Book Archive 2022

Look at me, recapping the last year of reading while it’s still the first week of the new year! If 2021 was summed up as the end of grad school and a return to recreational and leisure reading, then 2022 was a record breaking year of reading. I read 103 books last year. Yes, a hundred and three books! I chalk this up to discovering that I can borrow audiobooks via an app through my library that completely transformed my audiobook game. It’s like I went back in time to the late 1970’s when I had a shiny new library card and could check out five books at a time only now I’m an adult and it’s audiobooks I can listen to whenever I’m doing anything I can do by rote. It was a lot and I realized that I also needed this year of reading to refill my creative well for my writing, too. The more books I read, the more ideas I had flowing. More to come on that at a later time! For now, here’s my own personal recap of the year with notes for anyone looking for a quick list of recommendations (or warnings in some cases!)

Books I Read in 2022 (in chronological order)

  • The Book of Accidents, Chuck Wendig – enjoyable horror story from an author I have read a lot about and learned from at conferences but hadn’t picked up many of his books. This one caught my eye and it was really cool without much gore (if I remember correctly).
  • Malibu Rising, Taylor Jenkins Reid – great story of flawed people
  • Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir – the second time I read this because a friend and I gushed about how great it was at a writing retreat and I got a physical copy. So good even a second time.
  • People We Meet on Vacation, Emily Henry – split timeline romance novel that was really well done with a great ending
  • The Egg and Other Stories, Andy Weir – a collection of short stories because I was curious if everything he had ever written was just amazing. I learned that authors of amazing books all have to start somewhere with not everything being amazing. It gave me hope as an author myself.
  • Come as You Are, Emily Nagoski – a nonfiction book about how people are wired differently when it comes to sex and how to just accept yourself
  • Recursion, Blake Crouch – hard sci fi that was very well done. I really like everything I’ve ever read by this author.
  • The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club #1), Lyssa Kay Adams – a romance from the point of view of the man? It was interesting and enjoyable and was recommended by a friend. Definitely worth a read!
  • Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth – a book recommended by an “Empowered Women” resource group through work and a great nonfiction pick
  • Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life, Susan David – another “Empowered Women” recommendation that I liked even more than Grit. If you’re into self-help and psychology I recommend it.
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reed – one of the best books I read this year! Highly recommended
  • How Women Rise, Sally Helgesen – another nonfiction from my “Empowered Women” group that was geared toward how to get promoted in the workplace.
  • The Child (Kate Waters #2), Fiona Barton – book club pick that was a satisfying mystery and reads like a stand alone novel even though it is in a series
  • Billy Summers, Stephen King – I had zero expectations going into this since King’s writing lately has been hit or miss for me. I really liked this one which is his take on being in the mind of a hitman for hire.
  • The Shadows, Alex North – I wanted to love this one more because it was by the same author of one of my favorite reads last year but it was not as good.
  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (The Carls #1), Hank Green – very true-to-life/plausible scifi that a friend recommended and was very good. This one is good especially if you are fascinated with the appeal of social media
  • Beautiful World, Where are You, Sally Rooney – the first Did-Not-Finish of the year. This doesn’t happen very often but when it does I feel sad. The characters were flat and a third of the way in I couldn’t make myself give a single shit about any of it so I put it down. At least these days I don’t waste audible credits on books like this that come with a LOT of hype in the book reading community.
  • Dark and Shallow Lies, Ginny Myers Sain – a young-adult murder mystery that I thing was well done for YA but could have been so much better if written deeper and with more horror for the adult market. If you like to read murder mysteries but don’t love to be scared then this would be a great pick for you.
  • A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor (The Carls #2), Hank Green – the second book was just as good as the first one!
  • Will, Will Smith – I wanted this to be mindblowing (again, thank you book marketing hype) but it was merely an interesting telling of Will Smith and how he grew up and became famous. I learned some cool tidbits but nothing earth shattering.
  • Anatomy: A Love Story, Dana Schwartz – a book club pick that was a fun read about a woman who wanted to be a doctor at a time when it wasn’t allowed that had a romance element to it as well. A fun read!
  • The Kind Worth Killing, Peter Swanson – psychological thriller recommended (and gifted) from a friend. It was a really good read if you like that genre!
