I mostly read adult contemporary romances so these make up the bulk of list. There were so many good ones to choose from. I include those I read, whether released in 2022 or not. (These are not in any particular order except non-romances are listed first.)
1. The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
Publication: May 17, 2022
**This was a wonderful debut that had me hooked from the very beginning. I really really need Loulie and Qadir to hug it out.**
Neither here nor there, but long ago…
Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.
With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.
2. A Case of Longing by Lily Baines
**Lily Baines has become one of my go-to authors for slow burns and unrequited love. Eithen broke my heart, but I still kept on reading because I needed Rose to get a happy ending.**
The one person she wants is completely off-limits to her…
Chicago detective Rose Harper prides herself on her professionalism while on duty—despite secretly being in love with her partner and best friend, Eithan Reed. Even though they’ve worked together for a decade, Rose has managed to hide her feelings for Eithan, terrified that he doesn’t return them. After all, he’s been married since they met, and she’s married to her job. And cops don’t date their partners.
But her desire won’t go away, and now Eithan is single.
To further test her resolve, they’ve landed their biggest case yet, and the addition of a beautiful FBI agent into the mix only makes things worse. Rose must navigate the complications of the case and her romantic competition to save not only the victims, but her partnership—and hope her heart survives the hardest trial she’s ever faced.
(A bonus chapter for this book awaits on Lily Baines’s website)
3. Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu
**This one is now a comfort read. I don’t know how many times I reread this last year. Matt is a total cinnamon roll and stole the show.**
Cadence Lim has transformed from behind-the-scenes number cruncher to an integral part of the sales team at Prism Realty. But despite moving up the corporate ladder, her complicated relationship with her estranged elderly father weighs heavily and she can’t seem to shake the desire for a new beginning.
At least Cadence can always lean on her favorite co-worker and co-conspirator, Matt Escanilla. A top broker with an unsuccessful love life, the forever single Matt is constantly being nagged by his loving Filipino family to settle down.
Their relationship takes a turn when a business trip lands them both in their hometown and Matt enlists Cadence as a pretend girlfriend for a family gathering. The new after-hours setting forces the two friends to see each other in a new light, and their previously buried feelings rise quickly to the surface. When competing promotions threaten to separate Cadence and Matt, these office besties must work together to round up their ambitions and families to pursue their overdue romance.
4. Catch: A Love Story by Tracy Ewens
**It’s been a long time since I’ve audibly gasped and swooned as much as I did for Jules and Tyler. It was a wonderful read, and I try to recommend it every chance I get.**
If only life were as simple as once upon a time and happily ever after.
Jules Bartlett stopped believing in fairy tales a long time ago. As captain of the Branch Fishing boats, she manages a mighty crew of twelve men and a plethora of tourists in search of deep sea adventure. Years from her divorce, Jules is content raising her daughter Bella, navigating her family’s ever-changing endeavors, and steering clear of any other men her mother assures her are out there in the sea.
Tyler Pace stopped believing Jules Bartlett would miraculously fall in love with him a long time ago. As CEO of Pace Capital and co-owner of BP Glassworks, he manages the money and anything else in Bodega Bay that needs fixing. Years after returning to a place he’d sworn off in favor of the big city, Tyler is reconciled to staying out of small-town gossip, dealing with his ailing alcoholic father, and assuring his best friend that managing love is as easy as sorting a spreadsheet.
Jules and Tyler have known each other forever, and their quick banter is both effortless and epic. When one wedding changes everything, they’ll both have to set aside what they think they know about love to learn that falling isn’t always the scariest part—sometimes love is all about trusting the catch.
5. Lucas by Jay McLean
**This was not my first book by Jay McLean, but it is my favorite one. Lucas Preston has only been in love with one girl, but he keeps making mistakes. Sometimes I felt bad for him and other times I needed him to suffer so he could understand Laney’s pain.**
In a sprint, every millisecond counts.
When you’re waiting for love, those milliseconds can feel like eons.
High school senior Lucas Preston has it all: star of the track team, a scholarship waiting for him, an apartment to himself and a revolving door of girlfriends. He also has an older sister, five younger brothers and a father who relies on him to make sure those brothers don’t kill each other.
His saving grace? Lois “Laney” Sanders, a girl he started to fall in like with when he was just eleven.
A girl who became his best friend, his confidant, his courage.
It took only sixteen clicks and eight seconds for Lucas to realize that his like for Laney had turned into love.
Eight life-changing seconds.
It’s also the exact length of time it took to lose her.
6. Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison
Publication: November 10, 2021
**I did not read many holiday books this year. This was recommended by a booksta friend and it was a wonderful read. There was a third act breakup that messes with all the good stuff, but I could not help still loving this one.**
Where the lovelight gleams …
A pasture of dead trees. A hostile takeover of the Santa barn by a family of raccoons. And shipments that have mysteriously gone missing. Lovelight Farms is not the magical winter wonderland of Stella Bloom’s dreams.
In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she’s loved since she was a kid, she enters a contest with instafamous influencer Evelyn St. James. With the added publicity and the $100,000 cash prize, she might just be able to save the farm from its financial woes. There’s just one problem. To make the farm seem like a romantic destination for the holidays, she lied on the application and said she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only … there is no boyfriend.
Enter best friend Luka Peters. He just came home for some hot chocolate, and somehow got a farm and a serious girlfriend in the process.
7. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
Publication: August 23, 2022
**Think Mary Poppins mixed with a little bit of Bewitched and you get this book. It was every bit as wonderful as the rave reviews said it was. This was a warm, cozy read.**
As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.
As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….
8. Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young
**This one sealed Adrienne Young’s fate as an auto-buy author. The writing is atmospheric and the yearning is agonizing. I might have wished more from the ending, but it is still one of the most beautifully written books in 2022.**
A deeply atmospheric story about ancestral magic, an unsolved murder, and a second chance at true love.
Emery Blackwood’s life changed forever the night her best friend was found dead and the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her. Years later, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence on the misty, remote shores of Saoirse Island and running the family’s business, Blackwood’s Tea Shoppe Herbal Tonics & Tea Leaf Readings.
But when the island, rooted in folklore and magic, begins to show signs of strange happenings, Emery knows that something is coming. The morning she wakes to find that every single tree on Saoirse has turned color in a single night, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that the town has tried desperately to forget.
August knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night everything changed. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from his past that has never healed—Emery.
The town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises spanning generations threaten to reveal the truth behind Lily’s mysterious death once and for all.
9. Never Rescue a Rogue by Virginia Heath
Publication: November 2, 2022
Series: The Merriwell Sisters #2
**I enjoyed this one because I loved Diana so much. She’s tough on the outside but is a marshmallow when it comes to the people she cares about.**
Diana Merriwell and Giles Sinclair only tolerate one another for the sake of their nearest and dearest. Everyone believes that the two of them are meant to be together, but Diana and Giles know that their constant pithy barbs come from a shared disdain—not a hidden attraction. Diana loves the freedom of working at the newspaper too much to give it up for marriage, and Giles is happily married to his bachelor lifestyle. But they do have one thing in common—the secrets they can’t risk escaping.
When Giles’ father, the curmudgeonly Duke of Harpenden unexpectedly turns up his toes, it’s only a matter of time before someone comes crawling out of the woodwork who knows the true circumstances of his only son’s birth. As the threat of blackmail becomes real, Giles must uncover the truth of his parentage first, or else he and all those who depend upon him will be ruined—and dogged bloodhound Diana is his best hope at sniffing out the truth. As Giles and Diana dive into his family’s past, the attraction that the two of them insisted wasn’t there proves impossible to ignore. Soon, the future of the Sinclair estate isn’t the only thing on the line…
10. Built to Last by Erin Hahn
**This one gave me the butterflies and allowed me to follow a relationship between friends who knew they would always be more than friends–they just needed better timing and some growing up. Shelby and Cameron have wonderful chemistry and it carried the entire story.**
Shelby Springfield has spent the last ten years trying to overcome her past, sanding it away like she does the rough spots on the vintage furniture finds she makes over. But as a former child star, it’s hard to forget a mediocre pop career, a meltdown widely documented by the paparazzi, and a huge public break with her former co-star Lyle Jessup. It’s also hard to forget her other co-star and childhood sweetheart, Cameron Riggs — the one who got away.
Anytime Shelby has called, Cameron has come running… And then he runs right off again to chase stories around the world by making documentaries, too scared to admit what he really wants. But when Lyle stirs the pot, getting the two back in the spotlight with a home renovation show, Cameron can’t help but come on board.
There’s something in it for everyone — almost. Cameron wants to come home and set down some roots. Shelby wants to prove to the world she’s not the messy party girl anymore. And Lyle wants to twist the screws on his two childhood friends who had more chemistry than he could dream of with anyone. Sparks and sawdust fly as Shelby and Cameron film the pilot for “Homemade” and battle Lyle’s shenanigans at every turn.
Erin Hahn’s sparkling rom com debut, Built to Last, is a second chance romance sure to have readers falling in love fast.
What were your best reads for 2022? Comment below. If you posted a list, drop a link and I’ll be sure to check it out.