This Rec League comes from longtime commenter, Kris Bock on Shana’s Greener Pastures review. Thanks, Kris!
“It’s built for bedtime reading; sweet enough to give you happy dreams, and quiet enough to let you fall asleep easily.”
I feel like this could be a whole marketable category of books.
Sarah: Mmmm sleepytime books. A Psalm for the Wild Built, though it has some emotional moments, is very soothing for bedtime reading. I also often re-read Murderbot (quelle surprise) because while there is action and combat, I know when it’s happening so I don’t react emotionally as much. Grumpy Murderbot is often very soothing to me. I also re-read Act Like It before bed when I’m really stressed out.
In terms of romance: Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey ( A | BN | K | G | AB ) is one of my all time favorite novellas, and I love re-reading it. The tension is low, based on whether one character will stay in town or go back to their life in a city, but there are, as the title suggestions, sparks.
Jackie Lau’s books are perfect bedtime reading for me, because the writing leans into very familiar tropes and the emotional and sexual tension builds slowly but steadily. There are no jump scares! Her Big City Neighbor was a lovely before bed read, especially because the characters’ growth comes from a lot of quiet revelations.
Ok I have one more: Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins (A | BN | K | G | AB | Scribd). There’s a lot (A LOT) of competence porn, which I love, and Mariah is one of my favorite of Jenkins’ heroines. I have re-read the section where Mariah is making the train journey from Philadelphia all the way to the west coast a whole bunch of times.
Lara: I have no ideas but this is EXACTLY what I’m looking for! Im going through an uncharacteristic bout of insomnia and my brain needs soothing. Thank you, Kris, for writing in! It’s probably time for me to take the financial bull by the horns and read Murderbot…
Amanda: I feel like some of the books recommended in our Cozy Fantasy Rec League could work!
Shana: Well, I certainly recommend Greener Pastures by Aurora Rey, since it was the book who inspired this rec league. Honestly, any Aurora Rey book is a good bedtime pick. The Last Place You Look is a similarly quiet and chill contemporary.
Annabeth Albert’s Portland Heat series is super duper cozy. Literally, in the case of Knit Tight‘s soft sweaters.
Clean Breaks by Ruby Lang ( A | BN | K | G | AB ) could work too. I remember that book being a series of fun summertime dates.
Oh, and Just Like That by Karin Kallmaker would be nice. It takes place on a winery, and while there’s a clash between the wine owner’s daughter and the out of town consultant, it doesn’t take long for things to simmer down so they can picnic in Napa together.
What books would you recommend for some calming, before bed reading?