The Best of 2022 – Maria Rose’s List

This is the first time since I started doing best of the year lists at All About Romance that I didn’t have trouble coming up with my list. In years past, I’ve had too many books from which to choose. This year, it’s the opposite. I watched more TV (the food network, especially baking challenges, got a lot of my attention) and as a result I read less in 2022 (100 books for the year according to goodreads which is where I keep track of my reading). Of those books, several were published in previous years or were re-reads of older favourites. I don’t expect every year to be like this, but it was a nice change not to have to agonize over my choices. Here they are, in no particular order.

Tanked by Mia Hopkins

I read all three of Mia Hopkin’s Eastside Brewery series this year (books one and two were published in 2018 and 2019) and would happily put them all on my favourites list this year but will have to stick with Tanked which was published in 2022. It’s Angel’s turn to join the family business and find a way to balance his own challenges including a relationship with social worker Deanna. The author’s vibrant storytelling makes for compelling, page turning, sexy reads.

Buy it at: Amazon, or your local bookshop

Fearless at Heart by Zoe York

Zoe York’s Fearless at Heart is the fourth book in her Kincaids of Pine Harbour series, a spinoff series from her Pine Harbour series. It’s got one of my favourite tropes, a second chance romance for a couple that were together as teenagers. Zoe writes characters with heart and complexity who overcome challenges and who make you want to root for their happy endings.

Buy it at: Amazon or your local bookshop

Her Unexpected Roommate by Jackie Lau

Jackie Lau is another author who writes characters who are imperfect yet relatable, and gives them believable paths to a happy ending. This is why her books have appeared in previous years on my ‘best of’ lists. In Her Unexpected Roommate, a one night stand seems to be the end of things for Cal and Rose but a twist of fate months later sees them ending up as roommates (awkward!) and becoming real friends before taking that next step.

Buy it at: Amazon

Do You Take this Man by Denise Williams

This is my first book by this author and definitely won’t be my last! A wedding planner and a divorce lawyer could be a cliché pairing but in Denise Williams hands it’s a fresh, fun, enemies to lovers trope romance. Additionally, the author is excellent at writing friendships and family relationships that resonate with the reader because they feel true to life.

Buy it at: Amazon or your local bookshop

The Liar’s Crown by Abigail Owen

And now for something completely different! A young adult fantasy romance, The Liar’s Crown sweeps the reader into a world of danger, intrigue, and magic as Princess Meren will do whatever it takes to maintain peace for her people, even if it means following a shadowy figure, Reven, into his world. The romance between eighteen-year-olds Meren and Reven  is well written, and if Meren is a complicated character then Reven is four times that complication. With good pacing, action, adventure and a multitude of intriguing secondary characters, it’s a great read. I’m excited to continue the series, especially as this one has a cliffhanger-esque ending.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookseller

Folk Around and Find Out by Penny Reid

A tried and true contemporary romance favourite, Penny Reid never fails to delight ever since I read her first published book, Neanderthal Seeks Human. One spinoff after another has led to her current series, Good Folk: Modern Folktales and Folk Around and Find Out is a single parent romance with an opposite’s attract couple. Some readers find the characters and situations in the author’s books improbable (movie stars, spies, computer hackers, bikers all connected in interesting circles) but the fantasy of a happy ending for all keeps me coming back for more.

Buy it at: Amazon , Audible or your local bookshop

The Wedding Bait by Adele Buck

Older couple romances are gaining in popularity and it’s no wonder when the average age of romance readers is forty-two (according to romance novel sales statistics from Oct 2022). And I’m definitely a fan. In The Wedding Bait, retired escort Patrick is hired to accompany Tove to her daughter’s wedding and to provide a buffer against her smarmy ex-husband. Of course things get complicated when they start to feel like more than client and boss. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this author.

Buy it at: Amazon

Proper Scoundrels by Allie Therin

Technically this book released on Dec 28th, 2021, but I wanted to include it here because books that release in late December often end up in limbo – they don’t get included in ‘best of that current year’ lists and then they get overlooked on the next year’s lists. So I wanted to make sure that this one got some recognition somewhere!  Proper Scoundrels was the first book I read in 2022 and I knew right away that it had a good chance of ending up on my best of the year list and never wavered from that thought. Proper Scoundrels is a magical historical romance set in 1920s New York and a spinoff of the author’s Magic in Manhattan series. That makes four years in a row that this author has appeared on my favourites list and with good reason – her worldbuilding, characters, and spellbinding tales have me hooked.

Buy it at Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop

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