My tried-and-true method for choosing a book is to read the first page--or maybe two, if I'm still undecided at the end of the first. If a story hasn't reeled me in by then, I pass it up. It's certainly possible that I've missed out on some good books that way, but I haven't often been disappointed in the ones I've chosen.
Here are the books I've snuggled up with during our recent cold weather, every one of them a good read:
Funerals for Horses