I don’t know why I love to torture myself with forced rankings, but I really do seem to love it. These posts always wind up being so long though so I’m not going to spend much time introducing it. Essentially this is just the post where I compile all 32 of the 2022 releases that I have read this year into a forced ranking list from my least favorite to my most favorite. I emphasize the my because just because this is my opinion does not mean it is the opinion or in any way a correct opinion. It’s just mine. And now that I’ve given you that disclaimer and rambled more than I should have, let’s dive in to the list, shall we? (Also for the record, I had to recount these like four times so if you see numbers that are off, I apologize!)
Oh, and a quick reminder that this post/concept was inspired by Books Like Whoa on YouTube who does this every year with her ARCs.
Savage City is the first installment in a high fantasy series that ultimately created a fascinating world, but didn’t work for me as much as I was hoping it would. I’m still intrigued by the next book though!
Malicious deception plots may never work for me, but it definitely did not work for me in this case. I didn’t like this one and probably should have DNF’d it. And yet, I’m still looking forward to trying out book two in the series. So there’s that at least.
As I mention in my ARC Review, I think Boss Witch suffered in part because I read it right after Witch Please and it just threw the characterization off a little for me, as well as the pacing. It’s not a bad book, it just wasn’t a book for me.
29. Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood
I’m still not 100% sure I can explain why this novella didn’t work for me when the other two in the series both did, but it really didn’t. I seem to be more of the unpopular opinion looking at Goodreads, but this one really just felt… fine to me. And, to be fair, it could have been my mood. Because there’s really no reason a big, gruff man trekking across a very dangerous place to rescue this tiny woman stuck in a crevice shouldn’t have worked for me. But alas.
Bloom Where You’re Planted isn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t what I was expecting out of a category romance. I’m still confused by the fact that I picked up a category romance and it wound up feeling more like a women’s fiction book? And it’s good from that perspective, but it wasn’t what I wanted or what I was expecting.
27. The Love List by Naima Simone
This novella was really cute, but to be honest, I’ve already forgotten all of the details so it also didn’t really stick with me at all.
And here we are again with me letting y’all know this one is also a case of me and not the book. Look, I just required more Xiala x Serapio content and I didn’t get that!! That said, what the book did deliver is compelling fantasy so I’m just going to hope the trilogy wraps up with the Xiala x Serapio content I want.
This book has fantastic anxiety representation, but ultimately the instant connection between Harper and Dan wound up not really working for me and just threw the pacing off for my own romance reading preferences. I’m really looking forward to Eddings’ follow up though!
24. Praise by Sara Cate
This book was really steamy, but at some point it just felt so long?? I think if it was like 50-100 pages shorter, I would have been thrilled. But if you’re in the mood for an ex-boyfriend’s dad romance, this book will deliver in the steamiest way possible.
23. A Walk in the Park by Rebekah Weatherspoon
I really enjoyed this Audible Original, but ultimately it was one of those that was fun in the moment, but it doesn’t necessarily stick with you type of reads.
I really like Mihalik’s sci-fi romances because she is so good at world-building and developing a sense of community. Hunt the Stars was really well done, but didn’t quite live up to my love of her first series with the pacing.
21. Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Given my love for The Ex Talk, I think I just had slightly out-sized expectations for Weather Girl, but it was still a really wonderful contemporary romance that I would recommend! I just wanted it to have either a more concentrated focus on the romance or to have a more expansive storyline outside of it.
This paranormal romance was so much fun and I’m really looking forward to more books in the series! I didn’t know what to expect, as this was my first book by Asher. But I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend. The world-building is a little… odd? But I think that’s just to be expected with some of these paranormal rom coms coming out right now.
19. Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood
I really liked this novella from Hazelwood. The roommates/forced proximity and roommates who don’t like one another to lovers thing really worked for me in this one. A lot of people didn’t like the narrator, but I didn’t mind her. This one made me giggle out loud a couple of times and gave me warm fuzzy feelings, which is really all I can ask for from a quick novella.
