2022 Yearly Roundup

My top 10 books/ series that I’ve read throughout 2023

2022 has been a rollercoaster for me. Not only have I moved from two jobs to one, but I also started a new job that has literally taken over my life. I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t able to reach my Goodreads goal this year due to my job and personal life, BUT, I got to read some really great recs. At least in my opinion!

So let’s get into it! Here are my top ten (not in any particular order), books for 2022!

Copyright: I do not own any of the images, book titles/ideas, not making money from free advertising. Just wanted to share books I’ve loved.

10

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

If you know me, I’m always a sucker for mythology/ fairytale retellings, ESPECIALLY if it’s greek mythology. So of course I was immediately drawn to this book. Not only is this cover art absolutely stunning, but I wasn’t expecting all the feels to come with the story.

Though this author bases her story off of the actual mythology of Ariadne, Saint does an amazing job reimagining the storyline and crafting a beautifully detailed setting to drag you in. Characters are well developed and go through growth Her writing style showcases fine details and portrays the inner emotions of humanity. It’s really hard to dislike anything, in my opinion with how beautifully crafted the story is.

Summary from Goodreads:

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

ARIADNE gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.

Featured themes: greek mythology, historical fiction, retellings, romance, the voice of women, deities

Similar books: Circe by Madeline Miller, The Women of Troy by Pat Barker

9

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Ever since I discovered this book a year ago, I honestly couldn’t get it out of my head. Ali Hazelwood has a way of writing utterly charming but relatable characters, geeky and awkward moments to die for, a slow-burn romance, and science all wrapped up in 356 pages. Now, I won’t tell you how many times I’ve read this one book alone, but when I tell ya it’s good, it’s bloody good.

Summary from Goodreads:

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding… six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

Featured themes: romance, romcom, science, college, the dashingly handsome male lead, the awkwardly adorable female lead

Similar books: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

8

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

So apparently I like to cry and hurt myself because this book literally DESTROYED ME. Read Colleen Hoover they said. You’ll become addicted they said… Well, all those that have haggered me to finally read one of her books, congrats! I’ve read one! And it hurt me so deeply that I needed to take a book break for almost ONE MONTH. That’s right, one WHOLE month that I wasn’t able to pick up another novel for fear that it would cry again. It was just that good.

Now, this being the first Colleen Hoover book I’ve read, I had no expectations going in. Yes, I knew she was wildly popular on social media (I don’t live under a rock), but holy hell, I didn’t realize what an amazing author and storyteller she is.

Her writing style is so wickedly fantastic that it feels like it grips you by the heart and slowly squeezes until the somewhat happy ending. She writes about real situations that society goes through and tries not to talk about them.

Summary from Goodreads:

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up — she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

Featured themes: contemporary, abuse, romance, heartbreak, powerful moments

Similar books: literally anything else this author has decided to write.

7

A Lullaby for Witches by Hester Fox

This is probably one of those more lesser-known novels that came out earlier in the year, but I utterly adored this standalone. Featuring a gothic atmosphere and a timeline that constantly transitions to and from the past to the present through two separate women, we get Hester Fox’s latest novel.

I have to say, considering that in every other chapter the setting took place either in modern time or far into the past, the transitions were really smooth and well-developed. The author does a great job engaging us with the slower buildup of a back story with both of the main leads without putting too much stress on one before the other. The paranomal witchy aspects weren’t over the top and really makes you wonder if witches really do exist in the world. Beautiful storytelling and crafting of the world.

Summary from Goodreads:

Once there was a young woman from a well-to-do New England family who never quite fit with the drawing rooms and parlors of her kin.

Called instead to the tangled woods and wild cliffs surrounding her family’s estate, Margaret Harlowe grew both stranger and more beautiful as she cultivated her uncanny power. Soon, whispers of “witch” dogged her footsteps, and Margaret’s power began to wind itself with the tendrils of something darker.

One hundred and fifty years later, Augusta Podos takes a dream job at Harlowe House, the historic home of a wealthy New England family that has been turned into a small museum in Tynemouth, Massachusetts. When Augusta stumbles across an oblique reference to a daughter of the Harlowes who has nearly been expunged from the historical record, the mystery is too intriguing to ignore.

