My favorite books of 2022

This post is so late and I wish I could say there’s a good reason, but the truth is that I started watching my very first Turkish series, Love is in the Air, and I have watched 60 episodes in one week, which is an absurd number, and honestly I didn’t want to anything else besides watching it, so no posts were written.

But better late than never, here are my favorite books of 2022. I decided to divide this list by genre and the books in each genre are ranked starting with my favorite.

HORROR

1. Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas: This was atmospheric, unique, and intriguing. I was utterly captivated while reading it. The fact that the plot was so mysterious and we don’t get all the answers worked perfectly for me. The complex and chaotic characters, as well as the found family element, were some of my favorite things about this. Also, the ending had me on the edge of my seat. (Review)

2. Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes: This was so atmospheric, having an abandoned ship in the middle of space as the setting was a perfect choice, and there were some tension-filled, disturbing moments. The interesting and unique concept was executed really well and while the main character in this book is really flawed, it was also easy to root for her. I also enjoyed the little bit of romance that there was in this and I overall was really invested in the story and couldn’t stop reading.

3. What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher: This was a short, atmospheric, gothic read. It was engaging from beginning to end and had a really satisfying ending, which is hard to do in short horror books. While it wasn’t a scary story, it had a few very unnerving moments.

4. The Houseguest and Other Stories by Amparo Davila: This book is full of disturbing and fascinating short stories that conveyed feelings of dread and desperation very well. There were a lot of vague or open-ended stories, often there were no answers to what was happening, there was no way of knowing if things were real or not, if the narrators were reliable or not, and this added to the unnerving feeling of the stories, which was the strength of the collection.

5. Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente:  This short book was mindblowing. It’s smart and quietly disturbing and it touches on some powerful themes and includes interesting commentary revolving around religious and feminist ideas. I found it really thought-proving. (Review)

ROMANCE

1. Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese: The main characters in this book were so endearing and their romance was cute and heartwarming. I loved how understanding they both were with each other. I appreciated that there was autism and anxiety rep and while that didn’t become the focus of the book, I appreciated that the way it impacted different aspects of their lives, including their relationship, was addressed. There was a mix between a “you’ve got mail” setup and the fake dating trope in this book, and they were executed so well.

2. Lovelight farms by B.K. Borison This was an excellent friends-to-lovers romance. I loved how much the main characters cared and were there for each other, and how easily they transitioned to a romantic relationship. Luka was a swoon-worthy hero, he and Stella had such a sweet relationship, and there were also a few good steamy moments.

3. Don’t Go Baking My Heart by N.G. Peltier: This is the best representation of the grumpy/sunshine trope I have read. Throughout the book the character development of the two main characters was outstanding and it ended up being really easy to root for them. The chemistry, tension, and slow development of their relationship were all great. Also, the steamy scenes were fantastic.

MYSTERY

1. Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano: This cozy mystery was fun, fast-paced, full of twists and turns, and absolutely absurd. It has a main character who was easy to root for and compelling side characters, as well as a plot that was ridiculous but also really entertaining. (Review)

2. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman: This was a charming, quirky and quick read. Seeing a group of old people in a retirement home trying to solve a murder was fun, all the characters are incredibly endearing, and I was interested in the mystery the entire time. 

SFF

1. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady MartineThe political maneuvering and intrigue in this book were fantastic, the characters were so clever and interesting, and the worldbuilding was complex without being hard to understand. I also appreciated that this book went in directions that I wasn’t expecting and there were a couple surprising twists that kept it interesting. My favorite thing about this is definitely the discussion about loving and enjoying a culture that it’s imposing itself on your own culture

2. Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper: I loved the witchy small town, the magic tournament, the humor, the captivating characters, the lovely sapphic romance, the banter between the two main characters, and the personal journey the main character went through. Overall, a fantastic fantasy romance book. (Review)

3. Witchlings by Claribel Ortega: This was such a sweet book, I don’t really read Middle Grade anymore so I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did. The characters in this were so charming, the friendship that developed between the three main characters – who are the most unlikely allies ever – was so sweet, the writing was excellent, the worldbuilding intricate but easy to understand, and I loved the use of Spanish in the magic. 

LITERARY FICTION

1. Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo (4.5 stars): This book was very unique, I sometimes felt like I was reading an academic text or a reportage about the challenges women face in South Korea, thinly veiled as a novel, but at the same time, the story managed to keep me interested. This book covered so many topics, it’s an introduction to the challenges women face, but it doesn’t go too deeply into any of them. Still, by the end of it, especially after reading the last page, it hit me really hard, it made me emotional and I felt a bit hopeless.

