Everyone has those novels that they return to months or years after the fact, just to brush up on the characters and stories. Maybe there are a few books that you turn to when you are feeling especially stressed or strung-tight. I consider these books “comfort reads,” books you turn to when you need some relief (kind of like “comfort food”). I have decided to compile a list of some of my comfort reads.
Note: If any of these books look interesting, just click on the picture and it will take you too Goodreads, so you can add it to your shelf!
1. Throne of Glass Series and A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J Maas
As mentioned a few times around this blog, I am a total Maas fangirl (my friend’s and I call ourselves the Priestesses of Maas because of our craziness). These books are the first ones that I turn to whenever I am in any kind of mood and I cannot count how many times I have reread these books, since the first one came out in 2012. I cannot recommend these books enough, and suggest that even if you didn’t love the first one which was amazing in my opinion, you should push onward.
The bada** assassin Celaena, and the huntress Feyre never fail to remind me of the power of a strong woman and pull me out of whatever slump I’m in. Of course, variety is the spice of life, and Maas is not the only wonderful storyteller out there, which is where the rest of this list comes in.
If you want to learn more about this series I did more of a review HERE.
2. Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen by Tamora Pierce
This Duology was what can probably be referred to as my first foray into the sphere of fantasy, and is one of the series that forever shaped my future reading tastes. The story of a revolution in part masterminded by a young woman, with twists of betrayal and love thrown in never ceases to settle my anxious mind.
Aly was one of the first strong female leads I had ever read (although she was followed quickly by Sabriel in the Abhorsen Series). Her bravery in the face of impossible odds inspired me, and still does today. I constantly find myself checking this out from the library when I can’t find anything to read (aka. don’t want to read anything else).
3. Persuasion by Jane Austen
Persuasion, in my humble opinion, is the best Jane Austen book and one of the most underrated. A story about a woman in love who was influenced years ago by her mentor to call off an engagement, and finds herself in the same circles as the previously underprivileged (but now wealthy and successful) Captain Wentworth.
This young book appealed to my teenage mind at least in part because the story of undue influence of a mother figure on her daughter, leading in many ways to her detriment. Regardless of the initial frenzy of love for this book, this is still one of the classics I will pick up on rainy weekends. I definitely recommend this book to anyone. It is wonderfully written, and as always with Austen, a love story for the ages.
I should also note that there is a Dystopian retelling of this that I am also quite fond of, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund which you can check out on Goodreads.
4. Beauty and Sunshine by Robin McKinley
I know it’s unfair to group two books together, but the storylines are both (somewhat) retellings and I was trying to keep this list down to five books/series.
Beauty is a wonderful retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with some added magic and intrigue. I recommend this to anyone, as it’s a beautiful retelling and adds depth to the story we all know and love. After this you won’t look at the story of Beauty and the Beast the same. I should also mention that McKinley has another, wilder version of the retelling called Rose Daughter, which I also enjoy, but not as much as the more traditional Beauty.
Sunshine I also consider a retelling, although in a much looser context. The writing style of this one is not for everyone, as it is often meandering almost like a stream of conscience from the heroine Sunshine. I say it is a retelling, because it reminds me of Beauty and the Beast and it does come from an author with two other retellings of the story. Sunshine is a baker and son of a warlock who becomes entrenched in the world of vampires, when kidnapped by a group of them. She manages to overcome impossible odds while growing into her powers, and finding friendship (and love?) in impossible places. That description sounded very YA. This is not YA, this is very adult and I will leave it at that. Negatives about this book: THERE IS NO SEQUEL.
Perhaps that is why I come back to this book, much like the next series on this list. I became so invested in Sunshine’s story and then the book JUST ENDS. Don’t get my wrong, I absolutely love Sunshine, and there is no way to really end it nicely because of events that happen, however it is very open for the sequel at the end and I would have enjoyed some more development of the romance. McKinley apparently has “a thing” with writing sequels (she doesn’t like to do it) so I understand, but not really. Doesn’t really matter what I wish for though, I still seem drawn back to this book like a bee to honey.
5. Strange Angels Series by Lili St. Crow
This is a book series I read from middle school going into high school, about a half-vampire hunter who has to learn about her own powers as well as make it at an all boys school. The love triangle still has me somewhat divided (but I will have to say I’m team Christophe).
Honestly, I don’t really know why I always come back to this series. Maybe it’s the comfort of seeing an outsider triumph through her trials. All I know is you should never read this if you want a clean ending. The author literally leaves 90% of plot points unresolved. Thinking back on it, maybe I’m just obsessed with rereading it trying to find out what was actually happened. While I love this series, the author intentionally “leaving it up to the readers” really aggravated me, and obviously still does to this day.
And that wraps up the longer-than-I-intended post on comfort reads!
Here is the short list of other wonderful books that didn’t make it into this post:
- Winner’s Curse Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
- The Darkest Minds Trilogy by Alexandra Bracken
- Dragonfly by Julia Golding
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
- The Dark Elements Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
- Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
What are some of your favorite comfort reads? Feel free to comment!
Thanks for reading!