#RockMyTBR 2022 Challenge

Hi everyone! We’re almost at the end of 2021 and it cannot come soon enough, though I’m definitely not making any predictions about 2022 being better this time around because it feels like a great way to get burned again. My #RockMyTBR Challenge this year never really got off the ground, I’ve really struggled with reading physical books this year, I’ve just not been in the mood for anything on my shelf, so I kind of abandoned this challenge pretty early on in the year. I didn’t want to push myself to read things I didn’t think I would enjoy at this point in time, so I decided it was better to abandon it altogether than push through and end up having my mood affect my enjoyment of the books I’d chosen.

However, I’m hoping things will look up for my reading in 2022, and will be back with a new challenge next year, that will hopefully go better than this year’s challenge. For context I’ve read 2 books from my challenge list this year. 2. So definitely room for improvement.

If you’re new to my blog and not sure what the #RockMyTBR Challenge is, it’s a challenge originated by Sarah K at The YA Book Traveler. It’s really simple, you draw up a list of backlist books to knock off your TBR (ie books not published in the year that you’re reading them) and read them over the course of the year. She hasn’t done it since 2017, but I’ve kept doing it because I really enjoy it (this year not withstanding).

I always have a list of 12 books, one for each month of the year, and I’m going to stick to that, because again, this year notwithstanding, it usually works quite well. As I’ve done for the past few years, I got Book Twitter to choose my list for me this year, via a series of polls, and I’m really pleased with what they’ve chosen. We seem to have naturally landed on a lot of short books which I think will be really good for me with my current reading mood, and there’s a nice range of publication years, it’s not all books published this year that I just didn’t get to, so I’m quite pleased with that! So here we go, my #RockMyTBR challenge books for 2022:

  1. The Girls I’ve Been-Tess Sharpe

Mysteries aren’t my usual genre, but I’ve been trying to branch out from fantasy a little more over the past couple of years, and I do really like mysteries, so I’m pleased that this book was chosen for me for next year’s challenge. It sounds so good too, the daughter of a con artist gets taken hostage in a bank heist? Sign me up! It’s also nice and short which is why I thought it would be a good choice for January.

2. The Love Hypothesis-Laura Steven

I’m 90% certain that this book won its poll by a landslide because people thought it was the other “The Love Hypothesis” I was talking about, the really popular rom-com by Ali Hazelwood. However, it’s not, it’s the lesser known LGBT+ romcom by Laura Steven which follows a teenage girl who tries to find a scientific solution to love. I’ve really loved The Exact Opposite of Okay, so I’m hoping I will find this just as enjoyable.

3. The Silence of The Girls-Pat Barker

After being a little underwhelmed by The Song of Achilles this year, I’m hoping to have better luck with this Trojan War story. I always love books that focus on the women that history often overlooks, so I reckon this book should be great for me. I was really intrigued by Briseis in The Song of Achilles, so I’m excited to read a book where she has the starring role.

4. Ace of Spades-Faridah Abike-Iyimide

Another mystery for the list this year. I think this may be my first mystery by a Black author, but it hopefully won’t be my last. I’m super excited for this one because one of the comparison titles was Gossip Girl which I was obsessed with as a teenager, so I think it’s going to be right up my street. If anyone has any more recommendations of mystery books by Black authors then please let me know, as I’m clearly woefully behind in diversifying my reading in this particular genre!

5. An Affair of Poisons-Addie Thorley

I bought Addie Thorley’s debut novel years ago, I think back in 2019, but despite reading both books in her Night Spinner duology since then, I still haven’t got around to this one. 2022 will finally be the year it seems, and I’m really excited: it’s based on actual historical events in 17th century where people would purchase poisons to “get rid of” their enemies, and this book revolves around a plot to kill the King. I’ve had mixed results with French-set historical fantasies, but I’m hoping this one will be a winner.

6. The Last Magician-Lisa Maxwell

This was meant to be one of my #RockMyTBR reads for this year, but due to my reading slump I never got around to it. The good people of Book Twitter have once again voted that I need to read this one, so I will hopefully get around to it next year. Early twentieth century New York + magic + heists does sound right up my street, I’m just hoping that I’ll be more in the mood for large books next year than I have been this year as this is a CHUNKSTER.

7. Thunderhead-Neal Shusterman

I’ll be honest, it’s been a good four years since I read the first book in this trilogy, Scythe, and I can’t remember a thing about what happened! I’ll definitely have to look up a recap before I read this second book. I do remember enjoying it though, and I remember the concept of Scythes being responsible for reaping souls because no one ever died naturally in their world being cool, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

8. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle-Stuart Turton

Apparently 2022 is the year of mysteries! I’m not mad about it, I’ve been meaning to lean into my mystery interests a bit more for a while so this is the push I needed. My friend Hannah read this book and really enjoyed it, and I’ve heard so much really good stuff about it, so I’m looking forward to seeing more about what the fuss is all about next year.

9. The Near Witch-Victoria Schwab

Another hangover from last year, that got voted for again this year. This is the last book of VE Schwab’s backlist that I’ve left to read, and I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous because I’ve not loved her earlier YA and this was her debut novel so I don’t have massively high expectations for it, but if nothing else, it will be interesting to see where she started.

10. Bridge of Souls-Victoria Schwab

The third (and at the moment final) book in the Cassidy Blake series. I really enjoyed the first two, I’m not usually one for middle grade, but these books are seriously fun and nice little palate cleansers between all the dense fantasy I usually read. I’m looking forward to seeing what Cassidy and Jacob get up to in this book and how Schwab brings this series (or maybe arc as she has hinted she may come back to these books in the future) to a close.

11. A Kingdom For A Stage-Heidi Heilig

I read For A Muse of Fire back in 2018, so I’ll be honest, I’ve forgotten a lot of it, but again I’ll probably read a recap before diving into this one. I remember it being cool though, a mix of French and Asian influences and a mentally ill WOC as the main character who is able to bind the souls of the dead to shadow puppets. It was all very cool, so I’m excited to see where the author took the series next.

12. Spellslinger-Sebastian de Castell

I bought this one at YALC, so I’ve had it for at least two years, I think maybe three (I can’t remember if I bought it at 2018 or 19 YALC). Anyway, it’s been a while. But I will finally be getting to this book this year, and I’m really intrigued as the whole premise is a magician who has lost his powers has to find a way to get them back before facing his first magical duel. It sounds like a lot of fun and I hope it lives up to my expectations.

So there we go, that’s my list for 2022! I think this year’s list may have my most male authors ever, a grand total of three! I’m a little down on new authors, only four on this year’s list, but that’s okay, I’m sure I’ll find a lot of new authors to read in my non-challenge books next year. If you’ve read any of these, please let me know what you thought of them.

Thanks once again to all the lovely people of Book Twitter who voted for next year’s list, I hope that I do better on next year’s challenge than I did on this year’s and that you enjoy seeing all my thoughts on these books over the next 12 months. I’m really excited for hopefully a better reading year in 2022 than 2021 (if I say it enough maybe I can will it into existence!).

There’s not going to be a 2021 challenge wrap up this year as I obviously didn’t manage to finish my challenge this year, but I will hopefully be back with a bang in February with my January 2022 wrap-up!

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