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The Art of Comfort Reading

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September was a tough reading month for me. I had some stuff going on in my personal life that meant that I was having a hard time concentrating on anything new. So I did what a lot of readers do, I turned to comfort reading for entertainment. While I was reading it struck me that comfort reading is a peculiar thing.

As a voracious reader, I have a ton of books that I consider to be “comfort reads”. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something dark and angsty, and I turn to Sweet as Sin by Inez Kelly or Dark Lover by JR Ward. Generally speaking though, if I’m comfort reading, I’m looking for a lighter romance that is guaranteed to make me heave the “big sigh”.

In the last month, I’ve read the entire Chesapeake Bay Saga by Nora Roberts, which is a guaranteed feel good series for me. I also read the Travis Family Series by Lisa Kleypas, which feature larger than life heroes, and I read Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh, because I adore Wulfric Bedwyn and still maintain that his slow thawing is one of the most compelling hero journeys I’ve read in romance. But what struck me was how I chose the books. In the case of the Nora Roberts series, it was because at some point, Rising Tides (Ethan’s story) was on sale and I had it on my Kindle. I opened it on a whim and then had to go back and buy the entire series, which I read in about three days.

The Lisa Kleypas books I had been buying as they went on sale. I just hadn’t opened any of them. After finishing the Chesapeake Bay Saga, I decided I needed more high octane heroes, so I went straight to Jack Travis from Smooth Talking Stranger. He’s probably my favorite contemporary romance hero. He’s dominant and bossy and also wonderfully evolved, and he never fails to make me happy. He’s so thoroughly focused on helping Ella and is very romantic in wooing her. It’s a book that makes me do the internal swoon.After I’d read Jack’s book, I wanted to go back and read Gage’s (Sugar Daddy) and Haven’s (Blue Eyed Devil).

After reading the Travis family, I was looking for another deeply romantic book. I’ve read Slightly Dangerous probably 30 times. Truthfully, I don’t really like the rest of the series. But for some reason, Wulfric Bedwyn’s love story gets me every time. He’s so buttoned up, so contained. It makes him falling in love, somewhat a la Fitzwilliam Darcy, so remarkably compelling. Not to mention that Mary Balogh’s prose in that book is beautiful, conveying the emotion and deep waters just under Wulfric’s surface.

I found as I was reading these books that one kind of led to another. I’d finish one series, and think, “OK, now I’m going to read a new book” and would end up instead opening a well-loved romance. I wondered if other readers do the same? When you hit a lull in your reading, or you have a life event that makes you long for a comfort read, which authors do you turn to? What are your guaranteed comfort reads?

Kati Brown

I've been reading romance for more than 30 years and reviewing regularly for the last five. My first romance was Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts, and once I read it, I was a goner. I read most subgenres of romance (except inspirational and steampunk) but focus mostly on contemporary and paranormal, with a sprinkling of historical thrown in for flavor. I am an avid sports fan, so I have a special place in my heart for sports themed romances. I'm a sucker for old skool romance, which is probably most evident in the fact that The Windflower is my favorite romance of all time.

53 Comments

  1. Ros
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 04:39:25

    I think the familiarity is what’s so comforting. Because you know what’s going to happen, you know it’ll be okay. When real life is hard or uncertain, it’s a huge relief to escape somewhere reliable.

    A few years ago I was suffering badly with depression. I found that literally the only things I could bear to read were category romances. They were short enough to finish in one evening and guaranteed to end happily. I couldn’t cope with a longer book that I might have to put down in the middle when not everything was resolved.

    A lot of Heyer is comfort reading for me. I think there is a Heyer to suit every mood, but when I’m at my most needy, I’ll turn to one of the ones I read first – often Venetia or Devil’s Cub.

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  2. Junne
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 04:51:17

    When I’m tired of reading generic, boring books, I definitely turn to my comfort reads.

    - Historicals: anything Kleypas, really (Bow Street Runners, Wallflower and Hathaway series are my fave) + random Julia Quinn books in the Bridgerton series.

