The Rec League: Cozy Fantasy

SBTB HQ recently came across this book on Twitter and we launched into a discussion about wanting more cozy fantasy titles in our life. Here’s is the tweet that started it all:

Sarah: Penric all the way. Some of them are a little angsty, especially those that deal with plague, but the first one is one of my comfort re-reads.

Lord of Stariel would qualify for sure! And the TJ Klune series, beginning with The House in the Cerulean Sea.

Shana: Ok, so does cozy fantasy mean it’s set in a village, like a cozy mystery? Or is it more about being comforting and low conflict?

Amanda: The latter I’m interpreting.

Give us all the cozy fantasy recommendations!

Comments are Closed

  1. DiscoDollyDeb says:

    Is there such a thing as “cozy fantasy erotica”? I’m not a big fantasy reader and I’m not even sure these would qualify, but I’ve really enjoyed C.M. Nascosta’s Cambric Creek stories set in a world where humans, monsters, mythological creatures, and anthropomorphized animals co-exist (and interact with each other socially & sexually). In MORNING GLORY MILKING FARM, a human female begins a relationship with a male minotaur. In GIRLS WEEKEND, three female elves go on a road trip to an area known for sexual adventure—and two of them meet male orcs with whom they begin relationships (the third elf meets her orc in the upcoming PARTIES). Nascosta’s world-building is very good and the books I’ve read so far have been low angst.

  2. Vasha says:

    Hm, there must be a million books that’d fit the loose definition of cozy fantasy. But Patricia McKillip springs to mind for my comfort reads. Almost any of her books althogh Winter Rose is a long time favorite.

  3. Jazzlet says:

    I’d say Becky Chambers books fit the bill, although they are more romantic sub-plot than full romance.

  4. Empress of Blandings says:

    Patricia Wrede – Dealing with Dragons. I don’t know Wrede’s books would fall more into young adult territory, but remember it being a comforting read. Adventure yes, angsty not so much.

  5. Tam says:

    I think Swordheart by T. Kingfisher counts. There are some creepy elements to her work, but I find her Paladin fantasy romances very comforting because no women ever get sexually assaulted in them.

  6. SusanH says:

    The Innkeeper series by Ilona Andrews might qualify. They are total comfort reads for me, at any rate. I think I’ve read the series three times since early 2020. Small town Innkeeper with near godlike magical powers, aliens, hot guys, entertaining side characters, and good triumphing.

  7. Penny says:

    Second on Patricia Wrede. I think yes YA? But also cozy, low stakes fun. Mairelon the Magician Is a cozy fantasy (if you can get past the phonetically spelled out “cant”).

  8. LisaM says:

    I’ve been trying to decide if Lois Bujold’s Sharing Knife series counts. I’m thinking especially of the 3rd one, which is basically a river boat cruise and belated honeymoon, but with pirates and some threats of violence. It’s a comfort read for me, though I find the age gap between the two main characters a bit off putting.

  9. Juhi says:

    This is my favorite genre! I get cozy fantasy feels from a lot of Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett books but YMMV. Not all of them are romances or have romantic sub-plots though.

    I get that feel from the couple of Celia Lake books I’ve read too.

    Second Patricia Wrede!

    I can’t help thinking a lot of MG fantasy stories would fit this bill!

  10. Sarah says:

    Sharon Shinn writes a lot of comfort fantasy. Mystic and Rider is especially comforting.

  11. Lake says:

    Susan Copperfield is this for me. Also Kathryn Moon.

  12. GHN says:

    Thirding Wrede! I also think Diane Duane’s Young Wizards and Feline wizards fit the bill, plus many of Diana Wynne Jones’ books.

  13. Juhi says:

    Another ‘quiet’ fantasy that I dusted off my TBR after this thread (haven’t started reading yet): S.E. RObertson’s The Healer’s Road. Will have to read this one next!

  14. Maria F says:

    Frost & Raine by K. L. Noone. Very low angst slow burn between a frost spirit who runs a coffee shop and a cupid who is a divorce lawyer.

  15. cleo says:

    It’s been a long, long time since I read it and I’m not sure how well it holds up, but Tea with the Black Dragon by R.A. MacAvoy has that vibe.

    (And here’s a lovely review by Jo Walton –

  16. Juhi says:

    @cleo, I was going to recommend that too!!

  17. Juhi says:

    @cleo, I was thinking about that one too!! Yes for cozy fantasy vibes.

  18. Juhi says:

    Would Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw qualify? Like Cleo, I read THIS one years ago and don’t remember anything except a pleasantly satisfied feeling. I think a I’ll read this one too in the next couple of weeks!

  19. Carrie G says:

    I want to add my voice to Patricia C. Wrede, Lancaster’s Stariel series (each book gets better and better!), Diana Wynn Jones (her lesser known Deep Secret and Hexwood are great!) and Ilona Andrew’s Innkeeper series.

    I enjoyed N.R.Walker’s A Dichotomy of Angels,although it gets a little angsty at times. mm

    Deven and the Dragon by Grayson Eliot is an mm fantasy novella and
    Beauty and the Beast retelling that’s very cute.

    The Hob’s Bargain by Patricia Briggs. Wonderful book,probably YA but excellent.

    Farthest Space: Wrath of Jan by Ellen Fisher is pretty hilarious. I found quotes or spoofs from Stargate: SG1, Galaxy Quest, Hitchhiker’s Guide, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and more. Farthest Space is a TV show that gets mentioned in several of Ellen Fisher’s contemporary romance books and here we get to “view” an episode. I wish she’d made a series of these episodes! Novella length.

    Stardust by Neil Gaimen,the book and movie are great.

    A Very Genre Christmas by Kim Fielding is a whimsical holiday novella set in a alt history 1950’s setting with a PI who also helps deal with some magical mischief. So much fun with great literary references! mm

    It might not quite fit the cozy label, but Seducing the Sorcerer by Lee Walsh is ultimately such a quirky and feel-good story that I wanted to mention it. I want a worple horse of my very own. mm

  20. Jeanine says:

    Kindness fantasy and my comfort reread across all genres: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. It hits all the right notes for me. The unregarded fourth son — half-goblin — unexpectedly inherits the elvish throne. He and his mother were exiled from the court and his tutor, similarly exiled, hated him. He knows nothing of the court, of management, protocol or personalities. But learns to manage by being kind and accepting kindness and goodwill. I’d give it 10 stars out of five.
    In addition to Kingfisher, I very much like Victoria Goddard, especially the Hands of the Emperor.

  21. Emily Jane says:

    I loved Red Heir by Lisa Henry and Sarah Honey. It’s super fun and funny with almost no fighting, and a very sweet romance. I can’t wait to read more of the recommendations here!

  22. Katybw says:

    I usually only lurk around here, but I saw this post and was like, “put me in, Coach!” This is my preferred genre from way back, so here’s some additions to the already great suggestions.

    Sharon Shinn’s Summer at Castle Auburn
    Sherwood Smith: Crown and Court Duel – def YA but my memory is it’s all court intrigue and an easy fun story
    SO much of the whole T Kingfisher back list, though the word cozy is a stretch.
    Robin McKinley, especially titles like Chalice – slow and windy prose, if you like that sort of thing
    Melissa McShane has a bunch of titles that are fast reads and low angst
    Megan Whalen Turner’s whole Thief series, in which actually many violent things happen, but I always know Eugenides will land on his feet. YMMV if you are looking for less plot plot plot.
    Katherine Addison’s Goblin Emperor and follow ups in that world. Slow-moving political intrigue. Fab world-building.
    Olivia Atwater’s Regency Fairie titles, which start with Half a Soul.
    I’d put Naomi Novik’s Uprooted on this list too, but there’s a lot of plot and it does include violence and some fairy tale horror elements.

  23. Jules says:

    I would add R. Cooper’s Beings in Love series to this, as well as Aster Glenn Gray’s Briarley.

