Penny's Passion: What We're Reading Wednesday - February 21, 2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What We're Reading Wednesday - February 21, 2018

I'm so excited to be co-hosting What We're Reading Wednesday today!  When Stephanie, from Wife Mommy Me, ask for hosts I jumped on it as soon as possible.  I love reading books recommended by others and learning a little bit about the reader too!  So let's go!

1) What book did you read from start to finish that when finished you thought "That was a waste of time."?
I had the think long and hard about this one.  If a book doesn't capture my attention, I have no problem abandoning it and starting a new one.  One that eventually came to mind was Fifty Shades Freed.  I got caught up in the whole "Fifty Shades" saga and didn't want to be left out of the conversation, so I read all three books.  The last one was dreadful!  When I finished, I definitely thought it was a waste of time.

2) Someone is looking for a tear jerker. Which book is your go to suggestion?
The Art of Racing in the Rain.  This book, told through the eyes of the dog, made me laugh, cry and every emotion in between.  I just loved it!  If you haven't read this New York Times bestseller, I highly recommend you add it to your reading list.

3) What book have you read more than once? Maybe even more than 3 times? A book I could read over and over is To Kill A Mockingbird. Who wouldn't fall in love with Scout?!? Fun fact: Apparently Atticus Finch was inspired by Harper Lee's father.

1) What book did you read from start to finish that when finished you thought "That was a waste of time."?
I try my hardest to appreciate every book I read but I have nothing positive to say about Bridget Jones’s Diary. T-r-a-s-h

2) Someone is looking for a tear jerker. Which book is your go to suggestion?
I’m going to be up front and tell you I get very emotionally invested in book characters and cry pretty easily but for a purely good cry Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult

3) What book have you read more than once? Maybe even more than 3 times?
The Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling, Emma and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Chasing Red Bird by Sharon Creech, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum- I may have a tendency to reread my favorites when I need the comfort of nostalgia. 

Whitney is sharing her February book report so be sure to check it out for some book suggestions to add to your to-read list.

1) What book did you read from start to finish that when finished you thought "That was a waste of time."?
This is going to be a shock to those who love this author but Emily Giffin's One and Only was awful. While I love most of her stuff, this particular book left my feeling uncomfortable the entire way through. Another one that felt just wrong and off was Nicholas Sparks' Two by Two.

2) Someone is looking for a tear jerker. Which book is your go to suggestion?
I am a huge fan of WWII novels and when I finished reading Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, I was a sobbing mess. I was crying so hard my chest hurt. It's that good of a book! Not only does it create this amazing story of resilience but it gives a whole new perspective on the war. All while breaking your heart.

3) What book have you read more than once? Maybe even more than 3 times?
I have read The Help by Kathryn Stockett 8 times. It's one of my all-time favorite books and movie. It's always one those books that is made into a film that the film does the book justice. I'm sure you've seen the movie but the book is so worth reading anyway.

Read about Stephanie's meet and greet with Jojo Moyes by visiting her blog, Wife Mommy Me.

If you'd like to host an upcoming "What We're Reading Wednesday" email Stephanie and she can fit you in! There are spots available. Her email is

In January, I read The Women in the Castle and have been recommending it to anyone who comes in contact with me since.  

Here's how Goodreads summarizes this Jessica Shattuck novel ~

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined.

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resistor murdered in the failed July, 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First, Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naïve Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resistor’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war. 

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges. 

Here's what I thought ~

This book hooked me in the first few pages and I had a hard time putting it down. The story weaves the characters into your heart and you truly feel like you know each one of them. It's full of twists and turns that makes you want to keep reading.

Even though the women in this novel are brought together under such incredible circumstances, the bond they form is everlasting. After reading this book, you will feel connected to them also.

As an added bonus, I had the opportunity to meet the author - Jessica Shattuck. The St. Louis County Library hosted an evening with her and my daughter-in-law and I were so excited to attend! I loved the story before this event, but after hearing Jessica tell the reason she wrote the book and what it meant to her made it even more special in my eyes. 

At the author event, Jessica read a passage from the book. To hear the words from the page read by the author was pretty special. 

After her presentation, there was a book signing. I'm so happy to say I have a signed copy now hanging out on my book shelves!

Jessica made me fall in love with The Women in the Castle even more than I already had.  If you're looking for your next read, definitely think about The Women in the Castle.  


Thank you for joining us for What We're Reading Wednesday!
We look forward to sharing and discovering books with you! -- #WWRW2018


  1. I love posts about books and book suggestions! I will have to add The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Women in the Castle to my book list to read! How awesome you got to meet the author!

  2. I didn't get the hype for the Fifty Shades books. I read the first one and couldn't even get through fifty pages of the second. I felt like it was a second grader trying to write about things they shouldn't.

    The Women in the Castle sounds good. I am going to add it to my list of books to find and read. I am always looking for good suggestions and that one is right up my alley!

  3. I loved the Art of Racing in the Rain! I never read any of the 50 Shades books...just not my thing. I also didn't like that Emily Giffin book at all. I love this post, though. New books to add to my list!

  4. I find books set during WWII to be really fascinating. That's awesome you were able to meet the author too! What a fab experience. :)


  5. So cool to go to that author event - I love when hearing from the author makes you appreciate a book even more. And I had forgotten about how many Kleenex I needed with The Art of Racing in the Rain. Tear jerker for sure!

  6. The Art of Racing in the Rain was one of my favorite books last year... and totally unexpected!

  7. Would love to be a part of this!! You lucky, girl, to meet the author of The Women in the Castle. So enjoyed listening to that book on Audible. If you are looking for other similar titles, try The Lilac Girls. So good.