Centered around teenager Miranda Silver and her family — her twin brother Eliot and her father, Luc Dufresne — as they cope with the loss of her mother Lily, a photojournalist who was killed while on assignment, White Is for Witching takes us inside life in the family home, where Luc runs a bed-and-breakfast. But the house — Silver House, Lily’s childhood home — is not all it seems, and as Silver House becomes increasingly malevolent, Miranda becomes increasingly unwell. Tackling issues of grief, race, xenophobia, and nationalism, White Is for Witching is chilling on multiple levels.

    Price: $14.59

    19. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

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    Jhumpa Lahiri’s stunning first novel is just as resonant now as it was when it was initially published in 2003. Beginning with Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli as they move from Calcutta and begin building a life together in Boston, The Namesake finds its center in the Ganguli’s son, first called Gogol — a name inspired by the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol originally meant to be the child’s pet name used only at home, but which ends up on his birth certificate due to the foibles of hospital bureaucracy — but who, as time progresses, later goes by Nikhil, and still later by Nick. Spanning decades, The Namesake follows Gogol throughout his life, examining issues of identity, family, and the experience of growing up in the United States as the child of Bengali immigrants in a poignant story that’s not to be missed.

    Price: $10.99

    20. The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

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    Flora is a survivor. That’s why she’s sailing aboard the ship Dove as Florian; she’s safer as Florian amongst a crew of marauders and pirates. But Lady Evelyn Hasegawa — one of the passengers on the ship who was captured when the crew revealed its true, villainous nature — is a survivor too, and she, like Flora, is tired of playing by the rules. With the two of them increasingly drawn to each other, they’re both determined to create their own destinies — together. Full of swashbuckling, magic, and queer romance, but also sharp-eyed examinations of imperialism and gender dynamics, The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea will suck you into a world you’ll never get tired of exploring – especially when it’s too cold to go out into the actual world.

    Price: $14.29

    21. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

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    A lush fairytale with both romance and teeth, When The Moon Was Ours introduces us to best friends Miel, out of whose wrists roses grow, and Samir, known as Sam, who paints beautiful moons and hangs them in the trees all over the town in which they live. But these two aren’t the only unusual folks living in their town; there are also the Bonner sisters, who may or may not be witches — and who want, more than anything, Miel’s roses, and will do whatever they have to in order to get them. Long-listed for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature in 2016 and the winner of the 2017 Stonewall Honor Award in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, this queer love story and its luminous prose will get under your skin, stay there, and just glow.

    Price: $18.19

    22. Beartown by Fredrik Backman

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    From the author of the runaway hit A Man Called Ove, Beartown brings us to a small Swedish town during hockey season for a slow burn of a story with a vividly drawn cast of characters. There isn’t much in Beartown, but there’s an ice rink, and there’s a junior hockey team — and for the village, these two things are everything. But in the aftermath of the national semifinals, the team’s star player perpetrates a terrible crime at a celebratory party, the effects of which will ripple through the community for years to come. Comparing Beartown to Friday Night LightsKirkus Reviews noted that the novel “is about more than youth sports; it’s part coming-of-age novel, part study of moral failure, and finally a chronicle of groupthink in which an unlikely hero steps forward to save more than one person from self-destruction.” 

    Price: $13.58

    23. How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior

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    If you’ve ever wanted to leave everything behind and run away to the far reaches of Antarctica, the titular Veronica of this charming pick by Hazel Prior will undoubtedly resonate with you: 85-year-old Veronica McCreedy actually goes ahead and does it, journeying to a scientific base in the icy regions of Antarctica after seeing a documentary about penguins. Do the scientists want her there? Not really, but she doesn’t really give them a choice. She doesn’t give them a choice when she convinces them to take an orphaned baby penguin under their proverbial wing to raise, either. Between the penguin, the visit of a distant grandson attempting to reconnect with his estranged grandmother, and the team of scientists reluctantly drawn into the whole thing, there’s so much here to love. And, I mean, penguins. Need I say more?

    Price: $12.99

    24. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

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    Cold weather and gothic suspense go together like PB&J, and when it comes to the second, it doesn’t get much better than The Thirteenth Tale. Diane Setterfield’s 2006 debut uses a familiar frame — that of a reclusive and secretive artist (in this case, writer Vida Winter) who is finally ready to tell the story of her closely guarded life to the world via a handpicked and seemingly unlikely biographer — but then twists it, and twists it, and twists it again. Heck, this story twists so many times that my head was positively whirling by the time I finished it the first time I read it. You will want to read it again, by the way; the second time round, it’s an almost entirely different story. I can’t tell you why, of course — that would spoil it — but if you love ghosts, and hauntings, and aging mansions, and intrigue, this one is definitely worth picking up.