    - Category: Charlotte Lamb and Carole Mortimer ( their pre-1990s stuff, with the scandalous age gaps – Temptation has a 17 yo heroine and 39 yo hero-, guardian/ward relationships and forceful kisses).

    - Contemps: I don’t like this genre that much, but I LOVE the New Adult fad. I’ll admit I’ve read Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire at least 5 times. I need my fix of overly dominant and stalkerish heroes.

    - Erotic romances: Joey Hill and her Nature of Desire Series ( especially Ice Queen and Natural Law. I don’t think I’ve read all of them). Alyssa Aaron – His perfect submissive.

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  3. Noelle
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 04:51:32

    My go-to for comforting reading has always been Patricia Veryan. I usually pick up one of her standalones, thinking I can read it in one evening, feel better, and then get back to a normal routine. But I always end up rereading all of her books in one obsessive frenzy and am no good for anything else for at least a week.

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  4. Ellie
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 05:01:41

    I have several authors I turn to: old-time Suzanne Brockmann, Pamela Clare, Shannon McKenna. But my newest is one that I just discovered – in fact, reading them for the first time I knew I’d found a new comfort author; Laura Florand’s Chocolate series. They are such romantic books, the man woos! I figure when I get fed up with urban fantasy and contemporaries with too much angst, I’ll pick up the mental chocolate.

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  5. Divya
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 06:43:52

    Judith McNaught is an utter comfort read for me. Even though I’ve read Something Wonderful or A Kingdom of Dreams at least fifty times, whenever I read those books, I always hold my breath, gasp, sigh, and laugh at the right parts. After all these reads, the magic still hasn’t gone away for me. Other authors I reread include Julie James, Ilona Andrews, and Nora Roberts (I really love her wedding series). When I’m not in the mood for Romance, I usually reread the Harry Potter series or the Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey.

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  6. Northwoman
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 07:10:52

    This is SO true! I also read contemporary romance when I need a comfort read. But oddly enough, at one point I found them to similar or to unrealistic to be comforting and switched over to reading mysteries. Things like Deborah Crombie, Sue Grafton, Lee Child, Dick Francis, … I could go on and on with authors here, these just happened to pop in my head, but a well-crafted mystery is also somewhat predictable; I can get lost in the details, sometimes there are personal bits about the characters and there is resolution. The ultimate comfort mysteries are Agatha Christie.

    Going back to romance, the ultimate there is Jill Shalvis. I need funny for my ultimate comfort romances. There’s also Iris Johanson, JD Robb, and I like Carly Phillips, Julie James, of course, there are others and for urban fantasy, it’s Ilona Andrews; I also adore Devon Monk, Jeanine Frost.

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  7. Becca
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 07:14:15

    I’m afraid to re-read my Patricia Veryan books – several are in hardback, but many are in paperback, and I’m afraid they’ll fall apart. I would pay big bucks to have my Veryans in digital format!

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  8. Kati
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 07:35:15

    @Ellie: I just read my first Florand the other day. I really enjoyed it! I’m holding the rest until I need that sort of romance again. But man, she does a seriously fabulous job evoking “place”, doesn’t she?

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  9. Patricia Eimer
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 07:40:49

    Comfort reads make up about half of my fall reading list. IDK but there’s something about fall and the familiarity of reading something I already love that makes me feel warm and snuggly. They’re like literary pumpkin spice lattes.

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  10. Kathryn
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 07:45:12

    If I’m in general need of comfort – tired, stressed or just very busy with lots of planning – I read from the full range of books I’ve enjoyed. Knowing what I’ll find is all the comfort I need. But if strife or grief are the drivers, I read early Jayne Ann Krentz books because they focus on trust and Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series for its focus on strength from community. They work so well that they’re like self-prescribed medicine now.

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  11. Renda
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 08:06:04

    For me it is Crusie’s Bet Me and pretty much any Chicago Stars book by SEP.

