Thursday, January 12, 2023

2022 Recap: Deanna's Top 10 reads

Deanna's 2022 top 10 books read

Right, I'm kinda behind on this post. I do not know why it took me so long to sit down and make this list, but it took me ages to do it. So, finally, it's 4:54am on a Wednesday morning and this post usually goes up at 6am, so this is going to be interesting. Not sure if I'll get it done on time and I'm still debating going back to sleep since I didn't get to sleep till 1am-ish.

There were more than ten again this year, of course! Lots of  honorable mentions too. Probably most interesting of all, this year, is I did not read any Nalini Singh and I usually read at least one of two of her books. I'm way behind. I only mention this because she tends to show up either in my top 10 or as an honorable mention.

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 (and a few more) books for 2022. Not in any particular order...

Take Me Home by Cassie Mint Blade by Cassie Mint The Dean by Cassie Mint Mistletoe Mobster by Cassie Mint

This is the year of the reread for me. I dove into Cassie Mint's books in a big way and she did not let me down. 2022 was a rough year for me and I needed all the comfort reads I could get and thankfully, Ms Mint has a huge backlist. I've picked a few of my favorites of hers that I read this year, because I would say that I pretty much read her entire 60+ books backlist this year. These are the ones that stayed with me and that I've reread.

Emperor by Anna Hackett Conqueror by Anna Hackett Hades by Anna Hackett

Another comfort author here. You'll see there are a lot of those this year. I can always count on Ms Hackett for fantastic action, lots of steam, and a great, well told story that's also well written. These three were my standouts even though I read pretty much every book she released this year. If I had to only pick one, it would be Emperor though. I adored Brodin. I had such a crush on him and I loved the dynamic between him and Poppy.

Zombie Wolf of Piston by TS Joyce Brother Wolf of Piston by TS Joyce Lone Wolf of Piston by TS Joyce

I'm a bit behind on my reading with Ms Joyce. I usually read all her books as they release but I fell a bit behind and I still need to catch up on her Wolves of Promise Falls series. I'm buddy reading the Wolves of Piston with a friend, so I'm caught up on the latest series, but again, Ms Joyce is another comfort read author for me. I know I can count on her to make me feel good with her books.

When She Dreams by Amanda Quick Lightning In A Mirror by Jayne Ann Krentz Sweetwater and the Witch by Jayne Castle

Ms Krentz in all her pen names are must reads for me and this year I got caught up on her latest releases. As I type this, I have only just finished her 2023 release which came out a few days ago. What I've loved about all Ms Krentz's books in 2022 was her relationship building between her hero and heroine. The push-pull, will-they-won't-they as they dance around each other, trying to decide if the can trust each other, as they fall for each other while forced to work together is fascinating.

As If I Wouldn't Fall by Jessa Kane

When I want hot, intense, and an emotional kick, with lots of 💦💦💦🍆🍆🍆, there's no one like Ms Kane for me. I've come to greatly dislike smut in 2022 due to the TikTok influence, but Ms Kane can spin a hot take of desperate love and lust like no other.

Bring Me Back by Kristen Granata

I read quite a few new-to-me authors this year and this is one of them. It was recced in a book group, probably because someone was raving about the smut in it. 🙄🙄🙄 Do not even get me started with the number of books I have DNFed because people were raving about how good it was due to the smut. I'm so over smut. If there's one thing that 2022 was is "the year of bad books people think are great because it had smut" but that's a topic for another day. Fortunately, there one sexy scene that someone was raving about in this book was not that big a deal, and the book was steamy enough for a contemporary of today's ilk. What surprised me though, was the depth and the insight into some very difficult subjects and how Ms Granata handled telling Phoenix and James's stories as they navigated painful pasts. Very well done. Not my usual kind of read, but excellent. I'd recommend this book based on how it handles the topic of suicide for those who attempted it and those who survive it alone.

A Five-Minute Life by Emma Scott

This book is gut-wrenching. It's about a woman who, after a car accident, relives her life over and over again in five minute intervals, and she's left on this repeat cycle until Jim comes along and sees more than those five minutes. This is a painfully beautiful story of how Thea and Jim try to break free of those five minutes and the people who stand in their way out of misguided love. It's about competency, taking control, and being allowed to live your own life on your own terms. And it's beautiful.

Bull by Deborah Bladon

I went into this book not knowing much besides the fact that it was a fake marriage story which is a trope I enjoy. Well, this book surprised me. It went from odd to interesting to fantastic, with a little bit of “I don’t know if I’ll finish this” in between. It put me through all the emotions and it was a roller coaster ride for me. It’s also a journey and a transformation for both Graham and Trina. Mostly, it’s a slightly awkward, slightly fun, very engaging romance. And weirdly, as much as I hate black moments, best black moment with an unexpected twist I've ever read.

Text by Cambria Hebert

I love stories with texting in them and this one was intriguing in that Honor is kidnapped and she manages to steal her kidnapper's phone right before he dumps her into a hole. While she waits for him to return, she texts someone on his phone. That begins a series of texts between Honor and Nathan that leads to more than just rescue and survival. It's hope, freedom, and a reason to live for the future.

River Wild by Samantha Towle

Grumpy meets sunshine is one of my favorite tropes and well, River is grumpy. But as he opens up and learns to connect with another person, something magical happens. There are some very painful moments in this book (I skipped a lot of it), but seeing River transform is a wondrous thing. My favorite is the tomato scene after River and Carrie fight and River tries to reconnect and make it up to her. Read this book for the tomato scene if nothing else. It shows River's growth as a person and the depth of his feelings for Carrie even as he struggles with his own demons. Beautiful.

Okay, taking a little break here. It's 5:31am and I'm knackered and ready to go back to sleep. This won't make the 6am self-imposed deadline, but it'll go up sometime today. On time-ish. I'll continue after I wake up in the morning. It won't be a big sleep-in. I have errands to run today.

5:10pm... okay, good intentions aside, I did not pop out of bed at 7am and keep going. Instead, I woke up about 6:30am, had a coffee and then went back to sleep. Kinda zonked out really and my sleep patterns are atrocious so Steve let me sleep in. And now it's after 5pm because errands, work, and too much chilli sauce has done a number on me. But here I am, so honorable mentions...

I have quite a few honorable mentions this year. I try to limit those but I found I did not want to leave any of these out.

Boyfriend Goals by Riley Hart Viable Threat by Julie Rowe Smoke & Mirrors by Julie Rowe Marked by Kaylea Cross

This has been a year of rediscovering audiobooks for me. I've tried audiobooks in the past but the trouble was I didn't have a good place or time to listen to an audiobook. I couldn't just listen to an audiobook because I would get distracted and lose my place. However, now as part of my daily routine I've had a rejuvenated love for audiobooks. I've listened to a bunch in the last few months of the year and these are the standouts. I am partial to male narrators with growly voices, but mostly I prefer male narrators. Jeffrey Kafer has always been a favorite and he's narrated Viable Threat and Smoke & Mirrors. Ms Rowe is a favorite author of mine, so the combination of great writing and an awesome narrator - GOLD! Author Kaylea Cross is new to me and again, the narrator is Jeffrey Kafer. I have a type!! This was a fantastic listen too and I'm currently on the second book of the series. Finally, new-to-me both author Riley Hart and narrator Iggy Toma. This is an MM romance, and I was told that if I wanted solo male narrated audiobooks, my best bet would be MM romance. Well, Iggy Toma is amazing. I think he's the reason I loved the book as much as I did because the writing itself isn't great, but Iggy brought the characters to life in the most spectacular way.

Only Ever Yours by Nikki Ash

I've read two books by Nikki Ash so far and I want to read more. This book ticked all the boxes for me in terms of sweet, steamy, romantic, and a hero who was all about the heroine. It was my kind of romance.

Trapped With The Ice Station Chief by Julie Rowe

As I mentioned earlier, Ms Rowe is a favorite author of mine and this book is set in one of my favorite locations for books. Well, it's not the exact location itself, but that it's set in an extremely cold place. I think this one is in the Antarctic. But I love books set in Alaska, the Arctic, or the Antarctic. I love when characters have to battle not only their feelings but also the inhospitable environment which adds a layer of danger and intensity. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Tom is a wonderful hero.

Into The Storm by Melanie Moreland

Ms Moreland is a favorite author of mine but I find I have to be in the right kind of mood to read her books because they tend to be deep and emotional. There is so much to love with this book between Joshua hiding away from the world, finding his Rabbit, helping her heal, and then having the courage to overcome his phobia to be there for her. Absolutely stunning, but it put me through the emotional wringer.

Forever You by Leah Busbook

This was my first five-star book for 2022 and it stayed with me the entire year. It's part time-travel, part historical, part contemporary. It's emotional and heart breaking and unconventional. Your heart will break for Laci and Matthew and the unconventional happy ending. It is a happy ending, it's just not what you would expect for Laci.

The Alien Trade by Phoebe Harlowe

Finally, last but not least, I discovered Ms Harlowe and love her writing. She doesn't release many books each year and I am still waiting for the next book in both her series, but her stories are filled with depth, intensity, emotion, and sexiness. Combined wtih great writing, I can't wait for the next books to come out. I think they are up for preorder.

Motorcycle Daddy by Laylah Roberts Hero Daddy by Laylah Roberts Protector Daddy by Laylah Roberts

Finally, finally, because I just remembered getting into these books late in the year. In my rather burnt out state, I decided to finally try the Daddy/Little themed books by Ms Roberts. I'm going to be honest and say that the whole Daddy/Little thing was not for me when I tried a book like that many years ago, but that book was not a Laylah Roberts book. Surprisingly, these books did not squick me out and I think, because of my current frame of mind, they worked. Mostly, I loved how the heroes were so protective and took such good care of the heroines, and the heroines let them. I love the concept of being taken care of, and Ms Roberts does that particularly well in these books. It was my way of escaping into a world where it was okay to lean on someone who was strong and more capable and willing to be there for that person. It worked for me. And I'm so intrigued by the character of the Fox.

Note: not all books were published in 2022 but they were all READ in 2022.

That's it from me. It's rather long-winded this year. I hope you have a great 2023 of reading. Onwards!!

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  1. There are a good lot of books there, this is one of the hardest things for me to do picking out favourites, but I do always look forward to seeing what your favourites are :)

    Have Fun


    1. These lists are super fun. I love doing them. I can't wait to put yours together too.

  2. Glad you're enjoying Kaylea Cross. I love her books. Here is my top 12, in no particular order.
    1 Masters in this Hall by KJ Charles. She never lets me down.
    2 Ramses the Damned by Anne Rice. Co written with her son, and probably the last one now she has died.
    3 The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal. Alternative history of the moon flights
    4 Phantom Game by Christine Feehan
    5 Overboard by Sara Paretsky
    6 Dead in the Water by Julie Ann Walker. A great end to the series
    7 Reede's Mission to the Sectors by Veronica Scott
    8 Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. Never thought I'd read a book with an Octopus as one of the narrators but this was a fantastic read
    9 Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
    10 The Real Baxter by Lane Hayes
    11. Leopard's Scar by Christine Feehan
    12 Emperor by Anna Hackett

    Plus special mentions to The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells and The Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley. Both of which I was working my way through last year. Plus The Beresford by Will Carver.

    1. Ah yes, Emperor was a standout for me. I was so in love with Brodin. Obsessed might be a better word. You've also got a few authors on that list that I need to read more of.

  3. I also did a list of favourite characters and/or couples. In no particular order
    1 Marcellus the Octopus from Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
    2 Meiling from Leopard's Scar by Christine Feehan
    3 Brodin and Poppy from Emperor by Anna Hackett
    4 Dalton from Dead in the Water by Julie Ann Walker
    5 Caleb/Grey from Deceiver of Minds by Jordan L Hawk
    6 Tallinn from Tallinn by Veronica Scott
    7 Siv from The Medic by Anna Hackett
    8 Ben from Dancing Beneath You by Rosanne Bittner
    9 Seb and Trent from The Real Baxter by Lane Hayes
    10 Murderbot from the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
    11 Sierra/Jake from My Favourite Rebound by Jackie Lau
    12 Reede and Fallyn from Reede's Mission to the Sectors by Veronica Scott

    1. Ah! Brodin and Poppy would be on my list too. I loved Siv but I'm not sure she'd end up on my favorite list.

  4. Deanna, thank you for the honorable mention for Forever You! I'm currently getting Forever You turned into an audiobook! There's also been music written for Laci's song, Take Me to Forever. I'm so excited about this project. I hired two voice actors so the recording will be in male and female voice, just as it happens in the book. I will let you know when it is available! Happy 2023.

    1. Leah, how exciting that you're getting Forever You into audio. Who did you pick for the narrators?

  5. Thank you for the honorable mentions!

    1. Most welcome. You have some great books which I thoroughly enjoyed last year.