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pkgonzales7

pkgonzales7

A self-avowed bookworm ever since I can remember. Now, I make a living encouraging teenagers to read books. :) 

 

YA fantasy is always my jam. I also dabble in science fiction, history or historical fiction, romance, nonfiction, and religious and spiritual, and self-help books. 

Currently reading

Faeries
Brian Froud, Alan Lee
Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas
Peter Kreeft

A satisfying ending to a captivating trilogy

The Queen of Nothing - Holly Black

I'm a big fan of Holly Black (ever since her first novel Tithe), and I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, which was wrapped up so nicely in the last novel.

 

To be honest, the most impressive thing for me in this conclusion of the series is how much I realized I'd come to love and become attached to the secondary characters such as Jude's sister Taryn and her foster father Madoc.

 

The ending was almost a bit too neat, but there was plenty of intrigue and romance to make up for it. :) 

Holly Black does it again!

The Wicked King - Holly Black

I have been a fan of Holly Black for awhile now. I love her first Faerie series starting with Tithe, so I had been excited to see her return with a totally in-universe Faerie tale trilogy! The Cruel Prince was wonderful and thrilling as usual, but The Wicked King makes good on the first book's premise and promise and develops the characters and plot in a wickedly delightful fashion (as fitting the world of Faerie) with enough wonderful twists to have you not prepared for the biggest one.

 

I was thoroughly captivated. <3 

Important read for all, but especially young adults

Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea - Susan Elizabeth McClelland, Sungju Lee

Poignantly told true story of a young boy who lived through famine, poverty, and loss in North Korea and lived to tell the tale. Written for young adults, it's a great look for them in particular at life in this oppressive society. 

A must-read

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

This book is so good and so painful and so inspiring. I definitely cried at least twice reading it. An important perspective and an important book.

 

 

The Winter of the Witch - Katherine Arden

Fabulous ending to a thrilling, beautiful trilogy. Definitely the best of the three. As usual, Arden weaves together magic, religion, spirits, and history into a wonderfully vivid and lush tale. I really appreciated seeing Vasya coming into her own in this final chapter. This was chock full of lovely character development and pain and grief and adventure and romance. 

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up - Marie Kondō

Great follow-up to Kondo's first book with more details on folding clothes and also particularly good if you have a larger house, townhome, or condo.

 

 

Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation - Mike Morrell, Richard Rohr

I really appreciate Rohr's take on the Spirit and the nature of the Trinity in terms of flow, relationship, and the Divine Dance. He does a nice job of rooting his message in Scripture, although I don't know if I agree with everything he says. 

 

Nonetheless, he does a wonderful job of discussing the need to move past the binaries of this world and legalist views of God. 

The Little Manual for Spiritual Growth - Rev. Fr. John Portavella

Heavily influenced by St. Josemaria Escriva, so there is a lot about sanctification of work and family life. Best read with the foreword in mind about flexibility in application of these devotional practices and attitudes into your own life, so as not to feel like this is a checklist of how to be a good person; nonetheless, the suggestions are helpful I think and there is some good discussion of God as the Veiled Lover and about mortification. 

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World - William H. McRaven

Not necessarily anything startling new in terms of ideas, but still can be a good source of inspiration to remind you of the attitudes necessary to change the world. 

 

And I do really love the first one "If you want to change the world, make your bed." I, myself, have applied it and found it incredibly helpful to starting the day off right. 

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

This is wistful and imaginative and quite beautiful, although I don't know that its beauty hits me the way it does other reviewers, especially as I didn't connect with the characters. Still, it's quite romantic and magical in a way that is still grounded very much in the historical 19th century. 

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are - Brené Brown

I really appreciated the ideas and principles of this, although I'm not a huge fan of Brown's writing style: it's very conversational and approachable, but it doesn't quite pack a punch the way other self-help books do. 

How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life - Catherine Price

I found this to be a helpful, practical, straight-forward guide to how to have a healthier relationship with your phone. The author has a candid writing style and isn't overly dramatic or a Luddite by any means, but gives it to you straight and helps you turn your smartphone into a tool rather than a crutch.

 

I followed the plan and feel so much better about how I use my phone now! 

Waiting in Mindful Hope: Wisdom for Times of Transition - Martina Lehane Sheehan

Part of the reason I love this book so much is that it is exactly what I needed right now during this time of transition from me (mourning a death, feeling burdened by work, making lifestyle changes in how I use technology). But also because it is written in such a clear, insightful way that is rooted in Scripture and the compassion and love of Jesus.

 

It's theoretical but practical and each chapter ends with a reminder and small but important step to put into practice.

 

It touches on many things: mindfulness, trusting in God patiently, embracing liminal moments - transition periods in our lives - as opportunities for growth amidst the uncertainty, and living in a hope that is rooted in Christ.

 

Great spiritual book I recommend especially to those who are struggling in a place of in-between. 

The Big Book of Less: Finding Joy in Living Lighter - Irene Smit, Astrid van der Hulst

I really enjoyed this big book of less. It wasn't necessarily filled with new ideas I had never heard before, but it did bring together a lot of different insights regarding living less (less control, less clutter, less information) in a way that still felt fresh and organized and clear and inspirational.


Plus, it's just a beautiful book that is just so fun and pretty to read with plenty of paper goodies to enjoy!

One of those books everyone should read

Radical Compassion: Finding Christ in the Heart of the Poor - Gary N. Smith

A beautiful memoir about one Jesuit priest's experiences working for years with the poor in Portland, Oregon. It is a book about finding Christ in all places, and it challenges you to enlarge your heart to have greater compassion for a group of people our society often ostracizes and judges harshly. 

The Brother Lawrence Collection: Practice and Presence of God, Spiritual Maxims, The Life of Brother Lawrence - Brother Lawrence This wasn't my favorite spiritual classic but it was the one I needed to read right now, because I often cling to particular devotions and routines instead of clinging to God. This was a powerful reminder to practice the Presence of God and just learn to Abide in His Love and His Being.