I discovered a ton of new favorite authors this year!

Those who know me know that I enjoy a wide range of genres. I’m intrigued by writing that’s unique: new concepts, subversions of expectations, genre blending. Interestingly enough, most of the books that fit my preferences this year came from independent authors.

This list covers a range of genres. Comparing most of these books to each other would be impossible, so they’re organized alphabetically by title instead of numerically. If you’d like to read more, each heading links to my review of that book.

Without further ado, here are my favorite reads of 2018.

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Cover of Curses of Scale by S.D. Reeves

Today on the author blog, Leland Lydecker reviews the first novel by author S.D. Reeves.

Curses of Scale is an unusually somber tale of love, fey magic, and cursed dragons. It follows Calem, a druid who made a bargain with the fey Oberon in an attempt to break the curse on his wife; Niena, an aspiring bard with a head full of dreams; and Marny, an old soldier and grandfather to Niena.

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In which I discuss a book I really wish I hadn’t read.

Content Warning: this post contains references to psychological trauma, gaslighting, physical abuse, and sexual assault.

"Kill it with fire!" The best way to unwant something.

I’ve never especially hated vampires. During the late 90s they became the new flavor of the month and lost any remaining potential shock value as villains or romantic interests. Although they’re overused and often annoying, I’ve never felt that the “kill it with fire” reaction was particularly justified– until now.

A book I just read has change my outlook, at least in regards to its specific fantasy world, and not for the reasons you might imagine. As far as appearance, they were your run-of-the-mill monsters.

But by the fifty percent mark, I wanted to drop napalm on the author’s entire fictional world. I wanted to nuke it from orbit. I wanted to watch every single one of these miserable creatures burn.

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Today on the author blog Leland Lydecker reviews The Mask of Tamrel, the first book in Scott J Couturier’s Magistricide series.

It’s not often that I come across a book I unequivocally like, so keep in mind that this a rare statement when I say that The Mask of Tamrel is the best work of fantasy I’ve read in a long time. Couturier’s elegant and vividly descriptive writing pulled me in, and I quickly found myself hooked on the exquisitely crafted world of Thevin. 

Each scene is so richly detailed that you can almost see the colors, smell the scents and taste the food, yet the pace at which the story unfolds is anything but slow. Like a whiff of exotic scents, this tale wraps itself around the reader in a thoroughly pleasant way before digging its hooks into the psyche and revealing itself to be a cleverly disguised addictive substance that keeps the reader turning pages to find out what happens next.

“This is really good!” I found myself thinking. “This is unbelievably good!” I had to stop and check if The Mask of Tamrel wasn’t actually from one of the big publishing houses. I read the first half of the book in one night because I couldn’t put it down.