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!

TOP TEN TUESDAY – THANKFUL

Good morning, friends! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about being grateful. I thought I’d pick out the ARCs and books I received this year that I was so, so thankful to get to read early. Basically — the ARCS that I loved the most. Check out my list below. Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Most, if not all of these, were five star reads. I am so beyond thankful to the publishers for allowing me to read these books early. I am still so surprised that I get ARCs. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And if you haven’t read any of these — pick them up as soon as you can!!!!!

TOP TEN TUESDAY – BOOKS I LOVED SO MUCH I HAD TO GET MULTIPLE COPIES

Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve been gone for a bit — I’m having a hard time with stress lately and well, some things have to give. I’m still around, and I’m still reading, you just might see me blog-hopping a tiny bit less. I hope you had a fantastic weekend, my friends!

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 I LOVED SO MUCH I HAD TO GET MULTIPLE COPIES. There’s a lot of these — so I knew this week’s topic would be an easy one!

Song of Achilles, The Raven Cycle, Station Eleven, and A Court of Thorns and Roses I read on an e-reader for the first time. I loved them so much that I ended up buying physical copies of them!

The Shadow of the Gods, and The Drowned Woods I received e-ARCs for, but ended up buying physical copies for my bookshelf!

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy and A Taste of Gold and Iron I received e-ARCs for, but also bought the actual e-book for! I plan to buy physical copies of these, too, but I just don’t have the extra money right now!

Outlander, I have in e-book, mass-market paperback, AND a personalized signed hardcover. I used to have the whole series in tradeback, too, but my mom kept those when they moved to a different state!

I have the entire Mistborn series in mass-market paperback, but I also have it in e-book, too!

If I had to guess what book I own the most copies of, I’m going to say Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s my favorite book of the series, and I own an e-book version, at least three paperbacks, and four hardbacks (My original hardback, the one I bought to replace it after the binding broke, the Juniper books version, and the illustrated copy.). I do not and never will condone JK Rowling, but I cannot pretend that HP never existed.

What book do you own the most copies of?

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.

TOP TEN TUESDAY – BOOKS WITH GREAT ENDINGS

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is a freebie, and my brain is dead, so Pages Unbound helped me on Twitter. My topic this week is BOOKS WITH GREAT ENDINGS. I won’t spoil anything in my post — and PLEASE DO NOT in the comments, either. Vague statements are fine. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s enjoyment of these books!

Special shoutout to my favorite endings of this group – Mistborn era 1 (THAT SANDERLANCHE, people, THE SANDERLANCHE.), House of Sky and Breath, and Abhorsen. WHAT ENDINGS THESE BOOKS HAVE. How much is it killing me not to be to discuss them. Omg.

ARC REVIEW: THE UNDERTAKING OF HART AND MERCY BY MEGAN BANNEN

the book cover for The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen
  • STAR RATING:  5 enormously huge stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 336 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: August 23, 2022.
  • PUBLISHER: Orbit Books
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Death, sexual content, grief, cursing, violence, body horror
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY:  Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones for the quirkiness

Thank you to Netgalley and Orbit Books for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS

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?

How do I sum up what has to be one of the most unique books I’ve read in a long, long time? I have no idea. I know that The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is one part romance novel, one part zombie novel, one part mystery novel, and one part western novel. You mix all that up and you end up with an extremely quirky, loveable trip that’s about processing grief, and letting yourself live.

Hart Ralston is one of our main characters — he’s self-described as prickly, and when you first meet him, that is definitely the case. But as the novel wears on, it’s increasingly clear that Hart is not prickly at all. He is ooey-gooey marshmallow on the inside, and it’s adorable to see him realize it.

Mercy Birdsall is stubborn, proud, and unafraid to work hard. I loved Mercy, so, so much. She stands up for what she wants — to run the Undertaking business — and she holds her family together like glue. I wanted to shake her family for most of the book. Not one of them seemed to care what she wanted, despite saying that they knew what was best for her. Spoiler alert — they did not. But don’t read this thinking they’re an awful bunch. Quite the contrary. They are an adorable family who really do want the best for Mercy. They just don’t know what the best thing for her is. I loved the scenes with Mercy’s sister.

Put Hart and Mercy together and it was like watching an inferno. It takes a little bit for them to get together, but once they do they are…well. Really hot Together. I loved reading about how much they cared for one another, to put it mildly. There are at least two semi-explicit sex scenes, which fit rather perfectly within the novel.

The main plot of the book is that there are suddenly way more drudges (zombies) than there used to be, and they are venturing into populated areas and hurting people. The question is — where are they coming from, and why now? Megan Bannen does a fantastic job of weaving in the plot with the romance, and I didn’t see the answer to those questions until it was literally right in front of my face. I loved it. I loved this world. I loved the characters, and the relationships between them. I would read about eighty more novels set in this world.

If you like the original Hell Boy movies, I think you’d like this book. (Humor, dark themes, violence, anthropomorphized animals, and love.) The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is frequently laugh out loud, and full of scenes that will make you go “what exactly am I reading right now?” in the best way. But despite all of that, it’s rather dark, and there’s serious discussions of actual, horrible gut-wrenching grief. And the ending…oh my god the ending had me sobbing. I loved this book.

Thank you to Becky for buddy reading this with me. It was so much fun discussing the book with you as we went along!

THE UNDERTAKING OF HART AND MERCY comes out AUGUST 23, 2022.

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

GOODREADS | BOOKSHOP.ORG | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

TOP TEN TUESDAY – ANTICIPATED BOOKS FROM SECOND HALF OF 2022

Hi everyone! I hope you had a good holiday — if you celebrate / happen to be American / happen to have July 4th off. I wouldn’t say we celebrated — we were just outside all day to my toddler’s extreme happiness. Now that we’re all exhausted from being in the sun, well, here’s my Top Ten Tuesday post!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS COMING OUT IN THE SECOND HALF OF 2022. That’s a mouthful of a topic this week, but one that’s rather easy to fill out, honestly.

Most of these I haven’t read yet, but the first three I have! My review for The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy will be out later this week, so keep an eye out for it. I absolutely adored that book. I’m stupidly excited for The Lost Metal — it’s a Sanderson book set on my favorite world of his! And don’t even get me started on A Dowry of Blood. I’m desperately hoping for an ARC of it, still, but who knows. I probably won’t get one. The rest of these books, well… I’M JUST REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THESE, OKAY? Do we share any of the same books? Let me know!