    Price: $13.99

    25. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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    For a slightly different take on the gothic genre, Silvia Morena-Garcia’s stylish 2020 novel Mexican Gothic delivers in spades. Set in the 1950s in the Mexican town of El Triunfo, a former hot spot for silver mining that has fallen into decay, this creeping tale of dread follows socialite Noemi as she travels to the English-style manor home into which her cousin, Catalina, moved after marrying into the English family that ran the mines. But all is not right here — and not just because there’s mold literally everywhere. Catalina alternates between lucid and delirious, and the Doyle family does nothing to assuage Noemi’s misgivings about the situation. It all comes to a head eventually, of course — but it’s not one you’ll see coming. Superb in both its storytelling and its takedown of colonialism, Mexican Gothic definitely became an instant classic for a reason.

    Price: $14.67

    26. Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

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    More dark academia for a cold winter’s night? Don’t mind if I do. Ace of Spades takes us to the halls of Niveus Private Academy and into the lives of its privileged students — one of whom is secretly the anonymous texter Aces, who revels in revealing secrets and destroying lives. When Devon and Chiamaka, both of whom have been selected for the coveted position of senior class prefect, find themselves in Aces’ crosshairs, they’re determined to get to the bottom of the mystery — and to stop Aces once and for all. Described as Gossip Girl meets Get Out, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé’s debut thriller tackles institutionalized racism and white supremacy in a roller coaster of a ride.

    Price: $15.10

    27. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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    I don’t know what it is about this French classic that makes it feel perfect for cold weather; maybe it’s just that it’s so cozy. Cute and funny and poignant and sad, this allegory always resonates. From the moment the Little Prince asks our narrator to draw him a sheep to his final desire to return home to look after his rose, it’s just…it. If you’ve already fallen in love with it once, now is a great to do so again — and if you’ve never experienced it before, what are you waiting for?

    Price: $15.99

    28. Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen

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    What’s cozier than a warm kitchen and a good meal? Not much — especially if you’re enjoying it all in a cabin in the woods. That's exactly what James Beard Award winner Amy Thielen did, once upon a time, and now look where she is. Thielen’s charming memoir, Give a Girl a Knife, recounts her days living in a cabin off the grid deep in the wilderness with her spouse, discovering her love of cooking as she went. She also dives into her childhood in Minnesota and, later, details the hustle and bustle of life in the kitchens of some of New York’s best restaurants. In lyrical prose with lots of humor and a great deal of strength, she writes of her winding path from point A to point B, with lots of stops in between — so go ahead: Make yourself your favorite comfort food, plate it up, and enjoy it with this book open right next to your plate. Yum.

    Price: $10.79

    29. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

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    A stunning reimagining of “Snow White,” Melissa Bashardoust’s feminist fairytale sees us following not the simplified archetypes of Princess and Evil Queen, but two fully realized young women — young women who have grown tired of their lives and fates being controlled by the men around them and take matters into their own hands. There’s Mina, whose heart does not beat — it’s made of glass, after all — and who, at 16, determines that in order to finally feel and know love, she must woo the king and become both the queen and a newly minted stepmother; and there’s Lynet, who learns at 15 that she is literally a snow-modeled image of her dead mother brought to life by magic — but who would much rather follow in the footsteps of her stepmother, Mina. Soon, though, Mina and Lynet are pitted against each other by the king himself, and they must choose whether to embrace each other or take each other down. Their intertwining narratives are rich and deep, making this twist of a fairy tale worth getting lost in.

    Price: $9.99

    30. A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette

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    Calling all lovers of cozy mysteries: This one is sure to please! In the first book of the Ice Cream Parlor Mystery series, MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just begun to renovate and restore her family’s ice cream parlor in the town in Ohio in which she grew up. But after a series of unfortunate construction events, Wyn is forced to push the grand reopening of Crewse Creamery long past the summer season — and the unexpected snowfall on the day she does open turns out to be the least of her problems when she discovers a body buried in the snow. With her father accused of the murder, Wyn gets to work clearing his name — and as the mystery unravels, the stakes get ever higher. According to readers, A Deadly Inside Scoop delivers on everything a cozy mystery should.

    Price: $12.69

    31. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

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    Emily Carroll’s distinctive art style took the internet by storm in 2010, when she published her comic “His Face All Red” to her website. A folk-horror nightmare of woods and wolves and dastardly brothers, it quickly went viral — and, eventually, it made its way into print as one of the stories within Through the Woods. This volume includes not just “His Face All Red,” but also several other illustrated tales of woe: “Our Neighbor’s House,” “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold,” “My Friend Janna,” and “The Nesting Place.” If you like your fairy tales as dark and cold as the winter weather, this one’s for you.

    Price: $12.99

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