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Penguin Books

J.R. Ward is the Queen of Sexy Vampires

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The year was 2005, and I was just discovering that you could order books from Amazon and they would show up on your doorstop in a few days. (It was a simpler time.) Thanks to a part-time job, I was flush with cash and ready to spend it all on paperbacks. I even knew what I was after: something with romance, a happy ending and plenty of vampires. In the fall of 2005, vampires were everywhere. Twilight had been just released and bookshelves were crowded with sexy bloodsuckers. And while I enjoyed the chaste tale of true love, I was looking for something a little more, well, PG-13. Or R. Or, let’s face it, even NC-17. That’s when I discovered…

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Go Team USA: Inspiring Books to Get You in the 2016 Summer Olympics Spirit!

in Non-Fiction by

Ahhh, the Olympics: the magical time of year when you’re allowed to chant “USA! USA! USA!” un-ironically with your face painted like Old Glory. But while this week marks the kick off of the 2016 Summer Olympics, this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro seem a little different, amidst controversy about the water in Rio, concerns about the Zika Virus, debates about nation-wide bans due to doping and anxiety over event security, these Games seem more than a little hectic and apprehensive. Despite the (valid) trepidations many have over the Summer Olympic Games, fundamentally, the Olympics are a time to celebrate. The world is already pretty crazy, so it’s helpful to remember that people are, in fact, capable of coming…

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Just Keep Swimming: 4 Books to Read After You Finally See Finding Dory!

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P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney has been ingrained in my brain thanks to the hilarious Dory. Thirteen years ago, Disney-Pixar introduced a film that touched the hearts of all ages and we’ve been (im)patiently waiting since then to see our favorite characters of Finding Nemo back on the big screen. Well, the wait is over because on June 17, we will be onto the next adventure with Marlin, Dory and Co. in Finding Dory (We’re wishing her the best of luck considering that pesky annoyance of having no short-term memory!), with the familiar bickering voices of Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks leading the way. We know that you’ve already bought your ticket to go see Finding Dory on Friday and that you’ve…

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Literary Crushes: The Romantic Leads in Books Who Are Worthy of Your Affection!

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It’s no secret that a bunch of the books we consider uber-romantic are actually kind of creepy. Tweens found Edward Cullen irresistible, despite the fact that he has an over 100 year age difference from his 17-year-old girlfriend. Grown women find Mr. Rochester’s Byronic shtick super sexy, even though he literally locked his wife in an attic for years and dressed up like a creepy “gypsy fortune-teller” to trick his new squeeze into revealing her feelings for him. While we as readers can’t help who we’re desperately attracted to, a lot of the time even the romantic leads who aren’t bad boys still have glaringly problematic issues that I just can’t get over. So, here are some options for literary…

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The 3 Jojo Moyes Books We’re Definitely Reading After Seeing ‘Me Before You’

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I have been counting down the seconds until Me Before You (Pamela Dorman Books, 2012) is released in theaters on June 3 (today, yay!). Ever since I read the book by Jojo Moyes, I haven’t been able to get this incredible story out of my head. I laughed, I cried, I cried some more, and I promptly reread it as soon as I finished. This book is awesome, and I have high hopes for the movie version. Luckily, the adorable trailer hasn’t let me down yet:   Critics have been calling this the most romantic movie of the year, which is always a good sign. It’s not easy to capture the magic of a book on screen, but Me Before You…

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A Reading List for Every Singleton Out There

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It stinks to be singled out, but it certainly doesn’t stink to be single. If you want some distraction from your crippling loneliness — erm, we mean independence, check out the six books we picked below! Matt’s Picks: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, Allie Brosh (Touchstone Books, 2013) I had an awkward childhood, but who didn’t? I’m also a 20-something college grad who doesn’t have a clue. Allie Brosh’s book features her favorite stories from the cult blog of the same name accompanied with silly Microsoft Paint drawings that are the epitome of derp. She recounts hilarious anecdotes from her youth and throughout her 20s. I can relate. So much so that…

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Crazy for “Hamilton”? Here’s 4 Books You Should be Reading!

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I think we can all agree that “Hamilton” is the best thing to happen to Broadway since, well, ever. It seemed to become a national phenomenon overnight, and now it’s all any of us can talk about. There’s also no real reason it should have worked: after all, does anything sound as absurd as a rap musical about first Treasurer Secretary Alexander Hamilton? But it does work, brilliantly so, and it makes history come alive with an insanely talented diverse cast and music that you won’t ever be able to stop humming. Seriously, just listen to this and tell me you’re not hooked:   If you’re still wondering what all the fuss is about, then go download the cast album and…

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Book Excerpt! Matthew Jobin’s ‘The Skeleth’

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In 2014, The Nethergrim was named New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens 2014, it was chosen for the Texas Library Association’s 2015 Lone Star Reading List and selected as a finalist for the 2015 Monica Hughes Science Fiction and Fantasy Award. And now, the long-awaited sequel is finally here! Author Matthew Jobin has written the second book in The Nethergrim series, The Skeleth (Philomel Books, May 10) and we’re pretty sure it won’t disappoint. For a sneak peek, check out the excerpt below. The Skeleth: Chapter 3  Tom reached out to grasp the black-and-white muzzle. Quiet, Jumble! No barking.” Jumble sat back on his haunches. He beat his ragged tail in the mud. Tom let go; Jumble’s mouth stayed shut. John Marshal slid down to join them at…

