What I Read This Winter

Books I read in December (2022), January, and February.

Happy Spring! We’re only like a month and a half in. I’m looking forward to creating the Spring Reads post because I haven’t read that many books yet, so I’ll get a jump on it later this week. I do love how they turn out.

Since this post straddles years and series, the first three are finishing out The Wingfeather Saga and then my 2022 Goodreads Goal and then the count starts over.

I read 14 books this season. Here are they all are in order from first to last:

  • North! Or Be Eaten (The Wingefeather Saga #2) by Andrew Peterson
  • The Monster in the Hollows (The Wingfeather Saga #3) by Andrew Peterson
  • The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors Written By and Illustrated by
  • The Warden and The Wolf King (The Wingfeather Saga #4) by Andrew Peterson
  • The Chicken Sisters by K.J. Dell’Antonia
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by J.K. Rowling
  • Write Now, Here’s How: Insights from Six Decades of Writing by Linda M. Hasselstrom
  • Dakota Bones by Linda M. Hasselstrom
  • Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount by Matthew Mercer
  • Postcards from South Dakota by Chuck Cecil

Of the 14:

  • Completed: 10
  • Still Reading: 4
  • Didn’t Finish: N/A

Books by the Numbers:

  • Owned: 10
  • Library Books: 4
  • Borrowed: none besides the Library Books
  • Fiction: 10
  • Non-fiction: 3
  • My Shelves: 10
  • Ant’s Shelf: 0
  • Rereads: 4
  • Poetry: 1

Books by Readership and Genre:

  • Fantasy: 8
  • YA: 7
  • MG: 3
  • Thriller: 0
  • Writing: 1
  • Poetry: 1

My Favorites of the Season:

I really enjoyed The Wingfeather Saga. I was finally prompted to start this series last September sitting in the main room of the Schermerhorn during STORY while Harris was talking to the author and the creator of the animated series, and I’m so glad I did. The first one is one that middle graders would understand, but I think even my 7-year-old niece would love it, and I think her 3-year-old brother would enjoy parts of the story as well.

And of course, I loved re-reading Prisoner of Azkaban.

There could be spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned!

35/30 // North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson (The Wingfeather Saga, book 2)

Dedication: For Aedan, Asher, and Skye. Remember who you are.

Favorite sentence: “It was such an unexpected thing to discover that Ronchy McHiggins stood over them for a long time, unwilling to disturb such a simple, beautiful thing. The dawn sang through the windows in fat, golden beams, and to his great confusion, tears rose from somewhere deep within him and streamed down his face. He decided to help them” (157).

36/30 // The Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson (The Wingfeather Saga, Book 3)

Dedication: For Jamie, my bride, who knows me best and loves me still.

Favorite sentence: “Sunlight fell through the porthole and slid to and fro across the empty mattress like a pendulum, keeping time with the rocking of the boat” (1).

Favorite line – tried to pick something that wouldn’t give too much away.

1/30 // The Warden and The Wolf King (TWatWK) by Andrew Peterson (The Wingfeather Saga, Book 4)

Dedication: This one’s for you, dear reader. You’re almost home.

Favorite Line:

I’m going to combine all my Wingfeather Saga thoughts to one paragraph. I love this series! It’s family friendly and has strong family and faith themes. The books would make great read-aloud bedtime stories and I heard from a friend that her and her kids are listening to Andrew Peterson read the audio books. My favorite part was watching Janner, Tink, and Leeli grow over the course of the series.

Author | Buy the Books | Watch the Series | Angel Studios

37/30 // The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalk and Illustrated by Adam Rex


To my champions, Roger Di Paolo, Tom Stephan, Rose Mary Piazza Stehman-humble – D.D.

For Henry – A.R.

Favorite Sentence: “Rock traveled to the mysterious Forest of Over by the Tire Swing…” (2).

My daycare boss showed me this book and it is epic! And like every children’s book that I love, I read it out loud to Ant who doesn’t typically enjoy this haha but he really enjoyed this book! It’s a creative take on the classic game. And the illustrations are beautiful.

Buy the book | Author | Illustrator

The Warden and the Wolf King kicked off 2023, but I wanted to keep it with the rest of the series thoughts. And now we’re at the start of 2023! I decided on 30 books again. It’s an achievable number and I don’t get all competitive with myself.

