Hello! It’s time for that absolutely mega (I may need to apologise for how long this post is) 2022 wrap up! This post has everything from my top reads of 2022, books that disappointed me, blogging and reading goals and whether I achieved them, as well as some books I’m looking forward to picking up this year. I have had a lot of fun creating this, even if it did take me hours, so I hope you enjoy reading it.
Ok, so starting how I mean to go on… It’s just impossible to pick ONE book for these prompts, in fact, you’re lucky I managed to narrow it down to four. If you want to see my full list of top reads for the year, you can check out my posts for :
But the above are the best of the best. They’re all fantasy, yet so completely different from one another, but they all had fantastically built worlds, characters, magic systems and they are all books that I can definitely see myself going back to read again.
I had a few let downs this year, but Cursed certainly won for me. I had super high expectations after the darkness and drama from the first book, but the ending just let the whole of the duology down for me.
I knew I was going to enjoy this book, I just didn’t guess how much. It’s a story filled with nostalgia, expertly written characters and a good old battle between good and evil. It’s quirky, but filled with all the feels & I will certainly be picking this one up again.
I wouldn’t say ‘pushed’ so much as gently shoved, but a few of my friends asked a fun romance recommendation and I politely threw this book at them. It was successful as well because they all adored it.
I know I’m a little late to the Rage of Dragons train, but it was certainly worth the wait. Epic doesn’t quite cut it & I need book three now! Godkiller had that old fashioned fantasy journey feel filled with a found family and a well built magic system & One Dark Window gave me all the dark YA vibes my heart yearned for, as well as a brilliant romance and killer cliffhanger ending!
I think I may have loved all of these a little more than their first books, which is saying something because I adored their first books. The Oleander Sword and The Fires of Vengeance were both epic fantasies with incredible world building and some epic fight scenes, and Bloodmarked gave me all the lore and magic I loved in book one but just bigger and better… plus lots more Sel!
I didn’t read that many series enders in 2022 but these two were amazing! For the Throne was so much better than the first book, I think because I loved the MC a little more, and Time’s Orphan was the perfect last book in Chow’s Ya trilogy.
The above books couldn’t be more different, as could the authors writing style, but every single one blew me away & ensured that the authors would be auto picks for me from now on. Iron Widow was blunt and aggressive, as is the main character, but Zhao just grabs you form the first line & never lets up with the intensity of her story & writing. The Girl who Fell Beneath the Sea was lyrical just so beautifully written it felt like a fable of old. Siren Queen was prosaic and had an atmosphere that sucked you into the story from the first line.
How to Kill Men and Get Away With It is about as far from my ‘normal’ reading as you can get, but I loved it so much. I have a very dark sense of humour, something myself & this book clearly share, and I found myself equally giggling and shocked at the events as the story went on.
I said it before and I’ll say it again… this book is intense & certainly not for the faint of heart, but if you don’t mind your MC’s a little unhinged and out for bloody revenge then I cannot recommend it enough.
My re-reads have been put on hold until I can get my TBR under control, but every now and again I do find myself in need of a palate cleanser from fantasy and I tend to use romance novels for that. So there’s a chance one, or more of these will get picked up at some point this year.
Every single character in this book was memorable. Kuang has this knack for writing characters that stick with you long after you’ve finished reading their stories. Characters that are incredibly morally grey but, for that reason, incredibly realistic. Robin, Ramy, Victoire and Letty had my heart in their hands throughout this story & they have stayed with me long after I finished Babel.
Vo’s writing style is prosaic, lyrical and wondrously atmospheric. With Siren Queen she creates a magical 1920’s Hollywood it’s hard to believe didn’t actually exist. Easily the most beautifully written book of the year.
Maybe not life-changing but these books all feature some kind of anger, some kind of women fighting back at the governments and people who try to control them & show just how we can change things if we work together.
Not only did I adore Parry’s Shadow Histories duology, but this is a book about books, something that I adore so I am extremely shocked that it took me this long to pic up The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep.
Again it’s going to be impossible to pick just one so here goes:
“And, like that, there was no going back. A Dragon had been called and someone would have to die.”
― Evan Winter, The Rage of Dragons
“While it is true that there is a freedom in forgetting – and this country has made great use of that freedom – there is a tremendous power in remembrance. Indeed, it is memory that teaches us, and reminds us, again and again, who we truly are and who we have always been.”
― Kelly Barnhill, When Women Were Dragons
“English did not just borrow words from other languages; it was stuffed to the brim with foreign influences, a Frankenstein vernacular. And Robin found it incredible, how this country, whose citizens prided themselves so much on being better than the rest of the world, could not make it through an afternoon tea without borrowed goods.”
