Another a year, another almost impossible task trying to each choose our Top 10 Reads of the year! Like past years I won’t be including re-reads, sometimes my opinion of a book could change and evolve after I had read it, so some surprises may be up near the top, as well as perhaps a book or two that didn’t make my reviews on here initially due to genre limitations. But here they are, ready for a countdown! And since it’s the end of the reading year, don’t forget to enter our “Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway”! Today I’m going to countdown my favorite reads, ten to six.
10. “In Every Generation” by Kendare Blake
As I mentioned in this review, 2022 was a bit of a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” nostalgia trip for me, and it ended on the highest note with this new series by Kendare Blake. Buffy Summers was such a formative character for me in high school, but my very selective preferences and opinions regarding characters (and the asshole creator) made revisiting the original content a bit sour. So seeing Blake be able to create a new set of characters to make her own, while bringing in well loved characters from the original series (including my beloved Spike), was a true joy. We are now following Willow’s daughter Frankie as she comes into her own as the first Slayer-Witch, and seeing her come into her power as well as find her own group of Scoobies to help her. It was such a fun and nostalgic read!
9. “Kismet” by Amina Akhtar
I found this book to be such a fun and addictive read this year! Whether it’s the biting satire of the wellness industry to the creepy cultl ike aspects to the incisive look at covert and overt racism in the wellness movement, “Kismet” is both suspenseful and at times very humorous. A young woman decides to leave her home with her abusive aunt in favor of moving to Arizona with her wellness mentor and closest friend. But when she gets there, people in the small community start dying strange and violent deaths. I do love some good satire, and this book has that and more. I was so praising of it my Aunt actually picked it up, and she too really, really enjoyed it. Just a fun thriller all around.
8. “Ghost Eaters” by Clay McLeod Chapman
Scary ghost imagery fans, look no further. The first full horror title on this list was read in a purposely darkened hotel room by a crashing Lake Superior, and the ambiance was on point. After her ex boyfriend dies (shortly after she set a boundary in regards to helping him escape rehab), Erin is plagued with guilt. So when she hears of a drug called Ghost that can supposedly let people see the dead, she takes it in hopes of closure. Instead, Erin is seeing ghosts everywhere, and when they start seeking her out, her life starts to fall apart. This is both a scary ghost story, but also a deeply upsetting story about guilt, trauma, and addiction. And it really, really got under my skin.
7. “Goddess of Filth” by V. Castro
Witches continue to be my jam, horror sub genre wise, and I have really enjoyed V. Castro’s stories that center on the Latina experience. So obviously combined that makes for a kick ass, feminist witch story that ALSO decolonizes Western ideas of possession and demons. After a spell leads to the possession of their friend Fernanda, a group of teenage wannabe witches decide that they have to help their friend. But as they observe Fernanda’s behavior while possessed, they start to realize that perhaps this ‘demon’ isn’t the invasive and evil thing that their community and religion has made it out to be. Feminist, unique, anti-Imperialist, “Goddess of Filth” is a creepy and empowering novella.
6. “The Hacienda” by Isabel Cañas
Gothic horror stories are absolutely perfect for the winter months, and one of my favorites of 2022 was “The Hacienda” by Isabel Cañas. It doesn’t matter that this one takes place in a warmer area, it will still send chills down your spine! Beatriz has married a local hacendado named Rodolfo, not because she loves him but because the marriage can bolster her and her mother’s safety during turbulent political upheaval. But when she gets to his hacienda, it’s clear that there is a VERY angry ghost still lurking on the property, and she has to turn to a local priest/secretly practicing witch to try and cleanse the house of the spirit. Much like “Goddess of Filth”, “The Hacienda” also has themes about colonization and Imperial violence, and it also has a very scary ghost story at its heart that will be sure to keep people up at night. I really, really loved it.
So that’s ten through six. Next time I will give a countdown of my top five. What have been some of your favorite reads of 2022?