100 books in 2022

I posted my Top 10 Books of 2022 the other day and went down a rabbit hole of book bloggers and got a lot of inspo. Rosie, who I’ve followed for years, posted her post, GoodReads Goal and it made me want to do the same thing.  I read 100 books last year and while sharing my top 10 is great, I want to share my rating for all my books. My friends say I’m pretty harsh with my GoodReads stars so keep that in mind 😉

Five stars

  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  • It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus
  • The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
  • For the Love of Friends by Sara Goodman Confino
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
  • Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  • People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • Before the Coffee Gets Gold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
  • Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
  • Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas
  • Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas
  • The Assassins Blade by Sarah J Maas
  • House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas
  • A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
  • I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
  • The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor
  • The Bee and the Fly: The Improbable Correspondence of Louisa May Alcott and Emily Dickinson by Lorraine Tosiello and Jane Cavolina
  • You, Me, and the Colors of Life by Noa C. Walker
  • Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
  • The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner
  • Night by Elie Wiesel

Four stars

  • The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Black Coffee by Agatha Christie
  • Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  • Campos de Fresas by Jordi Sierra I Fabri
  • This Time Around by Tawna Fenske
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Life After Coffee by Virginia Franken
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
  • Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas
  • Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
  • Crazy to Leave You by Marilyn Simon Rothstein
  • The Fifth Agreement by Miguel Ruiz
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • When We let Go by Rochelle B. Weinstein
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Three Stars

  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
  • Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irvine
  • The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
  • Meet Me in Madrid by verity Lowell
  • A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
  • Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas
  • House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
  • People I want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann
  • Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
  • Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
  • Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Canoeing in the Wilderness by Henry David Thoreau

Two stars

  • Love Yourself First by Krystle Laughter
  • The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

One star

  • Life is Short and So is This Book by Peter Atkins
  • Como Agua Para Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
  • Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis [DNF at 25% also my first ever DNF ever aka it was awful]
  • Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas

After looking at my ratings like this, I am the opposite of harsh with my stars. But here are my 100 books for 2022. My goal for 2023 is 50 books. Ideally, I’d love another year of 100 but I’m starting small and then I can make changes as I hit smaller goals J

How many books did you read in 2022? What’s your goal for 2023?

Alicia 🙂

Top 10 Books of 2022

I have always loved words. They have helped me convey a lot over the years. I’ve always been a reader. When I was in elementary school, I would borrow Black Beauty, The Wizard of Oz, any of the Dear America books, and so much more and would binge-read them at night. I loved picking books that piqued my interest in any way. I fell out of love with reading in high school when I started having mental health struggles and was forced to read 4 classics every year. I love the classics, don’t get me wrong, but The Awakening by Kate Chopin was the worst book I’ve ever read. I had to write my final paper on it in my junior year. AWFUL. I didn’t read much for pleasure throughout high school and college and I didn’t get back into reading until 2020. Over the past three years, I’ve read substantially more each year, and in 2022 I read 100 books. Some were incredible, some were trash, and some made it to my favorite books of all time. Here are my top 10 books of 2022 that I’d recommend EVERYONE read someday.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Wow. I picked this book up thinking it would be your quintessential cartoon cover novel and I was 100% wrong. This book had me a little bored in the first half, but then I was hit with the biggest plot twist EVER that had me wanting more for the rest of the book.

I absolutely ADORE Nick and Daphne and everything that is their relationship and I want another book that just shows them being happy [no plot just mundane life] and growing old [Think A Court of Frost and Starlight by SJM]. I’ve read two of her books now and got two more for Christmas. I’m so excited to go down this rabbit hole of Weinger books.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

I loved People We Meet on Vacation because how can you not, as a teacher, love a book with a teacher in it. I’ve been looking forward to this book since I saw the title. As a book lover myself, [and traveler which I assumed it would cater to based off of the cover], I knew this was the book for me.

This book combines my favorite things [literature, small towns, big sister core, breaking the 4th wall] AND my favorite tropes [coworkers, enemies to lovers, I hate everyone but you] all in one book. Henry did it flawlessly, I might add.

