– My book picks, 2022 –

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s that time again! Here’s where I look back at a selection of the wonderful books I’ve managed to read this year. These books in particular stood out for me. Although I have to say I pretty much enjoyed all the books I read this year. In total I’ve read 211 (possibly 212, we shall see) books and I’m thrilled to be sharing these books today with my picks of 2022. It wasn’t easy at all to narrow it down. I finally got the number to 23. Which is a bit of a weird number but oh well 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

I’ve separated the books into series and stand-alones. There is a bit of variety this year especially as I really got into reading Fantasy Romance. Some of the books weren’t published this year either. For some of them you can click on the link and it will take you to my review although not all. I’m hoping to eventually get around to reviewing the rest but writing reviews hasn’t gone to plan especially in the latter part of this year 😬

Anyway (in no particular order) let’s see what I’ve picked…

The Botanist (Washington Poe 5) by M. W. Craven

A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic series) by V E Schwab

These Hollow Vows and These Twisted Bonds (These Hollow Vows Series) by Lexi Ryan

The Sunken City, The Fallen Witch and War of Shadows (The Sunken City series) by Emma V.R. Noyes

The Only Exception (Love in the Comptons 2) by Claire Huston

Love Blooms at Mermaids Point (Mermaids Point 3) by Sarah Bennett

Defy the Night and Defend the Dawn (Defy the Night 1 and 2) by Brigid Kemmerer

A Stolen Knight’s Kiss by Melissa Oliver

Life Sentence (Cassie Raven 2) by A.K. Turner

Kulti by Mariana Zapata

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

Love and Other Human Errors by Bethany Clift

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

The Earl She Should Never Desire by Lara Temple

The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

The Museum of Ordinary People by Mike Gayle

Wake by Shelley Burr

Well, I guess that’s it for this year. All that’s left to say is Happy New Year!

Rae xx

#MiniReviews – These Hollow Vows and These Twisted Bonds by Lexi Ryan #recommended

Thanks for stopping by! I’m thrilled to be sharing my mini reviews for These Hollow Vows and These Twisted Bonds by Lexi Ryan. I absolutely love this series!

Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.

Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.

Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.

MY REVIEW

I first listened to the audiobook of this book and I loved it so much. So of course I then had to buy the pretty hardback copy 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

These Hollow Vows was such an engaging and absorbing story. It was so very easy to get caught up in Brie’s life as she finds herself caught up in a dark and dangerous situation. I really like the fact that her character isn’t perfect and she makes mistakes. This brings a much more interesting edge to Brie’s character.

There are twists and turns throughout that kept me on my toes. Some I saw coming and others came as a surprise but it all combined the create a bold and captivating read. It’s safe to say I was hooked!

I enjoyed every moment of this book. There was romance, secrets and intrigue at the heart of These Hollow Vows. Oh and that last chapter had me counting down the days to when These Twisted Bonds would be released!

(You can read on for that review)

Brie finds herself caught between two princes and two destinies while the future of the fae realm hangs in the balance.

After Abriella’s sister was sold to the fae, she thought life couldn’t get any worse. But when she suddenly finds herself caught in a web of lies of her own making ­- loving two princes and trusting neither – things are not quite as clear as she once thought.

As civil war wages in the Court of Darkness, Brie finds herself unable to choose a side. How can she know where she stands when she doesn’t even know herself anymore? In this darkly romantic thrill ride, the more Faerie is torn apart from the inside, the clearer it becomes that prophecies don’t lie and Brie has a role to play in the fate of this magical realm – whether she likes it or not.

MY REVIEW

This was probably my most anticipated sequel of 2022 and I couldn’t wait to catch up with Brie, Finn and Sebastian. Especially after the way These Hollow Vows ended.

It was so easy to be once again fully immersed in the fantasy world that Lexi Ryan created. There is scheming and plenty of underhand manoeuvres that had me wondering what would happen next. Along with rooting for Brie to make the right decisions. I love how she isn’t the perfect character, she definitely has flaws but I couldn’t help but care about her.

The pacing was great throughout and the chemistry between certain characters (no spoilers) was perfect for me. I loved them together and was so happy with the ending.

These Twisted Bonds is now a favourite fantasy romance of mine. In fact both the books in this series are brilliant and well worth a read!

Happy Endings at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett @Sarahlou_writes #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for Happy Endings at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett today. With thanks to the publisher for my copy via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Music sensation Aurora Storm finally has her career back on track, but then she’s caught up in a media storm. Desperate to distract from the story, she enlists the one man she trusts to pretend to be her boyfriend. 

