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 – July 2022

I feel like I say this every month now, but I can’t believe another month has come to an end. And this month I really just felt like got away from me in so many ways- that balance of life really took a tumble. With that life balance tumble, my reading was rocky. I read quite a few books, 10, BUT I either felt ambivalent or angry about them. It was a rough month- even looking back now and calculating the average rating of 3.25. I did DNF (did not finish) two books that I got enough of the way in that I’ll be including later in the post. Here’s to hoping that August goes better across the board!

Let’s just get in to the nitty/gritty of it all, shall we?

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen 3 Stars This was fine. It’s very reminiscent of Practical Magic (if you liked that you’ll like this), but calmer in so many ways. It’s a feel-good story that was nice and calming to read but didn’t extend beyond that. 

Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin 4 Stars Maybe? I’m still not sure I know entirely how I feel about this book, but man did it pull at a string in my mama heart. So much so, that I want to warn other mamas on reading this- it will tug your emotions and make you think things and question decisions. 

The Body in the Garden by Katherine Schellman 4 Stars Hello cozy mystery from the Victorian Era. A very low stakes (think Ellery Adams) fun mystery that our heroine suddenly finds herself embroiled in. I really enjoyed this one (and the second one that’s up next). It really is Ellery Adams, but Victorian. 

Silence in the Library by Katherine Schellman 4 Stars The second in this mystery series that I’ll definitely be continuing on found our heroine embroiled in another mystery, but the kind that helps her grow in herself and helps her find some suitors of a romantic nature. 

The Hunting Wives by May Cobb 2 Stars My biggest disappointment yet. I had high hopes after hearing such good things, but it not only fell flat for me, but the main character POV was obnoxious. Couldn’t stand any of this book and was actually quite glad it was over. It gets a second star for the fact that I didn’t entirely see the mystery ending the way it did until it was happening. 

Half A Soul by Olivia Atwater 3 Stars I was on the fence about this book, actually put it down and then picked it back up throughout the month, but I’ve settled on it being a “fine” book. The thing this has going for it is that it represents fae in their true sense, but there’s only a fraction of it in this entire book, so don’t let that be a reason for you to pick it up.

We Had to Remove This Post by Hanna Bervoets, translated by Emma Rault 4 Stars I have to say, this is probably one of the best reads of my month. This gave me a lot to think about, a lot to consider in both my own personal social media and others. There’s a larger discussion to be had around this book and I look forward to being able to have it with others who have read it. 

Trouble on the Books by Essie Lang 2 Stars Another disappointment to really end the month with. To be bluntly honest, I found this to be the most unbelievable of cozy mysteries. It just…. none of it worked (in as much as our main characters doing as much as she was) and I found the main character POV to be…well just dumb. This book had me questioning my cozy small town mystery book shop vibe genre I had going on. 

I DNF’d:

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard – On its face this book probably had everything to be a fantastic found family, chosen one, save the world trope duology, BUT I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t care about any of it, except a side character or two, which were not present nearly enough to keep me going with it. 

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix Another one where the main character POV just really ruined the entire book for me. I could have probably continued on and enjoyed it, but I couldn’t get past the viewpoint that we were reading from. 

And that’s it! A lot to talk about, but also not a lot haha. I will say, with as lackluster as some of the month turned out to be in reading, I’ve been very grateful to utilize my library as much as I have been! Did you have a good reading month in July? Or was it lackluster?