Favourite Books of 2022

Favourite Books of 2022

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re having a fantastic day wherever in the world you’re reading this from - and if not, I hope things start looking up for you. It’s a sunny 37° here in Melbourne and I am not used to this kind of heat anymore! But I’m very thankful that I can sit inside with the aircon to keep me cool.

Okay - on with the blog post.

I recently started posting again on my YouTube channel - yay! - and figured: ‘why not adapt my YouTube videos and write them as blog posts?’ I was always struggling to post different content, but some people prefer watching and some people prefer reading, so here I am giving you both options. 

In 2022, I read a total of 223 books… What on Earth? I honestly don’t quite know how that happened. But of those 223 books, only 16 of them made it onto my favourites list for the year. Let’s go through them, shall we? Fair warning, this is going to be a long post. Maybe grab some snacks.

These books are listed in the order that I read them throughout the year 🙂



Strings Attached - Riley Hart

Tropes - Age gap, best friend’s dad, failed casual relationship, feel good romance, friends to lovers

I have devoured and loved pretty much everything by Riley Hart, so I wasn’t too surprised to see this one on my list. A few days before graduation, Zander goes out to a bar and meets the gorgeous Harrison. As it typically goes in a romance novel, they enjoyed a night together before going their separate ways. It isn’t until Zander’s best friend tries to introduce Zander to his father, that 
Zander
realises he’s kind of had sex with his best friend’s dad. 

Strings Attached was definitely more of a feel good romance than I was expecting! I didn’t think it was going to be high angst, but typically with best-friend’s-dad romances (at least that ones I’ve read) or even just age-gap romances in particular, it seems like the climax of the story is generally the revelation of the MCs relationship to their friends/loved ones and then dealing with the fallout. But this book was refreshing in that it didn’t follow that cliche layout! We got that plotline out of the way in the beginning of the book and instead got to watch our characters fall in love with one another as the novel progressed. 



Love in a Truck Stop Bathroom - Sebastian O’Connor

Tropes - Colleagues, failed casual relationship, feel good romance, novella, two-person love triangle

I remember reading this one because I was in such a
bad mood on this day. My friend and I had driven about
30 minutes to go to the beach, but in my haste to pack everything, I left my Kindle at home! I was so annoyed
that I hadn’t realised until we arrived, I was tempted to
ask her if we could go back home to get it. (Spoiler alert:
I didn’t do that.) I ended up reading on the Kindle app
on my phone; not ideal since it kills the battery so
quickly, but what was I to do? Take in the scenery? *scoffs* 

I’d been on a bit of a novella-binge and found this recommendation through a Facebook group. Let me tell you - do not let the title of this book throw you off in any way. It’s one of the sweetest books I have ever read, and I’ve reread it several times already!

This book follows August and West who are both teachers in their small town’s high school. They’ve both got a small crush on the other, but haven’t really done anything about it because they’re both messaging someone on a dating app. What they don’t realise? They’re messaging each other. They’re crushing on each other in person and online! Although via their online personas, they’re definitely doing much more than just crushing… 

I truly don’t know how Sebastian O’Connor managed to construct a beautiful relationship, give us backstory, character development and enough spice to keep us all happy within a 146 page novella. 



Iris - Eden Finley

Tropes - Failed casual relationship, forbidden
relationships, friends to lovers, military, protagonist gets injured

The first time I read this book, I fell in love with it. A few months later when the sequel came out, I thought for sure that I was misremembering my feelings about it. I was quickly proved wrong when I reread it before delving into Rogue. Iris. Is. Phenomenal. 

Iris (I Require Intense Supervision) was pretty much the class clown of the military. He’s since been recruited by a black-ops firm, Mike Bravo, and this particular mission is to extract a military team from a job that went tits up. No one is more surprised than Iris when the sole survivor of the extraction is the golden boy of his military class, Brock “Saint” Harlow. Fraternisation between teammates is supposed to be forbidden… right?

Iris and Saint are officially my favourite couple out of all of Eden Finley’s works. And that includes the CU Hockey series! This book included so many tropes that I love, so it was pretty much a match made in heaven.



Savage Rivals - Becca Steele

Tropes - Athletes, awakened sexuality, enemies to
lovers, forbidden relationships, set in high school, protagonist gets injured

It was honestly kind of fate that I read this when I did.
I did the whole, ‘Hey Siri, pick a number between # and
#’ and she picked this book, but it hadn’t been released
yet. Fast forward to a few weeks later, I was thinking maybe I should finally pick this book up… so I asked
Siri to pick a number and she picked this book. Again. 

