The WritersDomain team tries to read whenever we can, and 2018 was a great year for discovering new and amazing reads. Even though these books weren’t all published in 2018, we were still happy to find these diamonds in the rough and add them to our personal Goodreads Challenge lists.
And we couldn’t keep these books to ourselves! Here are some books we fell in love with during the past year. We’d love to hear about your favorite reads, too.
The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen
For his entire life, the boy has known only two things: his family and the basement.
Nestled safely within his underground home and the arms of his disfigured family, the boy spends his days caring for his pet cactus and discovering the wonders of the imagination.
But when his sister gives birth to a baby, the illusion of family and safety is shattered, and the boy is left to understand the real reason why his family hides away in the darkness.
This book is beautifully crafted and paced for an exciting read. Perfect for any lover of thrillers or mysteries.
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard is a fun, vibrant fantasy novel set in a land in which each person has their own specific kind of magic, from elemental powers to the ability to manipulate people with words.
The story centers on best friends Safiya, a rare Truthwitch, and Iseult, a Threadwitch with powers even she doesn’t understand. As they travel by land and by sea to try to escape the powerful Bloodwitch hot on their heels, they discover that something far more important is happening in their land — and they seem to be at the center of it.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
In Six of Crows, a group of misfit criminals band together, break into an impenetrable prison, and kidnap a prisoner. If they pull it off, untold wealth will be theirs. If not, they either die or spend the rest of their life in prison. The plot of this story is fantastic. One of the main characters repeatedly pulls off brilliant feats of trickery that are extremely entertaining to read. And the characterization was amazing; the relationship dynamics are exciting and captivating.
This book switches point of view every chapter, and for this story, that was a smart move. As the heist progresses, the reader follows each character as things happen. This book is the first volume in a duology but I wouldn’t recommend this book for readers under age 16.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
I’ll Give You the Sun was a surprise for me. I’d heard of it a few times in the past, but I picked it up on a whim and fell hopelessly in love with every page. It’s all about the relationship between twins Jude and Noah, and the prose is so incredibly beautiful, intricate, fragile, and strong that I couldn’t put it down. The story follows first love, art, family, and grief in a way that will swallow you and sit in your soul for a long time to come.
Calypso by David Sedaris
If you love dark humor and acerbic wit, David Sedaris’ newest book, Calypso, combines his unique voice and trademark misanthropy with deeply personal stories. From growing up with five siblings to the time he bought a beach house to a strange encounter that involved the removal of a fatty tumor, each story brings something new.
The essays in this collection make for fast reading, but Sedaris never surrenders substance for brevity. In Calypso, he seems determined to make you laugh and cry and laugh again as you read about foxes, suicide, sequined culottes, ancient snapping turtles, alcoholism, and more.
Vicious by VE Schwab
Vicious by VE Schwab is a story of two friends-turned-enemies, Victor and Eli, who discover how to become ExtraOrdinaries, or super-powered persons. Ten years later, Victor is out of prison and ready to get his revenge on Eli. Joined by a girl with powers and a grudge, Victor begins hunting down his former friend and learns that Eli has a vendetta of his own.
Schwab brings a unique and fresh perspective to the superhero and thriller genre. Vicious is full of fast-paced action, stunning writing, and flashbacks to die for — literally, to die for.
To Be or Not to Be: A Chooseable Path Adventure by Ryan North
If you’ve ever found yourself yelling at Shakespearean characters because their choices make no sense, have I got a book for you! In this book, you can take Hamlet (or Ophelia or King Hamlet) into your own hands and have them follow totally different paths through the rotten state of Denmark.
Multiple happy endings are available, or you can just watch the world burn while you make up your mind about the business of murdering Claudius. Plus, this version of Hamlet comes with 100 different illustrations, one for each possible ending, and a book within a book.
A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas
From its fierce, relatable heroine and heart-wrenching supporting cast to the detailed and vibrant fae world, this series is a knockout.
After Feyre kills a faerie disguised as a wolf, a fearsome beast demands recompense and drags her to his Court in the land of the faeries. As she begins to understand her captor and the land she’s kept in, Feyre’s fear and resentment begin to fade and love starts to blossom. But everything isn’t as peaceful as it seems, and Feyre must break an ancient faerie curse to save her world and the man she loves.
It is a little dry and boring at the beginning, but the action-packed ending makes up for it. The rest of the series has a can’t-put-down type of magic and feels a little like a retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth. While the fourth (a novella that bridges two trilogies) feels a little like fanfiction at times, it’s a sweet tribute to the characters Maas loves. If you like romance and fantasy, A Court of Thorns and Roses is a must-read.
The Hundredth Queen by Emily R King
I normally have a lot of books in my TBR but I put all of them aside so I could read the Hundredth Queen series by Emily R King. I took on the series as a recommendation from a fellow writing friend and I couldn’t stop reading!
The first novel, The Hundredth Queen, is a YA story about Kalinda who lives in a sisterhood of women who train in fighting and martial arts. Her life changes when she’s selected to be the 100th queen for the rajah, Tarek. In the palace, she has to play by his rules, which means literally fighting the other wives and courtesans for her place in the court.
However, Kali doesn’t want to live a life chosen for her. She works with Deven, a captain of the guard, to put an end to these violent traditions and tries to work with rather than against her fellow wives.
King did a great job breaking some traditional tropes in her work. I don’t want to spoil too much for you, but the series gets better and better as you dive into it. I’d recommend it for readers looking for a bit of feminism, diversity, and magic.