18. Black Love Matters edited by Jessica P. Pryde
This was a really great collection of essays tackling various topics surrounding Black Love in romance novels and occasionally movies. Like basically all essay collections though, there were some that were stronger than others. I would definitely recommend this collection though to anyone. It was really cool to be able to read a collection like this about the importance of romance novels written by and about Black people falling in love. Plus I got to learn some neat history in the process of reading it.
I really enjoyed Varro and Kee’s romance and thought that the unique romance pacing was really fun with the combined sci-fi elements. I also loved the plot in this one. It was a really fun space adventure with interesting additions to the cast of characters and more world-building that I enjoyed. I am in agony waiting for book three in this series because it’s the couple I am most looking forward to!!
16. With Love from Rose Bend by Naima Simone
I sort of think this one might have been my favorite in the series? I’m still trying to decide for sure, but I really like the town of Rose Bend and the community. This particular installment features a Honeybee Festival and it also has a lot to do with both Leo and Owen finding their way back to themselves as well as to one another. I really enjoyed the character growth in here for both of them.
I really enjoyed this marriage of convenience romance. Julian and Emily are both really interesting characters and I loved the thread in here about Emily wanting to create the life that she actually wants instead of living her life trying to be perfect due to her circumstances. I really enjoyed Julian’s relationship with his father and the way that unfolded. Overall, this one was a solid installment in this series!
I have been looking forward to Dean’s book since I finished The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa. I’m very pleased to report that this book lived up to what I wanted from it! It does have a lot of antics in it, but overall, I enjoyed the plot heavy pacing of this romantic comedy in a book where for the most part it actually lives up to that marketing. I liked Dean and Solange a lot. I think, for me, the tiniest bit more angst would have made this book even more of a stand out for me, but I know for many readers, this book is likely to hit all of the right notes.
Honestly, I cannot stop thinking about this book. It was honestly such a unique memoir and such a fascinating way of writing Gadsby’s story. One of the things Noelle keeps talking about when she mentions memoirs is that she loves looking at how people choose to tell their story. I haven’t really understood that sentiment until I read this book. Gadsby is just so careful to contextualize what was going on in the wider world as she talks about her life and it makes it such a richer experience. I’m not sure if people who actually know Australian history would find it equally as fascinating or if, since they already know the history, it would be aggravating, but honestly, I think it is brilliant. I sort of wish everyone did that. I mean, I was alive during the majority of the 90s and yet, I would really require wider context to have any sense of what was actually going on then. I’m rambling, but basically, I definitely recommend this memoir.
12. Clean Sweep: Graphic Audio Dramatized Audiobook by Ilona Andrews
Although Clean Sweep itself is not a 2022 release, the new Graphic Audio version of the audiobook dropped this year and I felt like because it’s a dramatized adaption it deserved a special spot on this list. As y’all probably know, I love audiobooks and this one is so well done. I loved it! I am so excited to be able to pick up Sweep the Peace‘s dramatized version!
11. The Lady Tempts an Heir by Harper St. George
I flew through the three books that are already out in this series and I really loved that experience. This one is maybe my favorite in the series? There was just something about Helen and Maxwell that captivated my attention and I wanted them to be happy so desperately. I think this book has some content that needed to be handled carefully (Helen cannot have children and has a lot of feelings about it) and I (with no experience in the area) think it was. I appreciated too that there is not a miracle pregnancy at the end of this book (spoiler alert, I guess). Anyway, this one has a good bit of internal angst and a lot of questioning what each character deserved and somehow, it was just really well done.
10. Seat Mate by Cara Bastone
The audio production of this book is brilliant, as always. Essentially, this book is about the sweetest man alive who has a very co-dependent mother being the absolute best to this woman who is trying to make it back to NYC for the interview that has the potential to completely make her career. I really enjoyed this one, but I wanted just a little bit more from it than what we got. This book takes place in such a condensed amount of time that even though we get an epilogue, I really would have liked to spend a lot more time with these characters.
