My Books of 2022 | new favourites, the biggest disappointments & DNFs

Hey everyone!

It is finally time to talk about my books of 2022. Most importantly, my new favourite books. I had a solid fantasy year as I discovered multiple new contenders to add to my top favourites. I also thought I would talk about the books that disappointed me the most and the ones I never actually finished.

Please enjoy my bookish highlights for this year and let me know yours in the comments below.

MY 2022 FAVOURITES

ADULT

THE UNBROKEN BY C. L. CLARK // One of my favourite political fantasies ever. Following Luca, a princess trying to prove to her uncle that she can rule, and Touraine, a soldier stolen as a kid in order to do the empire’s fighting. Touraine wants to become general to prove her right, but when she is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit, she is forced to become the Princess’s weapon. Luca hopes to make peace with the rebels using Touraine to bridge the gap, but Touraine has mixed opinions as she learns more about her birthland. A tale of ambition, colonisation and the dangers of any relationships. I loved exploring the deadly politics and the complex relationships where they use each other (not dedicated to just romantic ones). Then all the other emotions that follow (the main one is not a super healthy romance as you can probably tell and I’m not looking for an endgame, I just like the emotions included for a purpose). This was just the beginning, and I can’t wait for the sequel.

SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN BY SHELLEY PARKER-CHAN // Told clinically, this is another tale of ambition. Zhu was given nothing as a child, the nothing daughter. When her family died, she changed her fate and took her brother’s destiny. It is a rising ranks story and how Zhu sees the world differently benefits his progression. The other main narrator is general Ouyang, who now serves his family’s murderers. He wants revenge, even with his complicated feelings. The plot had a practical and engaging role, moving forward with ease. But it is perspective that makes the novel stand out above anything else. Zhu and Ouyang have a lot of similarities with each other. But their different responses to these “shared experiences” define them in pivotal ways. Exploring their feelings and the broader themes mean you could analyse this book for months. I love how these two characters are on opposite sides in this war, creating an enemy vs enemy POV which is fascinating and something I hadn’t seen done this way before.

πŸ„ Would I Recommend All Of The Sapphic Trifecta? | aka i review the unbroken, the jasmine throne and she who became the sun

SISTERSONG BY LUCY HOLLAND // Following the three children of the King of Dumnania. One with the gift of healing but unable to heal her own scars, one who dreams of seeing the world and the other who battles to be accepted for who he really is; the king’s son. All are confined in a changing political climate as magic is being lost and battles brew. When two men come to the castle. Myrdhin, the meddler and magician, and Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear them apart. It is a dark retelling of Twa Sisters, set in Ancient Britain. I absolutely loved the use of three very different siblings as they each forge their own path. Princess stories are commonly told in fantasy, so I was impressed by the author’s ability to take three and make each one distinguishable and connected. It was an enrapturing experience. Especially when the setting felt so believable and whimsical. I was thoroughly absorbed in the story.

QUEENIE BY CANDICE CARTY-WILLIAMS // Queenie is a story dedicated to messy twenties and wanting to avoid mistakes, which in turn leads to destructive behaviour in many ways. It makes the namesake character, Queenie, borderline unlikeable (judging by some reviews). However, I was drawn to her as she stumbled and gradually learned to stumble less. This book covers relationship problems, family problems, friends problems, and work problems. Yes, problems are there! But, it wasn’t overwhelming as it was well-balanced, talking about different parts of her life naturally. After all, life contains all these factors. I love that slice-of-life realism. It made me root for the characters more, and it was triumphant to see Queenie come out at the end. It was a serious read dealing with heavy topics, but it also captured the vibrancy of life at the same time. Lots of personality and support, the friends’ storyline, in particular, was heartwarming.

YOUNG ADULT

MORE HAPPY THAN NOT BY ADAM SILVERA // Adam Silvera’s debut book was only my second novel by him, but it blew me away. We follow one teenage boy, Aaron, who is struggling with his father’s suicide and other struggles in life. He is considering a memory-altering program to make his life easier. Unless his supportive girlfriend and new best friend will be all the help he needs. This story explores many themes as it’s very intimate to Aaron’s feelings. You feel his loss, his hurt, his hope. He is a messy character, but I felt very emotionally attached. Aaron questions many things in the book, the most prominent being voluntary memory loss. For me, this moral dilemma raised this story to new levels. I love how it discusses a big moral question; if you had to chance to erase awful memories, would you? Would someone you know? This made the novel aim higher, and I loved the execution. This was ultimately a novel about life, living, hardship, love and being true to yourself.

πŸ„ Reading Adam Silvera (for the first time) | do I cry? πŸ₯²

LEGENDBORN BY TRACY DEONN // Legendborn has become a very hyped YA series. I fully support this because I had a genuinely enjoyable time reading this book. Plot-wise it is relatively formulaic, but it felt incredibly thought-out. Therefore it felt less generic and more “true to itself”. We follow Bree, whose mother died in a car accident before she started at university. The university her mum went to as well. At this university, she discovers magic is real. Less fairy godmother, more a raging beast is chasing you. Bree finds a link between his mother’s death and this magic society, queue investigation. I loved this book because it did three things very well. (ONE) the plot was structured and paced excellently, (TWO) the characters were easily lovable and engaging and (THREE) there was always more to learn about the magic. As I said, a genuinely enjoyable book and an honest exploration of grief alongside it.

πŸ„ Reading Hyped Dark Academia Books | I’M SORRY FOR WHAT’S ABOUT TO HAPPEN πŸ’€

BLOODMARKED BY TRACY DEONN // The sequel to Legendborn, and thankfully I enjoyed it just as much as Legendborn. In fact, I might say this one had more enjoyment value for me because of the characters. Bree is a perfect protagonist. Purposeful and kind with a full emotional range. She carries the story extremely well with the ability and reason to discover different aspects of the story. Next, Selwyn. I’m sorry, he makes every scene for me, therefore as this book had a lot more of his character, it is no surprise I enjoyed it more. Selwyn is angry, and occasionally broody, but once again, he is given a complete range of emotions. He and Bree bounce off each other very well. However, I think Bloodmarked has a less structured plot than Legendborn. It felt slightly overstretched with a lot of saving scenes. Like there is danger, then a save. More danger, more saving. It was not unreasonable or purposeless for the circumstances, but I did notice it. One thing that was true in the first book and in this one was how reveals were regularly mixed in with the plot to give a forward motion. Every time I think we have had all the reveals, there is another. The series is well thought-out, and the magic is equally well-developed. This is a brilliant and strong YA series. Can I have the third book now?!

DISAPPOINTMENTS

I don’t tend to spend too much time reflecting on the books I didn’t love, but I like reading other people’s. Anyway, here are the books that I expected more from but let me down. Not necessarily my lowest rated of the year, just the most disappointing.

KISS & TELL BY ADIB KHORRAM // I liked how it involved many discussion points I hadn’t seen before. However, I find the main character unengaging and the romance mediocre. Plus, the plot only happened in the background. I just couldn’t get invested in it.

A DEADLY EDUCATION BY NAOMI NOVIK // I talked about this book in my dark academia post, so you may already know I did NOT get on with the writing style. It was text-heavy with too much repetitiveness and random tangents that didn’t enhance the plot. The world-building was detailed, and the characters were interesting to an extent, but the whole story was hard work.

HOW TO KILL YOUR FAMILY BY BELLA MACKIE // The main character grated on me after a while because she had a problem with everything. I don’t mind the trait, but it could have been written with more variety. Also, I expected more twists, so that was a letdown.

HER MAJESTY’S ROYAL COVEN BY JUNO DAWSON // An engaging plot, but (to me) it focused on the wrong character and dampened the whole story.

PIRANESI BY SUSANNA CLARKE // The writing style was clever as it discreetly revealed traits about the character and details about the plot. However, the story itself was more linear than I expected, so I felt underwhelmed.

DNFs

THE BARGAIN BY JANE ASHFORD // I watched Bridgerton S2, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. Therefore I thought regency romance could be worth checking out. Sadly, this was not the one. I read about 15%, and I kid you not, I could not tell you a single thing about this book apart from they were locked in a room looking for a door handle. It was forgettable, and it was obvious whilst reading it. My time was better spent elsewhere.

