Episode 112: Fantasy

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Welcome, everyone, to Books and Beverages! This week we are discussing Fantasy books! Many of you who like this genre will also be SciFi fans; so check out Episode 102 if you have not already heard it.

We are the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, and we support all types of libraries. This is our book group podcast, where we discuss different genres of books each week, while we all sit in our comfy chairs and drink our beverages. And you are, of course, an important part of this book group. So if you do not already have a nice beverage please go get one, so you can join the experience.

Who is joining our reading group this week? This week we welcome back frequent book group guest Ariel Krist, from St. Cloud Public Library!



We have guests, we have our genre. We just need our beverages. Fortunately, we all came prepared with something to sip while we talk about our books. Each week we like to connect the theme of our books with our beverages. Each beverage will have a recipe or a link on our episode page, so you can try them yourself!  Obviously, feel free to sip your coffee as you listen, or any other beverage you enjoy. Just join us in celebrating books, and discussing books!


The Gift, from Buffy The Vampire Slayer (found in The Cocktail Galaxy, page 49)

“The Gift is a cocktail that keeps on giving. When the end of the world comes, take this double-fisted shot before making the ultimate sacrifice.”

  • One part orange juice
  • ¾ part lime jice
  • ½ part pomegranate juice
  • 3 dashes hot sauce or chili powder
  • 1 part mescal

Pour all ingredients except mescal into a large glass. Sake or stir, then pour into a shot glass. Serve side by side with the shot of mescal.



Butterbeer Recipe #5


  • 1 quart Butter brickle or vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup Butterscotch syrup
  • 32 oz Cream soda


  • Place 4 (16-ounce) glasses in freezer and chill for at least 20 minutes
  • Mix ice cream and cream soda in a blender until combine
  • Divide between the frosted glasses
  • Top each glass with whipped cream, if desired
  • Serve with spoons and straws



Pomegranate juice – drunk by the High Sparrow in GoT


White Walker:

Fill a tall glass with ice.

Pour white chocolate liqueur halfway up the glass.

Fill the rest of the glass up with vanilla cream soda.

Slowly and gently pour a spoonful of blue curaçao over the top (drink should look layered: light blue on top with white below).

I recommend enjoying this cocktail with a straw.


The Goblin King (RIP David Bowie!)

  • 5 oz black vodka
  • .5 oz sweet vermouth

Shake and strain over a spherical ice ball in a goblet. Garnish with slime, snails, or puppy dog tails.


The Hulk

The drink starts with a Bruce Banner (1 part vanilla vodka and 4 parts club soda) and then a gamma bomb (3 drops green food coloring and one ounce of any alcohol you prefer) is dropped in the cup to create a Hulk. Yell “Hulk Smash!” and enjoy.


Genre Suggestions

Fantasy is one of those great genres that cross all kinds of boundaries in terms of other genres it can intersect with. Scifi can be defined as having a story that focuses on science; things in the story are possible (in theory at least) now or in the future. Items can be built, diseases can be unleashed or vanquished, robots walk among us. Fantasy books, in contrast, rely on magic or paranormal creatures or powers to advance the story.

These books easily lend themselves to big, sprawling world-building series. And those lend themselves to big-budget sprawling TV series and movies. So you see Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings being not only very successful book series, but also very successful visually. Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is so epic Brandon Sanderson had to wrap it up – along with all of his Mistborne books! (Love his novellas in the Legion series!) Is Dune Fantasy? Sure…also some Scifi – but it’s undoubtedly epic! Think about the Marvel and DC comic universe – those Avengers can be thought of as scifi (sometimes), but could also fit pretty neatly into the Fantasy world. It’s a pretty fantastic time to be a Fantasy fan!!

We have a lot of suggestions for Fantasy books and series you might want to check out, fi you don’t already know them. Because, as we said – this is a very diverse genre, and filled with all sorts of potentially great things to discover! Here are just a few lists of Fantasy books from Goodreads:

  • –           The Best Epic Fantasy
  • –           The Best Urban Fantasy
  • –           Best “Strong Female” Fantasy Novels
  • –           The Best Fairytales and Retellings
  • –           Most Interesting Magic System
  • –           Original Stories . . . a Breath of Fresh Air
  • –           Best Fantasy Books with Gay Main Characters
  • –           Best Unknown but must be Known books
  • –           Best Steampunk Books
  • –           Zombies!
  • –           Books With Heroes/Heroines Who Are Assassins
  • –           YA Books Far Better than Twilight
  • –           Books with Angels, Gods, or Demons
  • –           Best Books Involving Forbidden Love
  • –           New Speculative Fiction Stars
  • –           Books about Faery
  • –           Non-Caucasian Protagonists in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Paranormal Romance
  • –           Best Fantasy Books Under the Radar
  • –           Humorous Paranormal Books
  • –           Kick Ass Female Heroines in Paranormal Genre

Check out a few resources:


Books Discussed

  • Seanan McGuire
    • Discount Armageddon (InCryptid #1)
    • Indexing (Indexing #1)
  • Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson)
  • Gentlemen Bastard Series, by Scott Lynch
  • London Steampunk series, by Bec McMaster
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  • Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Leviathan (The Leviathan Trilogy) by Scott Westerfeld and Keith Thompson
  • Robin McKinley
    • Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast
    • Hero and the Crown
  • Broken Earth Series, by N. K. Jemisin
  • Tamora Pierce
    • Song of the Lioness Quartet
    • Wild Magic series
  • Soulless (Gail Carriger)
  • Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Midnight, Texas by Charlaine Harris
  • Kate Daniels, by Ilona Andrews
  • Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1)  by Kim Harrison
  • Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires, #1) by Chloe Neill
  • First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) by Darynda Jones
  • Spider’s Bite (Elemental Assassin, #1) by Jennifer Estep
  • Written in Red (The Others, #1) by Anne Bishop
  • Undead and Unwed (Undead, #1) by MaryJanice Davidson
  • Midnight Crossroad (Midnight, Texas, #1) by Charlaine Harris
  • Chronicles of Narnia
  • Dark Tower by Stephen King
  • Discworld by Terry Pratchett (tho – maybe scifi)
  • The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher



Thank you so much for joining us for this discussion! We will be back next Tuesday with another genre, more book group hosts, and all kinds of books to share and discuss. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a single episode! And if you want to hear more about the work we do in libraries – which is surprisingly fun! – subscribe to our podcast Linking Our Libraries.

Bring your book ideas, bring your beverages, and join us back here for more book discussion next Tuesday!

We support libraries!