2022 has almost come to an end, and it's time to look back on what we've done this year and what we're going to do next year.
It was a slower reading year than I wanted it to be. (We've only got a few weeks left of December and I'm 10 books below my Goodreads reading goal for this year...but that's fine. Life happens.)
Even though I didn't read as many books as I wanted to this year, I did read a few standouts that I really enjoyed.
In no particular order:
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston - I loved this one because it was unique and fun. The main character came from a funeral parlor family and had no fear of death and the dead. As a bonus, she's also able to see and communicate with ghosts. (A trait she shares with her beloved father.) Unfortunately, she hasn't been lucky in love...and her writing career isn't what she'd hoped. She's a ghostwriter who does very well for herself, but no one knows she's the author...including her family. There are secrets, ghosts, quirky family, and, of course, romance. I read this in October, but it's a perfect read for any time of year when you need a fun, unique romance.
Just Another Love Song by Kerry Winfrey. This is the second book I've read by this author and I loved the first as well. I think it's safe to say that I'm a Kerry Winfrey fan. This was a gentle, charming second chance romance with a gardener and a rising county music star. They were teenage sweethearts that got mixed up when it was time to go off to college...or not. Mistakes and misunderstandings set them off on divergent paths. Now, he's back in town...a small town...where they can't help but run into one another. It was sweet and fun and kept me turning pages quickly to see if these two crazy kids would be able to finally get it together.
The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie by Rachel Lindon. I've long been a fan of alternate universe stories and this delivers. It was my first 5 star read of the year. The "magic" comes in the form of lemon drops that can let you live a day in the choice you didn't make. Of course, there are only so many drops left and the main character has lots of regrets...some romantic, some as simple as wanting to live one more day with a deceased loved one. It's a life story as much as a love story. The whole book was magic to me.
Kit McBride Gets a Wife by Amy Barry. I chose this book because I wanted something different and fun. The cover was adorable, as was the description, so I dove in and didn't regret it. This book is told from the point of view of sassy little sister, Junebug, who is the only surviving girl in a family of gruff, mountain men males. Junebug reasons that her life will be better (fewer chores for her because the wives can cook and clean instead!) if she can marry off her brothers and Kit is the first on her list. She writes an advertisement for a wife and waits to see what kind of response she'll get.
This is a sweet, funny, and creative love story. The characters are vibrantly fantastic. The next book in the series comes out next spring and I'm so excited to read it!
The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera. This book is definitely nothing like the others on the list. I work as a children's librarian and this book is the Newbery Award winner for this year. I read the book and it absolutely blew me away. This is the story of an adolescent girl whose family is being sent to colonize a distant planet because the earth is about to be demolished by an asteroid. Naturally, all passengers have to go into cryo-sleep to make the hundreds of years journey through space. If you suspect that something is going to go wrong while they're sleeping...you're correct. Although this setup has been done many times before, it has never been done the way Higuera does it. 'Cuentista' basically translates as storyteller. Imagine if all the world's stories were erased. All of them. No more Shakespeare, Dante, Aesop, Homer, Dickens, Angelou, Langston Hughes, Cervantes, etc. And the title lets you know this book is about the last cuentista. It's a heartfelt, action packed, heartbreaking, and hopeful book. Don't be fooled into thinking it's a little kid book because it's categorized as middle grade fiction. This book has plenty of depth for all ages and is absolutely beautifully written. One of the best books I've read, period. Please read it.
Unlikely Match by Laura Bradbury. This book is not only a charming romance, but an informative look at the life of someone awaiting an organ donor. The main character has a rare liver disorder and needs a liver donor. You can imagine how many people are lining up to do such a thing...and everything's further complicated by blood type. Although her best friend would gladly donate part of his liver to save his best friend, he's not a match. As the story goes on, you see that all the desire in the world does nothing to remedy the practical reality that there aren't enough donors to go around and the consequences are literally life and death. This may sound like a dire book, but it isn't. The author herself turned her own personal battle with liver disease and organ donation and spun it into a beautiful romance. The details of the illness are very real, but the romance provides the perfect foil to balance the anxiety of serious illness. And...it's a romance novel after all. The promise of a happy ever after is always there. (It was also a happy ever after for the author. She received a liver donation and is still here writing more wonderful books. Good feelings fictionally and in the real world!)
That's my list of the most memorable books I read this year. I hope you'll check at least some of them out and see if they hit the mark for you as well.