More What I've Been Reading Lately

I haven't been sleeping well lately. As a result, I've been reading a ton. I love seeing other people post about what they've been reading. It helps me find books I might not have otherwise read. Hopefully this helps someone else find a good read!

My favorites from the last couple of weeks are definatly The Nightingale and Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl. I need to read more by Kristin Hannah and watch Jesse Andrew's movie!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Nightingale is a beautiful, difficult to read, enthralling story of two French sisters during WWII. The story looks at the different ways that the sisters stand up for what they know to be right. I could not put this book down. It was a stark glimpse into the struggles that had to be met day to day in the French countryside during Nazi occupation. This novel is a kick in the emotional pants. You're left with hope at the end, but its not an easy read!

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky 
Another novel set in WII France, Suite Francaise describes some very similar scenes to The Nightingale. Nemirosky's novel was translated from French to English and was inspired by her own experiences surviving Natzi occupation of the French countryside. Suite Francaise is broken into two novellettes. The first tells the stories of Parisians fleeing to the countryside at the start of the German bombing of Paris. It follows this same families back to Paris as they live under occupation. The second novellette looks at the country folk who welcome the refugees and the occupation they face throughout the war. The book has a Love Actually plot device of telling many independent stories that are all interlinked. It can be a bit difficult to keep everyone straight.

Orphan Train by Christine Baker Kline
Not many people know about the orphan train that rain between the 1850s and 1920s. In yet another example of terrible harm coming from someone supposedly doing good, orphan trains were seen as charitable help. Children, and not always orphans, were taken from large East Coast cities and basically auctioned off throughout the Midwest. Some of these children were adopted into loving homes. Many were used as labor. Kline's beautiful story follows the retelling of one woman's story of her journey on the Orphan Train. While fictionalized, its an eye opening look into a dark chapter of US history.

After You by Jojo Moyes
Having read and loved Me Before You, I was excited to see there was a follow up novel. After You is what all these follow up novels tend to be. They are never as good as the story you create in your own mind. I think its worth a read if you liked Me Before You. But, don't expect happy closure!

Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews 
Ok, one of my bad night's sleep was totally this book's fault. I could not stop laughing. And I could not put it down. This Young Adult novel follows a high school senior and his downward spiral. It is all precipitated by his mom meddling in his social life. Greg's mom makes him spend time with an old friend who is battling cancer. His carefully crafted word quickly comes crashing down. This book makes you so thankful high school is long gone!

Please...let me know what I should read next!


Easter Meal Planner and Shopping List Printables {plus a beautiful Evite invitation}

This post is sponsored by Evite. All opinions and content are my own. If you have any questions, check out my Disclosures Page.

Moving to Texas 5 months pregnant made me feel very isolated. My college friends were all still living their lives together. They were in each others' homes and lives in a tangible way. After throwing myself a pretty long pity party I set myself on the hard journey of finding community out here. Some of it developed out of sheer luck. Sometimes it was hard fought. I miss my people like crazy. But this new community I've developed is pretty wonderful too.

So, this Easter we've decided to host a Easter Egg Hunt and Dinner with our new people. I used an Evite® invitation to set the mood. I love the simple elegance of it. The wildflowers are just beautiful. I'll use them as a launching point for my decorations. Simple but cheery!

I want to have a kiddo friendly menu that adults will still like. Most importantly, I want the meal to be simple to make but delicious. I hate hosting people and then having to miss all the fun in the kitchen. To that end, I've made a set of printables to keep me organized.

The Shopping List keeps everything well organized, as I'll be going to several stores to get what I need.

The Meal Planner is great for keeping my spazy brain from making three main dishes and forgetting dessert! (Who are we kidding...I would never forget dessert!)

If simple but delicious are what you're going for, here's some dishes on my meal planner:

Crock Pot Maple Brown Sugar Ham from Life in the Lofthouse.

Slow Cooker Creamed Corn from Damn Delicious

Crock Pot Cheesy Potatoes from Julie's Eats and Treats

Strawberry Spinach Salad from Janette's Healthy Living

Now, I'm off to shop my house for bright and cheery spring decor to match the beautiful Evite invitation I used. Then, I'll be picking up all the flowers I can afford!