  24. ames says:

    This is apparently my catnip, b/c many of the rec’s are frequent re-reads for me — Shinn, Wrede, Andrews, Kingfisher, etc). What can I add?

    Stephanie Burgis’s Harwood Spellbook series (magical regency with some slight gender reversal, the women hold the power and the men do the magic); The Case Files of Henri Davenforth (romance is light though); Celia Lake is very very soft–I just read all of them in one week, could not stop; maybe Lauren Dane’s Diablo lake? those are more cozy urban fantasy maybe. Olivia Atwater’s Half Soul?

  25. Courtney M. says:

    HIGHLY recommend “That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon” by Kimberly Lemming. Does what it says on the tin and cinnamon is a main plot point. The overarching plot is high-stakes, but the overall feel is cozy.

    @DiscoDollyDeb – if cozy fantasy erotica is your thing, I recommend “Stalked by the Kraken” by Lillian Lark.

  26. MaryK says:

    I looked up The Healer’s Road and the ebook is 1.99 on Amazon.

    Sorcery & Cecelia: Or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer and The Greenwing & Dart series by Victoria Goddard are cozy fantasies that I really liked.

  27. Mary says:

    The Blue Sword and the Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley! so good! Second sharon shinn and I also love Sherwood smith on occasion, I feel like those could qualify? Also a plus one to Mairelon the Magician.

    Some Mercedes lackey?

    I think I love this genre!

  28. Courtney M. says:

    @Jazzlet I think Becky Chambers would count as cozy Sci-Fi, which I would LOVE a rec league on because I need something to read instead of rereading the Murderbot series for the nth time. (If anyone else needs a rec in this vein, I think Jesse Mihalik’s new book, “Hunt the Stars” qualifies, AND is a romance!).

  29. TinaNoir says:

    I agree on Shinn. Her Mystic and Ryder series has been mentioned. But I also recommend her Elemental Blessings series. I love the world build and it has a nice blend of fantasy and romance.

  30. JenM says:

    Following this with interest as I adore these types of books – the Stariel series was probably my favorite read last year. Grace Draven hasn’t been mentioned yet so I’ll do the honors and recommend Master of Crows and the Wraith Kings series (especially Radiance).

    Another book I loved that was recommended by Ilona Andrews is The Kingpin of Camelot which is a crazy mashup of myths, fairy tales and King Arthur’s Court, with Midas, the richest man in the kingdom, but considered a “bad” guy, marrying Guinevere to protect her from King Arthur’s rather evil court. Midas then spends the rest of the book trying to protect Gwen from his supposed “bad” nature, while she’s absolutely convinced he’s too kindhearted and needs her to protect him. I think this book is the second or third in a twisted fairy tales series but I read it as a standalone with no problems.

    I’d also recommend are The Chocolatier’s Wife by Cindy Lynn Speer, which is a quiet fantasy romance between two people from different cultures (one with magic, one without) that are nonetheless identified as a perfect match when they are children, become pen pals, then marry even though both are encouraged not to.

    Finally, there’s L. Rowan’s The Arrangement, set in a vaguely Regency world with a heroine on the spectrum, a m/m couple who form a triad with her after she is engaged to one of them for business reasons, and a subplot featuring intelligent great cats who were genetically modified and have their own society, but sometimes agree to work with the humans.

  31. EC Spurlock says:

    A lot of Robin McKinley’s books fit the bill. Beauty is one of my big comfort reads; I liked the original better than the later version Rose Daughter, but YMMV. The Door in the Hedge is a collection of four novellas which will give you the flavor of her writing without the investment of a full novel.

    Another vote for Tea With the Black Dragon; The Grey Horse, also by MacAvoy, is another of my comfort reads, but others may not find it as comforting due to the unintentional deaths of two people and one animal and themes of colonialism and rebellion. Trigger warnings aside it also has some truly funny passages as well, so make of that what you will.

    And I want to know who his agent is because I’ve been shopping my fairy tale about the Middle Child Witch for five years now and all I’m hearing is “There’s no market for light fantasy; if it’s not dark and dystopian it’s not selling.”