I relate whole-heartedly to Nora in almost every aspect of her life and saw myself through her throughout the whole book [where is my “I hate everyone but you” literary boyfriend hmmm??]. She puts family first and is a people pleaser through and through. Her ending made me start to reconsider a few life choices I had made personally to please others as well… we’ll see how my ending plays out.

My sole complaint [in the book and about Libby] is the use of the name Libby. I hear Libby and I hear the toddler sister in Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging and that’s all I thought of while reading about her.

In conclusion, Charlie Lastra can get it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If I can’t have him, I’m glad my book twin Nora gets to. 

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

I’m not even sure where to begin with this book. I have never been a cartoon cover romance reader until this year. I always stuck with gen fiction, classics, self-help, etc. BUT THIS BOOK. This book could convert anyone to read solely cartoon covers for the rest of their lives.

Piper starts off as this annoying rich girl who becomes IG famous by using the wealth of her stepdad. After a night in the slammer following a party Piper barely even remembers, her stepdad sends her [and her sister Hannah accompanies her out of pity] to the small fishing town of Westport, Washington, where her deceased father owned a dive bar. Brendan had my heart from the first page. The small-town fisherman trope I have decided is my new favorite and maybe I’ll be moving to Washington to live out this newfound dream of mine.

Piper and Brendan’s love story pulled at every heartstring. The constant struggle for Piper to figure out what’s truly important in her life: Hollywood or the man that’s treating her so well. Piper definitely needed a major attitude change, but she always put her sister first in everything. She learned to cook, clean, and revamp the bar, all to make sure her sister was proud and happy for her. Once Brendan finally got his head out of his ass and saw all that there was to Piper, there was no contest. There were definitely a couple of plot twists that I didn’t see coming but everything worked out in the end for me, and them.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Even though the book is called They Both Die at the End, I was CERTAIN that Rufus and Mateo were going to defy all odds and not die because I really didn’t think that Silvera would give away the ending on the cover and because I thought there was a way to not die at the end. I was sorely mistaken.

First, I love the writing in this book. POV chapters are my CRACK, and this was the cherry on top of the cake for this book. Rufus and Mateo remind me of Luca and Alberto in Luca where Alberto gets Luca to live in the same way that Rufus gets Mateo to live. Watching Mateo live his life on his last day while simultaneously falling in love with Rufus made my heart soar.

Mateo’s death was CRUEL. He deserved so much more than what he got. really thought they would die in each other’s arms in bed, and I was robbed of my happy-sad ending. I knew from the start that this was going to be a book that was going to break me and it sure as hell did that. The message of “Live each day to the fullest because you never know when it’s going to be your last” really stuck with me and I appreciate the message, I just wish that Mateo and Rufus didn’t have to die in order for me to get that message. 

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a quick and lovely read. It answers the questions that so many people think about, what would you change if you could go back in time? And in this book, four customers at a small café in Tokyo get to find out the answer to this question, with tons of stipulations. They have to sit in one particular seat [that is only open when the resident ghost gets up to use the bathroom, they cannot leave the café, and they must return to the present day before the coffee gets cold.

Four different visitors want to answer this old as time question. One wants to meet the daughter they never got to know, one wants to see their sister, one wants to receive a letter from their husband who in the present time, suffers from Alzheimer’s, and one wants to confront the man who left them.

I think about this question far too often. Who would I want to see or meet, what point in time would I go back to, and what could I screw up for the present day if I meddled with time? It’s a lovely book with a beautiful translation by Geoffrey Trousselot. I’m looking forward to reading Kawaguchi’s other books.

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

This book gets so much hate, but I really wanted to read another Rooney book after reading Normal People and watching the Hulu series.

I read this book in a bit under five hours and for the first four hours or so, I was enamored. The characters, the plot, everything. I was SO shocked by all of the hate from the book. Then I read the last three chapters and it all made sense.

I love Rooney as an author. I love her characters [minus Felix trying to hit on Simon which was weird] and I love her style of writing in this book. My favorite types of books are those that change perspective, and the email chapters were great to get a mix of 1st and 3rd person in the book as well.

