Books I Read in 2022 (pt. 1)

So in 2022, I have taken on the yearly Goodreads Reading Challenge. For me, part of the challenge was to get back into reading for fun. I’ve been beta reading and volunteer-editing for friends and other writers for so long exclusively instead of reading things I can get absorbed in and enjoy that for a hot minute there I was beginning to worry I couldn’t take off the beta hat and just sink my teeth into a story.

Hence the reading challenge!

I started it in 2021. My goal that year was ten books, which isn’t much but it’s a huge step up from zero. But I found that once I finished the ten books, I stopped altogether. So for 2022, I set my goal higher in the hopes that it would keep me reading throughout the year. 30 books! Still not much, but I’m a slow reader, so how these other challengers churn out a book a day is way beyond my skill level.

I also decided at the beginning I would be writing reviews for most of the books I read, and that I would make a list. So here is the list of all the books I read during the first half of the year.

I have arranged them in order of How much I enjoyed them, from most to least. These are ALL M/M (male x male queer fiction). Most of the books on this list have explicit sex scenes. Some may have difficult subject matter, such as rape and/or abuse.

But keep in mind that they were all good! If a book is low quality in my opinion (cardboard characters, hella problematic, and/or way too bogged down with exposition and wordiness) I don’t typically make it past the sample. Many of them are free on Kindle Unlimited as well! So I encourage you to check them out and support the authors if you into m/m!

(The ones without reviews are either because I felt too critical and didn’t want to shit on someone’s book, or I didn’t feel strongly one way or another, or I happened to read them during the hectic period of my cross-province move, and didn’t have the energy to find words for my thoughts.)

And here are the books of part 1 of my 2022 reading challenge!

Huzzah!!

Kidnapped by the Pirate

(Standalone)
By Kiera Andrews
Romance: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Entertainment Factor: 10/10
Pros: Pirates, steamy and dripping with chemistry, a touch of adventure
Cons: There’s no book 2


Free Hand

(Book 1 of Works and Irons)By E.M. Lindsey
Romance: 10/10
Plot: 8/10
Entertainment factor: 10/10
Pros: diverse, romantic, found family
Cons: A little cheesy in moments

Here’s the Review:


King of the Dark

(Book 1 of The Prince’s Assassin)
By Ariana Nash
Romance: 8/10
Plot: 9/10
Entertainment Factor: 10/10
Pros: Deep, Well written, Fucking amazing characters
Cons: A little horror-movie-itis (Weird bad decisions by characters to progress the plot.)

Here’s the Review:


Threshold

(Book 2 of Whyborne & Griffin)
By Jordan L. Hawk
Romance: 7/10
Plot: 7/10
Entertainment Factor: 9/10
Pros: Exciting, horrory, and hot
Cons: Narration can get a little silly.

Here’s the Review:


Hostile Takeover

(Book 1 of Hostile Takeover)By Lucy Lennox
Romance: 10/10
Plot: 7/10
Entertainment factor: 8/10
Pros: Hot, good characterizations, entertaining
Cons: Info dumps, cringy dialogue

Here’s the Review:


Stormhaven

(Book 3 of Whyborne & Griffin)
By Jordan L. Hawk
Romance: 7/10
Plot: 6/10
Entertainment Factor: 7/10
Pros: Awesome themes and a satisfying romance arc
Cons: Plot felt a little aimless at times

Here’s the Review:

Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk: A Review

Stormhaven is the third book in the Whyborne and Griffin series by Jordan L. Hawk. These books are not your average paranormal mystery. Though they carry the whimsy and voice of a cozy mystery, they are steeped in Lovecraftian darkness, and interwoven with unapologetic homoeroticism. Whyborne, the POV character for the books, is a bookish…

Keep reading

Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas

(Book 1 of Baal’s Heart)
By Bey Deckard
Romance: 6/10
Plot: 6/10
Entertainment Factor: 6/10
Pros: Some incredibly steamy moments, Poly relationship, quite pirate
Cons: Conflict points that don’t go anywhere, Relationship arc left me disappointed a number of times.


All in With the Duke

(Book 1 of Gambling on Love)
By Ava March
Romance 7/10
Plot: 5/10
Entertainment Factor: 6/10
Pros: Tropes, chemistry, pace
Cons: Weak ending

Here’s the Review:


Smoke & Mirrors

(Book 1 of Gilded Lily)
By Vesper St. Clair
Romance: 6/10
Plot: 7/10
Entertainment Factor: 7/10
Pros: Good story, fascinating characters, and hot as fuck
Cons: Weird sentence structure, sappy/cheesy romance moments, and info dumps.

