Anytime I’m having trouble concentrating on a read, I like to pick up a relaxing fiction book to reset. It’s just pure fun in book form. If you are not familiar with the genre, welcome to your new favorite subgenre of fantasy. The concept was relatively new to me as well, though I soon realized that these kinds of warm and fuzzy fairy tales were the ones I had been looking for for so long without even realizing there was a name for them.
Like relaxing puzzles, relaxing fantasy books tend to have somewhat lower stakes than is typical for the genre. And like comforting mysteries, sometimes called “comforters” for short fantasy, comforting fiction certainly has a personal element to it. What makes a book comforting? It’s all about feeling, and what’s comfortable for me may not be quite the same for you.
But overall, relaxing puzzles feature kind-hearted characters, supportive friends, magic items, and often a family. This is not to say that there is absolutely no drama or conflict, although the amount varies from book to book and you are pretty much guaranteed a happy ending. I mean, what kind of comforting book would it be if it left you crying in devastation at the end?
These 13 comforting fantasy books are likely to make you cry happy tears when you finish the last page and wish you could start the story all over again right away.
The Top Secret Society of Irregular Magicians by Sangu Mandana
A witch and a grumpy librarian fall for each other in this comforting fantasy romance about finding your family. Mika Moon has always had to hide her powers, but when she’s offered a job to train three young witches, she knows she can’t let go of the same lonely childhood she had–even if it means breaking all the rules. But when she is introduced to the children’s caretakers, including a librarian who resists being there from the start, she begins to wonder why being alone is supposed to be the best option. Maybe Mika could be a witch and have a family of her own, after all.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
In an island house, a group of young orphans can spell the end of the world. Or, at least, that’s what “Extremely Upper Management” Linus Becker said. Now, Linus has to determine if these dangerous children, including a gnome, an imp, a Pomeranian, and the Antichrist, are likely to bring the end of days. Linus has always taken his job as a caseworker very seriously. But Arthur Parnassus, the caretaker of the children, begins to make him rethink his position. This house is more than suitable. And maybe, just maybe, Linus is about to discover he could welcome another person into his grasp.
Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldry
This D&D-esque fantasy is the epitome of cozy fantasy: set in a coffee shop, it follows an ex-warrior trying to settle down and make a life for himself, and features relatively low-stakes drama and a dash of romance. Tired of her life as an adventurer, Viv decides to set up the first and only coffee shop in Thune. There’s just one problem: no one here knows what coffee is. And an old friend-turned-enemy is after the magic stone that brings the luck Vive needs to make this quest a success. Well, there may be some problems with this plan, but Viv is a determined orc who isn’t about to let anything come between her and her dreams. You’ll want to drop by Viv’s Cafe for a quick bite of Thimble dessert by the end, not to mention a fresh cup of Thune’s best – and only – coffee.
Nice Dragon Ending Last by Rachel Aaron
Banished by his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, for being meek, Julius is transformed from a dragon into human form. He has one month to prove to his mom that he can be the formidable predator she expects, or he can forget about being a dragon forever. But in the vertical city built on the ruins of old Detroit, wizards excel and view dragons as monsters to be exterminated. Julius will need a lot of help if he is to survive – as a dragon or a human.
Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abbey
A young witch with a lot to prove sets out on her first mission away from home in this fantastic fantasy novel perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli and… Kiki’s delivery service. Eva Evergreen may only possess a set of magical abilities, but she’s determined to earn the rank of junior witch before her thirteenth birthday. Eva hopes to make ends meet by helping the coastal town of Ottery with its “semi-magical” repair shop. But Auteri is having real problems and they were expecting a perfect witch. Will Eva be able to prove to herself – and others – that even a touch of magic can be enough to make a big difference?
Wonderful Light by Freya Marsky
When an administrative error lands a Baronet as the newest contact to a magical community he previously knew nothing about, life is suddenly turned upside down. In the course of a single day, Robin Blythe learns that magic exists, meets the world’s most obnoxious co-worker, and is cursed by a group of wayward witches. Now, in order to find a cure for an increasingly painful curse, Robin must work with Edwin Corsi, the man who will erase Robin’s memories as soon as possible to help him. But Edwin hides a complicated past and his family is even more complicated. And it soon becomes clear that Robin isn’t the only one who needs saving – especially when a dangerous magical plot comes to light.
Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Wealth by Rozelle Lim
In this magical realism book that’s all about food, family, and cooking, food is literally healing. Or, at least Natalie. Armed with her grandmother’s old restaurant and cookbook, she returns home to San Francisco after the death of her estranged mother with hopes of finally becoming the chef she has always dreamed of being. But as she works her way through her grandmother’s cookbooks, she realizes the recipes are anything but ordinary.
Mooncakes by Susan Walker and Wendy Shaw
Childhood friends get a second chance at love in this beautiful graphic novel about a hearing-impaired witch and a non-binary werewolf who re-enter each other’s lives. Nova is a teenage witch who helps out with her grandmothers’ magical library. But then her childhood best friend, Tam, appears fighting a demonic horse in the woods. Tam is on the run from those who might steal his wolf powers and is looking for somewhere to call home. And Nova is pretty sure she knows exactly where.
The Witch House by Delemhach
The new royal cook is a housewife who just wants to make some good food and prevent anyone from revealing her secrets. But people keep coming to his kitchen, and his past soon catches up with him. Now, he’s going head-to-head against unruly knights, fending off a royal wizard, and searching for a spy in the castle. All of that, and his love life is just starting to get complicated. What is a magic cook to do?
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
After becoming disillusioned with attracting the Witch of the Waste’s wrath, a girl named Sophie turns into an old woman. In order to break the spell, you need to help the magician Howl Heart who lives in an ever-moving castle. It will take managing a wizard’s mercurial temper, striking a deal with a fire demon, and coming face to face with the Witch of the Waste to get back to herself. But Sophie soon realizes there’s more to Howl – and to herself – than she could possibly have imagined.
Betrayal Can’t Be Spelled Out Without Tea by Rebecca Thorne
Reyna and Kianthe only want one thing: to open the coziest tea shop in all the land, full of fire, plants and good company. But their jobs still get in the way. As the Queen’s private bodyguard and one of the most powerful witches in the land, they can’t quite hand in their resignations. At least, not without raising a powerful royal tantrum. But after an assassination attempt, Rena is ready to leave the royal halls behind. Kianthe was just waiting for an excuse to evade her responsibilities, and seeing her friend held hostage by a killer is reason enough for her. Together, they set out to open their dream café in a town inhabited by more dragons than people. It won’t be easy, but it will be totally worth it.
The Cat Who Memorized Sosuke Natsukawa’s Books
A book about a cat and a library? Could there be anything more comfortable? After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro Natsuki, a high school student, is approached by a strange cat at the family library, which he plans to close soon. It seems there are books that need to be saved – and only Rintaro can help the cat save them. Through a maze of books that appear in the back of the shop and a series of bizarre tasks, Rintaro is reminded of what makes books so special and why he shouldn’t give away his own – or his grandfather’s second-hand library – just yet.
Flowerheart by Catherine Bakewell
Described as a “cottagecore fantasy romance,” heart flower It follows a girl who becomes wild and untenable with magical powers when she causes poisonous flowers to bloom in her father’s chest. The solution comes in the form of a difficult spell and an ex-boyfriend who sets a terrible price for his help. Clara will do anything to save her father – something Xavier knows as well as her former best friend. But their deal isn’t the only dark secret Xavier is hiding; A terrible darkness is consuming the universe, and Clara’s wild, unpredictable charm may be the only thing that can stop it.
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