A few short reviews of books I’ve read so far in 2022

After missing the January link up for Show us Your books (something I try NEVER to miss!) and missing the actual day (a few days ago) for February, I am still excited to share some brief thoughts on the excellent books I’ve read in the past couple of months!

So far in 2022 I haven’t rated any books 5 stars but I’m sure that will change with a few of my current reads. I’ve read a lot of 4 star wonderful books though! Linking up with Steph & Jana and the reader gang – check out their posts for even more recommendations!

Books That are DEFINITELY worth your time

Ok this first book was one of my last in 2021 but I just need to share again that I LOVED IT:

The Spoon StealerThe Spoon Stealer by Lesley Crewe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The way The Spoon Stealer is told is so unique – we, as the reader, are “listening to” the memoir of Emmeline’s life – and then when it finishes there is still a bit more story to be told. I was completely delighted by these characters and spent the last half hour of this reading experience crying partially because I just didn’t want the book to be over (but also mostly because of the incredible writing). There is quite a bit of family drama and some amazing friendship bonds and a dog that feels like a person. The book is set in the 1960s in a small town outside London UK and Pictou area in Nova Scotia.

It is not very often that I experience a 5 star read in the last week of the year, but this one was it for me. I highly, highly recommend it – especially if you happen to be a Nova Scotian because those nuances hit home for me just a little bit more!!! I can’t begin to describe how much I loved this – and while part of me wishes I’d listened to my mom and grandmother and several friends and read this earlier, I know it was perfect timing for me too. I hope you also decide to check it out soon!!!

A Place to Hang the MoonA Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit that this genre of middle grade WWII fiction is a bit of a sweet spot/interest for me because I love learning about that time period from a children’s point of view. I’ve loved books like Number the Stars and The War that Saved my Life. This book in particular blew me away completely though and I cannot WAIT for a) more books from this author and b) to read this one to my children. The audiobook was exceptionally narrated, the child characters were phenomenal – funny, smart, hopeful, book lovers who cared so much about each other and were such real people. This book made me tear up though it wasn’t as devastatingly sad as some WWII fiction. It also made my heart soar – I felt so connected to these 3 children that it was hard to say goodbye when I finished the book.

Well worth a read and as I said, excellent on audio if you like that format 🙂

Weather GirlWeather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was absolutely delightful to read. I loved Ari and her workplace. I loved watching her grow as a character and stand up for what she wanted in her career. She had such an INTERESTING and unique job – it’s very rare to read about a TV meteorologist.

This book represents someone who has family difficulties and has battled clinical depression off and on since her teens and I appreciated reading about that – though the character did not represent what everyone with depression goes through, understandably, I found her story well-researched and well-portrayed (not having gone thorugh anything too similar myself). Her relationship with her family was fraught at times but I loved her relationship with her brother. When Ari then gets to know her co-worker Russell a bit better, I found the story moved in a quick and fun way from there and this was really hard to put down. I read most of it with a huge smile on my face but I also teared up once or twice too. Rachel Lynn Solomon knows how to pack an emotional punch and her writing just absolutely works for me somehow. Russell’s past also felt “new” in this genre and I SO appreciated his daughter and that relationship as well. This author is definitely an auto-buy for me now after I also loved her book The Ex Talk last year…and I just really can’t wait for more from her. Contemporary romance fans who like something just a bit deeper in their characters are sure to enjoy this one.

The MaidThe Maid by Nita Prose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was instantly hooked on this story with absolutely delightful, multi-faceted, unique characters, a fun setting, and a plot that was utterly captivating. Readers will fall in love with Molly, a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel who was primarily raised by her grandmother and is old-fashioned in the way she speaks and literal and matter-of-fact in the way she approaches the world. I really, really enjoyed the way this story was told and it wrapped up perfectly. It’s been a while since I read a mystery with characters I enjoyed as much as these (dare I say, since my last visit to Three Pines with Louise Penny?). This isn’t quite a thriller – it did not leave my heart in my throat the entire time, but it was still very hard to put down and the writing was absolutely exquisite. Well done, Nita!! Can’t wait to see this one on screen someday too!!

(Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review).

When You Get the ChanceWhen You Get the Chance by Emma Lord
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was so much fun! Having loved her previous two novels, I was delighted to get my eyes (and ears!) on advanced e-book and audiobook copies of this YA novel (also set in NYC!). I am happy to report that I loved this one too! 

This book (swipe for synopsis) reimagines Mamma Mia a bit with a single dad character and a teenager completely obsessed with (and striving for a career on!) Broadway. Millie was so fun to read about, and I loved her cast of friends and the way this whole plot unfolded. This book was the perfect read to brighten my spirit a bit in the days before heading back to work post-Christmas vacation – so if you need your January to be a bit less blue, I’d recommend it to you as well!! 🙂 

Like all of Emma’s novels, I really adored the NYC setting of this book and I had to dig out this old photo of Times Square for the novel. I love musicals despite never really being into drama or theatre much besides the orchestral side of it a little bit in high school. Immersing myself in this teenage world of stardom as well as a side plot of geocaching in the city was just so.much.fun and I didn’t want this story to end (although I loved the ending!!) This is the kind of YA novel I need in my life and I’ll read all of her future books too.

