I joined the Orlando Mom Collective team in July when my family and I sold our Michigan home and moved to Central Florida. I stepped into the role of Executive Assistant and took over our Book Club. It has been a true honor to read along side of all our book club moms in the last 5 months! We’d love to have you join us in 2023!
I decided to reveal my top 10 books of the year. Despite reading more romance novels than any other genre, I surprised myself with how few romance novels made my top 10. Apparently I need to read more mystery and suspense novels in 2023! Over the last year I have read 172 books totaling 51,218 pages (and the year isn’t done yet)! Follow me on Goodreads to see how many books I finish in 2022! I’d recommend any of the books on this list – I rated them all 5 stars on Goodreads. Most of them are stand alone books and if they are not, I’ve included the titles of the books you would need to read first. If the holiday season still has you in the mood for Christmas books, check out my top 5 books to get you into the holiday spirit.
It was not easy to develop this list because I read so much that I loved this year, but here it goes:
Coming in at #10… The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose –
Sarah Morgan is a successful defense attorney in Washington DC and her husband, Adam, is a struggling writer. Seeking the solitude of their forest cabin, Adam leaves DC to try to write his next best seller. Adam has been at the forest cabin so many times without Sarah that he has developed an intimate relationship with Kelly, a beautiful woman who lives in town. Their secret affair is soon public knowledge when Kelly is found dead in the bed of that forest cabin. Adam is arrested for her murder and Sarah takes on her most difficult case yet, defending her husband for the murder of his mistress. Can Sarah discover the truth about what happened that night at the cabin? Can Adam convince his wife that he is not the killer? If Adam did not kill Kelly, who did? Can the real killer be brought to justice? In the end, a twist that I never saw coming changes everything.
Book #9: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager –
When Emma left Camp Nightingale fifteen years ago she thought she would never be back. Her friends had gone missing and guilt about that night haunted Emma. Camp Nightingale closed and no one has been back. She is now a rising star in the New York art community, famous for paintings that have her three friends hidden in the depths of the paintings. But when Emma is asked to come back to Camp Nightingale, she is forced to face her memory of the night Allison, Viviane and Natalie disappeared. Last she saw her friends, Viviane was closing the door behind them as they walked out into the night, never to be seen or heard from again. In the presence of others that where there that last summer, Emma begins to put together the pieces of that night together. Dark revelations about the camp’s origin puts Emma and some new campers on a potentially deadly path to find Allison, Natalie and Viviane.
Millie has just been released from jail. She is desperate for a job and a place to sleep that isn’t the back seat of her car. Her luck finally pays off when the rich Nina Winchester hires her to be her housemaid. Millie is expected to take care of the Winchester’s house as well as take care of their young daughter. But day after day, Nina goes out of her way to make messes for Millie to clean, tells lies about their schedule and gives Millie tasks to do that are unnecessary. Millie begins to daydream about Nina’s handsome husband, Andrew, and how it would feel to take over Nina’s life. One poorly scheduled evening out leads to a turn of events that Millie and Andrew never saw coming.
This beautifully written biography of the fictional Evelyn Hugo, makes it hard to believe she is not a real person. Monique Grant is a struggling magazine reporter that is hired to write a tell all book about Hollywood actress, Evelyn Hugo. Evelyn is determined to tell the story about her long career in Hollywood and why she left Hollywood in the ‘80s. Of course she covers the 7 husbands Evelyn has famously had along the way as well as the greatest love of her life. As they spend more time together, Monique feels a deep connection to the Hollywood star. However, as their time together comes to an end, Evelyn reveals her darkest secret that connects her and Monique in a way that entangles their lives forever.
Book #6: The Guest List by Lucy Foley –
A perfectly planned, elegant wedding on a remote island off the coast of Ireland. What could possibly go wrong? Murder, that’s what. The only problem is you don’t know who was murdered or who did it until everyone’s secrets and motives have been revealed. Every character is a potential suspect and everyone is a potential target. No detail from a character’s past is too small and might be the one clue to unraveling this mystery. Is it the bride? She’s obsessed with her outward appearance and may be in love with someone other than her future husband. Is it the plus one? She is growing more and more paranoid about her husband’s relationship with the bride. Is it the wedding planner? She and her husband own the wedding venue and know the island better than anyone. Is it the best man? He obviously has secrets he would like to keep buried and when those secrets are threatened to be revealed he must react to protect himself. Is it the bridesmaid? Her older sister is the bride, she obviously is disinterested in the wedding and is also carrying a heavy secret. Who is the body in the woods and why was he or she murdered?
