Best & Most Disappointing Books of 2022

Better late than never, right? Every year I compile a best and most disappointing books list for the previous year. I go through all of my stats and just give a quick…debrief as you will. And while I think the time might be close to passing to do this, life has just gotten away from me a bit. And to be honest, this is going to be a bit of a book heavy month on the blog…it’s what I’ve got going on over here right now haha. 

Also- I realize that I never wrapped up the books I read in December…I read 6 books and I honestly just don’t have it in me to go backwards and review them at this point. The standout reads were The Savior’s Book Café Story in Another World by Kyouka Izumi (manga), The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton ((Historical Mystery) and that’s really it. 

So, in 2022 I read a total of 31,032 pages across 85 books. I gave an average rating of 3.8 stars. My longest book of the year came in at 805 pages! I feel like I had several standouts for both good and…not good reasons. I will say- most of the books were average to good – even some great ones in there and this year it was actually hard to narrow down to the best books I read.  Let’s get into those…

Best Books of 2022

People Love Dead Jews by Dara Horn – Be prepared to hear a lot about this one this month (as I’m doing a nonfiction edition of Jewish Literature), but I’ll scream this to the rooftops- read this book. Seriously. This single handedly changed the way I looked at several things, and a lot of it was relating to how I look at what we consume and Jew Hatred. Read it. Read it. Read it.

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes – Let me tell you, this science fiction novel took me by surprise. I enjoyed the suspense, the slow build up to the explosive ending, even if the ending felt a bit like an empty balloon (and I mean the end end, not the explosive ending). The atmosphere and that foreboding feeling was enough to make this a standout success for me. 

Neon Gods by Katee Robert – Boy did this book set me off on a course that I didn’t expect. Hades/Persephone retelling with a whole lot of smut thrown in…I guess I’m there. Now I will say, I do think that A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair is BETTER, but this one gets the props because it really set me off on the road. 

My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen – You’ll hear me talk about this one again next month I believe as it features in a Jewish Literature post, but I loved this young adult novel. It talks about so many different, but very real and very similar social issues that we deal with in a historical baking setting. A gender swapped retelling of Pygmalion (by Shaw) it’s a good time that had me shouting YES throughout. 

It wouldn’t be a best of list if there weren’t some Honorable Mentions…

You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen – I found this book, similar to My Fine Fellow, really tackled those social issues at a YA level incredibly well. As a reader you are really able to see the modern world, where internet and reality collide and how that impacts everyone, as well as different levels of hatred. 

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare – This was a surprise for me as I put down Cassandra Clare a long time ago and had zero interest of picking it back up. I read this on a whim and fell right back down the rabbit hole of her worlds. Looking forward to continuing on with all the series (minus the very first). 

A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair – I mentioned this earlier, but I find this Hades/Persephone retelling to be just top notch. The entire series is a great coming of age story with a fantasy romance that just makes for fun reading. 

Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong – Another smash hit by Chloe Gong! I’m looking forward to just about anything she writes. 

Disappointing Books of 2022

Only two this year as, like I said, I feel like most of my stuff was average and above, so really only two notables stand out as disappointing.

The Hunting Wives by May Cobb – This was just…not great. It was supposed to be one of those fun mystery/thrillers with like bored housewives who start something, and it gets out of hand. And it is, but it’s horrible. The main character does not have any redeeming qualities, none of the side characters are developed in a way that maybe you could root or find enjoyment in them, and the story is…predictable and nothing great. 

Trouble on the Books by Essie Lang – This one wasn’t much better than the other. I was hoping for a good cozy mystery set in/around a bookstore, small town community (a la Ellery Adams) and it was just…not. The story was flimsy, the main character who was supposed to be a “detective” in the amateur sense, was horrible and she just went off the deep end so many times. The story was a bit too convenient in too many ways and it just wasn’t enjoyable. 

So, there you have it! My Best and Most Disappointing for 2022. What tops your list for the past year??? 

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – November 2022

Happy end of November! Happy almost end of 2022! What a crazy thought to thing. I’ve been seeing a several memes circulating about how it’s about to be 2023, but we’re all still stuck in some way in December of 2019 and…well facts. Hard to believe it’s about to be 2023. 

November was a good reading month for me! A lot of can’t put down, stay up late books and that really, honestly, just makes a reading month for me. I did have a little reading break Thanksgiving Week with family and the boys off of school for much longer than anticipated (we got a massive snowstorm, which you would think would be great reading weather, but instead I just kept staring out the window in absolute wonder), but overall, a total of 8 books read and average 4.28 rating. 

