And sometimes, they can help us escape.
When we hit a rough patch, sometimes we need an escape to give our minds and hearts time to heal. We dive into these stories and journey with our dear old friends for awhile. Sometimes we find they’ve changed–or maybe we have–but they will always, always be there for us.
Can books fix everything? Can they erase the hard times? No, they can’t. But they can ease our burdens. Isn’t that what friends are for?
Ryann’s Comfort Reads
Bet Me by Jennifer Cruise
This fun, flirty romance mixes a contemporary Cinderella with a steamy Prince Charming, amazing shoes and mouthwatering donuts. I keep a copy of this on all of my ereaders because you just never know when you need a little dose of Minnie and Cal to pick you up.
Night Watch and Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann
What, doesn’t everyone read military romantic suspense featuring Navy SEALS when your heart is heavy? In Night Watch, hardworking single mom Brittany is set up with Wes, who just happens to be in love with a married woman. They strike up a friendship that turns into more..but will a danger lurking near take it all away? In Over the Edge, Joan is sent to pave the way for a presidential visit to a Navy base and young, hunky Mike is the SEAL ordered to run interference. She thinks he’s too young for her, but I’m guessing she’ll come around. Strong characters, emotional vulnerabilities and suspenseful plots keep all of Brockmann’s books on my shelves.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
When Lynne and I first began talking about comfort reads, this was the book that instantly popped into my head. Because it’s a happy, heartwarming read about a plucky lad and his mischievous friends? Hardly. Ender’s Game is the futuristic story of 4-year-old child genius Ender Wiggin, who is sent to a military battle school that is much more than it appears to be. This compelling story sucked me in and didn’t let me go, and I was so grateful. I had started reading at the beginning of a ten hour car trip…leaving my Dad in a Colorado hospital on Christmas day. I finished the book about an hour before we got to our destination, and every single time I see that book, I am thankful for the slight reprieve it gave me.
Lynne’s Comfort Reads
My escapism reads skew heavily toward those of the YA Fantasy variety. The setting and characters in some of my favorite books are so far removed from anything remotely resembling my life that it’s a simple matter of letting myself sink into those worlds and away from everything else going on around me, even if it’s only for a little while.
Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series
Chock full thieves and wizards and princesses and magic, and set in a world of opposing clans, political intrigue, high adventure and of course, a nice little dose of romance, this series has it all. Han and Raisa are layered and complex, as is the world they inhabit. There are four books in the series, starting with The Demon King and ending with The Crimson Crown, none of which disappoint. Make sure you have a block of time to read these, because you are not going to want to put them down.
Harry Potter series
If you don’t follow Erin Bowman on twitter, you should. She recently tweeted while re-reading the entire Harry Potter series with the hashtag #HPAlways. I followed along with her as she commented on her favorite passages and characters, or her least favorite, as the case may be. (Umbridge anyone?) Erin summed it all up in a post that reminded me why the Harry Potter series is such a great escapist read and why it means so much to so many of us. Also, if you haven’t listened to Jim Dale’s audio version, you are missing out. He is fantastic.
Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught
Here’s where I go off on a little historical romance tangent. Although I enjoy her contemporary romances too (Perfect, Paradise, Double Standards) it’s Judith McNaught’s lords and ladies of old that I really fell in love with. Whitney, My Love was the first Judith McNaught book I read, so it holds a special place in my heart. But A Kingdom of Dreams and Until You (in which we revisit the Westmoreland family, first introduced in Whitney) as well as Something Wonderful, Once and Always and Almost Heaven are all wonderfully told too. For the most part, they are set in the same glittering 19th century setting, one filled with stately castles and handsome, yet damaged lords who only need find that one special girl to make their lives complete. McNaught writes with humor, with lovely detail, and with such heart that it’s easy to lose yourself in eighteen hundred England and root for the plucky girl to win the dashing duke’s heart. Which, of course, she does.
What are you favorite comfort reads?
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