I read 55 books last year and I had quite a good time sharing my reads here and on my Instagram. I kept track in two month increments and linked to this page. Also, I wanted to take some time and pull out my favorite reads from the year–including the ones that I rated 5 stars and the ones that fell just a little short that I still have not stopped thinking about. They are linked below in alphabetical order and divided up into two sections. Here are my 16 favorite reads from 2022!
16 Favorite Reads from 2022
5 Star Favorite Reads from 2022
A Woman is No Man – Etaf Rum
When I tell you I sobbed–whew. It came highly recommended to me and it did not disappoint. If you have not read it yet, please do! The author is actually based in Rocky Mount now and owns a coffee & bookshop and burger spot there. Her next book is scheduled for release in September and is available for pre-order here.
Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married. She is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda. Also, she struggles to adopr with her strange new husband Adam. A pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children. She has four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear. Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence.
Even though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter. The only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man. But fate has a will of its own. Soon, Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family. It’s a knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.
Black Cake – Charmaine Wilkerson
This book had it all for me–history, romance, food, family, travel. It lived up to the hype it got! A must read.
In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny: a black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. The heartbreaking tale Eleanor unfolds, the secrets she still holds back, and the mystery of a long-lost child challenge everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage and themselves.
Can Byron and Benny reclaim their once-close relationship, piece together Eleanor’s true history, and fulfill her final request to “share the black cake when the time is right”? Will their mother’s revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever? Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel is a story of how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories, and even names can shape relationships and history. Deeply evocative and beautifully written, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch.
The Chiffon Trenches: a Memoir – André Leon Talley
I decided to read this after hearing it was a good beach read and doing a little investigating on André since he was from Durham. While I am not one who follows haute couture, this was an exceptional read and quite enjoyab
During André Leon Talley’s first magazine job, alongside Andy Warhol at Interview, a fateful meeting with Karl Lagerfeld began a decades-long friendship with the enigmatic, often caustic designer. Propelled into the upper echelons by his knowledge and adoration of fashion, André moved to Paris as bureau chief of John Fairchild’s Women’s Wear Daily, befriending fashion’s most important designers (Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta). But as André made friends, he also made enemies. A racially tinged encounter with a member of the house of Yves Saint Laurent sent him back to New York and into the offices of Vogue under Grace Mirabella.There, he eventually became creative director, developing an unlikely but intimate friendship with Anna Wintour.
As she rose to the top of Vogue‘s masthead, André also ascended, and soon became the most influential man in fashion.
The Chiffon Trenches offers a candid look at the who’s who of the last fifty years of fashion. At once ruthless and empathetic, this engaging memoir tells with raw honesty. It’s the story of how André not only survived the brutal style landscape but thrived. He survived despite racism, illicit rumors, and all the other challenges of this notoriously cutthroat industry. To become one of the most renowned voices and faces in fashion. Woven throughout the book are also André’s own personal struggles that impacted him over the decades. It also has intimate stories of those he turned to for inspiration (Diana Vreeland, Diane von Fürstenberg, Lee Radziwill, to name a few). Of course his Southern roots and faith, which guided him since childhood.
The result is a highly compelling read that captures the essence of a world few of us will ever have real access to, but one that we all want to know oh so much more about.
My copy of The Chiffon Trenches is at The Library Hotel, where I donated my copy to be housed in the fashion suite, where David and I stayed last summer!
Greenwich Park – Katherine Faulkner
This book reminded me a little of Girl on a Train and I absolutely loved it. It was a thriller that I could not put down!
In this “gloriously tangled game of cat and mouse that kept the twists coming until the very last moment” (Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Helen’s idyllic life–handsome architect husband, gorgeous Victorian house, and cherished baby on the way–begins to change the day she attends her first prenatal class.There, she meets Rachel, an unpredictable single mother-to-be who doesn’t seem very maternal: she smokes, drinks, and professes little interest in parenthood. Still, Helen is drawn to her. Maybe Rachel just needs a friend. And to be honest, Helen’s a bit lonely herself. At least Rachel is fun to be with.