    I have all the above on audio. If I can’t sleep, I fall asleep listening to them (earphones and iPod so DH doesn’t get disturbed). That sounds like a bad thing that I fall asleep to them, but for me it is like a lullaby or the way you used to fall asleep mid sentence during a slumber party with your BFFs. It is just a comfort. That being said, I listen to them wide awake when I am cleaning house or taking walks. I zone in for my favorite parts and go back to solving the world’s problems when it is not a favorite part.

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  12. MR
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 08:17:19

    Thanks for this great post! I love finding new authors and books to add to my list. I’m new to Romance authors and always open to suggestions.

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  13. pamelia
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 08:27:55

    Kati– you mentioned several of my favorite re-reads (The Travis books by Kleypas and Balogh’s “Slightly Dangerous”), plus I just “discovered” the Chesepeake Bay books by the Nora and I know I will be rereading those as well — I love books with great romances and family connections.
    Others that I tend to reread are: McCaffrey’s Dragonriders/Harper Hall books, “The Lord of the Rings”, Jeri Smith-Ready’s “Requiem for the Devil”, Jan Cox-Speas “The Bride of the MacHugh”, and just about all of Kristen Ashley’s books (especially “Knight”, “Sweet Dreams”, “Lady Luck”, “Breathe”, “At Peace”, “Law Man”, “Motorcycle Man”, and “Heaven and Hell”).

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  14. Lori
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 08:37:35

    I’m going through a hard patch right now and with a Kindle full of new books, I reopened Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels. I’d just finished the last of the Laura Florand books I have and I think the tortured Alpha is just what I need. And Dain is such a perfect hero in that tortured Alpha way.

    Usually when I need to get lost in the happy and familiar, it’s Crazy For You by Jennifer Crusie. That book just rings every note perfectly for me and at the end after all the craziness when Quinn saves herself, omg, the world is always a better place.

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  15. It's Me
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 09:04:42

    Comfort re-reads for me used to be the Chesapeake Bay series by Nora Roberts, love Cam, but lately it’s been Motorcycle Man, Sweet Dreams, Lady Luck and At Peace by Kristen Ashley. I also really like the earlier work by Rachel Gibson; Truly Madly, See Jane Score, and The Trouble with Valentine’s Day.

    It’s crazy, how sometimes you just can’t pick’em and read dud after dud, so you just need something to cleanse your pallet :)

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  16. Connie
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 09:20:28

    I have also recently re- read The Cheasapeake Bay series for the second time. I never hear it mentioned but I also like Janet Chapman’s Highlander series bout 12th Century warriors transported to modern times. Strong alpha males and very strong women they love and marry. I just finished Anne Stuart’s Never Kiss A Rake and decided to re-read the Rohan books. I also re-read Georgette Heyer.

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  17. Elyse
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 10:05:16

    I turn to funny, sexy books for comfort. Victoria Dahl and Maisey Yates are high on my list. I used to read Harlequin Duets before they dumped the line. I also like holiday books for warm fuzzies.

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  18. Tina
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 10:47:12

    Honestly, 2013 has been one huge reading slump for me.

    I agree about comfort reads though. You go back to the reads that have delivered for you. Unlike picking up a new book that you may find yourself putting down in boredom or disgust, you know during a reading slump that a good re-read will do the job. It is like fuel or something.

    For me, this year dovetailed with some latest installments of favorite series so I had the excuse of going back and re-reading long-series. Staved off the reading blahs. So when Heart of Obsidian came out, I went back and re-read all of the Psy-Changeling series. When Magic Rises came out I went back and re-read all the of Kate Daniels series. Right now, I am deep in re-listening to some of the In Death audiobooks in the aftermath of reading Thankless in Death.

    And yes, Slightly Dangerous is an proven go-to over and over again.