2/30 // The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia

Dedication: To my grandparents, who took me to Chicken Annie’s. To my parents, who once took me to Chicken Mary’s. And to Rob, Sam, Lily, Rory, and Wyatt, all of whom understand the importance of good friend chicken–and enjoying it together.

Last summer when I went through the free 10-week Summer Blueprint Challenge for my Leah Novel, I was intrigued by this book that KJ wrote (also one of the hosts of the challenge). A few weeks into the challenge, I found the book at a local Little Free Library and grabbed it. I like the idea, but it just felt sad. So much miscommunication. And I got angsty reading it. Maybe it wasn’t the right timing and maybe it’ll be for you.

A note about the Summer Blueprint Challenge link below: During summer last year, they KJ and Jennie offered a free version, which is what I participated in. The link is to the paid version. So, I linked to the first of 10 episodes that went along with each weekly assignment and to the blueprint books Jennie Nash wrote. I think a combination of the podcast episodes and the book would be great, if you’re looking for a self-paced (free) course of sorts to kick your book-writing in gear.

Author | Buy the Book | Summer Blueprint Challenge

#amwriting podcast Blueprint Challenge Episode 1 | Jennie’s Blueprint Books

3/30 // The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Dedication: For Lilah. Smash the patriarchy, sweetheart

Favorite Line: “My mom laughs. She’s always had such a great laugh. It’s very carefree, very young. Mine is inconsistent. Sometimes it’s loud; sometimes it’s wheezy. Other times I sound like an old man. David used to say he thought my old-man laugh was the most genuine, because no one in their right mind would want to sound like that. Now that I’m trying to remember the last time it happened” (55).

I wanted to love this book. And I was really invested, staying up way past my bedtime to get to the end. And then I was let down. The ending has a great twist. But I still felt unsatisfied.

Author | Buy the Book | Maybe in Another Life | Daisy Jones and the Six book and show

4/30 // Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K. Rowling

Dedication: To Peter Rowling, in memory of Mr. Ridley and to Susan Sladden, who helped Harry out of his cupboard.

Favorite Line: “The story had been picked over so many times, and had been embroidered in so many places, that nobody was quite sure what the truth was anymore” (1)

After the previous two books fell a bit flat for me, I decided to return to Harry Potter. As the turning point of the series, The Goblet of Fire doesn’t disappoint. Harry shoulders an impossible task–three of them thanks to being mysteriously entered in the Triwizard Tournament–but also the reoccurring one of being the center of attention when all he really wants is to lay low and have a normal year at Hogwarts. The lengths J.K. Rowling went to set this story in motion–the payoff at the end is beautiful. Hard, sad, heavy, yes, but beautiful.

When I reread this book (12/25/19-1/10/20), I bawled my eyes out. Cedric’s death had much more of an impact on me than ever before. Reading the series growing up, I was staunchly a Gryffindor fan and didn’t really understand what Cedric’s death meant in the greater place of this series. I didn’t bawl this time around (I finished it while recovering from another cold), but there were definitely times I teared up–for Cedric’s death, Cornelius Fudge turning a blind eye, an eye-witness testimony being absolved so that the Ministry can continue to operate under the peace and stability they’ve had for the last 13 years.

I also have a bit more insight into what it’s like being the minority of certain things. Being a Christian with the values I have, but also when I left my job with a company I loved–I left because the protocols higher-ups were putting into place were unwarranted and it seemed the company was toeing the line of trying to make everyone happy but to ultimately stay in business.

This book doesn’t shy away from the power that humans (muggles or wizards and witches) government wields and how it can use that power for good or evil. It’s the start of a deeper theme that we see explored more in Books 5 and 6. I think it’s great that it can be addresses in story-form and hopefully readers will feel comfortable talking to grown-ups about it if necessary.

We also get to see Hermione start to champion for house-elves rights and not be as afraid of giants as it seems Ron is, but then Hermione’s perspective is similar to Harry’s. She comes from a muggle family and has not grown up in the wizarding world, like Ron, and can see things from a different perspective. And at the end of the book–when Dumbledore is encouraging Fudge to reach out to the Giants and then again at the Leaving Ceremony when he encourages the students that the “bond of friendship” (723)–we see this 14-year-old’s perspective (unknowingly?) amplified through one of the greatest wizards in the series. And I can’t help but think about what Dumbledore said in regards to Hermione’s attitude toward Kreacher at the end of the next book, Order of the Phoenix.

