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December 31, 2018
We look back at the very best books from the past 12 months.

Of the many BookLife titles reviewed by Publishers Weekly this year, these books—all of which received starred reviews—were the best of the best.

When They Were Young: A Sam Dawson Mystery by Steven W. Horn
"A well-crafted plot and flesh-and-blood characters lift Horn’s superior third Sam Dawson mystery"

Haunted by History: Separating the Facts and Legends of Eight Historic Hotels and Inns in Southern California by Craig Owens.
"Lavishly illustrated and handsomely produced, the book’s entertaining and informative narrative dwells on the documented facts while dispelling most of the colorful myths."

The Demon Duke by Margaret Locke
"Locke has outdone herself with this sensitive, splendid Regency and her portrayal of its disabled hero."

In Wolves’ Clothing by Greg Levin
"This author deserves a wide audience."

Track 9 by Sue Rovens
"Rovens gradually fills in the backstories of her leads, building up to a grimly satisfying climax."

Cancer Looks Good on You by Jill Johnson and Barclay Fryery
"his book is an uplifting celebration of life and gratitude."

Successful College Teaching Begins with Throwing Away Your Lecture Notes by Calvin Luther Martin
"Most professors are experts in their field, but woefully inept at the most essential part of their job—teaching—argues Martin, a retired history professor at Rutgers University, in this astute and idiosyncratic guide to college teaching.

Gone Viral by J.A. Knight
"Fans of intelligent thrillers about potential technological threats will relish Knight’s promising debut."

Shy Grove: A Ghost Story by Scott A. Johnson
"This is an impressive new take on classic horror themes."

Infinite Us by Eden Butler
"This splendid story is destined for many a keeper shelf."

Shadowed by Death: An Oliver Wright WW2 Mystery by Mary Adler
"Fans of Sheldon Russell’s Hook Runyon series will find this a more than acceptable substitute."

The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder
" Fantasy and steampunk fans will be amazed by this magical tale of mystery, illusion, and friendship."

The Wolf of Oren-yaro by K.S. Villoso
"The pace is breakneck but never exhausting. This excellent work will appeal to all readers of epic fantasy."

Stones of Dracontias by N.D. Jones
"This is a fascinating, enticing beginning to a very promising series."

Viral by Piers Platt
"This is a must-read for fans of video game streamers and futuristic SF."

Stolen: A Kieran Yeats Mystery by Linda J. Wright
"Wright, who has been involved in animal advocacy for 30 years, combines her passionate commitment to animal rights with a riveting whodunit that’s not dependent on murder to sustain interest."

The Cost of Hope by G.S. Carr
" This well-told historical romance is intense and powerful."

A Queen from the North by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese
"McRae and Maltese have created a perfect cocktail of political intrigue and slow-burn romance."

On the Edge of Daylight: A Novel of the Titanic by Giselle Beaumont
"This expertly characterized and tautly plotted story is an extremely impressive debut."

Hero Forged: Ethereal Earth, Book 1 by Josh Erikson
"Fans of Jim Butcher and Craig Schaefer will gobble up this trilogy launch and eagerly await more."

Halfway to Halfway and Back: More River Stories edited by Dick Linford and Bob Volpert
"Every story in the book is well worth one—or two—thoughtful reads."

The Storm over Paris by William Ian Grubman
" Grubman is adept at crafting nail-biting scenes of suspense, building up to a tantalizingly inconclusive ending. Readers will eagerly await the sequel."

Arcadia by Alexander Plansky
"Plansky delivers on the promise of his first novel, Safari, in this imaginative, pulse-pounding techno-thriller."

A Printer’s Choice by W.L. Patenaude
"This work is a must-read for those who enjoy thought-provoking, challenging speculative fiction."