The ending felt so rushed and made no sense with the rest of the book. I won’t put any spoilers here but there were three tropes that were added haphazardly and were so unbelievable that I just could bare the end of the book. This book was about to be a comfort book and I might just reread it but stop at chapter 27, so I don’t have to endure the ending.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

If you’ve been on Goodreads, been to a bookstore, or talked to anyone about books last year, I’m sure you’ve heard of Sarah J Maas. She has taken over the Fantasy world [just like Colleen Hoover has taken over Romance…] and there are a lot of mixed reviews. I’m someone who has very mixed reviews on her as well. I don’t think she’s that great of a writer. Her books are overall pretty boring and there are 300 or more pages of world-building per book and the only actual plot takes place in the last 50 pages. However, she has great characters, and those last 50 pages are like being slapped in the face over and over and over again with plot twist after plot twist. I loved this series [her other series are meh but also must-reads and I can’t say why]

I love Feyre and Reysand and I recommend everyone read this series. It’s definitely Romantasy so if you’re into that, you’ll love it. Be prepared for a SLOWWWWW start but it gets better [400 pages later]

The Bee and the Fly: The Improbable Correspondence of Louisa May Alcott and Emily Dickinson by Lorraine Tosiello and Jane Cavolina

I bought this book thinking it was real. Obviously, I neglected the authors’ names at the bottom. But a book about the correspondence of one of my favorite authors? I had to have it. I devoured this book in a day. I love books with perspective and the letters to and from made my life. I love how the letters reflected both of their styles. Alcott wrote longer letters and Dickinson wrote shorter letters and usually included poems at the end. It was so convincing on both ends; it could have been real. You cannot convince me that Alcott and Dickinson didn’t know each other and didn’t correspond in some sense.

I applaud Tosiello and Cavolina for the amount of research that they must have conducted to make this book as good as it was. It was so hard to pick a favorite book but this is one of my all-time favorite books. While not very popular, my goal is to get this book on the map.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This was the first book of 2022 that made me cry. Monique Grant is having a rough time until she gets the job of a lifetime: to document Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo’s life and all her scandalous secrets, including the timeline of all of her seven husbands. Monique, while flattered is a little stunned. Why would this Hollywood icon choose Monique to document her life?

Monique spends days in Hugo’s home, listening to her retell her life story, from romance, friendships, her career, and forbidden love.  With the right amount of plot twists along the way, it becomes clear why Monique was chosen for this job.

I was enamored with Marilyn Monroe as a child and Hugo’s story had me thinking of her. It made me feel closer to the Hollywood star that I obsessed over for years. This sparked my love for Taylor Jenkins Reid, and I look forward to reading her entire work

I’m Glad my Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

Many people have this book tagged as “Funny” and “Lighthearted”; truthfully, I’m not sure we read the same book. It had me crying more than laughing, although I did chuckle a bit at all of her awkward stories about friends, relationships, and growing up.

There is something so comforting to me, a person with a nonexistent relationship with a mother due to a poor connection in the past, seeing someone who no longer has a relationship with their mother [for obviously different reasons ie. mine is living] heal from their relationship with their mother just as I am currently. It’s one of those “I’m not alone” moments. Amid “Happy Mother’s Day,” “Missing my mom today,” and “My Mother is my Best Friend” posts that always circulate my feed, there are books like these that remind me: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR MOTHER. And I’m not a failure for not having one either.

I relate to Jennette in a lot of ways, more ways than I thought possible relating to a child Nickelodeon star. While we started out with different relationships with our mothers, they ended the same [I think], and we are both still working through all of the trauma that that relationship had on us.

As someone who has struggled with various eating disorders, going from anorexia to BED and feeling the complete and utter loss of control just as Jennette did and having your mother comment on it every step of the way, I felt that. From being told that you’re too much, or too big, or not good enough, I felt that. From learning at an early age that people pleasing and being a mediator [until you can’t take it anymore] is easier than dealing with narcissistic tendencies, I felt that.

