LIST: my top ten favorite reads of 2022 (so far)

It’s been. an interesting year of reading for me…and by that, I mean I’ve had so many lackluster reads. However, I still managed to find a ton of new favorites! I know people usually do faves of the year halfway through the year, but I just wanted to share mine a little early. So without further ado, here are my top ten favorite reads of 2022 (so far)!



in order of read date:

  1. Little Thieves (Little Thieves #1) by Margaret Owen
  2. One True Loves by Elise Bryant
  3. Foul Lady Fortune (Foul Lady Fortune #1) by Chloe Gong
  4. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
  5. Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
  6. If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang
  7. I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
  8. Only a Monster by Vanessa Len
  9. Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  10. Furysong (The Aurelian Cycle #3) by Rosaria Munda

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little thieves cover

Little Thieves (Little Thieves #1) by Margaret Owen

young adult fantasy

rep: demisexual protagonist and love interest, lesbian side character, wlw side character; (demisexual author)
cw: child abandonment/neglect, child abuse, blood, whipping, mention of attempted sexual assault, body horror

my rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)

Once upon a time, there was a horrible girl…

Vanja Schmidt knows that no gift is freely given, not even a mother’s love–and she’s on the hook for one hell of a debt. Vanja, the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, was Princess Gisele’s dutiful servant up until a year ago. That was when Vanja’s otherworldly mothers demanded a terrible price for their care, and Vanja decided to steal her future back… by stealing Gisele’s life for herself.

The real Gisele is left a penniless nobody while Vanja uses an enchanted string of pearls to take her place. Now, Vanja leads a lonely but lucrative double life as princess and jewel thief, charming nobility while emptying their coffers to fund her great escape. Then, one heist away from freedom, Vanja crosses the wrong god and is cursed to an untimely end: turning into jewels, stone by stone, for her greed.

Vanja has just two weeks to figure out how to break her curse and make her getaway. And with a feral guardian half-god, Gisele’s sinister fiancé, and an overeager junior detective on Vanja’s tail, she’ll have to pull the biggest grift yet to save her own life.

Margaret Owen, author of The Merciful Crow series, crafts a delightfully irreverent retelling of “The Goose Girl” about stolen lives, thorny truths, and the wicked girls at the heart of both.

This was my first (non-reread) read of the year! I bought it during that random 50% all hardcovers sale Barnes & Noble did at the end of last year because I’ve heard sooo many people raving about it. Typically, I try not to buy books that I haven’t read but I was just in a mood for something new for once. And I’m very glad I did!

It’s also so difficult for me to read books longer than 380 pages, but I was able to fall into Little Thieves so easily. The world and the characters really pulled me in, especially Vanja’s character arc. I’m so excited for the sequel, especially what the author has teased on Twitter!

* This is an affiliate link. I will earn a commission if you click through and purchase from Bookshop.

one true loves cover

One True Loves by Elise Bryant

young adult contemporary

rep: Black protagonist, biracial (Black, Korean) love interest, Black side characters, gay Black side character, biracial (Black, white) side character; (Black author)
cw: vomiting (seasickness)

my rating: ★★★★¼ (4.25 stars)

Lenore Bennett has always been a force. A star artist and style icon at her high school, she’s a master in the subtle art of not giving a . . . well, you know what. But now that graduation is here, she’s a little less sure.

She’s heading to NYU in the fall with a scarlet U (for “undeclared”) written across her chest. Her parents always remind her that Black kids don’t have the luxury of figuring it out as they go—they have to be 110 percent prepared. But it’s a lot of pressure to be her ancestors’ wildest dreams when Lenore’s not even sure what her dreams are yet.

When her family embarks on a post-graduation Mediterranean cruise, her friend Tessa is sure Lenore’s in for a whirlwind romance. But Lenore knows that doesn’t happen in real life. At least not to girls like her.

Then she meets Alex Lee. After their parents bond over the Cupid Shuffle, she ends up stuck with him for the remainder of the cruise. He’s a hopeless romantic and a golden boy with a ten-year plan. In short, he’s irritating as hell.

But as they get to know each other during the picturesque stops across Europe, he may be able to help her find something else she’s been looking for, even if she doesn’t want to admit it to herself: love.

While I enjoyed Elise Bryant’s debut (to which this book is a companion novel), I didn’t expect to fall in love with this book so quickly. I just really loved Lenore’s narrative and her relationship with her family. The romance was really cute, and I liked how she tries to narrow down her dream.

* This is an affiliate link. I will earn a commission if you click through and purchase from Bookshop.

foul lady fortune cover

Foul Lady Fortune (Foul Lady Fortune #1) by Chloe Gong

young adult historical

rep: demisexual Chinese protagonist, bisexual Chinese protagonist, bisexual Chinese main character, Chinese trans woman main character, aromantic asexual side character; (Chinese-Kiwi author)
cw: violence, blood, mentions of human experimentation

[ out September 27, 2022 ]

my rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends comes the first book in a captivating new duology following an ill-matched pair of spies posing as a married couple to investigate a series of brutal murders in 1930s Shanghai.

It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.

Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging—and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption for her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.

Code name: Fortune.

But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.

To reduce suspicion, however, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong, and though Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanor infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined.

Like. Do I even have to explain why I loved this book so much? As of writing this post, I have yet to finish writing my review of Foul Lady Fortune (it’s been months) because I just do not know how to put into words how much I loved it. I have a fierce love for Rosalind and Orion, both as characters and their relationship. The plot was also incredibly intriguing; I couldn’t put this book down. This is Chloe Gong at her best, and I am so excited for her future novels!

* This is an affiliate link. I will earn a commission if you click through and purchase from Bookshop.

the girl who fell beneath the sea cover

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

young adult fantasy

rep: Korean inspiration and characters; (Korean-American author)

my rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.

Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.

But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking…

I’ve loved Axie Oh’s books since her debut (please read Rebel Seoul and Rogue Heart!), and I couldn’t wait to read her first fantasy novel. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea was a gorgeous tale filled with love, even in the face of defying fate. This book will live in my heart for ages to come. You can read more of my thoughts in my review, linked below.

* This is an affiliate link. I will earn a commission if you click through and purchase from Bookshop.

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

adult romance

[ out June 7, 2022 ]

my rating: ★★★★¼ (4.25 stars)

Evvie Drake Starts Over meets Beach Read in this heartwarming and hilarious novel about a divorced romance channel screenwriter whose script about her marriage’s collapse just might help her reclaim her life and find love.

Nora’s life is about to get a rewrite…

Nora Hamilton knows the formula for love better than anyone. As a romance channel screenwriter, it’s her job. But when her too-good-to work husband leaves her and their two kids, Nora turns her marriage’s collapse into cash and writes the best script of her life. No one is more surprised than her when it’s picked up for the big screen and set to film on location at her 100-year-old-home. When former Sexiest Man Alive, Leo Vance, is cast as her ne’er do well husband Nora’s life will never be the same.

The morning after shooting wraps and the crew leaves, Nora finds Leo on her porch with a half-empty bottle of tequila and a proposition. He’ll pay a thousand dollars a day to stay for a week. The extra seven grand would give Nora breathing room, but it’s the need in his eyes that makes her say yes. Seven days: it’s the blink of an eye or an eternity depending on how you look at it. Enough time to fall in love. Enough time to break your heart.

Filled with warmth, wit, and wisdom, Nora Goes Off Script is the best kind of love story–the real kind where love is complicated by work, kids, and the emotional baggage that comes with life. For Nora and Leo, this kind of love is bigger than the big screen.

I requested this on a whim after a friend recommended it and frankly was surprised I was approved. I read it pretty soon after that because I just felt like a more lighthearted story, and I unexpectedly fell for this book so hard. Something about it just clicked with me! Nora Goes Off Script leans more on the women’s fiction side of romance, but I loved the tone and the pacing of the story, as well as the characters.

* This is an affiliate link. I will earn a commission if you click through and purchase from Bookshop.

if you could see the sun cover

If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang

young adult contemporary fantasy

rep: Chinese-American protagonist, Chinese love interest and side characters; (Chinese-Australian author)

[ out October 11, 2022 ]

my rating: ★★★★¾ (4.75 stars)

“Utterly unique, thought-provoking, and wonderfully written… a thrilling ride that hooked me from start to finish.” —Gloria Chao, author of American Panda and Rent a Boyfriend

In this genre-bending YA debut, a Chinese American girl monetizes her strange new invisibility powers by discovering and selling her wealthy classmates’ most scandalous secrets.

Alice Sun has always felt invisible at her elite Beijing international boarding school, where she’s the only scholarship student among China’s most rich and influential teens. But then she starts uncontrollably turning invisible—actually invisible.

When her parents drop the news that they can no longer afford her tuition, even with the scholarship, Alice hatches a plan to monetize her strange new power—she’ll discover the scandalous secrets her classmates want to know, for a price.

But as the tasks escalate from petty scandals to actual crimes, Alice must decide if it’s worth losing her conscience—or even her life.

This book has lived in my head, rent-free, ever since I finished it. PLEASE just trust me and preorder it!! I loved the writing; it flowed so well and just really fit with how I think. Alice’s personal journey was also so good; I loved her character, a little snarky but overall just trying to survive, and her deep love for her parents. I also immediately fell for Henry because of course I did. I feel like my little goodreads review sums their relationship best: “[This is] also a rivals to lovers romance, except more one-sided as in Alice decided Henry is her enemy and he thought the past 5 years were a fun little competition (I love them).” Now I need to go reread this book honestly.

* This is an affiliate link. I will earn a commission if you click through and purchase from Bookshop.

i kissed shara wheeler cover

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

young adult contemporary

rep: bisexual protagonist, lesbian love interest, dyslexic gay Black main character, Black nonbinary achillean main character, lesbian side character, gay side character, nonbinary side character, bisexual side character; (queer author)
cw: religious homophobia

my rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)

From the New York Times bestselling author of One Last Stop and Red, White & Royal Blue comes a debut YA romantic comedy about chasing down what you want, only to find what you need…

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.

Fierce, funny, and frank, Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is about breaking the rules, getting messy, and finding love in unexpected places.

After a string of mediocre reads, I went into this one not really knowing what to expect other than thinking I’d probably enjoy it, and that’s all I really needed in that moment. However, I ended up loving it so, so much. I loved the characters and all of their own personal journeys. There was also one quote that I screenshotted and keep forgetting until I open my photo library and immediately lose my mind again. There’s too much for me to talk about in this short little paragraph, so read my review for more of my detailed thoughts, linked below.

* This is an affiliate link. I will earn a commission if you click through and purchase from Bookshop.

only a monster cover

Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

young adult fantasy

rep: biracial (Chinese-Malaysian, white) protagonist, gay side character; (biracial (Chinese-Malaysian, Maltese) author)
cw: blood, mentions of torture

my rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

With the sweeping romance of Passenger and the dark fantasy edge of This Savage Song, this standout YA contemporary fantasy debut from Vanessa Len, is the first in a planned trilogy.

It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.

But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.

As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .

. . . she is not the hero.

For some reason, I didn’t know much about this book until like a month before it came out. There was so much praise that I picked it up as soon as it came out and I just could not put it down. Only a Monster reminded me a bit of a 2012 fantasy (in a good way!) in that reading it felt so compulsive. The characters, the world building, everything was just so fantastic. I am dying for the sequel and am slightly disappointed that this is a trilogy, not a duology like I initially thought, simply because that’s more time I’m going to have to wait for the end of this story. Read my review, linked below, for more of my thoughts on this book!

* This is an affiliate link. I will earn a commission if you click through and purchase from Bookshop.

book lovers cover

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

adult romance

cw: mentions of depression, grief, death of a parent (mother)

my rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn’t see coming…

Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

This book was exactly the romance I needed in that moment. I devoured it in one day (and ignored all of my responsibilities in the meantime). I just loved the characters and the romance so, so much. And the banter and email exchanges!! I couldn’t stop laughing. Read more of my thoughts in my review, linked below.

* This is an affiliate link. I will earn a commission if you click through and purchase from Bookshop.

furysong cover

Furysong (The Aurelian Cycle #3) by Rosaria Munda

young adult fantasy

rep: bisexual main character, gay main character
cw: burnings, blood, branding, grief; mentions of past coercive sexual relationship, threat of rape

[ out August 9, 2022 ]

my rating: ★★★★¾ (4.75 stars)

In this explosive conclusion to the epic trilogy that began with Fireborne, Annie and Lee are fighting for their lives—and for each other—as invading dragonfire threatens to burn their home to the ground.

A new revolution is underway, and nobody will emerge unscathed.

In New Pythos, Griff is facing an execution by the dragonborn, who are furious at his betrayal. He has allies on both sides seeking to defy his fate, but the price of his freedom might come at a dear cost. And Delo will have to make a choice: follow his family, or finally surrender to his conscience.

Meanwhile, Annie must race home to hatch a plan to save her Guardians and their dragons. With Callipolis on the brink of collapse and the triarchy set to be reinstated, she may be the one person who can save the city—if she can overcome her own doubts about her future.

Lee is a revolutionary at heart, but now he’ll have to find a way to fight with diplomacy. Going up against the dragonborn court and a foreign princess, he faces a test of loyalty that sets his head against his heart.

As the fate of Callipolis darkens, Annie and Lee must determine what they are willing to sacrifice in order to save each other, defeat their enemies, and reclaim their home.

I should preface this by saying that I read my ARC of this book the day after I received it (and somehow finished it that same day). Then I got an email less than a week later saying that this wasn’t the version that was supposed to go out, so looks like I’ll have to reread it ;)…But anyways, I suppose I can’t speak too much on it since it was the incorrect version so all I’ll say is that this was a thrilling conclusion to one of my favorite series!

* This is an affiliate link. I will earn a commission if you click through and purchase from Bookshop.

What are some of your favorite reads for this year so far?

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