We get to see more depth to Dumbledore here and Neville and perhaps the smallest glimpse into Snape as well.

5/30 // Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #5)

Dedication: To Neil, Jessica, and David, who make my world magical.

Favorite Line: “These furious thoughts whirled around in Harry’s head, and his insides writhed with anger as a sultry, velvety night fell around him, the air full of the smell of warm, dry grass and the only sound that of the low grumble of traffic on the road beyond the park railings” (10).

This has always been the book I describe as angsty. Harry is 15 and angry all the time. When I reread this book in 2020, I realized what I didn’t realize when I was younger reading them–Harry is relatable and not annoying. He’s prone to anger and frustration because he’s been isolated after how The Triwizard Tournament ended. Harry is a teenager who’s struggling to put what he’s feeling into words, so yelling and anger/frustration is easier.

This is one of the saddest books of the series. It dawned on me when reading the end, when Dumbledore is telling everything to Harry, that in book timeline probably about a year ago, Sirius was in that office with Harry comforting him after the event of Voldemort’s return. I understand Sirius’s death, but I hate that Harry lost another human he loved.

One of my favorite things about this book is that Neville and Luna are there with them at the Ministry. Harry is finally seeing them as equals, as friends.

6/30 // Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #6)

Dedication: To Mackenzie, my beautiful daughter, I dedicate her beautiful ink-and-paper twin.

Favorite Line: “…his glasses askew and his mouth wide open. The misty fug his breath had left on the window sparkled in the orange glare of the streetlamp outside, and the artificial light drained his face of all color, so that he looked ghostly beneath his shock of untidy black hair” (38).

I love Harry and Dumbledore’s relationship in this book, how Harry is trusted with important things, how Dumbledore always believes in him. It’s why the ending is so bittersweet. Good things happen in this book too: Harry and Ginny start going out (which I was always a fan of) and Harry is made quidditch captain, the friendship between Harry and Hermione deepens.

??/30 // Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #7)

Dedication: The dedication of this books is split seven ways: to Neil, to Jessica, to David, to Kenzie, to Di, to Anne, and to you, if you have stuck with Harry until the very end.

Favorite Line: “There was a brief silence in which the distant echo of Hagrid smashing down a wooden front door seemed to reverberate through the intervening years” (35).

And then it ends. Oh man, what a ride. It’s always a hefty endeavor to reread a long series, which is why I think by books 4 and 5, it takes like a month to get through the second-half of the series because they’re long haha but I always love coming back to them.

Favorites of the 7th book:

  • The emotional and mental weight of carrying around the horcrux in the Slytherin necklace
  • Neville and how much he’s grown and his confidence
  • Harry getting to visit Godric’s Hollow and seeing where he lived and how that neighborhood honors his parents’ death
  • Kreacher is loved and happy
  • Dobby’s love
  • Harry’s determination and kindness, even to Malfoy
  • That love was at the core of this series the entire time.

I don’t know when I’ll read them again, but I’ll love them forever.

These editions | About the Author


  • Write Now, Here’s How by Linda Hasselstrom
  • Dakota Bones by Linda Hasselstrom
  • Postcards from South Dakota
  • Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount by Matthew Mercer

Final thoughts

Winter was another Fantasy-heavy season and a heavy rereads season as well, but I loved it. I’m excited for spring. I have a stack of books next to the table that sits next to my end of the couch, that I plan on reading this season. Some I’ve owned, some I’ve found through Little Free Libraries, one I’ve borrowed.

What I’m looking forward to reading in spring:

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives by Mary Laura Philpott
  • Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life by Delia Ephron
  • The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins – Based on the podcast by the McElroys, Adaptation by Clint McElroy and Carey Pietsch, Art by Carey Pietsch

What was your favorite read of the winter season? Does the change in weather help decide what you read?

Writing Process Notes:

1/14/23 // 10:04am-10:25am. Writing Desk. Set-up the template for Winter Reads. added titles, started the List, and made some notes about what I want to write about in this post. Words so far: 428

1/19/23 // 1:04pm-1:51. My end of the couch, Hobbit Hole noises. // Adding HP and the GoF to the post. Word count so far: 1,043

3/21/23 // ~2:25pm-3:42. Pictures taken and saved to laptop, favorite quotes, dedication lines. Listening to Love, Taylor: Lover Enhanced Album

2 thoughts on “What I Read This Winter

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