Meanwhile, in the small seaside village of Mermaids Point, Nick Morgan never expected to see Aurora again. When she calls out of the blue needing his help, he agrees at once. It feels like she’s back in his life for a reason, and he’s determined to make the most of it.

Aurora joins Nick and the rest of his family for their festive celebrations and, as the snow falls, Aurora finds herself caught up in the romance of Christmas. But having tasted worldwide fame, can she ever be content with village life? 

Two weeks is all Nick has to prove to Aurora that there’s a happy ending for them both in Mermaids Point.

MY REVIEW

The entire Mermaids Point series by Sarah Bennett has been a fun, charming and wonderful escape. With each book I picked up I met new friends and then got to catch up with them again in the next book. So I guess in a way it was a little sad to say goodbye to them. I do think each book could be read as a stand-alone but you really will be missing out on such wonderful family dynamics and friendships. I definitely recommend reading the entire series.

In this book we get Nick’s story and I have been eager to see how it would all turn out for him. Well, I was not disappointed. Sarah Bennett gave me such a romantic and heartwarming story. The kind that made me want to jump into the book, meet the characters and stay at Mermaids Point. The community spirit and setting really is another bonus when reading this book.

The pacing was great and I was completely invested in both Nick and Aurora. I will admit I did have a few reservations about Aurora to begin with. Mainly because I think I had become very attached to Nick and wanted the best for him. Let’s just say that within a few chapters I was hoping everything would turn out right for this pair in the end.

This story had a beautiful combination of family, friends and romance. Oh and a special mention has to go to Gabriel. He was a brilliant addition to the book! I also got a lovely emotional connection throughout and for me Happy Endings at Mermaids Point really was the most perfect ending!

#MiniReview – Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Thanks for stopping by! I’m thrilled to be sharing my mini review for Kulti by Mariana Zapata. This author was new to me this year. After reading Kulti I have been working my way through her books and loving them. However this book is still my favourite! If you love a really slow burn romance then you are in for a treat. So let’s take a look at the description for the book…

“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.

It didn’t take a week for twenty-seven-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon—why she’d ever had his posters on her wall, or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.

Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man that hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.

Nothing could have prepared her for the man she got to know.

Or the murderous urges he brought out in her.

This was going to be the longest season of her life.

MY REVIEW

If you love a slow burn romance and I mean a slow burn. Well, this author is for you and in particular this book. Throughout the story I really felt like I got to know the characters with the author building up their connection perfectly.

The story itself has quite a few different tropes but they all worked so well together. The journey the characters take was engaging and I was completely caught up in their story. Their interactions at times had me giggling away to myself. Both characters are stubborn and I love that Sal sticks up for herself. Let’s just say there are fireworks when these two are together.

Both Sal and Kulti captured my attention as their characters were easily brought to life in this book. In all their flawed, intriguing and loveable ways. Plus Kulti is the ultimate brooding hero, sigh!

#MiniReview – Ten Years by Pernille Hughes @pernillehughes

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my mini review for Ten Years by Pernille Hughes today. With thanks to the publisher for my copy via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Becca and Charlie have known each other since university.

Becca and Charlies have also hated each other since university.

Until now. Until Ally’s bucket list. The death of their loved one should mean they can go their separate ways and not look back. But completing the list is something neither of them can walk away from.

And sometimes, those who bring out the worst in you, also bring out the very best…

Over the course of ten years, Becca and Charlie’s paths collide as they deal with grief, love and life after Ally.

MY REVIEW

Well, this was definitely an emotional read but a hopeful and comforting one too. I loved the characters. With all their flaws and their realistic personalities.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these characters. Even though a few tears were shed on occasion. Seeing how their lives played out after a devastating loss. There was something so heartfelt about the story. It really helped me connect with not only Becca and Charlie but also to feel invested in their happiness too.

Ten Years gave me a wonderful look at life, grief, love and romance. This book was a real joy to spend time with!

#PublicationPromoDay #Spotlight on… One Night With Her Viking Warrior by Sarah Rodi @sarahrodiedits @rararesources

Thanks for stopping by! I’m thrilled to be sharing a Promo Post and shining the spotlight on One Night With Her Viking Warrior by Sarah Rodi today. Also check back in January because I’ll be sharing my review as part of the upcoming blog tour! So let’s take a look at the book…

Her forbidden love is back to claim her!

