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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!

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Let me just start by saying this book was AMAZING. Definitely one of the best psychological thrillers I read this year!Avery Chambers promises to fix you in 10 therapy sessions or she won't accept you as a client. She has achieved tremendous successes, aiding people with issues ranging from overly controlling parents to assault trauma.

Marissa and Matthew Bishop appear to be the Golden Couple. They are both beautiful, they have the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood and a perfect eight year old son, Bennett. But the Bishops come to Avery and Marissa reveals her infidelity. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger. This book left me guessing from start to finish!

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tell me a book is about a cult and I'm ready to read. Libby Jones was only six months old when she became an orphan. Now 25, she’s astounded to learn of an inheritance that will change her life. A gorgeous, dilapidated townhouse in one of London’s poshest neighborhoods has been held in a trust for her all these years.

As Libby investigates the story of her birth parents and the dark legacy of her new home, a cult?! And, is someone still in the house?! This was a quick, fascinating story. I was shocked by the unexpected twists and turns. It was a captivating tale of how one ruthless sociopath could slowly, but surely manipulate and gain control over an emotionally weak woman. His charm worked its magic as he started to influence her life, eventually stretching his tentacles into the lives and finances of her family too. It was remarkable to watch him cunningly worming his way in with calculated strategies until he had complete authority.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I'm very behind the times on reading this. But after going to the Vatican and Roslyn Chapel outside of Edinburgh this year, it felt necessary to read the Da Vinci code. While on a business trip in Paris, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon was called late at night to investigate the murder of an elderly Louvre curator. Next to his body lay a perplexing message. As he worked feverishly to solve it, Langdon realized that its clues were hidden within Da Vinci's masterpieces – visible for all eyes but ingeniously camouflaged by the painter himself!

Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and they race against an ancient society, the police, and more to uncover the truth. I do always reading about places that I've been to, and this was really fun. I really enjoyed Brown's artful use of symbolism and myths and how one understanding could also mean something quite different. Growing up Catholic, I don't remember this book being banned but it didn't feel that “wild” to me.

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I just adore Lisa Jewell! This was a quick read that left me wanting more. The book contends with the past and present and is told in an artful way. In the past, two young, new parents (Tallulah and Zach) go missing one weekend and Tallulah's mom Kim suspects foul play while Zach's mom seems to think they just ran away. In the present, a writer, Sophie moves to town with her boyfriend who is now the new headmaster at a boarding school. Sophie is a mystery writer and one day she sees a sign in their garden that says “Dig Here” and what she finds will reopen Tallulah’s missing person case.

Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Loved the writing, the characters, and the build up! When a young girl, Jodie Sheehan, is brutally murdered, Cyrus Haven must provide assistance to the police in order to solve the case. Meanwhile, at an orphanage in Nottingham, Evie Cormac- whose identity remains unknown- urgently seeks out Cyrus' aid after she was discovered under suspicious conditions. Could she have been held captive? Or did something else occur with her assumed captor?

Evie’s connection to Cyrus leads to a bond that will keep you intrigued throughout. I kept rapidly turning pages until the final revelations, continually intrigued by Cyrus and Evie. This was a great thriller!

To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret by Jedidiah Jenkins

Rating: 5 out of 5.

WOW I loved this. I picked this up because the title intrigued me. What I found was not only a beautifully told adventure, but one man's introspective and beautiful look at life, faith, humanity, and what really matters in this world. Jedidiah Jenkins wasn't a biker. But he decided to somewhat follow in his parents' footsteps – they walked across America. Now, he's chosen to bicycle solo, and at times with friends, from Oregon to Patagonia. The writing is crisp and illuminating. His thoughts are both non-judgemental, but thought-provoking. I related with this so much as someone who moved abroad, looking for answers, wanting lessons in self-reflection but hoping my past life to remain intact. But the only thing we can count on is change. I adored Jenkins writing and will absolutely be reading his second book.

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 Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Lucy and her husband's Mon, Diana just never really hit it off. But now, Diana is dead and a suicide note found near her body doesn't seem to make sense. Was it murder? And who would have the motive to kill her? I think this was a great story about relationships and family and was told very well. This book quickly sucked me in. The issues the family has are very real and happen in everyday life and the twists and turns it took was just delightful.

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.

We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I scooped this up immediately when I saw it was a psychological thriller based in Texas! It was well told and interesting, with great twists and turns. The book did feel a bit long, but worth the read. Here's the gist: On an ominous night, ten years ago, Trumanell, a beloved small town legendary beautiful queen and her good-for-nothing father go missing. Trumanell is presumed dead and the town is still obsessed with finding out what happened to her. The blame seems to rest with her brother, Wyatt, but with no proof, he remains free, living like a recluse a the house. Years later, Wyatt finds a young girl on his property who refuses to speak. People in town see him with the young girl in his truck and call the police. Odette is a police officer who has a long history with Trumanell and Wyatt. In fact, her life story is also linked to the night when Trumanell went missing. That night while fleeing Wyatt and Trumanell's house, she had a car accident and lost her leg. She has a soft spot for Wyatt and convinces him to let her take care of this girl.

