This year I've decided not to make any specific reading goals, but I do want to keep tracking everything I read and this is the place to do it!
My Book List for 2022:
1. The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell
When Adrian's third wife dies under mysterious circumstances, his whole world starts to unravel as he looks for the reason why. This story has an intriguing mystery and a heartwarming ending. A good way to start the new year!
2. The Intangible by CJ Washington
This story follows two couples - Amanda & Derrick and Patrick & Marissa - as they face difficulties and find their lives intertwining in new ways. The timeline jumped around a lot which was a bit confusing/annoying until I got the hang of it. The characters were compelling and the story interesting!
3. The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell
This story intertwines characters who share a common genetic thread...that they are only finding out about! It was lovely and made me cry (in a good way) at the end.
4. The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell
This story follows a family through the years, sharing snapshots of Easter weekends and how various events have defined their lives. It's a bit confusing at first with the way it jumps around the timeline, but once I got the hang of it I like it. #
5. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The most famous old school movie start Evelyn Hugo finally wants to open up to a writer about the whole story of her life - including her seven marriages and the real love of her life. It jumps back and forth between telling Eveyln's story then and now. It took me a bit to get into but once it got going I was hooked and I lost sleep finishing it up!
6. The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell
Melody has spent her whole life thinking she is one person, although she has no memories of her life before the age of 9. When a random trip to a hpynosis performer begins to unlock memories in her mind, she goes on a long journey through the past to uncover who she was, which helps her to discover who she is now. I really enjoyed this deep character exploration!
7. Verity by Colleen Hoover
Well, one good thing about being sick (on day 8 of Covid positive here) is that I have plenty of time to read! I read this book in one day. It was short, gripping, and fast-paced. It's not exactly high-brow literature but I enjoyed it. The story is of a writer who gets recruited to finish a popular series when the original author has fallen ill. In the process of going through the office to find notes, she finds a sinister autobiography and begins to read it...the story unfolds from there!
8. The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
A young couple disappears one summer night, leaving behind their baby to be cared for by the woman's mother. She never gives up looking for her daughter, knowing something terrible must have happened for her to leave her son behind. This tale of intrigue twists and turns as it jumps between telling the story from the young woman's perspective and that of the mystery writer who just moved into town and wants to solve the disappearance. I enjoyed it!
9. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
This was a heartwrenching tale that vacillates between Chicago in the 1980's and Paris in 2015. It is a beautiful exploration of love and relationships and the family we choose for ourselves.
10. Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
I love when a good mystery makes a lightbulb go off halfway through the story! I very much enjoyed this twisty tale about a husband and wife who go away for a weekend in Scotland...but not all is at it should be. It's told in alternating perspectives and through letters that look back on their ten years of marriage. A fun read!
11. Christian Minimalism: Simple Steps for Abundant Living by Becca Ehrlich
Minimalism has been a part of my life ever since I read Marie Kondo's first book in 2015. I enjoyed this take on it that shows how minimalism can (and maybe should!) be a part of our Christian faith. I would love to lead a book study on it someday!
12. Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
This mystery novel is apparently a twist/update on an Agatha Christie story...but I'm not sure which one and I don't think I've read it. The story follows a group of twenty somethings who end up meeting on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere. People die and it turns out they all might be more connected than they knew... It was a fun fast read although I didn't find the ending particularly satisfying.
13. The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
I've read a few books by these authors before and they again deliver a well-paced mystery that kept me turning the pages so I could get to the end. When the seemingly perfect couple comes to a rogue therapist for marriage counseling, all sorts of drama ensues!
14. The Siren by Alison Bruce
I picked up a paper copy of this when a church member was giving books away last year and finally got around to reading it when my Kindle decided to malfunction right before 24 hours of international travel! I don't know if it was the story itself or the fact that I apparently don't like reading real books anymore, but I could not get into this one. I felt like I had to drag myself through to the end, and the mystery didn't wrap up well and it felt like there were some loose ends left hanging. I didn't care for it, but I did end up leaving the book behind in a little free library. Hopefully someone else will enjoy it more!
15. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
This story is told from the perspective of a woman stuck in a coma who can think and feel but can't express anything. It alternates with her telling the story of the week before she ended up in a coma, and the diaries of a younger girl. When all the threads of the story come together I found it very interesting!
16. Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
The story starts with a dead infant found in a creek, and spirals out from there as we learn about the people in this small town and the shady parts of their lives they try to hide from everyone including themselves. It was a quick read, if a bit predictable about halfway through.
17. 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
Each chapter covers one summer/year in the lives of Jake and Mallory as they conduct a "Same Time, Next Year" type affair throughout the ups and downs of their lives. I absolutely loved this read.
18. Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
Another summer-themed Nantucket-based read... (I think that's all Ms. Hilderbrand writes?) and this one had an interesting perspective. The main character, Vivi, has died (not a spoiler, this is literally the first thing that happens in the book.) She then gets a "viewing window" for the length of summer, in which she can look down on her family and friends and see what is happening without her. She also gets three "nudges" when she can affect something that is happening on earth. I really enjoyed this creative read!
19. I Found You by Lisa Jewell
This book jumps around between three stories, one set in the past and two in the present, and then eventually they come together. It wasn't my favorite of Jewell's books but it kept my attention and I had fun trying to guess where the connections were. One man with amnesia, one wife with a missing husband, and a story from the past that ties them all together.
20. The Sixth Wedding by Elin Hilderbrand
This is a short story follow-up to 28 Summers and it was really fun to check in again with all of the characters and see where they ended up after the events of the first book. It felt like visiting old friends!
21. Watching You by Lisa Jewell
This book kept me company on a long night whilst I was camping...I couldn't sleep and stayed up till almost 4am finishing the book. It was set in Bristol (which is about half an hour from me) so that was fun. The story was intriguing enough - about a head teacher with a mysterious past, and the way his story intertwines with people in the area.
22. I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney
This book also kept me company whilst camping and attending a music festival. I wanted to like it...but I found the jumping around a bit jarring and the surprise twist in the end was super creepy and really just quite gross. I think it was going for shock value but it just made me regret reading it, really.
23. Wintering by Katherine May
Someone I follow on Instagram recommended this book and I highly enjoyed it. May writes through the seasons and her recovery from burnout as she explores the ways our society pushes us to do and be too much. I love the idea that we are mean to have seasons, cycles in our lives, just like nature. What value can be found in winter - a time of slowing down? She also inspired me to try cold water swimming!
24. The Keeper of Happy Endings by Barbara Davis
I very much enjoyed this story that jumped between Paris during WWII and Boston in the 1980's. The characters were woven together well and I became very invested in their stories of love and loss. I highly recommend!
25. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
I found this memoir - part personal, part professional - very easy to read. It was interesting to hear about Gottlieb's life and varied career before she became a therapist. I loved the inside look into what it is like to be a therapist and to receive therapy.
26. Before and After: An End of the World Weight Loss Epic by Andrew Shanahan (Trial TEOTWRC Book)
I was recently targeted by Facebook advertising for something called "The End of the World Reading Club." Intrigued, I clicked through. This is a book subscription club that sends you monthly: A dystopian/apocolyptic themed book, custom bookmark designed for that book, and 3-5 presents that you are meant to open at various points in the book to enhance your reading. I could not sign up fast enough. This book came in the starter pack and it was a very fun read. Ben Stone weighs over 600 pounds and is heading to the hospital to get his right leg amputated due to the effects of diabetes. Right as they are about to lift him out of his flat on a crane, everyone gets called away to an emergency. The world is ending. I read this book in 24 hours, and I think it was a combination of it being a good read and wanting to get to the presents that made me get through it so fast! I cannot wait to see what else comes with this subscription box! Ooh, plus this one was signed by the author!
27. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
This book is a prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy which I read over the course of a long weekend oh...ten years ago?! Man, I feel old. Anyway, it was fun to immerse myself back in that world, this time following the story of Coriolanus Snow (yes, that President Snow) when he was only 18 and the hunger games were in their 10th year. I really enjoyed seeing more of the story from the perspective of the Capitol and learning why the hunger games came into being and evolved into what they are by the time Katniss is a tribute.
28. The Husbands by Chandler Baker
Nora Spangler is pregnant with her second child and she and her husband Hayden are looking for a bigger home. When they look at a place in Dynasty Ranch, Nora makes new friends and they both get led into an intriguing world where the husbands do just as much to run the household as the wives (without being told! they take initiative!) I really enjoyed this book that as a mystery at its heart and spends time exploring societal norms and the burden of emotional labor.