Once Lady Rebekah shared a life changing night with stable hand Raeden but he disappeared the morning after. Now she’s consort to a cruel Saxon Lord, and when Northmen lay siege to Ryestone Keep, Rebekah’s shocked to see Raeden leading the charge! This Viking warrior is not the man she remembers, yet she finds herself drawn to him again. Taken as his hostage, Rebekah must decide: can she trust him with her life…and her dangerous secret?

Purchase Links

https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/products/hqnsingle-07248001

https://www.harlequin.com/search.html?w=sarah+rodi

Or pre-order from Amazon, out 22nd December

Author Bio

Sarah Rodi has always been a hopeless romantic. She grew up watching old, romantic movies recommended by her grandad, or devouring love stories from the local library. Sarah lives in the village of Cookham in Berkshire, where she enjoys walking along the River Thames with her husband, her two daughters and their dog. She has been a magazine journalist for over 20 years, but it has been her lifelong dream to write romance for Mills & Boon. Sarah believes everyone deserves to find their happy ever after.

You can contact her via @sarahrodiedits or sarahrodiedits@gmail.com. Or visit her website at sarahrodi.com

Social Media Links

Follow Sara Rodi on Twitter – https://twitter.com/sarahrodiedits

@sarahrodiedits

www.sarahrodi.com

The Viaduct Killings by Wes Markin @rararesources #BlogTour #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for The Viaduct Killings by Wes Markin today. With thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite to join the tour. Also thank you to the author and publisher for my copy via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

The start of a brand new crime thriller series from Wes Markin, bestselling author of the DCI Yorke series.

Still grieving from the tragic death of her colleague, DCI Emma Gardner continues to blames herself and is struggling to focus. So, when she is seconded to the wilds of Yorkshire, Emma hopes she’ll be able to get her mind back on the job, doing what she does best – putting killers behind bars.

But when she is immediately thrown into another violent murder, Emma has no time to rest. Desperate to get answers and find the killer, Emma needs all the help she can. But her new partner, DI Paul Riddick, has demons and issues of his own.

And when this new murder reveals links to an old case Riddick was involved with, Emma fears that history might be about to repeat itself…

Purchase Link

https://amzn.to/3KkkCig

MY REVIEW

I do enjoy a police procedural and The Viaduct Killings was such a great one! From interesting characters to a compelling story and pretty much everything in between. It was very easy to become invested in discovering the truth. I especially enjoyed how I was kept on my toes throughout. There were plenty of suspects to choose from which of course meant I kept changing my mind over who was guilty. Along with getting caught up in Emma and Paul’s lives. Which in turn gave a bit more depth to the story.

I thought the author did a great job of combining the police investigation with getting to know the characters. It can sometimes be a bit of a tricky balance especially with book one in a new series but I think it worked out really well. Let’s just say I became caught up in the story wondering where it would take me next. All of the little twists and surprises managed to keep me guessing. Oh and the setting was another bonus. Well, it always going to be a hit with me.

The Viaduct Killings is such a strong start to a new series. The pacing was spot on and I really enjoyed trying to figure it all out. This book also gave me characters that made me sad to say goodbye as I turned the last page. All that’s left to say is I can’t wait for book two and to catch up with Emma and Paul again!

Author Bio

Wes Markin is the bestselling author of the DCI Yorke crime novels, set in Salisbury. His new series for Boldwood stars the pragmatic detective DCI Emma Gardner who will be tackling the criminals of North Yorkshire.  Wes lives in Harrogate and the first book in the series The Yorkshire Murders will be published in November 2022. 

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WesMarkinAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wesmarkinauthor/

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/wes-markin

The Gentleman of Holly Street by Lotte R. James @lottejamesbooks @rararesources #BlogTour #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for The Gentleman of Holly Street as part of the blog tour today. With thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite to join the tour and to the author for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Will this Christmas…

Change their lives again?

When self-made gentleman Freddie Walton rescued penniless Philomena Nichols at Christmas eight years ago, he never imagined that he would build his empire with her. Yet whilst they have created a life together as friends, Freddie can’t let their special connection become more than that. Not when his dangerous past continues to haunt him… But what happens when Freddie’s feelings for Philomena also refuse to stay hidden?

Purchase Link

https://bit.ly/3oZINsz

MY REVIEW

The Gentleman of Holly Street was a sweet, sizzling chemistry filled story. There was also a wonderful heartwarming feel throughout. Especially as I got to know Freddie and Mena. Seeing the pair of them dance around each other and stumble over their feelings for each other. Let’s just say I was rooting for them right from the very beginning.