2. Happening by Annie Ernaux (4.5 stars): This book is a testament to the power of descriptive writing, Ernaux managed to convey what she was seeing, hearing, feeling, and thinking, accompanied by poignant commentary that makes her experience feel relatable and resonate with women. While the writing in this was beautiful and it was a unique reading experience.

What are the best books you read in 2022? If you posted a list of your best books of the year, leave me a link in the comments, I would love to check it out!

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July 2022 Wrap Up: SFF reads, cozy mysteries and good romances

July was such a good reading month and I’m hoping that it’s a sign that my reading slump is finally going away. Not only did I read a lot in terms of the number of books, I also read a few really long ones and I discovered that reading long books – which is the opposite of what I have been doing- may be what I need to get out this reading slump because it makes me feel more invested in the characters and plot. It’s sonething i’ll take into account going forward.

But without further ado, let’s talk about the books:

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine (4 stars): While I liked the first book more than this one, I think this sequel did a good job and continued the story successfully. This is such a thought-provoking sci-fi series, full of political maneuvering and intrigue, clever and interesting characters, and worldbuilding that is complex without being hard to understand. I really appreciated the addition of new pov characters in the second book, it added so much complexity to the story, it allowed an exploration of the different political factions within both the Teixcalaanli Empire and Lsel Station, and it expanded the world so much in comparison to the first book. This sequel includes some interesting discussions about empires and ethics, cultural assimilation vs cultural isolationism, the value of ancestral knowledge and collective memory, power dynamics in romantic relationships and so much more.

A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark (4 stars): I have been slowly making my way through the novellas and short stories in this series this year and while I have always recognized that the world and characters are fantastic, the short format wasn’t working for me. But this full-length novel was SO GOOD. I got to see more of the two elements that I liked from the novellas: the complex and fascinating world and the flawed but easy to root for characters, while getting a longer mystery plot that I could get invested in with more characters involved and with more moving pieces. Even if the reveal wasn’t that surprising, it was still fun to read.

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree (3,5 stars): This was good, but I had heard so many amazing things about it that I went into it expecting too much. I loved the characters and the found family, there was interesting world-building, and I appreciated that it was a cozy fantasy book, but I think I needed a bit more plot-wise. Still, I would read more books set in this world and I will check out other books by this author.

Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher (3 stars): I have so many conflicting feelings when it comes to this book. I still think this series is a fun, entertaining and easy-to-read series set in an interesting and complex world. At this point, I’m invested in the characters, so I like seeing how the different characters and relationships evolve. But after the way the last book ended, I thought we would see more of this world and Harry would be more involved with the bigger picture of what’s going on, but it didn’t really happen, there were again only glimpses of that. Because of that, this book feels at points formulaic and repetitive. Honestly, all the plots of the books in this series are starting to feel very similar to me. Lastly, I know these books have a lot of sexism passing for chivalry and hypersexualization of female characters. Nonetheless, this book took it to another level that made me really uncomfortable because there’s hypersexualization of a 17-year-old.

Everything for you by Chloe Liese (4 stars): This is a great grump/ sunshine romance between two professional soccer players who don’t like each other all that much but are forced to be co-captains of their team. I loved the pent-up sexual tension, the amazing chemistry between them and how slowly they started to open up to each other. They shared some very vulnerable moments and they were there for one another, which made their romance believable and realistic. Beyond the main couple, I loved the glimpses we got of the rest of the Bergman family.

I had two minor issues with this: It dragged a tiny little bit in some parts and the love declarations got a bit too cheesy for me at end. but nothing that was a big deal.

To Marry and To Meddle by Martha Waters (4 stars): This book cemented me as a big Martha Waters fan. I have enjoyed all three books in this series so much. This book is a funny, entertaining, and quick read. Both of the main characters were easy to root for, the romance was sweet, without unnecessary conflicts or miscommunication, and there were some good steamy scenes.

