The best books for those looking for humor, romance, a dash of fantasy, and perhaps a touch of violence

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an American-born writer and I have been writing fantasy and science fiction since I was just out of elementary school. I have been obsessed with Star Wars (and later Trek) since I was able to watch television, and I believe I was twelve when Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters…needless to say, I have not stopped reading and writing fantasy since. The books on my list are some (but not all) of my very favorites and many of them have gone on to heavily inspire my own style when writing my own works.

I wrote...

War and the Wind

By Tyler Krings,

Book cover of War and the Wind

What is my book about?

On a quiet night in the world of Evanna, two hunters watch a star fall from the sky. Only, it is not a star. It is a goddess. Arienaethin, Lady of the Wind, has fled the heavenly realm of Anu, and on her heels are powers that do not take her transgression lightly. Her jilted lover, the Lord of Fate, will stop at nothing to bring her back by any means necessary.

Lucky for the Lady, the hunters with whom she has found refuge are more than they seem. Some might even say they were fated to meet.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of American Gods

Tyler Krings Why did I love this book?

American Gods was my first foray into the world of Neil Gaiman and has not been the last.

Dark and gritty, American Gods is the story of Shadow, a man released from prison early following the tragic death of his wife. We follow his existential struggle as he experiences such profane trauma and sorrow while simultaneously wading into a war between gods both old and new fighting to stay relevant in a world of people that care less about ancient religions.  

But, for me at least, the story about the gods struggling to stay relevant was overshadowed (pun intended) by Shadow’s own traumatic dealings with not only the ghost of his deceased wife, but his own mysterious origins as well. In the end, there is a victory. Not complete, mind you, but a significant step in the overcoming of overwhelming trauma that casts a hopeful view for Shadow’s future.

By Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked American Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a STARZ® Original Series – Season 3 premiere in January 2021

“Pointed, occasionally comic, often scary, consistently moving and provocative….American Gods is strewn with secrets and magical visions.”—USA Today

Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text. A modern masterpiece from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman.

First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Washington Post) and as a modern phantasmagoria that “distills the essence of America” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). It is the story of Shadow—released from prison just days after…

Book cover of The Rise of Endymion

Tyler Krings Why did I love this book?

For any true Science Fiction fan, the Hyperion Cantos is a must read.

From enthralling character stories to sweeping galactic battles between humans and AI from both the past, present, and future. Usually, folks don’t choose The Rise of Endymion as their favorite from the Cantos, and would rather select Hyperion and its award-winning Canterbury Tales style writing regarding seven pilgrims and their struggle with the immortal Shrike.

But I, am a glutton for a good love story, and Raul and Rachel’s story is one that I find myself thinking of often.

If you’ve read the other 3 books of the Cantos then you know Raul is not the smartest, the strongest, or most willing protagonist. In fact, he’s pretty much the layman with basic skills and a bland history. But it doesn’t matter. He’s always there when it counts, he’s stalwart and trustworthy and he won’t let you down when shit hits the fan.

When he and Aenea (essentially space-Jesus) fall in love it is a time-travelling decade-long tale in the making and I loved every minute of it. 

By Dan Simmons,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rise of Endymion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The conclusion to the groundbreaking Hyperion Cantos, from the Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Terror, which is now a chilling TV show.

The time of reckoning has arrived. As a final genocidal Crusade threatens to enslave humanity forever, a new messiah has come of age. She is Aenea and she has undergone a strange apprenticeship to those known as the Others. Now her protector, Raul Endymion, one-time shepherd and convicted murderer, must help her deliver her startling message to her growing army of disciples.

But first they must embark on a final spectacular mission to discover the…

Book cover of The Name of the Wind

Tyler Krings Why did I love this book?

The Name of the Wind is a beautifully told tale of Kvothe and his conflict with the Chandrian (mystical beings of suspect nature existing in a parallel plane).

After the murder of his parents and troupe, Kvothe goes claw his way through the city streets and then on to scheme through the ranks of the Magical Academy, looking for evidence of and information about his parents' killers. There is love, music, magic, and mystery with a dash of wit and violence.

By Patrick Rothfuss,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Name of the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The lyrical fantasy masterpiece about stories, legends and how they change the world. The Name of the Wind is an absolute must-read for any fan of fantasy fiction.

'This is a magnificent book' Anne McCaffrey

'I was reminded of Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, and J. R. R. Tolkein, but never felt that Rothfuss was imitating anyone' THE TIMES

'I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University…

Book cover of The Gunslinger

Tyler Krings Why did I love this book?

The Gunslinger is the first of seven in King’s acclaimed Dark Tower fantasy series, and it was also the first book of King’s that I had ever read at the time.

It is the story of the gunslinger and his mythic quest to catch the man in black. Of course, the series gets way more complex, but the Gunslinger is a short novel with wide ideas, morally complex characters and is a great beginning for a stellar series.

I picked it up as a freshman in college at the urging of a friend at a time when I was alone in a new world and haven’t regretted a moment of it (there are several things that freshman year that I do regret but that certainly was not one of them).  

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Gunslinger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Dark Tower is now a major motion picture starring Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba.

'The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.' The iconic opening line of Stephen King's groundbreaking series, The Dark Tower, introduces one of his most enigmatic and powerful heroes: Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger.

Roland is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey toward the mysterious Dark Tower, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own.

On his quest, Roland begins a friendship with a kid from New York named Jake, encounters an alluring woman and faces…

Book cover of Words of Radiance

Tyler Krings Why did I love this book?

Every entry of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive is epic, hands down.

Filled with fantasy lore, action, weird magic, and displeased gods, yes, there is something good to say about every book in the series so far. But book 2, Words of Radiance, is filled with moment after moment where I found myself standing up and pumping my fist in the air after the story’s main protagonist does something terrifically badass, especially in the latter half of the novel.

It’s got all the other good stuff, too. Like its predecessor, The Way of Kings, it has plenty of light humor, moments of shared brotherhood in the face of oppression, complicated characters, sweeping battles…but those moments of tension building followed by resounding victory are excellently written and gets my heart pumping to this day.

By Brandon Sanderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Words of Radiance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance, Book Two of the Stormlight Archive, continues the immersive fantasy epic that The Way of Kings began.

Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status "darkeyes." Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

The Assassin,…

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By S.M. Stevens,

Book cover of The Wallace House of Pain: A Novelette

S.M. Stevens Author Of The Wallace House of Pain: A Novelette

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Why am I passionate about this?

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What is my book about?

Activist Xander Wallace and his straitlaced father do not have an easy relationship. Jim’s views on race, immigration, gender, sexuality, and even Millennials alienate his son no matter how hard Xander tries to find common ground. Toss in Jim’s second marriage ten months after Xander’s mother died, and it’s a volatile cocktail. How, against this backdrop, will Xander ever dare to bare his soul and reveal his greatest secret?

Winner of a 2023 American Fiction Award, a First Place prize in the Chanticleer International Book Awards, and a 5-Star Readers’ Favorite review.

The Wallace House of Pain: A Novelette

By S.M. Stevens,

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