Saturday, December 31, 2022

Best of... My favorite books read in 2022!

I read 130 books this year (please note these are just books read in 2022, not necessarily published in 2022). I narrowed down my favorites by genre and have summarized them all below. You can find full reviews on my Goodreads page. Here's to a great reading year in 2023!!

When You Get the Chance - Millie Price has never known her mom. But when she decides to go to arts college against his wishes, she starts searching for her. With the help of some angsty entries from her Dad's Livejournal, circa 2003, she narrows her search down to three women: Beth, Farrah, and Steph. While tracking them down, she gets an internship that she has to share with Oliver, her high school nemesis. Witty, romantic, and delightful! Millie is utterly bewitching--an amazing character that you cannot help but love.I loved this "enemies to more" romance--it was cute, filled with humor and great banter and serious moments.This is a delightful book--such a beautiful ode to family and theater. 

This Golden State - Poppy does not know her parents' real names, or why they have been on the run her entire life. She just knows something really bad would happen if they got caught.When they move to CA, things seem different. She mails in a DNA test, not realizing the true consequences of her actions--and grows close to a classmate. Totally mesmerizing read!! The family dynamic is complicated and complex, but interwoven so delicately. Weisenberg also makes some timely and intriguing points about our digital footprint and how DNA can link people together. Such a riveting read.  

Home Field Advantage - In Atherton TX, football is life. So when their late quarterback is replaced by a girl (who knew Jack Walsh was really Jaclyn Walsh?!!), the team and the cheerleaders are ready to revolt. Even worse, Jack is actually better than Robbie--Atherton is poised to finally win! This makes it hard for Amber McCloud, whose dreams (and college scholarships) are tied up in being cheer captain next year. Such a fun and sweet read while still covering serious topics such as coming out and homophobia. This book made me smile goofily even while it dealt with important subjects. And it gave us a great queer romance!!  

This Wicked Fate - second book in a great duology. Briseis has grown up a lot since learning how her family, descendants of Medea, are tasked with guarding the Absyrtus Heart--a plant that just happens to be incredibly deadly. A wonderful, queer mythical fantasy adventure that will completely sweep you off your feet! Bri is one of my absolute favorite heroines in YA literature. The writing is gorgeous, Bri is smart, funny, and bi (!), and while the books are amazing fantasy reads they also cover serious topics in a wonderful way. Stunning series.  

The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School - Yamilet Flores and her younger brother, Cesar, are headed to a new very white, very wealthy Catholic school where they will be a handful of the Mexican kids. But Yami is glad to leave behind her ex-best friend who outed her and made her life miserable. Her new goals are to keep Cesar out of trouble and to appear straight. A really powerful and moving story led by Yami's unique voice. Not afraid to get into heavy topics, but it also makes a point that these subjects are ones that gay teens are dealing with every single day of their lives. 

 6 Times We Almost Kissed - Penny and Tate have always been in each other's lives, thanks to their best friend moms. But Penny's mom, Lottie, checked out once Penny's father died. And Anna, Tate's mom, has battled cancer and is now facing another illness. Now Lottie is giving part of her liver to Anna and the families are moving in together. All well and good, except Penny and Tate seem to nearly kiss in intense situations.A gorgeous yet oft-heartbreaking examination of grief, trauma, mental health, healthcare, friendship, parenting, and more. Every character in this story flies up from the page, thanks to Sharpe's vivid writing. Beautiful story of two girls trying to find their way in the world--and to find love. [2023 release]  


The Overnight Guest -  Years ago, at this isolated Iowa farmhouse true crime writer Wylie is renting, a horrible crime happened--two parents were murdered and a young girl disappeared. Wylie is trapped there in a storm and finds a small child nearly frozen in the snow. Dark and twisty thriller--and a total page-turner!! Eerie, ominous, and creepy! 

Last Seen Alive - Ellery Hathaway met Reed Markham years ago as a teen when he pulled open a closet, freeing her from a serial killer, Francis Coben. Now Coben will only reveal his remaining victims if Reed brings Ellery to visit him in prison. A bittersweet, dark, and terrifying tale with a twisty plot.


The Secrets We Share - Sisters Natalie and Glenn appear quite different on the surface. But they share a secret--twenty years ago, their abusive father's body was found in the woods behind their home. Well-plotted mystery that keeps you guessing! 