How to Fake it in Hollywood by Ava Wilder (3,5 stars): Honestly, for the first 60%, I actually really enjoyed this and thought it was really entertaining. Nonetheless, this ended up being a lot darker and sadder than I thought it was going to be and the ending was so rushed, they resolved a big issue that was the source of conflict throughout the entire book off the page and that didn’t work for me. (full review)

Just Folking Around by Penny Reid (3,5 stars): This was a quick, fun, steamy read that worked perfectly as my palate cleanser after three long SFF books. I really liked both of the main characters and their dynamic and I can’t wait to read the full-length novel about them.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (4,5 stars): This book is not going to be for everyone, but it worked perfectly for me. It was a charming, quirky and quick read. Seeing a group of old people in a retirement home trying to solve a murder was fun, I liked all the characters, and I was interested in the mystery the entire time. Yes, a lot of convenient things happened but I didn’t care, I still enjoyed the story. The only reason it didn’t get 5 stars is that I didn’t love the ending, but I didn’t hate it either. Out of the three big reveals right at the end, I only liked one, the other two were kind of random and felt forced.

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman (4 stars): This was a quick and entertaining book. I continued with the series mostly to see the characters again, they are quirky, funny, sweet and clever and I have so much fun reading about their adventures. I didn’t find the mystery in this book nearly as interesting as the mystery in book 1, because the scope of the mystery was so big (spies, mafia, drug dealers, stolen diamonds) that the story, and especially the ending, felt incredibly unrealistic. But as I mentioned before, I read this for the characters, so I didn’t really mind that much.

An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn (3,5 stars): This was better than book 5 but still not as good as the first 4 books in the series. The mystery plot was ok, the problem was that in the first 50% not a lot happened, Veronica and Stoker didn’t uncover too much, everything was left for the last half of the book, and particularly to the last 20%. So the pacing felt weird and the first half dragged a little. Also, I didn’t really guess who the villain was but that may have been because I wasn’t completely invested in the mystery plot. I still enjoyed this because I love Veronica and Stoker and there were some good moments between them. 

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (3,5 stars): The mystery in this was entertaining, and there were so many likely culprits which is always fun. Nonetheless, this is my third Miss Marple book and I was left with the same feeling that I had when I read the other two, I wish Miss Marple showed up more and not only occasionally and at the end when she appears with all the answers to everything, which she pulled out of thin air.

Goddess of Filth by V. Castro (4 stars): This wasn’t scary but it had creepy and gross moments and it was a very different take on possession. I appreciated how it discussed the stereotypes around and the dangers of being a young Latina, as well as the roles that religion, sexuality and female friendships play in the lives of young Latinas. My one issue with this book is that some of the dialogue involving the Goddess was kind of corny and that took me out of the story at times.

What are the best and worst books you read in July? Was July a good reading month for you?

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July 2022 TBR: fantasy, romance, sci-fi and more

Hi everyone! Before starting with this post, I wanted to mention that I posted my june wrap up on Sunday, which from my experience it’s not exactly the best day to post. So in case you missed it, check it out here.

Now, let’s talk about my July tbr. I know I don’t usually have tbrs since I’m a mood reader, but the last couple of months I have put together tbrs and I have managed to read most of the books on them and I feel like that’s helping a little to pull me out of the weird reading slump I’m in, so I will keep putting together tbrs for the time being and see if it works.

These are the books I’m planning to read in July:

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel: I read Station Eleven at the end of 2020 and I have been meaning to pick another book by this author since then and it’s finally time.

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine: I just finished the first book in this series, A Memory Called Empire, on June 30th and I loved it, so I can’t wait to continue with the sequel.

Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher: It’s been a while since I read a book in this series and lately, I have been feeling curious about where the story goes after what happened in the last book, so I think it’s the perfect time to continue on with the next installment.

The Tower of the Shallows by Andrzej Sapkowski: I read the previous book in this series right before season 2 of the tv show came out and I really enjoyed it and I don’t want to let too much time pass before reading the two final books in the series.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf: I watched The Hours as part of the film club I participate in, which made me really curious about this book, and I have owned it for a while, so I want to read it before I lose interest again.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley: I enjoyed The Guest List when I read it at the end of last year and I want to read more from this author.

How to Fake it in Hollywood by Ava Wilder: I added this recently to my tbr because it sounds exactly like the kind of romance I would enjoy. I hope this is as fun as the cover makes it look.

To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters: I have really enjoyed the previous 2 books in this series and I’m excited to continue reading more since I really enjoy Martha Waters’s writing.

