Blowing Smoke: How to Appreciate a Dragon

Some will say dragons are mythological creatures men created to explain different natural phenomenon in a pre-scientific world. Others will tell you dragons were how man once made sense of dinosaur fossils. However, any book lover will tell you dragons are a very real and integral part of literature that have fascinated us for centuries and deserve our appreciation, which is why January 16 is Appreciate a Dragon Day.

How do we appreciate a dragon, you might ask? Let’s take a look at some of our favorite dragon tales to find out.

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23 Must-Read Books for Fans of High Fantasy, Twilight, D&D and More!

Dragons, magic, rabbit holes, medieval battles and vampires, OH MY! In recent weeks, fans of the fantasy genre have been thrilled to get their hands on a new book set in The Hunger Games universe, and excited for an announcement of a new Twilight novel to come. If you, like me, have already finished The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and are looking for your next read while waiting for Midnight Sun, look no further! Check out some of the fantasy novels other booklovers just like you are recommending on


The Starless Sea
“Like an adult Alice in Wonderland. Such an adventure from start to finish. Really captivating and unique, like an adult version of Alice in Wonderland. There’s mystery and romance and fantasy…really good for anyone who likes any sort of genre book! Definitely a new favorite.” Continue reading

Behind the Book: The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

Editor’s Note: Best known for Gothic horror and dark young adult mystery novels, April Genevieve Tucholke is taking a dive into the previously unexplored with The Boneless Mercies. This novel is a gorgeously written standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of glory. Throughout the novel, Tucholke portrays fierce women warriors in unapologetic friendship who refuse to quit their quest for glory. We had a chance to catch up with April recently and she was kind enough to answer some burning questions for us.

Boneless Mercies Cover

Your previous books, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue SeaBetween the Spark and the Burn, and Wink Poppy Midnight are very different books from The Boneless Mercies. What made you want to write a more historical piece?
Fantasy is my first love. The words “sword and sorcery” still make my heart skip a beat. Fantasy is what I read when I want to truly escape into a fictional world. Spring and summer are for Jerome K. Jerome and PG Wodehouse or mysteries like Miss Marple or Brother Cadfael—but fall and winter are for fantasy, a retreat into something darker and grander and nobler than the world I know. It was my favorite genre as a kid and is still my favorite today. Continue reading

100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels to Geek Out Over

If your answer to every question is 42.  If you can quote the three laws of Robotics.  If you want to say “my precious” every time you see a gold band. Then this list is for you.  We asked our 3,000 bibliomaniacs what their favorite SciFi/Fantasy novels were, and here are their top 100 answers.

(1) Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (2) A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (3) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (4) The Two Towers, (5) The Return of the King, (6) The Fellowship of the Ring and (7) The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (8) Neuromancer by William Gibson (9) Hyperion by Dan Simmons (10) Dune by Frank Herbert (11) The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (12) Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein (13) 1984 by George Orwell (14) Ubik by Phillip K. Dick (15) A Storm of Swords by George R. R.Martin (16) The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (17) Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr. (18) Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (19) The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein (20) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (21) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (22) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (23) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (24) Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (25) Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

(26) Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (27) The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick (28) The Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov (29) Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (30) I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein (31) Faith of the Fallen by Terry Goodkind (32) A Princess of Mars by E. R. Burroughs (33) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (34) Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey (35) The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks (36) The Once and Future King by T.H. White (37) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (38) Foundation by Isaac Asimov (39) Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman (40) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick (41) Anathem by Neal Stephenson (42) The Black Company by Glen Cook (43) The Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn (44) Magic of Recluse by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (45) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (46) The Legacy of Heorot by Larry Niven, Stever Barnes and Jerry Pournelle (47) Dark is the Sun by Philip Jose Farmer (48) Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber (49) Dying Inside by Robert Siverberg (50) A Watch on the Rhine by John Ringo

(51) The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers (52) Dies the Fire by S. M. Strilling (53) Old Man’s War by John Scalzi (54) The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers (55) The Eye of the Pyramid by Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson (56) The Electric Church by Jeff Sommers (57) Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (58) Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake (59) Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner (60) Mort by Terry Pratchett (61) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susana Clarke (62) Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny (63) Ladyhawke by Joan D. Vinge (64) I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (65) Armor by John Steakly (66) Lathe of Heaven, (67) Earthsea Chronicles and (68) Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin (69) The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey (70) The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (71) War With the Newts by Karel Capek (72) Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (73) To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (74) Stardust by Neil Gaiman (75) Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link

