TOP TEN TUESDAY – NEW-TO-ME AUTHORS IN 2022

Hello everyone! I hope you had a great Monday. I forgot to schedule a post yesterday, as my family is staying with us and taking up a lot of time. I’m so happy they’re here — it’s just busy busy busy so barely any time to sit down and write up a post. I’m writing this one right after the kiddo has gone to bed, and am just scheduling it for tomorrow.

It’s tiiiiiiime for another Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s prompt is NEW TO ME AUTHORS I DISCOVERED IN 2022. This will be very easy as I read a TON of new authors last year. I am so proud of myself for reading so many new things last year.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Before last year, I hadn’t read any of the authors above! Emily Lloyd-Jones is absolutely a new auto-buy author for me, and ST Gibson is shooting her way up there, too. Not to mention, Megan Bannen — I really need to go read her backlist. My library has two of her older books I need to borrow!

Have you read any of these authors before? Do you recommend any of their other works? Let me know!

TOP TEN TUESDAY – FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022

HAPPY NEW YEAR, MY FRIENDS! It’s Tuesday, and I’m back at work, so that means it’s time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic is incredibly easy because I’ve already posted this list about eight million times. It’s FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022. You’re probably tired of seeing these books, in all honesty! But, I’ll switch it up a bit and only do books released last year.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.

You can find my reviews for these books if you click the names: In a Jam, A Strange and Stubborn Endurance, Book Lovers, A Dowry of Blood, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, Empire of Exiles, Nona the Ninth, The Drowned Woods, The Hunger of the Gods, and A Taste of Gold and Iron.

Have you read any of these?

BY THE WAY — If you’re looking for a year-long reading challenge to join, check out my YEAR-LONG SCAVENGER HUNT. There’s a button on the sidebar of my blog that you are welcome to steal if you’re interested in participating!

TOP TEN TUESDAY – BOOKS I WANT YOU TO GET FOR CHRISTMAS

Good morning, friends! It’s Tuesday, so that means it’s time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic is all about your Christmas wishlist books, but I truly do not need any books this year, so I’m doing a twist on this one. These are the books that I WANT YOU TO GET FOR CHRISTMAS. Basically, these are books that I really want more people to read, because I enjoyed them so much.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.

You can find my reviews for these books (minus Station Eleven) if you click the names: Book Lovers, An Enchantment of Ravens, The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, A Taste of Gold and Iron, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, Empire of Exiles, The Drowned Woods, A Marvellous Light, and Captive Prince.

Have you read any of these?

TOP TEN BOOKS FOR 2022

IT’S THAT TIME, MY FRIENDS. Time for me to figure out my top 10 reads of 2022. Now these are just books that I’ve read in 2022. They did not all come out this year, but I certainly read them this year. These are not in any particular order because if I did them by best book I’d be here all day reordering them about a million times. No one has time for that! Sooooo I mostly tried to go back and forth between Fantasy/Sci-fi and Romance as you read down the list.

WITHOUT FURTHER ADO: Birdie’s Book Nook’s Top 10 of 2022!

A TASTE OF GOLD AND IRON BY ALEXANDRA ROWLAND

the book cover for A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland

READ MY REVIEW

The Goblin Emperor meets “Magnificent Century” in Alexandra Rowland’s A Taste of Gold and Iron, where a queer central romance unfolds in a fantasy world reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire.

Kadou, the shy prince of Arasht, finds himself at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court—the body-father of the queen’s new child—in an altercation which results in his humiliation.

To prove his loyalty to the queen, his sister, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds, with the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy, and the conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing and bring about its ruin.

BOOK LOVERS BY EMILY HENRY

the cover for Book Lovers by Emily Henry

READ MY REVIEW

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.

THE SHADOW OF THE GODS BY JOHN GWYNNE

The book cover for Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

READ MY REVIEW

Set in a brand-new, Norse-inspired world, and packed with myth, magic and bloody vengeance, The Shadow of the Gods begins an epic new fantasy saga from bestselling author John Gwynne.

After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrið.

Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave – or desperate – enough to seek them out.

Now, as whispers of war echo across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who seeks vengeance among the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.

All three will shape the fate of the world as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods . . .

IN A JAM BY KATE CANTERBARY

READ MY REVIEW

When Shay Zucconi’s step-grandmother died, she left Shay a tulip farm—under two conditions.

