book pages

2022 reading round-up, part 1

I probably should have done this post at the end of June to make it an even 6 months per part, but June was a crazy busy month for me, full of an aerial performance, a major car issue, and the start of the library’s summer reading program. Better late than never, I suppose.

ANYWAY – I have read 129 books so far this year, which is a little over the top, and also puts me on track to meet or beat my total of last year (191 books). I’ll put a full list at the end, and you can also check out my 2022 shelf on Goodreads (friend me!). Other than that, here are some random superlatives about the books that really stood out in my mind!

Book that kept me up at night

Verity by Colleen Hoover was one I only wanted to read at night. It just had that vibe, not to mention the writing made it very easy to read even when I was tired. I’d say it just about met the hype it’s been getting on TikTok.

Sweetest romance

This was actually a toss-up between See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon and Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins. One’s a straight romance and the other an LGBTQ romance, both were adorable. See You Yesterday had plenty of great dialogue, while Here the Whole Time had a body positivity theme.

Book I struggled to finish

Am still struggling to finish – I started One Thousand Years of Solitude on a trip to Costa Rica back in January and had to DNF it while on the trip. Maybe one day I’ll finish it? Anyone want to talk me into picking it up again?

Best premise

Ace of Spades, which was described as Gossip Girl meets Get Out, and that was definitely what I got. At first it seems like an online bully choosing random targets, but quickly becomes far more insidious.

Best book-to-screen adaptation

Even though I did want to read the book first, I ended up watching “Station Eleven” and falling in love with it. The book was really good too, and I definitely want to rewatch the TV series after reading it! It hits a little close to COVID, but not too close.

Best cliffhanger

I wasn’t expecting to get so invested in All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman. It was a bit like Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games, where the chosen children of magical families are forced to compete in a deadly tournament where there can be only one winner. I’m glad this is only a two-book series and that the next book is coming out this month because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to stand the suspense!


Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin was one of the most brutal post-apocalyptic novels I’ve read. It follows a pair of transwomen trying to survive after a plague turns anyone with a high enough level of testosterone into a feral cannibal-rapist. They have to hunt the feral men and avoid the biological women who believe transwomen can turn at any moment. There were some really gross moments… like, really gross. Reader beware!

Close second is Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas, which is about what happens when all the adults die of a deadly plague, leaving all the students in a high school to form deadly cliques to compete for food as they are cut off from the outside world. There were eyeball-stabbings, spiked booby traps, brutal beatings, and plenty more gore.

Binge reads

I meant to binge-read everything by Helene Dunbar after I fell in love with We Are Lost and Found back in 2020, but never got around to it until I saw an e-ARC of her newest book, The Promise of Lost Things, on Netgalley. I read it not realizing her previous book, Prelude for Lost Souls, was set in the same world with some of the same characters, so of course I had to read that. And then I started looking for her other books, which were only available through interlibrary loan. I got my hands on Boomerang, and now there are only a couple of her titles I have yet to read. (None of them compare to We Are Lost and Found, though!)

Biggest disappointment

Just Another Day at Your Local Public Library. The cover was the best thing about this book, but even still, the BINGO games we play at the library where I work are better. This book just felt like lazy writing on top of making librarians into stereotypes.

Also The Push by Ashley Audrain, which had all the elements of We Need to Talk About Kevin with absolutely no payoff other than further solidifying my desire to remain childfree. The Lobotomist’s Wife by Samantha Greene Woodruff was also pretty disappointing, because the subject matter is so interesting!

Best book written by a murderer

Okay, this is a very specific category. I found this list on Book Riot and thought Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed (the authors are mother and daughters) sounded interesting without even taking into account the true crime story. And it was really good! I almost requested the second book through interlibrary loan until I found that the trilogy had never been finished, because of said murder.

Most bizarre

Goodnight Punpun, a manga series by Inio Asano was so, so strange. At times hilarious, at times sad. Suffice it to say that I discovered this book while reading reviews of other manga titles and thought this one sounded weird enough that I needed to read it. And so I did.

Best audiobook

Killer Triggers by Joe Kenda is a true crime book that doesn’t have the most heinous crimes, or even the most interesting. But Kenda, who was the host of a homicide investigation TV series, has such a wonderfully colloquial way of speaking that I enjoyed this far more than I would have otherwise.

Book I own that took me the longest to read

I picked up a copy of I Know My First Name Is Steven at a used bookstore, having strong memories of the Lifetime movie of the same name that aired in my childhood. But the book sat around my apartment for years, until I saw a documentary on Hulu called “Captive Audience: A Real American Horror Story” which covered the kidnapping and abuse made public by “I Know My First Name Is Steven,” as well as what happened to the family afterwards… that was a twist I didn’t see coming! I then unearthed this paperback and read it.

Best book about the Tunnel People

This may sound like a strange category, but at the beginning of the year I read a few books about people who live in abandoned subway tunnels and sewer systems as research for a story idea. The best, in my opinion, was Tunnel People by Teun Voeten, largely because Teun actually lived with the tunnel people and got to know them and their lives. What was very interesting about the books and documentaries about the tunnel people in New York City is that almost all of them interviewed the same handful of people even though at the time there were estimated to be thousands of people living underground.

Best book that mentions COVID

This is a section that will probably include more and more books as time goes on. In All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown, which is a plague that decimates the population, COVID is mentioned as a precursor to this superflu. And in Golden Boys by Phil Stamper, COVID is more casually mentioned as something that happened in the past and affected the four main characters’ lives – the friends began having socially-distanced picnics and are looking forward to summer internships and opportunities they hadn’t had for the past two years. In some ways it’s surreal to see COVID in the pages of a fictional book; in other ways it’s necessary – people will be dealing with the fallout from this for years.

And now for some pie charts!

For the first half of the year, I read more hardcovers than any other format. This may not be true if I factored in the various formats of the ARCs I read, as most were paperback or ebook. My ebook stats are probably higher than last year, as I recently downloaded the Netgalley Shelf app and got myself a new ereader.

I used to mostly read for pleasure. Now I’m in two book clubs, I’ve been reviewing more ARCs, and I’m on a book award selection committee. That last one had me doing a lot more reading, although there was a little bit of overlap between that and ARCs.

Full List:

  1. Blackbird (Blackbird, #1) by Anna Carey
  2. Whisper to Me by Nick Lake
  3. Domain (The Domain Trilogy, #1) by Steve Alten
  4. Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Meg Long
  5. Stone Fruit by Lee Lai
  6. Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas by Matthew O’Brien
  7. When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
  8. Pity Party by Kathleen Lane
  9. Deadfall (Blackbird, #2) by Anna Carey
  10. The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk
  11. Here’s to Us (What If It’s Us #2) by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
  12. That Weekend by Kara Thomas
  13. Extasia by Claire Legrand
  14. Hawkeye: Kate Bishop, Vol. 1: Anchor Points by Kelly Thompson
  15. Heartless Prince by Angela De Vito
  16. The Orphan King (The Orphan King, #1) by Tyler Chin-Tanner
  17. The Cat I Never Named : A True Story of Love, War, and Survival by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess
  18. All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown
  19. Hawkeye: Kate Bishop, Vol. 2: Masks by Kelly Thompson
  20. Tunnel People by Teun Voeten
  21. Hawkeye: Kate Bishop, Vol. 3: Family Reunion by Kelly Thompson
  22. We Are Inevitable by Gayle Forman
  23. Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray
  24. The Autumnal by Daniel Kraus
  25. The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth
  26. Pony by R.J. Palacio
  27. The Tunnel: The Underground Homeless of New York City by Margaret Morton
  28. Angel by Cliff McNish
  29. Trigger by N. Griffin, N. *
  30. The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther
  31. The Temperature of Me and You by Brian Zepka
  32. Hawkeye: Freefall by Matthew Rosenberg
  33. Better to Have Gone: Love, Death, and the Quest for Utopia in Auroville by Akash Kapur
  34. Petrograd by Philip Gelatt
  35. Legendborn (Legendborn, #1) by Tracy Deonn
  36. The In Between by Marc Klein
  37. The Lost Things Club by J.S. Puller
  38. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
  39. Maybe We’re Electric by Val Emmich
  40. Sidelined by Kara Bietz
  41. Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz
  42. Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi
  43. A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee
  44. What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat
  45. Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake
  46. Belle Morte by Bella Higgin
  47. My Summer Of You: Vol. 1 by Nagisa Furuya
  48. There There by Tommy Orange
  49. Hazard by Frances O’Roark Dowell
  50. Seaside Stranger: Vol. 1 by Kanna Kii
  51. Paradise on Fire by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  52. I Am the Ghost in Your House by Maria Romasco-Moore
  53. Borders by Thomas King
  54. The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes (The Lillys, #1) by Xio Axelrod
  55. This Poison Heart (The Poison Heart, #1) by Kalynn Bayron
  56. The Midnight Brigade by Adam Borba
  57. A Queer and Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein
  58. House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
  59. We Are Not Broken by George M. Johnson
  60. Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp
  61. Survive the Night by Riley Sager
  62. Squad Goals by Erika J. Kendrick
  63. Fix by J. Albert Mann
  64. You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen McManus
  65. A World Without You by Beth Revis
  66. The Seventh Raven by David Elliott
  67. Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee
  68. Sister of the Bollywood Bride by Nandini Bajpai
  69. Meadowlark: A Coming-of-Age Crime Story by Ethan Hawke
  70. The Great Big One by J.C. Geiger
  71. Dig Two Graves by Gretchen McNeil
  72. Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin, Julia Lynn *
  73. I Know My First Name is Steven: The True Story of the Steven Stayner Abduction Case by Mike Echols
  74. Confessions by Kanae Minato
  75. Indivisible by Daniel Aleman
  76. Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez
  77. The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath
  78. The Lobotomist’s Wife by Samantha Greene Woodruff
  79. Restart After Coming Back Home by Cocomi
  80. Killer Triggers by Joe Kenda
  81. Restart After Growing Hungry (Restart After, #2) by Cocomi
  82. The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers
  83. Where the Drowned Girls Go (Wayward Children, #7) by Seanan McGuire
  84. Goodnight Punpun Omnibus, Vol. 1 by Inio Asano
  85. Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
  86. The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold
  87. Book of Night (Book of Night, #1) by Holly Black
  88. The Push by Ashley Audrain
  89. Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
  90. Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds
  91. Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green
  92. Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert
  93. Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil
  94. Amber House (Amber House, #1) by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, & Larkin Reed
  95. Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
  96. Skip by Molly Mendoza
  97. Neurocomic by Hana Ros
  98. Just Another Day at Your Local Public Library by Roz Warren
  99. See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon
  100. Layoverland by Gabby Noone
  101. Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins
  102. Gallant by V.E. Schwab
  103. Welcome to St. Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure by Lewis Hancox
  104. The Promise of Lost Things by Helene Dunbar
  105. Maniac: The Bath School Disaster and the Birth of the Modern Mass Killer by Harold Schechter
  106. Fangirl, Vol. 2: The Manga by Rainbow Rowell & Sam Maggs
  107. The Clackity by Lora Senf
  108. Very Bad People by Kit Frick
  109. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
  110. Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado
  111. Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1) by Octavia E. Butler
  112. Boomerang by Helene Dunbar
  113. Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin
  114. Don’t Go to Sleep by Bryce Moore
  115. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  116. All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains, #1) by Amanda Foody
  117. Ride On by Faith Erin Hicks
  118. Verity by Colleen Hoover
  119. Golden Boys by Phil Stamper
  120. Prelude for Lost Souls by Helene Dunbar
  121. Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Lévy
  122. Ace of Hearts by Myriad Augustine
  123. Tonight We Rule the World by Zack Smedley
  124. Lovesickness by Junji Ito
  125. Waves Crashing Just Like Me by Kelsey Gallant
  126. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
  127. Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas
  128. The Greatest Thing by Sarah Winifred Searle
  129. My Summer of You v. 2 by Nagisa Furuya

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