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Heat Index: 5 Hot New Books that are Both Visually Beautiful and Emotionally Moving

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I’m a visual person. I love “pretty” things. I love colorful things. So when I perused my many stacks of books on my desk for ideas for this week’s Heat Index, my eye was drawn to five gorgeous hardcover books sitting beautifully in a pile. I knew then, regardless of the topic, that these books needed to be in a list together. Then I read each synopsis and it was like the stars had aligned. Each book begins similarly by showing the protagonist’s current life, but the comfortable lifestyle each character was living is soon thrown completely off-course, leading them to situations and people they could have never expected. Old love, new love, suspense, thrill and the power that lies within a story itself…

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4 Books to Read After You Binge Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle

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Sometimes I’ll casually watch a show for years, just popping in to catch an episode or two. But other times I’ll become instantly obsessed, binging every episode I can get my hands on in a matter of days. This was my recent experience with the Amazon Original Series Mozart in the Jungle, which I watched in a flurry of laughter, tears and the occasional swoon. For such an awesome show, Mozart in the Jungle has been flying mostly under the radar, at least until it cleaned up at the Golden Globes this year. And why wouldn’t it? Gael Garcia Bernal is awesome as Rodrigo, the young upstart conductor who takes over the New York Symphony from the older, traditional Maestro Thomas (Malcolm McDowell).…

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5 Things We Must See in Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You Movie

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I like to read a massive tearjerker at least once a year. You know the books I mean: those stories that leave you emotionally gutted, clutching the pages to your chest while tears slip down your face. Two years ago, it was The Fault in Our Stars, which I read in one sitting, bawling so loudly my roommate knocked on my door to make sure I was OK. Thanks a lot, John Green. It’s not that I crave unpleasant experiences, but as an avid romance reader I’m used to happy endings. Sometimes it’s nice to mix it up with a book that delivers an emotional punch to the stomach, making you fall so hard for the characters that any tiny…

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Smart Reads: 5 Beautiful Books That Offer a Visual Feast

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By now our readers are aware of how much we love the holidays—and how much we love sharing our favorite books to give as gifts. But our suggestions wouldn’t be complete without those gorgeous coffee table books that sweep you away with their luscious photos and fascinating stories. Their spectacular covers are the literary equivalent of “You had me at ‘hello’.” Here are some of the most visually sumptuous and smartest reads for your holiday giving. The Sartorialist: X by Scott Schuman (Penguin; October 27, 2015) Nowadays it seems like everyone and her sister have a fashion blog, but Scott Schuman started it all 10 years ago with his photos captured on sidewalks of New York City street style. The…

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TED Talks: Ron Finley Discusses Urban Gardening as Social Rebellion

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Ron Finley sees soil as his tapestry, something to be embellished with renewable food that brings his community together. He gave this week’s TED Tuesday talk, “A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA” at TED 2013, and spoke about his passion project: creating vegetable gardens in his urban neighborhood inside abandoned lots, along curbs and in traffic medians. The organization he started in 2010, LA Green Grounds, is a grass-roots volunteer group in South LA. The group’s main goal is to prevent hunger and poverty and to improve the health of a community, where, Finley says, “the drive-thrus are killing more people than drive-bys.” Ron Finley’s project to bring food to urban dessert of South LA (and around the country)…

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Looking for Inspiration? Time to Conjure Up Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic

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After reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s new mind-shifting book on creativity and inspiration, forcing my offspring to listen to yet another revelation, and adding so many page flags that the book now looks like a mass of sticky notes, I was stumped about what to say. Ironic, no? Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (Riverhead Books/Penguin; September 22, 2015) is all about the spark of inspiration with which we all struggle. Clearly I wasn’t sparking. As you know, ideas don’t always come when we need them. What’s that you say? You don’t think of yourself as creative? Gilbert says this is nonsense. All humans have the potential for creativity; we just have to open ourselves up to letting ideas come visit us.…

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The Queen of the Steamy Hollywood Novel: A Remembrance of Jackie Collins

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The book world lost some of its bling when author Jackie Collins passed September 19 at the age of 77. Known as the Queen of the Steamy Hollywood novel, Collins was a dropout who followed her older sister, actress Joan Collins to Los Angeles in the late 1950s. “It was like, Hollywood or reform school,” she told the Telegraph, a British newspaper in 2012. It was there that she dated movie stars and started eavesdropping on the glitterati. Collins developed a hunger to tell the kind of stories she listened to—full of glamor, gossip and, of course, sex. In 1968 she published her first novel, deemed so scandalous it was banned in Australia and South Africa. It’s no wonder that…

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Why #PaperbackBookDay is a Literary Celebration

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We all love our e-readers, our iPads, Kindles and Nooks. They allow us to carry entire libraries worth of books in our pockets, and when we get tired of reading, we can use them to check out Facebook or play Angry Birds. But July 30 is Paperback Book Day, a holiday that helps us celebrate the previous revolution in book publishing and revel in the sensory delight of the paperback book. After all, you can’t “dog ear” a page of an electric novel. An e-book doesn’t give you that jolt of delight you once got when you saw the paperback cover of your favorite author’s latest novel sitting on the shelf at the drugstore, waiting to be snatched up. And…

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