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2022 Wrap-Up

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.

Favorite Romance

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.

Favorite Fantasy

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.

Honorable Mentions

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*

Expected More

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.

Utter Flops
*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:

  1. Finding Home - Emilia Finn **

  2. The Charm Offensive - Allison Cochrun

  3. The Maddest Obsession - Danielle Lori

  4. An Ember in the Ashes - Sabaa Tahir **

  5. Heartstopper vol. 4 - Alice Oseman

  6. A Torch Against the Night - Sabaa Tahir **

  7. Dark Lover - JR Ward

  8. Eternal Lover

  9. Lover Awakened

  10. Fight Dirty - Eva Ashwood

  11. Wreak Havoc

  12. Play Rough

  13. The Unseelie Prince - Kathryn Kingsley

  14. Winter's Orbit - Everina Maxwell

  15. Iron Widow - Xiran Jay Zhao

  16. A Winter's Promise - Christelle Dubos

  17. The Missing of Clairedelune

  18. The Memory of Babel

  19. The Storm of Echoes

  20. House of Earth and Blood - Sarah J. Maas **

  21. House of Sky and Breath

  22. Black Sunshine - Karina Hale .5

  23. The Hating Game - Sally Thorne

  24. The Soulmate Equation - Christina Lauren

  25. Beach Read - Emily Henry

  26. The Never King - Nikki St. Crowe

  27. Get a Life, Chloe Brown - Talia Hibbert

  28. Take a Hint, Dani Brown

  29. Act Your Age, Eve Brown

  30. Legendborn - Tracy Deonn

  31. All of Us Villains - Amanda Foody &

  32. Lover Unbound - JR Ward

  33. Lover Enshrined

  34. Father Mine

  35. Lover Avenged

  36. Lover Mine

  37. Forbidden - Karla Sorenson

  38. Lover Unleashed - JR Ward

  39. Wreck & Ruin - Emma Slate

  40. Lick - Kylie Scott

  41. One Dance with a Duke - Tess Dare

  42. Book Lovers - Emily Henry

  43. Through my Window - Ariana Godoy

  44. Meet Me Halfway - Lilian James

  45. Owned by a Sinner - Michelle Heard

  46. Confidence of Wildflowers - Micaela Smeltzer

  47. Consider Me - Becka Mack

  48. The Merciful Crow - Margaret Owen

  49. The Faithless Hawk

  50. In Deeper Waters - FT Lukens

  51. The Princess Trap - Talia Hibbert

  52. The Iron King - Julie Kagawa

  53. Prince of the Sorrow - Kellen Graves .5

  54. Fangirl the Manga vol. 2 - Rowell & Maggs

  55. Fangirl (the book) - Rainbow Rowell **

  56. Kulti - Mariana Zapata **

  57. From Lukov with Love **

  58. Lover Reborn - JR Ward

  59. Lover at Last

  60. The King

  61. The Shadows

  62. Blood Kiss

  63. The Beast

  64. Café con Leche - Emily Lee

  65. A Little Bit Country - Brian Kennedy

  66. Hunt the Stars - Jesse Mihalik

  67. The Red Palace - June Hur .5

  68. Dark Planet Warriors - Anna Carven **

  69. Dark Planet Falling **

  70. Into the Light **

  71. Sinful Justice - Emilia Finn

  72. My Hero Academia vol. 1 - Kohei Horikoshi

  73. My Hero Academia vol. 2

  74. My Hero Academia vol. 3

  75. My Hero Academia vol. 4

  76. My Hero Academia vol. 4

  77. The Chosen - JR Ward

  78. The Thief

  79. From Blood and Ash - Jennifer Armentrout **

  80. A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire **

  81. Twilight - Stephanie Meyer **

  82. New Moon **

  83. Eclipse (DNF Breaking Dawn)**

  84. Sky in the Deep - Adrienne Young

  85. The Things We Never Got Over - Lucy Score

  86. Love on the Brain - Ali Hazelwood

  87. A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime - Monica Murphy

  88. The Dead Romantics - Ashley Poston

  89. Maggie Moves On - Lucy Score

  90. Savage Lover - Sophie Lark

  91. Yakuza Lover vol 1. - Nozomi Mino

  92. Yakuza Lover vol 2

  93. Yakuza Lover vol 3

  94. Yakuza Lover vol 4

  95. Yakuza Lover vol 5

  96. Faked - Karla Sorenson

  97. When Life Gives You Vampires - Gloria Duke

  98. Brutal Prince - Sophie Lark

  99. The Rain King - Selena

  100. Beautiful Graves - LJ Shen

  101. Midnight Blue

  102. Ocean's Echo - Everina Maxwell

  103. Lord of Silver Ashes - Kellen Graves

  104. Born, Madly - Trisha Wolff

  105. Born, Darkly

  106. Shipwrecked - Olivia Dad .5

  107. Dark King - Gina Maxwell

  108. Foundryside - Robert Jackson Bennett

  109. Demon in the Wood - Leigh Bardugo

  110. That's Mental - Amanda Rosenburg

  111. Warcross - Marie Lu **

  112. A Lesson in Thorns - Sierra Simone

  113. Real - Katy Evans

  114. Mine

  115. City of Bones - Cassandra Clare **

  116. City of Ashes **

  117. City of Glass **

  118. City of Fallen Angels **

  119. City of Lost Souls **

  120. City of Heavenly Fire **

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