  • 1984, George Orwell – I know I read this when I was a kid for an English class but I couldn’t really remember it so I read it again. I just don’t like the writing style from the time and the themes of the book are just as disturbing to our time as they were back then. Am I glad I read it? The jury is still out.
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1), Talia Hibbert – do you like strong a diverse female character romance? Hell yes this is a series for you.
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, Max Brooks – this one had been on my to-read list for a while and someone mentioned it in a book discussion so I put a hold on it from the library. I had seen the movie by the same name but this was done in a very interesting way and it was in some ways better than the movie that tried to tie it all into a single person experiencing the end of the world. The book is always better, folks!
  • Dare to Lead, BrenĂ© Brown – a re-read with a group of leaders at work. Just as good the second time
  • A Pale Light in the Black (NeoG #1), K.B. Wagers – a fantastic scifi adventure set in space with found family themes. I loved this book and couldn’t wait for the second one!
  • How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them, Barbara F. Walter – super disturbing to read how bad things really are/could be in the USA if we don’t look around and pay attention in several areas.
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V.E. Schwab – this was a re-read because it got picked for my bookclub. I read it again anyway because it was the best book I read in 2021. The whole group loved it. So much better the second time!
  • Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2), Talia Hibbert – more diverse female character romance that was just as good as the first. I think this was my favorite in the whole series.
  • The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block, Hillary Rettig – someone recommended this one as a writer reference book. I didn’t know how much I was suffering from perfectionism and how much THAT was driving my writer’s block and struggles to get back into writing. I am so glad I picked this up on Kindle and read it at the perfect time after grad school!
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Holly Jackson – another young adult mystery that I didn’t hate. Honestly, after all this time I just know that I am unsatisfied with the YA genre so it shouldn’t be surprising that they are just okay when I read them.
  • Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters #3), Talia Hibbert – third in the series and so much fun!
  • Perfectly Undone, Jamie Raintree – I picked this up because I follow the author on social media and use tools she sells for productivity tracking for years. I was curious having seen her journey leading up to this novel being published. It was not a genre I usually love but enjoyed reading this one.
  • The Lighting Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1), Rick Riordan – my kids have both been begging me to read this damn (MIDDLE GRADE) series for them for years. Pretty sure they tricked me by making me choose either this or Harry Potter and because I really dig mythology I thought this would be the lesser of two evils (and I don’t have to burn Audible credits anymore thanks to library books!) We listened together on our spring break road trip and I didn’t die.
  • Utah’s Best Poetry and Prose 2022, League of Utah Writers – I was curious to read the winners of a writing contest I was thinking about entering so I picked up the curated winners from the previous year to get a sense of the types of things win. It was a great little collection and inspired a short story that I will have published in 2023 as a result.
  • It Ends with Us, Colleen Hoover – this was recommended by one of my bookclub friends and I had mixed feelings when it was over. It is about generational abuse and I wasn’t sure why it wasn’t living up to the hype until my daughter also read it and nailed it that it is an interesting story but not well written. Flat characters and a lot of “telling” instead of gripping scenes that just unfold in your imagination. It had so much hype and neither of us could really understand why.
  • Aurora Blazing (Consortium Rebellion #2), Jessie Mihalik – finally this series was finished so it was time to read the second. It was as good as the first in the series. Strong female leading character, scifi space action, and steamy romance make it a perfect series for me.
  • The Last Thing She Told Me, Linda Green – book club pick that is a generational secrets thriller/mystery that kept me guessing all the way through but could have kept me more on the edge of my seat. It was pretty good but not memorable.
  • The Love Hypothesis, Ali Hazelwood – I think this is one of my new favorite romance authors because her books are all filled with female scientists as main characters. This was the first of many I read of her this year thanks to a friend who recommended it.
  • The Awakening, Caroline Peckham – another dud for me that comes with a warning. This is probably considered “new adult” where the characters are in high school/early college and coming of age. It was a hot mess of every cliche trope you could throw in: vampires, sirens, mermaids, werewolves, lost magical babies raised in the mundane human world and not knowing their true identity. Add to that a boatload of non-consenting sexual encounters that were borderline rape and it was a hard hell no to any more of this series.