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  19. Janet S
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 10:49:27

    My husband had a stroke end of July. He is doing ok, considerign, but it has been emotionally draining all the same. I started re-reading the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne books by Julia Spencer Fleming, not what I would have described as comfort reads. Still, being immersed in their world has been extremely comforting. It has the same feel (to me) as Jamie and Claire, but a lot less complicated (and shorter!) And there are a lot of them. Eventually I’ll have to read something else, but I still have Russ and Clare for a while.

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  20. PeggyL
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 10:56:32

    Depending on the mood, I would draw out the following (most of them in the paper-form):

    Contemporary – OPEN SEASON, AFTER THE NIGHT, CRY NO MORE and the more recent DEATH ANGEL by Linda Howard; MIDNIGHT ANGEL & DANGEROUS PASSION by Rice
    Paranormal – LOVER AWAKENED by Ward; DRAGON BOUND by Harrison; NO REST FOR THE WICKED/KISS OF A DEMON KING by Cole
    Historical – UNCOMMON VOWS by Putney; WINTER GARDEN by Ashworth; THE WIND DANCER by Johansen

    Also, re-reads these days do not necessarily entail cover-to-cover reading – oftentimes I’d just pick out passages that touch me the most.

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  21. Cathy
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 11:26:55

    I have a collection of books I tend to go to for comfort reads. It’s like visiting an old friend I can count on. I tend to reach for my historical romances the most: most anything from Lisa Kleypas (especially the Hathaway group), Julie Garwood or Hannah Howell (those Highlanders are irresistible). I’ll also bust out the Lynn Kurland or Karen Marie Moning if I want some time travel with my romance and Highlanders.

    But if I’m really depressed and want some good old fashioned ash-kickery and humor? It’s straight to Ilona Andrews and Kate Daniels, because who doesn’t love a lion-shifter who quotes The Princess Bride?

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  22. Angela
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 11:44:14

    @Renda,
    We have the same comfort habit! When I’m in a slump or funk – or just can’t get settled in to sleep – I turn to Bet Me on audio. Puts me to sleep every time. SEP’s Match Me if You Can is my second go-to, and Naked in Death my third. When I’m stressed or blue and can’t concentrate, I find that audio reads fit the bill but change up my choices compared to written reads. So while the Chesapeake series is favorite written, the male narrators just don’t manage to take me away when I’ve got trouble on my mind. Instead I turn to The Iron Duke, Spymaster’s Lady and What Happens in London – the narrator voices are so soothing!

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  23. Amanda
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 12:31:57

    Really liking some of these replies cause they are giving me new (to me) authors to check out.
    I love comfort reads, whether life has become overwhelming or I’m just burnt out on reading the new books, they are always there. Some of them are not even A+ reads (many are) but I just love them anyway.
    For some of my comfort reads I like some older historicals by Johanna Lindsey, Marlene Suson, Lisa Kleypas, Suzanne Enoch and others. For non-historicals its Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, and Patricia Briggs.

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  24. Isobel Carr
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 12:32:09

    My comfort reads all tend to be from when I was younger, so the list is heavily SFF: Dragonflight, The House Between the Worlds, A Song for Arbonne, God Stalk. When I need a romance comfort read it’s Persuasion, The Wicked Lover, Venetia, and Devil’s Cub.

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  25. leftcoaster
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 13:17:33

    My 4 year old son had surgery this summer to correct some congenital defects and things didn’t quite go as planned. Major stress and alcohol consumption. I had loaded up my Kindle with new books to read, but ended up incapable of trusting my fragile emotional state to an unknown book. I re-read all of my Loretta Chase books, the Julie Ann Long Pennyroyal Green series, and the Jill Shalvis Lucky Harbor series. I don’t even like all of the Shalvis books, but I needed their predictability and humor (even if almost every heroine’s nipples have some ninja sense if the hero is near by). I also read James Herriot and Ursula LeGuin.

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  26. Samantha
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 13:47:54

    I always feel like the minority in these discussions. I almost never re-read a book. I get bored because I already know what’s going to happen. I can probably count on one hand the books in my life that I’ve read more than once.