What books are on your July tbr? What book are you most excited to read?
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June 2022 Wrap Up: an amazing sci-fi book, lots of romance, and more

Hi everyone! I can’t believe June is over and my reading slump is still here. In June, I managed to read a bit more than what I have read in previous months and I actually enjoyed most of what I read, but I think I’m still in a slump because I spent so many days without reading and then I get a little bit of motivation to read and I end up finishing a bunch of books in a row. So my desire to read goes up and down, and I’m getting really frustrated because it’s been over a year since this weird reading slump started and I have never had a slump that was so long and I’m not sure what to do to get out of it. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

Still, since June was a better reading month than I was expecting, I’m excited to share my thought on the books I managed to read:

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (4.5 stars): The political maneuvering and intrigue in this book are fantastic, the characters are so clever and interesting, and the worldbuilding is complex without being hard to understand. I also appreciated that this book went in directions that I wasn’t expecting and there were a couple surprising twists that kept it interesting.

My favorite thing about this is definitely the discussion about loving and enjoying a culture that it’s imposing itself on your own culture in a way. This hits close to home for me because I think anyone that lives in Latin America understands how the desire to imitate the way of life of the United States is so prevalent here, how we measure ourselves against American ideals all the time, and how much media produced in the States we consume and love. And all of these things happen, while we know how deeply flawed and messed up a lot of this “culture” and ideals are, and how they don’t entirely fit us. This book is thought-provoking and a great conversation starter about this topic.

From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper (4 stars): while I enjoyed the first book more than this one and found it more memorable, this still is an entertaining and well-written story. I found the mystery that the main characters were trying to solve intriguing and for the most part, I was very engaged in the investigation process. Nonetheless, the investigation dragged a little bit in the middle, it took too much focus away from the romance for my personal preference, and the resolution was a bit underwhelming.

I really liked the main characters and the romance between them, they had good chemistry and banter. It was fun to see the characters learn to understand each other, resolve the misunderstandings that have led them to be “nemesis” and finally give in to the attraction between them. The world-building and the secondary characters add so much to the story, getting to learn more about the different types of magic in this world as well as the history of the different magical families was really interesting.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry (4 stars): I really liked the main characters in this book, it has a relatable heroine and swoony hero, and I loved their relationship, the chemistry and the banter were great. I loved seeing them work together editing a book and seeing them bond over their love for books. This book is very meta and it works so well. Also, the writing as always with Emily Henry was really good.

Nonetheless, there’s a big subplot involving the main character’s relationship with her sister, and while I appreciated seeing the main character deal with the sense of responsibility she felt over making sure her sister was happy, it was a bit frustrating how they went on this trip to connect but they didn’t have that many interactions because they were avoiding important conversations and it wasn’t until the very end when everything blew up and it was solved really quickly, which felt odd when this conflict was such a big part of the book. I ended up liking the resolution, I just wish it happened a bit earlier and it didn’t feel so rushed.

Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron ( 4 stars): At first, I wasn’t completely into it because despite the change in the time period and the addition of diversity, it was too similar to the original Emma and I was a little bit bored. Also, there was a point where it felt like all these characters were in high school, even when they were in their late 20s and early 30s. Nonetheless, from the very beginning, what I loved about this book was Kamila and Rohan and their relationship, they had so much chemistry and the banter was great.

After a while, my hesitation went away and I was so into the story. This covered a lot of deeper subjects than I was expecting, especially about mental health within Asian communities. Moreover, the characters, even the secondary ones, ended up being a lot more complex than I was expecting. But, the main reason I ended up loving this was the way the relationship between Kamila and Rohan developed: the angsty moments, the connection and care between them, the slow admission of their feelings… I loved everything about it.

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake (4 stars): This was so delightful. My favorite things about this book are: how three-dimensional all the characters are, how all of them have things they need to work through, and how it includes different types of dynamics and relationships between characters which made this book really engaging. Overall, this book was entertaining and well-written, the main characters had great chemistry, there were some really steamy scenes, and all the other storylines – outside the romance plot- worked really well and were seamlessly integrated to make a complex, emotional and satisfying story.

D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins (4 stars): I really enjoy the fake dating/ fake engagement trope and this version of that trope was so well and fun to read. The relationship between d’Vaughn and Kris developed in a short period of time but it felt realistic because of the way they were there for each other, how supportive they were, how well they communicated, and the amount of sweet and steamy moments we got. while there were things they had to work through, I really appreciated that they TALKED about things and communicated with each other, so everything was resolved so maturely and there were no unnecessary conflicts or break ups. Also, the addition of the main character’s families to the story was fantastic, because they were so hilarious and chaotic. The only thing I had a small issue with is that it got really cheesy at points, especially towards the end.

