Today I’m excited to (finally) get around to sharing my top favorite books I read in 2022!
Top 5: Best of the Best
Dana Illwind and War’s Shadow (by Arthur Daigle) — Dana Illwind, #2
My top-favorite read of last year! This series makes it onto a very select list of my top-favorite books of all time, and I enjoyed this one just as much as book one–maybe even more. More adventures with Jayden (my favorite!) and Dana and other characters. More fighting against both monsters and injustice. More character growth. More hilarious humor. More fantasy awesomeness. It’s marvelous in every way! (JAYDEN AND DANA FOREVERRRR!) I literally have no words to describe how much joy this book/series brings me. I love it so, so much!
(You can also check out my review for book 1.)
Illuminare (by Bryn Shutt)
Everything about this one is absolutely STUNNING! The writing, the themes, the delightful characters, the dry humor, the magnificent (and shadowy light-and-dark) Venice-esque setting . . . And it has Desmond, Artair, Kennet, and Luca. Which. I mean. What more do you need? 😉 I could just eat the gorgeous prose in this book. Ugh. It’s so good! I constantly want to re-read it and just bask in the glorious writing/world/story.
Greywolf’s Heart (by C. M. Banschbach) — Spirits’ Valley, #1
Brothers and giant wolves and sabertooth cats and war and feels and humor and banter and COMRAN! Comran forever. Etran forever toooo. This story of two half-brothers trying to protect their valley and finding out what it’s like to truly be brothers is just . . . ❤ It has my whole heart! The stabbiness, the snark, the feels, the comrades-in-arms . . . It’s everything I love!
(Book 2, Saber’s Pride, is coming soon . . . and, y’all, it’s AMAZING. ❤ Expect to see it in this year’s roundup of favorite books!)
In the Kingdom of All Tomorrows (by Stephen R. Lawhead) — Eirlandia, #3
(Audiobooked. Read my full review.)
This book firmly cemented this Celtic fantasy trilogy as one of my favorite series of all time. Ancient Ireland, heroic warriors, fey, justice, battles, humor, and beloved characters. What a soul-filling book and a coming home! A new favorite Lawhead series, for sure!
The Hare and the Hatter (by Kyle Robert Shultz) — Beaumont and Beasley, #6
The long-awaited next installment of Beaumont and Beasley did not disappoint! Being back in the Afterverse (that wonderful alternate-1920s setting with fairytales and mythology as history), this time with fan-favorites Crispin Beasley (time-travel and shenanigans) and Malcolm Blackfire (grumpy dragon extraordinaire) . . . WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE! Throw in some Wonderland and Peter Pan things, timey-wimey-ness, nonstop humor and banter, some truly astounding twists and reveals (WE LEARN THINGS, GUYS. :O), and a good dose of feels (in the best way), and you have a real winner. Plus, I mean, Crispin and Malcolm? As the narrators? How could it NOT be amazing! I love this book a lot.
Favorites after the top five! (So many good books this year!)
Silverblood (by Jamie Foley) — Katrosi Revolution, #2
I was waiting for a book about Lysander and Brooke, ever since reading Emberhawk, and this did not disappoint! Lysander’s story is amazing, and there are other favorite characters, banter, and a griffin, and so many clever twists, plus a lush setting and — it’s just delightful!
Tattoo of Crimson (by Sarah Chislon) — Blood of the Fae, #1
A gaslamp fantasy/murder mystery, with perilous fae and a mystery-solving heroine with a magical cat? You guys. What is not to love! The setting and writing is just delicious and perfect for fans of Regency-esque fantasy. The characters were so well done and I was captivated by the setting and the fact that the fae were so Other!
(Book 2 coming October 2023!)
The Orb and the Airship (by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt) — Turrim Archive, #1
If you’re reading this post before 3/22/2023, would you consider dropping by the Kickstarter for this series? The Orb and the Airship is in my top ten reads of last year for a reason! It’s sooo good and you need it in your life!
I love epic fantasy quest stories, I love academy-type stories, and I love airships — and this combines all three in a stunning adventure full of peril, humor, twists, and an amazingly rich world. And don’t get me started on the characters and how much I love all of them and their banter and relationships! (Did I mention airships?)
This is kind of like Lord of the Rings meets Treasure Planet, with a side of Firefly if it was family-friendly. And I am HERE for it!
(Book one is releasing in June of this year — 2023 — with the following four books scheduled to release after that through the next year or so, and I am STOKED.)
A Most Irregular Prophecy (by Ness Kingsley)
The uniqueness and hilarity of this Georgette Heyer meets Diana Wynne Jones meets Enchanted Forest Chronicles, on a fantasy planet, story . . . well, it positively bowled me over. Pegasus/unicorn creatures, prophecies, an Extremely Capable heroine, and a riot of humor told in a purely delightful voice utterly captivated and delighted me!
We Could Be Villains (by Megan McCullough) — The VIGIL and ANTE Files, #1
Avengers meets Heist Society in this cinematic superhero adventure about a normal girl who gets caught up in the schemes of a supervillain . . . and that’s before all the twists start! This was a delight and I had a blast getting lost in this superpowered world whose beating heart is the rich characters who tugged me completely into their story. ❤ Humor, feels, action, and so many things that aren’t as they seem! I loved Rosemary and Ironfall’s story, and all the side characters were amazing as well!
Into the Churn (by Hayley Reese Chow)
I hardly even read sci-fi but MY WORD. THIS BOOK. I nicknamed it “the Space Race book” because it features a dangerous race across a deadly planet. I was utterly enthralled by the heart-pounding story of feisty Ezren and enigmatic Foster and how their fates intertwined in this death-defying challenge filled with memorable characters who steal the spotlight. Just a stunningly satisfying tale!
Releases in April!
Dilseachd – A Stolen Crown (by Cheyenne van Langevelde) — Princess of the Highlands, #1
Castles and Scotland and rebels! I felt so at home in this lush Scottish fantasy, full of endearing characters, escapes and battles, and that feeling of coming home. The writing is delicious and the Scottish flavor and accents give me life. The story of a princess and the son of a chieftain (ANGUS FOREVER) who, along with fan-favorite Malcolm (the scamp!), twined their way around my heart and wouldn’t let go. Aching and lovely.
(Book 2, Urram – Rekindled Hope, is coming 2024, I believe!)
Watson and Holmes (by E. B. Dawson)
(Audiobooked; delicious. Read my full review.)
This was way too much fun and just made me super happy! Everything I could want in a Sherlock Holmes retelling, and a fascinating cyberpunk sci-fi setting, plus tons of friendship and banter and mystery, peril, and cool aliens. I was not prepared for how much FUN this would be, despite the dangerous turn to things, and the two heroines who take the place of the Holmes and Watson characters were simply a delight. Also, a plant robot. That is all. XD
Elf Prince + Shield Band + Peril (by Tara Grayce) — Elven Alliance series
I couldn’t pick, so these are all going on here together. XD More Farrendel and Essie (including Farrendel’s perspective on things from the first book!), Prince Julien and Vriska in a sort of series ending that was super satisfying, Prince Edmund and Jalissa in shorter spy adventures… These were delightful continuations of a series full of elves, humans, trolls, alliances, fantasy with a dash of steampunk, and beloved characters/great dialogue, and has become very much a comfort read series for me. ^_^
(Inventor and Elf King, final additions to the series, are coming this year, I believe!)
Rimewinter (by DJ Edwardson) — Swordspeaker Saga, #2
Truesilver was a favorite the other year, so I was so excited to check out this sequel and it did not disappoint! Talking weapons, a hero I adore, his sister who gets a bigger piece of the spotlight this time, and their hilarious and wise sidekick, plus a breathtaking fantasy world, and a quest across the land. Featuring peril and ice and a winter like you’ve never seen . . . plus an icy fox that stole my heart! It’s truly epic and perfect for fans of Prydain, Ranger’s Apprentice, or the Wingfeather saga. ❤
(Book 3, Grimbriar, is up for preorder! Check out my review for book 1, Truesilver.)
Wraithwood (by Alyssa Roat) — Wraithwood Trilogy, #1
(Audiobooked–so fun! Read my full review.)
This reminded me of some of my favorite books from when I was younger and I really enjoyed the magical maze, the mysterious mansion, the Merlin/Arthurian things, and just the fun of it. It made me happy! Still must read the sequel, but I recommend this one if you need a light summer read with modern fantasy and a dash of the whimsical.
(Final book in the trilogy releasing March 15, 2023!)
Imprint (by Madeline J. Rose) — Ink Press, #1
The concept of entering books/fairy tales, plus book-people, several amazing twists, and characters I became very attached to, all combined to make this a delightful book that makes me smile when I think of it! Some of my favorites involve spoilers but . . . just yes. 😀
(I hear book 2 is in the works!)
Going Postal (by Terry Pratchett) — (Audiobooked.) And I had to include this blast of a book about con-man-turned-post-master Moist von Lipwig and all the Ankh-Morpork city of Discworld shenanigans. XD It was just fun, and Moist was a blast, and him versus Lord Vetinari cracked me up.
FAVORITES IN OTHER CATEGORIES
Favorite short story — I have to give a shout-out to Of Leaves and Stars, a short story in the paperback edition of Into the Heartless Wood (which made last year’s top-favorite list) by Joanna Ruth Meyer. This is almost like an epilogue, set after Into the Heartless Wood, and I loved it SO MUCH.
Non-fiction — Practical Dreamer by Kalyn Brooke — This introduced me to six-week sprints, a way to chop up large goals into achievable sets of time. I owe it, big-time, for helping me finish my ARCs and my book reviews. Definitely recommend. 🙂
- Knight Owl (by Christopher Denise) — I cannot! So adorable! T_T
- When Your Dragon Is Too Big for a Bath (by C. E. White) — Made me smile!
- Nuts in Space (by Elys Donan) — UTTERLY HILARIOUS. XD
- Bilbo’s Last Song (by J.R.R. Tolkien, illustrated by Pauline Baynes) — Just beautiful. 🙂
Re-reads — I re-read quite a few books last year, but special shout-out to the Heist Society series by Ally Carter, and the Twinepathy series (Twinepathy and Lightporter) by C. B. Cook for filling my summer comfort-read needs (and satisfying the heist and superhero cravings I was having after reading We Could Be Villains several times as an editor. XD).