My end of year evaluation 2021 seemed to hit a chord with readers so I’ve decided to repeat it this year. In 2021, I aimed to read 100 books and ended up reading 200; so, not one to back down from a challenge, I made this year’s original target 200, and I have finished on 259. Remember though, reading is not a competition. Whether you’ve read 1 book, 10 books or 100 books, reading is meant to be enjoyable and that’s that.
Below you will find my favourite books for January through to June. Please be aware that whilst I aim not to write out-and-out spoilers in my full reviews, because I have only provided short excerpts below, they are more to the point and may contain potential plot or thematic spoilers.
Last year I found it quite easy to pick my favourites, choosing 2 or 3 per month. But 2022 has been such a spectacular year for books, that for some months it’s been so difficult to choose.
Please let me know in the comments or on social media what you think of my choices and please recommend your favourites too.
When struggling journalist Cecile Wong is invited to join an expedition to climb one of the world’s tallest mountains, it seems like the chance of a lifetime. But she doesn‘t realise how deadly the climb will be.
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year. It is cold and eerie and scary, terrifying and vulnerable. It’s full of heart-racing twists and turns, red herrings and people who aren’t what they seem. It is super chilling.
Newly qualified embalmer William’s night out is disturbed by the news of a disaster in Aberfan, Wales, a disaster he personally volunteers at. His work that night will affect the rest of his life, with consequences far and wide.
I won this in a competition so I wasn’t sure what I expected from it, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so heart wrenching. It’s such a unique, beautiful, tender but devastating plot, and Jo Browning Wroe is an exceptional storyteller. Expect to be reading it through falling tears right from the start.
Nell Young’s whole life is cartography. Her father is a legend in the field and her personal hero. But she hasn’t spoken to him since he fired her after an argument over a cheap, gas station highway map. But when he is found dead in his office, Nell learns there’s more to this map than first meets the eye, and the subsequent journey will have far reaching and terrible side effects.
I fell in love with this book almost instantly. At the time of reading, it became my favourite book ever. It is tantalising, full of secrets, passionate and thrilling, full of magic, love and friendship, grief, trust and above all, hope.
When fate brings Bee and Nick together over a misdirected email, the connection is instant. They feel they have known each other their whole lives. It should have been the perfect love story. But they soon come to realise, it was an impossible love story.
This is most certainly a genius novel, it is full of heart and love and honesty and truth and pain. At first it’s a straight-forward rom-com, but it becomes so much more than that. It’s like a sci-fi rom-com, if that’s a genre, and it will hook you right from the off. It is beautiful in every sense of the word.
Twins Molly and Katie used to be inseparable until Katie moved to New York. When Molly finds out Katie has been found dead, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory as she aims to find out what happened. But is all as it seems?
This was my first Will Dean book and what a book to start with, he was definitely what was missing from my life. This is an exploration of character; a slow burn that turns to fireworks, full of twists and turns, lies and dishonesty.
When Jen witnesses her son murder someone outside their house, she despairs for his future. But when she wakes up the morning after, it’s actually the day before. Every day she wakes up a day earlier, and she will continue to do so until she prevents the murder.
What an impressive book. The characters leap off the page, they feel so familiar. Gillian has created a one-of-a-kind story that only her talent could do justice to.
Linda lives in a quiet neighbourhood with her husband Terry, a far cry from her dark childhood. Her life is fairly standard. Until Terry starts staying late at work and local women start going missing. She needs to be aware that not all secrets stay hidden.
This has a litlte bit of everything to keep you enthralled – it’s cosy crime and murder mystery and psychological thriller. You begin to question everything and everyone and your mind will be blown.
When Emma gets home after work, she calls hello to her husband Jay like normal. Only this time, she finds him dead upstairs, having taken his own life. A photographer, Jay has left behind a series of photos, seemingly incomprehensible to Emma. Determined to get to the bottom of her husband’s decision, she follows the journey these photos offer.
Charlotte Leonard has found the perfect balance when describing death – particularly suicide – and grief. It is raw and honest and soulful and messy. Annoyingly for a book reviewer, I don’t have enough words to explain just how special this book is.
In the 1930s, Stalin’s activists marched through the Soviet Union, creating a man-made famine – known as the Holodomor – which stole more than 4 million Ukranian lives. Seventy years later, a young widow finds her grandmother’s journal, one that will reveal the long-buried secrets of her family’s haunted past.
This was such a timely novel and heartbreakingly so. I hadn’t heard of the Holodomor before, it seems to have been swept under the rug, but it’s vital we don’t lose it to history. Regardless of it’s difficult theme, or perhaps because of it, this book is full of love and family and friendship and hope, and a sense of belonging to a place and a people.
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team take an unscientific view of equality. Except for Calvin Evans, who loves more of Elizabeth than just her brain. Soon Elizabeth must take a step into the unknown and become an unlikely television star and housewife idol.
This thoroughly deserves all the hype it’s getting, it’s fabulous right from the start. It’s fresh and original, honest, sad, engaging, funny, loving, friendly, tough and scary, but above all it’s positive, and such an enjoyable read.
Meredith hasn’t left her home in 1,214 days. But she insists she isn’t alone, for she has her cat Fred. But something is about to change. First, new friends arrive, as well as her estranged sister, and suddenly her carefully curated home is no longer a safe place to hide.
I have never read a fictional book that handles mental illness and trauma as well as this one. It is beautiful and so sensitively conceived and executed that it made me really quite emotional. Meredith is a gorgeous character, isolated and alone, but full of heart. Such an accomplished piece of writing.
Emma loves her husband Leo and their daughter Ruby; she’d do anything for them. But almost everything she’s told them about herself is a lie. And she might have got away with it, if it wasn’t for Leo’s meddling. As he starts to unravel her past, he discovers the woman he loves doesn’t really exist.
Rosie Walsh is fast becoming a favourite author of mine. This is so different from her book “The Man Who Didn’t Call”, but just as good. The characterisation is so powerful, it’s full of twists and turns that are so well hidden; there’s romance, thriller, mystery, comedy and romance. It is simply exhilarating.
As adults, sisters Alice and Hanna must deal with disappointments in work and love, as well as their increasingly complicated family tensions, and most importantly, they must find a way to repair their own fractured relationship.
Rebecca Wait is a master when it comes to her writing and storytelling ability. It’s so simple but powerful, and she’ll have you in the palm of her hand instantly. Her character building is exceptional and altogether creates a beautiful read.
An eco-wellness retreat has opened up off the English coast and promises rest and relaxation. But the island itself has a dark place and was once the playground of a serial killer. Detective Erin Warner is called to investigate the death of a young woman as history appears to be repeating itself.
Sarah writes some of the best thrillers I’ve ever come across. This is tense and frightening and you’ll be on the edge of your seats for most of it. You start to wonder who or what you can believe.
Dr Anna Jones receives a note to say her son has been taken, and the only way to get him back is to deliberately murder her high-profile patient whilst he’s on the operating table.
It is the very definition of edge-of-your-seat stuff and it never settles down or gives you a moment to breathe. It is an engrossing thriller, all-encompassing, addictive, tense and exciting. It is definitely one of the best books I’ve read, and I’ll be hunting down everything Jack Jordan writes from now on.
Come back tomorrow to see my favourite picks of July to December, plus I’ll reveal my overall favourite of 2022.