It's that time of yeaaaaaar. Alas, I have fallen short of my reading goal, but like always, I blame my life for getting in the way of my hobbies. (Boo). Of what I did manage to read, it was definitely a mixed year.
The first half of the year seems miles away, and many of the "ehh" books have faded for me. When I think about it, it doesn't feel like I've really read that much. Between the "just okay" books and the re-reads, it doesn't feel like I really cemented too many new books onto my favorites list.
2022 became the year of romance and rereads. I think I gravitated toward romance because it was something I could read quickly and typically knew I would enjoy (or not expect too much). With rereads, I always go back to books I love when I'm dealing with a lot. It's comforting to be able to distract myself with stories and characters I know I'll enjoy.
(Although there were some rereads I liked less the second time around **cough* From Blood and Ash *cough cough**)
Here's my 2022 breakdown! Links are to reviews or articles about the books. In the list at the end, the asterisks are denoting my rereads.
Lucy Score books are either just okay or really great to me. The ones she's been writing more recently have really hit for me. Still, I was surprised by how much I really loved Things We Never Got Over. Score is one of my favorite funny writers. Her Riley Thorn series was the first I really laughed through. TWNGO is the same. She takes quirky plots and balances the bonkers aspects with depth and humor.
Then of course, Emily Henry. Book Lovers was my favorite so far. Just so so good. My favorite kind of romances are the ones that balance humor, plot, and emotion. There's so much heart in this story. I really think I'm due for a reread. Maybe that'll be the start to my 2023.
Kulti and Finding Home are rereads so it feels a bit like cheating to put them on this list. I love them every time I read them though, so I can't help it. With Kulti, I recommend it every time I get the chance when I work at the bookstore. Sal and Reiner come across so human. Their relationship builds incrementally, and when it finally comes to a head, it's such a great moment.
Finding Home is an independent pub that hasn't broken through to regular prints, but I'd kill to have it in the store so I could get it in people's hands. I've written about it half a dozen times on here simply because people don't know about it. Bobby is the main character in this series. He's one of my all-time favorites and the best "golden-retriever" energy character out there. He's just so earnest and funny, which is so different from the way top male athletes are typically portrayed in books (he's an MMA fighter).
I'm surprised there aren't more books (that aren't rereads) on this list, to be honest.
Yeahhhhhh, so I've written about three of these already, because my favorite reads happened so early in the year. I have individual reviews for Black Dagger Brotherhood and Prince of the Sorrows, and I talked about All of Us Villains in my "favorite reads so far" blog (I also include The Red Palace, which is another favorite of mine this year! I was going to put it in a "misc." category, but just click the link^^).
The only one I haven't talk about is Legendborn. That's because it was a big surprise to me. I'd seen and heard so much about the book, but never picked it up. I don't know why I didn't jump on it sooner, because I love dark academia, secret societies, and magic. This was a really good take on that, made better by a Black main character whose background and culture improved a typically white-washed genre.
Maggie Moves On really is one of my faves this year. I just barely missed the mark of being on the list above (also it would've been two Lucy Score, two Emily Henry lol maybe that's why it feels like I didn't read much aka branch out more).It was really cute and creative. I flew through it. But it just missed that little extra sparkle of the others. It focuses on a DIY home-overhauler who makes a living through her YouTube channel. She travels, fixing up houses and taping the whole thing. When she meets a landscaper who's all charm and hard-work (and a cute dog), it could change things.
The Fangirl graphic novels were nostalgia overload. I read the actual novel when I was eighteen, in my first year in college. It's about a girl who grew up writing fanfiction and struggled to branch out and find her place when she moved to college.
Having been in that same situation myself, I immediately clicked with Cath. The graphic novels make this list because they're amazing translations of the book. You get the whole story, even with such a dramatic format change. I was thrilled seeing Eli perfectly represented.
OKAY SO A Winter's Promise makes me SO MAD, because is one of my favorite books this year. Waaay up there. Should 100% be on the faves list.
It's a bonkers steampunk fantasy that I love, loved. But then. Book two, three, and four happened. From book one to two, it was a drastic shift. The writing was the same, but the concept just... didn't match up with the first book. All the things I was waiting for... all the foreshadowing just didn't turn out. I was really upset. I kept pushing through it, hanging on to all the amazing world-building, but the plot went off the rails and never found its way back. Read the first book though. It was great. *cries*
I waited for Shipwrecked ALL YEAR. It's the third book in Olivia Dade's Gods of the Gates series, which focuses on fat, intelligent, funny main characters. 'Gods of the Gates' is a huge TV series that runs throughout the series. The actors are characters on show. The first two focus on two women who meet actors, and the third - Shipwrecked - focuses on two actors.