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  27. Connie
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 13:49:27

    @PeggyL: Thanks for reminding me about WINTER GARDEN. I will have to dig it out of Cloud!and I also like Ashworth’s MY DARLING CAROLINE.

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  28. Amanda
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 14:21:39

    @Samantha:

    I had a really good work friend who loved to read but never ever reread, so while it may not be common here its not that odd.

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  29. samantha
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 14:35:55

    My comfort reads tend to be mystery books. I have been in a huge reading lull this year for various reasons and I find myself starting a lot of books by new to me authors and not finishing them. When I am having a lot of anxiety I usually feel better when I pick up a mystery or thriller. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and a couple of trashy James Patterson audio books got me through a rough patch this year. Harlan Coben, Lisa Gardner and Linwood Barclay usually pull me out of a reading lull so I am always happy when they have a new book out. I used to pull out Anne Rice’s Vampire books whenever I needed a comfort read, but I need to replace my copies.

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  30. Fiona McGier
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 15:21:06

    @Samantha:

    I’m with you! About the only books I’ve ever re-read are dense non-fiction books like Desmond Morris’ cultural anthropology books, that I want to absorb more knowledge about human nature from. Fiction? Once I’ve read it, I know what happens, so what’s the point?
    Once in a great while I’ll re-read one of my old books, just to re-visit those characters. They live in my mind while I’m writing their story, then once the book is done, they’re quiet…but new ones start talking. Sometimes I like to re-connect with familiar voices.

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  31. Sneha
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 15:36:09

    Another Crusie lover here! Contemp romances like those by Lisa Kleypas, SEP and Brockmann are a good bet for those days I just want to snuggle with my blanket and hot chocolate….

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  32. hapax
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 15:38:55

    When I’m stressed I want the comfort provided by old friends, and that usually means Miles Vorkosigan (in the series by L M Bujold) or Clan Korval (The Liaden books by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller) or the Carsington family (by Loretta Chase) or Gen and Irene (Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner) or Ryo and Dee (FAKE, the manga by Sanami Matoh).

    It isn’t the plots or the writing so much (although they’re all good), it’s the *characters*; it’s like calling up my sister or my best friend to hear about what’s going on with them, and sinking into the comfort of their familiar presence.

    I’ll often pick up one to re visit “just that one scene — you know, THAT scene” and end up glomming the whole book and then the entire series.

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  33. Sunny
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 16:14:52

    This might be oversharing, TW for suicide, depression, self-harm. Not exactly what you’d expect in a warm fuzzy comfort read zone.

    Having just discovered how much I enjoy romance a few years ago, I’m a little surprised that I already have some comfort reads — Nalini Singh’s books (all of them but specifically Stroke of Enticement), Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons, and Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green books.

    I deal with depression and have my whole life, and generally I’m fine and my meds are working well — but when things get really rough (like I was hit by a car, bedridden for months, months more of physiotherapy, and lost my job during that time rough), they get even worse thanks to depression rearing its ugly head and casting a nasty veil over everything, bringing in self-doubt and self-hate and hopelessness. Comfort reads have absolutely saved my life because I can sit somewhere safe, experience someone else’s emotion (or my own tied to theirs) and cry and when the book ends, it can take a lot of the pain with it too.

    Mercedes Lackey and Robin McKinley are always going to be my comfort read authors, even with my feeling as though I’ve outgrown the Valdemar series. Themes of depression, self-harm, and pain come up in them and I empathize so strongly with them, but Firestorm and Sunshine and Deerskin and the Arrows/Vanyel books are always there and are almost always what I turn to when I am feeling desperate. Definitely enough to get through the day or night so I can see my doc. Honestly, they were doing so long before I was on any medication whatsoever (now it’s really rare, and I’m sort of glad I haven’t had to revisit those friends in a while). Something in the cadence, the familiar words and journey, the reassuring fact that the book will not have a different outcome this time around are very safe and very warm.

