Pamela Koehne-Drube

Written by

Pamela Koehne-Drube

2 January 2023


From Romance to Sci-Fi: Our Writers’ Most Loved Books of 2022

Reading - Photo by Min An for Pexels

At Novlr, we’re as passionate about reading as we are about writing! We are always on the lookout for the next great book recommendation.

We asked our followers on Instagram to share their favourite reads of the year, and the response was overwhelming! We received lots of submissions, but we’ve narrowed it down to some of the most recommended books. Whether you’re a fan of fantasy, romance, science or literary fiction, there’s something here for everyone.

So sit back, grab your favourite bookmark, and get ready to add some new titles to your reading list. Here are the top picks for Novlr’s users for the best book they read in 2022.

This Is Not a Book about Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan

This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan

Tabitha Carvan fell for actor Benedict Cumberbatch while at home with two young children. She was surprised by the intensity of her fixation but eventually realized that it wasn’t ever about Cumberbatch — it was about feeling passionate about something again. It was about reconnecting with her own identity at a time when she had lost touch with herself.

In This Is Not a Book About Benedict Cumberbatch, Carvan explores the changes in women’s desires as they age and why there is less space for pure joy in our lives. She examines the online communities and real-world connections formed within Cumberbatch fan groups, but also asks a deeper question: what happens if we follow our interests unabashedly and unapologetically? Carvan discovers that there is power in finding and loving our “thing,” whatever it may be.

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Ageing Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo is ready to reveal the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. She chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant to write her biography, leaving Monique surprised and curious. Despite her own personal and professional struggles, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to kickstart her career.

They meet in Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, and the actress tells Monique her story — a tale of ruthless ambition and forbidden love. Monique becomes fascinated by Evelyn’s tale and begins to feel a connection to the legendary star.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a captivating journey through the glamour of old Hollywood, and the harsh realities of the present as two women grapple with the consequences of facing their own truths.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Inspired by the real story of Alice Dubois, The Alice Network provides a wonderful blend of historical research and creative license to bring this little-known story to life.

In 1915, Eve Gardiner is recruited to the Alice Network, a group of spies in France during World War I. Eve goes undercover in German-occupied France, lying and playing a part in gathering information.

In 1947, American socialite Charlie St. Clair is searching for her cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France.

Thirty years after her time as a spy, Eve is living a secluded and drunken life in London until Charlie arrives, bringing the past back to the surface. The two women’s stories intersect as Eve and Charlie must work together to uncover the truth about the Alice Network and the betrayal that brought it down.

The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

The Farseer Trilogy comprises three epic fantasy novels, Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin’s Quest. It’s structured like a quest, drawing inspiration from Arthurian legend. What sets this series apart is its protagonist, Fitz, someone who would usually be a minor character in an epic quest tale of this type.

Fitz is an amazing character. He’s deep and complicated, and provides a deeply immersive narration over the course of the books. The magic system is also well defined, and used to show deep social divides in Hobb’s world.

Filled with magic, wit, believable characters, and a completely immersive world, the The Farseer Trilogy is high fantasy at its finest.

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Tate Collins and airline pilot Miles Archer don’t even consider themselves friends, let alone believe in love at first sight. What they do have, however, is a strong attraction.

With their desires out in the open, they devise a solution. A no-strings-attached arrangement with only two rules: never ask about the past and don’t expect a future.

But as their arrangement continues, they soon find that these rules become harder and harder to follow. Things become complicated promises are broken, feelings are hurt, and love becomes ugly.

Ugly Love is a heart-wrenching, sexy, book about complicated relationships and the effect the past can have on the present.

Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

Mallory is excited to begin her new job as a nanny. She has been sober for a year and a half and hopes that this job will help her stay on track. However, when her young ward, Teddy, starts drawing pictures of his imaginary friend Anya, it is clear that the person he is drawing is dead.

Mallory and Teddy’s parents confiscate the crayons and lock away the paper, but the drawings continue to appear, becoming more sophisticated and telling a frightening story of a murdered woman. But if Teddy isn’t drawing the pictures, who is?

Hidden Pictures is a creepy, intense, and thrilling novel that will keep you guessing until the end.

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Growing up in a housing estate in Glasgow, Mungo and James should be enemies due to their different backgrounds. However, they become close friends and find a sanctuary in the dovecote that James built for his racing pigeons. As they fall in love, they dream of finding a place where they belong, while Mungo hides his true self from those around him.

When Mungo is sent on a fishing trip with two mysterious men, he must use his inner strength and courage to return to a place of safety where he can build a future with James.

Young Mungo is a powerful story about masculinity, sectarianism, violence, and the dangers of loving someone too much.

The Easy Life in Kamusari by Shion Miura

Kamusari by Shion Miura

Yuki Hirano is reluctantly enrolled in a forestry training program in the remote village of Kamusari after graduating high school. At first, Yuki struggles to adjust to the small community and feels out of place. However, he begins to appreciate the region’s beauty and the ancient traditions of Kamusari’s harmony with nature.

As he learns to fell trees and plant saplings, Yuki becomes mesmerized by the mountain’s legends and may even be falling in love.

The Easy Life in Kamusari is a beautifully rendered coming-of-age story in which Yuki learns to respect the forest on Mt. Kamusari and its mysterious secrets.

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

Florence Day is a ghost-writer struggling to pen a romance novel, but her recent breakup has left her cynical about love. When her strict but attractive editor, Benji Andor, refuses to give her an extension on her deadline, Florence faces career ruin.

When she returns home for a family emergency, however, she encounters a ghost at her doorstep – the ghost of her recently deceased (and still very attractive) editor. Despite their initial tension and the fact that Benji is a ghost, Florence finds believing in love again. But how can love be real when one of you is dead?

The Dead Romantics is an absolutely delightful story about love, betrayal, family, and the beauty in all things. It’s the perfect blend of dark and light, with a couple you can’t help but fall in love with.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

In 1922, after being deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across from the Kremlin. Rostov, a man of wit and erudition who has never worked a day in his life, must now live in an attic room during some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history.

Despite his reduced circumstances, Rostov discovers a larger world of emotional growth. He is well-educated, sophisticated, and urbane, but finds he has other qualities that will draw him away from the rich, abundant life he is accustomed to.

A Gentleman in Moscow is a humorous and charming novel that follows Rostov’s journey to find meaning and purpose.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Marion is the new girl, awkward and plain, but steady and dependable. She is weighed down by tragedy and longing for love1.

Zoey is the pariah, luckless and lonely, hiding her pain and dreaming of vanished girls. Perhaps she is broken, or maybe everyone else is.

Val is the queen bee, beautiful and privileged, with a heart full of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

These are the Sawkill girls whose stories intersect on the island of Sawkill Rock, where horses graze, and waves crash against cliffs. It is a place where kids whisper about a monster that has been stealing girls for decades, and where these three girls will fight against the evil that plagues their community.

Sawkill Girls is, at its heart, a story about female strength, friendship, loss and love.

Green Rider by Kristen Britain

Green Rider by Kristen Britain

First published in 1998, Green Rider is the first in an epic fantasy series that documents a young woman’s rise as the heroine of her story. It evokes Tolkien vibes, with a strong, female protagonist, and vibrant, magical worldbuilding.

Karigan G’ladheon is on her way home from school after getting into a fight that will likely result in her expulsion. As she walks through the vast Green Cloak forest, the sound of hooves interrupts her thoughts. A horse crashes through the trees, its rider slumped over its neck and impaled by two arrows.

The dying man reveals that he is a Green Rider and has a message for the King that is a matter of life and death. He asks Karigan to deliver the message, warning her not to read it, and makes her swear on his sword with a final warning, “Beware the shadow man.”

Karigan’s promise sets her on a dangerous path, pursued by unknown assassins and aided by a silent ghostly messenger. She becomes a legendary Green Rider, caught in a world of magic and danger, driven by forces she cannot comprehend.

The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

Kiva Meridan is a survivor. Working as a healer in the dangerous death prison of Zalindov for ten years, she has learned to do whatever it takes to stay alive.

When the infamous Rebel Queen arrives at the prison on the brink of death, Kiva is given a new mission: keep her alive.

In order to save the queen’s life and earn her own freedom, Kiva volunteers to take her place in the Trial by Ordeal, a series of elemental challenges of which there are no survivors. But with an incurable plague spreading through the prison, a mysterious new inmate vying for Kiva’s attention, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva’s trials are far from over.

The Prison Healer is the first book in Noni’s YA trilogy that shows just how much worldbuilding can go into a single setting. It’s a fast-paced adventure with a shocking ending that will have you reaching for book two!

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

When Andie Bell was murdered five years ago, everyone in town knew that Sal Singh was responsible. But Pippa Fitz-Amobi has her doubts and decides to investigate the case for her final project.

As she digs deeper, she uncovers secrets that someone is desperate to keep hidden. Inching ever closer to the truth, she realizes that the real killer may still be out there, and will do anything to stop her from uncovering the facts.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is a YA crime thriller with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end. Perfect for fans of Serial, One of Us is Lying, and Riverdale.

Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Artemisia is a young woman with the unique ability to harness the power of revenants, ancient spirits with extraordinary strength. When her convent is attacked, she must use her abilities to defend it and uncover the truth behind the attack.

As she delves deeper into the mystery, she realizes that she may have to betray her beliefs in order to defeat the enemy lurking within. But she must also be careful, as the bond she shares with the revenant she wields grows stronger and she risks being consumed by its power.

Vespertine is a thrilling YA fantasy with a unique world filled to the brim with demons and nuns! It’s a story with amazing character depth, a strong female protagonist, and can easily stand alone despite a planned sequel.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Daunis, an 18-year-old Native American teen with mixed heritage, struggles with feelings of being an outsider in her small town and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When she witnesses a murder, she reluctantly agrees to go undercover for the investigation.

However, Daunis secretly pursues her own investigation, using her knowledge of traditional medicine to track down the culprits. As she gets caught up in a web of deceit, she realizes that the people she loves the most may be in danger.

A ground-breaking YA thriller, Firekeeper’s Daughter has received numerous awards, including the CrimeFest Best YA Crime Fiction Prize and the YA Fiction Goodreads Choice Awards.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth, the first book in The Locked Tomb series, is an epic science fantasy filled with swordplay, politics, and lesbian necromancers! With unparalleled world-building and unforgettable characters, it’s a completely unique, often laugh-out-loud funny reading experience.

Gideon Nav, brought up by nuns and ancient retainers, is determined to leave her life of servitude to the Ninth House and her destiny as a reanimated corpse behind. But her childhood rival, Harrowhark Nonagesimus, will only set her free if she agrees to help her in the Emperor’s trial of wits and skill.

If successful, Harrow will become a powerful immortal servant of the Resurrection, but she needs Gideon’s sword to succeed. Without it, the Ninth House will perish.

Tamsyn Muir’s characters are vividly brought to life in this thrilling and heart-pounding novel. Gothic space palaces and memorable characters will make you fall in love with Gideon and the crumbling empire to which she belongs.

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