Can we talk about how wild it is that Synithia Williams went from writing about rich people antics to Summoning Up Love? The range this woman has is just truly incredible to me. But her signature creation of a community and characters to get invested in is just as present here as it was in the Jackson Falls series. I’m so excited for the next books in this series and I find myself wishing I could just bounce around in time and come back to the present after I’ve bounced forward enough to read the other two brother’s books in this one.
I re-read Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead this year once the audiobook dropped and let me just say, Finlay’s antics are absolutely wild. I know I found the first book at the perfect time and was able to continue while still in the same mood, but when I first tried to re-read this one this year… Let’s just say, sometimes I panic when people are committing felonies. I mean, personally, I think that’s reasonable. But I put this one to the side until I could come back to it in a place where I could suspend my disbelief and just enjoy the ride and it was absolutely wonderful all over again.
7. Stuck with You by Ali Hazelwood
I’m not honestly sure why this book is my favorite in Hazelwood’s trilogy of quick novellas, but I loved this one. Something about the characters just really worked for me and, in shocking news, I didn’t even mind the misunderstanding?? I didn’t want to scream at them to communicate. Hazelwood threaded the needle perfectly for me on this novella and I was so grateful and excited about it.
6. House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas
Honestly, listening to this book while driving may have been a mistake. It is an actual miracle I was not pulled over because when I say I was screaming, please know I do not mean that figuratively. I mean my throat HURT me after because I screamed so loud/long. I was invested in this book and that ending??? I mean, I need book three like, tomorrow, Sarah. We can’t do this whole skip a year thing now. I’m in agony not knowing where we’re going with these shenanigans. Um, if you actually want to know what this book is about, I am so sorry. Please find someone else to describe it because two books in and I’m still like ??? There are a lot of different types of fantasy beings and also this is an urban fantasy setting, but it’s very high fantasy vibes. Idk.
Anita Kelly’s Love and Other Disasters gave me the reality show setting that actually merged the romance plot perfectly. This book was everything I wanted it to be and honestly more. I’m thrilled it was a BOTM pick because I think so many people would love this book and if you haven’t picked it up yet, I would recommend it!
I love this entire series and this book with Danny and Catie is something I’ve loosely wanted since I read Cherish Hard what feels like a million years ago. Nalini has created the best family history where each and every character feels like a real person and seeing Danny fall in love and Catie fall too? Magical. PLUS we got glimpses of Charlotte and Gabriel, my beloveds, and there is nothing better than checking in on the two of them. I am already eagerly anticipating the audiobook because I want to re-read this one already.
3. The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Elizabeth Roark
The book that brought me to Elizabeth Roark means The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea would have a special place in my heart and on this list regardless of anything else, but honestly I just really love Josh and Drew. There’s just something about their banter and the care that they take with one another, especially Josh with Drew, even while they “don’t like” one another that gets to me. And the way they both are with Josh’s mom!! I just really loved this one. I’m a little obsessed with this series at the moment.
This book took me off guard because I absolutely loved it! I sort of just figured I would like it, but wasn’t expecting to walk away with a new favorite, but here we are! This book delivered on the angst without going too far in that direction and I just really appreciated the characters and their journeys. Also, the way that the town really comes alive. What a great time!
Ruby Fever is/was my Most Anticipated book of the entire year and y’all, it was everything. I am still incapable of coherency in regards to this one. My Goodreads Review is currently at take two and I’ll probably have to do a Take Three before I submit it to Netgalley. I’m desperately in love with the Hidden Legacy series and I cannot wait to be able to listen to Catalina’s full trilogy come August. This series (full) is one of my biggest comfort re-reads series. I love it so, so much. Now to wait, desperate and impatient, for news of Arabella.
And there you have my forced rankings of the 2022 Releases I’ve read so far! Please share with me your favorite 2022 releases and the books that you think I will love. Also, feel free to disagree with my rankings in the comments below.