2022 was not a great year of reading for me. It is probably the worst since I started tracking my reading. I only recorded around 30 books and some of these were DNFs. But of those 30 I found many new favorites. Here are a few of those favorites, and some of the not so favorites I came across.
Kings of the Wyld & Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames.
I loved both these books. The first, Kings of the Wyld is about a group of guys getting back together to go save one of their daughters (Rose). The group used to be an adventuring group taking out monsters all over the land. They have since gotten old and a bit slow. But for one of them, his daughter is trying to follow in his footsteps and has gone to fight a losing battle. Now he goes around tracking down his old band mates to go save his daughter. In Bloody Rose, we follow Rose, after the events of the first book. She and her band continue traveling, battling monsters for show. The Bards of the group are always dying though. Tam’s mother was a bard and died, but Tam is tired of working at the local pub. She gets recruited to be the Bard for Rose’s band. These books contain many laughs and rock-and-roll references. The characters in both books are always getting themselves into trouble too.
A Blade So Black & A Dream So Dark by L.L. McKinney.
These are Alice in Wonderland retellings, and oh are they good. You do not want to be late to this tea party. Wonderland is overrun by nightmares and they are slipping into our world. Alice is almost killed the first time she comes across one, but thankfully Hatter was there. Hatter trains her and now she’s juggling school with protecting humans from the Nightmares. But then Hatter is poisoned and it’s up to Alice to save him, which is made more difficult when she can’t tell others of what she does as they will think her silly. The number of times I thought she was going to get in trouble with her mother through this, she comes so close and I got worried for her. There were times I was more afraid of her mother than the nightmares. Not kidding you. And we get a third book, A Crown So Cursed in September of this year but it is available for pre-order now.
Witch13 by Patrick Delaney.
Full disclosure, I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a horror/thriller and was a surprise as to how much I absolutely loved this story. I usually avoid horrors because the genre of books and movies are great at giving me nightmares. My husband loves horrors and dragged me to a few. One of which being Jeepers Creepers 2. I remember one night maybe 2 weeks after we had seen the movie, I was leaving his apartment late one night and someone else was just arriving home. I jumped sky high at the car door closing. That is how much these kinds of books and movies usually get me. In the story, there is a mysterious woman found at the site of a gruesome mass murder. She won’t talk, just stares at you. Sheriff Sterling Marsh is called to the gruesome sight in the middle of a terrible storm. The events of the night just get worse as this witch seemingly affects people around her and gets them to kill each other. The ending is something you will definitely not see coming. Despite the absolute terror I was feeling while reading this book, I could not stop picking it back up.
Six Heirs by Pierre Grimbert.
Six Heirs was the first book I read in 2022, and gave it only 2 stars. I don’t even really remember what this one was about, but I remember it was quite underwhelming. There was something about heirs of some event, and they were being killed off before they could all meet on some mysterious island again. The premise was interesting, but I wasn’t really invested in the story, and kind of made myself listen because it was the first book and I thought maybe all this was just the boring stuff to introduce characters and introduce the magic. But I don’t recall the magic ever being introduced though, that is still a mystery at the end of the book.
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake.
I’m not sure I can really say this was a bad book. I think this was more I was trying it, realizing my reading taste was changing, and I thought this would be interesting like a secret society kind of deal but ended up putting it down without finishing or desire to pick it up again. Six young adults who have basically just graduated from school, and are recruited to a secret society, The Alexandrian Society. They are asked to protect magical artifacts and will be judged on their contributions to arcane knowledge, but only 5 will be chosen to be initiated to the Alexandrian Society. I don’t remember how far I got but at some point realized I was no longer the target audience for this book. There was a time though, when I would have loved to read this for the secret society angle alone.
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst.
I was excited because there is adventure and spirits for some of the elements in this story, but it fell so short of expectations. The queen is supposed to be the strongest and able to hold control of the elemental spirits around the forests and towns to make sure they don’t attack. When the queen losses her hold on them she will be killed by them. I made it 75% through and then gave up. Everything was too obvious, and then there seemed to be contradictions with the characters. Like there was a guard or protector, I forget the term used in the book, but he knows the current queen is losing her grip on power and is manipulative so he lets her manipulate him to go and speak with her alone when she’s already set him up once before. Fool me once shame on up, fool me twice shame on me, and this character otherwise did not strike me as a fool. The book starts with him reporting an issue and he realizes she is loosing her hold on the spirits and says how the council needs to know. She of course refuses to let them know because she doesn’t want to give up her power and sets him up and removes his status as an official Champion. You’d think he wouldn’t let her manipulate him again especially after he warns the trainee he has chosen to possibly be the next queen that she is manipulative. Yet he walks right into her trap. At that point I lost it and put the book down, absolutely defeated that I had given it all those chances to this book, and I was just so disappointed by it in the end.