  • The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller – an amazing and beautiful retelling of Achilles and Patroclus. It is written for the YA audience but I didn’t hate it and would have loved it even more if I hadn’t recently read a similar retelling not long ago that frames their relationship as it always was (we seriously need more LGBTQ+ positive stories that normalize queerness in literature!)
  • Chaos Reigning (Consortium Rebellion #3), Jessie Mihalik – third in the series which I thought would be the last and turns out is not. Now I have to do what I hate doing and wait for another one to be published!
  • November 9, Colleen Hoover – why the hell is this author getting so much hype!?!? Now that I’ve read several by her there is a theme to her writing that somehow normalizes that abuse is normal? Expected? Okay as long as you are strong and can get through it? Um, NO. Please stop reading this author!!
  • This is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel – A bookclub pick. This was an achingly beautiful and at times very hard to read book about a transgender child told through the eyes of a set of parents who just wanted to love their child and keep them safe. I cried and rejoiced and my heart broke for anyone trying to navigate this reality. If you want to understand without any preaching about how you “should” feel on this topic, I highly recommend it.
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea, T.J. Klune – this had so many recommendations from fellow authors that I put it on my hold list at the library. It was a beautifully written magical story about found families.
  • The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol 1: At the Edge of Empire, Daniel Kraus – really long and hard to read horror novel that I picked up because the author was announced as a keynote speaker for a conference I was attending. It was not my kind of horror novel but I don’t regret reading it.
  • Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman – So many people say this is their favorite Gaiman novel. I love several of his novels and I always thought I was missing out by having not read this one. Turns out this is my least favorite one. Now I know!
  • The Girl with All the Gifts, M.R. Carey – book club pick that I’d had on my to-read list for years. It was a very interesting take on a world coping after a zombie apocalypse.
  • Neon Gods (Dark Olympus #1), Katee Robert – I saw someone I know reading this series and it looked like a very intriguing and adult take on mythology retelling (and after Percy Jackson I needed this in my life.) It did not disappoint although if you’re not into bondage and exhibition (like I’m not) the steamy parts may not be as enjoyable as others in the series. The romance story is SO good, though so I just read fast through the parts that didn’t do it for me.
  • Permanent Record, Edward Snowden – nonfiction account of a fascinating person who changed history and yet is still alive. I had seen the movie they made about Snowden and worried it was not going to be worth reading this book but I was wrong. I especially enjoyed hearing how he had grown up with the internet in the exact same era that I did. It was like reliving my early years online and realizing that it had all happened literally in my lifetime. Fascinating read!
  • Rotters, Daniel Kraus (plus a re-read because it was that good!) I literally read this back to back – first on audible and then I bought a physical copy because it was that good and because I was asked to be on a book discussion panel and I needed to be able to make notes and do analysis to prepare. It is a YA Horror (which you don’t see that often) and was SO good.
  • The (Un)Popular Vote, Jasper Sanchez – a diverse YA romance novel with a side of politics recommended by a friend. This one was SO good I binged the audiobook in a single afternoon in my hammock on the mountain. Give this one to your teenagers!
  • The Night Tiger, Yangsze Choo – a bookclub pick in the historical fiction genre that introduced me to a time in history I knew very little about. It was full of so many characters it was difficult to follow but overall I am glad I read it. Better on audible was the consensus of the group.
  • Rock Paper Scissors, Alice Feeney – this hit my list because my oldest got all excited about a book that hadn’t even been released yet (thanks a lot, TikTok) and I realized I had read another book by this author that I had really liked. So instead of being mad about waiting for one to come out, I picked this one up instead. I really liked it although it is set in the UK and sometimes culturally those don’t always hit the same for me.
  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho – this is another book that’s been on my to-read for years and thanks to library cards and someone recommending it again recently I finally got around to reading. It was nothing like I thought it would be. I’d been led to believe it was all about a journey of enlightenment and new age zen and instead it was steeped in christianity wanting us to believe it was enlightened. I was very disappointed.
  • They Both Die at the End, Adam Silvera – this was a fantastic and emotional read that kept me thinking about it long after it was done. Yes, they both die at the end but the story of the last day of their lives knowing it is the day they will die, was so touching and beautiful. Highly recommended!
