Best Books of 2018

Hello fellow readers and book enthusiasts. I can’t believe it’s the end of 2018 already. This year has both seemed to drag on and flown by way too quickly all at once. This year I really focused most of my energy on not only my day job, but on building this blog into the best possible writing and book related author website possible. I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with some truly amazing authors and publishing companies this year, and as a result I have been lucky enough to review over a hundred novels in total in 2018. 

With so many amazing books under my belt in 2018, I thought it might be fun to take a look back at the year and see which books shone the brightest. So here are my picks for the Best Books of 2018!

Zenith: The Androma Saga by Lindsay Cummings & Sasha Alsberg

As a longtime fan of both Lindsay Cummings and Sasha Alsberg on YouTube, I knew I wanted to pick up a copy of Zenith and give it a read, and boy was I not disappointed. As a fan of sci-fi the concept already drew me in, but the way the story was written allowed for some amazing character development. It felt like a modern day, YA version of Joss Whedon’s Firefly with a mostly female All-Star cast of characters. With shocking twists and turns and a good blend of YA character development and mature storylines, this novel perfectly set up the eager anticipation for a sequel, (which I cannot wait for Nexus, the second book in the series, to drop this year). 

Keeper by Kim Chance

Another amazing read for a YouTuber/AuthorTuber that I greatly admire, author Kim Chance’s debut novel Keeper was a fantastic read. I’m a sucker for anything involving the supernatural and fantasy in a modern setting, so this story of a young girl who can see a chilling sight of a ghost and learns she is part of something far greater and deadlier than she ever knew really stood out to me. The story felt raw, emotional and powerful in a very real sense, and as a result I am sitting on the edge of my seat for the next book in the series “Seeker”. 

The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker

One of my all time favorite reads of the year, author J.D. Barker is quickly proving to be one of the next powerhouse horror authors in the industry. The Fifth To Die is the highly anticipated sequel to the thrilling horror read The Fourth Monkey, and the growing mythology of the 4MK killer and the detective obsessed with bringing him to justice takes so many twists and turns that you will be left breathless by the book’s final pages. Ending on a cliffhanger, I am as obsessed as the story’s detective to see how the third book turns out. 

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

One of the more surprising hits of 2018 has to be The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. This year’s chart climbing hit thriller focuses on a woman who develops a fear of leaving her home, only to witness horrible crimes at her neighbors home. Battling a police department who fears her phobia of leaving the home is causing her to hallucinate strange events and a shocking mystery involving her seemingly perfect neighbors makes this the year’s “Gone Girl” type of story, and creates a narrative like no other that makes me feel as if author A.J. Finn has a long career in the genre. 

It Came From The Basement by M.R. Kessell

A mature illustrated book that screams of childhood memories, this novel showcases horror filled monster tales offering various horrific situations involving scary beats who emerge from the basement of this home. The illustrations and attention to detail in creating this adult themed illustrated novel make this one of the more unique reads I had this year. 

Superhero Ethics by Travis Smith

This unique read really stuck out to me, as it was unlike any other superhero book I’d read before. A non-fiction book that analyzes various superheroes in popular culture and reflects on who best represents what our world needs from an ethical standpoint, the author pairs various heroes against one another in various categories, from intelligence and brawn to animalistic natures and god-like power. It’s a profound read that will give superhero fans a new appreciation for the genre, while giving us a new perspective on the heroes we thought we knew. 

Boylord: Genesis by Nathan Peabody

One of the most unique graphic novels I had the pleasure of reviewing this year was Boylord: Genesis by Nathan Peabody. I had the honor of meeting Nathan years ago at San Francisco Comic Con when work on this story first began, and I was sent a full hardback copy of the full story this year. The illustrations and artwork were breathtaking, and the blend of sci-fi, fantasy and horror felt less like a mashup and more of a natural progression of the genres. I highly recommend you grabbing a copy of this book. 

Scarlet Reign: Malice of the Dark Witch by R.D. Crist

A newcomer to the YA scene, this dark tale of witchcraft and a young woman who must grieve her mother’s untimely passing while trying to survive in this deadly new world really stuck out to me. The author had a rich command over the genre as we explored this young woman’s journey to discover who she really was, who her mother was and what dangers she was being hid from while grieving really made this a unique read. 

