I did it! 100 books in 2022!
Did I expect to hit this number by the end of the year? In January, I had high hopes starting off very well with 11 books, but by October when I read only 7 books, the number 100 was looking a little far-reaching.
However, somehow I managed to end the year on exactly 100 books with my final book being read in New York City, similar to 2021.
I will be writing a full wrap up of my year of reading, but for now here are the reviews and ratings of the books I read in December 2022.
Related post: The 77 Books I Read in 2021
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever. Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them… and what they will leave behind.
My rating: ★★★★★
Every month I seem to have another Taylor Jenkins Reid book in this wrap up, but I can’t resist. I would read TJR’s shopping list if she’d let me. Malibu Rising is one of her more recent novels and I wanted to read this before Carrie Soto is Back as I heard she actually features in Malibu Rising a little. This was another epic novel by TJR and every bit the page turner as Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and I can definitely see a movie being made for this in the near future.
The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two. That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all. Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.
My rating: ★★★
This was the perfect book to pick up after watching the Wednesday Addam’s series on Netflix. Not very fitting for the time of year, but the next three books I picked up afterwards made up for that. The Ex Hex was an adult version of Hocus Pocus, focusing on three witches, a love interest (from Wales might I add), a drunken curse, a talking cat and something akin to the black-flame candle. An enjoyable story and some light reading to cosy up with during this cold weather.
Jingle All the Way by Debbie Macomber
Everly Lancaster has always had big dreams, but her high-flying career has left little time for anything – or anyone – else. When the opportunity arises to take the whole of December off, Everly decides it’s time to go on the holiday she deserves. Little does she know, there’s more than one surprise in store for her this Christmas… To escape the massive snowstorm on the way, Everly prepares for a sunny, relaxing cruise – until a mix-up with her booking lands her on a tour of the Amazon rainforest. At first, not even the handsome tour guide Asher can improve her mood, but soon the spectacular sights – and Asher’s charming company – open workaholic Everly’s eyes to all she’s been missing in life.
My rating: ★★★
I borrowed three Christmas-themed books from the library mainly for a YouTube video, but also to feel more of the Christmas spirit. I had low hopes for all of the books I picked up, mainly because every one had the same plot and I knew they were going to be every bit as cliche as I expected.
Jingle All the Way did not disappoint in the cliche category. A workaholic woman takes a trip down the Amazon rainforest, gets taken by an indigenous tribe and lives to tell the tale, falls into piranha-infested waters and lives to tell the tale and has an extreme reaction to a mosquito bite and still lives to tell the tale. All while falling in love with the naturist on board the cruise. This book is if The Holiday took place in the Amazon, but still an enjoyable read regardless of the eye rolling that took place while reading.
Christmas at the Island Hotel by Jenny Colgan
Flora MacKenzie is worried about her brother. Fintan hasn’t got over the death of his partner, Colton, and Flora thinks he needs a project. The Rock – the rambling, disused hotel on the tip of the island – was Colton’s passion project before he died. With Flora’s help, Fintan is going to get the hotel up and running in time for Christmas, transforming it into a festive haven of crackling log fires and delicious food. But running a hotel, they are about to discover, is not that easy. Especially when their motley staff includes a temperamental French chef, a spoilt Norwegian kitchen boy who can’t peel a potato without mutilating his own hand and a painfully shy kitchen assistant who blushes when anyone speaks to her. Can they pull it together in time for the big opening?
My rating: ★★★
Of the three Christmas-themed books I read this month, I would say this one was my favourite. Although I rated them all three-stars, Christmas at the Island Hotel made me laugh out loud the most and had me rolling my eyes just a little less than the other two. With so many characters, storylines and disasters, this was the perfect cosy read for the Christmas season and one I couldn’t wait to keep reading.
The Christmas Wish List by Heidi Swain
After being let go from her job in a swanky hotel just weeks before Christmas, Hattie is feeling lost. Even more so when her high-flying boyfriend announces he’s landed his dream job in Abu Dhabi and asks her to move with him. Luckily, Hattie’s long-time friend Dolly is on hand to help and invites Hattie to spend one last holiday in the small, festive town of Wynbridge, determined to give her a Christmas to remember… Upon Hattie’s arrival, holiday preparations are in full swing. But for Hattie, whose Christmas cheer has long since run out, it’ll take more than mince pies and mistletoe to open her heart to the season once more. Relishing the task of reigniting Hattie’s Christmas spirit, Dolly suggests they create a wish list of all the things the season can offer, and with the helpful hands of Wynbridge’s resident handyman, Beamish, Hattie finds her frosty exterior is starting to thaw. As Wynbridge prepares for its most spectacular Christmas yet, will Hattie leave snowy England behind for life in a sunnier clime, or will she in fact realise that her heart’s desire lies much closer to home?
My rating: ★★★
The Christmas Wish List may have been the most cliche of all the Christmas books for this month. A city girl heads to the small town trope and makes a Christmas bucket list. That description in itself is enough to roll your eyes over. An average read, but Christmassy all the same.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
In a burned-out America, a father and his young son walk under a darkened sky, heading slowly for the coast. They have no idea what, if anything, awaits them there. The landscape is destroyed, nothing moves save the ash on the wind and cruel, lawless men stalk the roadside, lying in wait. Attempting to survive in this brave new world, the young boy and his protector have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves. They must keep walking.
My rating: ★★★★
Reading the front and back of this book, I had very high expectations. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, adapted into a movie, winner of ‘Best Book’ for so many different publications and highly rated. Yes, it was beautifully written and you did fall in love with the two characters, especially the son, but it was a tad monotonous following this one road with no real goal/end in sight. It seemed to me to be more of a parable-story, one that you would delve into and deeply analyse in an English class, showing the contrast of the father and son and their attitudes towards other people they meet on the road and life itself. It’s a book I will remember for a long time, but I don’t know if I would rush to watch the movie.
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two. But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan. At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked “the Battle-Axe” anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever. In spite of it all, Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells her most vulnerable, emotional story yet.
My rating: ★★★★
I had seen mixed reviews online for Taylor Jenkins Reid’s most recent release, and was a little apprehensive going into this one after reading Malibu Rising at the start of the month. It was giving everything that Taylor Jenkins Reid is good at – celebrity lives, pre 1990s, gossip and scandal – and for that, I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say it was TJR’s best book (will she ever write anything as good as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo?) but it definitely wasn’t her worst. For me, Carrie Soto ranks below Evelyn Hugo, Malibu Rising and Daisy Jones. However, I will 100% be pre-ordering TJR’s next release because I will read absolutely anything that woman writes.
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.
My rating: ★★★
I picked this up in a charity shop for £1.50, knowing that it was a Netflix series and so expecting great things. Although the subject matter is quite dark, I was left incredibly disappointed by the ending of this book, plus I thought the twist was quite predictable. There was no closure at the end of the book for me, and for a topic like this one, I thought it was very much needed. I think in this case, the TV series might turn out to be better than the book.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.
My rating: ★★★★★
Did I save the best book until last? Yes, yes I did. I had no idea what to expect from this book really, other than the rave reviews I was seeing all over the internet. The title and book cover weren’t giving me much to go on and the blurb was hinting towards themes of gaming – something I’m not into myself.
However, even though this is a book about gaming, it’s also about love, relationships, grief, disability, communication, success and fame. A truly exceptional book that I would recommend to anyone, no matter if you’re into the world of gaming or not. The best book I read in 2022.