Books I Loved – 2018 Edition

Last week, I shared the books I hated most in 2018 and promised I’d share my favorites from 2018 as well. Sharing the stuff I don’t like is always easier than narrowing down the stuff I loved because my “loved it” list is always much, much longer. But, I do love to hate things, and I also love to love things just as passionately. Below are the books I’m raving about to anyone who will listen. PLEASE BE A LISTENER.

The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass

I discovered this book through a random tweet by another writer saying this book changed her entire perspective on character development. I was immediately intrigued. I was able to grab it on Hoopla and I’ve been madly taking notes ever since. If you’re a writer, a friend of a writer, a coach to writers, or in any way connected to the craft of writing, read this book yesterday. Full of logical approaches to fostering empathy and deepening character development, it also includes exercises to further ensnare your readers in an emotional journey they can’t put down. This is one of the most helpful writing craft books I’ve read, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Three Dark Crowns Series by Kendare Blake

I read the first three books in this series last month and I’m eagerly awaiting the fourth. After giving up on Shatter Me, I asked my reading friends for a YA rec with substance. This series was recommended to me because I love:

1. Dark, messed up stories

2. Strong female characters

3. Dark, effed-up stories.

The intertwining stories of the Triplet Queens had me riveted, and I was beyond thrilled that the love stories take a back seat to the main conflicts. The three queens are unique from one another, strong-willed, and chase their goals with relentless focus. This series is complicated, has excellent world building, and a vast list of characters. It hits all my marks. I can’t wait to read more of Kendare Blake’s work.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

You guys, I finally found a comp for my novel and I can’t tell you how excited I am. It had been years since I read a middle grade book, probably not since I was middle grade myself. Honestly I didn’t realize it was middle grade until I was about a quarter of the way in and realized there was no love story/love interest. I cared not. I wasn’t missing anything and was captivated by Schwab’s storytelling. This was the first book of hers I read and I found her style to be inventive, concise , and heartfelt. The story premise is fresh, and though not particularly diverse in terms of characterization, it is different from other paranormal books full of vamps, wolves, elementals, zombies, and so many other tropes. I can’t wait to read more of the Cassidy Blake series.

Raising Her Voice: An Anthology of Women Writers by The Same

While I was absolutely ecstatic to have a short story published in this wonderful anthology this year, I was even more blown away by the other talented women with whom I shared page space. This anthology is packed with evocative essays, poems, and short fiction by women writers, some emerging (like me), some seasoned and well published. I was so impressed with the caliber of work in this volume that I almost didn’t feel worthy to be among them.

Warrior Goddess Training: Become the Woman You Are Meant to Be by HeatherAsh Amara

If you read my Books I Hated 2018 post, you know Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Wash Your Face made my dislike list. After I stoped reading Girl, I was looking for something in a similar vein but more empowering and with less generic cheerleading. While Warrior Goddess Training has more of an eastern philosophy flare some might consider to woo-woo, I found *most* of it to be more insightful than Hollis’ book. This book actually gives you strategies to use in moments of challenge when others threaten to take away your power. It offers a perspective shift as HeatherAsh guides you away from self destructive behaviors and shows you alternative ways to handle stress and difficult situations. Personally, this book had more practical advice and relatable content than Girl, Wash Your Face. It does have a Buddhist, new-age flavor so be aware if that isn’t your jam.

I hope you check these books out and that you enjoy them as much as I did!