So, let’s break that down…

The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones NR This is a screenplay horror that takes the final girl slasher and puts a bit of a spin on it. I really enjoyed this, and it was a good way to keep the Halloween horror vibes going just a bit longer. 

Lore Olympus: Volume 3 3.5 Stars I’m still enjoying these graphic novel interpretations of the Greek G-ds/Hades & Persephone myths, though I wouldn’t say they’re my favorite. I’ll keep on keeping on with them because boy are they beautiful and I’m still feeling this whole Greek Mythology retelling genre.

Anon Pls by DeuxMoi 3.5 Stars This was borderline bumped up to a 4 (and I did on Goodreads) because I just really enjoyed it. I really love pop culture in so many ways, and the DeuxMoi account on social media is really great to just get all the random tidbits about “famous” people. While the author does a really great job at adjusting and making clear this is fiction (though based on real life events), it does give some insight in to the behind the scenes of an industry that prides itself on looks/appearances/smoke & mirrors. 

Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong 4 Stars Chloe Gong does it once again. This is a separate duology set after the These Violent Delights duology, following one of our characters. I loved this one, even if it took me a good chunk of pages to get into it. 

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng 5 Stars This book was a start and stop for me, mostly because it terrified me. This book could be so close to our reality in so many ways that it almost made it unreadable (for me). Celeste Ng just has a way with writing and storytelling, and I always end up crying throughout her books. 

A Light in the Flame by Jennifer L Armentrout 4 Stars This is the second book in the Flesh & Fire Series (that takes place prior to the Blood & Ash series) and once again, these books do exactly what I need them to do. The world building and character development is a bit better in this series than Blood & Ash- it feels like maybe now she’s a bit more comfortable in the world or maybe she’s figured out the rhythm to these characters. Regardless, romance with slight fantasy plot and I’m good. 

My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen 5 Stars I read this for my Jewish Literature project, so I’m not going to talk about it too much, but I loved it. I was hesitant to pick it up, but it was well worth it. Of note, it’s shocking the things that the characters experienced in the 1800’s are things we experience today. Just some food for thought before my post.  

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin 5 Stars – Boy this one punches you in the GUT and I enjoyed it. We are following a podcast host while she is working on a current events podcast, so not only are you getting the narrative, but you also get the podcast. Highly recommend, however this does come with some content and trigger warnings so please check those out before reading.

And that wraps up my November in books! Not bad, not bad at all! Looking forward to that last month of holiday reading!

A Cuppa Cosy – November 2021

I’ll be honest with you; I don’t really know how great this month’s reading recap is going to be. It’s not that I didn’t do a lot of reading (6 books) or that it was that I didn’t like the books that I read (average rating of 3.6), rather the fact that over the last week of the month and into the first week of this month that my mind kind of went to mush. We had some personal things going on and so, basically everything has left my mind. I’m going to try and do my best to share my thoughts (some of which are strong worded), but it also might be a little bare compared to previous months. We shall see how it goes…

Prince Charming by Rachel Hawkins 3 Stars: This was fine, exactly as it should be. Not groundbreaking, but a fun little pick me up. I really love this royal/royal adjacent romance trope, and this fell really well into that, though I wouldn’t say it was a memorable one. 

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire 4 Stars: I read this toward the beginning of November, when I had a reading plan for the month (that fell apart), and I still don’t quite know how to talk about it. It’s a weird one…almost like if you ever wanted to read a sci-fi fantasy set in our modern-day world. 

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson 4 Stars This is not my favorite Sanderson novel by any stretch. I still enjoyed it, BUT I felt like a lot of the book (like at the very least 2/3) was a set up for possibly a duology or trilogy, only for the last 1/3 to ¼ to conclude everything. Almost like he wanted to turn it into a duology at the least but wasn’t given clearance from editor/publisher. I still really enjoyed it, but it is definitely towards the bottom of the list of Sanderson novels I’ve read. 

Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong 4 Stars This book was such a good, epic conclusion to this Romeo & Juliet meets fantasy (maybe a bit steam punk too???) meets Shanghai duology. While there were a couple parts that I…thought could have been edited down a bit more, on the whole it was a great book. 

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 3 Stars A book that I don’t know what really stuck with me. I enjoyed it, will probably pick up the second book, but I don’t know that there was anything truly “stand out” about it. It was a fine read. 

