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Read Harder

7 Cozy Fantasy Books to Start 2024 Off On a Gentle Note

Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

Happy New Year! It’s finally time to officially start the 2024 Read Harder Challenge! Throughout the year, I’ll be sharing recommendations of books to read that complete each of the tasks. A couple titles will be available for everyone, while paid subscribers to the Read Harder newsletter will get more recommendations, plus you’ll be able to trade ideas in the comments with other subscribers.

What better place to start than from the top? Task number one is Read a cozy fantasy. This is one of the tasks I’m most excited about, because this is a subgenre I recently fell in love with. Why read cozy fantasy in 2024? Because this subgenre has exploded in popularity lately! If you haven’t tried it already, this is a good time to see what all the fuss is about. The Read Harder Challenge is an opportunity to sample kinds of books you might not otherwise have picked up. You might even find a new favorite!

Without further ado, here are seven cozy fantasy books you can use to complete task number one of the 2024 Read Harder Challenge.

cover of Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree; illustration of fantasy characters behind the bar in a pub

Legends and Lattes and Bookshops and Bonedust by Travis Baldree

I couldn’t have a list of cozy fantasy recommendations without mentioning the book that helped propel the subgenre into its current popularity, Legends and Lattes. This is a very gentle, slow-paced fantasy novel about an orc hanging up her sword to start a coffee shop in a town where no one has even heard of coffee. It has low stakes, a found family element, and a slow-burn F/F romance. The prequel is out now, and it’s just as good, but set in a rundown bookstore. And it has an owl/pug gryphet named Potroast!

Hakumei and Mikochi by Takuto Kashiki cover

Hakumei & Mikochi: Tiny Little Life in the Woods by Takuto Kashiki

Comics are a great place to explore cozy fantasy! This cozy fantasy manga is about two little sprites living in the woods together, getting into adventures. It’s absolutely adorable, and each volume is a kind of short story collection, offering vignettes about them searching for their lost wallet in the market, or visiting a friend, or making food together. It’s a very gentle read, and there are eleven books in the series so far!



Oh, I almost forgot, let me introduce you to the mascot of this year’s Read Harder Challenge: my dog Scrappy. You’ll be seeing a lot of him. He’s a three-year-old little pitbull mix that I adopted from Mexico nine months ago, and he is a menace. I adore him. This is a picture of us watching the first sunrise of 2024 together.

A photo of a sunset over the water as viewed from a rocky hill. In the foreground is a small black-and-white pitbull mix with floppy ears, wearing a harness and leash.

Which cozy fantasy book are you planning to read to complete task number one? Let us know in the comments! I’d also love to hear which tasks you’re looking forward to, and which you think will be hardest to complete.

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