But as she digs deeper, something sinister unfurls from its sleep, a dark power that binds one woman to the other across lines of blood and time. If Augusta can’t resist its allure, everything she knows and loves—including her very life—could be lost forever.

Featuring themes: lost, witch, paranormal, modern, victorian, gothic, historical fiction, romance, mystery

Similar books: The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke, The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marais

6

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Can you really blame me after I’ve already said I loved Ariadne by Jennifer Saint? Just like the last one, this one features a beautifully written greek mythology retelling of Achilles. I’ve already had the pleasure of reading Miller’s other book, Circe, which I utterly adored, so it just makes sense that I loved this one too!

Well crafted characters, in depth setting and story, life or death battles and of course the charming queer romance. Patroclus’ utter devotion to Achilles is something I need in my life.

Summary from Goodreads:

Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Featured themes: historical fiction, greek mythology, romance, queer, retelling

Similar books: A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes, Troy by Stephen Fry

5

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Not going to lie, this contemporary stand alone was just a joy to read. Each chapter was engaging and I thoroughly enjoy enemies to lovers banters and sexual tension. Which was, by the way, hella thick between our main characters.

I originally picked this book up on a whim due to social media pressure since I’m not thhe biggest fan of contemporary stories, but found myself face deep into the pages until it was done. It’s fun, comical, romantic and engaging. Highly recommend if you are in a book slump.

Summary from Goodreads:

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game. 

Featured themes: romcom, sexual tension, workplace, enemies to lovers, comical

Similar books: Book Lovers by Emily Henry, Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

4

My (not so) Slutty Professor by DK Sutton

Now, I know what you’re thinking, with that kind of title, is this going to be all smut? Surprisingly no. Wild right? I know, I was both impressed and confused as well within the first few chapters.

Instead, I was greeted with a guy named Maddie who had a massive crush on his Forestry Professor and wanted to protect him. Where one would expect smut, we get a gentle overbearing protector student and a naive cinnimon roll of a professor that just wants to learn and understand social ques.

I thoroughly enjoyed the instant attraction yet slow burn romance as Maddie and Reid tried to keep professtional bounderies until the end. I liked how there was good communciation along with the constant underlining teasing since it kept the sexual tension alive and healthy. Honestly, I thought this is one of those hidden heart warming stories with spice closer to the end. This novel in my opinion should be more known in the bookish community.

Summary from Goodreads:

Maddie

I’m a sucker for nerds. So a biology professor who wears geeky ties and doesn’t realize how hot he is, puts every part of my body on high alert. It also means I’m failing his class. There’s only one way to get him out of my head so I can focus. Seduce him.

Turns out that boyish innocence isn’t an act, and while Dr. Reid Emerson is a genius, there are many things he’s never learned. His eagerness to catch up takes my breath away. Will he let me be the one to teach him? 

Reid

Maddie Evans reminds me of every popular guy I’ve ever known: charming, persuasive, and used to getting exactly what he wants. But there’s a part of me—a part tired of being the only inexperienced person on campus—that doesn’t care. A flash of skin during our study sessions sparks a fire I can’t put out. I want Maddie. And I want him to teach me…everything.

We strike a deal that has me questioning my sanity, my ethics, and everything I ever believed in. I can’t resist him but being together is risky. Maddie could lose his spot in grad school, and I could lose the thing that keeps me going every day. Teaching.

Is this experiment doomed to fail or together can we pass the ultimate test of love and sacrifice?

My (Not So) Slutty Professor is a 71,000 word mm romance that involves cocky students, shy professors, meddling best friends, and lots and lots of ice cream. It is the first book in the My (Not So) Serious University series. It can be read on its own or as part of the series and has a HEA.

Featured themes: college, romcom, sexual tension, forbidden romance (professor – student), LGBT, contemporary

Similar books: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, The Holiday Hookup by Baylin Crow

3

Hooked by Emily Mcintire

Of course I had to add an incredibly dark, spicy novel to this list. I offer, Hooked by Emily Mcintire. It has dark themes. It has hot and sexy romance and of course spice. It’s a Peter Pan fairytale retelling. What more do you want?

