When you finish a book, sometimes you’re ready to move on and jump right into reading the next one on your list. It’s not that it was a bad book, but it might have left you feeling just a bit “meh”. Maybe the characters didn’t resonate with you, the story dragged on in places, or the genre just wasn’t your jam. These are the books you probably won’t recommend or the ones you may forget about in a year or two. Your favorite books, however, leave you with a hangover that you actually don’t mind. After you turn that final page, you’re left in a blissful haze, still thinking about the world you just left behind. You’ll want to return to its pages almost the moment you finish. You’ll tell everyone you know (and maybe even unsuspecting strangers) that they absolutely need to read this book immediately. It will stick with you for life and has earned a permanent spot on your shelves—and in your heart.
You don’t often come by favorite books, but when you do, it’s like meeting a friend you’ll have for life. This year, our team has been fortunate enough to add several books to their lists of favorites. These are the books we’ve read this year that made a lasting impression:
My favorite books are the ones that captivate me from the first chapter, and as soon as I picked up Real Easy, I truly couldn’t put it down. I swear I finished it in record time and it was a story that stuck with me long after I flipped the final page (and told everyone I know to grab a copy immediately). Chilling and hopeful, all wrapped in one.
Samantha is a seasoned dancer at the Lovely Lady strip club. Though she knows better than to take new dancers under her wing, she has empathy for a newcomer and offers her a ride home. A simple act of kindness turns deadly when the duo is run off the road, and when the police arrive, only one body is found. With both a hit and run and a missing persons case on their hands, other dancers are not only on edge, but take it upon themselves to help the investigation. Along the way, they learn valuable life lessons on love, loss, and friendship.
Other books Brett loved
I have a note in my phone of the books I’ve read in 2022, and of the 47 (45 of which are thrillers—something that’s a little scary to admit) this is the single one that I gave five stars. The concept is something I didn’t know if I’d love, but what makes it great is that the entire time I read it, I wondered what I would do if I were the main characters. It’s one of those that you can sit and debate with people, and truly scared me to my core not because what was happening was scary, but because of the concept itself. It’s the perfect time to read it given that the movie is coming out early next year.
Other books Madeline loved
For me, the hallmark of a good book is when you feel like you’re transported to a different time and place while reading it, and this book does that so beautifully. I felt like I was tramping through the marsh right alongside Kya, and I experienced all the heartbreak, fear, loneliness, and joy with her, too. The writing immediately draws you in, and the story has a little something for everyone: romance, mystery, a coming of age narrative, and a gorgeous natural setting. I flew through this book and immediately watched the movie–both did not disappoint!
Other books Jessica loved
I finished this book at the beginning of the year, and it still comes to mind as the best book I read in 2022. I mean change-your-life kind of good. Dr. Joe Dispenza is a renown lecturer and researcher on neuroscience and quantum physics, but don’t worry: the book is super approachable and he breaks down fascinating science (combined with ancient wisdom like chakras) to explain how people are living a more powerful life, and how you can too. It’s kind of like manifestation in that it’s all about replacing your current mindset to be an energetic match for the life you want, but it gives scientific basis for everything, making it the perfect read for skeptics too. Trust me, this book will have you rethinking everything, and I’ve reread it many times to take notes
Other books Josie loved
This book has been out for a few years, but I finally got my hands on it from the library a few months ago—and then read it in one sitting. I had been on the hunt for a romance novel that would make me feel the same warm and fuzzy feeling that some of my all-time favorites did, but nothing was living up… until I read this. I am a sucker for second-chance romance, friends-to-lovers, time-jump narration, and a twist—and Love and Other Words has all of those things. Plus, you’ll fall in love with the characters from the very first page and the book is beautifully written. The cherry on top? The twist is something I truly never saw coming.
Other books Jessica loved
I read more books this year than ever before and I credit books like this one from Colleen Hoover that are fast-paced and leave me screaming, crying, throwing up, and wanting more (metaphorically, of course). This more-than-just-a-love story absolutely rocked my world and it’s one of the only books that I rated five stars this year for a few reasons. It has everything I love in a book: dual POV, captivating characters, and a perfect mix of laughing, crying, and happy tears. This one gave me a massive book hangover and it was so worth it. I’m not in the business of re-reading books but Reminders of Him is my only exception and I can’t wait to pick it up again.
Other books Ashley loved
I read fantasy books like an absolute madwoman this year, and choosing just one as my favorite is almost an impossible task… or it would be if I wasn’t absolutely blown away by The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches. I’ve been really into cozy, low stakes stories this year, and this book really feels like a warm hug. If you love the found family trope, magic, and romance, this is the book for you. It left me feeling all warm and fuzzy, which isn’t always the case with fantasy books but is sometimes just what you’re looking for. I read a few five-star books this year, but this one is going down as an all-time, desert-island, can’t-live-without, ultimate favorite.
Other books Garri loved
This was one of the first books I read in 2022 and it has held its place as my best read this entire year. It has quickly become one of my all time favorite books—which isn’t an easy accomplishment. I resonated a lot with the main character Nora, who felt very lost in the world and constantly dwelled on whether or not she had made the right or wrong choices in life. This book will change your perspective on how you view your life, and if you’re like me find acceptance in some of the choices you’ve made. If you’ve ever wondered how different your life would’ve been if you had chosen a different path, then this book is for you.
Other books Hannah loved
I read this right after reading Love and Other Words because of its similar story line: boy meets girl, they fall in love, they fall apart—one of my favorite tropes—especially when it takes place in a sleepy town on a lakeshore. So obviously, I knew I would love it, but this book hit me like a ton of bricks. It's not like the rest of them. You will fall in love with Percy and Sam instantly, and their story will have you on the edge of your seat until the literal last page. I had a book hangover for at least a week, and still, I wish I could read it again for the very first time.
Other books Hailey loved