I loved the setting of Christmas it brought an extra warmth to the story. Especially with how much good Mena and Freddie were achieving in helping those in need. The slow burn romance was just the icing on the cake for me.

The Gentleman of Holly Street had both sizzling and gentle moments along with a sweet romance at its heart. Then add in a touch of intrigue and danger and I became fully invested in the story!

Author Bio

Lotte James trained as an actor and theatre director, but spent most of her life working day jobs crunching numbers whilst dreaming up stories of love and adventure. She’s thrilled to finally be writing those stories, and when she’s not scribbling on tiny pieces of paper, she can usually be found wandering the countryside for inspiration, or nestling with coffee and a book.

Social Media Links

Twitter https://twitter.com/lottejamesbooks

Website www.lottejamesbooks.com

The Wrong Ghost by Victoria Connelly @VictoriaDarcy @rararesources #BlogTour #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Wrong Ghost by Victoria Connelly today. With thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite to join the tour and to the author for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

When Beatrice Beaumont loses her husband, George, she finds herself raising their young daughter alone in the ancestral home, Ketton Hall, deep in the Suffolk countryside. With Christmas approaching and marking the first anniversary of George’s death, there’s nothing Bea wants more than to have him back again.

One night, she makes a wish for him to return and gets the shock of her life when a ghost appears. But it isn’t her George…

The Wrong Ghost is a delightful Christmas tale, full of warmth and charm, perfect for a dark winter’s night in a cosy, candle-lit room.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wrong-Ghost-Victoria-Connelly-ebook/dp/B0B623PT2Y

US – https://www.amazon.com/Wrong-Ghost-Victoria-Connelly-ebook/dp/B0B623PT2Y

MY REVIEW

The Wrong Ghost was a wonderful gentle festive read! The pacing was great especially with it being a novella. Victoria Connelly did a great job of introducing the characters in a short space of time. I really enjoyed my time spent with both Beatrice and George. In The Wrong Ghost there was such a heartwarming storyline. It held both a certain amount of emotion along with a hint of mystery that combined to create an intriguing edge.

There was just a touch of Christmas included in this story and it was a welcome addition. It wasn’t overpowering though, which I liked. I thought the setting was perfect with the ancestral home providing an interesting backstory in itself. I couldn’t help but root for Beatrice and hope that she found her way again after such tragic events in her past. There is a paranormal edge to this book but it is wonderfully portrayed. The Wrong Ghost had a lovely sprinkling of charm, warmth and hope. A lovely combination!

Author Bio

Victoria Connelly lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, The Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

Social Media Links

www.victoriaconnelly.com

Instagram: @victoriaconnellyauthor

https://www.instagram.com/victoriaconnellyauthor/

Facebook: @victoriaconnellyauthor

https://www.facebook.com/victoriaconnellyauthor

Twitter: @VictoriaDarcy

https://www.twitter.com/victoriadarcy

The Duke’s Family for Christmas by Sarah Mallory @SarahMRomance #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for The Duke’s Family for Christmas by Sarah Mallory. With a big thank you to the author for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

He has until Christmas Eve…

To make them a family!

Determined to claim the son his late wife kept secret from him Leo, Duke of Tain, is working in disguise as his tutor. Until Miss Lily Wrayford, the child’s fiercely protective guardian, discovers Leo’s true identity…and gives him until Christmas to prove she can trust him! All Leo wants is to be a good father, but might this brave, captivating woman be the final missing piece of his family?

Purchase Links

MY REVIEW

Well, The Duke’s Family for Christmas was my very first Christmas story of 2022 and it didn’t disappoint. I thought it was the perfect book to begin with especially as it wasn’t overly festive. It had a wonderful sprinkling of traditions from the past and a lovely family dynamic at its heart. Even if there was a little bit of drama along the way to keep the reader on their toes.

I really enjoyed getting to know Lily and Leo. They might have had their flaws but I could understand their behaviour and actions. Throughout this story there was such a sweet but chemistry filled slow burn romance and it easily kept me turning those pages. I was just hoping that there would be a happy ever after for them all.

Throughout this book I was transported to the past with romance, sweet moments and festive traditions. It’s safe to say I enjoyed my time with The Duke’s Family for Christmas. It really was a heartwarming story that was a joy to read!