Beth’s Favorite Books of 2022!!!

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Review: The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova

For anyone who has seen Encanto will find many of the stories themes familiar. Especially from the beginning. It starts with the Matriarch of the family, Orquidea Divina invited her family back to her magical home for her death. The Montoya’s grew up in her home that always had everything they needed and they never questioned it. When they arrive, things are a miss and her death doesn’t go as planned but family pulls together to send her off. Orquidea was a complicated woman, like most people are but even more so to her family. She was a loving woman who gave all to her family but she was also very secretive and leaves the family reeling if they even knew here. Marimar, her granddaughter in particularly has some feelings about her Grandma. As does her cousins, Ray and Tatinelly. Seven years after her death, they are forced to go to Ecuador where Orquidea was born to discover her past to save their futures. Its basically a story of family trauma and family healing. Again, a lot like Encanto.

That’s where the comparisons end though. This story goes back and forth and the “present day” and the Orquidea’s past. Both storylines entwine to tell the story of Orquidea and the Montoya’s. Before she passes, she tells her family that she can’t tell them who is coming for them and they must find who. Marimar is to me the main character. She inherited the house and rebuilds. I feel like she is the one that is most connected to her. She goes through the wringer in this book but really comes out of it better. She is quite a extraordinary person. She starts out to be very guarded and for awhile she really starts to shut herself off. It’s her way of protecting herself but when tragedy strikes the family and she has to move, she does. It’s really through her eyes that we get to know Orquidea and the Montoya’s family and who they were and what they will become. So, if you like magical realism and Encanto, I think you will like this book too.

Happy PRIDE!

Happy Pride month. Here are a few of my favorite books and series that feature LGBTQIA+ characters. What are your favorites? Leave them in the comments.

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao – Polyamorous
Science Fantasy reimagining of the rise of Chinese Empress Wu Zetian. With a true love triangle as Zetian has two love interests who are also in love with each other. There truly isn’t anything else like it.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling – Lesbian
Love is always hard but harder when you meet someone new but your ex girlfriend is still apart of your coven and there are witch hunters after you.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova – Bi
The first of the Brooklyn Brujas trilogy follows Alex, who hates magic so much she accidently makes her family vanish and has to go into a different realm to find them. She also discovers herself as well.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan – Lesbian
This is not an easy read as it deals with sexual assault but at it’s core is a love story between two young girls who risk everything to be together.

Carry On Trilogy by Rainbow Rowell – Gay
Based on fan fiction written by another of Rainbow Rowell’s characters in Fangirl and takes it to a new level. Harry Potter like chosen Simon Snow falls in love with his childhood enemy Baz. Fans of the enemies to lovers will love it.

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland, Bi
This is actually the second book in the series but I’m picking it as it goes more into main character, Jane’s sexuality. Jane is an amazing character that just knows how to survive and isn’t going to let some zombies get in the way.

Rick Riordan books – Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans, Ace
Rick Riordan’s many children series based on world mythology are filled with LGBTQIA+ characters. I would first suggest Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series. Main character, Magnus is definitely queer who falls in love with Alex who is trans. The Trials of Apollo series follows God Apollo who based on Greek mythology was bisexual. Actually many of the Gods of different world mythologies are somewhere on the rainbow and Riordan doesn’t shy away from these stories just because who writes for kids.

ShadowHunters Chronicles by Cassandra Clare – Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans, Poly
Like. Rick Riordan, Cassandra Clare’s ShadowHunters Chronicles populated with many LGBTQIA+. Original series features Alex and Magnus, a gay shadowhunter and a bi-sexual warlock. The Dark Artifices series features a poly relationship, a trans character and more than 1 same sex couples. The most recent series, The Last Hours has a bisexual and lesbian character as part of the main group of characters even takes place in Edwardian England. I’ll admit that as the series go on, there are times I get tired at the formulaic it is but I always come back for the characters because they are always well written

The Dreamers Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater – Gay
A spin series from her popular Ravens Cycle, centers around gay and dreamer and Ronan. True, his relationship with fellow Raven Boy, Adam, isn’t the center of the story as many who read the first series would assume but it’s not far off. Anyways, Ronan is a fantastic character who l love and what the world for him.

What I’m Reading Now: Wayward Witch by Zoraida Cordova

Latinx Brooklyn witches. Yes please

Quick Review: Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova

bruja born I received this as an ARC a month ago.  Thank you to the publisher for making it available.