Savage Rivals follows Asher and Levi, the captains of their respective schools’ soccer teams. Everyone knows their enemies, they haven’t really tried to hide it. But one night, everything changed. Lines were crossed that no one even knew existed. After that, everything changed. 

This book was so absorbing that before I knew it, I was 80% of the way through the book. Asher and Levi will forever be some of my favourite MCs. Everything about their relationship from the rivalry, to the chemistry, to their bond, was perfect. If someone is in the mood for an enemies to lovers romance, I always recommend this one.



Top Notch Boyfriend - Lauren Blakely

Tropes - Failed casual relationship, feel good romance, novella, strangers

This novella can be found on Prolific Works for those who would like to read it. 

This short story kicked off my Lauren Blakely binge, that’s
how much I fell in love with it. But I must confess… I don’t remember either of our characters’ names. It happens a lot with the books I read. But essentially, we’re following two characters who have been burned by love before, so they’ve kind of sworn off the whole relationship thing. That is until they meet each other at a charity event and their connection is so strong, so when one of our MCs needs a fake boyfriend while he’s in Vegas? Who else would he ask but the stunning guy he just met who doesn’t want a relationship?

I remember seeing an author’s note about this book that it would be getting turned into a full-length novel eventually, but I’ve yet to see any more updates about it. 



A Guy Walks into My Bar - Lauren Blakely

Tropes - Athlete romance, failed casual relationship

Hi, Lauren Blakely books. Long time, no see. 

This novel follows two more characters whose names I
can’t remember… Apologies. I can definitely summarise
this novel without using names, surely. A Guy Walks into
My Bar is set in London - how cool - where one of our MCs works as a bartender, and the other is an American hockey
star only in town for five days. 

Our bartender has one rule - don’t go home with the customers. But when the chemistry between them burns hotter than anything they’ve ever felt before, he begins to question what could possibly go wrong with having a no-strings-attached fling before our hockey player returns to the states? (When it comes to a romance novel? The answer is everything.) 

I really enjoyed this book. The blurb was so enticing and I wasn’t disappointed! It was funny and flirty, but it was also vulnerable and beautiful. I loved seeing our MCs realise that falling for each other was inevitable despite what they wanted to believe. 



Egotistical Puckboy - Eden Finley & Saxon James

Tropes - Athletes, enemies to lovers, failed casual
relationship

This is one of those books that I need to reread, because
I remember absolutely loving this book - it’s my favourite in
the
Puckboys series so far - but I barely remember anything that happened in the book. (Which is kind of a bonus,
because it’ll be like reading it for the first time. But it’s also annoying when I’m trying to write a review like this one and I have
no idea what to say.)

The first in a new series, Egotistical Puckboy follows rivals Ezra Palaszczuk and Antonn Hayes. Both are gay men playing professional hockey, but while Anton has carefully cultivated his reputation over the years, Ezra is more than happy to have his exploits printed all over the tabloids. But their animosity towards one another doesn’t mean they can’t notice how attractive the other is… and it definitely doesn’t stop them from craving a repeat after they have a one-night stand. 

Ezra and Anton are up there with my all-time favourite couples from Eden & Saxon. Between Iris & Saint, and Beck & Jacobs, they’re definitely sitting in the top three. 



Moth - Lily Mayne

Tropes - Enemies to lovers, failed casual relationship,
first time scene, forced proximity, grumpy/sunshine, monster, protagonist gets injured

Just an FYI that this is book five in Lily Mayne’s Monstrous series. While you don’t have to read them in order, I personally think it will make more sense if you do as there are repeating characters in each book. 

For a bit of context: Twenty years ago, a tear appeared between Earth and the monster world. Curious creatures that they are, the monsters infiltrated Earth and now nothing is the same as it was. Humans went in two directions - those who followed the military now live in cramped cities along the coastline, while others decided to brave the Wastes (as mainland USA has now been dubbed) and live their lives as Raiders. 

In this book, we’re following Charlie (a human guy with the military) and Moth (a prickly half-human, half-monster) as they are searching the Wastes looking for a missing raider. The longer they’re out in the Wastes with only each other for company and protection, Charlie begins to realise that there’s a reason why Moth is so closed-off and angry. He’s determined to uncover Moth’s secrets and do whatever he can to help him - even though Moth insists that he can’t be helped. 