She makes Helen laugh, invites her confidences, and distracts her from her fears.But her increasingly erratic behavior is unsettling. And Helen’s not the only one who’s noticed. Her friends and family begin to suspect that her strange new friend may be linked to their shared history in unexpected ways. When Rachel threatens to expose a past crime that could destroy all of their lives, it becomes clear that there are more than a few secrets laying beneath the broad-leaved trees and warm lamplight of Greenwich Park.
Killers of a Certain Age – Deanna Raybourn
This book was described to me as the Golden Girls meets James Bond and that is spot on! I flew through it and thought it was such a fun thriller.
Older women often feel invisible, but sometimes that’s their secret weapon. They’ve spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization. However, now that they’re sixty years old, four women friends can’t just retire. It’s kill or be killed in this action-packed thriller. Written by New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-nominated author Deanna Raybourn. Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have worked for the Museum. It’s an elite network of assassins, for forty years. Now their talents are considered old-school. No one appreciates what they have to offer in an age that relies more on technology than people skills.
When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses paid vacation to mark their retirement, they are targeted by one of their own. Only the Board, the top-level members of the Museum, can order the termination of field agents. The women realize they’ve been marked for death. Now to get out alive they have to turn against their own organization, relying on experience and each other to get the job done, knowing that working together is the secret to their survival. They’re about to teach the Board what it really means to be a woman–and a killer–of a certain age.
The Midnight Library – Matt Haig
This book reminds me a little bit of the book version of It’s a Wonderful Life. I really enjoyed this book and the reflection that it sparked. TW: suicide
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books. Each book contains one of the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is. Also, another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting blockbuster novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
State of Terror – Louise Penny & Hillary Rodham Clinton
I really enjoyed this! It was my first Louise Penny book and I cannot believe it took me this long to get into her novels. I love a good political thriller and this one was spot on!
4 – 4.75 Star Favorite Reads from 2022
The Book of Cold Cases – Simone St. James
This was quite an enjoyable thriller! I couldn’t put it down and read it curled up on a chilly weekend on a relaxing mountain getaway in Valle Crucis.
A true crime blogger gets more than she bargained for while interviewing the woman acquitted of two cold case slayings in this chilling new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel. In 1977, Claire Lake, Oregon, was shaken by the Lady Killer Murders: Two men, seemingly randomly, were murdered with the same gun, with strange notes left behind. Beth Greer was the perfect suspect–a rich, eccentric twenty-three-year-old woman, seen fleeing one of the crimes. But she was acquitted, and she retreated to the isolation of her mansion. Oregon, 2017. Shea Collins is a receptionist, but by night, she runs a true crime website, the Book of Cold Cases–a passion fueled by the attempted abduction she escaped as a child. When she meets Beth by chance, Shea asks her for an interview.
To Shea’s surprise, Beth says yes. They meet regularly at Beth’s mansion, though Shea is never comfortable there. Items move when she’s not looking, and she could swear she’s seen a girl outside the window. The allure of learning the truth about the case from the smart, charming Beth is too much to resist, but even as they grow closer, Shea senses something isn’t right. Is she making friends with a manipulative murderer, or are there other dangers lurking in the darkness of the Greer house?
The Golden Couple – Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks
I really enjoyed this thriller! While I figured it out towards the end, it still kept me on the edge of my seat.
Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all–until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers.Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate.
When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.
The Hotel Nantucket – Elin Hilderbrand
Talk about a fun beach read! Charming characters, a ghost, history, travel, and twists & turns! I couldn’t put it down and was immediately looking at booking a trip to Nantucket!
Fresh off a bad breakup with a longtime boyfriend, Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton is desperately seeking a second act. When she’s named the new general manager of the Hotel Nantucket, a once Gilded Age gem turned abandoned eyesore. She hopes that her local expertise and charismatic staff can win the favor of their new London billionaire owner, Xavier Darling, as well as that of Shelly Carpenter, the wildly popular Instagram tastemaker who can help put them back on the map. There’s a lot of drama behind closed doors while the Hotel Nantucket appears to be a blissful paradise. It’s also complete with a celebrity chef-run restaurant and an idyllic wellness center.
