Mid-Year Reading Check-In

Can you believe it’s July already? Where has 2022 gone? Luckily, many of my days have zoomed past me while my nose was buried in a good book. To date, I’ve read over 50 books this year, putting me well on my way toward by 2022 reading goal of 100 books. As I look back on the past 6 months, a few books really jump to the front of the pack in the race for best of 2022. Here’s my mid-year reading check-in of my favorite books of the year, so far. I’m eager to see how many of them end up on the Best-Of list at the end of the year. Pssst, these were my favorite reads of 2021.

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Code Name Helene

This is not only my favorite book of 2022 so far, but it might just be my favorite book of all time. Yes, I said all time, as in ever, like ever ever. Code Name Helene is a true page turner that I simply could not put down. I was hooked from the start the second I picked up this dual-timeline World War II novel about a real-life heroine of the French Resistance. Separated from her beloved husband, Nancy strikes out with the French French Forces to sabotage Nazi occupiers in France. She leads an army of Frenchmen with as much gust and zeal as any military leader. But as the war ends, she’s faced with the impossible. In the end, she grabs fate with both hands. I love a bad B female main character, and Nancy is the greatest of all time! She’s the G.O.A.T.! If you’re a fan of WWII fiction, DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK!

The People We Keep

I love found family books, particularly ones that feature down-on-their-luck main characters. The People We Keep is one of the best examples of just such a book. It’s rich with drama but in the best way possible. Centered on a teenage runaway, this book explores what it means to be a family, to learn to trust others, and to explore our own needs. Larkin elegantly captures what it feels like to be on the edge of something great and learning to sink into the vulnerability of the unknown. This book is pure poetry. Read it.

Half-Blown Rose

Marketed as contemporary romance, Half-Blown Rose reads more like classic fiction IMO. I loved the lyrical prose and the copious references to art, film, music, and culture. Half-Blown Rose was like a runaway train barreling right through my brain. It spoke to the French New Wave lover in me; give me a Francois Truffaut film any day of the week! The book tells the story of Vincent, a recently separated 40-something who finds herself living in Paris after a shocking revelation about her long-time husband. She falls for Paris, for living alone for the first time in years, for living in the moment, and for a young art school student who teaches her life is all about risks. If you’re an art/film/music lover, this book might be for you!

The Huntress

I read all of Kate Quinn’s World War II fiction in the first half of 2022, and The Huntress was, by far, my favorite of the four. Full of drama, intrigue, and passion, this book literally has it all. Historical fiction fans will love how Quinn incorporate factual information about the Russian all-female fighter pilot regime, The Night Witches, while simultaneously creating one of her most memorable characters. I was hooked from the first chapter, captivated by Quinn’s storytelling and the triple point of view featuring three unique but memorable characters. The story centers around Jordan, a young Bostonian who’s father has recently remarried a women who Jordan’s convinced was on the wrong side of WWII. She sets out to find out as much as she can about her mysterious new stepmother. Meanwhile, Nazi hunter, Ian, tag teams with an old acquaintance, Nina, while on the hunt for the notorious female Nazi known as The Huntress. This is one heck of a page turner that I didn’t want to end. Read it!

The Family

The fact that The Family is Natalie Krupitsky’s debut novel is mind-blowing. Set in New York in the early part of the 20th century, the book tells the story of Antonia and Sophia, two young children of Italian immigrants in 1930’s New York City. With fathers involved in organized crime, the girls quickly that family is thicker than blood. But when events unfold in their young lives, fissures in their friendship emerge. Once inseparable, the women have grown apart, but their shared experiences as children of a mafia family have weaved their stories into one. Determined to make their own way, both young women attempt to carve a space for themselves in the family. But each dreams of something bigger, a destiny greater than bearing children and hosting Sunday supper. Secrets, lies, and girlhood fantasies are woven in the web that form this friendship. If you’re a fan of prosaic writing, character-driven novels, and Mafiosi, then you’ll want to add this to your TBR.

Like a House on Fire

This book, more than any other this year, took me by surprise. I went in blind and had no idea what to expect. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this book’s intensity and poignancy. Like a House on Fire is the story of Merit, a young mother struggling to find herself again after motherhood. Upon returning to work she meets Jane, her eccentric and glamourous new boss. The pair become fast friends, spending time together in and out of work. Before long, Merit starts to wonder what if they were more. What ensues is absolute FIRE, y’all! I could not put this book down. It captured the essence of discovery and early love, while perfectly mastering the transition of life into the 40s, when everything and nothing change all at once. I love this book so much and highly recommend this to anyone who loves romantic novels filled with passion, tension, and emotion. And the ending is the definition of chef’s kiss!

Final thoughts on my Mid-Year Reading Check-In…

I can’t wait to see what the second half of 2022 has in store for me (and you)! Good books are a huge part of my main character vibe, so I’ll be on the hunt for the very best. Be sure to join my newsletter gang for updates on future post, e-book deals, and all things bookish. In the meantime, drop a comment below with your favorite book of 2022 so far! And don’t forget to share my mid-year reading check-in with your friends on social media!

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About Carlie

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