Our Favorite Reads Of 2022

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Our Favorite Reads of 2022

Once again, I challenged our reviewers to pick their favorite (only one!) book they read this year. It didn’t necessarily have to be a 2022 release. I loved seeing which book they all selected and hearing about what made it so good for them. Surprisingly, there wasn’t too much hemming and hawing about selecting just one.

Here are our favorites of the year! We’d also love to hear about your best read of 2022!

  • Ocean’s Echo

    Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell

    Rich socialite, inveterate flirt, and walking disaster Tennalhin Halkana can read minds. Tennal, like all neuromodified “readers,” is a security threat on his own. But when controlled, readers are a rare asset. Not only can they read minds, but they can navigate chaotic space, the maelstroms surrounding the gateway to the wider universe.

    Conscripted into the military under dubious circumstances, Tennal is placed into the care of Lieutenant Surit Yeni, a duty-bound soldier, principled leader, and the son of a notorious traitor general. Whereas Tennal can read minds, Surit can influence them. Like all other neuromodified “architects,” he can impose his will onto others, and he’s under orders to control Tennal by merging their minds.

    Surit accepted a suspicious promotion-track request out of desperation, but he refuses to go through with his illegal orders to sync and control an unconsenting Tennal. So they lie: They fake a sync bond and plan Tennal’s escape.

    Their best chance arrives with a salvage-retrieval mission into chaotic space—to the very neuromodifcation lab that Surit’s traitor mother destroyed twenty years ago. And among the rubble is a treasure both terrible and unimaginably powerful, one that upends a decades-old power struggle, and begins a war.

    Tennal and Surit can no longer abandon their unit or their world. The only way to avoid life under full military control is to complete the very sync they’ve been faking.

    Can two unwilling weapons of war bring about peace?

    AJ: Gay space opera + opposites attract +slow burn. I just loved the characters SO HECKIN MUCH. Their mutual respect and admiration and snark were chef’s kiss.

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  • Nettle & Bone

    Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

    With her signature mix of the grim and the delightful, award-winning author T. Kingfisher takes the old bones of fantasy and fairytale and makes them into something entirely new in this enchanting adventure.

    After years of seeing her sisters suffer at the hands of an abusive prince, Marra—the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter—has finally realized that no one is coming to their rescue. No one, except for Marra herself.

    Seeking help from a powerful gravewitch, Marra is offered the tools to kill a prince—if she can complete three impossible tasks. But, as is the way in tales of princes, witches, and daughters, the impossible is only the beginning.

    On her quest, Marra is joined by the gravewitch, a reluctant fairy godmother, a strapping former knight, and a chicken possessed by a demon. Together, the five of them intend to be the hand that closes around the throat of the prince and frees Marra’s family and their kingdom from its tyrannous ruler at last.

    Nettle & Bone is the kind of book that immediately feels like an old friend. Fairytale mythic resonance meets homey pragmatism in this utterly delightful story. It’s creepy, funny, heartfelt, and full of fantastic characters I absolutely loved!” —Melissa Caruso, author of The Tethered Mage

    Amanda: The atmosphere and non-linear storytelling really sucked me in. It was quirky without being too twee and had just enough darkness and bite for me. My only complaint is that I want hundreds of more pages to read!

    Read Carrie’s review!

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  • Red Blossom in Snow

    Red Blossom in Snow by Jeannie Lin

    Murder and forbidden love in the Tang Dynasty. The latest in the bestselling Lotus Palace Mystery series.

    Magistrate Li Chen harbors a secret. One that could destroy his hard-earned reputation, as well as his growing passion for the talented courtesan, Song Yi.

    Li Chen’s duty to his family and the Emperor must come before the desires of his heart, but when a stranger to the city is found dead near the House of Heavenly Peaches, where Song Yi is indentured, the complicated nature of their relationship becomes the least of his troubles.

    For Song Yi, Magistrate Li’s gentlemanly, late night conversations provide a welcome change from the games of courtship she is accustomed to, but his reserved attention won’t pay the bills. When one of her courtesan-sisters goes missing at the same time a stranger is killed in the pleasure quarter, she and Li Chen embark on an investigation as well as a passionate affair. But the riddle they uncover goes deeper than they could have imagined, and mysteries from their pasts may shatter any hope for the future.

    Claudia: Thank you, Titles I’ve Borrowed in Libby List. My pick is Red Blossom in the Snow by Jennie Lin. Excellent return to the richly imagined Lotus Palace world.

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  • A Lady for a Duke

    A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall

    When Viola Carroll was presumed dead at Waterloo she took the opportunity to live, at last, as herself. But freedom does not come without a price, and Viola paid for hers with the loss of her wealth, her title, and her closest companion, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood.

    Only when their families reconnect, years after the war, does Viola learn how deep that loss truly was. Shattered without her, Gracewood has retreated so far into grief that Viola barely recognises her old friend in the lonely, brooding man he has become.

    As Viola strives to bring Gracewood back to himself, fresh desires give new names to old feelings. Feelings that would have been impossible once and may be impossible still, but which Viola cannot deny. Even if they cost her everything, all over again.

    Elyse: It just left me absolutely aching with bittersweet feels and the HEA was so satisfying. It’s a great book for when you need to have some Big Feels.

    Read Shana’s review!

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  • Season of Love

    Season of Love by Helena Greer

    Miriam Blum has no choice but to face the past she thought she’d left behind when she inherits her great-aunt’s Christmas tree farm in this witty, glittering, heart-filled romcom.

    Thanks to her thriving art career, Miriam Blum finally has her decoupaged glitter ducks in a row—until devastating news forces her to a very unwanted family reunion. Her beloved great-aunt Cass has passed and left Miriam part-owner of Carrigan’s, her (ironically) Jewish-run Christmas tree farm.

    But Miriam’s plans to sit shiva, avoid her parents, then put Carrigan’s in her rearview mirror are spoiled when she learns the business is at risk of going under. To have any chance at turning things around, she’ll need to work with the farm’s grumpy manager—as long as the attraction sparking between them doesn’t set all their trees on fire first.

    Noelle Northwood wants Miriam Blum gone—even if her ingenious ideas and sensitive soul keep showing Noelle there’s more to Cass’s niece than meets the eye. But saving Carrigan’s requires trust, love, and risking it all—for the chance to make their wildest dreams come true.

    Sarah: Season of Love was probably one of my favorite books this year. Quirky and emotional, smart and sweet without being saccharine, and as I said, it captured that feeling of swimming in the ocean of Christmas when you don’t celebrate it. It’s a book about a lot of people who feel alone, who all realize that they aren’t alone at all, which is perfect because the story made me feel less alone, too.

    Read Sarah and Tara’s joint review!

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  • You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty

    You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

    New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist reimagines the love story in this fresh and seductive novel about a young woman seeking joy while healing from loss.

    Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.

    It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.

    She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the dangerous thrill Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love?

    Akwaeke Emezi’s vivid and passionate writing takes us deep into a world of possibility and healing, and the constant bravery of choosing love against all odds.

    Shana: It was such fun to read—the heroine took me along her messy, soapy journey to love through a bunch of hot guys who, unfortunately for them, all knew one another. It has a HEA but an atypical structure for a romance, so for most of the book I had no idea what would happen next. The book also just gives off EXTREMELY queer energy for a m/f romance. It’s like a beautiful bisexual fairy tale, if fairy tales had characters who accidentally make out with their date’s dad.

    Also I have to mention that the hero is a chef who is just enough like Marcus Samuelsson to be hot, without ever tipping into RPF (real person fiction).

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  • Truth and Measure

    Truth and Measure by Roslyn Sinclair

    What happens when the world’s fiercest fashion editor learns she’s pregnant—and her distracting assistant is the only one she can turn to? This wildly popular age-gap lesbian romance mixes humor and chaos with self-discovery.

    Jules Moretti is newly single, an aspiring writer, and the hyper-competent assistant to the most powerful woman in fashion. It’s a tough job, but her ice queen boss won’t settle for less than perfection.

    Vivian Carlisle helms the internationally revered fashion publication Du Jour. She might be smack in the middle of a messy divorce, but you have to make sacrifices to be the best. That’s what she tells herself, anyway.

    When the unthinkable happens, Vivian’s regimented world is turned upside-down. Her life is about power, success, and dominance—not a baby!

    This single, shocking moment throws boss and assistant together into an intimacy neither could have imagined. With their lives in chaos, every day brings a new challenge bigger than the last. But everything will work out…just so long as they don’t do anything totally ridiculous.

    Like fall in love.

    Truth and Measure is the first part of a two-book series. This slow-burn office romance is a steamy story of fashion, passion, and the power of the unexpected.

    Tara: My favourite book of the year was Truth and Measure, and its second part Above All Things, by Roslyn Sinclair. Yes, technically that’s two books, but they need to be read together. It’s a rewrite of my favourite fanfic of all time and it love it so much that it’s just hands down my favourite book ever. This is one of those YMMV stories, because the couple that gets together starts as a boss/employee situation, but I felt it handled that line well.

    Read Tara and Susan’s joint review!

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