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

Why am I passionate about this?

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… 

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Legends & Lattes

Ceinwen Langley Why did I love 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.

By Travis Baldree,

Why should I read it?

16 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…


Book cover of Howl's Moving Castle

Ceinwen Langley Why did I love 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. 

By Diana Wynne Jones,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Howl's Moving Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

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…


Book cover of A Skinful of Shadows

Ceinwen Langley Why did I love 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.

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…


Book cover of The Bone Houses

Ceinwen Langley Why did I love 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. 

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. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

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…


Book cover of Nettle & Bone

Ceinwen Langley Why did I love 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. 

By T. Kingfisher,

Why should I read it?

4 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,…


You might also like...

Book cover of The Twins of Auschwitz: The inspiring true story of a young girl surviving Mengele's hell

Lisa Rojany Author Of The Twins of Auschwitz: The inspiring true story of a young girl surviving Mengele's hell

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have published over 50 books, including award-winning and bestselling titles. I am also a publishing executive and editor with 20+ years of professional experience. My latest The Twins of Auschwitz: The Inspiring True Story of  Young Girl Surviving Mengele’s Hell, with Eva Kor, got a stellar review by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and is an international bestseller. As well as spearheading four publishing startups, I have run my own business, Editorial Services of L.A. I was Editorial/Publishing Director for Golden Books, Price Stern Sloan, Intervisual Books, Hooked on Phonics, and more. I am also the Publisher & Editor in Chief of NY Journal Of Books, the premier online-only book review site.

Lisa's book list on picture books for all ages

What is my book about?

This is the Inspiring true story of a young girl surviving Mengele’s hell. This is an incisive, harrowing, and touching memoir of Eva Mozes Kor and her twin sister Miriam, who are sent to Auschwitz only to be torn from their parents and given to Josef Mengele, "The Angel of Death," for his evil and damaging experiments on human subjects.

In the voice of the ten-year-old Eva, we learn about what life was like in the death camps and how a child survives when food, water, comfort, and care are absent. At times heartbreaking and at other times a triumph of the will of a child to survive, this is a memoir that is not easily forgotten.

By Lisa Rojany, Eva Mozes Kor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Twins of Auschwitz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

The Nazis spared their lives because they were twins.

In the summer of 1944, Eva Mozes Kor and her family arrived at Auschwitz.

Within thirty minutes, they were separated. Her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, while Eva and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man who became known as the Angel of Death: Dr. Josef Mengele. They were 10 years old.

While twins at Auschwitz were granted the 'privileges' of keeping their own clothes and hair, they were also subjected to Mengele's sadistic medical experiments. They…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in good and evil, curses, and ghost story?

10,000+ 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 ghost story.

Good And Evil Explore 134 books about good and evil
Curses Explore 77 books about curses
Ghost Story Explore 152 books about ghost story