I thought I’d go ahead and do a fast blog post about my favorite reads of 2022. You can see where I took on my Pink Cover Challenge, because suddenly all (but a few) covers are pink. Basically, I have challenged myself to read my backlist of books in cover-color order. This allows me the diversity of topic I like, while also making me get through that backlist! (But it sort of backfired, because I started buying NEW pink cover books? So, yeah, I’m gonna ban myself from that moving forward, so I can eventually move on to the next color!)
I read a total of 57 books last year, and these are most of the 5 star reads. I had a few more of those, but decided not to share them here since I don’t know that I recommend them entirely? I just really liked them personally.
5 stars. Adored it.
Anyone who’s ever written or read fanfic (and many who haven’t) will absolutely love Total Creative Control. The utter delight that filled me again and again while reading this book…indescribable.
It has many of the things I love:
1) Temperamental bastard falls for cinnamon roll but doesn’t even know it until he’s made a shambles of it all.
2) Jealousy (I know it’s not PC to love jealousy, but I DO OKAY? My id adores it. Eats it up like the best cake ever. Not the abusive kind of jealousy, though many say it’s all abusive, but the wait-I-might-lose-this-person-and-maybe-I-hate-that kind.)
3) Genuine emotional and environmental obstacles to their love.
Something I loved but wasn’t sure about going in is the presentation of fans and fandom. Most of the time in books that makes me cringe because either the rep is wrong, or it’s…really wrong. But this gets it absolutely right. I also loved reading the defense of fans, fanart, and fanfiction. Swoony-worthy in and of itself.
I admit that Lewis is a damaged handful, and Aaron could have an easier relationship with someone else, but…here’s the thing, he doesn’t WANT someone else. *swoon swoon swoon* I love that. I think you’ll love it too. Go buy it!
Blue by LE Delano, is one of my favorites of the year. There was something very old skool Young Adult about it, while also very much taking place in the present time. The issues were, in my opinion, well-thought out and addressed, and I appreciated the nuances of it.
This is not a queer book in any way. It addresses the collateral damage that happens in any tragic event–in this case, a drunk driving accident. The teens were all very believably teenagers: selfish and selfless by turns. I found myself emotionally invested in all of them, even if I wanted to shake them from time to time.
Recommended to fans of Young Adult Contemporary fiction, especially, and for libraries as well. Loved this one and do recommend it if you like to read outside of the m/m or LGBT boxes. As you can see, it’s won a lot of awards this year:
2021 SPARK Award Winner – Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
2021-22 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Gold Medal YA Fiction
2021-22 Reader Views Kids Teen/YA Book of the Year
2021-22 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Grand Prize In Fiction – Bronze Award Winner
2021 NYC Big Book Award Distinguished Favorite in Young Adult Fiction
2022 Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorite – Teen
For what it’s worth, I credit this graphic novel series with waking Peter up from his long slumber to demand his final book. If you’ve read the ’90s Coming of Age books and this series, you’ll know there are more than a few similarities in storyline, and, wow, Peter was frustrated by that. He showed up for the first time in years, irritated and angry, wanting to know why Charlie got his story told but he didn’t. To which I replied, “Then tell me your story! I’ve been waiting for years now!” And, guess what? HE DID. So expect that this spring. But back to this book…
I picked up Heartstopper for my kid last spring and decided I needed to read it asap when I saw the Netflix trailer for the adaptation. (Which was also fantastic, by the way!)
What can I say about this Graphic Novel/web comic? It’s so fluffy, feel-good, indulgent, sweet, soft, and wonderful. It’s got some hurt comfort and some disordered eating in it, and yet was incredibly gentle on the soul. Highly recommend!
For those who don’t want to buy all or any of the books at this time, you can read the entirety of it on the WEBTOON app. I read everything after Book 1 there because, well, money, y’all.
Sweet Tooth by Tim Anderson, was one of my favorites of 2022. It’s a memoir written by a GenX gay diabetic, and it’s the most GenX thing I’ve read in a very long time. I genuinely don’t know how this book would be received by someone who didn’t live through this time, but, for me, it was a dip into nostalgia from my teen and college years.
I actually bought this book ages ago as research for Will’s diabetes in Will & Patrick Wake Up Married, but I never got around to reading it (obviously), and instead came across an amazing beta reader (Jenn) who helped me with Will’s diabetes and the portrayal of it. I admit that now I wish I had read Sweet Tooth before writing Will, not because it really changed anything about the presentation of his illness, but because Tim’s descriptions of his low sugar episodes really brings home what those feel like from the inside out. Fascinating stuff.
WARNING for two uses of the r-slur which I would hope could be edited out if this ever receives a second edition. The word was often used in this way during the GenX years, sadly, and I see how they got into this memoir, but at this point it would be good to have them removed.
Recommended for GenX folks especially. Nostalgic and funny.
The Book of Ivy turned out to be a duology with a cliffy, and I read them back-to-back. The skinny on these books: Young Adult, m/f, dystopian, arranged marriage between 16yos (there is eventually on page “sex” but it’s like that YA sex where you know what’s going on, but hazily.)
Basically, I loved these books and would LOVE to see a streaming service single season series of them. (No movies. A limited series would be so much better.)
I don’t have a lot to say about the books because I really enjoyed them. They’re sort of my cuppa in terms of what I like to spend my downtime reading. I did love the romance. The stakes were fantastically high. The author didn’t hold back during the climax of the final book. Just good stuff. Definitely worth reading. Ideal for when you’re sitting around waiting for your kids’ after school events to be over. Maybe not a a bedtime read since I did stay up late to keep on going. Just one more chaptering my way to 3am!
So this book–Molly House by AR Pip–I’m not sure how to talk about it because it was very much my cuppa, but I don’t think it will be everyone’s. It’s a VERY LONG book. I think it was way longer than my longest book. But I don’t know for sure…
First, let’s talk about the cover. It doesn’t really set the right expectations at all. This cover seems to imply that the book is going to be a rom-com, especially with how unconventional the characters look, the campy aspect to the art, and the title: MOLLY HOUSE. The title remains a mystery to me even after having read the book. Yes, there is a molly house eventually (after several hundred pages, I’d wager) and, yes, there are some fairly important scenes that take place in it, but it is far and away not what the book is about.
Going in, I expected one thing, but I got something else entirely.
It’s hard to talk about this book without giving too much away. The blurb does a decent job of explaining what the cover doesn’t.
Now, I think this might not be the book for everyone even though it was probably one of my favorite reads of the year so far.
The relationship between MCs is difficult and sad most of the book. There is a breakup and a new marriage and a divorce and cheating. So that will make a lot of you walk away. I’ve thought about why I enjoyed the book, even while I thought their relationship was toxic. I liked it for all the great historical depictions, the epic feel to it all, and I liked the class issues and the eventual comeuppance to one of the leads.
So I recommend it if you like big, emotional rollercoaster stories with a wide cast and an HEA.
So if you want to have a complex journey where you feel a lot of mixed up things, here’s the link:
Some of you probably know that Mildred Abbott of Cozy Corgie Cozy Mysteries fame is Brandon Witt from the Gay Romance genre. When he first started out in this new-to-him cozy mysteries genre, ages ago, I bought the first book–Cruel Candy–to be supportive. I never got around to reading it, though, because I thought I wasn’t a cozy mystery kind of girl. Also I thought cozy mysteries were like, “Who stole the tractor out of Bob’s field?” sorts of things, and not books with actual MURDER in them.
Well, the pink cover challenge brought me the opportunity to read this book, and guess what? I AM a cozy mysteries kind of girl (nb, whatever.) And at only .99 for the first book, you can be one, too! And I highly recommend this book. I even bought the next in the series for when I start reading blue covers!
First off, believe it or not I almost didn’t solve the mystery until the book was over. I mean, okay, I thought it was someone really early on and that was right, but the book did a great job of talking me out of it.
Secondly, the characters and set up were quite charming. And if you can suspend disbelief that the MC wouldn’t be arrested for getting mixed up in a police investigation, you’ll enjoy it.
Warnings: cop love interest. I know some of you are avoiding cops in stories these days.
Start the series here:
My last read of the year was His Last Christmas in London. Absolutely loved it. A+ for sure; I adored the dynamic and recommend wholeheartedly. I don’t have a ton to say about it because it just simply hit the spot for me.