The staff (and guests) have complicated pasts. The hotel can’t seem to overcome the bad reputation it earned in 1922 when a tragic fire killed nineteen-year-old chambermaid Grace Hadley. With Grace gleefully haunting the halls, a staff harboring all kinds of secrets, and Lizbet’s own romantic uncertainty, is the Hotel Nantucket destined for success or doom?Filled with the emotional depth and multiple points of view that characterize Hilderbrand’s novels (The Blue Bistro, Golden Girl) as well as an added dash of Roaring Twenties history, The Hotel Nantucket offers something for everyone in this compelling summer drama.
Lessons in Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus
I *loved* this book! The only reason I did not rate it as a 5 star book was because it was a little slow to start. Otherwise, this was hands down one of my favorites and one of the books I consistently recommend to people. I wish Elizabeth Zott was an actual person on TV because I would 100% be watching her show.
“A unique heroine … you’ll find yourself wishing she wasn’t fictional.” —Seattle TimesChemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with–of all things–her mind. True chemistry results.
But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.
The Lies I Tell – Julie Clark
I have never rooted for a con-artist before, and I was rooting hard for Meg. A delightful thriller with a great ending!
Meg Williams. Maggie Littleton. Melody Wilde. Different names for the same person, depending on the town, depending on the job. She’s a con artist who erases herself to become whoever you need her to be–a college student. A life coach. A real estate agent. Nothing about her is real. She slides alongside you and tells you exactly what you need to hear, and by the time she’s done, you’ve likely lost everything.Kat Roberts has been waiting ten years for the woman who upended her life to return. And now that she has, Kat is determined to be the one to expose her. But as the two women grow closer, Kat’s long-held assumptions begin to crumble, leaving Kat to wonder who Meg’s true target is.
One Day in December – Josie Silver
I always enjoy romantic reads during the holidays, like written versions of Hallmark movies. This one was way different–it offered so many twists and turns and was deeper than most of the ones I have read. I definitely recommend.
Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him.
But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.
The Paris Apartment – Lucy Foley
I added this to my Book of the Month as soon as I saw the author. I *loved* her novel, The Guest List, and I really did enjoy this book, though I do like The Guest List better. A really good thriller.
Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The conciergeEveryone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.
The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides
I read this after having so many recommendations following me expressing how much I enjoyed reading The Maidens. I get the hype with him. He is definitely an author that I will order his book(s) whenever he releases them!
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. She is afamous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer. She lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot. Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word. Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation. This turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander.
It becomes a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove. The Grove is a secure forensic unit in North London. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations–a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….
You’re Invited – Amanda Jayatissa
This book was *wild,* y’all. Wild. The main character, Amaya, is invited to her ex-best friend’s wedding in Sri Lanka. Her ex-best friend, Kaavi, and her haven’t spoken in years, so the invitation is out of the blue for Amaya. They stopped speaking because of something bad that happened between Amaya and Kaavi’s family, though we don’t know what. Amaya becomes obsessed with stopping Kaavi’s wedding to Amaya ex-boyfriend. Kaavi’s family is Sri Lankan royalty and she is a social media influencer and founder of a charity to support underprivileged girls, so she has quite the fan club. However, it turns out that she has made quite a few enemies and turns up missing. The story flows between the past, present, and the police reports for various characters at the end of the present chapters. It was a page turner and I quite enjoyed it.
What could be worse than your ex-boyfriend marrying your childhood best friend?
Getting accused of her murder… From the award-winning author of My Sweet Girl comes a dangerously addictive new thriller about a lavish Sri Lankan wedding celebration that not everyone will survive. When Amaya is invited to Kaavi’s over-the-top wedding in Sri Lanka, she is surprised. Also, a little hurt to hear from her former best friend after so many years of radio silence. But when Amaya learns that the groom is her very own ex-boyfriend. She is consumed by a single thought. She must stop the wedding from happening, no matter the cost. But as the week of wedding celebrations begin and rumors about Amaya’s past begin to swirl, she can’t help but feel like she also has a target on her back. When Kaavi goes missing and is presumed dead, all evidence points to Amaya. However, nothing is as it seems as Jayatissa expertly unravels that each wedding guest has their own dark secret and agenda. Amaya may not be the only one with a plan to keep the bride from getting her happily ever after…
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