Summary from Goodreads:

James has always had one agenda: destroy his enemy, Peter Michaels. When Peter’s twenty-year-old daughter Wendy shows up in James’s bar, he sees his way in. Seduce the girl and use her for his revenge. It’s the perfect plan, until things in James’s organization begin to crumble. Suddenly, he has to find the traitor in his midst, and his plan for revenge gets murkier as James starts to see Wendy as more than just a pawn in his game.

Wendy has been cloistered away most of her life by her wealthy cold father, but a spontaneous night out with friends turns into an intense and addictive love affair with the dark and brooding James. As much as she knows James is dangerous, Wendy can’t seem to shake her desire for him. But as their relationship grows more heated and she learns more about the world he moves in, she finds herself unsure if she’s falling for the man known as James or the monster known as Hook.

Hooked is a dark contemporary romance and the first complete standalone in the Never After Series: A collection of fractured fairy tales where the villains get the happy ever after. It is not a literal retelling and not fantasy. Hooked features mature themes and content that may not be suitable for all audiences. Reader discretion is advised. For all content warnings, check the author’s website.

Featured themes: dark romance, gangs, violence, morally grey characters, peter pan retelling, spice, modern, contemporary

Similar books: The Never King by Nikki St. Crowe, Wicked Villans by Katee Roberts

2

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Just like mythologies, I’m a sucker for victorian related novels. Hunting Prince Dracula is the second book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco.

Besides the victorian themes and continuous slow burn romance, I believe what really got me into this series is how the author wrote the main female lead. She’s strong willed and intellgient. In each one of the novels in this series, she shows no fear during many autopsy’s. This series is based around ficitonal historic people (Jack the Ripper, Dracula, Houdini, the Devil), and yet the author masterfully adds a paranormal flair without actual paranormal things.

Summary from Goodreads:

In this sequel to Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life? Now in paperback!


Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.


But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Featured Themes: historical fiction, romance, victorian, mystery, science, autopsy, thriller

Similar books: The Last Necromancer by C. J. Archer, Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

1

So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens

Last but not least I offer So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens! I had a lot of fun with this novel. I’ve enjoyed In Deeper Waters in the year by the same author so I knew that I would also like this one.

I liked how socially awkward the main lead is and how he keeps questioning whether his best friend likes him romanically or not. There’s something charming about his personality that makes him relatable and the slow burn romance was really adorable too. This become one of those feel good books for me.

Summary from Goodreads:

Carry On meets Arthurian legend in this subversive, “delightfully original and whimsical” (Kirkus Reviews) young adult fantasy about what happens after the chosen one wins the kingdom and has to get married to keep it…and to stay alive.

Arek hadn’t thought much about what would happen after he completed the prophecy that said he was destined to save the Kingdom of Ere from its evil ruler. So now that he’s finally managed to (somewhat clumsily) behead the evil king (turns out magical swords yanked from bogs don’t come pre-sharpened), he and his rag-tag group of quest companions are at a bit of a loss for what to do next.

As a temporary safeguard, Arek’s best friend and mage, Matt, convinces him to assume the throne until the true heir can be rescued from her tower. Except that she’s dead. Now Arek is stuck as king, a role that comes with a magical catch: choose a spouse by your eighteenth birthday, or wither away into nothing.

With his eighteenth birthday only three months away, and only Matt in on the secret, Arek embarks on a desperate bid to find a spouse to save his life—starting with his quest companions. But his attempts at wooing his friends go painfully and hilariously wrong…until he discovers that love might have been in front of him all along.

Featured themes: arthurian legend retelling, slow burn romance, adventure, LGBT, royality, magic, fantasy

Similar books: The Temperature of Me and You by Brian Zepka, Before We Disappear by Shaun David Hutchinson

And that’s a wrap! Even though I had a whole lot less reading time this year, I still got to experience so many wonderful new worlds and novels. Remember that this list isn’t in any particular order.

Looking forward to what 2023 might bring? Head on over to my Upcoming Reads page to see all upcoming novels in the new year!

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