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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