Odette desperately attempts to uncover the truth of Trumanell's mysterious disappearance, while safeguarding this lost girl, yet she is unable to trust anyone and worries for her own safety. Will she unearth something that someone wishes to remain hidden? Is Wyatt truly trustworthy?

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!

The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have read many Elin Hilderbrand books. They aren't the greatest literature of all time, but a perfect escape when you need it! After a tumultuous breakup, Lizbet Keaton is in pursuit of her next chapter. As the new general manager at Hotel Nantucket—a Gilded Age hotel that has become an abandoned blight—Lizbet hopes to win approval from their London billionaire owner Xavier Darling and convince Instagram influencer Shelly Carpenter to help bring it back into popularity with her substantial following. With both local knowledge and a vibrant team behind her, she believes this newfound venture will be just what she needs for renewal. At first glance, the Hotel Nantucket seems like an ideal paradise with a celebrated chef-driven restaurant and beautiful wellness center. However, behind those closed doors lies considerable drama that has persisted since the day of the devastating 1922 fire where 19-year old chambermaid Grace Hadley lost her life. With Grace's spirit still lingering in its halls, intertwined secrets amongst staff members and Lizbet’s romantic dilemma – will this hotel rise to success or collapse under all its turmoil?

Tell Her Story by Margot Hunt

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

After a now infamous clip of her discrediting an alleged rape victim, Paige Barret was relieved of her duties at the popular magazine she reported for. Now living in her sister's guest house to make ends meet, Paige works as a waitress at her brother-in-law's bar – struggling but determined to keep going.

In a bid to support her sister’s re-entry into journalism, Paige proposes the creation of a true crime podcast based on Jessica Cady's murder. A beloved hometown teacher killed by an unknown assailant who was never punished for the heinous act. As she digs deeper and starts questioning people familiar with both Jessica and the area where it happened, Paige discovers secrets that no one else knew about – all while working alongside Jessica's son Ben.

I feel like we all have listened to true crime podcasts so this felt right to listen to. Plus, Dakota Fanning narrates!

The Widow by K.L. Slater

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The story is told from the widow's perspective. She is perplexed as to why her husband, Michael would kill himself when they seemingly have a perfect life. But he was connected to the disappearance of a young mother, and now, it looks like he was the one responsible. Could it be true? This was a quick and easy read but started out very slow. I didn't love the characters, but I found the plot interesting.

Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was good, not great. The book is told from multiple perspectives, but mostly Emery and August. Everyone's life changed the fateful night of a terrible fire that destroyed their home island and the murder of her best friend, Lily. Years later, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence on the misty, remote shores of Saoirse Island and running the family’s business. Her old love she wanted to run away with, August, is back after years to bury his mother. He was essentially run out of town because he is suspected of killing Lily. Now, the town wants August gone gor good. But the town and the island are hiding secrets and magic. The book was described over and over again in reviews as “atmospheric” and it is that, but lacking in plot. I'm not sure why there needed to be an element of magic at all, it felt unnecessary and even odd.

The Wrong One by Dervia McTiernan

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This is an Audible only book that I thought was worth my time, though not earth shattering. Clara Colman’s been arrested for the murder of Rachel Stapleton, a wealthy housewife and prominent figure in Lavender Valley, their well-to-do New Jersey suburb. But she swears she did not commit the crime. Her son Sebastien calls their estranged family friend Simon Miller to help. Simon knows there's no way Clara couldn't have done it, but as he works on the case he unravels the complex web surrounding the Coleman family.

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Like everyone else, I read the Twilight series in rapture. This, is the same story, told from Edward's perspective. It's very long and there's a lot of breathing. If you liked Twilight, then you might like this. But the amount of times Edward is “breathing” or “breathless” was a bit much for me. Still, fun to relive that part of my life!

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 Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Rating: 3 out of 5.

In my desperate attempt to not re-read Harry Potter for the 8th time I decided to re-listen to this instead. I haven't read this series since childhood and I didn't remember the first book in the series “Magicians Nephew.” While this is a classic story, I find that some books are better tucked away in childhood and lose their sheen. They are good, the stories are interesting, if not very simple. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is still the best of the bunch and teaches great life lessons, but it's a bit boring as an adult. Definitely geared towards smaller kids and I wouldn't recommend for adults. But great to read to kids!

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!