2022 Top 10 Favorite Books

It’s that time of year in the book blogging world where many of us list our favorite books from the whole year. This is my second round up of this kind and it always serves as a nice way to look back at what I read. This year I read over 60 books, so I have a lot more from which to choose some favorites. I can’t rank them since I loved them each for different reasons. (Don’t make me, it’s too hard to choose!) So here’s a list of my top 10 favorite books of 2022 in no particular order. Actually, I lied. I listed them in ascending reading order (January to December).

To Bleed A Crystal Bloom by Sarah A. Parker

To Bleed A Crystal BloomA friend introduced me to this self-published book and I went in not knowing too much about it. But wow does this author have some writing talent, particularly in the tension department! This is an adult dark fantasy romance, so look up the content warnings before you get started. But it starts out as a Rapunzel retelling of sorts before branching out fully into its own story. The main female character, Orlaith, was saved as a very young child and stays sequestered away, unwilling to truly face the world despite her guardian’s urging. You can read the official synopsis and my full review here.

The League of Gentlewomen Witches by India Holton

I requested this book on a whim on NetGalley and absolutely loved the amount of witty banter in it. When I opened the book and saw the writing style, I initially thought it would be stuffy. The writing is reminiscent of the western classics by Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters. But I quickly realized it’s much more approachable (for me) and infused with various humorous and suggestive subtleties. This is a great book for those who appreciate a light read with plenty of snark, a headstrong witch, and a stubborn but incorrigible pirate. You can read the official synopsis and my full review here.

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan

I have a soft spot for any fantasy story that features the fae. Although I didn’t subjectively rate this as high as some of the other books listed, I still think about this book. And that fact is why it’s listed here. If you like twist endings and the fae, you have to check out this Young Adult fantasy. Any book in which I can’t guess what will happen and instead ends up blowing my mind sticks with me. This is book one of a duology and I really need to read book two. You can read the official synopsis and my full review here.

Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang

While I don’t read nearly as much historical fiction as I used to, this one called to me on NetGalley. And I’m glad I listened to my gut because this book is stunning. The writing is lyrical, reflective, introspective and dang does the author know how to tell a story! Be aware that it is a sad tale and it has some content warnings. But it’s an important one to tell as it’s set in the 1880s United States against the backdrop of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Racism against Chinese people isn’t a topic that my public school system spent a ton of time on. So this helps carve a niche in our collective memory of the anti-Chinese sentiment in the U.S. during that time. You can read the official synopsis and my full review here.

Jane Against the World by Karen Blumenthal

I don’t quite remember how I found out about this book. Maybe its title circulated in an article I read after the Supreme Court of the United States reversed Roe v. Wade. Regardless, it doesn’t matter. I converted my frustrations into reading powers and consumed this nonfiction about the history of women’s reproductive rights. I thought it was an approachable read about the topic and I undoubtedly learned a lot. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I promptly bought my own copy after returning it to the library. If you have any interest in this topic, I highly recommend reading this book. You can read the official synopsis and my full review here.

The Children of Gods and Fighting Men by Shauna Lawless

I read this book after reading a book whose synopsis promised political intrigue and delivered very little of it. So I was ecstatic when THE CHILDREN OF GODS AND FIGHTING MEN delivered on that front. Lawless incorporates actual history with Irish mythology to give us this beauty of a book set in 10th century Ireland. The two main points of view are strong female characters. Gormflaith is politically cunning to ensure her only son remains king. Fódla, who has a quiet strength, will do anything to protect her sister’s son. There are Vikings and magic and political maneuvering. Surely that’s enough to pique your interest! 😉 You can read the official synopsis and my full review here.

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

THE ATLAS SIX is a perfectly atmospheric dark academia book. The most common comment I see about this book is that none of the characters are likable. And that’s correct. I honestly didn’t mind it, though, as it is a book where pretention is prevalent. It fits the whole western secret society vibe. I don’t care too much for philosophy in my reads. But Blake did a great job incorporating it, as well as some quantum physics, without making me fall asleep. The theme woven throughout THE ATLAS SIX is whether knowledge should be available to all or gatekept by a few. You can read the official synopsis and my full review here.

