It’s that time of the year again. Where we all look back and reflect on the past year and everything we read and take stock in all the good books and stories. In 2022, I read 43 books. 8 books more than last year. So reading wise, I think this year was successful. Looking over my books from this year I would say there was a theme and it was fantasy novels lead by female characters. I really leaned into that this year. So without further ado, here are some of my favorite books that I read in 2022 in no particularly order. I’m going to do this list in the order of which I read them.
Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth – There are so many books that feature children or young adults who are charged with saving the world from Percy Jackson to Harry Potter but what happens when they succeed and grow up. Chosen Ones is just that. A group of 6 ones saved the world 10 years ago but the trauma of that time is still with them despite the fame that came with it. Tragedy strikes and they are all the evil they thought they rid themselves is back. It was just great. They all handled their shared experience and I think that’s important to explore because we all process trauma and grief differently and I don’t think we all appreciate that.
Sort of Super by Eric Gapstur – Yes, this was written by a friend but even if it wasn’t I would have loved it. It such a joyful story of a young boy and his sister learning about their new super powers. The artwork is so vibrant and colorful that really makes the story pop of the page. I can’t wait to read the next adventure.
A LIttle Too Familiar by Lish Mcbride – This was the perfect palette cleanser for whatever ails you. It was a sweet and wholesome romance novel between a witch who pairs people to their familiar animals and a werewolf. A little on the spicy side but just so amazing. If you haven’t read any of Lish Mcbride’s book this one is a good one to start with or her Necromancer series.
The Priory and the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – Everything you could ever want from a high fantasy novel. A quest, romance, magic and dragons. I will admit the sapphic love story in the center of the story could have a few more scenes but a minor complaint to an almost perfect story.
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman – I maybe a bit late to this one but I loved characters and stories. The little vignettes in between the major story arcs. I listened to the audio presentation, so the voice work of James McAvoy and Kat Dennings among others might have something to do with how much I loved it but it was so great. I haven’t finished the series yet but I can’t wait to listen to Act 3.
The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova – You can be forgiven if you read this and immediately thought of Encanto. They both use magical realism to tell the story of family trauma but this takes it so much farther than Encanto could. For one it’s not a Disney Movie. The Divina family are a magical family that is both blessed and cursed and Orquidea’s grandchildren must resolve the her past for them to move forward. So beautifully done.
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang – A mix of history and magic that explores the harsh realities of colonialism, race and war. There is no winners but only losers when it comes to all of these legacy and R.F. Kuang doesn’t let up in here commentary. It is not an easy read but so worth it.
Greywaren by Maggie Stiefvater – The Dreamers Trilogy and the Raven Cycle comes to an end with this satisfying final novel. The Lynch brothers learn to be brothers again and save the world. Hennessy found peace in herself and Jordan got to live her life. I am sad that the end to this series but characters like this will live forever.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn – I just finished this book but this was great. A new twist on the Arthurian legend. The Round table never disbanded but the ancestors of the legendary knights still fight demons from another realm. Bree has just lost her mother and to find answers she joins a new club to only be discover so much more. This book tackles more than just myths but racism and slavery and how as much as we think we are beyond it but how it still is very much apart of us. I have already started the next book in the series.
So that’s it Those are my favorite books I read this year. What were your favorite books? Leave them in the comments and maybe I’ll add them to my list for 2023.
This is was like the perfect hug. It was so warm and comforting. Lou (short for Louise) is an Animal Mage who is training for her dream job of pairing people with their familiar animals. Declan is a werewolf who just got out of a relationship and is trying to start over. Unfortunately, he has had some traumatic experiences with Animal Mages in the past so living with one is not ideal. Even if he is immediately attracted to her. I’m not sure what trope this is because it’s not really enemies to lovers since it’s not Lou who hurt him but it’s kind of the closest. Whatever it is I dig it. Declan has some things going on that prevent him from truly understanding his feelings and Lou just doesn’t understand why he has such a severe reaction to her but is willing to give him space. Which is a little hard when you’re roommates. Even more difficult is when Declan’s father and step mother escape from jail and come for him. That would put a temper on anything.
