Feel-Good / Escapist Reads with Strong Female Heros
For an immersive historical fantasy, I highly recommend the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden. The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower are the first two books in the trilogy.
I felt immediately transported to the vivid Medieval Russia created by the author. These books have a mix of folklore, history, and magic and are driven by a clever and brave heroine who defies the trope of being a damsel in distress. The audiobook versions feature wonderful voice acting from the narrator (plus you get to hear how all the Russian words are actually pronounced!). The third book in the trilogy is called The Winter of the Witch, and it is already out so you can binge the whole series. These books do have some adult themes like violence and death (life was hard in Medieval Russia, okay?).
Moving from Medieval Russia to modern-day California, another book I recently enjoyed is The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Lee. This is a lighthearted and cheery young adult fantasy romp. The Monkey King from Chinese folklore enlists the help of the reincarnation of his legendary weapon who is now an overachieving Chinese-American highschool girl. This book is non-stop action with a heavy dose of humor, which made it a really fun and quick read. This book has some violence and swearing (although some of it’s in Chinese, so--it’s educational!)
Have you read either of these recommendations? What are your feel-good reading go-tos?