Books I've Loved So Far in 2022


As of the day I'm writing this post I have read 38 books. If you viewed my quarterly post from earlier this year you might question this number. I decided to take off any very short children's books from my list. I've technically read more than 100 books if I included picture books but I'm not doing that. I have here today a list of 10 books that have left an impression on me so far this year. 

(Happy 4th of July! 🥳)

#1: America Chavez: Made in the USA 

America Chavez is incredible — her origins, her strength, her dimension-shattering star portals! But when the foundation of everything that she believes is shaken, America must stand up and confront the parts of herself she’s been running from. Her life is about to be shattered into a million pieces by a mysterious adversary. When her tormentor is revealed, their face will be shocking, to say the least — but it’s what they reveal that will rock the foundations of all that America knows. And then? It’s just a matter of whether or not to believe them… From writer Kalinda Vazquez (Marvel’s Runaways) and artist Carlos Gomez (AMAZING MARY JANE) comes an explosive, brand-new story all about what made America Chavez who she is — and what she’ll do to protect the ones she loves. 
It's very rare that I find a character and writer who are both Hispanic that I want to read about. I feel like I am always on the hunt for them but then here comes America Chavez. First of all the artwork and coloring of this graphic novel are amazingly well done. Second, the storyline is so intriguing. I flew by this and it left me wanting more. This goes over the backstory of America Chavez (apparently it's not like the original but idk what the original even is) and I could easily understand why she was chosen to be in the new Doctor Strange movie. A unique, interesting, and wonderfully Latina story.

#2: The Magical Reality of Nadia

Nadia loves fun facts. Here are a few about her:

• She collects bobbleheads -- she has 77 so far.
• She moved from Egypt to America when she was six years old.
• The hippo amulet she wears is ancient... as in it's literally from ancient Egypt.
• She's going to win the contest to design a new exhibit at the local museum. Because how cool would that be?!

(Okay, so that last one isn't a fact just yet, but Nadia has plans to make it one.)

But then a new kid shows up and teases Nadia about her Egyptian heritage. It's totally unexpected, and totally throws her off her game.

And something else happens that Nadia can't explain: Her amulet starts glowing! She soon discovers that the hippo is holding a hilarious -- and helpful -- secret. Can she use it to confront the new kid and win the contest?
I was surprised by the Magical Reality of Nadia. I listened to this on audio but later on viewed some of the comics that are interspersed throughout the story. Nadia is Egyptian and is seen as different. I love when books explore a character's culture so that's a large aspect of why I liked this book other than it was such a fun time! It was funny, magical, and incorporated comics. I was so impressed that I went on to listen to the second book right after. If you are looking for a good time then this one is for you!

#3: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village―and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon―may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.

Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin―as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits―Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.

But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking…
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea wasn't the most perfect read but there was something about it that has still kept it in my mind months after turning the last page. The romance played a part (it always does) but the world and the Sea God's story was so fascinating to me. This story really grew on me and kept me intrigued throughout. There are many moments when Mina's choices changed the lives of her people and the spirits. This one girl who everyone probably thought ruined their chances at having a better life was the most compassionate and selfless person in her hometown. I was so captivated by her story and to see what she would do next.


#4: The League of Picky Eaters

In Muffuletta, being good at eating is the key to success. French fries and grilled cheese? Beginner food! Haggis and truffles? Delicacies!

After failing a school eating test, picky eater Minerva is placed in the lowest eating track of all: Remedial Eating to Change Habits. RETCH class is full of kids with weird personalities and even weirder food preferences. And to make matters worse, Minerva's best friends, in the Gifted and Gourmet class, no longer speak to her.

But soon Minerva finds she is not alone in her pickiness, and forms friendships with her new classmates. And together, they find a way to stand up for themselves—picky and proud!
As a picky eater myself, I loved the camaraderie and friendship surrounding the league of picky eaters. This is a rather silly story but it still charmed me. The main group of characters were such oddballs but they always stuck together. The ending was deeply satisfying and I could easily recommend this to any other picky eater. Really anyone looking for a fun and lighthearted story would enjoy this book.

#5 & #6: Sparrow Rising & Call of the Crow

In the Clandoms, everyone is born with wings, with tight-knit communities formed around bird types: Jay, Falcon, Crow.Ellie Meadows dreams of growing up to join the Goldwings -- the famed knights who defend all the people of the Clandoms. It was a Goldwing, after all, who saved her life on that terrible day her parents were killed. There's just one problem: Ellie is a Sparrow, and the Goldwings are almost invariably picked from the higher clans like Eagles and Ospreys. This rigid hierarchy means that Ellie is destined to become a farmer.Determined to honor her parents' memories and prove herself worthy of the Goldwings, Ellie sets out on her own for the capital. But her journey will be dangerous. Foul creatures called gargols lurk behind every cloud, ready to slay anyone unlucky enough to be caught outside in a storm -- just as Ellie's family was.Soon her path intertwines with a colorful band of fellow outcasts, each with their own aspirations... and their own secrets. Ellie's new friends offer not just roadside companionship. They'll challenge her ideas of right, wrong, and what truly makes a hero.
I was absolutely blown away by Sparrow Rising and Call of the Crow. It deals with class and corruption. I cannot tell you how much I love Ellie and Nox. One pure heart and determination. Ellie will achieve her dreams no matter the odds. Nox on the other hand just has one goal - to save his mom. He will do anything including steal to save her. His crew consists of him, Twig (an animal whisperer), and Gussie (an inventor extraordinaire). This group of kids uncovers so many wrongdoings and secrets. It gets real dark. There are a lot of frustrating and emotional moments but it captivates you. I was talking to this book in the closing chapters of book 2. I was so pumped as everything unfolded. I am so excited to read the third book when it comes out in August. I'm assuming it's that last so if so there is much left to cover. I need it now! 