First, Shay has to move home to the small town of Friendship, Rhode Island. Second—and most problematic since her fiancé just called off the wedding—Shay must be married within one year.

Marriage is the last thing in the world Shay wants but she’ll do anything to save the only real home she’s ever known.

Noah Barden loved Shay Zucconi back in high school. Not that he ever told her. He was too shy, too awkward, too painfully uncool to ask out the beautiful, popular girl.

A lifetime later, Noah is a single dad to his niece and has his hands full running the family business. That old crush is the farthest thing from his mind.

Until Shay returns to their hometown.

THE DROWNED WOODS BY EMILY LLOYD-JONES

the book cover for The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones

READ MY REVIEW

Once upon a time, the kingdoms of Wales were rife with magic and conflict, and eighteen-year-old Mererid “Mer” is well-acquainted with both. She is the last living water diviner and has spent years running from the prince who bound her into his service. Under the prince’s orders, she located the wells of his enemies, and he poisoned them without her knowledge, causing hundreds of deaths. After discovering what he had done, Mer went to great lengths to disappear from his reach. Then Mer’s old handler returns with a proposition: use her powers to bring down the very prince that abused them both.

The best way to do that is to destroy the magical well that keeps the prince’s lands safe. With a motley crew of allies, including a fae-cursed young man, the lady of thieves, and a corgi that may or may not be a spy, Mer may finally be able to steal precious freedom and peace for herself. After all, a person with a knife is one thing… but a person with a cause can topple kingdoms.

The Drowned Woods—set in the same world as The Bone Houses but with a whole new, unforgettable cast of characters—is part heist novel, part dark fairy tale.

A MARVELLOUS LIGHT BY FREYA MARSKE

the book cover for A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

READ MY REVIEW

Set in an alternative Edwardian England, this is a comedy of manners, manor houses, and hedge mazes: including a magic-infused murder mystery and a delightful queer romance.

For fans of Georgette Heyer or Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton, who’d like to welcome magic into their lives . . .

Young baronet Robin Blyth thought he was taking up a minor governmental post. However, he’s actually been appointed parliamentary liaison to a secret magical society. If it weren’t for this administrative error, he’d never have discovered the incredible magic underlying his world.

Cursed by mysterious attackers and plagued by visions, Robin becomes determined to drag answers from his missing predecessor – but he’ll need the help of Edwin Courcey, his hostile magical-society counterpart. Unwillingly thrown together, Robin and Edwin will discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles.

THE UNDERTAKING OF HART AND MERCY BY MEGAN BANNEN

the book cover for The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen

READ MY REVIEW

Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the strange and magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.

Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.

After yet another exasperating run-in with Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend”. Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.

If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most – Mercy. As the dangers from Tanria grow closer, so do the unlikely correspondents. But can their blossoming romance survive the fated discovery that their pen pals are their worst nightmares – each other?

A DOWRY OF BLOOD BY ST GIBSON

the book cover for A Dowry of Blood by St Gibson

READ MY REVIEW

This is my last love letter to you, though some would call it a confession. . .

S.T. Gibson’s sensational novel is the darkly seductive tale of Dracula’s first bride, Constanta.

Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things.

Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets. With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.

GEORGIE, ALL ALONG BY KATE CLAYBORN*

the book cover for Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn

READ MY REVIEW

The acclaimed author of Love Lettering weaves a wise and witty new novel that echoes with timely questions about love, career, reconciling with the past, and finding your path while knowing your true worth.

Longtime personal assistant Georgie Mulcahy has made a career out of putting others before herself. When an unexpected upheaval sends her away from her hectic job in L.A. and back to her hometown, Georgie must confront an uncomfortable truth: her own wants and needs have always been a disconcertingly blank page.

But then Georgie comes across a forgotten artifact—a “friendfic” diary she wrote as a teenager, filled with possibilities she once imagined. To an overwhelmed Georgie, the diary’s simple, small-scale ideas are a lifeline—a guidebook for getting started on a new path.

Georgie’s plans hit a snag when she comes face to face with an unexpected roommate—Levi Fanning, onetime town troublemaker and current town hermit. But this quiet, grouchy man is more than just his reputation, and he offers to help Georgie with her quest. As the two make their way through her wishlist, Georgie begins to realize that what she truly wants might not be in the pages of her diary after all, but right by her side—if only they can both find a way to let go of the pasts that hold them back.

