The best fantasy books to cozy up to with a cup of tea and a warm blanket

Who am I?

I’ve been in love with cozy, low-stakes fantasy ever since my mother first handed me a copy of The Hobbit—so for most of my life. I love the focus on place and small comforts, the humble (and often unwilling!) heroes, the slower pace that builds to an emotional crescendo (as well as an action-packed one!), and the way these stories always leave me feeling warm, like I’ve just shared a coffee with a loved one. It should come as no surprise, then, that these are the kinds of stories I love writing best.  


I wrote...

The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist

By Ceinwen Langley,

Book cover of The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist

What is my book about?

The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist is a cozy, coming of age historical fantasy inspired by the story of Beauty and the Beast… with a sapphic twist. 

Celeste, a beautiful but disinterested socialite, is determined to travel to the 1867 Paris World Fair to seek an apprenticeship as a naturalist. Nothing can stop her – not the scientific community’s exclusion of women, not her family’s sudden descent into poverty, and certainly not her unexpected engagement. Nothing, that is, except a blizzard, a terrible sense of direction, and the eight-foot-tall mammalian predator following her through the wilds… 

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Legends & Lattes

By Travis Baldree,

Book cover of Legends & Lattes

Why this book?

I’m a regular D&D player (a dwarf rogue who always fails her stealth checks, to be specific) and this gentle story about an orc barbarian hanging up her sword to open a coffee shop felt like the origin story of a beloved NPC. 

Viv is a wonderful character, an adult woman with scars, baggage, and filled with all the fear and hope of trying something new. This may be a fantasy story, but it perfectly portrays the terrifying prospects of changing careers, making new friends, and finding love in your thirties. And my god, will it make you want a cup of coffee and a pastry.

Legends & Lattes

By Travis Baldree,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Legends & Lattes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

High fantasy, low stakes - with a double-shot of coffee.

After decades of adventuring, Viv the orc barbarian is finally hanging up her sword for good. Now she sets her sights on a new dream - for she plans to open the first coffee shop in the city of Thune. Even though no one there knows what coffee actually is.

If Viv wants to put the past behind her, she can't go it alone. And help might arrive from unexpected quarters. Yet old rivals and new stand in the way of success. And Thune's shady underbelly could make it all…


Howl's Moving Castle

By Diana Wynne Jones,

Book cover of Howl's Moving Castle

Why this book?

My family is Welsh, so imagine my delight when, after years of being an avid fan of the exquisite Studio Ghibli film adaptation, I picked up the book and learned that the dazzling (and dazzlingly vain) wizard Howl was a confirmed Welshman, thick accent and all! 

But the greatest delight of this whimsical story is in its writing. Only Diana Wynne Jones could imagine a world in which turning a young woman into the ninety-year-old version of herself would be a liberating, romantic act. It’s a story told with such wit, heart, and imagination that it’s become one of my staple comfort reads. 

Howl's Moving Castle

By Diana Wynne Jones,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Howl's Moving Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now an animated movie from Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki, the oscar-winning director of Spirited Away

In this beloved modern classic, young Sophie Hatter from the land of Ingary catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell...

Deciding she has nothing more to lose, Sophie makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above her town, Market Chipping. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl, whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the souls of young girls...

There Sophie meets Michael, Howl's apprentice, and Calcifer…


A Skinful of Shadows

By Frances Hardinge,

Book cover of A Skinful of Shadows

Why this book?

I’ve spent much of my adult life searching for media that gives me the same feeling as sitting down to my favourite Halloween movies as a kid. The gorgeous, autumnal crunch of Hocus Pocus, the spooky-but-not-scary atmosphere of Tim Burton’s 90’s offerings, the magic and adventure of Willow and The Dark Crystal. It was a big, specific ask, and yet I found it so perfectly in Frances Hardinge. 

My favourite of her books (so far) is A Skinful of Shadows. A twisting, turning, spooky adventure about a girl harboring the spirit of an abused circus bear who must save herself, her doofus brother, and said bear from being hollowed out and used as hosts by their horde of ghoulish ancestors. It’s cozy, clever, spectral perfection.

A Skinful of Shadows

By Frances Hardinge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Skinful of Shadows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Skinful of Shadows is a dark YA historical fantasy set in the early part of the English Civil War. Makepeace is an illegitimate daughter of the aristocratic Fellmotte family, and as such, she shares their unique hereditary gift: the capacity to be possessed by ghosts. Reluctant to accept her appointed destiny as vessel for a coterie of her ancestors, she escapes. As she flees the pursuing Fellmottes across war-torn England, she accumulates a motley crew of her own allies, including outcasts, misfits, criminals, and one extremely angry dead bear. From Costa Book of the Year winner Frances Hardinge comes…


The Bone Houses

By Emily Lloyd-Jones,

Book cover of The Bone Houses

Why this book?

The older I get, the more I appreciate fantasy stories with lower, more personal stakes than, for example, saving the world from impending doom. I want the escapism of fantasy and magic grounded in emotions and scenarios I can relate to in some small way.  

The Bone Houses is, amongst the walking corpses, the undead goat, the Welsh folklore, and the magic cauldron, a story about a young woman grieving for her father, and a young man searching for family. I found this book when I was still working through the grief of losing my own father—a Welshman and a miner just like the father in the story—and it felt like it had been written just for me. 

The Bone Houses

By Emily Lloyd-Jones,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Bone Houses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn ("Ryn") only cares about two things: her family, and her family's graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote Welsh village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to fae creatures known as the Otherfolk. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don't always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as "bone houses," and legend says that…


Nettle & Bone

By T. Kingfisher,

Book cover of Nettle & Bone

Why this book?

T. Kingfisher has a real skill for writing books about reluctant and unlikely heroes (in this case, a thirty-something-year-old not-very-good nun, an elderly necromancer, a devil-possessed chicken, a failed fairy godmother, an animated dog skeleton, and a very pleasant man) and throwing them into unexpected adventures (rescuing said nun’s sister from her abusive husband, who just so happens to a very important king). 

Nettle & Bone combines everything I love about all my other recommendations in one neat, short, standalone package. A perfect book to enjoy with a cup of hot, spiced tea on a brisk morning. 

Nettle & Bone

By T. Kingfisher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Nettle & Bone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Instant USA Today & Indie Bestseller
An Oprah Daily Top 25 Fantasy Book of 2022
An NPR Best Sci Fi, Fantasy, & Speculative Fiction Book of 2022
A Goodreads Best Fantasy Choice Award Nominee

From Hugo, Nebula, and Locus award-winning author T. Kingfisher comes an original and subversive fantasy adventure.

*A very special hardcover edition, featuring gold foil stamp on the casing and custom endpapers illustrated by the author.*

This isn't the kind of fairytale where the princess marries a prince.
It's the one where she kills him.

Marra never wanted to be a hero.

As the shy, convent-raised,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in good and evil, curses, and wizards?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about good and evil, curses, and wizards.

Good And Evil Explore 90 books about good and evil
Curses Explore 57 books about curses
Wizards Explore 73 books about wizards

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Good Omens, Gideon the Ninth, and The Tombs of Atuan if you like this list.