  • The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss, Jason Fung – I’ve already discarded all of the “diet culture” bullshit but this was science based discussion about what actually drives the number on the scale written by a doctor and recommended by a doctor (although not my own, but a friend’s). It was scientifically interesting but not mind-blowing. Surprise, insulin is at the root of so many things and there are SO many things that affect insulin that no one ever talks about. This was the last push I needed to finally find a functional medicine doctor to sort out all my hormones that are (surprise!) way messed up. Why aren’t all doctors focused on hormone regulation? Okay, I’m off my soapbox now… I return you to your regularly scheduled book review post!
  • The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin – scifi translated into english from another language often hits differently and this I fear had some of that going on. Recommended by several reader friends, I picked it up and had probably higher expectations going in than I should have. It was an interesting concept and hard scifi like I usually love but it wasn’t compelling enough to continue with the series.
  • Bent Heavens, Daniel Kraus – I actually met the author and was on a horror panel with him at The Quills Conference in which someone asked him if he’d ever written a book he regretted. He immediately said yes, that this book he felt had gone too far down the horror path. Of course that made me want to read it. I can confirm it was very dark and very horrific (and written for the YA audience even!) but I also really enjoyed it and am glad I read it.
  • I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jennette McCurdy – I remember this child actor from one of my oldest’s favorite TV shows growing up. She read it first and gushed about it so I also read it. Talk about a horrific family to grow up in. The title is a raw and truthful summation of the book and by the end I was also glad the woman was gone.
  • Verity, Colleen Hoover – I gave this author one more try but even a novel about a writer was full of weird manipulation and abuse and somehow paints the main characters as somehow not victims of said abuse? It is like reading something and then thinking you’re in the twilight zone hearing so many people say how much they love it. Seriously, stop the insanity!
  • Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few, Robert B. Reich – this is a dated nonfiction book but all the concepts in it still hold true. It made me sad for where we are in society and how politics have put us here.
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid – second read because I picked this for my book club to read. We all loved it and it was even better a second time!
  • The Last House on Needless Street, Catriona Ward – a fantastic horror novel
  • All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1), Martha Wells – this was a novella that I read really fast. It was entertaining but the world was not that compelling and I haven’t picked up another installment yet.
  • A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design, Frank Wilczek – another dud for me. I heard someone talk about how this was their favorite book and how it was all about quantum physics and so amazing. I’m mad that I actually spent an audible credit for it because it was all about trying to reconcile the concept of God and religion with science. That’s a hard pass for me, sorry. Another one that I refused to finish.
  • Upgrade, Blake Crouch – this was another hit from this author. This one about hacking our DNA and the ethics of it. Super great read for any scifi fan.
  • Spells for Forgetting, Adrienne Young – one of my favorite books this year that I picked up just because it was a beautiful cover at my local bookstore. My daughter and I listened to it on a road trip and both loved it.
  • The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos, Judy Batalion – book club pick that was so bleak and hard to read but also such an important piece of history I had never even heard about. Glad I read it but such a hard one!
  • Electric Idol (Dark Olympus #2), Katee Robert – my favorite in the series so far. If you like steamy romance and mythology stories set in current times, this is a fabulous series.
  • The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson #2), Rick Riordan – just slogging through this series to make good on my deal with my children. I’m not unhappy that there are always really long wait times from the library. Don’t tell them I said that! If I struggle with YA, you can imagine how it feels to read middle grade. At least the humor and the mythology are decently entertaining.
  • Just Like Home, Sarah Gailey – what an amazing horror novel and psychological thriller with some paranormal thrown in. The perfect combination of things I like from an author who writes really well. I loved this one!
  • Daisy Darker, Alice Feeney – this is the one that had pre-release hype a plenty. It was also one that lived up to the hype.
  • Hold Fast Through the Fire (NeoG #2), K.B. Wagers – the second in the series and just as satisfying as the first. Now I have to be patient for the next one to release! (In case anyone is wondering, I’m still not a patient woman!)
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue, George M. Johnson – this was on a banned book list one of my local teacher friends shared and picked for a community book club. The proposed ban is probably because it has some graphic depictions of sexual encounters yet is a YA memoir. I am glad I read it but I kind of agree that it needs some content warnings if included in a high school library so readers aren’t shocked by the content. (It is NEVER okay to ban books in my opinion!)