It’s bittersweet in a way, having this book that so perfectly lays out my relationship with my mother. My heart aches for Jennette in all the ways that we are similar, but I am also grateful to know it’s not just me and that there are others who go through the same things with their mothers, and that we’re not alone in this experience.

Thank you, Jennette McCurdy, for writing one of the best books I’ve ever read. Thank you for being so open, so real, and so raw, in every aspect that matters when telling a memoir such as this. 

What were your favorite books you read last year?


If we were having coffee [and hadn’t chatted in a few years]

I got an email confirmation from WordPress a few weeks back saying that my URL was being renewed for another year. I couldn’t help but find it silly that 20 or so dollars came out of my account, and I hadn’t posted since I last got that email in November of 2021. My last post was in July 2021, and it was a catch-up post about my life. I had just moved into my first-ever apartment [which I still live in] and that was that. Nothing since. I’ve logged in a few times but every time I try to put finger to the keyboard, I’m overcome with anxiety that I should be doing something else: work, cleaning, sleeping, working out, walking my dog, etc.  Why can’t I just do something [like read or write] because I want to? Why must there be a higher purpose? If I want to sit on my couch, watch Dance Moms, and write a little blog post for a few hundred people to read, then why can’t I??? My goal in 2023 is to take care of myself: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Blogging does a lot for my mental health, and it makes me feel like I have a bit of a purpose. So, here’s to writing at least one post a month. If I write more, fab, but 1 post a month is my goal in 2023 and that’s that. So, for the first time in over a year, grab a coffee, and let’s chat.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m actually no longer drinking coffee. I kind of stopped drinking coffee in October? I drink it rarely but not daily like I was before.  I really only drink tea now and I’m feeling good about this decision. I love Chai now!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I was diagnosed with PCOS last January. It’s been awful and I have so many more questions, but I love the online support community that surrounds PCOS. I’m learning so much about my body through it which is good, but it truly sucks that my body doesn’t function like others do.  I would love to start posting about it here 🙂

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m reconsidering my profession. I think I’ve fallen out of love with teaching. It’s heartbreaking and I’m not sure if it’s my school or teaching, but I think a career change is in my future [that and my master’s degree for sure]. I’m having preemptive guilt because I love my coworkers and my students and the Spanish language and culture, but I come home every day exhausted [not to be mistaken for the lack of caffeine I’m drinking haha] and depressed. I don’t want to lead a life like that :/ I’m not sure what’s in store for me next year but I really need to reevaluate my life and what’s important to me and see if teaching gets better for me.

If we were having coffee, I’d let it slide that I’m no longer vegan. WHAT?! Here’s the deal. I went vegan in 2015 when I was in the grips of an eating disorder. I used veganism as another method of starvation and ate protein bars, smoothies, and bananas, and called it a day. I maintained this veganism for 6 or so years, hating myself when I slipped up and ate something with milk in it. I made the decision for myself that right now, veganism is too restrictive for me. I am still vegetarian and will realistically never eat meat again. Once I work out all of my problems with food and body image and eating in general, maybe I’ll make my way back to being vegan, but right now, I need to not be as restrictive so I’m a happy little vegetarian at the moment and have been now for well over a year.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m ready to leave Chicago. When I was little, I always dreamed of moving to LA or NYC. That dream is long over. I want a backyard and grass for my dog to play in. I want to be within 30 minutes of an airport but without the hustle and bustle of Chicago. I want to be able to find parking dammit! I want things to cost a little less money. I love Chicago and always will, but Chicago isn’t [and never was] permanent for me. I never pictured myself here post-grad and I’d love to be in a city that feels like home. I’m not sure when I’ll move but I do know that I’m not staying in my tiny little apartment forever [which is bittersweet].

I’m sure there is so much more but that’s what I have today. I miss writing dearly, and every time I do open a blank document, it feels right, like this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

Chit-chat soon,

Alicia ❤

If we were having coffee

Long time no write – my favorite phrase. It’s been about two and a half months since I’ve sat at my computer and written. My laptop crapped out on me in February amidst my hardest assignment I’ve ever had to complete in order to graduate college and get my teaching license. The keyboard stopped working [I realized right after purchasing my new one that I needed a new battery] and I had to connect a mouse and keyboard to get the computer to work so basically it was just a desktop computer. Nothing wrong with a desktop, however, my favorite blogging spot is at the corner of the couch with a cup of coffee on the table next to me and a movie on the TV for background noise. That was difficult with my previous set up. Now, I’ve got my brand new computer and I’m ready to get back into writing. So, grab your cup of coffee and let’s chat about my summer.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how I’m still [hopefully] headed to Spain. I’ve submitted everything necessary for my visa application and now it’s just a waiting game. As long as everything goes as planned and my visa gets approved, I’ll be heading to Ciudad Real, Spain on September 14th to teach !!!!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how my sister went away to college! We moved her in about two and a half weeks ago at Southern Illinois University and then I got to visit her this past Friday! She’s doing so well there and college was just what she needed.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve still been quarantining for the most part. I’ve seen a few friends but I’m keeping my circle small and not risking a thing because I know [and no one else seems to] that there is still a pandemic going on.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I visited my friends in Ohio for my friend Grace’s 21st birthday. We went back to my college town and kept to ourselves, spending much of our time in our hotel rooms, playing cards, and just enjoying everyone’s company. It was great to see them all but that drive wasn’t fun.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my family and I spent a week in northern Wisconsin at my cousin’s home. Every year we used to go to Kentucky for a week of fishing, swimming, card playing, sun burning, and just to spend time with each other. Because of COVID, we had to adjust and spent the week at my cousin’s home. We got to celebrate the graduation of my sister from high school, me and my cousin from college, and my cousin’s husband from his surgical residency! It was tons of fun to get some sun, read, check out a new little town, and get in some much-needed baby and dog time!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve been consistently working out and eating right pretty much all summer. I’m feeling really great and this little bit of consistency in my life has made these uncertainties of quarantine and COVID a little easier. I also recently downloaded Nike Run Club and I’m going to try and get into running! If any of you runners have any tips for beginners, please let me know!

What has happened during your summer?

Much love

❤ Alicia

I graduated college!

I have so many things I want to write about and have gotten a ton of motivation to do so recently. However, my laptop has officially gone to shit so I’ve created a new nook in my room at my desk [after rearranging all of my furniture… a very typical high school Alicia move] for writing at my desktop. Albeit more difficult for me here, I spent most of my laptop owning days lounging on my couch and writing as well as watching TV and talking to people, I think this change in scenery [my neighbor’s house midst consturction] will be good for me.

So… I graduated college? Technically, I’m a college grad but due to coronavirus and the actual ceremony being postponed indefinitely, it doesn’t feel like it. Nevertheless, my Instagram bio now says “OU alum” so obviously it’s official 😉 I’m also heading back to Athens this weekend to move out of my apartment which will, of course, entail taking some graduation photos and crying on every part of campus. What screams college grad more than this scenario?

Posting this is beyond weird for me. I started this blog almost five years ago [how??] when I was a wee little freshman in college. Now, I’m a college graduate [sorry I’ve said college graduate like twelve times I’m just proud]. This blog was created to document my college experience, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Little did I know I’d still have it almost five years later and I’d be documenting my college graduation.

When I first started this blog, I was pretty positive I’d be leaving San Diego, but I had thought I’d be moving to Phoenix to go to Arizona State University to study chemical engineering. I only thought about SDSU and ASU because I wanted to be closer to my then best friend [funny what’s important to your 18-year-old self haha]. Little did I know I’d be transferring to a school much closer to home [and a hell of a lot colder] to study Spanish and Education.

And as of Saturday, I am officially an alumna of Ohio University, with a double major in Spanish Education and Spanish Language who will most likely be taking a teaching position in Galicia, Spain, or the upcoming school year 🙂 

As for the fate of this blog, I’m going to keep her alive, documenting all my post-grad endeavors of course, because nothing is more me than that. 🙂

All the love,