Great New Books To Read This Winter

If you’re after a new read, we’ve rounded up the best books out there – from highly anticipated debuts to thrilling sequels. Plus, we’ve included a handful of top reader recommendations from the SL Community.
By Heather Steele /

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Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

American-Israeli author Leigh Bardugo's rollercoaster ride of a follow up to Ninth House ups the ante on sinister intrigue and atmospheric chills as Yale’s staff members start turning up very dead, very frequently. Galaxy ‘Alex’ Stern is determined to break Darlington out of hell – even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale. But Alex is playing with forces far beyond her control, and as the staff members die one by one, she knows these aren’t just accidents. Something deadly is at work in New Haven, and if Alex is going to survive, she’ll have to reckon with the monsters. The ideal read if you’re in the mood for something fantasy based.

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The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore

This debut is a powerful tale of sisterhood and home. Margo and Richard's love affair was the stuff legends are made of – forbidden, passionate, all encompassing, but ultimately doomed. When Richard walked out, Margo shut herself away from the world, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, to run wild. Having finally put the past behind her, charismatic Margo holds court in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness. The eldest, Rachel, is desperate to return to London, but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home. Imogen, the dreamy middle child, feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fiancé, even when her life takes an unexpected turn. And wild Sasha, trapped between her increasingly alienated family and her controlling husband, has unearthed the secret behind Richard's departure – and when she reveals it, the effects are devastating.

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In Ascension by Martin MacInnes

Leigh grew up in Rotterdam, drawn to the waterfront as a refuge from her unhappy home life and volatile father. Enchanted by the marine world of her childhood, she excels in postgraduate research on ancient algae. When an unfathomable vent appears in the mid-Atlantic floor, Leigh joins the investigating team – and what she finds there will change her life forever. Around the same time, a trio of engineers, unknown to each other, make a seismic breakthrough in rocket propulsion, announcing an almost limitless era of space exploration. Billions of dollars are poured into projects, and Leigh's classified research on the ocean vent sees her recruited to develop an experimental food source for off-world travel. From her base in the Mojave Desert, she's drawn further into the space agency's work. Soon, Leigh embarks on a journey that will take her across the breadth of the cosmos and the fullness of a single human life.

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Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor

New Delhi, 3am. A speeding Mercedes jumps the kerb, and in the blink of an eye five people are dead. It's a rich man's car, but when the dust settles there is no rich man at all, just a shell-shocked servant who cannot explain the strange series of events that led to this crime. Nor can he foresee the dark drama that is about to unfold. Deftly shifting through time and perspective in contemporary India, Age of Vice is an action-packed story propelled by the seductive wealth, startling corruption, and bloodthirsty violence of the Wadia family. In the shadow of lavish estates, extravagant parties, predatory business deals, and calculated political influence, three lives become dangerously intertwined: Ajay is the watchful servant, born into poverty, who rises through the family's ranks. Sunny is the playboy heir who dreams of outshining his father, whatever the cost. And Neda is the curious journalist caught between morality and desire. Equal parts crime thriller and family saga, Age of Vice is an intoxicating novel of gangsters and lovers, false friendships, forbidden romance and the consequences of corruption.

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The Witches of Vardo by Anya Bergman

Norway in 1662 is a dangerous time to be a woman, when even dancing can lead to accusations of witchcraft. After recently widowed Zigri's affair with a local merchant is discovered, she is sent to the fortress at Vardo to be tried as a witch. Zigri's daughter Ingeborg sets off into the wilderness to try to bring her mother back home. Accompanying her on this quest is Maren – herself the daughter of a witch – whose wild nature and unconquerable spirit gives Ingeborg the courage to venture into the unknown, and to risk everything to save her family. Also captive in the fortress is Anna Rhodius, once the King of Denmark's mistress, who has been sent in disgrace to the island of Vardo. What will she do – and who will she betray – to return to her privileged life at court? In an age weighted against them, these women refuse to be victims. They will have their justice – all they need do is show their power.

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Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey

This is one of the most hotly anticipated debut novels of 2023, from Schitt's Creek screenwriter Monica Heisey. Maggie's marriage has ended just 608 days after it started, but she's fine – she's doing really good, actually. Yes, she's alone for the first time in her life, can't afford her rent and her obscure PhD is going nowhere, but at the age of 29, Maggie is determined to embrace her new status as a ‘Surprisingly Young Divorcee’. Soon she's taking up ‘sadness hobbies’ and getting back out there, sex wise, oversharing in the group chat and drinking with her high-intensity new divorced friend Amy. As Maggie throws herself headlong into the chaos of her first year of divorce, she finds herself questioning everything. Laugh-out-loud funny, sharp and painfully relatable, Really Good, Actually is an irresistible novel about the uncertainties of modern love, friendship and happiness.

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Ghost Music by An Yu

This brilliant book is set in Beijing. For three years, Song Yan has filled the emptiness of her apartment with the tentative notes of her young piano students. With her marriage, she gave up on her own career as a concert pianist, but her husband Bowen has long rebuffed her desire to have a child. Instead, she must accommodate her mother-in-law, newly arrived from the province of Yunnan and bringing with her long-buried family secrets. Soon strange parcels start to show up on the doorstep and Song Yan's dreams become troubling and claustrophobic. Striking out alone through the winter city, she finds herself pulled into the ancient hutongs to confront the source of her unease. In a silent room within a timeless house, can she find the notes she needs to make sense of all the pain and beauty in her life?

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Want Even More Ideas?

Here Are Some Recent Reads Our SL Community Readers Loved

Got a recommendation to add? Join in the Community conversation here.

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