    The reverse is also an issue — I have to be very careful if a book has depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts in it, because it will drag me under. I was inconsolable reading Fracture by Megan Miranda (not saying it was a bad book! It absolutely was good) and I can’t ever read it again because it deals with suicidal ideation, and those words on the page are way too suggestive.

    For a while I was actually tagging my books with post-it notes as to whether or not they have a happy ending (I forget a lot about books and am a big re-reader, heh), so finding romance as a genre has taken a lot of the guesswork out — I know it’s safe to get emotionally involved because things will be okay, and therefore I’ll be okay.

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  34. cleo
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 16:27:14

    I nodded my agreement to lots of the comments. I’m definitely a re-reader. I have quite a few books that I think of as old friends, that I rely on during tough times.

    Some old friends are Dragon’s Bane by Barbara Hambly, The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley and Sorcery and Cecelia. Also, A Summer to Remember by Mary Balough, Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas, Bet Me and several early Crusies, Match Me if You Can by SEP and 90s era JAK (for the trust and the sense of family).

    If I’m really busy and need comfort in short doses, I have several go to novellas, including holiday collections, especially Regency Christmases (there’s something comforting about Yule logs and mistletoe!). I keep returning to several of the Bad Boys anthologies, especially stories by Erin McCarthy. And Charles DeLint’s Newford collections.

    More recently I’ve been turning to Marie Sexton’s Coda Series, Amy Lane’s novellas, and Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan.

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  35. Jorrie Spencer
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 16:49:00

    @Samantha I do reread, but not very often. So it always surprises me a little to realize just how much other people reread. I get the comfort of rereading, since I have done it, but obviously it doesn’t call to me that often.

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  36. Joanna YoucancallmeNoona (Young)
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 17:32:38

    I’m a comfort reader many days of the month. I realized during this year’s Goodreads Reading Challenge, I set the bar a bit too high – at 200 books. I think I could have made it to book 150 by now if all the books I’ve read were new. However, as I reread an old favorite and do a repeat reading of an entire series (or select books from a series), I don’t mark it as “read” again.

    My to-be-read list just keeps growing and piling up as I forgo them to reach for a comfort book where I know I won’t be displeased.

    Nowadays, with all the NA and erotica books seemingly too alike one another, I can’t differentiate which book is which and I question myself, “haven’t I already this already?” all the time. The novelty of the NA genre has totally worn off on me but I still download them in hopes that there’ll be something new in this or that book and more often than not, I come out disappointed. It also doesn’t help that the heroine is always a college student who falls for either a damaged MMA, a rock star, or a dominant older professor where the storylines just blend in and bleed together….with subsequent books being just a reread from the male’s pov (Walking Disaster, I’m looking at you!). And with the NA boom, comes all the amateurish writing with terrible editing and almost always written in first person which only works for me when the writing is good and more often than not, it isn’t.

    So what else can I do but turn to comfort reading of favorite authors and books? At least, this way I know I won’t be wasting hours only to shake my head in disgust and add yet another book to my DNF list.

    My comfort reading list: Nora Roberts’s Born Trilogy and any of her older books, J.D. Robb’s random In Death books, Lisa Kleypas’s backlist, Nalini Singh’s Branded by Fire/Caressed by Ice/Slave to Sensation/Kiss of Snow and all her Guild Hunter books, Jeaniene Frost’s One Foot to the Grave, Anne Stuart’s backlist, Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s backlist.

    as for Erotica, if I’m in the mood, I’ll always reach for either Joey W. Hill or Tiffany Reisz because their books are unique and unforgettable with good writing, yummy male heroes/anti-heroes, and winning female heroines.

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  37. CK
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 18:06:51

    Anything by Shelly Laurenston/GA Aiken or Lord of Scoundrels. Those never fail to get me back ‘in the mood’ for reading.