― R.F. Kuang, Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution
“I barely understand it, the way I would willingly kneel for you, anywhere, for anything. The way I would fight for you. The way I want to be at your side. Is that what love is, Malini? Is that how awful love is? Because if it is, then I love you, the way that roots love the deep and leaves love the light. It’s—the way I am. And no matter how much I try to be good, to do right—I’m all flowers in your arms, for your war, for you—”
― Tasha Suri, The Oleander Sword
I couldn’t really think of a book that fit this prompt, but Her Majesty’s Royal Coven certainly had some shocking moments, as well as shocking beliefs woven through the story and I certainly gasped a few times whilst reading it.
I know the likelihood of Malini and Priya’s happy ending is low at best, but I am here for them trying. The Oleander Sword made and then proceeded to absolutely break me and I am desperate to get my hands on book three.
I am a sucker for a found family, and the one in The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches quickly wormed it’s way into my heart. It was full of fun and snark and plenty of emotions, but I loved seeing them all open up to one another and slowly come to care for each other.
I love Dennards Witchlands books, so had high expectations for The Luminaries which it met & then some. Kingfisher has a knack for writing older MC’s which I adore & her quirky characters & story in Nettle & Bone ensured I loved this book as much as her others. I actually wasn’t a huge fan of Grace’s first series, but Belladonna was wondrously gothic and dark and creepy and I adored it.
This was one of the few 12 months / 12 friends/ 12 books picks that I actually manages to read & I am SO glad that it was Iron Widow. I’ve talked about it plenty already but it’s bloody brilliant so make sure you get it on your TBR’s.
Hart has my heart… ok so I didn’t mean for that to rhyme but it’s true. I am a sucker for a grump/sunshine romance & Hart is that brooding silent guy who has a heart of gold as long as you chip away at it type, so yeah… I very quickly fell a little in love with him.
Suri should write a world building master class because she manages to fit in so much information without it ever feeling dumpy. The world in The Oleander Sword is sublime and the setting is so incredibly vivid it’s hard not to feel transported there when you’re reading her books.
This was such a fun romantasy to read. The drama, the tension, the little digs at each other and the snark. I buddy read this one with Jordyn & we both adored it and agreed that, despite the absolute killer ending, it was super fun and definitely put a smile on our faces.
Let’s be honest. All of Klune’s books make me cry in some way or form, and Under the Whispering Door was no exception.
This book was so bloody good! Like, I figured I would enjoy it, I just didn’t realise how much until I was right there, way too invested in the characters, Human and Iri alike. The Shadow Glass was a fun, nostalgic read with a lot of heart & I cannot recommend it enough
I’m not being dramatic when I say that this book, especially the ending destroyed me. Kuang knows how to write these stories, with characters you get overly invested in and then break your heart piece by piece. It was epic, brilliant and heartbreaking… so I’m definitely going to be picking it up again.
I think Williams Ikiri duology made my list last year, but he does know how to write some unique and quirky stories. Dyer Street Punk Witches was certainly that, but also filled with a lot of heart, plenty of magic and some epic fight scnes.
I did actually make a list of all the books I’ve read that made me angry (link) in case you want to check that out, but these four really stood out to me from last year. By angry, I don’t mean I didn’t love them because I did, but angry because all of these books deal with some kind of injustice & the more I read, the more I found myself getting angrier and angrier.
Gah I always hate doing these! I think, review wise, my reviews for Babel & Bloodmarked were two of my favourite. General post wise I have my 50 Fantasy Releases of 2023 as well as my post talking about Love Triangles!
I didn’t really take any bookish photo’s this year, but I did start a TikTok account which I am extremely slowly but surely getting better at, and I’ve posted lots of beautiful books/recommendations on there if you want to check it out!
Again, there was no Bookish event for me this year, so I want to take this prompt to big up BBNYA. not so much an event as a yearly competition, but BBNYA spotlights Indie & self-published authors and tries to give them a bigger presence in the bookish world. The people behind it are amazing and if you haven’t heard about it make you you give them a follow on twitter or check out the website for details of when the 2023 competition is going to start!
Maybe deciding to start my TikTok? I also got followed by a few of my fave authors on Twitter which is always fun!
I think just life in general. I went through a few slumps this year, but nothing major. Also Twitter potentially imploding because I get a lot of blog views through it, as well as it’s the place I find out about all the upcoming books and talk to all my lovely blogger friends.
Just my reviews in general I guess! I have noticed the views picking up more, but they still always get less views/interactions that my other posts… I know this is the same for most of us.
I absolutely failed at my 12 months / 12 friends / 12 books goal last year, reading only 4 of the books, but I did smash my Goodreads goal by reading 119 books (Yes, I’m annoyed that it wasn’t a nice round 120.) I’ve decided to just go with the flow this year & read what I want, but Leah and I are still attempting our backlist buddy reads, so I’m hoping to knock a few books off my TBR that way.
2023 is going to be the year of the Backlist reads… I hope. I have no illusions that I’m going to finish every single book I own, but haven’t read yet but, along side my buddy reviews with Leah I am hoping to slowly but surely start making my way through it picking up at least on backlist book each month!