  • The Atlas Six (The Atlas #1), Olivie Blake – I didn’t hate this but I also didn’t love it. The characters were flat, and there was no real motivation for any of the things that happened. Magic is cool but it can’t carry an entire book alone. Not sure I’ll pick up the next in the series.
  • Say Yes, Elle Kennedy – a very steamy novella!
  • The Hating Game, Sally Thorne – another romance because I apparently was on a bit of a kick for that this year. This one was okay but the setup had some holes in it for me that just didn’t make sense and thus I wasn’t a huge fan.
  • The Deep, Rivers Solomon – book club pick that was a very interesting read. I think I liked it better the longer I thought about the themes that it left me with and AFTER the discussion with the group. It is a very meta book that I really loved after the fact.
  • Stuck with You, Ali Hazelwood – another sexy scientist romance that I really enjoyed
  • Under the Whispering Door, T.J. Klune – a second by this author and recommended by a friend. I did love the story overall and liked the unique take on the afterlife.
  • Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir – yes, this is the third time I’ve read this book. Don’t judge! We listened as a family on our road trip and it was still so amazing! First time for hubby and little sister.
  • Upgrade, Blake Crouch – another family road trip book but a re-read for me. Hubby liked is just as much as I did!
  • Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell – another from the local district banned book list and one which has nothing questionable about it unless it is somehow not okay to authentically portray poverty and abusive step parent situations? People need to stop with the book banning bullshit already!
  • Below Zero, Ali Hazelwood – another sexy scientist romance because I love them
  • Fairy Tale, Stephen King – I wanted to love this so much especially when I realized it was another tie-in to the Dark Tower world. It was good, but not amazing, sadly!
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty, Jenny Han – my kids made me watch the television series based on this book series. I must say that I liked the book much better!
  • Beach Read, Emily Henry – what an amazing romance with a side of being a real author and some family trauma thrown in. I really loved this one.
  • We Are the Ants, Shaun David Hutchinson – local bookstore banned books group read that I didn’t really love. Nor could I figure out why anyone would want to ban it?
  • The Inheritance Games, Jennifer Lynn Barnes – a YA read that my daughter convinced me I would like. Surprise, I kind of did and now I’m waiting for the next one on my hold list.
  • Lies Like Wildfires, Jennifer Lynn Alvarez – this one (another YA) fell flat for me. I didn’t like the main character and the mystery was shallow.
  • Where I Left Her, Amber Garza – a fabulous psychological thriller with at least one twist I didn’t see coming at the end. Really loved this one!
  • Wicked Beauty (Dark Olympus #3), Katee Robert – another fabulous and steamy adult mythology. I have no idea how many there will be in this series but I’m going to keep reading them!
  • Under One Roof, Ali Hazelwood – yet another sexy scientist romance… I see a pattern here!
  • Renegades, Marissa Meyer – another recommendation from my daughter although I didn’t truly love this one. Didn’t hate it, but not sure it is worthy of continuing the series.
  • Lifted: Adventures in Ride Sharing, Jared Quan – a story collection written by a friend who I knew WHILE he was collecting these stories. I loved hearing these stories and am glad it was available via audiobook!
  • The Girl Next Door, Jack Ketchum – holy shit this one blew my mind. I was reading a writing book about how to write horror better and this was used several times as an example so I picked it up. It was so horrific but also I couldn’t put it down. This is my kind of horror!
  • Bones & All, Camille DeAngelis – I saw the movie first and then wondered if the book was better. Surprise: it WAS! (Not a surprise to anyone, right?) I really liked this horror novel that was NOT as gory as the movie was.
  • The Anatomy of Story, John Truby – a great writing reference that teaches the difference between story and plot. If you know you know, if you don’t get this book! Although it took me over a year to skim the last half that became very formulaic after the theoretical beginning that I liked the best.
  • Writing in the Dark, Tim Waggoner – best book on how to write horror for authors and aspiring authors. One of the few writing craft books that I read the entire way through and took insights from every single chapter. Highly recommended!

About terraluft

Writer; wife, mother, survivor, and impulsive bitch rarely capable of saying no. Fueled by coffee, yoga and sarcasm. (She/Her) View all posts by terraluft

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