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The older I get the more I crave reading. It's like I feel an oncoming thirst and I have to crack open a book (or put on my earbuds) and fill my mind with inspiration.

One thing that I'm always baffled by is this: how come we can make sequel after sequel but there's no shortage of good books. If I were president more books would be turned into movies. And movies like Midnight in Paris would win Oscars. Because, you know, presidents influence those kinds of decisions.

Here is my list of must read books in 2022. Some are brand new, but I do like to dip my toe into the past and read classics or just books I need to unearth again. See what I read last year here!

I update this post regularly with what I read, but I update it in order from favorites to least favorites. And just like the bad movie sequels, unfortunately, there are very bad books.

The Maid by Nita Prose

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read. This. NOW. I feel like I get burned over and over by these over-the-top convoluted “psychological thrillers.” The writing is usually flimsy and the story even more so. Not with “The Maid.” I instantly loved Molly and her quirky personality that can’t pick up social cues. It's clear she's on the Asperger's syndrome spectrum: highly intelligent, but unsure of the people and circumstances around her. Molly is a maid working at the prestigious Regency Grand Hotel in New York. She loves her job and is excellent at it. She comes to clean a room and finds a man in bed in the room. Dead? The story unfolds giving us clues as to who did it as well as Molly's life. It's funny, witty, and kept me guessing. “We are all hidden in plain sight,” I loved the undertones of talking about societal norms and class in this as well.

I can't believe this is the author's debut novel! One of the best books I've read in a while. Full of originality and so well written.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is the same author who wrote “Devil in the White City”, and this is just as an intriguing read. To take real, historical events and write about them with a setting that feels like fiction is truly a work of art and Larson is like Beethoven. He finds the craziest stories and weaves them so well into the book you can't put it down. Dead Wake centers around the sinking of the Lusitania in WWI. A story I thought I was familiar with but learned so much more. This is the best way to get your history!

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book wowed me from the start. I guess you could categorize it as self help but it's science based, straight forward, and full of interesting but applicable information. The book is fast paced and short. Atomic Habits is about how you can create small habits that can change your life and the process to do so. Simply put, I've already started changing my life because of this book. I feel like this should be required reading.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

★★★★★


Backman has a knack for writing people in a carefully introspective and simultaneous funny way. He's written other wonderful stories like “A Man Called Ove” that I reviewed here. However, for me, this book was even better. I was hooked from the opening of this book through to the end. And the twists kept me guessing! The story is poignant, hilarious, and so relatable. You might find it odd that a book about a hostage situation would be comical, but then again, things aren't always as they seem. Just like people aren't always as they seem. A great reminder that we don't know just what people are going through, that we are all connected, and, we are all idiots. 

The story follows 8 strangers as they are interviewed by police after a hostage situation occurs at an apartment viewing. It sounds intense, but really, it's a wonderful story about people and what makes them tick. The complexity of the characters mixed with the lessons of the book made for sure a great read. It's heartwarming, entertaining, and a fast read. Good people can make bad choices, but one bad choice shouldn't, in many cases, define our lives.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Jess is heading to Paris to visit her brother Ben, after seemingly fleeing the bar she works at in England. When she inquired if she might stay with him for a while, Ben didn't seem thrilled, but he didn't refuse her; perhaps everything will appear better from Paris when she arrives. But Ben isn't there.

The longer Ben goes missing, the more Jess investigates her brother's situation and the more questions she has. Ben's neighbors are a diverse group that isn't particularly kind. Jess might have come to Paris to get away from her troubles, but it appears as though it'll be Ben's future that is in question.

I love Foley's other books but I found this one not quite as engaging. Still worth the read!

The Angel of Rome by Jess Walters

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a free Audible book that only lasts 2 hours but it's 2 divine hours. The story is fantastic. Jess Walters is an author that I love (Beautiful Ruins is a must read) and even though this is a short book, everything comes full circle and the characters and their background all feel like I was on a Hollywood set.

