Books

Blog Discontinuation

For now I won’t be writing any new blog posts. I’m not feeling inspired and to be honest, I don’t have the time to breathe let alone write and plan out blog posts for every week.

If and/or when I decide to continue writing posts I will update this space. As for now I’m going to be quiet. You can still find me reading and posting over on Instagram @bookish_penguin

 

 

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Books · Life

The Fate of Bookish Penguin

As the new year approached, I was wondering what to do with this blog and even my Instagram page. I don’t have a massive following, and the blog has even less. Is it worth it to continue? At this point I’m not sure.

Books · Reviews

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

I’ve loved Mitch Albom since the early 2000’s when I first read The Five People You Meet in Heaven with my stepmom. I don’t remember who gave it to who, but I remember both of us loving it and then obsessing about the movie. In college I read Tuesdays with Morrie and loved that book just as much. Albom is the king of making you cry. But it had been years since I had picked any of his books up. Not because I wasn’t interested, just because I had kind of forgotten about him. Then I went to a Christmas book exchange. I ended up with a copy of The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto. The friend who brought the book couldn’t have been more right when she forewarned needing a box of tissues. This book packs a punch. It was also very well placed after I read a book about Elvis.

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The book finds us at the end of Frankie’s life. Music has come to collect the talent that has been bestowed upon Frankie Presto, one of the great rock and roll singers and guitarists. We soon learn about his life, born in a burning church and then thrown in a river very soon after, only to be rescued by an older man and his dog. Frankie’s musical genius is discovered early on and is then cultivated by a mysterious and blind guitar teacher. Frankie eventually finds himself with no one and on a boat from Spain to England. From there his luck has many ups and downs, but he doesn’t seem to notice. He only does what he has to in order to get by. One of the only things that survives his journey with him is his guitar and the magical strings that his teacher gave him.

Frankie meets some fantastic people, many of which are sprinkled throughout the book, telling anecdotes about him. He has quite the run in with Elvis and does some pretty fantastical things. But, in Mitch Albom fashion, the story ends up connecting in ways you never dreamed possible, and pulling at every single string of your heart. Thinking of music as a gift that is bestowed upon birth was mind-blowing.

This book reminded me of Forest Gump. Frankie is just kind of in the right places at the right times, in order to insert himself, well, magically, into history. Very very very worth a read. But be ready, you will cry.

Books · Reviews

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

I miss the Winter Street series. I miss Kelley Quinn and his entire family. When my sister in law told me that Elin Hilderbrand had started another winter themed series, I was in. I found it at my library on a fluke and finally got around to reading it. Wow. Winter in Paradise was just as fantastic as the Winter Street series. And that ending, the cliffhanger is so good. I can only hope that the next book in this series comes out soon!

Books

Favorite Books of 2018

Sorry I take so many pictures with my IceWear blanket…

Ok, so these are my favorite books of 2018. But they might not necessarily be from 2018. My only criteria is that I read this book in 2018. So, here goes:

Spinning by Tillie Walden

salt. by Nayyriah Waheed

When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Brazen by Penelope Bagieu

And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O’Connell

The Book of Essie by Meghan McLean Weir

Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Hookup by Kristen Ashley

Feast by Hannah Howard

Any Man by Amber Tamblyn

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Money Diaries by Lindsey Stanberry

The Winter Street Series by Elin Hilderbrand

The White Christmas Inn by Colleeen Wright

One Day in December by Josie Silver

 

There is no way to narrow this list down. I loved all of these books for completely different reasons. This is also probably missing other books that I loved but what can you do? What did you read and love in 2018? Is it not on my list? Tell me what it is and why I need to read it!

Books · Reviews

Christmas Books

I have to be truthful. Before this year, I hadn’t ever picked up a Christmas themed book. Even working in a public library I never had the urge to pick one up. Two things changed for me this year: My husband and I don’t really have the space to decorate for Christmas on our own and two people (one directly and one on #bookstagram) recommended Christmas books that I thought I would be into.

My sister in law recommended Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter Series. Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms and Winter Solstice. I read each of these books in a single day. All of these were days where I had to work at both of my jobs, but I couldn’t put my book down. I worked out for way longer then I usually do in order to read for a longer amount of time. I had never read anything by Elin Hilderbrand, but these were just perfect. Filled with drama and intrigue, these books are fast moving and a great way to get you in the Christmas spirit. I loved every single one. These are for you if you like fast moving, family dramas. And the idyllic Nantucket setting doesn’t hurt.

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My cousin had recommended the Men At Work series to me in October. The first book is Halloween related, the second Thanksgiving, and the last one is set during Christmastime. One Hot December by Tiffany Reisz is a great Christmastime romance read. It focuses mainly on the romance between the two main characters, but Christmas and winter in general are in there. This is a good book for romance fans, it’s pretty steamy.

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The White Christmas Inn by Colleen Wright has been all over #bookstagram and as soon as I read a review by @simplyalexandra12 I knew I wanted to give this book a try. It is an unbelievably charming story of how one Inn brought together a few groups of people who would probably have never met. Such a heartwarming read and not super mushy or romantic (if that isn’t your thing).

acs_0150There was a Christmas book on my list that I didn’t think I was going to get to. One Day in December by Josie Silver was recently picked as the December pick for the Reese Witherspoon book club and therefore became impossible to get ahold of at the library. I really thought I wasn’t going to get to read this before the end of December, but miracle of miracles, I found an unread e-ARC in my Kindle library while I was downloading the newest R.S. Grey (!!!). This book seriously lives up to the hype. It is only generally Christmas related, so if that isn’t your thing, this maybe be a good holiday read. This book is for fans of Jill Santopolo’s The Light We Lost. A love story that takes place over many years and many places.

It’s hard to say which of these was my favorite. I really loved all of them in different ways. Some very great holiday reads here.

Books · Reviews

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister

All the Single Ladies was one of my favorite books in recent years. Non-fiction is sometimes difficult for me because books are an escape. And how can you escape if you are learning new facts and getting just plain angry? When I hear that Rebecca Traister had a new book coming out, I knew that I would enjoy it. I knew I would it enjoy it even more after listening to her on Call Your Girlfriend, a fantastic podcast that everyone should listen to. I was conveniently reading this book on the day of the midterm elections here in the US.

It’s a funny thing to be a woman in this day and age. We are constantly being under-rated. But I think this midterm election, the book (and many others), and all of the fantastic women in the world doing great things, are showing us that we shouldn’t be discounted. We are a hell of a force, and the world better watch out!

But in all seriousness, this book is a look at women’s anger and the ways that we can (and can’t) express it.

Go out and read this and Rebecca Traister’s other books, Big Girls Don’t Cry and All the Single Ladies.