(76) The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (77) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (78) Mockingbird by Walter Tevis (79) This is the Way the World Ends by James Morrow (80) Battle Cry by Jack McKinney (81) Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marrillier (82) Resurrection by Arwen Elys Dayton (83) Parable of the Sower and (84) Kindred by Octavia Butler (85) The Subtle Knife and (86) The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman (87) Grass by Sheri Tepper (88) Three Days to Never by Tim Powers (89) Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany (90) The Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis (91) Logan’s Run by William Nolan & George Clayton Johnson (92) White Mountains by John Christopher (93) Fantastic Voyage by Isaac Asimov (94) Mister Monday by Garth Nix (95) Ringworld by Larry Niven (96) The Misenchanted Sword by Lawrence Watt-Evans (97) Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson(98) The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (99) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (100) The Giver by Lois Lowry

Now, Dune has been on my reading list for a while, but I am definitely going to have to read Ender’s Game.  The Hyperion series and The Looking Glass Wars just made it onto my reading list as well.  What about you?  See anything to add to your reading list?  

You can find these books and more at your local Half Price Books. Stop in today, and our Sci-Fi-Lovin’ Bibliomaniacs will help you find your book.

— Julie

Countdown to Summer: 4 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Young Adult Series

Looking for some more traditional, yet still action-packed series for you or your kids? The summer is the perfect time to dive into some action and adventure with these science fiction/fantasy young adult series. Much like the dystopian young adult series, these novels tend to have less romance and more action, so they are perfect for both boys and girls of all ages!
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, is a series about a 12 year old brilliant millionaire, who also happens to be a criminal mastermind. In this first novel, Artemis takes on the world of the Faerie and captures Holly Short for a ransom. A battle full of action and wit between Artemis and the Faerie world ensues. Artemis starts out as a pessimistic and cold boy, but turns into a rather charming young man throughout the series, who shows remorse for his previous bad actions. Delve into the series now, so that you and your kids can be ready when the eighth and final book is published later this year!
In the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John A. Flanagan, 15 year old Will wanted to be a warrior, but instead he was chosen to be Ranger’s Apprentice. At first Will is terrified, thinking that the Rangers are partially evil, but he soon discovers that the Rangers are the ones that have been long protecting their kingdom from other evil magic forces. Start with the first book in the series, The Ruins of Gorlan, for an action-packed ride with Will through the Kingdom of Araluen, which is loosely based on medieval Europe. At 11 books and still counting, this is one series that will keep you occupied for most of the summer!
The Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore starts with Graceling. Katsa is a Graceling, or a person who is extremely skilled. As rare as a Graceling is, her skill is even more unique. She has been able to kill people with her bare hands since she was eight. While being a Graceling is usually a blessing, for Katsa it’s a curse. Her uncle, King Randa, uses her to punish and scare people in his kingdom. One day Katsa meets a prince who just might match her in combat skills, and her entire world turns upside down. The two other books in the series, Fire and Bitterblue, follow other characters that have some of the same challenges that Katsa did.
The Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card is an oldie, but a goodie. Andrew “Ender” Wiggins is a brilliant kid who is chosen above his older brother and sister to attend the Battle School, where he can receive intense military training through mock battles against the aliens that are attacking earth. Ender flourishes at school and soon starts skipping grades. Because of his abilities, Ender is isolated and a rival of all his classmates. Towards the end of the first novel, Ender’s Game, Ender discovers that his training was not what he thought it was. This series can be fairly violent, but has a great message for kids, especially young men, that even those who are destined for greatness have many trials and tribulations along the way.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Young Adult novels aren’t exactly your cup of tea? Coming up in our final edition of “Countdown to Summer,” we’ll offer recommendations for 4 Fallen Angel Teen Fiction Series. Check back on the blog next week!
Also be sure to stop by your local Half Price Books to pick up a reading log for your kids. Kids 14 and under can earn $5 HPB Back-to-School Bucks for reading in June and July with the Feed Your Brain® Summer Reading Program.

— Kristen B.