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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

2022 highlights: books, series, & reviews


Whew, boy! Did I take my precious time with this post or what? 😅 Fortunately, I still made it in time for January (but just barely!), and I am so excited to jump into my 2022 reading highlights! (Check out 2021's highlights here!)

 

favorite books

Y’all, picking favorites was hard. I had so many novels I thoroughly enjoyed but couldn’t count as a favorite, so we’re gonna keep this list short. In no particular order, my favorite books of 2022 were:

  • A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz (my review)

  • Beneath His Silence by Hannah Linder (my review)

  • The Lost Melody by Joanna Davidson Politano (my review)

  • Under the Texas Mistletoe by Karen Witemeyer

  • All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes (review to come!)

These novels (and novella collection) checked all the boxes. From exquisite prose to vivid settings to unique storylines to endearing characters—plus beautiful romance and authentic faith—these five had it all! It’s no wonder the authors are some of my top favorites as well!

favorite series


I literally did not read one entire series last year. I finished a couple, started a few, and read the in-between books in some, but never one whole series. That’s crazy, to be honest.

So the four series that I read some (or most) of the installments of and that stood out to me this past year (again, no special order) are:


  • The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy by Kellyn Roth (Beyond Her Calling)

  • The Secret of the Isles by Roseanna M. White (Worthy of Legend)

  • Refuge series by Kristina Hall (Fled for Refuge and Refuge from the Storm)

  • Grace Sufficient series by Vanessa Hall (Unworthy)


Have you read any of these? Which is your favorite book in the series?

favorite authors

new to me:

  • Emily Conrad

  • Nadine C. Keels

  • Grace Livingston Hill

  • Ashley Clark

  • Cheyenne Van Langevelde

  • Michaela Bush

repeat:

  • Laura Frantz

  • Joanna Davidson Politano

  • Sara Ella

  • Kellyn Roth

  • Roseanna M. White

  • Hannah Linder

  • Kristina Hall

  • Vanessa Hall

  • Nicole Deese

surprised by:

  • George MacDonald

  • Robin Lee Hatcher

  • Lynn Austin


I actually did a lot of branching out last year, even though I didn’t read much. I FINALLY read something Lynn Austin, George MacDonald, and Robin Lee Hatcher—and although I didn’t have low expectations for any of these authors, my expectations still weren’t very high, and they all more than exceeded them! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the novels I read from these authors! And I’ve been longing for years to read something by Grace Livingston Hill...and 2022 was the year!

I also got to read more indie fiction—mostly works by friends of mine, but also some authors I’d never heard of—which was wonderful!

favorite alpha/beta read

So, thank the Lord I didn’t do much alpha/beta reading in 2022, because as much as I enjoy doing it, y’all...it’s a lot. And one of the two projects I beta read, I never actually finished...sorry, Issabelle.

Even though I didn’t finish it, I still thoroughly enjoyed my twin sister Issabelle’s latest novel, and my alpha read was A Prayer Unanswered by Kellyn Roth, which of course I loved! (Even though it broke my heart.)

I did a lot of reading for editing, though, so perhaps I should make a category for that? Hmm, no. I’d hate to pick favorites out of my clients’ work.


favorite current read

Welp, as I write this, we’re almost an entire month into 2023, so this section technically wouldn’t be focused on my current first read of 2023, because I’ve already read between five and seven books, and am in between books at the moment…

So for this go-round, I’ll pick a favorite or two out of my most recent reads.

  • The Rose and the Thistle by Laura Frantz (my review)

  • Yesterday’s Tides by Roseanna M. White (review to come!)


Naturally, I must start off the year with a Frantz novel, and of course I thoroughly enjoyed it and Roseanna’s latest release!

favorite indie book/series

Welp, since three of the series I mentioned earlier were indie, I think I’ll stick to my favorite indie standalones (some of which are in series, although they can be read as standalones).