Jack Rigel is studying Latin in Rome, a dream opportunity for him. But the dream quickly turns sour. That is, until he sees the “Angel of Rome.” An Italian star who's light is starting to dwindle. He accidentally has stumbled on set of a movie where he meets former TV detective Ronnie Tower who's star is almost completely out. Tower asks Jack to be his translator and their unusual friendship starts. Despite the fact that Jack can't really speak Italian.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

★★★★

Jess is heading to Paris to visit her brother Ben, after seemingly fleeing the bar she works at in England. When she inquired if she might stay with him for a while, Ben didn't seem thrilled, but he didn't refuse her; perhaps everything will appear better from Paris when she arrives. But Ben isn't there.

The longer Ben goes missing, the more Jess investigates her brother's situation and the more questions she has. Ben's neighbors are a diverse group that isn't particularly kind. Jess might have come to Paris to get away from her troubles, but it appears as though it'll be Ben's future that is in question.

I love Foley's other books but I found this one not quite as engaging. Still worth the read!

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This psychological thriller is an easy, quick read that I enjoyed. Mr and Mrs Wright are a husband and wife on an anniversary trip in the backwoods of Scotland. It's been a long travel day, and as they get to their destination it seems more than just their marriage is unraveling. Is someone watching them at the resort? While there are a couple plot holes and Adam was pretty unlikable at first for me, I think this is a great read. There were a couple of things that bothered me about the story, it is a bit far-fetched, and Adam Wright (SPOILER (not a big spoiler, you find this out pretty quick)) face blindness is a little much, the book gripped me and I kept wanting to know more and to unravel the secrets. I subtracted a star for the the bit of silliness but it's still a solid 4 stars and worth the read!

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Well written, easy, quick read. The story follows Major Pettigrew as he maneuvers life in advanced age in the fictional English countryside town of Edgecombe St. Mary. His brother has just died, his son is being petulant, and he'd really wish he'd have both the guns he was promised to have. Then, a Mrs. Ali, a shop keeper lends a hand when he needs it most and their friendship blossoms into something more. But the town isn't so sure of this new relationship.

I felt I could see the village and while the plot is a little slow, it's a nice read.

The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

A super easy, breezy read taking place in England and Scotland with flashbacks to France. The setting was too delicious for me to pass up! Exes Dylan and Addie somehow wind up in the same car on a road trip to their friend's wedding. Essentially it's clear the way the plot will go, but I still enjoyed reading it nonetheless.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I think I might be officially done with Reese Witherspoon's book recommendations. This was painful. It all sounds good (psychological thriller set in the Swiss Alps), but it's so convoluted and over the top, I couldn't finish it, even with only one chapter left. Elin and her boyfriend head up to a brand new hotel in the Swiss Alps, a former sanatorium, to meet her estranged brother and his fiance. They arrive in a storm and things get weird. Elin has taken a break from her job as a detective and can't get over her other brother's death from childbirth and actually knows her brother's fiance but is hiding that from her boyfriend?? It goes from bad to worse as things just become nonsensical, people go missing, and end up dead.

SPOILER ALERT: At one point, after 3 murders, Elin announces she needs to “act fast.” Really? Yeah, after 3 murders, I'd hope so. Maybe you could have acted faster? She also does things alone when there's a killer on the loose and everyone is just like, “yeah cool.” I feel like this writing was like nails on a chalkboard. OH, Elin also almost got murdered as a detective for doing the same thing. PLEASE WHAT? How does this get published and picked up by Reese? I'm honestly upset over this. Can you tell?

The Birthday Party by Wendy Dranfield

Rating: 0.5 out of 5.

I picked this up because it was an extremely anticipated book for psychological thrillers. Kathy drops off her daughter Charlie to her brother-in-law's for a birthday party and believe she's in safe hands. But she's vanished and no one knows where she is. I admit I couldn't finish this book because a middle aged woman moaning about her marriage when they have 3 kids, and say they are lucky they got to spend 5 years with their missing daughter? HUH? No one would act like that if their kid goes missing. The story is gruesome at times and unnecessary. I also felt the mother to be so unlikable from the start it was hard to read. People seem to love it, so I might be on my own here! The only thing I liked was that it was based in Vermont and that's it.

I am almost done with another book to add to this list so I’ll be updating this post often with what to read (or not read) in 2022! What have you loved or hated lately? Let me know in the comments below!