AN UNSEEN ATTRACTION BY K J CHARLES //  The romance was very much admiring each other. A lovely, heartwarming tale which was well written. However, I was not in the mood for characters already in love, so I was repulsed by healthy romance *screams in the void*. Also, taxidermy was involved, and I hate it. Apparently, even when I can’t see it.

YOUNG MUNGO BY DOUGLAS STUART // It was literary fiction with a Scottish narrator. A lovely accent but it required a lot of concentration on my part. My brain couldn’t handle it. I’d prefer to blame it as a blip in time, but it may just be a lifestyle at this point.

What were your favourite books of 2022? Did you have any great disappointments? How many books did you DNF?

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24 thoughts on “My Books of 2022 | new favourites, the biggest disappointments & DNFs

  1. I loved reading your thoughts on these, Sophie, particularly since there was so much fantasy among your favorites! πŸ€— You’ve just made me even more excited to get to Bloodmarked because I really enjoyed Legendborn and am a huge Selwyn fan, too 😁

    And yay, another person who wasn’t overly impressed by Piranesi! Everybody but me seemed to love it back when I first read it, but I was just so bored by all the aimless wandering around vestibules and halls πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much πŸ₯° it was definitely a good year for fantasy and me. Hopefully I will get to read more in 2023!
      Ahh… Being a Selwyn fan and reading Bloodmarked are a good combination. It definitely made me more generous when reviewing it πŸ˜† I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it!

      Oohh yay back at you. I felt like all I heard were positive reviews πŸ˜… I thought it was bored to begin with too– a lot of wandering! Then I found the end very anti-climatic and a bit too easy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh I LOVE this!! I need to read unbroken now, it just looks SO intriguing plus I love that cover! the deadly politics aspect really has me sold haha
    I still haven’t finished legend born ahhh it’s glaring at me from my tbr now 😭 hopefully I’ll get through it this year lol!
    Love this so so much and wishing you a very happy new year!! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank youuu 🀎🀎 I would love for you to read the unbroken so we can scream about it together! The cover is powerful 😍 it definitely includes politics of the deadly sort!
      Ahh… Legendborn, it’s a good one!! Good luck with your TBR (they do glare) πŸ˜‚
      Thank you so much Suhani. I wish you a wonderful 2023 as well πŸ₯°β€οΈ

      Like

  3. We’re already talking about three of your adult favourites but I will say this post has made me want to pick up She Who Became The Sun even more. The second main character sounds intriguing and I love the sound of the clashing POVs.
    I also seriously need to read Legendborn this year. I have it so no idea how I haven’t gotten to it yet πŸ™ˆ constantly learning more about the magic sounds fantastic though. Ooh I’m glad you loved the sequel as well as the first one. Fingers crossed the third is even better again!!

    Aww I’m so sorry to hear that A Deadly Education was a letdown for you. Thats so disappointing. Oh I was intrigued by How To Kill Your Family too as Waterstones seemed to be mentioning it so often. Piranesi seems so popular in general too. Sorry to hear about all of the disappointments though, not just those that I mentioned. It’s heartbreaking when a book, especially one you were particularly excited for, let’s you down.

    I’ve only heard of one of your DNFs (again from Waterstones emails) but I’m sure you can find lots of other regency romances that you may get along with better in the future. Ooh so they’re not romance but I know a few regency books (I think, or my brain is misremembering the time period). The Dark Days Club is a YA fantasy one & Laura Purcell wrote two historical ones before she moved on to Gothic horror. I enjoyed all three but idk if you would as our tastes with period dramas are pretty different.

    My favourite books were Juniper & Thorn, The Final Strife (adult fantasy so I strongly recommend it to you) & Gilded. That’s just top three though. Honestly I could go on & on.
    Biggest disappointments were With Fire In Their Blood (why I rounded it up to 3 stars I truly can’t remember) & The Cheerleaders which was OK but I had majorly high hopes for it and it fell pretty flat sadly.
    I don’t think I DNF anything πŸ€”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oohh I’m glad I could entice you to She Who Became The Sun. It had a slow start but by the end I was entirely enrapted by it.
      The second main character brought a lot to the book and the clashing POVs felt so different as often they are romances or close relations (which is amazing) but I loved how distinctive it felt in this book being different.
      Ahh.. Legendborn is classic YA but with all the charm I adore. I just know you will like Selwyn πŸ˜‚ it does have little reveals to expand on the magic so the plot never settles! Thank you! I look forward to the third one!