Book #5: The Inmate by Freida McFadden –
Brooke Sullivan has moved back to her hometown after her parents died with her son and she started a new job as a nurse practitioner at a men’s maximum security prison. The rules of the prison are simple: treat the men with respect, don’t share personal details about your life with the prisoners and don’t get friendly with them. Too bad Brooke has broken these rules with one of the prisoners already. Shane Nelson is Brooke’s ex-boyfriend and he is in prison for life… for Brooke’s attempted murder. And her testimony sent him there. Faced with her past, Brooke begins to question what actually happened the night Shane tried to kill her. And when she crosses paths with a friend from their past, Brooke is sure she’s made a horrible mistake.
Book #4: Verity by Colleen Hoover –
Lowen Ashleigh is hired to continue a series of books written by Verity Crawford. Verity has been bed bound after a car accident and is unable to deliver the remaining three books on her contract. Verity’s husband, Jeremy, offers to have Lowen come to their house to review all of Verity’s notes about the coming books. While digging through Verity’s notes, Lowen stumbles across an unpublished manuscript about Verity’s life. Each story in the manuscript depicts despicable things that Verity has done in her life. As she reads more and more, Lowen becomes afraid of the comatose woman upstairs, knowing she is capable of horrible things. As her relationship with Jeremy takes a romantic turn, the truth about Verity and her accident comes to light and a surprising discovery in the floorboards has everyone on edge. Quiet possibly the wildest book I have ever read, this book seemed to be straightforward until the very end, when you’re made to question everything you ever thought you knew about these characters. And then the bonus chapter was released and THAT ending was even crazier than the first. I am still confused. I need a sequel book ASAP!
Is it cheating to put these two in my number 3 spot? Potentially, but it’s my list, so my rules… These two really do need to be read together because It Starts with Us delivers on the happy ending that It Ends with Us promises. Lily Bloom is living in Boston, dreaming of opening a flower shop when she meets resident physician, Ryle, on a rooftop. That evening the two of them bond and Ryle reveals that while he doesn’t want a relationship he is so attracted to Lily that he’d like to sleep with her. Lily turns him down, but that is not the end of their story. Ryle continues to pursue Lily as life has them cross paths again. Ryle eventually admits that despite his past distain for relationships, he wants to pursue something with Lily. An uneventful dinner out leads to a run in with the man that Lily once loved, Atlas Corrigan. Lily’s teenage relationship with Atlas ended suddenly, leaving them both brokenhearted. Despite their past, Lily and Ryle move forward with their relationship. But when an accident in the kitchen ends with a black eye, will Lily be able to forgive Ryle’s actions? Will Atlas’ reappearance in her life derail her future with Ryle? Is Ryle the man for Lily? Or is Atlas her future?
Book #2: When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn –
While this is technically the 6th in the Bridgerton series (look for a post of my ranking of these when Netflix announces the third season), this book, along with all the others, can stand on its own. The characters from earlier books come and go, so you always know what is happening with the other Bridgerton siblings (there are 8 of them in total), but never in a way that takes away from the main couple. Michael Stirling fell in love with Francesca Bridgerton at first sight. As one of London’s most infamous rakes, this is quite a big deal for the young Michael. The only downside is that the first time Michael meets Francesca happens 36 hours before her wedding to his cousin, John. When John dies suddenly (in a scene that had me crying uncontrollably), Michael inherits his title and the home that Francesca lives in. Francesca continues to see Michael as the best friend and confidant he remained for her entire marriage to John, until one night changes everything for them both.
And my favorite book of 2022 was…
Feyre is living with the aftermath her time Under the Mountain and has begun her new, immortal life in the Spring Court with Tamlin. Trying to cope with her new life, Feyre finds no comfort in her life at Spring Court. Tamlin keeps her in the dark about all of the terrible aftermath of Amarantha’s demise and the new threat to Pyranthian. Feyre’s days are limited to the walls of their Spring Court home and planning her wedding, as she is literally locked into the manor. When the day of Tamlin and Feyre’s wedding arrives, her uncertainty about this future leads to huge wedding day jitters. Suddenly, Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court, appears and demands that she come with him for the week to fulfill her part of the bargain they made Under the Mountain. As she spends time in the Night Court, Feyre begins to question her life in Spring Court. She must decide if she is willing to risk life with Tamlin for the life that Rhysand and his Inner Circle promises her in Night Court. Time is of the essence because the threat from Hybern is real, and the king is coming whether Pyranthian is ready or not. I have never physically responded to a book like this… ever. I laughed, I cried and the last 7 pages literally gave me the chills and goosebumps, call me beyond invested in these characters. This book cannot be read before ACOTAR, but I recommend the entire series!
A Caribbean Heiress in Paris by Adriana Herrera
The Love Cliche Series by Emma St. Clair
The Fine Print by Lauren Asher
Runaway Groomsman by Meghan Quinn
Love Me and the 303 Series by Kay Cove