2022 is coming to an end which means my annual Year in Books Review post!
If you want to read a review for the first six months of the year click below:
Reading has felt slow this year. I haven’t felt too excited about any books lately. Lots of decent books but not much that was WOW. My favorite book of the year was probably The King of Attolia. I really enjoyed reading the whole series and miss the characters. You can read my review of that book in my 6 Months of Books post.
With starting a full time job I scaled back my book goal to 45 books and just scraped by with it after reading 7 books in December. Without further ado, here are reviews of a book from each month.
(You can find the full list of books read this year at the end of the post)
*indicates a reread
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Lily, Lily Blue follows Blue Sargent and her Raven Boys- all of which have their own problems that they begin to find out are intertwined. Now that they believe they have figured out how to solve their problems together their lives unravel further. Betrayal, disappearances and misleading vision. What do they have to do to find the answers they really seek.
Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle Series had me in the first half and then it all went down hill. My best friend told me I had to read the whole series just so I could scream about the end with her. This is the third book out of four and once you get here, for me, the excitement started to wear off. Instead, I was agitated with all the characters and their choices, and the way in which the story plot was being unfolded to us. Aka: things that were really important slowly began to be thrown out the window. Much of what brought me into the story in the first place, quickly made me want to leave. I see why many love the series, but in the end, with so many inconsistencies, it wasn’t for me. 3 / 5
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Mysterious Benedict Society is made up of 4 gifted children all brought together by a newspaper ad. They are given what feels like an impossible task. Go undercover at at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened and learn everything they can about the Emergency and stop it before it’s too late.
If you don’t know, Disney made a series of this book (currently on it’s second season) and after watching the first part of season one I knew I wanted to read the book myself. Stewart does a great job and making the characters feel real and raising the stakes as it went on. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and I also think the tv show does a fantastic job at adapting it while also taking some license to make it more screen friendly. The written has some similar qualities to Lemony Snicket’s work which I love, though there were moments that dragged as the almost 500 pages forces some things to dawdle. 4 / 5
What if Love is the Point? By Alexa and Carlos Penavega
Carlos and Alexa Penavega both known for their respective performing roles (Spy Kids and Big Time Rush) discuss their own paths towards finding faith in God and that has helped them face the struggles throughout their life. Including the way in which it led them to each other. The autobiography is written with each chapter switching off between the two.
It was funny and moving. Though I didn’t feel either had the strongest writing style, their stories are each interesting as they tell how being in the entertainment industry has effected their lives and how they grapple with it all.
In the past few years I have come to like reading autobiographical novels and this was a quick and simple read. 3.75/5
Return of the King by JRR Tolkien
I did it. Only took me 2 years, but I officially finished Lord of the Rings. I’m sorry to all the super fans of the series but Lord of the Rings was such a tough series for me to get through. Beautifully written, but I got bored and especially at the end of this book when the issue with the ring is finally solved… and there is still 100 pages left. I was like “ I thought the quest was the ring?? What is all this.” I am still glad I read it but I am also glad it is over 3/5
Better than the Movies by Lynn Painter
Liz Buxbaum have been in constant fights with Wes Bennett over anything and everything since they were kids. Liz has always found Wes to be a pain in the butt, but flashforward to their senior year and Liz finds she needs Wes’s help. In exchange for talking her up to her crush and their childhood neighbor, he can have complete access to ‘the spot’ for his car. But as her scheme to get the magical prom night of her dreams is enacted she begins to find Wes maybe isn’t all that bad. Who really is the one she wants the magical prom night with?
A feel good romance. Cheesy and predictable with the ever welcome Pride and Prejudice like themes, Better than the Movies is a great book to add to a quick read list. I read it in one day and found myself quickly rooting for the supposed trouble maker next door. Just the story line I was looking for in the midst of the crazy November. 4/5
(Because I read so many books in December I decided to review 3 instead of just one)
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III son of the chief of the Hairy Hooligans is in the midst of passing the most important test of his life. The initiation test to become a member of the tribe, by training his own dragon.
