Book Recommendations – June 2016

Welcome to my most requested List… Book Recommendations! And I wrote one TWO years ago and promised to do this monthly. Lies. But I am back again and going to give you a quick list to get back in the swing of things…a few books I’ve read since my last round of recommendations that I’ve started telling people to read. And again, I promise not to post spoilers in the descriptions if you promise not to post spoilers in the comments!

Affiliate Link disclaimer: If you click on the book, it will take you straight to my Amazon affiliate link so you can order…and ordering from my link enables me to buy more books. All of which I’ll tell you about in future lists. Isn’t Amazon grand?

1. Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline

It sounds terribly sad (a train of orphans? wahhhh) but I promise this is a captivating novel that will pull at your hearts strings as you follow the journey of two different young women, at two different periods in our history. The story follows both Vivian, a Depression-era young girl and her struggles on the Orphan Train (yes, it was a real part of our American history; the trains used to bring children from our crowded East coast cities out to the rural Midwest), as well as Molly, a teenager in our modern-day foster care system.

2. I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai

If you are not familiar with the story of Malala Yousafzai, you should be. Malala became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace prize in 2014, in recognition for her fight against the suppression of children and her work towards the education of all children, worldwide, regardless of gender. Her memoir chronicles her life in Pakistan, explains why she is a champion for children’s education, specifically young women’s, and reveals the aftermath of when she was shot by the Taliban in 2012. The extensive details of Pakistani history can be cumbersome, but we can all find inspiration in her message and story.

PS: Be careful purchasing this one if you decide to not just click on the handy dandy photo of the book above – there is also a “young readers” edition for children that is less detailed. The cover looks similar and is marked “Young Reader’s Edition” but it is an easy mistake to make.

malala

3. Red Rising, by Pierce Brown

Ender’s Game meets The Hunger Games. It’s a Science Fictionish Fantasyish and Young Adultish (the main character is 16 at the beginning of the trilogy but it doesn’t read like a YA novel) and combines a revolutionary war with space travel, historical Roman & Martian society and class oppression. A tale as old as time, right? I know this one sounds very niche (where my ancient Roman history Sci Fi readers at?!) but the trilogy feels fresh and like nothing I’ve ever read before while combining a compelling story line of friendship, war and intrigue.

4. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

Another historical novel, this one is a page turner but not because its a thriller – because it is a really well-written story. We follow two sisters in German-occupied France during World War 2 – one joins the Resistance, one follows the rules and permits her home to be occupied by a Nazi captain. PS: It reminded me of another Kristin Hannah novel, Winter Garden – an excellent story, strong female characters and just the right amount of pulling on my heart strings.

5. The Girl on the Train

Wait, didn’t she already write about a train? Sure did. But The Girl on the Train is very, very different from Orphan Train. This novel is more along the lines of Gone Girl (you can read my recommendation for that here) and is a page-turning thriller. And just like Gone Girl, it is coming to a movie theater near you in October!

But you all know the rules around here – the book is better so read the book first!

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Alright. There’s a few new books for you to add to your shelf and let me know when you read them! I plan on writing a few more book lists over the upcoming months, with drafts already created for Young Adult, Fantasy, Memoir and All Time Favorites!

What genre of book list would you like me to write next? Have you read any of these books?

Harry Potter and the Dragon of Alcatraz

TWHS

Today’s That’s What He Said is brought to you by Josh’s discussion of Harry Potter with the 10 year old girl I babysit for:

Kate: “I finished Harry Potter. Again.”

Josh: “Did he get the dragon?”

Kate, stares: “What?”

Cailyn: “He clearly hasn’t read them.”

Josh: “Have they made the last movie yet?”

Cailyn and Kate: “Yes! Years ago!”

Josh: “So which one is the last movie then?”

Kate: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part Two.”

Josh: “There’s TWO of them? I haven’t seen those. I saw the Half Blood Prince one. And the Alcatraz one. It’s not Alcatraz.”

Cailyn: “Azkaban.”

Josh: “And I saw the one where they play Quidditch.”

Cailyn: “They play Quidditch? That’s almost all of them…”

Josh: “Okay so what are the other three then? Wait, how many movies are there? Five?”

Cailyn: “Eight.”

Josh: “Oh wow. I definitely did not think there were eight.”

Kate proceeds to school him: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows – and that’s in two parts for movies.”

Josh: “That was exhausting even to listen to.”

Kate seemed a little exasperated with Josh – can’t imagine why!

bookstofilm

dumbledore

Red, White & Blue Book Giveaway!

In honor of the 4th of July, and this week’s Summer Reading List, I am giving away two brand new copies of the books from my list – The Jefferson Key, by Steve Berry and The Art of Fielding, by Chad Hardbach. Nothing says ‘America’ quite like books, baseball or Thomas Jefferson!

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Enter in the Rafflecopter below and the first winner will get to choose which book they want, and the second winner will win the other!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you or anyone you know is interested in sponsoring a giveaway on the blog, please contact me at livelaughlist@gmail.com!

Hello world!

Oh, Hello there!

Welcome to my corner of the internet. I am going to be entertaining the masses with my lists (about anything and everything), as well as snippets and recaps from my life. I am going to kick off my blog with a list of things that will eventually end up in the About Me section.

1. I’m a 30 year old who loves to make lists. I made a list once of the lists I needed to make. I don’t understand how people manage without them. Oh, and I like to laugh and live my life to the fullest, hence the blog title.

2. I have a husband who is better than most. He makes me laugh, saves the good bite of the sandwich for me, and listens to me about 2/3rds of the time….which is really an excellent percentage, given how often I talk.

3. I am a Northern girl, living in a Southern world and still trying to adjust after over a decade. I have zero appreciation for sweet tea, the Confederate flag or grits. I have, however, wholeheartedly embraced flip flops in February, Chick-Fil-A and the actual use of the phrase “bless your heart.” I currently live in rural Virginia and my experiences adjusting to farm life have managed to entertain many of my friends and family.

4. I love sports with a passion that is equaled by few and surpassed by no one I’ve ever met. I love the Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots and Celtics…but the reality is I love watching sports because sometimes the impossible becomes possible. I’ve been known to fill our DVR with 190 hours of Olympic coverage every two years, watch the Little League World Series like my own child is the starting pitcher, and have a library of over 100 different sports books on everything from the knuckleball to the impact of soccer on global politics.

5. I love to read almost as much as I love sports. I read everything – fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, young adult fiction, mystery, fantasy, politics. One of my biggest soapboxes I tend to shout about is that people don’t read enough and that they’ll “just wait for the movie.” It was a book first. Read the book. The book is better. Trust me.

Grumpy Cat meme

6. I am a runner, in the sense that a mile is a mile is a mile, no matter how fast you go. I really don’t like running, but I like sitting down after running. And I like the sense of accomplishment I get from running. In order to keep up my running, I sign up for races – 95% of which are RunDisney races because…as I mentioned…I don’t like running. So if I am running, Mickey better be there to greet me at the finish line and I better be able to get a Dole Whip and a Mickey pretzel after I’m done.

7. Traveling is my favorite thing to do besides watching sports and reading. I love a good adventure and seeing new places and cultures and trying new things. I try to combine my passions by visiting baseball stadiums (16 down) and insisted on visiting the New York Public Library during my bachelorette party. To me, not traveling and seeing the world is synonymous with opening a book and only reading one chapter. I have to explore. And I love sending post cards to my friends and family…just like my favorite Fraggle.

fraggle

8. I like being organized. Remember Caboodles? They appealed nicely to my obsessive compulsive disorder – a place for everything and everything in its place. 57 compartments filled with scrunchies, Lip Smackers and slap bracelets. Nothing wrong with that. My cousin gave me one as a gift a few years ago and it might be the best gift I’ve ever gotten that I already got once as a child and wanted again as an adult. It’s filled with scrapbooking supplies now. Nothing wrong with that either.

9. I don’t really have OCD – I am blatantly misusing the term in hopes of defining my need for control and organization in a more socially acceptable way. Sort of like when you’re on a job interview and they ask you to name your biggest weakness and you obviously reply with something that could be a strength on your application to work at The Container Store – “I hate when things are out of place.” <hangs head in shame>

Organized

10. I am a certified cat lady. I have two cats, Nomar and Pesky, and if you are my friend on Facebook, you see them on a daily basis. I catalogue and photograph their lives like they are my children. I love dogs too, we just travel too much to have one right now.  I am an equal opportunity lover of furbabies, especially cute ones.

Look at that. Ten things about me. Ten feels right. But don’t get too attached – my lists will be as inconsistent as our current Spring weather. Sometimes I will have ten things to say…sometimes I will have four…and I won’t be using any filler paragraphs like I’m writing an English 101 final essay.

Any list topics you just can’t wait for me to talk about? Suggestions?