Written by Sarah Grace Hoadley and Ivy-Rose Laidler 


Your list of recommended holiday reads is here! 

Now that the tumultuous life that is university and the stress and anxiety of exams are over, you are free to sit back and relax… and read a book! 

We have carefully constructed the following list of amazing reads to occupy you through the winter hols. To top it all off, each book comes with a recommended beverage for you to try out and drink in tandem with reading. 

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Currently taking the world by storm, The Fourth Wing from New York Times best-selling author Rebecca Yarros, is sure to knock you off your feet. A fantasy book with a book-loving, quick-witted FMC (Female main character), dragons and a little bit of spice – who could ask for more? Perfect for first time fantasy readers as the author’s writing style and world building are smooth and easy to understand, with a hook right at the beginning of the story, giving it the makings of a quick read.

Pairing your book with a drink, can change your experience forever. Sip on a dark and mysteriously fiery chilli hot chocolate, while velvety and smooth, it keeps you wanting more, just like the Fourth Wing. 

Love Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

If you are into romance, don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you. Presenting you with two options, we have firstly, the wonderful Ali Hazelwood’s most recent novel Love, Theoretically. For loyal Hazelwood readers, you may notice with each new book, the smuttier they get, and Love, Theoretically does not disappoint. This author writes books about women in STEM and their male partners are always swoon-worthy with their brilliant scientific minds and feminist views.

This is the one we recommend wrapping yourself up in a blanket and drinking a locally sourced coffee bean cappuccino. The best tip to even further this cappuccino experience, is adding in a couple of Scotch Fingers. Dip your biscuits and bite into the world of Ali Hazelwood. 

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

The other romance we have is It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey. This is the first in the Bellinger Sisters series, published back in 2021, with the second book being Hook, Line And Sinker, published 2022. This series falls into the rom-com genre, but don’t panic there is still plenty of steamy scenes in this one too! Though the FMC, Piper, starts out a bit frivolous, she quickly begins to return to earth once she meets the grumpy fisherman, Brendan, who is obviously head-over-heels in love with Piper but desperately tries to hide it behind his gruff demeanour and grunting replies.

Why don’t you whip up an Espresso martini with a twist. Recommended by a self-titled coffee connoisseur, add in a drip of chocolate liquor to create a Mocha Espresso Martini. Strong with sweet notes, just like Piper and Brendan.  

The Plated Series by Raven Kennedy 

If you are looking for something a bit longer, you’re an avid reader and you want something to read throughout the entirety of the holidays, we present: The Plated Prisoner series by Raven Kennedy. Another fantasy recommendation, a reimagining of the myth of King Midas, but this one with much darker themes, definitely not for readers under the age of 18 (make sure to check the trigger warnings!). The first book Gild was published in 2020, Glint and Gleam followed in 2021, and Glow was released last year (2022). This series sprinkles a little bit of romance, danger, intrigue and… spice, to bring you a fantastical whirlwind of an adventure.

It’s time to spice things up! While a hot chocolate is the perfect drink for any book, we have something different in mind. These books, with a darker theme are suited to a Dark Hot Chocolate. But wait with the mention of a little spice, we gotta change things up. Make yourself a Cinnamon Dark Hot Chocolate, combining all the elements of the book and a new flavour sensation in your mouth. Get ready with this drink and series these holidays… just in time for Gold coming out in December 2023. 

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by award-winning author Megan Bannen, is our suggestion for a one-off, quirky read. Bannen is known for her speculative fiction and this book is a perfect example. Though this book is expected to be the first in a series, the sequel isn’t expected to be published until 2024, and the ending is half the fun.

What more could you want from a book? A Sour Appletini with it! The books blend of contemporary romance with enemies to lovers and paranormal elements compliments the Appletini. Sour, your enemies. Sweet apple? Lovers of course. And that wildly green colour, makes for an out of this world paranormal experience. Its time to sit back and get lost in the wonderful and clever world Bannen has created.  

UON Book Club Recommended Reads

Sarah reached out to her friends over at the UON Book Club to get their informed opinions on what you should be reading this break.  

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon was a unanimous suggestion from the club. Again, if you’re looking for a book that might take you a while, this is definitely the book for you. Yet another fantasy read with a queer romance and more dragons. Be transported into a world told from perspectives across several nations, with the western and eastern worlds in an uneasy truce as they prepare for the legendary Nameless One to return and destroy the world.

It is a quite a long book, so be prepared with a hot buttered rum (rum butter, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, hot water) This drink combination will blow your mind. Taking in the notes of fantasy, dragons and a bit of romance, a Hot Buttered Rum will make this book even more intoxicating. The buttery warmth of the drink will heat you up like dragon fire, while the tastes of cinnamon and brown sugar will draw you into the books charms and adventure. Quickly! Go grab this drink, you’ll want to settle right in to read Priory 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Carmen Rickards, the UON Book Club President, has nominated her favourite book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children written by Ransom Riggs. This book covers a lot of genres it’s a Young Adult Historical Fantasy with supernatural elements and a bit of horror laced in there as well. This is the first book in a six-book series, and according to Carmen, if you’re not completely hooked by the first book, you need to push through it and then it’s smooth sailing from there. She did have a few complaints though: “It has no spicy scenes which is disappointing [because] the main couple is soooo cute! Plus, the authors wife writes some of the best smut ever!” For reference, Riggs’ wife is Taherah Mafi, the author of the Shatter Me series (which does in fact have some of the best smut ever if you wanted to check that out also!).

The theme of this book and content leads us to the decision you should definitely read it whilst sipping the strongest black tea that you can find in a ceramic white cup, in order to meet the dark academia aesthetic. Enough said. Simple, easy and for the book lovers who will be reading all day long. 

We hope this list is comprehensive and fills all your reading requirements for this holiday period. Feel free to let us know if you have read any of these and what you thought! 

Sarah Grace

Sarah Grace

Currently writing my first book based on prevalent issues for young adults in today’s society. When I am not studying for a Bachelor’s, I’m dabbling in some poetry or reading a fantasy book.

Sarah Grace

Currently writing my first book based on prevalent issues for young adults in today’s society. When I am not studying for a Bachelor’s, I’m dabbling in some poetry or reading a fantasy book.