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer NR This book…this book I feel passionate about. For starters, you’ll note that I didn’t give it a rating; that’s because I don’t really know HOW to rate this book. I’m conflicted because while I enjoyed seeing a “Jewish” themed holiday romance (a la hallmark in a novel), I had some very direct notable issues. For starters the fact that this is book is marketed to both Jews and Non-Jews, BUT it doesn’t handle writing for both well. It seemed to waffle back and forth, rather than sticking with one and then adding an appendix or some description section. I also don’t really like how the concept of “liking Christmas” is akin to abandoning Judaism is handled in the book and a couple of other specific religious issues were handled. But then I DO appreciate that this is hitting the market, that it is being done, and that we can see some Jewish books. So, conflicted. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop. 

And that was it! I know some had a lot, others had little, but I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts anyways. Let me know, what was one book you read in November that you enjoyed.

A Cuppa Cosy Reads – August 2021

How is it already the end of August? How are we only 4-5 months away from 2022? How has this year quite literally flown by??? Minor crisis over, let’s talk about August in Books. I read a total of 11 books, with an average rating of 3.93 (whoa!). I will be honest; I ALMOST got a little slumpy there for a week. I read one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it might find its way on my most disappointed list for the year. It put me in quite the mood that took a bit of work to get out of. Any guesses on what book that was? Let’s get into it…

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton 3.5 Stars This needs to come with trigger warnings for abuse, school shooting, terror to children of all ages, and some pretty harsh words and content. This story is about a school shooting that seemingly melds the school shooting, family life, and diversity together in a way that just feels so real. 

Starsight by Brandon Sanderson 5 Stars Honestly, at this point I’m just a sucker for anything Brandon Sanderson writes, and I need the third book in this series STAT. 

The Nesting Dolls by Alina Adams 4 Stars I really really enjoyed this novel. It’s a generational saga of sorts, following a single-family line as they go from a small shtetl in the USSR to America and the struggles that each generation faces in each space. Part of this reason I enjoyed this is because there are similarities between my own family and that of the Nesting Dolls family (it’s basically the same in so many ways), but I found it to be beautifully written and a great insight into a time that was complicated for so many. Honestly, I could do a whole standalone chat about this book…maybe I should?

Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong NR I’ve added 10 minutes of poetry reading into my morning routine and loving it. This was the second book that I worked through a little at a time and it was just so beautifully, artfully written. You could feel the authors pain and longing to be in each and every poem, almost as he was writing himself into existence and into memory. 

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee 3 Stars Ah, the disappointment of disappointments. I had such high hopes- EVERYONE had talked about how good this was. And it wasn’t BAD, it just…well it wasn’t really sure what it wanted to be. It focused so heavily (and did so well) on the atmosphere, the school setting, the love of literature, that everything else (namely plot) kind of fell flat. I had read almost half of the book before I even took a look at genres and the fact that it was a thriller helped and hindered it. Honestly, this is another book that I could do a whole standalone chat on…so many thoughts.

They Never Learn by Layne Fargo 4 Stars  Man was this book a ride. I don’t know if part of my enjoyment of this was just because I read after the disappointment referenced above, or if it was actually that good, but this twist…man this twist. I read this in 24 hours- I could not stop. 

The Royal Art of Poisoning by Eleanor Herman NR This was my second Eleanor Herman novel, and I loved this one just as I loved the other that I read, Sex with Kings. She has this way of writing such detailed history but infusing it with dry humor that leaves you both dumbfounded and cackling. This book divides into three sections, the first about the general concept of poisoning in history, the second notable figures in history that were thought (at one time) to be poisoned, and the third the modern art of poisoning in the political/royal realm.

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca NR This is a struggle. Honestly, I don’t even know what I actually read with this book, let alone how to talk about it. 

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong 4 Stars. I very much enjoyed this book, borderline loved it. If you like (but maybe not love) Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, this is a retelling that shakes up the initial narrative, introduces a sci-fi/supernatural hit, and sets it all in Shanghai. I found it to be a dynamic read that is just enjoyable from start to finish. And then I immediately pre ordered the second book. 

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix 4 Stars I really enjoyed this book. The entire book is a sort of satirical look into what life in the small-town south in the 80’s was like with a supernatural twist. It’s a fun one to read through and enjoy the ride. 

Know My Name by Chanel Miller NR This was easily the most incredible, powerful book that I’ve read this year. Beautifully written, incredibly powerful, and provides a massive insight into the court system and looks at various different things that we can work to change for the court system. 

And that was it! I’m currently reading For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing and enjoying it. What was your favorite book of the month? Any above interest you or have you read any of the above books?