Ranking My First 22 Reads Of 2022! // indecisiveness galore

Ranking in general gives me all the feels.

When I’m being ranked, there’s the nervous butterflies, the foot-tapping anticipation and an undignified urge to stick out a tongue at my fellow competitor. When I’m doing the ranking, there’s the undeniable need to do justice, the thrill of selecting the top three and the fear of retaliation from the bottom.

Soo. *claps hands in quick succession* Since I’m in the mood for the package of feelings that comes with ranking today, I’m going to rank… books! Let us ignore the fact that books are, in fact, the only thing I’m qualified enough to rank.

Ok here’s how this is going to work. I am going to be ranking the first 22 books (because it’s 2022, get it?) I’ve read this year based on my opinion on them. We’re going to start in reverse order and work our way all the way to the top, meaning the books are in the order of worst to best. To make things more organized, there are also six categories under which certain consecutive rankings fall under, to express my overall feelings for those books. Each book cover shall be linked to it’s goodreads page and beside it are highlights (from the pov of yours truly) from the story which could either make you want to devour the book whole or run far far away from it.

With all that out of the way, let’s get started!

— #22 Caraval by Stephanie Garber —

→ a magical, dark treasure hunt type competition
→ a weak willed, “i just want to save my sister” main character
→ too many reminders of how “dangerous” the “game” is
→ anticlimatic deaths that aren’t even real

— #21 Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz —



→ a dragon flying Quidditch style sport
→ 16-18 year olds behave like 10 year olds
→ weirdly written dialogue
→ so many characters, so little info

— #20 Jade City by Fonda Lee —



→ rival clans and family politics
→ probably the slowest book you’ll ever read
→ seriously, it’s sloowww
→ oh also lots of POVs

— #19 Dead Girls Can’t Tell Secrets by Chelsea Khaso —

→ pretty classic murder mystery
→”everyone is hiding something”
→ feels like a wild goose chase
→ school secrets

— #18 Ace Of Shades —

→ dark fantasy
→ gang lords and con men
→ morally grey love interest
→ a sadist game of execution

— #17 The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe —


→ heavy themes (pls check tws!)
→ more about the past than the present
→ the present being a bank hostage situation which could have been made highly interesting
→ focuses on one and one character only

— #16 Not Here To Be Liked by Michelle Quach —

→ themes of feminism
→ romance was sort of instalove-y, there was no chemistry
→ lots of important things happened quickly
→ the love interest had zero personality except being an ex jock

— #15 Portrait Of A Thief by Grace D. Li —

→ college students turned thieves
→ colonization of art
→ chinese american identity
→ monologues on imperialism and “the American dream”

— #14 Hani And Ishu’s Guide To Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar —

→ desi main characters
→ biphobic white friends
→ fake dating (duh)
→ parental (they’re asian soo) pressure

— #13 Down Comes The Night by Allison Saft —

→ sworn enemies to lovers
→ killer×healer pairing
→ wintry night vibes
→ changing sides! betrayal! redemption! more betrayal!

— #12 Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley —

→ sapphic witches
→ sunshine×grumpy
→ magic gone wrong
→ a long journey (more like a quest actually)

— #11 Hidden In Plain Sight by Jeffrey Archer —

→ a witty detective story
→ smart and well thought out plot
→ taking down a drug squad
→ new additions to the team

— #10 So This Is Ever After by FT Lukens—


→ weird in the best way
→ friends to lovers awkwardness
→ set in a castle
→ takes place after your usual YA quest

— #9 In Deeper Waters by FT Lukens —

→ pirates and princes
→ and handsome mermen too
→ supportive elder siblings
→ kidnapping and rescues galore

— #8 If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich —

→ boy bands, fame and cancel culture
→ the best mother group
→ gay adorableness
→ openly gay vs closeted

— #7 You Have A Match by Emma Lord —

→ full summer-y vibes
→ best friends to lovers
→ secret sisters who couldn’t be more unlike each other
→ all sibling and platonic relationships were *chef’s kiss*

— #6 Geekerella by Ashley Poston —

→ modern day Cinderella retelling (minus the cheesy parts)
→ a delightful fandom… and a con!
→ anonymous texting
→ nerd supremacy

— #5 Namesake by Adrienne Young—

→ pirate-y adventure
→ treasure hunting for a mythical gem
→ torn familial relationships
→ morally grey cast

— #4 Tweet Cute by Emma Lord —

→ twitter wars!
→ ridiculously delicious desserts
→ rivals to friends to lovers
→ anonymous texting

— #3 Fable by Adrienne Young —

→ dangerous mc with traumatic past
→ found family
→ a not-so-merry journey through the seas
→ shocking reveals at every page