I loved everything about this book. Lou and Declan are the kind of couple you want to root for. Their roommates, Trick and Van perfectly compliment them as the quirky friends. Lou’s family are amazing and all bring color to the novel. What I like about it too is family and the found family dynamic. Lou has a big family filled with with her mom and her other family that she is not related to but helped raised her. It’s kind of complicated but it works. You then have her friends that are just as much apart of her family as the others. Those who was born into and those she chooses is very powerful. This is contrasted with Declan’s family, which was toxic to begin with. He was abused and dealt with so much trauma that left him scarred. When his parents were sent to jail, he and 1 sister were placed in one foster home while his other siblings another. This was for a reason but also meant that Declan lost what little family he had and made it hard him to trust others and let them in. It must be hard for a wolf without a pack. Meeting Lou is a blessing for Declan because not only does he find love but he also gains a family, a pack he has needed his whole life. Like I said, this book just so cozy and wonderful. Romance lovers and paranormal lovers who are looking for a fun and breezy book to read this summer. You can’t go wrong with this one.
Lish McBride is another author that I will buy whatever she writes. I’m so happy she’s trying her hand at romance because she wrote maybe my favorite book Boyfriend ever! Lock from her Firebug series is super dreamy. I can’t wait to read about Declan and Lou.
I adore LIsh McBride’s writing. Her books are full of fun, imaginative and funny characters that you can’t help but love. I mean, how can not love a book named Hold Me Closer, Necromancer? If that give you an idea of her sense of humor, I don’t know what will. Lish McBride is also a bookseller and as a former bookseller, who knows how rewarding and also thankless that job can be, it’s good to see one of us come good. I’m also a sucker for fairy tale retellings as you might have guessed from my past reviews. All of this is to say, I knew I would love this book before I started reading. Curses is new spin of Beauty and the Beast but this time the Beast is Merit, a Baroness and Beauty is Tevin, a con man with a heart of gold. Merit gets cursed by a Godling when she was 15 years old. She refuses to attend her own engagement party because she was in love someone else and the man her mother chose for her was 20 years older. The Godling was annoyed that she wasn’t came all this way for nothing cursed Merit to be a beast until she married for love or a man of her mother’s choosing. She has to do this before her 18th birthday or she becomes a beast permanently. Three years later and she is 6 weeks to her birthday when Tevin’s mom is caught trying to steal a precious flower from Merit’s home. Tevin is traded to take his mother’s place and help Merit break the curse. Tevin has a gift of charming anyone, which helps him in his own scams of making women like Merit fall in love with him so their parents pay him off to leave their daughters alone. Since he is qualified to help Merit find someone not like him that she could find love with, he’s perfect to help her find a husband but this Beauty and the Beast and they fall in love. The suitors are pretty fun. None of them are as bad or toxic as Gaston but it’s pretty clear who is her best match. The biggest rival to Tevin is Prince Eric Latimer from a neighboring kingdom. We learn early on that it was his mother that sent Tevin’s mother to get the flower. The flower, is the main ingredient in medicine to help the curse. You take it and for 4 hours, you are curse free. The Queen wants to grow her own so she doesn’t have to buy it and sell her own. The kingdom is broke and what better way to get the plant they need and expend their territory then marriage. So she sends her son to woo Merit and sabotage the other suitors. I do have to say that my favorite relationship is between Merit and her mom. Their relationship is so strain after years of arguments and hurt that they only know how to argue with each other. They blame each other for their current predicament, not acknowledging that they are both to blame. They are so alike though. Both very stubborn. Lady Zarla loves her daughter but like all mothers she also worries about her future so she tried to marry her off to not only keep on the family legacy but to keep her safe. Despite Merit being cursed, she continues to find her a daughter a match. Merit, just wants to live her life for herself and not having to deal with all the responsibility and she’s been hurt too. She fell in love with someone who ended up only wanting her money and has hard to time trusting anyone, including her mother. As the book goes on, we start to see the mother-daughter relationship grow as they start to listen to each other and realize they both want the same thing. For Merit to be happy. So yes, it was really touching at the end when they reconcile. So yes, I love this book. I’ll admit, it won’t go down as my favorite Lish McBride book but it’s still a wonderful book. I love it and I can’t wait to read whatever she writes next.
