What Are Authors Reading? Kick Off the New Year With One of These Books!

In this post, originally published in November 2021 on the Harlequin Ever After blog, two Harlequin authors talk about what they’re reading next! If you need book recommendations to kick off the new year, look no further than these authors’ over-the-holiday reading lists!

If you aren’t sure what books to pick up next for your TBR list, why not take some recommendations from Harlequin’s very own romance authors. We asked Donna Hill, author of STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL, and Barb Han, author of TEXAS ABDUCTION, what they’d be reading when they wanted to get cozy during the holiday season.


When I was asked to share with readers what my reading would look like during the holidays, and if I had any books that I was looking forward to reading, I jumped at the opportunity to share my one of my great passions. However, between reading text to prepare to teach six courses, my personal reading shifted. It shifted from holding a book in my hand to walking through the neighborhood with earbuds.

When we were children, one of the most cherished moments was when we had someone “read us a story.” It was fascinating to hear the words come to life. I found that with so much required reading, my eyes needed a rest and I turned to audiobooks, which opened a new world for me. I’ve been transported listening to THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett, ISLAND QUEEN by Vanessa Riley, GLORIOUS and THE BOOK OF HARLAN by Bernice McFadden, THE YELLOW WIFE by Sadequa Johnson, THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN by Victoria Christopher Murray and Marie Bennett, THE OTHER BLACK GIRL by Zakiyah Harris, THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE by Abi Dare, HOW THE WORD IS PASSED by Clint Smith, and most recently THE LOVE SONGS OF W.E.B. DUBOIS by Honoree Jeffers—to name a few! I am in the midst of listening to a fascinating novel of magical realism, HOUSE OF ROGUEAUX by Jenny Jaeckel.

Since I will have a bit of downtime with the holiday break from school, I am itching to hold a book in my hand again and turn the pages! On my list is NEW YORK, MY VILLAGE by Uwem Akpan and to settling in with THE BENNET WOMEN by Eden Appiah-Kubi and SEVEN DAYS IN JUNE by Tia Williams. By then classes will have resumed and I will take my afternoon and evening walks and listen to the textured voice of someone carrying me off to another place! 

Barb Han, Author of TEXAS ABDUCTION

November kicks off a busy time of celebration in my house with two birthdays and a wedding anniversary all within nine days of each other. By the time Thanksgiving week rolls around, I’m ready for a few days of rest to catch my breath before the big cooking day. I love this time of year with the cooler temperatures, longer nights, and hours spent in my favorite reading chair.

This holiday season, I have eight books lined up and will most likely read a few more before it’s over. I’m looking at my TBR pile and seeing a mix of suspenseful reads with a sprinkling of heartwarming contemporaries, a dash of self-improvement and, finally, a classic Christmas read.

I’ll kick off the season with a bang. Dale Mayer’s BULLARD’S BEAUTY up first. Dale’s against all odds theme always resonates with me. Then, it’ll be Elle James’s COLORADO CONSPIRACY. This one is from her Brotherhood Protectors series and she never disappoints. Thanksgiving night, I’m looking forward to curling up with RaeAnne Thayne’s SLEIGH BELLS RING. She has become my go-to author to kick off the Christmas season.

Next up on the reading list, I’ll circle back to suspense with K-9 HIDEOUT by Elizabeth Heiter. I’m loving her K-9 series. Then, it’ll be a pair of contemporary holiday stories, starting with Delores Fossen’s CHRISTMAS AT COLTS CREEK set in Last Ride, Texas (I love a great story set in my home state!). PICTURE PERFECT (just look at that cover!) by Chris Keniston is up next. I have thoroughly enjoyed her Hart Land series. On Christmas Eve, I’ll move to a classic read, A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens. Then, I’ll end the year with DO LESS by Kate Northrup.