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

This is the first vampire book I read in…years. I bet the last one I read was one by Anne Rice in high school! A DOWRY OF BLOOD wasn’t on my radar, but I requested it on a whim after seeing raving early reviews post-Orbit acquisition. It’s a Dracula retelling from the point of view of one of his wives. It highlights how utter adulation and obsession can obscure from yourself someone’s faults. The prose in this is fantastic. There are so many different themes used by Gibson that I wanted to spend time analyzing it with a group. And that speaks volumes because I hated doing just that in English class in high school. (Probably because I wasn’t interested in most things we read.) The review I wrote happens to be one of my favorites this year. (Cue Mean Girls: so you think you’re pretty? :-P)

The Dark Queens by Shelley Puhak

the dark queensTHE DARK QUEENS: THE BLOODY RIVALRY THAT FORGED THE MEDIEVAL WORLD is arguably my favorite nonfiction of the year. Prior to reading this I hadn’t heard of these two 6th century queens, Brunhild and Fredegund. That’s hardly surprising since Early Medieval history wasn’t part of my public school curriculum in the U.S. (It’s a topic that I think people more often choose to study at higher education levels.)

As you might imagine, men predominately recorded history and presented it to the world. This book studies these two queens through, instead, a female gaze. It’s a narrative nonfiction, so it’s fairly easy to follow and it won’t put you to sleep. I think one of the more amazing things about this book is the amount of detail Puhak assembled because many written records from this time no longer exist. You can read the official synopsis and my full review here.

Alone With You in the Ether by Olivie Blake

I spent a while deliberating whether to buy one of the upcoming special editions or the standard edition of this book. While I love how Illumicrate’s version looks, I was having a hard time justifying the shipping costs from the U.K. (not to mention all of the mail strikes going on) for a non-subscription book. In the end Target unexpectedly had a great deal on books and I snagged this for about half price. I had a gut feeling I’d love this book and ding ding, accurate! After loving two books in a row by this author, I think it’s time to move her into a coveted auto-buy spot.

This isn’t a long book, but it’s very intentionally written. I’m not a mental health professional, but I feel pretty confident in saying that this book highlights mental health. It’s written so well that either Blake did a lot of research or she has personal knowledge of the topic; after reading the Author’s Note, it seems the latter. Anyway, it’s a fantastic book about ultimate acceptance of who you are and how important that can be for oneself. Review to come!

What are some of your top reads for 2022? If you have a list, feel free to comment with a link to your blog post!

14 thoughts on “2022 Top 10 Favorite Books

  1. Your description of the writing in Four Treasures of the Sky has me curious now. I haven’t yet put together my favs of the year, but Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky is certainly on it.

    1. I definitely recommend checking out Four Treasures of the Sky! I feel like it didn’t get a lot of recognition in the bookish community for whatever reason, but it’s really good.

      Adrian Tchaikovsky is an author I’ve been wanting to try since I first started blogging nearly 2 years ago. I’m glad that you really enjoyed Elder Race! Happy New Year!

    1. I definitely think you should! However, I wouldn’t call the characters “likable,” either, in ALONE WITH YOU IN THE ETHER. She uses a very similar writing style, but it’s not a fantasy book. I’m not sure what genre I would use to describe it…maybe literary fiction? I think it’s her writing that really draws me in.

  2. Great list! I added a couple of these after seeing countless mentions of them in people’s favourites/wrap-up lists. I’m probably most excited for The League of Gentlewomen Witches, Alone With You in the Ether (even though I’ve not read one book by this author yet, lol) and The Dark Queens. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction but this one sounded way too good to pass up and so many people seemed to love it! ? I hope you have an awesome 2023!

    1. Yay, glad you added a few of these to your list! I enjoyed The League of Gentlewomen Witches so much I requested an ARC of the next one, The Secret Service of Tea and Treason. But it’s a Berkley book so idk if they’ll approve me again…they seem to be very selective with who they give ARCs to!

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