After reading this book, I just wanted to give both of our characters a giant hug. Moth really hasn’t had the easiest run of things, so I was so happy to see him find his person in Charlie. We previously met Charlie in book two (Edin), so we knew that he wasn’t always the happy-go-lucky kind of guy, but I loved getting to see Charlie opening up and being a bit more vulnerable with Moth, as well as seeing his protective side flare up when it comes to Moth. 



Imago - N.R. Walker

Tropes - Feel good romance, strangers

I don’t know why I was so hesitant to go into this book because I’ve yet to read an N.R. Walker book that I haven’t liked, and this one was no different. 

Imago follows lepidopterist Lawson Gale as he travels to Tasmania on a search for a butterfly that might not even
exist. On his travels, he happens to meet Local Parks and Wildlife officer, Jack Brighton, who just so happens to live and work in the
same area Lawson will be investigating. From the get-go, Jack knows that he’s met someone special in Lawson. Just how special is where the fun begins in this feel-good romance. 

I absolutely loved this book. It’s an incredibly quick read, and both Lawson and Jack are such easy characters to fall in love with. I’ve already gone back and re-read some of my favourite scenes from this book and its sequel, Imagines. This series also has a crossover with the Red Dirt series in a short novella.



Let Me In - Luna David

Tropes - Age gap, daddy/boy romance, first time scene, good make-up scene, made me cry

I’m honestly kind of surprised that this book has turned out to be such a favourite of mine. When I first started reading MM romance novels, I stayed away from daddy/boy romances because I didn’t think they’d be my cup of tea. But this one. Ugh, it was just so good

Liam has been forced to look after his mother and
sister since he was young due to his mother’s illness. When he places an ad on an app called The Boys Club, he gets a hit from his dream man… only to find there’s almost 600 miles between them. Despite the odds, Liam perseveres and travels to meet his daddy, Cash Moreau, only to be pushed away. It takes Liam leaving for Cash to realise that he may have just let the thing he’s been looking for slip through his fingers. Cash needs to find Liam and make things right before it’s too late for them. 

Despite how much I cried in this book, it’s rather low angst. It was just written to tug perfectly on your heartstrings and make you feel all of the emotion our two MCs were feeling. Book two has since been released which follows one of Liam’s friends, Mattie. I’m now eagerly awaiting book three!



You & Me - Tal Bauer

Tropes - Awakened sexuality, character arc, feel good romance, friends to lovers, grief/death

Are we really surprised to see a Tal Bauer book on this lost? Not at all. This also isn’t the only Tal Bauer book
on this list, so stay tuned. 

After his wife passes away, Luke’s relationship with his son only worsens. He can never seem to do the right thing, despite how hard he tries. Landon, on the other hand, seems to be the perfect father; he’s put together,
he’s confident, and he’s doing it all on his own. Luke and Landon’s sons are best friends and both on the football team, which brings the dads together when Luke tries once again to heal his relationship with his son. As Luke and Landon’s friendship develops, the father and son relationship begins to strengthen. The only unexpected development? Luke’s feelings for Landon. He’s never been attracted to a man before, so now it’s time to figure out what they mean, and if he wants to act on it when everything in his life has finally started to fall into place.

I absolutely adored this book and have re-read it on multiple occasions. Despite it being a romance and knowing that these characters were quite literally written for one another, it felt so real and like we were watching two people who were created for one another, who were placed on this Earth to find one another. Legitimate soulmates. (Annnnd now I want to read this book again. Why does this happen every time I talk about a Tal Bauer book??)



Secret Service - Tal Bauer

Tropes - Awakened sexuality, bodyguard, forbidden relationships

I’m going to convince you to read this book with one sentence, ready? This is a romance between the president of the United States of America and his Secret Service agent. 

Secret Service follows President Brennan Walker and
his Secret Service agent Reese Theriot through dual timelines - in the past, when they’re learning to fall in love,
and in the present, where Brennan has been kidnapped, and Reese has limited time to find him. 

Tal Bauer always seems capable of creating characters we can’t help but love. This book was so fun to read, definitely kept me guessing throughout the whole novel, and craving those moments of sweetness and vulnerability between Reese and Brennan. 



