If you know me, especially if you followed my 5 Before 50 posts, you know I’m a reader. I read a LOT! I’m in that season of life where kids aren’t interrupting me and my husband finally gets that I NEED to read. I’d rather binge read than binge watch any time.
I’ve been tracking my reading on Goodreads (tsitra) since 2013 and each year they allow you to set a personal reading challenge. For 2022 my challenge was 50 books. I managed to double that this year by reading 100 books.
Don’t get too impressed. I’ve discovered over the past couple of years that I have a guilty pleasure called beach reads. Maybe it’s all the salt air I’m breathing now but I love chick literature set at the beach. I started with southern focused beaches but now any ol’ beach will do.
If you connect with me on Goodreads, you’ll see I rarely leave a written review but I do leave a rating (standard 5 star system). When I rate books, I rate them for the genre in which they are written. For example, I may give a beach read 4 stars and a serious novel 4 stars as well. That doesn’t mean they are equal in quality, they are just good for their type of writing.
Even with my
obsession enjoyment of light fiction, I read a wide range of books. I also get the Amazon First Reads list each month and have found some great authors through those books. The following are the books and authors that I enjoyed the most this past year.
If you are an Amazon Prime member and don’t get the First Reads email each month, click here for information. It’s a free program and I’ve found some great books and authors through it.
Masters of Literature
- The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman – It’s a Alice Hoffman..strange, fascinating…she is just amazing.
- Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay – Compelling, disturbing…rawest book I’ve ever read. I actually listened to this as an audio book on a drive to North Carolina. Ms. Gay was the narrator which may have lent to the intimate, emotional atmosphere of the book.
- And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou – A collection of some of her poetry. You’ll probably recognize a few of the poems.
Through a couple of Amazon First Reads I found I really enjoy reading about cultural differences. Both of these authors write from a perspective of an Indian heritage.
Other Great Authors
When I enjoy a book, I tend to seek out everything that author has written. Some of these I had read before but several I just discovered this year.
Liane Moriarty – of Big Little Lies fame. She usually has an interesting twist in her books.
Elin Hilderbrand – I read nine of her books last year. I found two more to read in 2022
Barbara O’Neal – I think I discovered her through an Amazon First Reads list. She is fantastic.
- When We Believed in Mermaids
- The Art of Inheriting Secrets
- The Lost Girls of Devon
- The Garden of Happy Endings
- Write My Name Across the Sky
Mary Ellen Taylor – Another author I found through First Reads.
- The Brighter the Light
- The Words We Whisper
- At the Corner of King Street
- Winter Cottage
- Spring House – I accidently read this first. Winter Cottage was first but both are almost stand alone books.
- The View from Prince Street – This is another I read out of order. I haven’t read the first book in the series yet.
I was a bit late to jump on this bandwagon. Some of her stuff is fantastic, some of it I don’t really like. Below is what I read this year and my quick take on each.
- Reminders of Him – Heart-wrenching
- Layla – Excellent, my favorite so far of hers. I’m rarely surprised by a book (or movie) but this one got me!
- Regretting You – A lot going on and some parts hard to believe, but still a good read.
- Too Late – Um, dark. Turned me off a bit. For some reason it’s not on the Kindle store anymore and the paperback is stupid expensive as of this writing…so no link.
- It Ends with Us – Thought provoking. Be sure to read why she wrote it
- It Starts with Us – Not as interesting as It Ends with Us but it does provide some closure.
I was a Kindle Unlimited member for a few months. Her name kept popping up after I read a few of Hoover’s books. She’s definitely a modern (spicy) romance writer but her dialogs are sassy. I’ve read a few more than below but you’ll get the drift of her writing.
- Pretend You’re Mine – I think this one was my favorite.
- Things We Never Got Over
- By a Thread
- The Worst Best Man
The Beach Reads
Again, my guilty pleasure. What I’ve found I’ve enjoyed about these authors is they focus more on the female friendships and family connections than the romance aspect. I believe all of these are ‘clean’ fiction. These were all set in Florida so I guess my ‘an ol’ beach’ comment wasn’t accurate this year!
- Gulf Coast (Blackbird Beach) series – Cause who doesn’t want to inherit an inn on the beach?
- Compass Key series – I might have joined a sorority if I’d known I could be given part of an island resort.
- Coconut Key Series
- Shellseeker Beach Series – I think this was my favorite. A bit bittersweet since the last book in the series came out right after Hurricane Ian.
- Sugar Sand Beach Series – Another inherited inn at the beach to fix up.
And in case you are wondering, my goal for 2023 is 70 books. I’d like to up my fiction quality and get some non-fiction off my bookshelves so I’m going to try to choose some deeper books every now and then.