Utterly Compelling Books I found Hard to Put Down

Our Little SecretOur Little Secret by Roz Nay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After enjoying Roz Nay’s book Hurry Home and then The Hunted last year, I’ve been meaning to read this book since I picked it up in a used bookstore in August 2020. Oops!! I could even tell that it wasn’t super long and would probably be highly engaging…and it just didn’t happen. Then one night right after new years, my eyes passed over the book when I was feeling supremely bored/unsettled/locked down and low and behold THIS BOOK UTTERLY CONSUMED ME for the next…2 hours and then another 2 in the morning after sleeping for 8 hours. So yes, it was good. The way it was written was incredibly unique. It read a bit like a YA romance at times as well as a thriller at other times. It was definitely a bit of a coming of age story. A likable character turned a bit unlikable for me…or actually, rather, this happened with 2 characters.

I don’t want to say too too much about what this is about because I think it’s best to go in without any spoilers, but I will say that this book was exactly what I needed to reignite that reading bug, and I highly recommend it if you’re feeling the same way – or even if you’re not! It is well worth the time.

Reminders of HimReminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not a stranger to Colleen Hoover’s books, but I don’t allow myself to read them TOOOOO frequently because I know I will endure emotional heartbreak while doing so. Her characters and love stories in books also don’t always completely work for me from an insta-love point of view, but I do try to keep in mind that these types of intense situations might lead to intense relationships that aren’t indicative of many people’s real-world experience.

The moral dilemma presented in this book punched me in the gut right from the get-go as a mother but I enjoyed watching the story play out and I found this book utterly impossible to put down. You’ve got to love a good story that really forces you to consider what you would do if ever faced with that situation…it’s just a fun reading experience (if you think it’s fun to cry over a story, that is. LOL).

When the Stars Go DarkWhen the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved listening to this lyrical, poignant story on audio. This was my first book this author and a lot of friends loved it, so I expected it to be good and it sure was. I’m not even fully sure how to categorize this book, because there is certainy a firm mystery component but there’s also a lot of stuff about life and family and trauma too. I really enjoyed the mystery component, found parts of it to be very sad but other parts very compelling – the writing was fantastic and reminds me a bit of Nalini Singh’s mysteries as well as maybe a bit of Long Bright River or that type of book. Definitely recommend and the audio was excellent but there are a few trigger warnings worth checking out too.

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #1)A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been meaning to read this book for eleventy million years after so many loved it and since I loved Karen McManus’ YA thrillers and the Truly Devious series, I knew this would be good too genre-wise. It was very well done! I really had no inkling of the way they would solve this mystery until very close to the end and I really enjoyed the format and the characters. Super sad outcome OF COURSE – murder mysteries involving young people can definitely be sad, but very well written and excited to read the second in the series asap.

Josh and Gemma Make a BabyJosh and Gemma Make a Baby by Sarah Ready
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book caught my eye on Netgalley (mostly because the title is so blunt and direct, lol), and I wasn’t too sure what to expect. First of all, I will say that I don’t think this book will sit well with those who have trigger warnings around infertility, IVF, endometriosis, or similar types of life circumstances, so it’s something to be aware of before considering this book. I feel that the way this scenario (undergoing IVF as a single person) is handled in the book is a bit unrealistic in its timeline and ease of access to medical care, but I could be wrong about that in the US etc.

Aside from all of that, I did find the story HILARIOUS at times, and full of some good romantic angst, and it had a super super swoony ending and a lot of heartfelt/character growth type moments that were fun to read. It was definitely an enjoyable story that pulled at my heartstrings, had unique family points, had hilarious banter and narrative, and was fun to discuss afterwards. It does require some suspension of belief in reality BUT I think that was part of the fun too, and that’s what fiction is for. Would this exact romance story happen to anyone in real life? Maybe not likely, but that’s fine. I also have a bit of a soft spot for the brother’s best friend trope so that helped too 🙂
I didn’t absolutely love the female lead character and some of her decisions but it also made sense why she was like that – and I loved the male lead enough to counteract that in my rating.

Long story short – this one is worth considering if you want a total escapist type romance and those triggers don’t ring alarm bells for you!