Dade is really good at creating emotional characters who grow, change, and come together. She plays with stereotypes, giving each character a fresh personality. That's true for this one as well, but I think the author really wanted to hone in on the 'Gods of the Gates' aspect too much. There just wasn't enough movement, and that was "fixed" by playing with the timeline. We jump six years ahead just to keep the story moving, and the book lost a lot.
MMMKAY so I found Through My Window simply because I'm completely obsessed with the Spanish Netflix adaptation. OBSESSED. The book is about a girl named Raquel who is similarly obsessed with Ares Hidalgo. He's part of one of the riches families in the city. He's cocky, he's smart, he's gorgeous. Raquel soon finds out that Ares hacked her computer to get her wifi (they're neighbors - she lives in a small house on the edge of Hidalgo property)... and he's found all the evidence of her obsession.
The movie has this dark romantic vibe. It has this edge-of-toxic feel, where Raquel and Ares are push and pull, brought back together despite his family and their differences. But what I really liked is that it's a classic toxic(ish) relationship where she keeps taking him back, but there's something about Raquel that holds him accountable. But... with the book... it didn't have that same dark romantic "toxic" (that's not the right word) feel. It became popular on Wattpad and nobody thought to edit it for plot. The movie showed how much potential and foundation this had... but it wasn't as good. Normally I'm saying that about the movie.
*just screams* SCREAMS!
The only thing I'm going to say about The Dead Romantics is that I ACTIVELY tell people not to buy it when I'm working at the bookstore. If that's not enough for you, click on the link and read the review. (Spoiler alert: I waited all year for it and it was the worst).
I had high hopes for this; the plot sounded awesome and I liked her Heart of Iron series. Worst thing I read all year. Points for potential though.
When Life Gives You Vampires.... straight-up just sucks. It was the fatphobia for me. It was the love interest saying "your mom loves you in her own way" after the mom fat-shamed the OFC in front of him. *gags* I'd rather die. We tied up that toxic parental relationship with an ugly fat-phobic bow.
It was disappointing because some moments/thoughts that the fat main character had, I thought were really relatable... but those were just specks. Everything else sucks. Hardcore. It's another one I actively encourage people not to buy.
*** marked in the list below
Reading goals for 2023
Keep notes about what I thought of each book (using my BookBuddy app or GoodReads for ebooks). I want to put quick little blurbs about each one, so I can look back and remind myself what I thought right when I finished.
Actually read books that people recommend to me. For example, my brother bought me his favorite book two christmases ago... and I still haven't read it. He also just gave me the entire Wheel of Time series... so I'mma need to get on that ASAP.
Read more historical like The Red Palace!
Branch out in what I read. Be more adventurous. It's been a hard year, so I've been reverting back to comfort reads and genres... but I want more. This year was so homogenous.
Reading list for 2022:
Finding Home - Emilia Finn ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐**
The Charm Offensive - Allison Cochrun ⭐⭐⭐
The Maddest Obsession - Danielle Lori ⭐⭐⭐
An Ember in the Ashes - Sabaa Tahir ⭐⭐⭐⭐**
Heartstopper vol. 4 - Alice Oseman ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Torch Against the Night - Sabaa Tahir ⭐⭐⭐⭐**
Dark Lover - JR Ward ⭐⭐⭐
Eternal Lover ⭐⭐
Lover Awakened ⭐⭐⭐
Fight Dirty - Eva Ashwood ⭐⭐
Wreak Havoc ⭐⭐
Play Rough ⭐
The Unseelie Prince - Kathryn Kingsley ⭐
Winter's Orbit - Everina Maxwell ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Iron Widow - Xiran Jay Zhao ⭐⭐⭐
A Winter's Promise - Christelle Dubos ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Missing of Clairedelune ⭐⭐⭐
The Memory of Babel ⭐⭐⭐
The Storm of Echoes ⭐⭐
House of Earth and Blood - Sarah J. Maas ⭐⭐⭐⭐**
House of Sky and Breath ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Black Sunshine - Karina Hale .5⭐