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  38. Ros
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 18:31:52

    @Samantha: I don’t think comfort reading has to mean re-reading. For me sometimes it’s picking up an author I can trust to give me a reliable read. Betty Neels is a safe bet, for instance, that any given book won’t stray far from what I expect of her.

    In fact, more generally, I’m surprised that so many commenters seem to think that comfort read automatically equals re-read and vice versa. I re-read a lot, but not always for comfort. And sometimes when I want a comfort read, I’ll look for a new-to-me book by a known and trusted author.

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  39. Jenny Schwartz
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 18:39:46

    I wanted a “like” button – I agreed with so many of you. Most especially, that trusted re-reads are there for us in the bad times.

    I also have a stash of old Harlequins (Sophie Weston, Penny Jordan, Susan Napier, Emma Goldrick, the list goes on) that I love.

    Terry Pratchett (not a romance author, but still) for when I want some compassionate and funny insight.

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  40. Renda
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 19:14:41

    Oh, I forgot novellas and shorter stories.

    I totally love Shannon Stacey’s novellas. I like her longer stuff, too, but for the rereads I go to the novellas. Holiday Sparks, I just love that one. I have it in Kindle and audio format. Listen to it often.
    Slow Summer Kisses and Mistletoe and Margaritas. I do those when I just want to sit and read something straight through.

    Sweet, fun, and so very well written.

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  41. KellyM
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 19:17:34

    @Samantha. I’m not much of a rereader either. I can only think of 2 romances that I’ve reread: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase and Charmed by Nora Roberts. Both were done under duress. I read Lord of Scoundrels again as a proven comfort read and palate cleanser after finishing a series that I hated
    (ahem, 50 Shades). And I read Charmed again because my nook got into a snit halfway through vacation and wouldn’t download any more of my new books. I sometimes wish I could go back and reread others that I loved but I always feel bad because my TBR list is so long (getting longer by the minute as I read this thread).

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  42. Joanna YoucancallmeNoona (Young)
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 20:12:59

    @KellyM: I agree about Lords of Scoundrels! Thank goodness for e-books nowadays since my paperback copy is falling apart after decades of readings! I can’t think of Loretta Chase without Lords of Scoundrels coming to mind.

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  43. Teresa C
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 20:43:56

    @cleo: More recently I’ve been turning to Marie Sexton’s Coda Series, Amy Lane’s novellas, and Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan.

    After running through Lane’s knitting novella’s, I blew through Cullinan’s Nowhere Ranch and Dance with Me. Then, I moved on to J L Langley’s With or Without series.
    Throw in Linda Howard’s Mackenzie’s series, Wen Spencer’s A Brother’s Price (or all of her books) and Eileen Wilk’s Lupi series, and I can tell my stress level is running at a high level.
    If I happen to catch a new to me comfort read (Kaje Harper’s Life Lessons series) then, I must complete that series, and then go back to my comfort books. The books need to keep my attention, but not worry me unduly? How does that ever work?

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  44. library addict
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 22:26:08

    My go to comfort read authors are Jayne Ann Krentz and Nora Roberts. The In Death series is the one I reread most often. Others include Cindy Gerard’s To the Brink and Show No Mercy, Christine Feehan’s Safe Harbor, Conspiracy Game, and Deadly Game, Merline Lovelace’s Cleo North trilogy and others, and Meg Banjamin’s Long Time Gone. Recent addictions to my comfort read list are Shannon Stacey and Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series. I could also see Jill Shalvis’ Animal Magnetism series as something I will reread when I’m in the mood for a humorous, relatively -free story.

    I reread when I’m in a bad/sad/iffy mood and need a story I know I will enjoy. But I also reread when I know I have other stuff to do and want a book I won’t mind setting aside as much since I know how it ends.