I have completed a book from my pop culture homework assignment! Firebug is the tale of Ava, a teenager who can start fires with her mind. She is the main assassin for the Coterie, which is like a mafia for magical people. This is not something she wants to do with her life. For one, the head of the Coterie, Venus, killed her mother. For another, she’s a member for life and can’t ever get out of her contract. It’s not awesome. She’s met some good people in her time in the Coterie, though. Ezra, a shape shifter who turns into a fox and Lock, whose mother is a dryad, so he is part dryad, are her team and help her when she goes out on assassin missions. They’re both amazing and I really enjoyed the dynamic between the three of them. The main thrust of the story is that Ava is asked to assassinate someone and she doesn’t want to. This kicks off all kinds of shenanigans. I was riveted. Couldn’t stop listening to this audio book.
This book was excellent. I devoured it. I can’t wait to dig into book two (after I finish my challenge, of course). Beth did a really great job picking this for me. I liked it so much.
Last year I assigned Kate a summer of horror. It was a last minute change. I originally planned on assigning her four first books in a series. It turns out that at least one of those titles, she read with her carpool partner (Mom), Red Queen by the Victoria Aveyard so I’m pretty sure she this is a challenge she will like. I do have a good taste in books if I do say so something. So here we go. Kate’s pop culture homework assignment.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer A new twist on the classic fairy tale Cinderella. This time Cinderella is a cyborg living in New Beijing and there’s a threat of Luna. A kingdom on the moon. Strong female character that looks at Cinderella in a different way and did I mention Moon people. I think you’ll like it. The first book in a four book series.
Firebug by Lish McbrideThis was one of my favorite books I’ve read in a long time. It is beyond hysterical and full of life and magic. Ava is a firebug. She can light things on fire and unfortunately, her special powers has got her caught up with the Coterie, a magical mafia organization. She has to go on the run when she refuses a job. I can’t wait to hear what you think. First book in a duology.
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow. This is a definitely different from the others. It was truly gripping. The world has fallen apart and is now ruled by an AI named Talos. To keep the world from going to war, they have taken an Medieval approach and demanding that every country give a hostage. If they decide to go to war, the hostage is killed. Morality tale and coming of age story. It’s a little trippy. First book in a duology.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. This one you are going to have to read because an audio book is not going to fully illustrate Juliette’s mental state. When we meet Juliette, she is imprisoned for being a danger to herself and others. A little dystopian story mixed in with supernatural powers. First book in a series of six.
According to GoodReads.com I read 20,948 pages from 57 books. So you can imagine how hard it was to narrow down to only 10 for the best books I’ve read this year. There were so many good ones! I think I ultimately went with these 10 was because while I may have liked some of the other books more or given other’s better reviews or more stars, these 10 books stuck with me longer after finishing reading them. I would like to think that our Diverse Lives, Diverse Stacks: Diverse Narrators reading challenge is working for me because half of the books were written by Women of Color and they contain protagonists from very diverse backgrounds. That’s exciting to me but enough of this, let’s get on to the list.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas– This book was as heartbreaking as it was realistic. Starr is caught between two worlds but doesn’t really how different they are or how truly different she acts to accommodate both parts of her life until her friend is killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop and she is the only witness. This really should be a must read in all schools for generations to come and I’m excited that it will also be a movie coming out next year.
Pyromantic by Lish McBride– It’s funny, it’s sarcastic, it’s action packed but mostly it is just plain fun. I really hope that Lish returns to these characters because there is just so much weirdness she can do with them.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor-This is such a lush story with great imagery and original concept. There really isn’t another novel out there right now. The ending was such a surprise that I have no idea what to expect in the sequel.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon-Just like The Hate U Give, this is another heartbreaking but all too realistic look at today’s youth. To strangers, meet and share a life changing day as Natasha fights to stop her family from being deported and Daniel fights the expectations of being a child of immigrants.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin-How do you describe this book? It has so much going on and it’s not certain how they all interweave but you know they must somehow. It’s truly a powerful book it’s no wonder it’s won so many awards.
Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray-The third book in The Diviners series takes place in the 1920’s but with it’s themes of race, gender equality and science it’s more relevant than you would think. Evie, Sam, Memphis, Jericho, Theta, Ling Henry and Isiah have to overcome the coming darkness but also the social limits society places on those in the minority.
