Stealing this from @Aphoride because this is fun and I don't feel like writing or reading anything else tonight.
1. the book that now lives rent-free in my head
Safe to say that this was my grandmother asked you to tell me she's sorry by Fredrik Backman. I have the fanfic on my AP to prove it. Basically Elsa is different and no one understands her quite like her grandmother. Her grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of clues to Elsa to follow in order to understand the fairytale stories her grandmother told her. And in doing so, she comes to understand everyone who lives in the apartment building a little bit more. It's lovely. Read it and you will have no regrets.
2. the book that surprised me the most
Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury. I don't typically go for urban fantasy or anything that is sci-fi or futuristic, but this one caught my eye because "futuristic witches, heck yea!" Anyway, this one is incredible. The world building is smart and accessible (I can't do a lot of details as a reader, ironic given my own writing style, ya?). Though you'll feel old if you're of my generation because several times there were references of things like TikTok that were from the MC's grandmother's generation . But it added to the humor of certain situations, I think. Anyway, this one is a series and you definitely will want to get the sequel that came out this past year as well.
3. the book that disappointed me the most
Witch Please by Ann Aguirre. This was the book that made me believe I could write a (somewhat) contemporary romance with modern day witches. It started out so strong, but I felt like some of the storylines were never fully resolved by the end. The sequel (Boss Witch) was excellent though!
4. the book i learned the most from
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei. For me, the Japanese internment camps in the US during WW2 were a footnote in my history courses. I really didn't think much of it. And that's part of my privilege of when I was born, of being white, etc. But this reminds us that racism has always been alive and well (unfortunately) in America. Through this graphic novel, George Takei explores his childhood experiences of living in an internment camp. I learned so much about the politics of the time (I wasn't alive and again, our school just glossed this stuff over) and how eerily similar recent events mirrored these events and it's like "how have we not learned anything?" But there is hope to be found in this book as well. Anyway, it's a graphic novel, which makes this story really poignant.
5. the book i read the quickest
Wherever Is Your Heart by Anita Kelly. They write the most moving novellas. This is the third book in their Moonlighters series. Both MCs are over 40, they've been hanging together at this queer, karaoke bar for years, and finally, they decide to make a move with one another. It's heartwarming, quick paced, and steamy. I read this one in the same day, I think.
6. the book i read the slowest
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Not because it wasn't good (it was honestly SO AMAZING, GO READ IT). It just always takes me at least a month to read a book that is 800 pages or so. Not only that, but I picked it up in summer and that's the worst time for me to try and read an epic fantasy. Anyway, fantasies aren't generally my thing (too many characters, details, etc., and it makes my brain hurt), however, this one is an exception. It's totally accessible and well laid out. I'm super pumped for the prequel!
7. the worst book i read in 2022
Mrs Rochester's Ghost by Lindsay Marcott. Lbr, Mr Rochester is a horrible fucking character to begin with in Jane Eyre itself. He doesn't belong in a modern setting. I thought this one would be a fun thriller. But the "Jane," character is literally such an idiot and allows the Rochester character to get away with so much verbal and emotional manipulation (and yet, she still wants to bang him). Ohmygod and actually they DO have sex after a shady ass conversation where it's pretty apparent he might have allowed his parents to die following a plane crash. It got to the point where I was skimming this and then just laughing at the ridiculousness of the ending. But I mean, I gotta give Marcott credit for trying to remake Jane Eyre. I just don't think that's a book anyone could ever translate into a modern setting tbh.
8. the best book i read in 2022
Last Night At The Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo. Set in 1950s San Francisco, seventeen year old Lily is the daughter of Chinese immigrants, who are trying to do whatever they can to give their children the best life possible. And yet, the Red Scare puts their very existence at risk. Not to mention, Lily stumbles upon a dime novel about two women who fall in love. The book gives her answers to questions she never even knew she needed to ask about herself. And then there is Kathleen Miller, who stirs up feelings in Lily that feel exciting, new, and most importantly, right. But this time and place is not entirely safe for two girls to fall in love. Yet, they're willing to risk everything for it anyway.
This is gripping from start to finish. It's beautifully written in a poetically descriptive way. And the emotions are absolutely poignant. Since the MCs are seventeen there are steamy moments, but not open door sex found in other adult romances. Still, this book is absolutely beautiful. And you all need it on your 2023 TBRs!
Anyway, I hope you all had an enjoyable year and found a book that set your soul on fire (and that the same happens for you next year as well ).
See you in 2023!
Edited by prideofprewett