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  45. Estara Swanberg
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 06:37:36

    Romance comfort reads: Loretta Chase books, Nora Roberts Silhouette contemporaries (most of them, not all) and trilogies
    Paranormal/UF: Eileen Wilks World of the Lupi series, Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series
    Fantasy: Michelle Sagara Elantra novels (Cast in…), Andrea Höst’s books, C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series, Lee & Miller Liaden Universe novels, Sherwood Smith Crown Duel/A Stranger to Command/A Posse of Princesses/Sasharia en Garde

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  46. Lada
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 11:03:24

    This is a fabulous way for readers to share some of their favorite books! I love the way you describe Wulfric in Slightly Dangerous , Katie because that’s exactly the way I felt when I read it and it’s one of the few historicals I will re-read (and have done so quite a few times).

    I used to go to the In Death books because knowing the characters so well made it easy to pick up any book and be engaged. I’m sad that I don’t find the same comfort I used to in that series and have dropped off reading it.

    Julie James and Sarah Mayberry have been authors I’ve started re-reading most recently. And I think I need to give Laura Florand’s books another try since there’s nothing better in romance than a hero who woos!

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  47. Kareni
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 11:07:07

    I have any number of comfort reads. When I was in college, I would read a large one volume collection of Reader’s Digest jokes for comfort.

    Over time they’ve included LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory, Elizabeth Lowell’s Tell Me No Lies, the J.D. Robb series, and some Star Trek novels (Yesterday’s Son, Time for Yesterday, Uhura’s Song, Doctor’s Orders and Ishmael). More recently, Thea Harrison’s Dragon Bound and Oracle Moon, Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega novels, as well as some Lisa Kleypas, and Courtney Milan books. Then there’s Julie James, Nora Roberts, and ….

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  48. cleo
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 18:53:43

    @Theresa C – I’ll have to try J L Langley. Thanks for the rec.

    @Ros – good point about comfort and re-reading. I will read new to me books by certain, reliable authors for comfort. Back when I read more mysteries and thrillers, Dick Francis was one of my go to comfort authors – I always knew that I’d like the hero and that good would triumph over evil in the end. I comfort read my way through Sharon Shinn’s Samaria books.

    JAK has been a comfort read author for me for at least 15 years, probably longer. Although I did get burned once – I remember buying All Night Long when it came out, in hardback, specifically because I’d had a rough week and wanted comfort and escape, and it was much darker than I was expecting – the incest and child abuse sub-plot was not what I had in mind. (I do think it’s one of her best and I’ve re-read it times, but it’s still not a comfort read for me).

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  49. cleo
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 18:55:36

    Oh no, did my comment get moderated? Or did I just not submit it correctly on my phone?

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  50. nim
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 23:44:45

    Oh man, the Chesapeake Bay series is one my fave’s for pure comfort reading :) also i tend to find that if I’ve started reading a particular sort of well loved book for comfort reading I just want more of the same!

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  51. Sirius
    Oct 10, 2013 @ 10:59:09

    Yep, another rereader here and I used to reread a lot more before I started reviewing on the regular basis. A lot of russian classics are my comfort reads (not because they are very comforting per se, but because I read a lot of them in my young teens and they stuck with me), also Alexander Dumas and Jules Verne – read, reread and reread again.

    In the books with romantic overtones – certainly Kate Daniels books by Ilona Andrews, and then it is mostly m/m. I think Tamara Allen is the one whose m/m books are super comfort reread for me – “The only gold” I just reread again few days ago.

    OH – Amanda Quick stuck with me as probably the only author I started as a young teen, first in Russian translation and then in English.

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  52. Allison
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 13:16:06

    I do the same thing! I was recently laid off from work, and my lease was up on my apartment so I decided to move from Chicago to Portland OR! I was so busy packing and shipping things so I would reward myself by taking reading breaks but found I couldn’t concentrate on any new books so found myself re-reading Lucy Monroe’s The Real Deal and anything Nora Roberts.

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  53. REVIEW: Gilliane by Roberta Gellis
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 08:02:07

    […] needed a pick me up book over the weekend. Kati recently wrote about comfort reads and this book is one of mine. It was my first of your books, even though it is number four in the […]

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