Dracul by J.D. Barker and Dacre Stoker

One of the highlights of the year had to be the highly anticipated prequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, titled Dracul. Written by my favorite emerging horror author J.D. Barker alongside Bram Stoker descendant Dacre Stoker, the story put Bram himself in the seat of being the protagonist, exploring a “true” history of how this classic novel came to life. Discovering that the author had the first 100 pages cut from his manuscript and that he originally presented it as a true story to the publishers made this read all the more fascinating, and I highly recommend any fans of the Dracula lore to pick up this fantastic novel. 

Mermaids Are Real: The Mystiq Prong by Bo Wu

One sub-genre of the YA genre that I’ve always been fascinated by but have yet to tackle was the Mermaid mythology. While films like The Little Mermaid by Disney have showcased some aspects of mermaid lore, author Bo Wu created a whole new twist on the genre, creating a whole world under the ocean. The character development and coming of age element of the story was brilliant, and fans of the recently released Aquaman might be interested in this underwater adventure as well. 

We Are The Underground by Israfel Savid 

If I were to pick one book of poetry that I loved the most this year, it would be Israfel Savid’s We Are The Underground. Blending beautiful poetic imagery with themes from the astrological mythology, the author created a running narrative that people of all backgrounds could find themselves in.

One Night’s Stay by C.B. Collins

The final novel I’ll recommend is the shocking and captivating horror novel One Night’s Stay by C.B. Collins. A blend of Salem’s Lot, Psycho and survival horror novels, the story finds several individuals drawn to this local motel outside of a mysterious town, only to be attacked by some unseen and monstrous force that will force them to fight for survival. It’s a wonderful twist on the supernatural horror genre that I highly recommend.

What do you guys think? Which of these books have you read in 2018? What was your favorite read of 2018? Let me know in the comments below, and check out all of my reviews of these novels by clicking on the buttons above! Have a wonderful New Year’s Everyone. I’ll see you in 2019!

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It Came From The Basement By M.R. Kessell REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In one of the most original, one of a kind twists this year, I received a truly remarkable children’s book with a horror twist. It’s called It Cam From The Basement from author M.R. Kessell, and it is a fantastic read that I just had to share with you all. Here’s the synopsis:

“It Came from the Basement” is an illustrated, inky homage to monsters and monster movies accompanied by a collection of thirty-one ridiculous rhymes to make you laugh uncomfortably in the night.

Darkly humorous, M. R. Kessell’s “It Came from the Basement” lies somewhere between Edward Gorey’s “The Gashleycrumb Tinies” and Tim Burton’s “The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy.”

Intended for the monster kid in all of us.

I have been a fan of horror most of my life, as well as books. My love for horror came from my mother and her father before her. I still remember the day I first saw the original Trilogy of Terror film as a kid, and despite the ensuing nightmares it brought, my fascination with the storytelling capabilities of the horror genre never dissipated. With author M.R. Kessell’s book, the wonder and dark humor of the genre has finally found a home amongst younger generations.

While it may be a shock to some to have a children’s book within this genre, the truth is horror has always been integrated to a degree within our childhood. Lest we forget shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark or Goosebumps, or perhaps even the chilling moments from classic films, such as the monstrous Rattigan from The Great Mouse Detective or classics like Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, let’s not right off the horror genre for children’s books quite yet.

This book is filled with some of the most gruesome yet hilariously dark rhymes and illustrations I’ve ever seen. From monsters and killers to zombies and other devilish fiends, this book imagines the nightmare ever child has of ghouls traveling from the dark basements of their homes becoming a reality, and the hilarious reactions of the people in the home to these monstrosities will have parents and children alike fascinated, horrified yet strangely entertained all at once.

Overall I loved this book. I can honestly say there is nothing else like it on the market right now. The illustration greatly reminds me of Shel Silverstein, and the writing captures the essence of a good Tim Burton story while the overall book remains truly unique and one of a kind. Author M.R. Kessell has written a truly amazing book that is sure to be a hit, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of It Came From The Basement today!

Rating: 10/10

ABOUT

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M. R. Kessell is a writer, illustrator, and a musician with a penchant for the weird and macabre.

And smoothies.

Born and raised in New Jersey, he recently made the huge cross-country move to Brooklyn, NY, where he resides with his lovely wife and their fat cat.

By day, he works as a project engineer in New York City’s architectural metals industry. You may have seen some of his work.

https://mrkessell.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Came-Basement-M-R-Kessell/dp/0692110135