P.S. I Loathe You - Isla Olsen

Tropes - Enemies to lovers, failed casual relationship, forbidden relationships, sister’s ex

This book had me hooked as soon as I found out that it
was a
sister’s-ex-fiancé romance!

Wes and Devon can’t stand each other. In Wes’ opinion, the worst thing his sister ever did was agree to marry the man. Also in Wes’ opinion, the best thing his sister ever did
was call off the wedding two weeks before it was meant to happen. In Wes’ opinion, Devon is overbearing, uptight, and a bit of a snob. Who cares if he’s absolutely gorgeous and that he happens to star in some of Wes’ fantasies? And when Wes discovers that Devon has been having the exact same fantasies about him? Oh, it’s on.

I truly loved this book! I’ve read a few of Isla Olsen’s books, but this one is by far my favourite. Seeing Wes and Devon go from enemies, to enemies who might not dislike each other so much anymore and have really hot sex, to two people who’ve somehow managed to develop feelings for the other when it was absolutely the last thing they expected was a work of art. 



Playing the Player - Beth Bolden

Tropes - Athletes, awakened sexuality, fake relationships, friends to lovers

Beth Bolden was a new author for me last year, and she quickly became one of my favourites! 

Logan Banks came to Miami not only to play football,
but for the chance to live his life out of the closet. Dylan Leonard is another new player to the Miami Piranhas,
but when a water main breaks, he ends up becoming
Logan’s unexpected roommate as well. When someone from Logan’s past pops up and accuses Logan and Dylan of being more than just best friends, Dylan suggests that they play along until this person gets off of Logan’s back. But the closer they grow, the more real it feels, and the more real Logan wants it to be.

This is the second book in Beth’s Miami Piranhas series, and does not need to be read in order. I have absolutely loved every book in this series so far, and would highly recommend every single one of them.



Gravity - Tal Bauer

Tropes - Athletes, awakened sexuality, protagonist gets injured

Surprise, surprise - another Tal Bauer novel. 

Bryce Michel is the number one player in the NHL and captain of the Montréal Étoiles, but he’s keeping a giant secret from his team… which is his thoughts about
what it would feel like to be with a man. And those thoughts get directed to newbie Hunter Lacey when
they play together at the All-Star Weekend. Hunter doesn’t
think he’s anything special, he’s just trying to get through each day, expecting his dreams to fall down around him at some point. He never expected that saying hello to Bryce would turn into hours on the ice together, eating dinner together, and establishing a solid bond. Until Bryce’s lips land on his, and everything changes.

I’ve never quite related to this saying until now (for obvious reasons), but this book honestly had me by the (non-existent) balls. From the minute I picked it up, there was no way I could put it down. It featured so many tropes that I absolutely love, and each page kept me so invested in the story that everything else faded away.



Playing by the Rules - Beth Bolden

Tropes - Athletes, forbidden relationships, friends to lovers, slow burn

I told you she was one of my favourites! From the minute the tension between these characters was written in book one, I couldn’t wait to delve in and it did not disappoint.

Playing by the Rules follows the romance between a quarterback and his coach. Davis Abernathy knows that
his coaching job with the Miami Piranhas might be his last
chance to salvage his career. As an ex-quarterback himself, all he dreams of is getting back on that field. But in the meantime, his job is to coach second-year quarterback, Paxton Kelly. What Davis didn’t expect was the inexplicable bond that they both felt the moment they locked eyes. This is a line that should be easy enough not to cross, but when Pax becomes more important than resurrecting his own career, those lines get blurrier and blurrier until they may just fade altogether. 

I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t get enough. I feel like it’s rare to say this about a book, but there is absolutely nothing I would change. A romance between a quarterback and his coach? A slow burn for the ages? Despite all romance characters being written for their counterpart, I love finding books that feel so real that their characters literally seem like soulmates, and this is one of them. 

 

And that's all of them! My favourite reads of 2022. I know that this blog post was incredibly long, so thank you if you made it all the way to the end (even if you just skimmed it to see which titles were there, you still made it to this page)! 

If you want to watch the YouTube video instead, you can check that one out by clicking here.

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1 comment

I loved this list so much! Having already read a handful of these, I was curious to read what you thought of them, and why you picked these as your favourites (a big Eden and Saxon fan, I was interested to see which of theirs you picked). And I’ve now added quite a few more books to my to-be-read list (which was already metaphorically ready to topple over, so thanks a bunch for that 😉).
Thanks so much for sharing!

Larissa

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