Happy new year! I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to doing things a little differently in 2023. For one thing, I want to be more intentional and consistent with my book reading this year. I was all over the place, sporadic and moody in 2022. I’d start a book, then stop when the library loan period expired. Then restart, get distracted by another shiny release, and stop all over again. I’d wind up looking around all dazed, thinking, did I read that book? What happened in it? Where am I?
There was also a whole load of books that I really wanted to get to last year. Then it was NYE and I was like, where did the time go? What happened to those books? Where am I?
Good thing I kept a book journal so that I could remember which books I actually did read last year. What a joy (and a balm to my sanity) to flip through my ink scribbled pages and refresh my memory about the fact that oh, yeah, I really did enjoy some books in 2022. And here’s what happened in them. And here I am.
My top three favorite books I read in 2022
Neon Gods by Katee Robert
Trope: Fake relationship
Tagline: Erotic retelling of the tale of Hades and Persephone.
When I read that tagline I said, oh my God I must have this book NOW. I heard about it on the USA today best sellers list, which underlines the importance of this publication for authors and readers. Bring this list back, USA today.
Neon Gods is a clever, compelling, romantic and hot retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades. It’s full of fun surprises, such as Dionysus and Hermes as the comic relief, and the appearance of Cerberus, the three headed dog. In this modern retelling, the story incorporates feminist themes and inner conflicts that women still deal with, such as blaming themselves for the pain inflicted by men.
Quote from my book journal: “This is heaven. Sitting here in the sun reading this sexy book with the birds chirping outside—the coo of the mourning dove, the multisyllabic sweet trill of the finches.“
Yes, I’m a backyard birder, and full of whimsy.
Favorite line: “I suddenly, desperately want this winter never to end, want spring never to come, want to stay with her here forever.”
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
Trope: Second chances romance
Tagline: Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer, who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning literary author who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York.
I loved it from the opener: “In the year of our Lord 2019, thirty-two-year-old Eva Mercy nearly choked to death on a piece of gum. She’d been attempting to masturbate when the gum lodged in her throat, cutting off her air supply.“
The hero is one of the dreamiest, swoon-worthy heroes I’ve read in a minute. He’s so dreamy, in fact, that I didn’t instantly hate him as I usually hate the one who left in second chance romances. Instead, I was instantly smitten with him and couldn’t wait for the moment when he pops back into the heroine’s life.
Quote from my book journal: “That whole speech Shane gave Eva on the stage of the panel about why men are terrified of women and how well Eva writes men— I mean, what the fuck? This man is perfect.”
Favorite line: “I feel like the office vixen on a network drama about sultry lawyers.”
The Siren by Tiffany Reisz
Trope: Opposites attract
Tagline: Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal.
This was my second time reading The Siren. I love Tiffany Reisz’s writing, characters, storytelling, and world building.
My disclaimer is that I, personally, am not turned on by the infliction of pain. I’m also conflicted on one of the love interests.
From the book journal: “Whoof. Still not crazy about Søren nor his all consuming power. The sadism thing just doesn’t work for me. But I love the world and characters and sexual taboos, especially age taboo, exhibitionism, and multiple partners.”
Tiffany Reisz’s writing is so damn good that despite my above mentioned misgivings, I’m really into this series. I love Nora Sutherlin—she’s a character I don’t see that often. She’s complex, contradictory, sexually confident. She does what the fuck she wants and says what the fuck she wants and has zero guilt about being attracted to several different men at one time.
Favorite quote: “Two minutes? I’d better get a dozen roses and a big apology if all I get is two minutes.”
What are your favorite books that you read in 2022?