Honest and deeply emotional, Georgie, All Along is a smart, tender must-read for everyone who’s ever wondered about the life that got away . . .

*I’m cheating with this one because it doesn’t come out until January 2023. But it’s absolutely one of my fav books I read this year.

NONA THE NINTH BY TAMSYN MUIR

the book cover for Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

READ MY REVIEW

Her city is under siege.

The zombies are coming back.

And all Nona wants is a birthday party.

In many ways, Nona is like other people. She lives with her family, has a job at her local school, and loves walks on the beach and meeting new dogs. But Nona’s not like other people. Six months ago she woke up in a stranger’s body, and she’s afraid she might have to give it back.

The whole city is falling to pieces. A monstrous blue sphere hangs on the horizon, ready to tear the planet apart. Blood of Eden forces have surrounded the last Cohort facility and wait for the Emperor Undying to come calling. Their leaders want Nona to be the weapon that will save them from the Nine Houses. Nona would prefer to live an ordinary life with the people she loves, with Pyrrha and Camilla and Palamedes, but she also knows that nothing lasts forever.

And each night, Nona dreams of a woman with a skull-painted face…

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Let me know if any of these made your list this year too!

MONDAY MORNING – OCTOBER 17

Good morning, my darlings! We’re about halfway through October, already, and damn is time just flying by. I haven’t read ANYTHING all the way through this month (halfway through A Restless Truth) and I feel awful about it. It’s a true slump, friends. I can barely get myself to pick up this book I’m actually excited about, and it STINKS. Part of it is my head still being on vaca, and another part of it is that I think I burnt myself out reading too much. I’m still going to read, but dang. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Our weekend was decent — kiddo slept through the night Friday into Saturday, but absolutely did not Saturday into Sunday. We’re all very, very tired, and well…life. Will is climbing on everything, testing his boundaries, and generally being a toddler. It’s exhausting — especially when sleep is barely there. Anyway, I hope you had a great weekend, and that your week is fantastic.

You all know how I feel about Emily Henry — when I saw this one announced, I really didn’t have to think about it before slapping it on the ol’ TBR. It looks SO good, and I’m in love with that bright pink cover!

HAPPY PLACE BY EMILY HENRY

A couple who broke up months ago make a pact to pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends in this glittering and wise new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry.

Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t.

They broke up six months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.

Which is how they find themselves sharing the largest bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blue week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.

Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week…in front of those who know you best?

I hope you have a fantastic week, friends!

TOP TEN TUESDAY – BOOKS WITH GEOGRAPHICAL TERMS IN THE TITLE

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic this week is a BOOKS WITH GEOGRAPHICAL TERMS IN THE TITLE. This one was slightly more difficult than I thought it would be! However, I managed to find at least ten for this week! I had a couple of others picked out but thought they were only VAGUELY related to the theme, so I left them off.

So we have: Sea, City, Garden, Sea, City, Woods, Town, Beach, Mount, and yet another Sea! What geographical terms did you use this week?

BOOK REVIEW: BEACH READ BY EMILY HENRY

  • STAR RATING:  4 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 361 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: May 19th 2020
  • PUBLISHER:  Berkley 
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Confinement, panic attacks, fire
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: Book Lovers by Emily Henry, People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

SYNOPSIS

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really. 

I am now all caught up on the Emily Henry adult contemporary romance novels! And I have to say, my ranking of them goes as follows: Book Lovers, People We Meet on Vacation, and lastly, Beach Read. Now they’re all solidly 4 stars and higher, so don’t go thinking I didn’t enjoy Beach Read. I just enjoyed it less than the other books!

Let’s get into the why:

First off — Beach Read is profoundly about grief, over everything else. Grief of relationships not being what you thought, grief of a father who passed away unexpectedly, grief of a non-childhood. Grief, grief, grief. I am a-okay with books being about grief, but when I pick up a book called Beach Read, it’s not really what I’m expecting. Like at all. And it took over halfway through the book for the characters to even end up on a beach! (I was very confused as to why this book was even titled what it is for a good chunk.) Secondly, Gus just seems like a garbage-slob of a person all of the time? He is kind, but not nice, and it’s not my favorite sort of leading man in a romance novel. He reminded me of Nick from New Girl, but if Nick was about a million times less funny, and dealing with some serious childhood trauma.

