September 8, 2010

Top Ten Picks: 'Feel Good' Books

This is a meme hosted by Random Ramblings in which we list our top ten choices for a certain topic. Love the theme for this round - feel-good books are so important!

So, here are my soothing, guaranteed-to-pick-me-up comfort reads:

1.) Pride and Prejudice - Of all Austen books, this has to be the one that I come back to when I want a simple, sweet and witty tale. All of its wonderful qualities - humor, interesting characters, Victorian setting, romance - combine to make a sumptuous read.

2.) Feeling Sorry for Celia - This is one of my favorites because it's practically guaranteed to make me laugh. Also, the main character Elizabeth is so relatable and it's great to watch her character growing and learning to stand up for herself. I will add The Year of Secret Assignments in here as a runner-up because it is also hilarious and generally awesome!

3.) The Goose Girl - I love Shannon Hale's lyrical writing in this novel. The tale is at times sad, at times sweet, and at times suspenseful, but it is always beautifully written. Ani is such a strong protagonist in a quiet way, and you're rooting for her right from the start. The supporting characters are well-fleshed out, as is the villain. It's a retelling of a fairytale, and it reads just like one.

4.) Crown Duel - Meliara is not the easiest person to like but there's something about her that's endearing to the reader. She's got a bit of a temper, makes tons of mistakes and jumps to conclusions all the time, but she's bold, fearless and very loyal to her friends. Meliara's definitely the kind of person you'd want around if you got stuck in a sticky situation (as long as you were on her good side, that is). There's humor in here as well as adventure and a bit of romance, and it's a fabulous world Sherwood Smith lays out for her readers.

5.) Beauty - I do like fairytale retellings that are done well, and Beauty's just that. The descriptions (especially of life at the Beast's castle) are gorgeous, Beauty herself is an awkward teenage girl coming into her own, and the slowly unfolding romance is sweet. I particularly like that McKinley really makes this retelling her own by giving Beauty's family more of a role to play.

6.) The High King - I like the whole Prydain chronicles but The High King is my favorite. It's more epic than the others, and it's like Lloyd Alexander manages to combine all the great elements of the previous novels together in one book. Of course, you need to read the rest of the series to understand everything going on in this one, seeing as it's sort of the 'last stand', but The High King's definitely the one I read the most often.

7.) Ella Enchanted - All right, so I really like fairytale retellings, I admit it. They keep popping up on my lists! I haven't read this one in quite a while, but it's one of my all-time favorites. The humor, excitement, romance, and creativity are all here in spades. I've read other retellings of Cinderella but this one is definitely the best!

8.) Sorcery and Cecelia - This is a book that began as a letter game between the two authors, and eventually turned into a novel. It's fabulous! The pacing is excellent, the characters well drawn, and there's enough magic, mystery, romance, humor, and Victorian England setting to satisfy just about everybody.

9.) Hawksong - I love this one because it's an arranged-marriage-meets-forbidden-romance, in a way. The two leads are shapeshifters - Zane is a snake, Danica a hawk - and they are supposed to be sworn enemies. Yet they agree to "pair bond" and join their two families to stop the war between them. Danica and Zane know they're supposed to despise and distrust each other, but the romantic tension between them is obvious, and seeing them grow to trust and rely on each other is really sweet. I only wish it were a bit longer!

10.) The Mediator series - So it's more than one book, but when I'm looking for something pretty light and fluffy, with a bit of romance and a fun, snarky protagonist, The Mediator often satisfies. Suze has attitude, there's the whole ghost element for paranormal fans, and really, who can resist Jesse?


  1. fantastic list!! i loved crown duel--it's one of the best fantasy books i've ever read. and ella enchanted and pride and prejudice are two of my all-time favorite books.


  2. Pride and Prejudice it the only one of these books I have read, and it is somewhere on my top 20 comfort books list. I have read it so often that these days I prefer to listen to the audio book rather than turn the pages.

  3. feel good books are important indeed, I really have to read crown duel soon, a books that I would put in my list is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

  4. I have only read Ella Enchanted from this list... but it's one of my all-time favorites!

  5. I love the Mediator series! :P. Very feel-good I think, so is Ella Enchanted (I love the film even more than the book!) Great list, thanks for sharing.

  6. Very cool list! and so diverse!!

    I agree on Meg Cabot's Mediator, one of my favorite series ever! There was a time when I was obsessed with Hawksong (sad to say the series began to feel flat to me after Snakecharm).

    Ella Enchanted (and the Two princesses of Bamarre) is super feel good! totally agree.

    And P&P! Ultimate, feel good.

    :D haven't read the others but might go give them a try.

    :D Great Top Ten

  7. Pride and Prejudice will always be my feel-good anything (book, movie, daydream), definitely a great pick :)
    And I loved Crown & Court duel! Sometimes I just wanted to hug Meliara and tell her it would be okay and other times I wanted to hit her in the head for being dense. I loved Vidanric :) Did you know there was a prequel? I just learned this looking for his name, it's called A Stranger to Command.

  8. I haven't read all of these but I'm a fan of many - especially Cabot's mediator series!

    Teens Read & Write

  9. Love the Mediator series! *swoons after Jesse*

  10. There is no better way to spend an evening than reading or watching the tale of the Bennets and Mr Darcy! If I want a feel-good story, I always find myself returning to Austen or the Brontes. I haven't read any of the others on your list, but I'll definitely check them out, if they provide the same joy as Pride and Prejudice!

  11. I have only read Pride & Prejudice, Ella Enchanted, and The Goose Girl and I love all 3. Crown Duel has been on my radar for quite some time, and I haven't managed to read it yet.

  12. I haven't read any of these, but I should.


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