I read some really good books at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023. Rather than post long reviews of each, I decided to give a few sentences about what really stood out to me.
The last two books of 2022:
REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES by Shelby Van Pelt: The title refers to the Giant Pacific Octopus, specifically Marcellus, a
captive specimen at a Pacific Northwest aquarium, and one of the Point of View characters. I listened to this one on audio and loved it! It’s fun and funny. Besides Marcellus, the POV characters include a widow in her sixties and a young man searching for his biological father.
LOVE LETTERING by Kate Clayborn: A young woman who does custom hand lettering/calligraphy is blocked. She’s also developed a bad habit of weaving secret messages into some of her projects. She’s shocked when one of her clients wants to know how she knew his marriage was doomed. I read this as an ebook and loved it. The writing is beautiful and the characters engaging. (Open door sex. I often skip/skim sex scenes, but this one actually added to the character’s growth and I found myself actually–gasp–reading it!).
ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS by Nicole Deese: This won all kinds of awards and rave reviews and I finally got around to reading it and I’m so glad I did! A faith-filled romance about a social media influencer who volunteers at a home for teens and young adults transitioning out of foster care finds herself changed forever. I read this as an ebook and plan to read the next book in the series.
THE PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION by Emily Henry: I’d read Emily Henry’s books before and and after this one, but hadn’t gotten around to this one yet. Two best friends since college have vacationed together every summer for twelve years until an unfortunate incidence in Croatia. Two years later, she’s determined to get their relationship back and invites him along to Palm Springs. In July. What could go wrong? I read this in paperback. (Open door sex that I skimmed.)
THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY by Gabrielle Zevin. When this was released as a movie last year, I saw lots of people rave that it was one of their favorite books of all time. I listened to it on audio and while I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t call it an all time favorite. I’m not even sure it’ll make my Top Ten of the year. Though it definitely could. It tugs at the heart strings and it’s set in a bookstore. What’s not to love? It covers several years in the life of A.J. Fikry and his adopted daughter who was abandoned in his bookstore as a two-year-old. I also watched the movie after I finished the book and the movie followed the book very closely. Both are worth the time.
THE CARTOGRAPHERS by Peng Shepherd: This is another that was raved about and it sounded intriguing. A young woman cartographer’s career was ruined seven years ago by her father, a renowned and respected cartographer, over a cheap, mass-produced road map from the 1930s. But when her father and another New York Public Library employee are found dead, Nell realizes that map may be a lot more valuable than she thought. This has a fantasy element I wasn’t expecting, but I still enjoyed it. I read it as an ebook and found the ability to enlarge the included maps and sketches very helpful.
A DAY LIKE THIS by Kelley McNeil: I read this for a book club. The member who recommend it said she enjoyed it because the author kept her guessing until the end. I got some inklings of the solution a bit before that, but I still found it a satisfying read. A mom of a young girl is in a traffic accident and when she wakes up, the doctor and hospital and EMS responders insist there was no daughter in her car. When her husband arrives at the hospital, he tells her they lost their baby in a miscarriage over five years ago. This sends Annie on a quest to find the daughter she knows exists. I enjoyed this one and read the ebook in a day and a half.
Have you read any of these? What have you been reading? Any recommendations? I’d love to hear from you!