      I did seem to be disappointed by some hyped books this year, but maybe my high expectations were the problem.
      A Deadly Education was not what I pictured at all so I will be curious to hear your thoughts. Many loved it so I hope you do.
      How To Kill Your Family was different and I didn’t hate it, but… well repetitive isn’t the right word, yet I was waiting for something new to come.
      It is a gutting feeling when a book lets you down, but we hope the next read will be better.

      I definitely think there will be better regency romances for me out there. I just went for what my library had available. I think it was from the 90s πŸ˜… thank youuu for the regency recommendations, I will definitely look into them! I think with books I might like serious style one with atmosphere!

      Ahh.. Those look like some great books that I really need to get my hands on!! Ava Reid seems like such a talented author.
      I will have to read The Final Strife too. I hope you enjoy the sequel just as much!
      Ahh.. So glad you got so many favourites this year ❀️❀️ that’s amazing!
      Sorry you got some disappointments as well– With Fire on Blood is one I don’t know much about. I had heard of The Cheerleaders with good reviews. Sorry it was flat for you.
      Glad you had no DNFs, most of mine were audiobooks so they are easier to put down I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was already on my TBR but you’ve definitely added to my excitement for it.
        Yes that’s true, or else if they do throw in the enemies POV it only makes an occasional, rather rare appearance. It certainly sounds good.
        Ooh I’m intrigued to meet them now!! Sounds like someone we’ll definitely have to discuss ones I have!! I hope you love it just as much ❀️

        I do think sometimes they make the letdown even worse & add pressure. Not every book, even the hyped ones, are for everyone though.
        I’m really sorry about that. And pretty nervous now but thank you ❀️❀️
        Kind of anticlimactic? So frustrating with books like that when you find yourself waiting for something more. And yes we do hope for better next time. It has a tendency to make me nervous too

        I’m sure there will be. I think there’s loads out there. Not really a genre I’ve looked into though. I don’t really know many tbh as most of mine have magic thrown in πŸ˜‚ I do have a fair few historical books on my tbr too but I don’t think over many are romance ones. I love the atmosphere for that setting though. I have a weakness for high society…with magic πŸ™ˆ

        She is!! Definitely a favourite of mine now. If you read the start of either of her books with Amazon’s First Look option I guarantee it’ll leave you wanting more.
        Thank you ❀️ let me know if you do. Definitely one I’d love to discuss with you. I’m so hoping Waterstones do a special edition for the sequel as they did with book one.
        Thanks, it was lovely to find so many stunning books. ❀️❀️ two even have books set in the same world releasing this year 😍😍
        Tbh a lot of the reviews I saw after were good but it felt very generic to me. I can’t remember exactly what it was about it but it definitely didn’t blow me away like I expected.
        Oh right, I need to read more audio tbh. But DNF is sensible at times. If a book isn’t working for you forcing yourself to finish can push you into a slump. And it’s a waste of time that could be spent with a good book.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yay πŸ₯° true, the enemies POV will only be at the start and end or something like that!
          We will definitely have to discuss them 😊 thank youuu!!

          Definitely, and yes everyone’s tastes can’t be the same!
          Aw… Bad reviews can make you nervous but maybe lower expectations will work in your favour πŸ€”
          YES, anticlimactic! That’s the word, thank you! πŸ˜‚ It is a shame when it happens!

          Yes it is a popular genre, all the sauciness in frocks πŸ˜‚ haha but fantasy and magic make everything better βœ¨πŸ˜†
          they can have very atmospheric settings and high society is interesting to imagine! the different social rules and all.

          That’s amazing! oohh powerful firsts looks– I do like a strong start! this is not helping the book buying ban but I love it πŸ˜‚πŸ˜
          I will definitely let you know! hopefully they do a special edition for the sequel then 🀞🏻
          Yay and more books, what could be better?!? hope they are just as good!

