Best Books of 2022
Every year our staff picks out our favorite books that we’ve read that year.
We don’t rank them and categorize them only by genre, because, like with all art, this is list is purely subjective and your personal tastes and spiritual needs should be foremost when discerning new stories to inspire you.
But if you’re not sure where to begin this list (or our previous years’ list) is a great place to start.
Best Series of Note — NEW Category
What if legends were true? What if myths weren’t just nice bedtime stories?
Embark on an epic fantasy adventure where myths come alive, heroes are born, and good struggles against evil.
Seeking to avenge the death of his parents at the hands of Viking marauders, a young man named Finnian leaves his monastic school in Ireland to find a legendary sword rumored to have the extraordinary power to defeat evil.
Will fear stop Talitha, the sole water gatherer for her hut, from searching for her friend—even if it means scaling the walls of the mine owners’ compound, where locals are shot on sight?
And will terror block Moses’ path—or can this teenage hunter battle an underground human trafficking ring with ties to the cities on the other side of Great Mountain?
Join Talitha and Moses on their journey, one marked with violent drug lords, crippling jealousy, blinding anger, but also…tremendous beauty. And, the flutters of first love.
Meet other villagers and colorful characters along the way, all of whom are grappling with dire loss after a recent mine explosion. Become acquainted with multiple generations of a missionary family who sacrificed all, moving out to the African bush to fulfill a driving passion—one that most would call a crazy dream. Listen, as ageless questions are carried in on the hot winds of the Great Red Valley: Do you know what it means to truly be brave? And, what if you had to risk your life for a simple cup of water?
Dive into Brave Water and decide!
Suitable for ages: 13 – Adult
Father Peyton was ambitious in his mission and contacted popular Hollywood actors and actresses, such as Bing Crosby and Loretta Young, to help him convince families everywhere, “The family that prays together stays together.”
Using television, radio and film, Father Peyton was a modern-day missionary who went on to encourage devotion to the Blessed Mother and inspire families to pray together. His inspiring life story is now made accessible for the first time in a comic book format.
*Also Available in Spanish*
Boston, 1793—Beautiful and artistic, the only daughter of a prominent merchant, Molly Chase cannot help but attract the notice of Federalist Boston—especially its men. But she carries a painful secret: her father committed suicide and she found his body. Now nightmares plague her day and night, addling her mind and rendering her senseless. Molly needs a home, a nurse, and time to grieve and to find new purpose in life. But when she moves in with her friends the Robbs, spiteful society gossips assume the worst. And when an imprudent decision leads to public scandal, Molly is tempted to take the easy way out: a marriage of convenience.
Merchant sailor Josiah Robb is as familiar to Molly as a brother—as dear and as exasperating. Yet she is no sister to him. He hopes to marry her before anyone else does, but sailing the high seas leaves no time for convincing Molly that he is more than her teasing childhood friend. Josiah wants a new job and a fresh start, and when he agrees to carry a confidential letter to President Washington, his life is forever changed.
In the wake of tragedy, these longtime friends discover a new intimacy. But slander, confusion, absence, and a wealthy, conniving bully stand between them. And with French spies on the loose, they not only have to rescue their reputations—they have to protect their lives.
For in the days ahead, each time Stephen hears confession or celebrates Mass, he commits yet another act of high treason against the British Crown, for which Queen Elizabeth’s swift penalty is gruesome torture and painful death. As Stephen hastens to find shelter away from that open beach, he struggles not only with fear but with doubt, as well: “Is my mission foolish? Am I nothing more than fresh meat for the queen’s butchers?”
In the light of that same gray dawn, just a few miles north, a heartbroken Caroline Wingate lies awake in her unhappy marriage bed, wrestling with thoughts of a different—perhaps crueler—martyrdom.
Although from her earliest years Caroline has known herself to be called to cloistered contemplative life as a nun, some years ago she was forced by her father into a politically “safe” marriage with an upright Protestant, from whom she must hide her Catholicism—and her true vocation—lest she, too, be executed for her faith.
Hanging by the neck is swift martyrdom, but Caroline’s doubts and guilt have pained her daily for years now. An exile in her own soul, in her lonely desolation she confesses, “I don’t love my husband as I should. For safety’s sake, I cannot give myself wholly to him and must deceive him daily. Nor can I give myself to the One I truly love.”
In a few days, circumstances will force Caroline and the young priest together. With death hastening toward both of them, the beautiful fates of these two faithful Catholics confirm what we today too often forget: our faith is the most powerful force in the world—more powerful than politics, wars, or empires. More powerful even than the hard, cold will of Queen Elizabeth.
In this gripping, heartrending tale, Caroline and Stephen show us that it’s not power that writes the true history of the world; it’s faith: faith and the love that faith alone can awaken and sustain.
“Treason is one of the most powerful historical novels I’ve ever read. It brings to vivid and shocking life the age in which Shakespeare lived and in which the English martyrs died.”
Writer-in-Residence, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts
However, not all fairies are good. Instead of helping people practice virtue, some encourage vice. These are the types of fairies you generally want to avoid. Nothing would delight them more than seeing you destroy someone you love.
Unfortunately, for the young King Alexander, his sister falls victim to a pair of such fairies who convince her to launch a coup. Alexander has no choice but to flee to a barbarian kingdom and try to build himself a new life among the uncouth locals.
Even if happiness were possible in such a place, could he live with himself if he left his people at the mercy of such evil beings? And even if he wanted to help his people, how could he possibly match the fairies’ power?
This quirky coming of age story is about responsibility, courage, and self sacrifice.
Set in Chicago during the 1920s, Martin struggles to find his place in the world. He suffered a debilitating leg injury as a fighter pilot in World War I and is rejected by society. Without the support of family or the ability to work, Martin is a homeless veteran roaming the streets of Chicago, living off of scraps of food he finds.
That is, until he rises from the ashes.
Through a series of unlikely events, Martin discovers that his knowledge of the streets can actually help the country he fought to defend. Working in the shadows as if he was a “phantom,” he encounters criminals and crime scenes, giving the police the hints and clues they need to clean-up the streets of Chicago.
Honored as a finalist in the “Religion: Christianity” category for the 2021 International Book Awards
In her second book, “For the Sake of His Sorrowful Passion: Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet with Scripture and Art,” Meggie K. Daly takes the reader on a one-of-a-kind personal, historical, and prayerful journey. The book is an excellent meditational resource for praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, but so much more.
The author reveals the impact of Divine Mercy in her own life and how the Divine Mercy Chaplet brought her home to the Catholic Church. She explains why meditating on Christ’s passion is such a powerful tool for our prayer life and why it’s so pleasing to God the Father, which motivates the reader to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
Through a detailed biography of St. Faustina, the reader comes to know the saint as a dear friend. This background information transforms the paragraphs of the Diary of St. Faustina into a more intimate personal and spiritual encounter. Daly unwraps all five Divine Mercy devotions and Christ’s associated promises as found in the Diary.
Thirty decades of bead-by-bead meditations replete with beautiful artwork, Scripture, and original text focus the reader vividly on the passion and death of Christ while praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet. In her signature style, Daly combines Scripture and art masterpieces with multiple points of entry into Christ’s passion. Jesus asked St. Faustina to pray the Stations of the Cross frequently. In response to this invitation, Daly shares her own meditations, coupled with gorgeous imagery for the Stations of the Cross, again with multiple entry points. Additionally, the author shares how she weaves the Divine Mercy Chaplet into her Rosary on days when she meditates on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.
Whether new to the Divine Mercy devotions or a committed devotee, who prays the Chaplet of Divine Mercy daily, this book will deepen your prayer life and add new options for meditation. This book is available in Color paperback, B&W paperback, and Kindle. To find the Color version, search using the ISBN “9781735238807” or “For the Sake of His Sorrowful Passion: Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet with Scripture and Art (Color Version)”
Everything suddenly changes when Randall is assigned to track down the perpetrator of a daring attack on a Fleet warship. This case is dangerously personal.
The closer he comes to his target the more he finds himself trapped by old grudges, an outlawed organization, and a war his grandparents fought. Can he escape from his enemies without betraying everything he cares about?
“A poignant poetry collection that explores loss and rebirth, grief and hope, and lessons learned from the natural world. Poet Jeremy Long channels the spirit of Long Island Sound and the depths of the human soul in the poetry collection, Fair Now Later Rain” -IndieReader
A contemporary poetry book formed within the perennial tradition and the classics, Fair Now Later Rain combines melodious language with sophisticated thought.
- Written within a personal, spiritual, and philosophical framework, Fair Now Later Rain collects poems about life, love, and happiness, poems about loss, God, being, existence, absence, and more.
- Accompanying the reflective and contemplative poetry about sorrow and death, life and love, are short poems that are witty provocations, clever rhymes, and joyful turns of phrase.
- Fair Now Later Rain is modern melodic poetry with an intellectual and lyrical poetic form.
“Fair Now Later Rain gathers poems about sorrow and opportunity, reflecting struggles with life and perspective to offer succinct free verse insights that are especially powerful metaphors for life and emotional reaction.” –Midwest Book Review
Lieutenant Kinderman follows a bewildering trail that links all these people, confronting a new enigma at every turn even as more murders surface. Why does each victim suffer the same dreadful mutilations? Why are two of the victims priests? Is there a connection between these crimes and another series of murders that took place twelve years ago—and supposedly ended with the death of the killer?