  32. Lisa says:

    Some recs I don’t think I’ve seen yet:

    Angaha by Lisa Henry was a pleasant M/M fantasy romance that was pretty low stakes.

    The Glamourists series by Mary Robinette Kowal was also pretty cozy. I liked the first one best. It is regency fantasy.

    The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier is a cozy fantasy. Maybe more YA than adult.

    Woodwalker by Emily B. Martin.

    I also echo the recs for T. Kingfisher, Sharon Shinn, Stephanie Burgis and the Sharing Knife books by Bujold.

  33. PamG says:

    So. I am in total agreement with many of these suggestions, so I’m not going to reiterate these suggestions. Instead I dug into my Comfort Reads folder hunting for Fantasy. I have to say up front that violence is not necessarily a disqualifier for cozy fantasy from my viewpoint. I like comfort, but I don’t like bland. What I do look for is an author that I can trust to sort things out comfortably by the end and make me smile while getting there. For instance, G. A. Aiken’s Dragonkin works for me as cozy, because despite the violence, the portrayal of family dynamics is hilariously and messily realistic and–yes–cozy to me. I actually find most of Aiken/Laurenston as well as all of Ilona Andrews cozy. They warm the cockles because they are trustworthy and don’t force me to “gird up my loins” before reading them. So keeping my weirdness in mind and asterisking the ones I consider most cozy, here’s a list.

    G. A Aiken’s Dragon Kin
    Lindsay Buroker’s Death Before Dragons series *
    Jenn Bennett’s Roaring Twenties trilogy
    Thea Harrison’s Moonshadow trilogy (Elder Races adjacent)
    Jim Hines’ Princesses and Goblins series *
    Gordon Dickson’s Dragon and the George (It’s been a loooong time, so I don’t know how it’s held up.)
    Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor and Angel of the Crows *
    Gretchen Galway’s Sonoma Witches series *
    Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series *
    Isabell Cooper’s Highland Dragons series
    Molly Harper’s Half-Moon Hollow and adjacent series *
    Lynsay Sands Argeneau Vampire series

  34. Juhi says:

    I heart this thread! So many great recommendations! I think I will be reading from this thread for next few while! Thank you stellar community!

  35. Kareni says:

    I see many books above that I’ve enjoyed and have requested a dozen book samples. Thanks for this post.

  36. Juhi says:

    Some more.

    Tehanu by Ursula Le Guin, I loved it. (it’s my favorite of the Earthsea series of which I haven’t even read the third one)

    The second in the Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kiersten. The Outskirter’s Secret

    The Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (it’s been a while since I read this, so I could be wrong about it too)

  37. Merle says:

    Would Mercedes Lackey’s Fairy Godmother series fit?

  38. Midge says:

    Fantasy is not usually my thing, but I totally second Frost & Raine by K. L. Noone – definitely a comfort read for me. Warning, if you like coffee, you’ll probably end up lusting after all of Don’s coffee creations!

  39. catscatscats says:

    Seconding loads of these so apologies if I repeat too much others have said. Agree about Diana Wynne Jones – her children’s book A Tale of Time City might work, or her fantasy books for adults, A Sudden Wild Magic and Deep Secret. Not all of her books are cosy all the time though. Merecedes Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms Series. Agreeing about Lord of Stariel and Sharon Shinn. Melissa Scott’s Point of Hopes. Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks. Barbara Hambly’s Bride of the Rat God. Maybe some of Susanna Kearsley – The Shadowy Horses? Tanya Huff’s Summon the Keeper series. A couple of self=published ones I read recently would also qualify – AJ Demas’s One Night in Boukos and Masha de Toit’s Ray and the Cat Thing.

    In children’s books, Tamora Pierce, Elizabeth Beresford, the Carbonel books, Edward Eager, the Moomin books, Kipling’s Puck stories and The Borrowers.

  40. catscatscats says:

    Sarah Addison Allen too.

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