          Sometimes generic plots are more exhausting than books you hate in a way. the hate is passionate but being bored is boring (naturally 🀣)!
          True, DNFing helps you prioritise books you will love instead of forcing yourself through something. I need to remember that more!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Or at the odd pivotal moment to make you dread their next move.
            We will 😊

            Yeah that’s true. It’s always a mix really with what makes you nervous/expectations.
            Definitely a shame. Hopefully there won’t be any anticlimactic books for you in 2023.

            Yeah I think people love the elegance of the balls & coming out in society etc. They do 😍
            Seeing the class divide is definitely interesting in period dramas & novels.

            Aww oops sorry πŸ™ˆ the start of her debut was what convinced me to get it πŸ˜…
            🀞
            Thanks. One contains vampires & another follows a character I was instantly intrigued by so I hope they live up to my expectations.

            Yeah boring books can be a drag. You just want it over & done with but struggle to keep going. I think the worst is when a book has a super strong start then loses it along the way though & turns into something you can’t stand as the devastation of that potential being smashed is so frustrating.
            I do too tbh. I never seem to DNF.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. YES, that is a common one!!

              Aw.. I hope there aren’t any anti-climatic books for you either. Good things for 2023!

              The dance balls are great. My grandma loved seeing them on TV and always wished we still did them! The class divide is intense in these books for sure.

              haha πŸ˜‚ must be good then! Ohh.. a vampire!! It sounds great already!

              Yeah, you are really counting down the pages! I know it is so disappointing when books start well and lose it- missed potential for sure!
              DNFing is hard when the book is in front of you!! πŸ˜‚

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Thank you ❀️❀️ that would certainly be lovely.

                Yes I can imagine they must have been lovely. If she loved seeing those balls did she also like Strictly?

                Ooh I recently found out House Of Salt & Sorrows has a sequel or companion (havent read book one yet so haven’t read the blurb) out this year too.

                Definitely. Sometimes you can’t help but wonder what the hell happened.
                It is. Especially if you brought it.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. ❀️❀️

                  I don’t know if she watched strictly all the time, she used to go round her neighbours on Saturday night and watch whatever they had on. I feel like I can remember her admiring the dresses though!

                  I don’t know too much about house of salt and sorrows, but nice that it is getting a sequel/companion!

                  I agree!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Aww that’s nice that she saw her neighbours a lot. And that wouldn’t surprised me, some of the dresses were stunning.

                    I haven’t read the first one yet but adored Small Favours by the author so definitely plan to this year.

                    Liked by 1 person

  4. SOPHIE THIS IS AMAZINGNESS I LOVE IT SO SO MUCH????? Reading your thoughts on all of these WAS SO MUCH FUN. Also am in love with all the huge amounts of political fantasies in here AND BASICALLY MUST MAKE THE ENTIRETY OF THIS LIST TOP PRIORITY THIS YEAR. look the sole reason I shall ever read legendborn will be because of you AND ALL THE PRAISES YOU SO SING OF IT. so THANK YOU!!!!!

    the only adam silver book I’ve read to date is they both die at the end and am not exactly sure if that would actually count because I left it off midway πŸ€”πŸ˜… but then more happy than not sounds interesting AND EXCUSE ME WHILE I STILL CHECK IT OUT DESPITE BEING DISAPPOINTED BEFORE. I hope 2023 is going amazing for you so far AND YOU FIND A HUGE AMOUNT OF FAVORITES THIS YEAR!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOUUU ANOUSHKA! πŸ’—I’m glad you enjoyed the post– political fantasies just get my attention and don’t let go. I hope you enjoy these books ASAP and I look forward to your thank you notes to me for introducing them into your life πŸ˜‰
      haha I have been talking about Legendborn a lot, it just came up in every post accidentlally– maybe it was magic! Anyway, such a good and weirdly comforting read!

      I read They Both Die at the End before More Happy Than Not, and I thought They Both Die at the End was a mediocre book at best. So I still have a lot of hope for you and more happy than not— it deserves the second chance!!

      Thank youuuu πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯° I hope you have a fabulous 2023, full of all the things you deserve and lots of incredible books! Only good things for 2023!

      Like

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