The Hating Game - Sally Thorne ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Soulmate Equation - Christina Lauren ⭐⭐
Beach Read - Emily Henry ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Never King - Nikki St. Crowe ⭐
Get a Life, Chloe Brown - Talia Hibbert ⭐⭐⭐
Take a Hint, Dani Brown ⭐⭐⭐
Act Your Age, Eve Brown ⭐⭐⭐
Legendborn - Tracy Deonn ⭐⭐⭐⭐
All of Us Villains - Amanda Foody & ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Lover Unbound - JR Ward ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Lover Enshrined ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Father Mine ⭐⭐⭐
Lover Avenged ⭐⭐⭐
Lover Mine ⭐⭐⭐
Forbidden - Karla Sorenson ⭐
Lover Unleashed - JR Ward ⭐⭐
Wreck & Ruin - Emma Slate ⭐
Lick - Kylie Scott ⭐⭐
One Dance with a Duke - Tess Dare ⭐⭐⭐
Book Lovers - Emily Henry ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Through my Window - Ariana Godoy ⭐⭐⭐
Meet Me Halfway - Lilian James ⭐⭐⭐
Owned by a Sinner - Michelle Heard ⭐
Confidence of Wildflowers - Micaela Smeltzer ⭐
Consider Me - Becka Mack ⭐⭐
The Merciful Crow - Margaret Owen ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Faithless Hawk ⭐⭐⭐⭐
In Deeper Waters - FT Lukens ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Princess Trap - Talia Hibbert ⭐⭐
The Iron King - Julie Kagawa ⭐⭐
Prince of the Sorrow - Kellen Graves ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
Fangirl the Manga vol. 2 - Rowell & Maggs ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Fangirl (the book) - Rainbow Rowell ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐**
Kulti - Mariana Zapata ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐**
From Lukov with Love ⭐⭐⭐⭐**
Lover Reborn - JR Ward ⭐⭐⭐
Lover at Last ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The King ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Shadows ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Blood Kiss ⭐⭐⭐
The Beast ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Café con Leche - Emily Lee ⭐⭐⭐
A Little Bit Country - Brian Kennedy ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Hunt the Stars - Jesse Mihalik ⭐⭐
The Red Palace - June Hur ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
Dark Planet Warriors - Anna Carven ⭐⭐⭐**
Dark Planet Falling ⭐⭐⭐**
Into the Light ⭐⭐⭐**
Sinful Justice - Emilia Finn ⭐⭐⭐
My Hero Academia vol. 1 - Kohei Horikoshi ⭐⭐⭐⭐
My Hero Academia vol. 2 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
My Hero Academia vol. 3 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
My Hero Academia vol. 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
My Hero Academia vol. 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Chosen - JR Ward ⭐⭐⭐
The Thief ⭐⭐⭐⭐
From Blood and Ash - Jennifer Armentrout ⭐⭐⭐**
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire ⭐⭐⭐**
Twilight - Stephanie Meyer ⭐⭐⭐**
New Moon ⭐⭐⭐⭐**
Eclipse ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (DNF Breaking Dawn)**
Sky in the Deep - Adrienne Young ⭐⭐
The Things We Never Got Over - Lucy Score ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Love on the Brain - Ali Hazelwood ⭐⭐⭐
A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime - Monica Murphy ⭐
The Dead Romantics - Ashley Poston ⭐
Maggie Moves On - Lucy Score ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Savage Lover - Sophie Lark ⭐⭐⭐
Yakuza Lover vol 1. - Nozomi Mino ⭐⭐⭐
Yakuza Lover vol 2 ⭐⭐
Yakuza Lover vol 3 ⭐⭐⭐
Yakuza Lover vol 4 ⭐⭐⭐
Yakuza Lover vol 5 ⭐⭐
Faked - Karla Sorenson ⭐
When Life Gives You Vampires - Gloria Duke ⭐
Brutal Prince - Sophie Lark ⭐⭐
The Rain King - Selena ⭐
Beautiful Graves - LJ Shen ⭐⭐⭐
Midnight Blue ⭐⭐⭐
Ocean's Echo - Everina Maxwell ⭐⭐⭐
Lord of Silver Ashes - Kellen Graves ⭐⭐⭐
Born, Madly - Trisha Wolff ⭐⭐⭐
Born, Darkly ⭐⭐⭐
Shipwrecked - Olivia Dad ⭐⭐⭐.5
Dark King - Gina Maxwell ⭐
Foundryside - Robert Jackson Bennett ⭐⭐
Demon in the Wood - Leigh Bardugo ⭐⭐⭐
That's Mental - Amanda Rosenburg ⭐⭐⭐
Warcross - Marie Lu ⭐⭐⭐**
A Lesson in Thorns - Sierra Simone ⭐⭐
Real - Katy Evans ⭐⭐⭐
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare ⭐⭐⭐⭐**
City of Ashes ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐**
City of Glass ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐**
City of Fallen Angels ⭐⭐⭐**
City of Lost Souls ⭐⭐⭐⭐**
City of Heavenly Fire ⭐⭐⭐⭐**