The best books with the best worlds (to visit, but not to live there)

Who am I?

Introduced to Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror in my late teens, I found “my” genres. I read other genres now and then, but 99% of my reading is in these genres. I not only read and write Spec Fiction, I also publish those genres through my company, Ellysian Press. I get to read wonderful books and help other authors bring their fictional babies to life. Imagine the worlds I get to visit. Talk about a dream job! 


I wrote...

Relics (Modern Magics, Book 1)

By Maer Wilson,

Book cover of Relics (Modern Magics, Book 1)

What is my book about?

Most of Thulu and La Fi's clients are dead. Which is perfect since their detective agency caters to the supernatural. But a simple job finding a lost locket leads to a big case tracking relics for an ancient daemon. The daemon needs the relics to keep a dangerous portal closed. His enemy, Gabriel, wants the relics to open the portal and give his people access to a new feeding ground – Earth.

Caught on live TV, other portals begin to open, and the creatures of magic return to Earth. The people of Earth are not alone, but will soon wish they were.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Book cover of The Hobbit

Why this book?

The Hobbit was my introduction to Middle Earth. It was a natural step to the rest of the novels. And it had everything to entice me: wizards, adventure, elves, dwarves…and hobbits. I wanted to live in the Shire. Or with the elves in Lothlórien. Of course, I’d also want to leave once the war escalated. But my love for Middle Earth has never faded. The Hobbit was the beginning of my love for epic fantasy. My Modern Magics series is certainly influenced by LOTR. Although it’s set in the present. I highly recommend The Hobbit and the rest of the series to fans of the genre.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

By J.K. Rowling, Mary Grandpré (illustrator),

Book cover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Why this book?

This is yet another introduction to a magical series. I devoured the books, which I have reread many times. Leaving the Muggle world for the secret Wizard world would be wonderful. Even without magic myself…although I’d much prefer to be magical if I could. Or maybe teach Muggle Studies at Hogwarts. I’d prefer it if the Dark Wizards were defeated. Otherwise it would have to be a short visit. Oh, and anyone who has not actually read the books should run, not walk, to their nearest bookstore (online or brick & mortar) or library and get the entire series. New readers are lucky as they can binge-read the entire series. And they don’t have to wait for the next book. 


Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Book cover of Dune

Why this book?

Dune had a profound effect on me. I was in college and had recently been introduced to reading Science Fiction by author Philip K. Dick. So after reading some of Phil’s books, I added Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, etc, etc. And Herbert. He created such a fantastic and beautifully-imagined world with Arrakis. Still, in my (late) teens, Paul and Chani appealed to me in a way adult main characters in the genre did not. I used the mantra “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer…” more than once in difficult situations. Dune occupies a special place in my heart. I would definitely go there for a visit.


Dragonflight

By Anne McCaffrey,

Book cover of Dragonflight

Why this book?

Why am I recommending this book? Dragons.

Oh. You want more? Okay. Although I was fine with just “Dragons.” 

I could live on Pern with no problem. Dragons. Not mean, horrible dragons like Smaug. But beautiful dragons you could ride. And have a telepathic connection with if you were their rider. Well, there is a lot more to this world, of course. There are Weyrs where the dragons live. And the Hatching Grounds where dragons are…hatched. There is the sky where dragons fly with their riders to kill deadly Thread. Oh. There are also people in this series, too. The most interesting people ride dragons.

These books have a rich culture, fabulous world-building, with fascinating characters who won my heart immediately. Some of them are even human.


A Game of Thrones

By George R.R. Martin,

Book cover of A Game of Thrones

Why this book?

Another magnificently-imagined world. (Pssst…it also has dragons.) This series is simply incredible. Martin’s writing is nothing short of brilliant. My visits there would be short trips as it’s way too dangerous. The power struggles are deadly, and no one is safe. But with the colorful tapestry of cultures, there are enough heroes, villains, and a few who are both, to satisfy anyone. And some I had love/hate relationships with from one adventure to the next. There are so many times I have had to stop, put the book down and go away to process whatever has happened. Because there are many shockers. So expect the unexpected and prepare for a wild ride. Cliché as that is, it’s true. 


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dragons, wizards, and galactic empires?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dragons, wizards, and galactic empires.

Dragons Explore 99 books about dragons
Wizards Explore 68 books about wizards
Galactic Empires Explore 10 books about galactic empires

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Winter King, Rendezvous with Rama, and The Overstory if you like this list.