Top 10 of 2022

Happy 2023 folks! It’s that time of year again when I share my favourite books from the outgoing year. I always struggle to narrow it down to just ten books, but this year was particularly hard as I have read some truly amazing books. After much toing and froing though, I have managed to whittle my list down from 40-something to just ten. These are purely in the order that I read them rather than a chart run down. Click on the titles to read my reviews of each of these:

  • Dusky Dahlia – Lucy Holden
    • I absolutely adore the Nightgarden Saga by Lucy Holden, and having read the final three books in the series in 2022, it was hard to choose just one. In the end, it had to be Dusky Dahlia because of the depth of emotion in the story.
  • The Embroidered Book – Kate Heartfield
    • Two of my favourite genres are historical fiction and fantasy, so when the two collide, it is a dream come true for me. This stunning book is a reimaging of Europe at the time of Marie Antoinette, and I could not put it down!
  • Nothing Burns As Bright As You – Ashley Woodfolk (review coming soon)
    • This YA novel in verse is as beautiful as it is devastating. I wanted to review it as soon as I read it, but I just could not find the words – to be honest, nine months later, I am still struggling.
  • Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl – Joya Goffney
    • This was a tricky decision for me, because I also read Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya in 2022, and I loved both books equally, but only had space for one. I ended up choosing this one because I think that its subject matter is something that should be spoken about more.
  • The Ghost of Ivy Barn – Mark Stay
    • I can’t get enough of the Witches of Woodville series by Mark Stay, and I loved this latest instalment. Each book has a slightly different feel to it, and I found this one a lot more emotional than I had expected. Oh, and I cannot stress this enough, you HAVE to look up Mr Stay’s unboxing videos!
  • The Wedding Cake – Isabella May
    • If you don’t know by now that I am a huge Isabella May fan, then I don’t know where you have been for the last five years! I love, love, love her Foodie Romance series! It is just wonderful.
  • Words In Deep Blue – Cath Crowley (review coming soon)
    • Oh my, this book! It was recommended to me by a friend, you know the type, “You have to read this book, it will destroy you!” and she certainly wasn’t wrong. I know this is a book that I will keep coming back to – just as soon as I recover from reading it the first time!
  • We Are All Constellations – Amy Beashel
    • Yet another book that left me in absolute bits! I think maybe I should read some happier books in 2023, but I just can’t help myself with the emotional rollercoasters!
  • Goblins of Lapland – Caedis Knight
    • While a lot of the books on my list this year are YA, this one is most definitely an 18+! The latest in the Blood Web Chronicles is a festive prequel full of Christmassy delights!
  • The Witch and the Tsar – Olesya Salnikova Gilmore
    • Finishing off this year’s list is one of the last books I read in 2022, and another where history meets fantasy, this time in Russia as Ivan the Terrible encounters a reimagined Baba Yaga. It was the perfect wintery read to curl up with in the days before Christmas.

What were your favourite books in 2022? I would love to see your lists to add to my TBR!

Book Review

The Ghost of Ivy Barn – Mark Stay

Hot on the heels of The Crow Folk and Babes in the Wood comes the third book in Mark Stay’s wonderful Witches of Woodville series, The Ghost of Ivy Barn, and I am delighted to be joining the blog tour to celebrate its publication today. Many thanks to Mark and Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the tour.


August, 1940.

As the Battle of Britain rages overhead, a warlock leader from the Council of High Witches comes to Woodville with a ritual to repel the imminent Nazi invasion. The only catch is it involves full-frontal nudity on the White Cliffs of Dover. The Witches of Woodville are having none of it, but when more witches arrive they realise they might have a spy in their midst, and it’s up to Faye Bright to uncover the traitor. But she’s got enough on her plate already with the ghost of a Polish Hurricane pilot who may hold the key to the truth.


Amazon UK



Well, this is a series that just keep getting better and better. Whilst not as dark as Babes in the Wood, The Ghost of Ivy Barn is packed full of emotion and magical hijinks, making it an absolute joy to visit Woodville once again. Miss Charlotte and Mrs Teach are in fine fettle as the witchy double act return to continue Faye’s magical education, and it was a delight to witness the continuing romance between Faye and Bertie.

All my favourite characters from the previous books were present and correct, but this time they were joined by a few new faces – some of whom were more keen than others to complete their Nazi repelling ritual skyclad!

Whether it is down to the already delicate state I was in while reading, I can’t say, but there was more than one point towards the end of this book that brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye, so you might want to keep the tissues close by.

If you are new to Mr Stay’s work, please check out his unboxing videos on his Facebook page and sign up for his newsletter – you are in for a treat with both!

The Witches of Woodville is a series that never fails to put a smile on my face, and I look forward to future books!


Mark Stay co-wrote the screenplay for Robot Overlords which became a movie with Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, and premiered at the 58th London Film Festival. He is co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and has worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years. He lives in Kent, England, with his family and a trio of retired chickens. He blogs and humblebrags over at





Make sure you visit the other blogs taking part in the tour for this magical book.