It is now the 4th year in a row where I share my answers for the Mid Year Freak-Out Tag. I think this is a staple in bookish content and definitely one of my favorite tags to answer every year. So far, I think 2022 was an interesting reading year for me. I’ve ventured outside of my comfort zone a lot more often, but I also found myself extremely busy and having to juggle reading on top of everything I have going on has not been easy, but we managed.
Best book you’ve read so far in 2022
Despite being incredibly familiar with the Elizabeth Holmes-Theranos case and having consumed it in so many formats – podcast, documentaries, YouTube videos -, I still found reading BAD BLOOD BY JOHN CARREYROU deeply fascinating. The writing was extremely engaging and it read like a thriller-esque novel at times, making it impossible to put down. Even though I knew a lot about the case already, I still found myself learning new things, such as the origins of the company and how it was built in deceit from the start, as well as the lengths Theranos’ lawyers were threatening to go to stop the article from coming out. I would definitely recommend this one, especially the audiobook!
Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2022
I haven’t read many sequels in 2022 and definitely not many good ones. But picking up ISN’T IT BROMANTIC in January was such a good choice! It has so many of my favorite tropes – second chance romance, hurt/comfort, friends to lovers and arranged marriage. Vlad was such a swoon-worthy love interest and I really loved the friendship dynamics in this one too, with both the bromance book club and also the divorced housewives group that Vlad is a part of. While this was not a perfect read and there were certain elements I wasn’t a huge fan of, I still enjoyed the heck out of this reading experience.
New release(s) you haven’t read yet, but want to
I have TO MARRY AND TO MEDDLE in my July TBR and I hope to get to it this month. I’ve enjoyed every book in this companion series of historical romances by Martha Waters and this one will follow two side characters I was very interested in during the previous installments – Julian and Emily.
OUT THERE: INTO THE QUEER NEW YONDER is a queer anthology of sci-fi stories, but I believe they’re all still set in our world. The premise sounds fascinating and there are a lot of authors I really want to read more from: Abdi Nazemian, Z.R Ellor and K. Ancrum being some of them!
Lastly, I need to continue on with the Dreamers’ trilogy and MISTER IMPOSSIBLE just recently came out. This title is a travesty, but the cover is really beautiful. I am looking forward to this one, despite Call Down The Hawk being a middle-of-the-road book for me, because the plot of this series *is* really interesting after all.
Most anticipated release(s) for the second half of the year
By far, my most anticipated release of 2022 is DARK ROOM ETIQUETTE. Robin Roe is the author of the fantastic A List of Cages and I know this book is going to be equally triggering – it follows a popular boy who gets kidnapped -, but I still am desperate to read this one because I have no sense of self-preservation whatsoever.
The sequel for Boyfriend Material, HUSBAND MATERIAL is also highly anticipated by me. I loved the first book so much and I know this one promises just as much chaos and hilarious shenenigans.
Lastly, Shea Earnshaw has yet to release a book that disappoints me and A WILDERNESS OF STARS is such a fantastic title + cover combo. The plot is a bit convoluted, but I still think this one has potential to make me swoon.
Unfortunately, my biggest disappointment of the year was the finale for the AMBER IN THE ASHES series – A SKY BEYOND THE STORM. I was really looking forward to concluding the series, but there was so much wrong with this last book. Not only I felt like the author did very little to immerse us back into the narrative, but the pacing was terrible, full of conveniences and inconveniences to drag it for 50 more pages. Elias was one of my favorite characters but his perspective was so repetitive and annoying and the villains’ backstory added virtually nothing to the conclusion of the story. It was also disappointing to see a series that had had such an interesting political landscape become completely a fantasy, ignoring all the political elements that were so interesting.
I didn’t think I was going to enjoy SUPER FAKE LOVE SONG that much, mostly because David Yoon’s debut had been a miss for me. But this book turned out to be such a delightful ride: Sunny was a fantastic protagonist who undergoes such interesting development; his friend group was so sweet and supportive, while being fleshed out characters on their own; the romance was cute and with the right amount of stakes; and the family dynamics legit brought tears to my eyes. Sunny and his brother, Gray, don’t have the best of the relationships at the start of the book, but they grow so much and it is so great to see them sharing their own insecurities, as well as the way the other person inspires them.
Favorite new author (debut or new to you)
I was very impressed by the work of MAIKA AND MARITZA MOULITE in ONE OF THE GOOD ONES. This book is the authors’ debut and it was so well written, despite having so many different layers to it. It is a contemporary story but it plays with timelines and characters perspectives incredibly well and all feel equally interesting, which can be so hard to achieve. I also really appreciated the messages the authors were able to intertwine with the story, talking about the legacy of Black people in America, how the idea of “being one of the good ones” is just a concept that pits marginalized folks against each other and the importance of family in getting us through hard times.
Newest fictional crush
It’s been a while since I last crushed really hard on a fictional character, but Ben from FOOL ME ONCE was such a delightful love interest. He was devoted for Lee from the beginning and clearly still had many unresolved feelings. He also forgets all sense of self preservation around her – even though he knows that their relationship is doomed from the start, as she is not into serious commitments and he’s already in too deep, he still can’t stay away. I was so impressed by how great the dialogues were in this one and I do feel like it’s a book that deserves so much more hype than it gets!
Newest favorite character
When I picked up ICEBREAKER, I had no idea I was going to love Mickey James III as much as I did. He’s the son of a hockey player, coming from a successful family and definitely carries a lot of the weight to follow in his dad’s footsteps. You could say that he was a cliché, but Mickey was so much more than that. I related a lot to his feelings towards depression – even though he is clearly depressed, he feels like his feelings are not valid because he has no reason to be depressed as he has a good family and a supportive friend group. But we see throughout the book how much his depression affects his life, and especially his relationship with hockey, as he struggles to understand if he has really fallen out of love with the sport or if it’s just his depression making him feel like he doesn’t like anything at all. I found his to be such a relatable and well written perspective and loved him.
Book that made you cry
I don’t think I legit cried with any reads this year, but THE LESBIANA’S GUIDE TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL got me dangerously close. I didn’t really expect this book to be as dark as it was and it was certainly moving. In this one, we follow Yamilet, whose mom is very religious and also puts in her daughter the responsibility to look after her younger brother. Yamilet spends a lot of the book worrying about money and ways to support herself if her mom kicks her out when she comes out as a lesbian. She also worries a lot about her brother, who’s struggling with depression as well. These characters are all hurting and yet, seeing the support they’re able to give to one another was really emotional. It was a sad, but definitely hopeful one.
Book that made you happy
Yes, I was reading a Christmas novella in June. And what about it? LOL. THE MISTLETOE MOTIVE was so fun and it certainly put me in a good mood. I had never read by Chloe Liese before and I loved how she was able to write sexual tension, as well as the incorporation of disability rep for both our protagonists. Mostly, what made me happy was reading to this one while I listened to the playlist that goes alongside it. It was full of Christmas music, one of my favorite things ever, and I even learned about a few other songs through it! The festive mood made me super happy, which was helped by the fact the book was also really good.
Your favorite book to movie/tv show that you’ve seen so far?
I think Heartstopper will be most people’s answers for this one. Not only because I haven’t watched many adaptations this year, but also because the Heartstopper show was everything I wanted and more. The casting was fantastic, the soundtrack consisted of all my favorite artists and I was in love with the further exploration of the dynamics that we got to see on the show. I am sososo excited for the upcoming seasons and really glad this was a success!
What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
IT HAPPENED ONE SUMMER was incredibly hyped and I tend to enjoy Tessa Bailey, so I’ll try to get to this one in the next few months and see how I feel about it.
I also had DISABILITY VISIBILITY in my May reading plans, but it was a really busy month for me and I ended up not getting to it, but I really, really want to.
And lastly, I am very hyped for TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT – the plot gives me D-COM vibes so I hope to enjoy it as much as I do those movies.
What was the best book you read so far this year? And which ones you’re anticipating for the last half of 2022? Let me know in the comments!