Hello readers! It’s been a while, and probably no one reads my blog anymore, but I felt like I wanted to go talk about some of the books that have helped me mentally survive the past year and a half. I was a high school teacher during the pandemic (taking some time off now), so you can say that my job got pretty chaotic and stressful during the pandemic. On top of that, a member of my household is immune compromised, so while the vaccine has eased our worries to some degree, we’ve been a lot stricter about social distancing and isolation than most people I know. It’s felt a little lonely at times and also sometimes terrifying, and books have really helped me get through this time in one piece. You’ll notice that most of these are either romance or mystery because there’s nothing like a predictable plot structure and a happy ending to make me feel like everything is under control. So here are 5 series that have given me comfort and entertainment since March of 2020.
The Brothers Sinister
I discovered Courtney Milan and binged this entire series before cancelling my Audible subscription. I had been struggling for a while to find another romance author that I liked as much as Sarah Maclean and Tessa Dare, but Courtney Milan really did it for me. If you like historicals and haven’t tried her yet, I definitely recommend!
The Parasol Protectorate
Gail Carriger’s wit and humor was exactly what I needed last summer. The first book in this series, Soulless, is a lot like a historical romance just with werewolves. I loved it and immediately devoured all of the other books in the series. There is also a prequel series and a sequel series and I adored those as well. There’s romance, there’s adventure, there’s tiny robotic dogs and gay werelions. Overall a great time.
The Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend isn’t something I discovered during the pandemic, but I did reread all three books as a comfort read during the pandemic. Nevermoor follows Morrigan Crow, a girl who travels to a magical city called Nevermoor to compete in the trials for a very special school. It’s whimsical and wonderful and I am devastated that I will have to wait so long for book 4.
After seeing the trailer for the Enola Holmes movie last year, I blew through all of the books in order to prepare. The first book – the one the movie is based on – was my least favorite, but overall, I loved this series. It follows Enola, Sherlock’s younger sister, after she runs away from home in order to avoid the boring life of a young woman in Victorian society. She falls into the middle of a missing person’s case and realizes she has a bit of a knack for detective work. She continues to solve mysteries and evade capture by her brothers throughout the rest of the series. I often found myself laughing out loud while reading these. There are some things that aren’t great, like the use of a particular slur for the Romani/Roma throughout the series, and I hope that’s something that the publisher considers updating now that the books seem to be gaining popularity again. There’s also a lot of talk about tight-lacing corsets, which I’ve been learning was not nearly as common as movies and books would have you believe. But aside from some minor things, these books are great and Enola is a really fun main character. Side note: I just found out that a new book is coming out next month, so you can bet I will be reading that!
Lady Darby Mysteries
If like me, you don’t know what to read while waiting for the next installment of Lady Sherlock or Veronica Speedwell, then the Lady Darby Mysteries might be for you. It’s got everything I wanted – mysteries that aren’t too gory, a satisfying conclusion at the end of each case, the security of knowing the main characters will always come out okay, and a slow burn romance. I wouldn’t say that I liked it more than my current favorite historical mysteries, but Lady Darby definitely gets a solid third place after Veronica Speedwell and Charlotte Holmes. I’ve read all 9 books now, so if you have any recommendations for another historical mystery series like these, please let me know.
Some honorable mentions before I go. Rosie Danan and Martha Waters each have a romance series that I have enjoyed immensely so far, but each only has two books to date, so there’s not as much to read as there is with some of these other series. I’ve also continued to enjoy The Nancy Drew Diaries, the current modern take on Nancy Drew. And last but not least, the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh. I’ve only just finished book 3 out of 20, but I am totally hooked. Anyway, let me know if you decide to try any of these series and happy reading!