 The Locked Room - book 14 finds Ruth dealing with the pandemic and finding a strange photo in her mother's belongings. Excellent read with a surprising and twisty modern mystery plus great appearances from favorite characters. Very atmospheric!  

Every Last Fear - Matt’s brother, Danny, is in jail for murdering his high school girlfriend and then several years later, tragedy befalls the rest of his family while vacationing in Mexico. Filled with lots of twists and surprises, this is a total page-turner!

Long Gone - book 2 featuring Detective Annalisa Vega, whose life is in tatters after making a decision that tore her family apart. When a fellow cop turns up murdered, Anna figures she has little to lose in investigating. Dark, excellent, and thought-provoking with a strong character-driven plot. 

The Last Party - excellent police procedural. DC Morgan must unravel how famous singer Rhys Morgan's body washed up on shore during a New Year's Day swim. Very character-driven and secrets abound! Tons of twists, with lots of nuance and depth.  
City On Fire - an insanely mesmerizing and excellent read about warring mob families (Irish and Italian) who lose it over a tale as old as time: a girl.  You get totally lost in the characters, and it feels as if you're in Rhode Island with these families, whose total loyalty to family is all they know.  
Part of Your World - Alexis Montgomery is an ER doctor with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She's part of the Montgomery family of world-renowned surgeons, with a huge family legacy to uphold. When Alexis' car breaks down in the tiny town of Wakan, she meets Daniel, a handsome younger carpenter. The story has some serious undertones and does a great job of exploring the dichotomy between what you want in life and the obligations of work and family. It's also such a funny, sweet, and romantic read. It has everything you could want in a romance. Chemistry, banter, humor, a raccoon encounter, farm animals, embarrassing advice about sexting... it all gels perfectly. I was laughing and crying and rooting for Daniel and Alexis the entire time.
Book Lovers - Nora is a cutthroat literary agent who reluctantly agrees to spend the summer in Sunshine Falls, North Carolina at the request of her adored little sister, Libby. Libby dreams Nora will have a rom-com transformation there, but Nora just keeps running into Charlie, an annoying guy she knows from NY. Such a fun one--witty bitter and a romance I could believe in! Plays on writing and literary tropes so well, has great side characters, and is just sweet and sexy! 
Kiss Her Once for Me - Ellie has lost her job and agrees to a fake romance with a friend--only to realize she shared a beautiful, romantic Christmas Eve with his sister a year ago! A lovely, touching, funny holiday story with fake romance and lesbians! Also covers anxiety in a thoughtful way, plus weaves in art and comics so well.     
The Key to My Heart - a sad and quiet tale at times about a woman finding herself after losing her husband. Still features fun banter and romantic prospects (two, in fact!). Our heroine, Natalie, is flawed and relatable. Serious but enjoyable and funny read. Louis has a great voice that brings her characters easily to life.  
Like a House on Fire - Married for over a decade, Merit feels exhausted by life. She goes back to work and finds inspiration in her boss, Jane. An utterly mesmerizing, character-driven novel about motherhood, marriage, and finding yourself. Lovely, with sweet, tough, and gorgeous characters and not afraid to truly explore all aspects of being a mom. 
Lessons in Chemistry - Elizabeth Zott is a chemist in the 60s, when very few respect female scientists. She meets Calvin at the lab, and their ensuing romance is one for the ages. Through a wild and crazy turn of events, Elizabeth also winds up the chef on the TV show Supper At Six, where she inspires women with her scientific approach to cooking. The characters in this book truly sparkle and rooting for Elizabeth is so easy. Also features one of my favorite literary dogs of all time, Six-Thirty. 
I'm Glad My Mom Died - Powerful and moving memoir from child actor McCurdy. Subject matter can be brutal--but McCurdy is a wonderful writer with a brilliant voice. Highlights that she is a brave survivor.
Out of the Clear Blue Sky - Lillie isn't looking forward to her only child heading off to college, but it's made even worse by her husband, Brad, suddenly leaving her for another woman. She finds herself hellbent on revenge, but at what cost?  An emotional read, but funny! A touching and enjoyable read that delves into relationships and motherhood.
Flying Solo - Laurie returns home to clear out her great-aunt's belongings and is drawn to a wooden duck. A quirky and different read that explores the nature of relationships and family in a nuanced way. The tale of the duck is crazy and wild, but also fun and sweet. Really emotional and good read. 

No comments: