The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden
Years ago (let’s say 17), I read a fantasy novel by Dennis L. McKiernan called Once Upon a Winter’s Night that was another retelling of East of the Sun, West of the moon, and I absolutely adored it. Arden’s retelling is no less compelling, with lush prose and a compelling sense of setting. While this book feels like a setup to the next two books (read: establishing the sense of setting a some plot), it’s a beautiful read that has me excited for the rest of the trilogy.
The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey
This was a satisfying and heartbreaking conclusion to this trilogy. It was just as full of twists and turns as the first two books, and just as sad. This is a series I’ve passed along to friends, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who wants edge-of-your-seat post-apocalyptic YA fiction.
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
The second book in the trilogy continues the adventures of Lila and Kell, endearing them to our hearts even more. I finished this book pretty soon after the first, over a year ago, but I do remember liking it even more than the first book. It’s a pretty solid entry into a pretty solid fantasy trilogy, and definitely worth the read.
Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown
This was only my third Brené Brown book, and I didn’t care for it much, because it felt like a rehashing of her other books. A rehash, and a critique, in which she pointed out thinking in her previous works that she disliked or disagreed with now. Self-reflection is good, but I didn’t particularly enjoy reading that she no longer liked some of the things she’d said that had resonated with me. It made me feel sort of silly for still taking those things to heart. Still some good insights, but it isn’t a read I particularly enjoyed.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
I’m writing this review a year after reading, so I apologize for its brevity (my memory isn’t as good as it used to be.) I read this book soon after finishing Patrick Rothfuss’s <i>The Name of the Wind</i>, and while I enjoyed it, it paled in comparison. However, in the past year, my excitement for the series has continued. I haven’t forgotten the characters, or how this story kept me on the edge of my seat, or how I read the next two novels in quick succession.
This book is a favorite of the #bookstagram community, and it’s not hard to know why.
A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield
This is a lovely, thoughtful book on mindfulness and meditation. I highly recommend. This book had been recommended to me more than once, for good reason.
Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland by Lavinia Greenlaw
I read this book during/after a trip to Iceland, and I loved it for that reason alone, because I loved the place, and reading about someone else’s experience of loving it also made me so happy. I’d recommend for anyone who has a love affair with Iceland.
Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
I read this book a few years ago, and it really made me think about my relationship with possessions. It’s made it easier for me to let things go, and to evaluate items before they come into my home, asking myself if it’s something I’d want to move to a new place (the answer is often “no.”) I wouldn’t say I’ve turned into a super minimalist, but I’ve stopped myself from buying a lot of stuff over the last four years that I would have just kept in a closet.
Forget Marie Kondo: these guys talk about the whys, the hows, and the maintaining of a minimalist relationship.
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
I’d been eagerly awaiting Lydia Netzer’s next novel since the moment I finished reading Shine, Shine, Shine. I absolutely adored both of these books: both broke my heart and also elevated my heart in different ways. I can’t recommend Netzer enough. Her prose is beautiful, her characters identifiable and fallible, and her plots carefully plotted. Please, read this.
Cockroaches by Jo Nesbø
This was a less solid read for me than The Bat, and I wouldn’t recommend it on its own, but in terms of character development, the events in this book are helpful in understanding Hole and his backstory in future books. You’d probably be ok to skip this one, though the backdrop of Thailand is intriguing.