ZeZee’s Most Memorable Reads of 2022

I can’t help it, y’all: I love doing these end-of-year lists and chatting about what I read and reading about what others read too. It’s such fun for me, which is why the book nerd in me is always excited around the end of December and beginning of January.

I already chatted about my favorites of last year, so now I’ll chat about books that didn’t make that list but that I can’t shake from my mind either. These are the books that stuck with me throughout the year, popping up from my memory in the oddest moments to remind me of a bit of the story or of a character or of a piece of exceptional writing or how much I admired an illustration. These are the most memorable books I read in 2022.

The Shadow Saint by Gareth Hanrahan (Black Iron Legacy, book 2) ★★★☆☆

I was so ambivalent about this series after completing the first book that I’m surprised it has made this list. This is all thanks to Aquavenatus, who convinced me to continue with the series. The Shadow Saint is the second novel in the Black Iron Legacy fantasy trilogy (which might become a longer series), which began with The Gutter Prayer. The first book focuses on a city called Guerdon where a girl is oddly connected to the city’s bells and has visions whenever they ring. In this fantasy world, the gods are said to be mad and are at war. All other countries are caught up in the war, except Guerdon, which is trying to stay out but profit by selling weapons. But in The Shadow Saint, which picks up some time after the first book, the godswar seems to be heading to Guerdon. We learn more about the gods in this and about other countries, which I was glad for. As with the first book, since reading Shadow Saint, I’ll randomly reflect on the story, remembering how much fun I had reading and how fascinated I was by the mad gods and wondering what caused the madness. I look forward to reading the third book in 2023.

How the Stars Came to Be by Poonam Mistry (illus.) ★★★★☆ ½

I’m happy to own such a stunning picture book. Mistry’s fantasy children’s picture book is about how the stars in the sky were made, and it’s all because a girl was worried about her father fishing at night and having to find his way home after. It’s a sweet story that has a folkloric tone to it, but it’s the illustrations that steal the show here. It’s also the illustrations that have stuck with me since reading the book. The patterns and colors used sometimes give them a jewel-like appearance that seem to pop off the page. Whenever I think back to this book, I think of the illustrations first.

Emma by Jane Austen, illus. by C.E. Brock ★★★☆☆

A Jane Austen book! Me, Zezee, and a Jane Austen book — getting along. Can you believe it? I sometimes can’t and my past self never would, but here we are and here I have a Jane Austen book on my memorable reads list. 😱 Such a shocker. But I enjoyed this one, and even more surprising, I understood what I read — 65% of the time. Emma is a classic romance novel about a young woman named Emma who gets a kick out of playing matchmaker, but her matches never work out as she intends. This was a surprisingly delightful read and since reading it, I’m always shocked when I catch myself thinking back on the story and its characters or reflecting on how modern some of Emma’s opinions seem to be.

Beard Science by Penny Reid (Winston Brothers, book 3) ★★★★☆ ½

I think this series is making me develop a liking for beards, lol! Beard Science is the third novel in a contemporary romance series that I am very much enjoying. The books focus on the love lives of the Winston brothers in Tennessee. This one focuses on the third-eldest brother, Cletus, who is my favorite, so far, of the Winstons. Basically, Cletus is outsmarted and blackmailed into helping the Banana Cake Queen, Jennifer, after she catches him being up to no good at the police station. It was a light, fun read, and I liked how Jennifer flipped things on Cletus. That’s what I often think about when thinking back on this book. I’ll certainly read more from the series in 2023.

Again this is a short list because I didn’t read much last year, and I struggled so much with reading that I think it’s a miracle that I remember anything of what I read.

Next will be my disappointing reads for the year.

Are there any books you read last year that have stuck with you throughout the year?


18 thoughts on “ZeZee’s Most Memorable Reads of 2022

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed Emma, I read the book long ago and my memories are mostly from adaptations (I recommend the Romola Garai version, if you wanna watch Emma on screen) but I remember liking it a lot.


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