  • Reviving the Commander by Nadine C. Keels

  • The Lady of Lanaria by Michaela Bush

  • Between Two Worlds & Dìlseachd – A Stolen Crown by Cheyenne Van Langevelde

I didn’t come in with ultra high expectations for these, so of course they surpassed them, but y’all. Regardless of what you expect from these four novels, they are so good!

favorite nonfiction

Yes, I read some nonfiction last year (and I hope to read more this year), and even though there were only three nonfiction books, there’s no denying that I truly enjoyed The Management Methods of Jesus by Bob Briner. Mr. Briner kept things short and sweet with simple but impactful nuggets of wisdom drawn from Jesus and His ministry that apply not just to business but to everyday life. I did read it for business purposes, though, and thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated it!


favorite book review

So, 2022 was an interesting year for reviews...I wrote one of my most ranty ones ever back in the spring about In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh (most of my ranting was against specific things in Christian fiction in general that the book brought to mind, not necessarily the book itself). The review was so long that it exceeded Goodreads’ character limit. Oops.

Then my most controversial review ever, which resulted in lots of hurt feelings and yours truly getting in big trouble, for Love in Disguise by Penny Zeller. Honestly, yes, I screwed up with this review. I ranted too much about the trope and didn’t accurately present my thoughts on the book (it was a good book; I just wish the author had handled the trope better). I’ve since edited it, so hopefully it’s more encouraging and less ranty, and I directed my chaotic thoughts into this post here.

So to all those who read that review and were turned off by my attitude, I sincerely apologize! It was not at all my intent to bash or disparage the book or anyone/thing else!

As for a favorite review...probably my review of To Treasure an Heiress by Roseanna M. White at the very beginning of the year! And my review of Beneath His Silence by Hannah Linder!

debut of the year

This new unofficial award goes to...We Could Be Villains by Megan McCullough. In case you’re curious, to qualify as a “debut of the year,” the book must (1) have been first published in that year, (2) been the first published work by that author, and (3) been absolutely amazing!

And that’s what We Could Be Villains was.

No, it wasn’t perfect, and that cliffhanger was cruel (but not as cruel as The Wonderland Trials’ cliffhanger, but let’s not go there), but I found it quite entertaining and well-written! (Plus the villain-is-the-love-interest trope was SO well-done, especially if you don’t typically like that trope.)

 

So, what about you? What were your top reads of 2022? Favorite series? New authors? Did you read any indie fiction? What do you look forward to reading in 2023? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments!


yours in spirit and script,

grace


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10 Comments


Saraina Whitney
Jan 30, 2023

Ohh, I really want to read All The Lost Places by Amanda Dykes!!! I finished Yours is the Night not long ago and decided she was one of my new favorite authors XD so I'm quite certain sure I'll love it!


This was so fun to read!!!

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Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
Jan 31, 2023
Replying to

Ooh, you must!! Apparently it's not as good as YITN (according to my friend JC, who's a huge Dykes fan XD), but I loved it!


Thank you!! <3

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Laura Frantz
Jan 30, 2023

I'm so glad you're giving George Mac a high five, Grace! Or something like that:) I'm currently reading or rereading Elizabeth Goudge, another master wordsmith though purple prose was more the thing then than now. A reread of The Blue Castle is also needed. Honestly, I don't find much fiction that holds my attention lately. This is s season where it's hard to be still so I'm sure the fault is mine. On a lighter note, I'm very happy to be on your shelf. And beyond blessed to be a fave of yours! You teach me, an intuitive writer who gets confused by craft, something each time I read your refreshingly honest & insightful posts/reviews/socials, etc. Thank you for being…

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Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
Jan 31, 2023
Replying to

Yes, ma'am! He certainly deserves it! Ooh, I've never heard of Elizabeth Goudge - I'll have to check her out! I understand...I'm in quite the same boat. Rather invest your time in something that's actually worth it, right? Aw, Miss Laura! I am the one who's beyond blessed to able to read your beautiful books! I'm so honored to hear that!! Thank YOU!! Absolutely! 😊🥰

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Kristina Hall
Jan 30, 2023

Aw, I'm honored to be on your favorite authors list!!!!

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Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
Jan 31, 2023
Replying to

🥰🥰🥰

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Hannah Foster
Jan 30, 2023

Grace Livingston Hill is fun! I read her quite a bit when I was younger. And I'm glad you got to read George MacDonald. He's been a favorite of mine for a long time. Which one's of his did you read?

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Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
Feb 01, 2023
Replying to

Ooh, awesome! I'll add those to my TBR! (As if I need more books to read. LOL!)

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