— #2 When You Get The Chance by Emma Lord —

→ a cheerful, goofy mc who is my new favourite person
→ reverse mamma mia!
→ the best platonic relationships
→ witty, immersive writing

— #1 Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong —

→ romeo juliet retelling
→ emotional rollercoaster
→ enemies to lovers PERFECTION and so. much. angst.
→ rival gangs, blood feuds, stabby women and soft men

Have you read any of these?? Bonus points if you’ve read them this year too! THOUGHTS ON THEM? Which are YOUR favourite reads so far this year?? (do not be fooled by the size of my tbr, i’m ALWAYS looking for yet more recommendations)

~ Rachel

These Violent Delights vs the Hype-o-meter // Review

If you’ve never heard the name “These Violent Delights”, it is very likely you’ve been living under a rock all this while.(if that’s the case, welcome back! hope you’re enjoying our bright sunny world) Such is the extent to which this book has been hyped. And where there is hype, there is the hype-o-meter! (okay that sounded better in my head)

These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)

Title: These Violent Delights
Author: Chloe Gong
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retellings
Publishing Date: 7th November 2020
Add to Goodreads!

Synopsis:
The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.
A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.
But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

I must admit I’m uncharacteristically late to the hype-train with this one. But. What a delightful journey it was. Chloe Gong really did pull all the stops (stops. like train stations. get it??). I’m usually not one for spoiling the suspense and taking away the thunder of our cute little hype-o-meter graphic at the end, but boy, believe me when I say this story was worth every inch of the hype. 

Okay. So what all did I love about this book? Number 1. Gong created such an amazing story and she did it from the real world, a real Shanghai in the early 20th century  – and if that does not scream TALENT I don’t know what does. Speaking of real, the political intrigue in the book was so good? I loved how all the political aspects of westernisation and communism and other brewing tensions were happening in parallel to our story in a way that seemed significant yet did not overshadow the main plot. 

Romajuliette romajuliette romajul– I don’t think there have been better fictional soulmates like ever (take that Shakespeare). I mean, what was there about them not to love?? They actually completed each other. (cheesy, i know) Juliette was everything Roma was not – tough and sharp and badass, like the sharpened edge of a sword. Whereas Roma was… Roma. Sweet and kind and soft, a butterknife to Juliette’s glinting sword. (enough with the knife metaphors already). The childhood best friends to lovers to enemies to lovers to enemies was PERFECTION. The angst!! The yearning!! The secrets!!It was everything. I have never found anything else more frustrating and endearing all at once. Roma and Juliette are my one and only (okay maybe not only but you get the point) OTP from here on. 

Speaking of which. Ben and Marshall. Yet another pair of marshmallows who were meant for each other (how do you do it miss Gong? Spill your secrets). 

What was especially unique about this book is how Gong (can you tell I’m an awe of this woman?) made me feel for every single character. Like, I hated Tyler and Paul with the same passion with which I loved Roma and Juliette and Ben and Marshall. There was no “you know what? I don’t care what happens to this character”, because I did care. I wanted to see the ones I liked live happily ever after, and the ones I hated should die slow and torturous deaths. (moral of the story – never get on my bad side)

click to view spoiler i disliked Paul Dexter from the beginning. It seems fitting that he’d be the villain and all, but really, I’d rather that miserable weasel had no major role in the story at all

THAT END?! What– how– when– why? (yes I seem to have become incapable of forming full sentences at the moment) It had me S H O O K. Which is why I need the sequel right now even though I don’t think I can take the pain anymore (are you listening, Universe? How about you drop a nice shiny copy of OVE in my open hands now?) 

click to view spoiler normally I am not a fan of the resurrection trope – something about bringing supposedly dead people back to life creeps me out –  but gosh I’ve never been happier in my life than when I found out Marshall was not dead (though the synopsis of OVE explicitly states otherwise and I accidentally spoiled myself by reading the synopsis when I was halfway through tvd)

Not surprisingly, These Violent Delights emerges a clear victor in the battle with the hype-o-meter (tough luck hype-y boy, maybe another day) which means that it was worth the hype through and through! 

That’s not all – click here to read April’s review of These Violent Delights!

Earlier posts featuring the hype-o-meter:
The Young Elites vs The Hype-o-Meter!
We Hunt The Flame vs the Hype-o-meter // Review
The Inheritance Games vs the Hype-o-meter // Review

Have you read These Violent Delights? (I’m sure you have, remember what I said about the rock?) Would you agree with my hype-o-meter rating? Did you also have a chance to also read Our Violent Ends? (If yes, I am extremely jealous) Let me know in the comments!!

~ Rachel