Fun Series I enjoyed Continuing

Running Wild (Wild, #3)Running Wild by K.A. Tucker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After passing it by for many years, 2020 was the year I dove into the entire series of The Simple Wild, and I had no regrets! These romance novels set in Alaska were so compulsively readable and I just fell in love with all the characters. I was delighted to hear that Tucker was writing a new story featuring Marie, a vet who is a side character in the other Wild books. I read this book in a little over a day and enjoyed so many things about it. It was fun learning about the Iditarod (yes, I had to look up how that is pronounced), which is a world-famous dog sled race. It also felt super fitting to read a book set in chilly temperatures during our chilly January. I loved “getting to know” Marie better and a little mini “reunion” with Calla and Jonah from the first 2.5 books. And Tyler, the new character (also new in town!) who raises and trains magnificent dogs, was so multi-layered and interesting as a lead male character. The angst and tension sprinkled throughout the book as well as a bit of family drama with Marie’s immediate relatives held my interest throughout the book. And, as always, the ending worked great 🙂 I definitely think fans of the Simple Wild, Wild at Heart, and Forever Wild will enjoy this one a lot…and though I do think it can stand alone (new characters, mostly!), it might be more fun to read the others first.

Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead (Finlay Donovan, #2)Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It was one of my most delightful bookish experiences last year, so I was eagerly anticipating this second book in the series and excited to read an early copy of it thanks to Minotaur and Edelweiss. In some ways, I think I maybe liked this one even a bit more than the first – it’s always fun to “know” the characters a bit already and see what kind of shenanigans occur 😉 Vero and Finlay have a few more wild adventures solving another (dangerous!!!) mystery with a few overlapping characters from book 1. This was an easy book to sink into and escape with – and smartly written. I’ll definitely continue with this series and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of ridiculousness and some super fun characters to root for in their novels 🙂

Other Books I’ll Leave You to Decide On Yourself 🙂

The ReboundThe Rebound by Catherine Walsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s something about books set in the UK (or in this case, Ireland) that just make me love them from the first few pages. Maybe I’m living in the wrong place or something, I don’t know. An author that can transport me to the countryside in one of these countries just wins me right over. Abby’s return to her very small village after her company imploding and losing everything (apartment, fiance, job, investments) was a great start to this story about starting over and reconnecting with the past. I loved a lot of the side characters, the setting and small-town events (so fun), and ultimately, the way this story resolved. It might not be a book that stays with me forever, but I enjoyed it immensely while reading. Fans of Sophie Kinsella (which I am not, overall)/Mhairi McFarlane would likely enjoy as well 🙂

The Sugar QueenThe Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

This was my second or third book by this author. She writes very sweet contemporary fiction with a touch of magical realism and I fell right into this story no problem. Parts of it were a bit predictable and also far-fetched but I truly enjoyed the characters and the plot and it cleansed the palate perfectly after some more difficult or intense books.

The Last House on the StreetThe Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve read and enjoyed several books by this author, but for some reason, it does often take me quite a while to get into the books and sort out the dual timelines and what exactly is going on. This one was no exception that way but I’d say it took me even longer than usual to catch the thread of the story. It was also extremely sad from the get-go, which I suppose is the case with a few of her other books as well but it hit me hard and I didn’t feel a strong desire to pick it up and immerse myself in the story. I blazed through the second half on audio on a long car ride, and I am ultimately glad I read it, but my experience with it wasn’t as gripping as it would be for some people.

A Brush with LoveA Brush with Love by Mazey Eddings
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book started off really strong for me, and I absolutely loved the characters’ meet-cute, work/school environment (super unique being in dentistry school!) and representation of grief, mental health, and anxiety. I enjoyed reading the book a lot and will read future books by the author, but at some point the pacing or flow of the plot just lost me a little bit. I did feel like Harper’s character was fascinating to read about especially in regard to her growth and understanding of how her past was affecting her present day life – I just wanted a little bit more resolution of that at the end or something.

Still worth checking out if you enjoy contemporary romance though – it had a great group of secondary characters and passed the time just fine, but just wasn’t over the top incredible for me by the end.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

The Poet XThe Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was great on audio and accompanied me on several dog walks around the neighbourhood. 😉 I found it easy to sink into the plot and the characters, but I really felt for X while listening and some parts of it were a bit difficult to get on board with – which of course, is the point. Excellently written, not my favourite from this author but cemented the fact that it is still absolutely always going to be worth picking up her books for the writing and perspective she creates.

Currently reading: The first Crescent City book, Bluebird by Genevieve Graham (out in April), City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn, and A Wish In the Dark (Newbery winner!) with the kiddos.

2 responses to “A few short reviews of books I’ve read so far in 2022”

  1. Weather Girl sounds so cute and I am adding A Place to Hang the Moon to my list. I really liked The Maid aside from part of the ending totally throwing me/confusing me. I’m glad it’s going to be a movie, as I was reading it I kept thinking it would be great on the screen too! I’ve started The Last House on the Street a couple of times and haven’t been able to really get into it for whatever reason.


  2. I just finished Finlay the other day. That book was a messy, insane, enjoyable read and I’m oddly excited that it looks like (based on that ending) there will be a third.


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