My Bookish Highlights of 2022

Well, here we are very nearly at the end of 2022 and it’s time to look back over what was a great reading year.

At the beginning of the year, there was still disruption to events due to the ongoing pandemic. I know we’re not out of the woods yet with that, having just caught it for the first time myself at the beginning of the month. I certainly appreciated the opportunity to take part in some online book events again and I do think it’s great that some festivals etc are still offering a hybrid approach. I particularly enjoyed the online launch for Milly Johnson’s latest book, Together Again and was delighted to win a copy of the book. This is the book I’m finishing 2022 with.

I am in a very select book group with three of my friends! We have a girls’ night in every month or so and chat about a book we have read. There’s rarely a book we all love – or hate – and it’s quite fun when reading it to guess who will have liked it and who won’t. Often, I get this wrong! This year we’ve read seven books. It’s hard to pick an overall favourite so I’m choosing two. One I picked was The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller and one one of the others chose, The Great Mistake by Jonathan Lee.

It was great to be able to get back to the Edinburgh Book Festival again and I was so pleased to be given a press pass again. I attended a few events (some using the pass, others I had bought tickets for) and a highlight was having a brief chat with Patrick Gale and getting my copy of his latest book, Mother’s Boy, signed. I should have been at the launch event early in the year but it was postponed due to illness and then when it was rescheduled, I was on holiday! The opening night party was particularly special. It took place outside in the courtyard on a lovely warm evening and with twinkling lights in the trees, it was just magical.

One of the highlights of the year is always the Portobello Book Festival in October. This is a local free festival run by volunteers, including myself. This year I chaired an event on historical fiction with Sue Lawrence and Mary Paulson Ellis and they were both brilliant guests. I thoroughly enjoyed the event myself and so did the audience by all accounts. I know a few people bought books by both authors afterwards which is always a good sign. Another highlight of the festival this year was meeting Jenny Colgan, one of my favourite authors, who was taking part in an event with Chris Brookmyre.

I must mention the romantic fiction publisher Choc Lit/Ruby Fiction. As you’ll know if you a regular reader of the blog, romantic fiction is really my favourite genre. I have been privileged to be able to read many of their books ahead of publication and often feature their authors. A huge thanks to Liz and Lu for the opportunity to read the books and for sending in guest posts by the authors.

I try not to get too obsessed with how many people read my blogposts but it’s always nice to know that someone is reading my reviews and features. This year, my blog has seen over 35,000 views and around 20,000 visitors. Not as many as last year but then, we’ve been able to do other things and get out and about much more this year so I’m happy with that. My most popular post remains a 2020 post which is a brief review and link to a short story about Lou from Me Before You. Not sure why that still gets seen so often! My most popular post published this year is a guest post on historical fiction by Saga Hillbom and my most read review is The Twins by LV Matthews. The vast majority of my blog readers come from the UK but I have visitors from the USA, India, the Philippines, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Peru, Aruba and many more countries. I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to visit and read my blogposts.

I’ve really got into audiobooks this year and listen mostly through the free library app, Libby. This year I’ve listened to 25 books on the Libby app plus a few on Audible. I’ve listened to most of the Bridgerton series which I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s hard to choose a favourite audiobook but two that stand out are The Summer Seekers and Miss Benson’s Beetle.

One real highlight of the year for me was finally making it to a publishers’ event in London! It is understandable that many events take place in London where many publishing houses are based but it does mean that it is pretty much impossible for me to attend given the distance and money involved. This year though, lovely Sara-Jade at Simon and Schuster gave so much notice that I was able to get reasonable train tickets and accommodation booked and after some worries that there would be a train strike, I was off to London for a couple of days. I was so disappointed though that my friend Kelly couldn’t come with me as planned as she was unwell. It was lovely to meet so many members of ‘Team BATC’, in real life who I’d only known through social media or seeing them on Zoom events. It was also great to meet up again with Linda – thanks to Annette for the lovely photo of us. There were six fantastic authors in the room with more joining online and we all came away with an amazing goodie bag of books. A really brilliant night!

I hope you have been following my Author in the Festive Spotlight over November and December. I was delighted so many authors were keen to take part and thoroughly enjoyed reading them myself. Thank you to the sixteen authors who took part. If you missed them, you can use the search box on the blog to read them all.

One of the lovely things about blogging is the chance to read early copies of books, either physical copies or ebooks, to take part in blogtours, online promotional tours for forthcoming and recently released books. I’d particularly like to thank tour organisers Kelly, Rachel, Anne and Tracy for the opportunities to take part in blog tours as well as the many publishers and individual authors who kindly send me books to read.

Most of all a huge thank you to the authors whose books I have read and reviewed this year – over 170!
Reading brings me a huge amount of pleasure and I hope that I share my enthusiasm for books on my blog. Thank you to all visitors to my blog.
I wish everyone all the very best for a 2023 filled with love, joy and wonderful books!

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