#7: Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead

Finlay Donovan is―once again―struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two. On the bright side, she has her live-in nanny and confidant Vero to rely on, and the only dead body she's dealt with lately is that of her daughter's pet goldfish.

On the not-so-bright side, someone out there wants her ex-husband, Steven, out of the picture. Permanently. Whatever else Steven may be, he's a good father, but saving him will send her down a rabbit hole of hit-women disguised as soccer moms, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she'd like.

Meanwhile, Vero's keeping secrets, and Detective Nick Anthony seems determined to get back into her life. He may be a hot cop, but Finlay's first priority is preventing her family from sleeping with the fishes... and if that means bending a few laws then so be it.

With her next book's deadline looming and an ex-husband to keep alive, Finlay is quickly coming to the end of her rope. She can only hope there isn't a noose at the end of it...
The second volume of the Finlay Donovan series was a fast-paced, fun adventure. I wasn't sure where the romance was going but I was thrilled where it ended. I was gasping at the last page completely dying to know what was going to happen next. There is a lot more about Vero's backstory that is to come in the next volume - I am sure of it. She is such a great character and I really want her to find someone too. Finlay trying to save her ex-husband was one fail after the other. Her ex somehow has layers to him that I questioned whether he actually cared about Finlay or not. Another great installment in the series and one that I can't wait to continue.

#8: Witchlings

Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches.

And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can't wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn't placed in one of the five covens. She's a Spare!

Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn't work! They're stuck as Witchlings―and will lose their magic.

Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they'll gain their full powers. If they fail... Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.

But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all…
Witch stories are my thing. I will eat them all up. This one featured three outcasts - Seven, Valley, and Thorn. Seven being our main character who wants so badly to be in a good coven but gets stuck as a witchling with two other girls. Valley is her bully. Thorn is the shy new girl. Both have had or are currently having hardships at home. What loved about this book besides the magic was how fully developed all of the characters were. They felt distinguishable from one another and had interesting story arcs. I also liked that this dealt with class and corruption like with Sparrow Rising. This had fewer dark moments but did deal with abuse which was surprising but it is something that should be added to stories. It could be a catalyst for recognizing abuse and asking for help. Lots of great discussion, magic, and friendship. It sounds like there may be a sequel? If so, I'll be first in line to read it. 

#9: She Gets the Girl

Alex Blackwood is a little bit headstrong, with a dash of chaos and a whole lot of flirt. She knows how to get the girl. Keeping her on the other hand…not so much. Molly Parker has everything in her life totally in control, except for her complete awkwardness with just about anyone besides her mom. She knows she’s in love with the impossibly cool Cora Myers. She just…hasn’t actually talked to her yet.

Alex and Molly don’t belong on the same planet, let alone the same college campus. But when Alex, fresh off a bad (but hopefully not permanent) breakup, discovers Molly’s hidden crush as their paths cross the night before classes start, they realize they might have a common interest after all. Because maybe if Alex volunteers to help Molly learn how to get her dream girl to fall for her, she can prove to her ex that she’s not a selfish flirt. That she’s ready for an actual commitment. And while Alex is the last person Molly would ever think she could trust, she can’t deny Alex knows what she’s doing with girls, unlike her.

As the two embark on their five-step plans to get their girls to fall for them, though, they both begin to wonder if maybe they’re the ones falling…for each other.
Alex's mischievous smile and just whole personality MADE THIS BOOK. She made me so happy and I loved how even with all the terrible things life dealt to her she was able to recognize a good thing and be happy. Molly was so much more sassier than I was expecting. I saw myself in her. She is so socially awkward and I get it. I loved how comfortable she was with Alex and how slowly they both realized that they were falling for each other. And the conversation she had with Alex after she met her girlfriend after a minute or two. The few words that she spoke made me so happy! Such a wonderful romance with two complicated lives. This made my heart so happy.

#10: Himawari House

Living in a new country is no walk in the park―Nao, Hyejung, and Tina can all attest to that. The three of them became fast friends through living together in the Himawari House in Tokyo and attending the same Japanese cram school. Nao came to Japan to reconnect with her Japanese heritage, while Hyejung and Tina came to find freedom and their own paths. Though each of them has her own motivations and challenges, they all deal with language barriers, being a fish out of water, self discovery, love, and family.
The emotional rollercoaster that is this book... I was like stop but give me more. We follow three girls that range from ages nineteen to twenty-five. There are also two guys but none of them have POV pages. What I wanted from this book I got back tenfold. I used to really like watching Terrace House on Netflix and it gave me the same feeling of just a group of people finding themselves. Nao reconnecting with her Japanese culture got to me as a Cuban American who also can't speak my parent's native language. Hyejung's story blew me out of the water. Such an emotional storyline with her parents. It's funny when I explained to mom her part of the story she sided with the parents while I sided with her. It has to be a generational thing. And then there is Tina who feels like she is failing at everything and just drifting. Another girl who also feels like me. Himawari House has a reflective, emotional, and kind of nostalgic feel to it. One of the best contemporary graphic novels I've ever read. Highly recommended.


What have been your favorite books so far this year?

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