Here’s the Review:


Out of the Shadows

(Book 3 of Silver Foxes)
By Ali Ryecart
Romance: 7/10
Plot: 6/10
Entertainment value: 7/10
Pros: good chemistry, plenty of conflict
Cons: felt longer than it needed to be.


Kneading You

(Standalone)
By C.S. Poe
Romance: 8/10
Plot: 7/10
Entertainment Factor: 7/10
Pros: Adorable, quick and easy read, lovable characters
Cons: Too Simple, lack of conflict


The Marquess of Gorsewall Manor

(Book 1 of After the Swan’s Nest)
By Adella J Harris
Romance: 6/10
Plot: 7/10
Entertainment Factor: 6/10
Pros: Well Written, with fascinating main character and solid story.
Cons: Over-explaining leaves the climax anticlimactic.

Here’s the Review:


Wicked Heat

(Book 1 of Chicago Heat)
By Ella Frank
Romance: 7/10
Plot: 5/10
Entertainment factor: 6/10
Pros: Simple, interesting characters, easy to read, decent chemistry
Cons: The conflict seemed self-solving, Plot felt superficial


Hot Wings

(Book 2 of The Hot Cannolis)
By Eli Easton + Tara Lain
Romance: 6/10
Plot: 7/10
Entertainment Factor: 6/10
Pros: Great Pacing, Actually makes an MC work to redeem shitty behaviour.
Cons: Dialogue seemed caricaturish, internalized homophobia cringey moments


The Henchmen of Zenda

(Standalone)
By KJ Charles
Romance: 7/10
Plot: 8/10
Entertainment Factor: 5/10
Pros: Charming as fuck prose. Steamy sex scenes and it’s easy to fall in love with the main characters.
Cons: Info dump at the start. Heavy on the politics and intrigue.

Here’s my Review:


A Hundred Thousand Words

(Standalone)
By Nyrae Dawn
Romance: 7/10
Plot: 6/10
Entertainment Factor: 7/10
Pros: Realistic relationship dynamics, and fucking amazing characters
Cons: Formatting/technical errors. Some convos drag.

Here’s the Review:

A Hundred Thousand Words: Book Review

You may notice that I rated this book kinda on the low end of ‘good’. At least that’s how I interpret three star ratings. But since most of my complaints are boring technical shit, I’m going to focus on what I liked about the book because I feel like this book is worth a read…

Keep reading

The Ghost of Ellwood

(Book 1 of Ivy Grove)By Jaclyn Osborne
Romance: 6/10
Plot: 4/10
Entertainment Factor: 6/10
Pros: Cute story, cute characters, cute romance
Cons: Wordy, unrelatable emotional twists, plot feels aimless

Here’s the Review:


Shai

(Book 1 of Twisted Web)
By H.L. Night
Romance: 5/10
Plot: 7/10
Entertainment Factor: 5/10
Pros: Fascinating characters, some super hot moments, and some interesting plot choices
Cons: Inconsistent characterization, Developments and progress feel unearned.


Voyageurs

(Standalone)
By Kiera Andrews
Romance: 6/10
Plot: 6/10
Entertainment Factor: 6/10
Pros: Sweet, simple romance
Cons: Petulant MC, and not very immersive. Narrative was too cheesy for me.


The Earl of Klesamor Hall

(Book 2 of After the Swan’s Nest)
By Adella J Harris
Romance: 8/10
Plot: 5/10
Entertainment Factor: 6/10
Pros: Still well written. Romance starts out very strong and very compelling.
Cons: Characters behave strangely and make uncharacteristically bad decisions


Reading Kiera Andrews had to be the biggest surprise for me. Her writing is quality, and she does a lot of themes that I love to read, but for the life of me, I could not seem to enjoy her books. I tried one in 2021 that I gave up on halfway through. Then, wanting really badly to like her, I tried Voyageurs this year, but even though it was good, I felt like I just wasn’t her audience. It didn’t speak to me the way I wanted it to.

And then I read her pirate book. Of course it had to be a pirate book. My name is Pyrate on Discord for a reason—I may have a teensy bit of a pirate obsession—and I fell instantly in love with that book and the characters. For me, this is exciting for two reasons: one, fuck yeah pirates, and two, this means I can enjoy Kiera Andrews books, I just need to find the ones that speak to me! So I snagged a few more for my to-be-read pile and I can’t wait to dig in in the second half of 2022!

Oh, also I’m posting this on Canada day, so Happy Canada day to all my fellow Canadians out there!


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