If you know me, you know that How to Train Your Dragon is one of my top movies of all time, so this was the year I finally decided to read the book. (There are like 12 books but I just wanted to try it out first)
The book is completely different than the movie. The only same things are Hiccup, although he is 10 in the book she is pretty much the same, and… there are dragons. Yeah that is about it. In the books the task is to train a dragon, as dragons as kept as pets, instead of having to kill a dragon. The characters are all much younger, many are totally different or not there at all. Toothless still exists, but is a small common dragon, and dragons have their own language which Hiccup can understand. I actually liked the book and thought it was really cute but honestly, this is a shock, I do like the movie 10x better.
I may read some more of the series in the new year to see how to goes but overall: 3.5/5
Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer
Pru is an overachiever and is quick to judge the aspects of all those around her that she finds not to be up to par with her own standards. Especially the actions of her Biology partner Quint Erikson. She dreams about everyone around her having to deal with karmic justice, and sometimes dreams do come true. Pru wakes up one morning finding she has the power to enact her justice on those around her. Although it never seems to work on her lab partner.
I am a fan of Marissa Meyer books, but after being thoroughly disappointed by her novel Gilded I was worried to read another and find a similar let down. Instant Karma did not disappoint in its charming witiness and lovely YA romance. A goofy plot, but it is a quick read which is just what I was looking for to help reach my reading goal. Although the main character Prudence could be really irritating, I enjoyed the book, though still nothing compares with Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. 3.25/5
The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The Greystone kids, Finn, Chess, and Emma were a happy family. At least they were until they came home to find their mom staring shocked at the tv watching the news. Three children had been kidnapped and the scary part? They seemed too similar to the Greystones. The same first and middle names, same ages, and even the same birthdates.
Unsettling, but must be a strange coincidence right? But when their mother leaves unexpectedly and they find a strange coded note behind, is anything as it seems?
When I was in elementary school I always remember seeing books at the Book Fair with HADDIX in big letters across the page. I never picked one up though, because the plots always seemed too stressful for me. As my reading goal seemed just out of reach I decided now was the time to finally pick one up. The Strangers storyline is very intriguing and I flew through the novel. Although I think the ended fell in gusto from the first half I will be reading the next book in the series as soon as I can pick it up from the library. I need to know how in the world it all gets resolved.
In the meantime I am breezing through another of Haddix’s novels and may even finish it before midnight and bring the total up to 46/45 books read. 3.5/5
I am currently searching everywhere for some new books or series to add to my list for my books for 2023. Please give me some suggestions of your favorite books 🙂 I would love to read them all next year, and hopefully find a new favorite among the bunch.
Here’s to good readings in the new year!
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
- Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
- The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
- Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
- The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
- The Two Towers by JRR Tolkein
- The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
- Go to Heaven by Fulton Sheen
- Circe by Madeline Miller
- The Latin Mass Explained by George J. Moorman
- St. Joseph, Fatima, and Fatherhood by Joseph A Cirrincione
- A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
- The Song of Achielles by Madeline Miller
- Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner
- The Return of the King by Megan Whalen Turner
- *The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
- The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey
- Saint Philomena the Wonderworker by Paul O Sullivan
- Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
- *Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisiuex
- Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
- The False Prince by Jennifer A Nielsen
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
- Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
- The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
- The Secret Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
- The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
- *The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
- What if Love, is the point? by Alexa and Carlos Penavega
- *The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
- The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien
- The Greenglass House by Kate Milford
- Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Jacques Phillipe
- Better than the Movies by Lynn Painter
- The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Laurence
- Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Geekerella by Ashley Poston
- How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
- 39 Clues The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
- 39 Notes One False Note by Gordon Korman
- Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer
- Introduction to the Devout Life by Francis de Sales
- The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix