During my reading journey, books become part of me in many ways. A very difficult year is ending. Join me as I recall the joys of discovery – of fantasy and comaraderie – with this celebratory blog post!
New Favorites Discovered
I cannot physically hold them, but these hold space in my heart! #Sappy #NotSorry
‘It wasn’t one simple thing. It was more like a billion tiny things all pulling together to form one giant tidal wave of stress.’Radio Silence, A Oseman
Radio Silence is a critical fiction about the pressures of academia and the mental health and societal ramifications to youths. Pressing children to shed individuality, British grammar schools are shown to glamorize one ultimate goal despite inequitable advantages. Characters Frances, Aled, Daniel and Cerys are just a few students struggling to survive until university.
Eleanor & Park is a take on teen romance, angst, and the powerful emotions that accompany feeling rejected, disconnected, and vulnerable. Can high school torture bond these two incompatible misfits?
Magnus Chase is still my favorite character of 2022! I love his snarky face. No found family (living or dead) will ever surpass Magnus, Blitzen, Hearthstone, Sam and floor 19. #FightMe
In my Mid-Year Book Freak Out I already told you all about Fangirl and Magnus! I had BIG feelings about the mental health portrayal in Turtles. Get A Life, Chloe Brown helped me address the reality of living with chronic pain. Sanditon also got it’s own post, Austen-ish.
Genre of the Year
If I count re-reads, I read 50% YA Fantasy in 2022.
(Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and Heroes of Olympus series bring me continuous joy!)
I also needed YA Contemporary books to make it through. One genre was my escape, the other, my inspiration!
YA Fantasy 22/44
YA Contemporary 15/44
Clearly, I am obsessed with demigod life:
Murder In Westminster (A Riveting Regency Historical Mystery) by Vanessa Riley
I took my time reading this book! It was vivid, like a quality TV series. I wanted to extend the suspense by slowly reading a couple chapters at a time. The mystery – absorbing! The characters – intriguing!
The regency era setting, with more diversity of background AND perspective than I am used to reading, is rich and entertaining. The gowns, the rainy London streets, the carriages… I’m here for it all!
The fight for abolition – the fear and prejudice – is touched on so very delicately. I trust Vanessa Riley to weave history into fiction in a powerful, relevent way.
Why read future sequels? Well, firstly there’s Abigail’s inherited gift that plagues her. Could this gift be useful after all? And, I love to see an intelligent, qualified woman acknowledged!
‘My mother would say a woman builds or destroys her own house.’Murder In Westminster, V Riley
Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith
Pony is a main character. Like, actually. It is the first day at a new high school, and his film-loving brain is already casting him in a teen movie! Pranks – check. Jocks – check. Cheerleaders – check. A clean slate – TBD.
See, Pony is trans and beginning the year in “stealth mode”. It’s going to be so much easier – and so much harder – to navigate judgmental teen culture as himself.
‘Cue dramatic music. New Kid is frozen in place on the curb. He made it through the parking lot but is now stuck. Imaginary cameras fly in to capture his face…’Stay Gold, T McSmith
Book Club Reads
Books about books, classics and philosophical discussion! #BookObsessed
- The Jane Austen Society – N Jenner
- Fathers and Sons – I Turgenev
- The Midnight Library – M Haig
- Frankenstein – M Shelley
This year, we read four very different yet enjoyable novels. TJAS allowed us to fangirl over Austen together! F&S was a thoughtful narrative contrasting generational beliefs in 19th century Russia. Frankenstein was very sad, but philosophical. The Midnight Library gifted me a new perspective of Depression and hope.
I Finally Read…
Dating Makes Perfect – P Dunn (ya contemporary)
Dating drama! Plus, very loyal sisters, Thai American families, and one mortal enemy.
Winnie’s humiliation is about to be orchestrated by her own mother. Her enemy has front row seats. Can their relationship survive this onslaught, or will they become (ew) friends? An entertaining writing style, with realistic and humorous perspectives!
Series To Continue
- The Mortal Instruments – C Clare (3/6)
- Charlotte Holmes – B Cavallard (1/4)
- The Kane Chronicles – R Riordan (2/3)
I recently binged City Of Bones, City Of Ashes, and City Of Glass. There are three more in the series. On one hand, I don’t love the repetitive writing style. On the other hand, these warrior children, I wanna see them save the world!! Does Clary make me wanna scream? Yes! But… more story, please.
Once I got over A Study In Charlotte being in a boy’s POV, I liked it! Both Charlotte Holmes and James Watson are teen descendants of the famed investigative duo. (Of course, Watson is the narrator.) They meet at college where they are framed for murder. Can Jamie and Charlotte trust each other when the world seems out to get them?
The Tethering series by M O’Russell (4/4)
Jacob comes into a secret power, a new family, and a political struggle that will decide the fate of a magical world. I could not stop reading! (The Tethering, The Siren’s Realm, The Dragon Unbound, The Blood Heir)
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan (3/3)
Magnus has been living on the street a while when he realizes someone is looking for him. Unfortunately, his fate (or stupidity) leads to a deathly fall, violent new associates, and a prophecy. Worst death ever. (Sword of Summer, Hammer of Thor, Ship of the Dead)
New Books On My Shelf
(This is a non-literal shelf, folks! Still, it’s exciting to see so much variety ahead of me in the new year!)
- Hey, Brown Girl – J Harden (ya contemporary)
- Greyboy – C Brown (non-fiction)
- Landline – Rainbow Rowell (contemporary fiction)
- A Duke, A Lady, and a Baby – V Riley (historical, mystery)
- The Forty Elephants – E Bledsoe (historical, crime)
- A Room Of One’s Own – V Woolf (feminist fiction)
- The Spectacular – Z Whittall (feminist fiction)
- Max and the Multiverse – Z Wheeler (sci-fi)
- Lizard Music – D Pinkwater (middle grade, magical realism)
- The Shepherd and the Horned Girl – B Bright (ya fantasy)
- The Humans – M Haig (sci-fi)
- My Famous Brain – D Wald (psychological fiction)
- Lost Connections – J Hari (non-fiction, mental health)
And, finally, blog features to come in 2023:
- ‘Own Voices’ – What I Want To See
- The Jane Austen Book Club (Comparing the book to the movie)
- Re-reading my childhood favorites
Happy reading! 💜 ~ Ro