Well, here we are, my second round-up of books for 2022. Three of the books in this post were part of a vlog I did here in which I read the opposite of what my followers on Twitter told me to—I had a lot of fun doing that so check out the video if you’re interested. But otherwise, let’s get into the actual post.
Sweet and Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley
This book is filled with some of my favourite things—witches, sisters and a sapphic romance, so I went into it feeling pretty excited. I won’t say that I was completely disappointed by this because I did genuinely enjoy it but it just didn’t quite impress me as much as I thought it would. I think the world in here is fascinating—without spoiling anything, there’s a magical plague that goes through and that was actually really interesting and different. There are some other really interesting places within this world that I would’ve loved to have read more of. I think where it fell flat for me were the characters—I really enjoyed reading about both Tamsin and Wren, but I was kind of disappointed there wasn’t more of a build-up to their romance. There had some really great banter moments going on at the start and I just wanted to see more of that rather than them just suddenly deciding they like each other. Overall, it was still a fun read and I’d consider picking up more from Adrienne Tooley in the future.
The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke #2) by Tessa Dare
I was starting to feel a little slumpy right about this point in the month. I just really couldn’t get into anything that I was trying to read and when that happens, I always fall back to historical romance—it’s my happy place. I read book one in this series in early 2021 and just hadn’t gotten around to this one, but the second I started this one I knew it would help me get through this slump. The thing about Tessa Dare is that her books are always so engaging from the start—she gets right into the action and that makes it so easy to just fly through them. While the romance between Alex and Chase is amazing, it was really Rosamund and Daisy (and Millicent) who stole the show for me—they were hilarious and so adorable and they really made the book for me. This was exactly the book I needed right now.
Woolgathering by Patti Smith
I’ve been on a real Patti Smith kick since reading The Year of the Monkey at the very end of 2021. After finishing that one I decided I wanted to read and own everything of Smith’s and this just happened to be one I could easily get my hands on. I find it hard to talk about Smith’s work in a way that does justice to her—her books are often about absolutely nothing and absolutely everything at the same time. She has this way of capturing life and all its smallest moments in a way that is just completely mind-blowing and unlike any other writer I’ve ever read. I think this is my fourth book of hers and I’m still just in complete awe of her. Like I said, it’s hard to put my feelings into words but she just makes me want to go out there and take photos and write and just live. It’s just such an incredible experience to get to read Patti Smith—I highly recommend you do.
Dark Rise (Dark Rise #1) by C.S Pacat
I started Dark Rise in October of last year, read the first 50 pages or so and figured I’d probably end up DNFing it. That first part just didn’t grab me at all, and I don’t really know why because I LOVED the rest of it. Yes, it took me another three months to pick it up again but this time around I was hooked as soon as I started reading. There’s so much in this book to love, so let’s break it down. First, the worldbuilding—there’s this sort of old-timey, Medieval feel to this book and I really liked that. Nothing felt too confusing or like it went over my head either, which is honestly the best kind of fantasy writing. And the characters!!! I honestly can’t pick a favourite between Will and Violet—I just loved both of them for different reasons. I don’t want to name any of the side characters that I loved because it might give away some of the plot points, but there were two characters in particular that I’m verrrrrry interested to see develop. Honestly, this had one of the best endings I’ve read in a really long time—again, I’m trying really hard to spoil anything but I just want to scream. This is definitely going on my favourites list for 2022 already!
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
It pains me to say it but this is my second DNF for the year. I loved this one at the beginning, in fact, I thought it was fantastic—the world and characters were both interesting and I couldn’t wait to see where it was going. But then it started to lose me—I’ve said before that sometimes fantasy just goes over my head and this was one of those times. I just kept getting lost with the different terms in the world and all the different characters and it’s kind of hard to enjoy something when you’re not understanding what’s happening. I believe movie rights have already been sold for this, so I’d consider watching the movie and then revisiting this if and when that’s released. As I’ve mentioned previously in posts, while I count DNFs towards my reading goal for the year, I don’t rate them.