Best Books of 2022!

Every year, I do a post about the books that stood out to me, that touched me emotionally in some way. I usually keep the list down to ten books, but this year I decided to do things a little differently. I went over ten books. There were just too many good books with characters that became friends and stories that touched my heart in some way that I couldn’t narrow it down to just ten. There are thirteen books on the list this year! I’ve read so many books this year, but these were the ones that I fell in love with, that I felt at home within and that I didn’t want to leave. Here they are in no particular order. I hope my list helps you to discover your new favourite read or favourite author.  

Moon Witch Spider King by Marlon James

This book is flat out incredible. It’s the second in the Dark Moon Trilogy and I wasn’t sure how the follow up to Black Leopard Red Wolf would be. That seemed an impossible book to follow up because it was so captivating. Thankfully, I enjoyed Moon Witch Spider King even more. It’s the tale of Sogolon who was the nemesis in the first book but this time we get to see her side of things and find out how she got her power. I don’t think you would have to read the first book to enjoy this book, but seeing as it’s a trilogy, you would want to go back to read Black Leopard Red Wolf to get the meat of the story and to see how wonderfully Marlon James told Moon Witch Spider King. What an amazing book. I read it in hardcover and listened to the audiobook which was performed by Bahni Turpin who did an incredible job bringing such an epic tale to life.

A Postcard from Capri by Alex Brown

Any book by Alex Brown helps me to fall in love with love. There is just something so real about the characters she creates that make them live off of the page and A Postcard from Capri is no exception. When Maddie Williams finds photographs and memorabilia a young woman, she finds herself wondering who she could be. She receives a job in Italy, and she uses the trip to try and solve the mystery of who the woman from those pictures could be. Along the way, she learns a lot about herself and what she is capable of. Ultimately, she allows herself to heal, and the act of healing takes her on a journey within herself. What an amazing journey it is. Alex Brown always manages to tell a story that blurs the lines between women’s literature and so many other genres and this is her best one yet. Every time I finish a novel by Alex Brown, I’m left feeling happier and in love with the world again. Her books always come at a time when I need to heal a bit of myself, so Maddie’s journey was a very personal one for me.

Love That Story by Jonathan Van Ness

I love Jonathan Van Ness and his memoir Over the Top is a personal favourite of mine. When I heard he had written a book of essays, I was looking forward to reading it so much. It didn’t disappoint and this was another book where I read the hardcover and listened to the audiobook. Even when reading the hardcover, I could hear Jonathan’s voice and he took me on a journey in each of his essays. As I read the essays on style, sexuality, gender, queer history imposter syndrome, I found myself nodding along with the words. Jonathan’s words resonated with me, but it was the essay about overcoming body issues that brought me to tears. A lot of Van Ness feels about himself mirrors how I feel about my own body and the issues that I have with it. There were several essays that made me wonder if the author was able to look inside my head and see my thoughts. This is a heartfelt book that left me changed and I can’t wait to read it all over again.

Mastering Magick: A Course in Spellcasting for the Psychic Witch by Mat Auryn

I didn’t think it was possible to bottle magic within the pages of a book, but thankfully I was mistaken. Mastering Magic was an amazing read from start to finish. I’ve been a Pagan for over twenty years of my life and I learned more about magic and myself reading this book than I have after twenty something years of delving into spell books, writing spells and lighting candles. Auryn talks about magic so organically and so openly that I couldn’t help but be pulled right in. I finished this book in three days and then went back for a second read and then the third time around, I started marking the book up and making notes on my favourite spells and practices. Even more amazing, Auryn has spells written by a variety of other magick makers and spell casters so that I felt like I was being taught by a whole community of Witches. His first book Psychic Witch was so good and I expected more of the same int his book; what I got was so much more. I learned about myself and how to form my own magic, weave my own spells, that magic feels like home to me now when it felt like I was merely dabbling before. This book helped me to find my own magical voice and I’m so grateful for Mastering Magick and for Mat Auryn.

Gallant by V. E. Schwab

I read this book on a five-hour train trip and what a journey it took me on. Olivia Prior’s journey to the dark and back again held me captive from the first page. You could draw parallels between Coraline by Neil Gaiman, but you’d be so far off. What I love about V. E. Schwab’s writing is that nothing is ever what it seems, even if it’s being presented to you at face value. There is always something deeper that is revealed eventually. This is a dark tale about a young woman, a house, the secrets that it whispers between the walls and the power that she holds within herself. This book asked me to consider the demons that are locked behind closed doors and what happens when someone lets them out. A genuinely thrilling and creepy little book and a fast favourite of mine. It’s a stand alone read and my only wish is that the house within this book was real. I loved the journey that Oliva took me on and by the end of it, I loved Olivia Prior. A dark gem of a book.

Less Is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer

I loved Less by Andrew Sean Greer and was overjoyed when a sequel was announced. I was worried that some of the magic would be lost, that Arthur Less would somehow be different than the first book, not the same character that I fell in love with, that after so long apart, he would have lost his charm. Greer is a master storyteller and Arthur Less is just as much of a mess, just as clueless and just as endearing as before. He goes on an adventure to raise money to save his home, but the trip he goes on is also to save his home and his relationship and himself, though Less doesn’t know that. It takes a very talented author to make such a hapless person so likeable and I was rooting for Less from page one. He may not be very good at being gay, but Less is very good at making me laugh out loud and make the world seem less frightening and more amazing when seen through his eyes. Less Is Lost was so much better than the first novel and I was fell even more in love with Arthur Less this time around. A truly fabulous book.

Felix Navidad by ‘Nathan Burgoine

I wait every year for Burgoine’s holiday novella set in the village. It’s how I know that the holiday season has really begun. Burgoine manages to make all of his characters shine so brightly, whether they are the main or secondary character. In Felix Navidad, we’re given the tale of Felix and Keven and in alternating chapters, we’re shown how the two men come together and everyone that they meet along the way. Throughout the book, I fell in love with the world of the Village all over again as I do with each novella set there. He creates characters that you know completely by the time the book is done and you consider them among your friends. At least I do. ‘Nathan’s makes the magic happen, pure and simple. As the storylines flip back and forth, as Felix and Kevin’s lives intertwine, I was filled with hope. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? The light of hope that can fill the world and our hearts. ‘Nathan Burgoine brings that light to life in Felix Navidad and my life is richer for it.

Heat Wave by TJ Klune

This is the third in a trilogy of novels featuring Nick, Seth, Gibby, and Jazz and its oh so wonderful. I loved Nick and Seth’s relationship and the fact that they are both superheroes trying to save Nova City. I love Nick and Seth’s relationship and the fact that they’ve both grown so much throughout the trilogy. Heat Wave was everything I could have hoped for. This is quite the finale, taking the story to new levels of emotion and awesomeness. Nothing is what it seems in this book except for the love that is so real between Nick and Seth. I love Gibby and Jazz too and Nicks father is so wonderful. What I love so much about this book is the relationships between the characters and the fact that nothing is perfect, not even with superheroes. It’s also laugh out loud funny. There were several moments where I had to put the book down because I was snorting so much. I finished this book so uplifted and so darn hopeful. I love when a book can do that and I can’t wait to read the whole trilogy all over again. This book was the perfect ending!

The Shapes of Wrath by Melissa Yi

I’ve read almost all of the books that Melissa Yi has written, and she knows how to spin a tale filled to the brim with intrigue, mystery, amazing characters and there is humour thrown into the mix which gives a different twist the mystery. It gives it more depth. The Shapes of Wrath by Melissa Yi. It was a nonstop thrill ride from start to finish and Yi’s best book yet. There is no humour here. Instead, as Hope Sze Terrifying and thrilling with incredible characters, romance, and the supernatural, The Shapes of Wrath is the perfect book. It held my hands as if they were almost glued to the page and I didn’t know where it was going to go, or how things were going to unravel. There was an undercurrent of dread that filled the whole novel, and it left me spellbound and anxious to find out how it all ended. This book shows that Yi is a master of the mystery thriller and the added element of the paranormal just took things to a whole new level. A novel filled with depth and urgency, I can’t wait to read the second book in the series!

Juniper Wiles and the Ghost Girls by Charles de Lint

I was thrilled when Charles de Lint returned to Newford in his last novel, Juniper Wiles. I was so happy to hear that there was a sequel and that we would get to know more of what happened to Juniper. Even better, that I would see Jilly Coppercorn and friends again. While I was thrilled to see Jilly once more, I was pulled into Juniper’s story and her continuing journey into the other realms of the faerie. Reading about Juniper learn about herself and about the powers she possesses took me on quite the journey. As Juniper got to know more about herself, I was on my own journey of knowing; I had such a personal reaction to this book because of that. It felt like Juniper and I were travelling to other world together and in a way, we were. When I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking of her story, pulled so deeply into the world that Charles de Lint had created. Charles de Lint convinced me years ago that magic did exist. Now he made me a believer once more and gave me magic when I needed it most. I finished this book in two days and I can’t wait for the next journey that I take with Juniper Wiles and Jilly Coppercorn.

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen

I tried to make this one last, I truly did. I’ve been waiting so long for a novel from Sarah Addison Allen. Her last book, First Frost, was published in 2015. After her mother passed away, things became quiet and though I searched for a new novel by Allen, her pen remained still. I supposed it’s only natural then that grief is a theme that runs throughout Other Birds. Each of the characters is grieving in a different way, some for the family they never had, others for the family that they’ve lost. Though this book deals with death, grief, loss and every emotion that those entail, the book never feels heavy. Allen moves you through the different lives that fill this book and tells their stories with a deft and knowing hand. Other Birds is magical realism at its finest. In this book you will ghosts, invisible birds, visits from the afterlife and ghosts. You will also find real people, multiple storylines that somehow all intertwine together (yes, even those from the afterlife) and so much heart. There is a little bit of mystery involved as well and the whole concoction was just so captivating.

Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers (The Gates of Westmeath Book 1) by Jen Desmarais and Éric Desmarais

I loved everything about this book. I’ve been a long-time fan of Éric Desmarais’ work and the world building he does and knew that Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers would be good, and I was pretty sure what I was in for. I was wrong, though. It was spectacular! Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers is not just a book you read. It’s a book you want to live in. The book pulled me in from the first page and I love the character of Kennedy. Jen and Éric excel at creating characters that you end up caring for. By the end of the book, the characters of this book weren’t just people on the page; they were friends. I’ve been with them through so much, after all. The plot is amazing, and it just rolls along at a breakneck speed. It’s one of those books where you think that you know where it’s going and then Jen and Éric take you down a whole other path you never even considered. Even more amazing, none of it ever feels forced. The whole plot and the world building are top notch. Though Westmeath Ontario is a real place, I want to live in the one that the authors have created. After reading this book, I feel like I know the people that live there, and I know the streets well. What an amazing and incredible read and I can’t wait for more!!!

Nothing Without Us Too Edited by Cait Gordon and Talia Johnson

Nothing Without Us Too is an anthology of short stories featuring protagonists that are disabled, d/Deaf, Blind or visually impaired, neurodivergent, Spoonie, and/or who manage mental illness. Reading Nothing Without Us Too was like looking into a large diamond, filled with all kinds of different facets. This incredible collection contains stories about disabled people written by those who have actually lived experience. When reading this collection, I recognized pieces of myself and learned about the true power of the human spirit. Each story can stand on its own, but together, this collection is a diamond that shines so brilliantly. It was wonderful to read a collection of stories where disabled people weren’t the sidekicks or the comic relief. Living with cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis, it was a joy to read a collection of stories where I felt seen. More than that, each story was fantastic. Each of the stories shone on its own but together? This book just shines. It will be a long time until I have such a fantastic experience reading a book of short stories again.

Thank you to all the authors of the books that I’ve read this year. You’ve brought me joy when I was down, comfort when I needed reassurance, direction when I felt lost and love when the world was at its darkest. That is the power of words, and I am so thankful to all of you.

I can’t wait to see what 2023 will bring and the worlds that I will journey to inside of the books that I find along the way.

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