29. Shelter by Dave Hutchinson (July 2022 TEOTWRC Book)
This book is set about 100 years after the apocalyptic event destroyed the world - this time is was a group of small asteroids that hit all over the earth and ruined civilization as we know it. One hundred years on, people have survived, built rudimentary societies, and some people are trying to build more. We follow several different character threads and then they start to come together. I enjoyed this read and the gifts that came with! It's the first in a series and I will definitely be looking to read more of it...
30. The Switch by Beth O'Leary
I read the first chapter of this novel a while ago and then it lapsed on my Kindle...I'm glad I finally got around to it again! It is a cute heart-warming story about a grandmother and granddaughter switching lives with each for 8 weeks. The grandmother heads to London to try online dating while her granddaughter takes up all her responsibilities in her small Yorkshire town. A very fun read!
31. Hostage by Clare Mackintosh
I feel like I read something similar to this recently-ish...but I enjoyed this one, too. It follows characters in the air and on the ground as a plan is taken hostage with terrorist demands. It was a quick read with some fun twists and turns along the way.
32. His & Hers by Alice Feeney
This was a quick, fun, thriller read. It goes through the story from three different perspectives - His, Hers, and the killers. About halfway through the book I cheated and googled who the culprit was...and I think I actually had more fun reading it that way, knowing whose perspective I was reading and watching the characters try to figure it out (rather than try and figure it out alongside them.)
33. Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change & Consumerism
I bought this book because I follow the author, Aja Barber, on Instagram. I don't remember how I came across her, but she is an activist who speaks out about the need for change in the fashion industry. This book was an easy read and really opens your eyes to the unsustainable and harmful practices in fast fashion - and gives you practical tips for how to be a part of the solution.
34. Under the Blue by Oana Aristide (August 2022 TEOTWRC Book)
This apocalyptic book follows Harry, a reclusive artist, who misses the beginning of the end of the world. This time the apocalypse is a pandemic, which hits a little close to home, but it was kind of nice reading about how much worse things could have been! His story alternates with two scientists, Paul and Lisa, who are working on creating and training an AI to look at human history and then predict what large disasters might befall humans in the future. The two strands come together in a fascinating way. The characters are well developed, the scenes easy to picture, and, of course, I enjoyed opening the gifts from TEOTWRC along the way!
35. Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
This was a fun easy read that had me laughing out loud several times. It's a bit meta in that the protagonist is trying to write a best selling novel...when she gets mistaken for being a hit woman...and then she writes her book about being mistaken for being a hit woman...all while dodging Russian mobsters and the hot cop her sister is trying to set her up with! It was silly and light (despite the murder!) and I can't wait to read the second book in the series.
36. Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
One of the descriptions for this book called it "compulsively readable" and I would have to agree with that assessment. I tore through it in just a few days, including hours late one night when I couldn't sleep. The main character is complicated and dealing with a mysterious mental illness, the characters surrounding her are deep and complicated as well. The story-telling style is unique and fast-paced. Be prepared to cry!
37. The Whistler by John Grisham
I read this book because I was interested in the next one, and I can't read books out of order! In this book we meet Lacy Stolz who works for the Florida Board of Judicial Conduct. Usually, her job is fairly routine and boring, but now comes a case involving the Coast Mafia, and Indian casino, and the most corrupt judge in US history. I find Grisham's writing a bit boring but the story was compelling enough.
38. The Judge's List by John Grisham
This book has a fascinating premise - a sitting judge who is also a serial killer! You do not want to get on his bad side. Again, the writing leaves something to be desired, but the story was compelling enough that I pushed through. I particularly enjoyed the last few pages.
39. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
This was a TEOTWRC book that I missed and I would have loved to see what came in the box with this one. The premise of this story was fascinating to me - a small family of Andrew, Eric and their adopted daughter Wen are having a vacation at a cabin in the wilderness. A group of 4 strangers show up saying that visions have shown them that the end of the world is coming. The only way to stop it? They must willingly sacrifice a member of their family. The perspective jumps around between the characters, which I enjoyed. The story is bloody so it is not for the faint of heart!
40. The Stranding by Kate Sawyer (September 2022 TEOTWRC Book)
I loved this post-apocalyptic book. It switches back and forth between the apocalypse and the Before times, following the main character Ruth. She was a complex character - as frustrating sometimes as she was amazing other times. I enjoyed the slow exploration of characters and what life could be like when everything we know/have is stripped away.
41. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell
I have read (and loved) almost everything written by Malcolm Gladwell and this book is no exception. In it, he digs into how people interact with each other when we are strangers - with an aim to explore police/civilian relationships, and the Sandra Bland case in particular. He shares research on the default to truth, the transparency bias, and the idea that location determines what we do. It was well-researched and well presented and if the right people read it perhaps we could have some much-needed changes in policing.
42. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
I love a good mystery novel and I enjoyed this one more than most. It jumped around between the perspective of different characters, but in a way that I was actually able to keep them straight. I also liked that while this one hinted as various things and back stories as we went along...it also revealed them much sooner than many mystery novels. I hate when you are strung along the whole time and then everything is only revealed in the last 20 pages or so. This one kept giving you small reveals as the story went on which I found much more satisfying.
43. Flesh and Blood by Andrew Shanahan (Special Edition TEOTWRC Book)
Way back in July, my first introduction to TEOTWRC was when Before & After came in my trial box. I enjoyed it so much that when I saw there was a sequel and it was only a couple pounds to get on my Kindle...I almost bought it. But I'm glad I waited because then this special edition box came from TEOTWRC! This time we got to choose an inscription signed by the author. The story picks up where it left off in the first one - Ben and Brown are out in the world, trying to keep going as seemingly the only survivors left. It ties in a lot of threads from the first book, and, very satisfyingly, actually gives an explanation for the apocalypse! I hate when authors keep that bit vague, so I'm glad Shanahan gave us some answers.
44. Femlandia by Christina Dalcher (October 2022 TEOTWRC Book)
I want to read everything by this author! I read her book Vox last year and loved it, so I was very excited when this one showed up in my box. The story starts with a mother-daughter duo who are living through a global economic breakdown that is the apocalypse of this book. When they have nothing left, they had to Femlandia, a women-only colony founded by Miranda's mother, whom she hasn't spoken to in years. While they are safe inside the electric fence, they soon discover that things are really not all that well. I loved it, and of course the treats just make it ever more fun!
45. Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
A friend recommended this book if you want to cry...and boy was she right! I bawled like a baby at parts. The story is a fascinating exploration of what might happen after we die - following the main character Wallace Price who was a real jerk in real life. When he wakes up to find he is dead, he begins a journey of self-discovery that transforms who he is now. I loved it.
46. The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz
This was a beautiful portrait of a family with a difficult past and difficult lives together. The characters were beautifully written, well-rounded, and really jumped off the page. It is a character study with real depth and I loved the conclusion.
47. The Whisper Network by Chandler Baker
The women of Dallas have created an anonymous list that warns of "BAD" men who don't treat women well in the workplace. Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and newcomer Katherine get caught up in a mystery surrounding their boss Ames Garrett, and they slowly realize all of the ways their lives intersect, beyond what they already knew. It was a good exploration of the "me too" movement with a mystery at its heart.
48. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
I loved this book - probably one of my favorites of the whole year. It follows a scientist turned professor who never quite reached his research goals when he got distracted by getting married and having a kid. He's happy, but sometimes wonders about the path not taken. Then, the path not taken finds him! This novel explores the concept of the multiverse and I found it endlessly fascinating.
49. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry (November 2022 TEOTWRC Book)
The apocalypse has happened - some sort of pandemic that is killing people and getting the rest swept up into government quarantine camps. Red sets out with her family to avoid the illness, the army, and roving bad men (whom she calls wolves.) They set out through the woods to, you guessed it, grandmother's house, where they think they will be safe. It was a fun read that took some unexpected turns.
50. A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
I was in the mood for a mindless thriller and this fit the bill. It wasn't too mysterious or exciting, but it was entertaining enough. One night, housewife Karen runs out in the middle of making dinner without her phone, wallet, and without locking the door. Hours later she winds up in a car accident and loses her memory. What happened in the intervening time? And how well does Tom really know his wife?
51. An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
Another locked-in mystery (I feel like I've read so many of these lately!) - this time in snow bound inn in the Catskills. There are a dozen guests and the two hotel staff, and of course, murders start happening. Who is responsible? Is anyone safe? Who will make it to Sunday morning when the cops can finally arrive on their snowmobiles? It was a fun, quick read, just what I wanted to close out the year.