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The Best of 2022 – Alexandra’s List

This has been a light reading year for me – words I thought I’d never say! But I suppose something had to give among the balance of new relationships, new responsibilities at work, and other family and life commitments. Happily, the books I made time for were mostly great. Here are some of my favorites:

Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan

Grab the tissues – Ryan’s latest book is about a divorced couple reuniting after a number of shared losses and grief. Yasmen and Josiah have two children and a successful restaurant, but their marriage is broken. Despite the strong feelings they’ve always had for each other, losing a child and a parental figure all at once caused issues which broke down their relationship rather than binding them together. But a couple years after the fallout, they’re ready to look at each other with new eyes and see if there’s something left between them which can be saved.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop

A Scandalous Kind of Duke by Mia Vincy

Recent years have had my tastes changing, and I’ve pulled away from some of historical romances. But I will never fully put them down as long as authors like Mia Vincy and some of my other favorites keep writing. A Scandalous Kind of Duke is the fourth entry in Vincy’s Longhope Abbey series, where each book is as good as the last. In this one we get to see star-crossed lovers Leo and Juno finally find their way to each other, after years of quiet longing. It’s witty and heartfelt and a thoroughly satisfying read.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop

Ten Trends to Seduce Your Best Friend by Penny Reid

Penny Reid was probably my favorite author of 2022, and her other releases this year, Folk Around and Find Out and Drama King, certainly deserve honorable mentions (in fact, I gave the first one a DIK in my review). But Ten Trends is going on my Best Of list because it was such a breath of fresh air, different from anything else I read this year. Winnie and Byron have moved in the same circle since college, but it’s not until Winnie enlists Byron’s help to do a series of social media ‘challenges’ that their romance takes off. It’s a very modern romance with a heavy dose of Reid’s signature quirkiness and humor, and the added layer of Byron discovering he’s autistic and working through the implications of this new knowledge. I loved how authentically this is handled as Winnie and Byron find their path as a couple – they’re not perfect, but they somehow look at each mis-step with humor.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

If I recall correctly, Katherine Center said in her author’s note on this book that it was written during Covid when her mind needed a fun place to go. That’s certainly how it felt to me – a sweet, fun romp through Hollywood and Texas where reality was in the rearview. Hannah Brooks’ assignment to guard movie star Jack Stapleton takes an unexpected turn when his mother gets sick and he has to go back to the home ranch in Texas. She finds herself undercover as his girlfriend, learning just what a great guy the real Jack is.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop

Out of the Clear Blue Sky by Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins has become a favorite comfort read for me. There’s just something so warm and welcoming about the families and communities she creates. Which is ironic, because so many of them – as in Out of the Clear Blue Sky – start with broken homes and decades-old hurts. In this case, an apparently loving husband and father breaks up his marriage to be with a younger woman. His wife Lillie is caught completely off guard, but soon finds her new life suits her much better as she repairs other relationships and moves on. By the end of the book, the trademark Higgins glow is in place, as everyone realizes they’ve found a way to move past their mistakes.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop

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