A selection of cozy fantasy books including Small Miracles, How to Get A Girlfriend When You're A Terrifying Monster, The Lord of Stariel, Legends and Lattes, The Bachelor's Valet, Scales and Sensibility, Clean Sweep, Briarley, A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking, The Fairy Godmother, Paladin's Grace
book reviews

Cozy Fantasy Recommendations

What is cozy fantasy?

There’s no strict consensus on what cozy fantasy is, but for me cozy fantasy is what it says on the tin: fantasy that feels cozy. That tends to mean a more intimate, smaller-scale focus than traditional epic fantasy. Bad things will of course happen, but the main characters are decent people, the overall tone is uplifting, and we don’t doubt that good will eventually triumph. Think fantasy with feel-good vibes.

For me, there’s a natural overlap between cozy fantasy and fantasy-of-manners. I’d call my Stariel books cozy fantasy because the stakes sit more towards the personal end of the scale continuum rather than the ‘saving the world and everyone in it’.

11 Cozy Fantasy Book Recommendations

In no particular order:

1. The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey

Cover of The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey. It is sparkly aquamarine and shows a beautiful woman in a flower crown with a man on a horse in the background.

An old favourite of mine, this retelling of Cinderella has a fascinating take on fairytales, where the ominous magic of Tradition forces people to play particular roles. There’s an enemies-to-lovers romance with an arrogant prince and lots of focus on the fairy godmother’s house and the brownies that work there.

Romance: Yes, medium-heat m/f

2. Briarley by Aster Glenn Gray

Cover of Briarley by Aster Glenn Gray. It shows a red rose on a black background.

What I love most about this World War II-era retelling of Beauty and the Beast is the sheer kindness of the main character, Beauty’s father. In this version, he refuses to hand his daughter over to the beast as payment for the stolen rose and insists on staying in her place instead. His initial suggestion to the beast for finding someone to love him in order to break the curse is for the beast to adopt a puppy – which he does!

Romance: Yes, low-heat m/m

3. A Wizard’s Guide To Defensive Baking by T Kingfisher

Cover of A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking by T Kingfisher. It features a stylised gingerbread man holding a sword.

Hilarious, heart-warming, and involving heaps of baked goods.  Fourteen-year-old Mona has baking magic and is called upon to help defend the city when the other alternatives run out. This is one of those books that defies easy categorisation. Is it middle grade? Young adult? Adult? All ages, I say!

Romance: No

4. Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis

Cover of Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis. It features a woman in regency dress with a small blue dragon perched on her shoulder.

Think Jane Austen with the addition of TINY DRAGONS.

Romance: Yes, low-heat m/f

5. Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

Cover of Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree. It shows two women behind the counter in a fantasy inn: a green-skinned orc woman and a pink-skinned woman with horns and a tail.

DnD meets coffee-shop AU in this tale of an orc warrior retiring from campaigning in order to set up the city’s first-ever cafe. This popular 2022 release has helped raise the profile of the cozy fantasy subgenre this year.

I strongly recommend reading this with a pastry or baked good of some sort in hand because the descriptions of food will have you salivating.

Romance: Only a smidge of no-heat f/f

6. Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Cover of Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews. It shows an illustrated blond woman wearing a blue cloak.

She sets up a magical inn that she’s magically bonded to and slowly levels it up into a nicer and nicer inn over time. Need I say more!

Romance: A little bit of low-heat m/f

7. The Bachelor’s Valet by Arden Powell 

Cover of The Bachelor's Valet by Arden Powell. It shows an illustration of a garden in rainbow colours, in which two men are embracing.

The main character is both extremely good-hearted and extremely dim. Watching him cheerfully but haphazardly navigate his way through an arranged marriage towards romance and a happy ending with the help of his faithful valet is both hilarious and wonderful.

Romance: Yes, low-heat m/m

8. Paladin’s Grace by T Kingfisher

Cover of Paladin's Grace by T Kingfisher. It is a stylised purple and green frame design featuring rats and skulls and with a sword in the centre.

A perfumer and a paladin to a dead god solve a murder mystery and find love at the same time. Extremely cosy, even with all the dead bodies.

Romance: Yes, medium-heat m/f

9. How To Get A Girlfriend When You’re A Terrifying Monster by Marie Cardno

Cover of How To Get A Girlfriend When You're A Terrifying Monster by Marie Cardno. It shows a pink tentacle monster holding a bouquet.

The sapphic paranormal romcom I didn’t know I needed. I adored Trillin, the world’s most relatable shapeshifting tentacle monster.

Romance: Yes, low-heat f/f

10. Small Miracles by Olivia Atwater

Cover of Small Miracles by Olivia Atwater. It shows two purple feathers on a white background.

A Good Omens flavoured story about Gadriel, the angel-of-small-miracles turned fallen-angel-of-petty-temptation. It’s funny, sentimental, and extremely satisfying. A little bit of sin aka chocolate is good for the soul.

Romance: A smidge of low-heat f/? (what gender even are angels?)

11. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Cover of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. It shows an illustrated faun playing a set of pipes while standing atop a column.

The cosiness of this one is perhaps more subjective. I find it so because of the boundless kindness and open-heartedness of the main character. Its stakes are definitely intimate / small-scale, as almost the entire book is set within the House, a magical and mysterious realm of endless rooms, tides, and statuary. I adored it.

However, there is also an undercurrent of horror as we, the reader, become more and more aware of the disconnect between how Piranesi sees the world and what is truly going on.

Romance: A smidge of low-heat m/f

Do you like cozy fantasy? Let me know your faves in the comments!

1 thought on “Cozy Fantasy Recommendations”

  1. I enjoy cozy books of all kinds. The Innkeeper series by Illona Andrews is a favorite of mine. I also enjoyed several books by Kim Fielding: Treasure, Farview, and A very Genre Christmas. All are m/m. I have Paladin’s Grace and Briarley on my TBR list and a few others on your list sound like fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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