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater-People come from far and wide to seek miracles from the Saints of Bicho Raro but even saints themselves need miracles and sometimes those miracles can’t be achieved on their own, sometimes they need a little help from others. That’s the lesson from this one, it’s great to self sufficient but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake-It’s dark and mysterious but also cool to read of world where women rule and men play supportive roles. That women are just as complicated and conflicted and are able to be both and still show strength and vulnerability. Here we get three young women who all of those things and more.
WarCross by Marie Lu-This was fun and exciting thrill of a book. Full of mystery and kind of a spy novel in a way. Emika a down on her luck, hacker/bounty hunter gets a chance to play in the biggest game ever in hopes of finding another hacker trying to sabotage the game. It’s full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing.
So these are my favorite books of 2017. What are yours?
It was a great year for books and some of my favorite series ended this year. I’m looking back at some of the series I loved that gave us their last chapters in 2017.
Prisoner’s of Peace Duology by Erin Bow -This was an unexpected ending as I didn’t know it was even in the works before I bought it. The Swan Riders, the follow up to the Scorpio Rules was quite a ride. Greta forged her own path to save her people but not everyone was ready to let her go.
Firebug Duology by Lish McBride – Lish McBride has left it open for a return to this series but for now Pyromantic is the last book of the Duology. I do hope we get more adventures with Ava, Lock and Ezra because these books have been nothing but delightful
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Series by Jenny Han – I thought this series was over before and while I enjoyed it I’m not sure if Forever and Always, Lara Jean was truly necessary because I felt Lara Jean ended up in the same place she was before. I will make allowance that her decided to go to school out of state was a big growth for her.
Reawakened Trilogy by Colleen Houck – This one I’m glad ended because I’m not sure I would kept up with it for another book. I just never really connected with the characters I did with her last series, The Tiger’s Saga. I am very happy that she will be going to back to her Tiger’s in 2018.
Chronicles of Nick Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Technically, Nick Gautier’s story will continue in a new series but the narrative that is Chronicles of Nick is at an end. I can’t tell you how much I love Nick and I’m not ready to let him go.
Magnus Chase and the Gods of AsgardTrilogy by Rick Riordan – This was a groundbreaking series in a lot of ways. Positive representation of Muslims, Queer, Trans and those with disabilities is so important and to have all of them represented in the main cast of characters is amazing. Thank you Rick!
**Spoilers I was lucky enough to receive a Advance Copy back in September. There will be Spoilers**
It was worth the wait. I really love Lish McBride’s writing. It’s fast paced and full of humor and just so wonderful. Pyromantic begins a month or two after Firebug ended. Ava and Cade are trying to figure out their relationship now that they know they are daughter and father. Ava is still smarting from turning down Lock for a date. Ava is still coterie but she can’t quite figure out her new boss, Alistair. Like, when is he going to start killing people for no reason because that’s what Coterie does, right? Let’s just say there is a lot to get used to. That’s when this strange and unpredictable things start happening that Ava, Lock, Ezra, Sid and Bianca now must investigate.
I love Ava. She’s funny, sarcastic and a little cynical. She is full of insecurities and considering everything that she has been through it’s not surprising. She lost her Mom after years of being on the run. She is forced to work for Venus and the Coterie like an indentured servant. She doesn’t have many friends outside of her team Lock and Ezra and Sylvie, who works at Cade’s bookstore. When Lock asks Ava out it throws her off. What if they break up? How will that effect that their friendship? So she avoids them both Lock and Ezra. When the strange a disease ravages the area they are forced to work together. After all the twists turn it makes for a great book. It’s so different. I mean who doesn’t love Kelpies who wear sweaters? Or Werehares who knit and in a biker gang? I love it all. But most of all I love the friendship between Lock, Ezra and Ava. They is a true sense of family with them. They love each other and they are there for each other. They tolerate each other faults and support each other when they are down. I’m also loving the friendship of Ava and Sylvie. They are both polar opposites. Sylvie is all sunshine and rainbows and Ava is just fire but it works. I’m know vague on the plot points but this was a wonderful sequel to a great book. I really hope you all go out and support Lish because she really writes some amazing stories that are weird and funny. I’m not sure what else to say but go read!