January was extremely relatable, however. (The give-up pants made me laugh so much.) I loved her character, and I rooted for her the entire novel. I wanted her to succeed in everything she wanted so very badly. I wished that she could have had the chance to just shout at her dad. She deserved it. As for the romantic relationship, I understood why January liked Gus, but I didn’t believe it as much as I did in Henry’s other books. I am probably an outlier in how I feel about this. They are just so, so different, but dealing with so, so much trauma it seemed like a bad bedrock for a relationship.

Overall, though, another solid book from Emily Henry. Four stars.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:

GOODREADS | BOOKSHOP.ORG | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

PS – Don’t forget my Sabriel Read-a-long starts next week!

WWW WEDNESDAY — AUGUST 24

Will slept through the night last night after a hellish 15 month doctor visit. (He screamed the entire time.) He’s 89th percentile on weight and 74% percentile on height, so he’s a big boy! Doctor says we need to work on words, though, so here’s hoping he picks up some soon!

This meme is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. It’s super simple — all you do is answer the following questions.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently like…15% of the way into Ashes of the Sun, and I’m enjoying it so far but whooo there’s a lot of world-building going on. Hoping some more interesting stuff happens soon. I just finished reading Beach Read, and mostly enjoyed it. The review will be out tomorrow for that one! Next, I’ll probably pick up Blood of the Chosen if I end up liking Ashes of the Sun enough to continue.

What are you currently reading?

TOP TEN TUESDAY – IDK MAN, MY BRAIN IS BROKE.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic this week is COMPLETED SERIES I WISH HAD MORE BOOKS, but uh, my brain is literally not working so I instead made you a very pretty rainbow of book covers. Enjoy.

I’ve read all of these BESIDES The Kiss Curse, which I am getting to next month! (I recommend all of these, too!) I’m blaming my lack of coordination and thought on the fact that Will woke up at 3, and would only try to sleep while I was singing to him. So I sang ‘This Old Man’ for an hour, and he finally fell asleep. ANYWAY, I’m brain dead, tired, and just want to go home. Have a post, my friends.

BOOK REVIEW: PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION

  • STAR RATING:  4.5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 364 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: May 11th 2021
  • PUBLISHER:  Berkley 
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Confinement, panic attacks, fire
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: Book Lovers by Emily Henry, 99% Mine by Sally Thorne

SYNOPSIS

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

People We Meet on Vacation is my second foray into Emily Henry’s writing, and I can safely say that I really like her books. Despite me saying that, Book Lovers still remains top dog in the Emily Henry pile for me. It’s going to be a hard one to beat, that’s for sure. People We Meet on Vacation is an extremely cute read, but there was just a tiny something missing for me, and I’m still not quite sure what that something could be.

(Is it Charlie Lastra? It might be Charlie Lastra.)

Even though there is no Charlie in People We Meet on Vacation, Poppy and Alex are adorable together. This is childhood-friends to lovers only…they meet in college. So not really childhood friends, but sort of? Eh, it’s close enough. Anyway. They’re really dang cute together. Co-dependent to the extreme, but adoring and there for each other when needed. (When he comes to take care of her when she’s sick? I think I audibly sighed out loud. God, that was great.) Poppy was just a tiny bit obnoxious in parts, but that’s just who she is. She’s a loud person, vibrant, friendly, and absolutely unavoidably present in every scene. Alex is much more like me — quiet, likes to read, always taking care of others.

I loved the vacations they went on together, the little glimpses of the world travel that they went on. My favorite of the bunch was New Orleans — I could really almost see myself there, right alongside them as they had fun getting wasted and discovering the city. And who hasn’t been on a bad vacation before? The ‘current’ vacation they’re on just…woof. That one was rough — until it’s not.

My biggest beef with this book is that the whole book we’re led to believe something god-awful happened two years ago, but once the reveal finally comes its…lackluster. It’s nothing that should have broken them, and it’s nothing that feels worth the build up that it was given. But regardless of that one tiny thing, People We Meet on Vacation is a really cute read. I love, love, love Emily Henry’s writing, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Beach Read.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:

GOODREADS | BOOKSHOP.ORG | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE