Reading with Kat

Working Mother Book Blogger

I haven’t blogged as much this year as I would have liked, because I was finishing off my dissertation and Masters (MSc). Now I have stopped studying I have a little more time. However, I still managed to read 70 books in 2022, and below are my top picks for the year, for your inspiration. It may include a couple of books to avoid too.

I’m a week behind schedule but still linking up with TopTenTuesday, hosted by ArtsyReaderGirl.


My favourite book of January and possibly the year was If We Were Villains by M L Rio, however, I have already written a full review regarding this amazing novel. Therefore, I will choose an additional favourite of the month, see below.

Audible added a new feature this year where if you had a membership with them (paid monthly) then they would include hundreds of books for free. Three of the books I came across in January were a series of books written by Jeffrey Archer, a famous British novelist but not my normal genre. However, the trio of books were his diaries from his time in prison…yep. Lord Jeffrey Archer was sent to prison (for a crime he didn’t commit, I believe) for 2 years. He spent the first few months in a high secure and notorious prison called Belmarsh (in London) during and after his trial. Therefore his first book is called Hell, the second book Purgatory and finally Heaven. I have to say I found the books utterly captivating; the diary of a Lord in prison…need I say more.


I loved The Martian, book and the movie (the book slightly more) but surprisingly, I read Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir in February (same author) and absolutely loved this one too, even though it was sci-fi heavy. Hail Mary tells of a science teacher, a very clever man, who helps to save the world by flying out into space with a team to find out what has happened to the sun. He wakes up on his ship alone and having to work out how to run the ship alone, but then he comes across Rocky (I love Rocky), who helps him and together they endeavour to save Earth. I am trying not to give anything away, so it doesn’t sound great, but if you like The Martian, you need to give this a try. It is full of science but is also funny, I love this quote:

“I penetrated the outer cell membrane with a nanosyringe.”
“You poked it with a stick?”
“No!” I said. “Well. Yes. But it was a scientific poke with a very scientific stick.”

I’m going to write something very unpopular now. The book that I did not enjoy that I read in February was The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. I’m sorry to say it was just not my humour, in fact I did not laugh once. My husband, my dad and many of my friends loved it, but it just wasn’t for me.


This month I read a book that really moved me: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova (which I wrote a full review of), in addition, I read The Familiars by Stacey Halls which was an interesting period drama though quite slow in places. It was a tale told during the time of witches in 1600s in England. A noblewoman called Fleetwood who is having difficulties with her pregnancies makes a new friend who tries to help her, but anyone who is that helpful is often dubbed a witch. The story is based on the real witch trial of the Pendle Witches. Have to say that this is very well written for a debut novel!


I believe that If I Stay by Gayle Foreman was a possible favourite this month. I would class this book as young adult fiction; which I profess to enjoy on occasion (Twilight and Hunger Games being my particular favourites). I enjoyed the back story of the protagonist, seeing her excel in music which is refreshing and the teenage love story was quite believable. There is one scene, the accident, which is visceral it certainly made me gulp, and then what follows is her outside of her body (of sorts) watching and listening to those who visit her whilst she is in a coma.

Another book I read this month, now I wouldn’t go as far to say that I didn’t like the book, far from it, but it was bloody long, too long, painfully long and slow; which is a shame because the first third of the book is very very good. This book is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. On audible this book is 50 hours long, which is the longest book I have listed to, and it is entirely 40 hours too long in my opinion. The beginning and ending are great, but it is too detailed and there are far too many characters to keep track of; it pains me to say the movie is better.


An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears was certainly one of the most different books that I read last year. I do enjoy historical fiction in general, this one was long and a little hard to read in places. I found the beginning the most accessible and interesting, the second two parts of the book were harder to read. Be aware of potential triggers as women are forced-on by men; and it is treated like it’s no big deal, like calling a taxi, of course to men in the 1700s it was no big deal, but in the 21st century it is hard to read this. I thought the scientific aspects of the book were interesting, it showed how men were learning and finding out about the body through autopsies, which was new at the time.


I know I am late to the party on this one, but I only read: Song for Achilles for the first time this month, by Madeline Miller. Last year I read Circe and really enjoyed it. This book was just as fascinating. I cannot deny that I was surprised to learn that Achilles was gay; and not just a suggestion by the author, according to my google search (and we know how accurate that will be *wink*), many references were made in the Iliad to Achilles and Petroclus being lovers. I found that this added an interesting dimension to the story that I was not expecting. I actually found petroclus likeable, however I was saddened by how most of the women in their lives were treated. I guess I shall be anticipating her next book.


I have two books from this month that stood out. Firstly, Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins-Reid. I have now read 4 of her books (one mentioned later) and I have loved them all. I wasn’t sure I would like this book as it sounded like chick lit, which I am less enthralled by, in general, but it was more complex than I suspected. Malibu Rising is the story of a famous singer/actor who marries young (before he is famous), marries and divorces June twice, leaves behind 4 children (plus a few more come out of the woodwork) and leaves June to raise his kids all alone with no money, then she dies young and the oldest who is but 17 has to raise her own siblings with no money, whilst she is at school and trying not to let the authorities take her siblings into care. What an A$$ the dad is to leave his children and not help or give them money etc. I have to say that the synopsis of this book is offputting (not my one) which is why I almost didn’t read it, but I am glad I did and it has won an award on Goodreads so it is not just me who thinks so.

