10 More Five Star Books From 2022


How about some more of the five-star books I read in 2022? I read some really good ones, and want to share them with you. Some of these reviews appeared earlier this year in my blog posts, but it may be handy to have them all together in one post.  I'm going to divide these books up into categories. 


These fiction books were all excellent, and have in common the fact that they are each very unusual and will stick with you a long time after you finish them. I promise you won't ever have read anything like any of these fiction picks!

Remarkably bright creatures

People just LOVE this book Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. I liked it very much, but it began to grow more on me, and when I kept thinking about it after I had finished it, I knew I had to bump it up to a 5-star ranking. This story concerns Tova, a lady in her 70s who works the night shift cleaning at the local aquarium. As unlikely as it seems, Tova and Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus who resides at the aquarium form a strong friendship. Marcellus has a habit of escaping his tank during the night and upon occasion, Tova has had to rescue him and assist him back to his tank. Tova has a mystery in her past and Marcellus may be the only one who can solve it. Endearing, heartwarming, all the good things.

Lessons in chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus was so good! Elizabeth Zott was born in the wrong era. It is the 1950s and she plans a career in science, a male-dominated field. Throughout the 50s and 60s, she meets obstacle after obstacle and misogyny unlike anything we would tolerate today. Her male colleagues behave in outrageously sexist ways, take credit for her work, pay her a pittance for the same work they do for more money, and treat her with condescension. Finally forced out of the science lab, she finds herself in the unlikely position of hosting a TV cooking show, which ends up being a huge success. Even though the subject matter is no joke, this book had many hilarious moments. There hasn't been a character I've met in literature like Elizabeth Zott, and I found her so refreshing. There is also a brilliant dog named Six Thirty who has a big role in the book, which I loved. 

This time tomorrow

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub. On the eve of her 40th birthday, Alice's life is just ok. Her apartment could be nicer, her job could be less dead-end, and a meaningful relationship would be good, but all in all what's to complain about? Well, her dad is ill and that situation is troubling to Alice because they are close and she loves him dearly. At any rate, she has a bit too much to drink at her birthday celebration and falls asleep in a tool shed on her dad's property. When she wakes up she is in her childhood home, in her teenage bedroom, and is 16 years old again. This is a shock on many levels, but when she sees her youthful, vibrant dad as he was in his late 30s, Alice realizes that she may have a chance for a life "do-over". Knowing what she knows from living for 40 years, Alice plans to get her dad to eat better and exercise, and make some better life decisions for herself. I love a time travel book, and the theme of having the chance to choose a different path in life is so appealing. This book ticked all my boxes for a wonderful reading experience. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think you would too.

Love and saffron

Love and Saffron by Kim Fay is an epistolary novel in which the story is told through the correspondence between two women in the early 1960s. One is a 60-ish food writer living in the Pacific Northwest (think Seattle), the other a much younger woman in her 20s living in the Los Angeles area. This book proves that food and friendship really do bind us all together. What was a total kick to me was the memories it brought back from the 60s: molded salads, the fact you couldn't find garlic in the stores, how rarely we ate curry or enchiladas or Chinese stir fry. Our tastes were so bland, unethnic, and unadventurous. Things sure have changed! Anyway, the book is simply lovely and I think everyone should read it. This book is short, heartwarming, and a balm for these uncertain times. You should read it. 


Well, I certainly surprised myself by how much I enjoyed a few books in the "romance" category this year. I don't mean romance in the bodice-ripping "Angelique and the Pirates" style. These books are contemporary, heart-warming, funny, and feature people falling in love. I do not care for steamy romances (often referred to as "open door"). These books are sort of sexy, but what happens privately between the characters is only hinted at. If you like 90's rom-coms, these books will be right up your alley.

The bodyquard
The Bodyguard by Katherine Center was such fun. She has written several other books (Things We Save in a Fire, What You Wish For, How to Walk Away) which have been super good too. Hannah is a bodyguard who is assigned to protect a famous heartthrob movie star. They have an instant connection, so what could possibly go wrong? You will have to read the book to find out, but it is light-hearted and laugh-out-loud funny, as well as tackling some more serious subjects. Pretty perfect, if you ask me.

Part of your world
Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez is another rom-com novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. Alexis is an ER doctor who is relatively satisfied with her life, even though her ultra-wealthy parents think she could be better off in a different line of work. Her world is turned upside down when she meets her polar opposite, Daniel Grant, a simple carpenter with a cuddly pet goat. She's not sure she can bring him into her world, but she doesn't think she can give him up either. This book is about finding out who you really are, and I loved it. 


Two nights in lisbon

Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone is a fast-paced thriller that will keep you turning the pages from beginning to end. The story begins when Ariel Pryce wakes up in her Lisbon hotel room and discovers her husband is missing. He has not left a note and he isn't returning her calls and texts. She knows something is seriously wrong. However, when she reports her husband's disappearance to the Portuguese police, she learns that she may not know as much about her spouse as she thought she did. When she gets a 3 million ransom demand for his return she knows she needs to get the money from the last person on earth she wants to ask. One of the best thrillers I have read. 

The lioness
The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian is set in the 1960s in Africa. Katie Barstow, a famous Hollywood actress, and her new husband decide to take an entourage of friends on a safari to the Serengeti on their honeymoon. Everything is going great on this luxury safari until about the third day when their camp is invaded by Russian thugs who kidnap the entire party. Guests and guides start dropping like flies and the reader is left wondering if anyone will be left standing by the end of the book. The kidnapping quickly goes very wrong and you will be flipping the pages like mad to find out what happens next. Wonderful strong female characters in this book, whom you will be rooting for out loud. I have heard some reviewers complain that the author used to write books with more substantive themes, and has now become more commercial. Harumph I say. His books are darn entertaining and I have loved his more recent offerings (Red Lotus and Hour of the Witch). This author writes books with diverse and thrilling plots, and he is on "auto-buy" for me!


Historical Fiction

The rose garden
The Rose Garden by Tracy Rees is not the first book I have read by this author. She is always reliable and very good. If you love historical fiction and spunky female characters, you will really enjoy this book as I did. Set in Victorian England, young Mabs finds an escape from working on the docks when she is employed as the companion (more like "keeper) to Mrs. Finch, who is supposedly mentally fragile and must be kept to her room. Lots of secrets as to why Mr. and Mrs. Finch behave the way they do, and which Mabs begins to figure out. Great cast of characters, and a very interesting look at some of the social conventions of the time.

A place to hang the moon
A Place To Hang The Moon by Kate Albus. This was one of those books I wanted to hug when I finished it. Set during WWII (1940), the story is about three siblings who are evacuated to the countryside to avoid the bombings in London. William, Edmund, and Anna are orphans, who had been raised by their cold uncaring grandmother, who has also recently passed away, leaving them a considerable fortune. Their family solicitor arranges their journey to stay with foster families until the war is over and a proper guardian can be found for them. What follows is the hair-raising tale of the different ghastly foster homes they find themselves in and the refuge they find in the town library. If you love heartwarming books about found family, you will love this one

Check back tomorrow for five outstanding older books that I read this year that are worth checking out!

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