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren (3 stars): While this book wasn’t for me, it is a well-written, fun action-adventure book with a little romance that I think a lot of people will enjoy. The reason this didn’t work for me is that I wasn’t sold on the second-chance romance, because the book relies way too much on their connection from the few months that they spent together 10 years ago. Beyond the physical attraction, there wasn’t much more to their relationship in the present time, they had a couple of heartfelt conversations and that was it. And even the few times they remember their time together in the past, they always remember how good the sex was and nothing else. So I really didn’t see their emotional connection.

In the beginning, I thought I was going to enjoy the treasure hunt aspect of the book because there were unexpected twists and turns, but since I didn’t care about the romance, I wasn’t invested in the plot either and I kept noticing how unrealistic and convenient everything was.

The Maid by Nita Prose (3.5 stars): I’m not sure what to say about this book. On one hand, I found it entertaining, well-written, humorous, and a fast read. On the other hand, all of the characters were kind of one-dimensional and Molly felt at times like a caricature of an autistic person. Also, she was so clueless and naive and she kept digging a bigger hole for herself and it got to a point where it became frustrating because it wasn’t realistic and it was almost like the author was making her act like someone stupid or making her act out of character just to further the plot. While reading it, I actually really enjoyed the book, but after finishing it and giving it some thought I had some issues that prevent me from giving it a higher rating.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (3 stars): This is a very well-written book where Didion discusses grief and mourning in a really insightful way. I was captivated by how she talked about her relationship with her husband during their 40 years together, his death’s impact on her and her daughter’s illness, and how she coped and lived through it while grieving her husband.

Nonetheless, I have to say that this got slow at some points and it felt a bit pretentious at times because the name-dropping was relentless, I don’t think there was one page where she didn’t name someone she knew that was famous or well-known (I didn’t know most of these people, but I guess other people do)

Break your glass slippers by Amanda Lovelace (2 stars): Amanda Lovelace’s books have always been very hit or miss for me, but the last few that I have read have been all misses so I think it’s time I stop reading them. This book didn’t evoke any sort of emotion out of me and it didn’t leave a lasting impression either.

What are the best and worst books you read in June? Was June a good reading month for you?

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Book Series I Want to Start in 2021 | Blogmas Day 19

Hi everyone! A couple of days ago, I talked about the Book Series I Want to Finish in 2021 and I was not planning on writing this post because I felt like next year I needed to focus on finishing series instead of starting new ones, but after thinking about it, I realized that it’s unrealistic to think that I won’t start new series since I already have so many first book in a series on my tbr. So that’s why I decided to write this post with some of the book series I’m hoping to start in 2021:

The Between Earth and Sky Series by Rebecca Roanhorse: Black Sun came out this year and I have heard nothing but amazing things about it, so I’m excited to read it. Also, one of my goals for 2021 is to read more books by Indigenous authors and Rebecca Roanhorse’s books have been highly recommended it.

The Sixth World Series by Rebecca Roanhorse: This book has been on my tbr for so long and it’s finally time for me to read it. Again, I’m reading it as part of my goal to read more indigenous authors.

The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson: I was planning to start this series in December 2020 but then I decided that I want to finish the Mistborn series first, so I think I’ll get to The Way of Kings in the second half of 2021. Everyone raves about this series, so I’m excited to read it.

The Teixcalaan Series by Arkady Martine: My friend Jocelyn @Yogi with a book has highly recommended A Memory Called Empire and I trust her completely, since she has given me great recommendations in the past. Also, this is a political sci-fi novel with a f/f romance and that makes me so excited to read it.

The Expanse Series by Kames S.A. Corey: I have nothing but amazing things about Leviathan Wakes, the first book in the series, and also about the Amazon tv series based on these books that’s already on season 4. I have heard that each season of the show is one of the books so I’m excited to watch along as I read each book.

The Veronica Speedwell Series by Deanna Raybourn: Riley @Riley Marie recommends this series all the time and we tend to have similar taste in books, so I’m excited because of that, but also because this sounds a little like Stalking Jack the Ripper and The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, which are both books I love.

The Phryne Fisher Series by Kerry Greenwood: I loved the tv show based on this book series, I really enjoyed the movie as well, I have been meaning to get to the books for so long and now it’s finally time to read them.

What book series do you want to start in 2021? Which of the series I mentioned should I give priority to?

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