My second book is particularly for those who like more obscure books, or interested in gender equality. Kim Jiyoung Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo. This is the first book about Korea that I have read, so it was illuminating to see the difference in culture and upbringing (we were born almost the same year). It was a bit of a mix between fact and fiction but does mostly read like a novel. This book made me mad and not just because I am a gender equality expert; it is difficult to read at times and some of what is said and done to these women can be triggering and/or upsetting.


This month I finished reading a physical book called Half A World Away by Mike Gayle. Although I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a fan, I have been reading Mike’s books since my twenties, his humour and his sort of male-lit (if that is really a thing) was appealing to me in my youth; however, I haven’t read one of his books in a long time. A story of siblings separated when they are young due to inadequate parents, one is a cleaner living on the wrong side of town; the other a barrister. They meet for the first time when Kerry finally tracks down her baby brother (who was adopted). I found this book both very real and moving, it was definitely a page turner and easy to read. No doubt I shall be reading this book again in future.


Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins-Reid was one of two books I was enthralled by this month. I have to say this was a particularly good audiobook; I actually looked at the physical book in the bookshop and thought, not for me, as it was just a list of interviews, but on audible, with all the different actors, it worked well and the voices were authentic, like completely how I pictured the characters would sound. Personally, I found Daisy unlikeable, a totally vain “pretty girl” who is used to getting what she wants. I did find the whole story of how a band got together and toured, wrote music etc, and that along with the internal drama of band members made for a pretty interesting book. Like everyone, I had to check if the band were real, and apparently they are made-up; how clever of the author!

My second book is non-fiction and is an autobiography/biography of Donald Trump, written by his niece Mary Trump: Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. I was totally intrigued to learn more about this infamous man and was not disappointed. This book answers every question you ever had about him, and explains how a maniac was created. I was saddened and appalled by how Mary’s dad and Trump’s older brother Fred was treated by his own father and siblings, it was so sad. A compelling read. Most of this information was new to me, because I am not American, so I found it informative, but many American reviews have said they didn’t learn anything new from this book. I liked it.


Another Kristin Hannah book, not as good as The Four Winds (which in my mind is a book in another class, truly special) but still a good book is Night Road – the story starts out one way and then a big event happens and turns everything completely on its head. Jude is super annoying; you know those parents that hover over their children at all times, watching their every move, saying careful every 5 seconds, that’s a helicopter parents, and Jude is the ultimate helicopter parent, shame it does not help them. After the event Jude has almost a personality transplant, becomes unrecognisable, I actually want to slap her for how she treats her grand-child. It’s a book that will likely produce strong feelings.


One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins-Reid was the best of the month, but in case you are bored of this author, to mix it up I shall also give an honourable mention to a biography of Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance. One True Loves is a “women’s fiction” book about a young girl who’s husband is lost in a helicopter crash, after mant years of mourning, she finally moves on with her life and eventually gets engaged only for her husband to be found!

Unsurprisingly the Elon Musk biography is about Elon Musk (yeah shock horror), again I knew very little about him so I found his history interesting: growing up in South Africa, going to a no-named University in Canada, his exceptional programming skills at a young age, his early obsessions with living on another planet and electric cars. I also didn’t know that Tesla was not his idea, he was one of the original investors but he did not come up with the idea for Tesla – I thought he did, so I stand corrected. Anyway I won’t give anything else away but I did find it surprising.


I have read a few Matt Haig books, and I especially loved the Midnight Library; therefore this month I gave: How to Stop Time a go and was not disappointed. I love Matt’s creativity, this is another book you would classify as fantasy, the protagonist Tom is over 400 years old due to a rare disease, a disease that other people have but thanks to the Albatross society no-one knows about it. It’s such a great idea for a book, I wonder where he gets these ideas from. The most enjoyable parts for me were his interactions with some famous historical figures, but in a natural way, like working for William Shakespeare, like bumping into F. Scott Fitzgerald in a restaurant. This is a powerful book because poor Tom is not normal, and sometimes attracts the wrong attention; and being so old he has to deal with alot of loss.

That’s the best of the 70 books I read in 2022. I hope I was able to offer some inspiration. Have you read any of my recommendations?

8 thoughts on “My 2022 Reading Review of the Year

  1. Susan says:

    I’m not a sci-fi person, but I actually really liked PROJECT HAIL MARY. My eyes glazed over whenever it got too math-y or science-y, but overall, I really liked it. Glad you did, too!

    Happy TTT!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. lydiaschoch says:

    Project Hail Mary was excellent. I can’t wait for the film.

    My post:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. katchambers says:

      Oh me too! I only just heard about the movie, so exciting!


  3. Astilbe says:

    I liked If I Stay, too.

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marianne Maurer says:

    You read some interesting books there, sorry that you didn’t like Richard Osman’s book. I’m not much into crime stories but I absolutely love the guy and had to read his book. Still, we can’t all like the same ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Taylor Jenkins-Reid makes realistc stories, i want to listen the songs too, and with Evelyn hugo watch the movies

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yves Broeckx says:

    Oh I so enjoyed if we were villains too!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m glad to see you found so many books you loved last year!
    My TTT:


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