I’ll admit I didn’t like it as much as Labyrinth Lost because I thought this was a continuation of Alex’s story not that we didn’t see Alex’s story progressed but she wasn’t front and center.  Her older Lula took center stage.  It was interesting to read about her she dealt with the traumatic experience of surviving Los Lagos and losing her identity but I wanted to know more about Alex and how she was dealing with her new powers as an ecantrix and exploring her bisexuality.  Her relationship with her best friend, Rishi was so wonderfully set up in the last book, it was disappointing not to see more of it in this one.  While we are told that they are still together and happy, we only get one scene with them together.  I understand why she wasn’t included in the narrative as a sinmago, she had nothing to add to the story but I still wanted to more.  In the last book I found Lula to be shallow and not that interesting and she started out that way. I have more of a connection to her now but I’m still only meh on her.  The one trait that Lula and Alex have in common is that they are stubborn and will do what they want even if it’s the absolutely the wrong thing to do.  I got frustrated about how many times she was told, not to do that but she wouldn’t listen because it wasn’t what she wanted to hear or she thought she knew better or could figure out a different solution and the end others we left to deal with the consequences of her actions instead of her.  Ugh.  Oh well, the next book is going to focused on the youngest Mortiz sister, Rose and she has very intriguing powers.  I’m looking forward to that one.

Quick Review: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

labyrinth lost

**Spoilers Ahead**

I knew I was going to like this book when it was revealed that Alex and her family of Brujas live in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.  I may be a little bias but Sunset Park is the best neighborhood in Brooklyn.  Anyway, Alex is from a long line of Brujas or as we say in english, Witches.  While her family sees their powers as gift sees them as only curses.  Her Deathday is coming and Alex will do anything to get rid of her powers.  She blames them for the misfortune of her family.  She believes they made her father leave when she was a child.  When she accidentally banishes her family to Los Lagos, she must venture there herself with a mysterious but handsome Brujo Nova to guide her.  This is a story about acceptance.  Alex for so long was afraid of herself, believing that her powers were the source of her families troubles and that if she only got rid of them then they would be okay.  Over time she realizes that her powers are part of her and ridding them would only getting rid a part of her.  For too long she tried to hide who she was that she didn’t even know who she was.  The only person she felt she could be herself around was with her friend, Rishi but even there she had to keep herself a secret.  As Alex, Nova and Rishi navigate the dangers of Los Lagos, she becomes more at home with her powers but things are not as they seem.  For one Nova is not who she thinks he is.  It bothered me that she never really questioned why he knew so much about Los Lagos.  He is quite knowledgeable about the place that only existed in myths and legends before.  The best surprise was who Alex’s love interest ended up being.  It was all set up to be Nova when it ended up being Rishi.  How refreshing to see Queer representation of Latina and Guyanese girls.  Their relationship starts as a sweet friendship.  Accepting each other for who they are and not caring that one is a little odd to seeing each other for who they truly are.  Alex and Nova shippers have some hope but I do hope that Alex and Rishi are the endgame.  As for the rest of the story, it wasn’t perfect but it was entertainment. It’s great to have a strong Latina lead character and being kickass.  Now that Alex has come into her powers, it’ll be interesting to see what comes next for her and her family.

What I’m Reading Now: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

labyrinth lost

I bought this at BookCon in June.  Excited to finally getting to it.

Update: Already in love now that I know they Brujas live in Sunset Park!

Book Riot Live Day 2

Day two of Book Riot Live started off with a bang. Rebecca Joines Schinsky and Liberty Hardy did a live recording of their podcast All the Books. Discussing all the best books released this week. Including Born a Crime  by Trevor Noah and Anna Kendricks new book whose title escapes me. The two are friends and their chemistry is undeniable.

I decided that after this week I needed some levity and light so I went to the Bookish Broadway Sing-along. All songs were loosely based on books one way of another. Classics like Phantom of the Opera to Annie to Les Mis and of course Hamilton. They did a request and we all sang the Circle of Life from The Lion King. I really wish I took better photos and a video.


Next was Live Pictionary with Sarah Anderson and Valentine De Landro. Sarah writes Sarah’s scribbles and Valentine draws for Marvel, DC and cocreator of Bitch Planet. I’m amazed both at the drawing and people able to guess.


After a little donut break. I checked out Slash Live with a Alyssa Cole, Michael Strother and Zoraida Córdova. Slash is sort of like apples to apples and cards against humanity in which everyone had a set of cards with a name and description of a pop culture character. Each person takes turns picking a character and making a situation and everyone else must pick a character from their own stack and create story based on the situation. Like Xander from Buffy falling for Big foot. It’s very fun to play.

The final panel of the night was Nerd Jeopardy with Mara Wilson, Mark Osborn and Sara Farizan. It was like real jeopardy but without Alex Trebeck and all clues were about shoes. Book nerds are the best. If the panelist didn’t know the answer someone in the audience did. It was very amusing and for those who are curious, Mara won.


So that’s it for this year. I’m looking forward to what Book Riot will do next year.