How to Be a Bookworm When You Don't Have the Time

A good friend and fellow bookworm asked me the other day "How exactly do you find the time to read?" 

It's actually a fair question, considering I work full time, have a full house and kids in activities who have an insane need for one-on-one time with their mama. 

It's just that ONE thing that gives me my sense of self, the one activity that I not only love, but feel like I need. I wish I loved exercising as much as I love reading. Well, c'est la vie, I guess. Reading it is. I just naturally make it a part of my day because it feels incomplete without a little bit of reading. 

And I just love finishing a good book. It just feels so good. Except book hangovers, those are the worst.

Here's how I'm a bookworm with no time to spare: 

A Hardback- I always have a book on hand. Usually, if the main book I'm reading is an e-book, I still have a light book in hardback or paperback that I can pick up from my nightstand for when I need a break. I usually also read different genres and like to read one non-fiction and one fiction at the same time. I feel like this make it easier to not get the story lines mixed up. 

Audible-  I am always listening to a book. My hour commute to work 3 to 4 times a week really helps my habit. I pay for 1 audio book a month, which means I am like a kid on Christmas on the eleventh of every month when I know it's time for a new book. This also comes in handy for those rare times I actually can talk myself into walking on the dreadmill. 

E-books- E-books make it possible for me to read whenever I have extra time. This happens in 10 minutes bursts throughout the day, whether I am watching Reese at gymnastics or waiting in the school pick up line. I also use e-books to get to sleep at night. I turn off the lights and read for a bit before finally conking out, without having to get up and turn off the lights. 

NetGalley- NetGalley is fun because it helps fuel my fire a little bit. In exchange for reviews, I get free e-books from publishers and authors. Because I know they are waiting to hear what the world thinks of their books, it motivates me to read a little faster just so that I can tell them what I think. 

Recognizing time-I just pay attention to extra time I may have to read. Now, I'll be honest with you. This "time" could also just as easily be spent on laundry, dusting, sweeping or something like that. But, nah. Plus hubs loves to do the dishes. You have to fight for your me time, and for me, that means snatching up that half an hour here and there. Usually, this looks like early in the mornings and late at time before bedtime. 

Goodreads: The absolutely only way I can keep organized. Without Goodreads, I would never remember which books are the next on my list. I have to keep a list of the books that I have promised to read and review as well as all the ones that I have been wanting to read for fun too. It also helps me move on to the next book quickly if I am bored with one. There's never any time to NOT be reading just because I can't find one I love. I am always adding some to my "to-read" list and reading the Books sections of People and Entertainment Weekly. Oh, and whatever BookRiots Podcast, All The Books tells me to read. 

So those are my tricks. I hope maybe you found a useful trick to help you become more of a bookworm! 

Happy Reading! 

Book Round Up; Who's That Girl?

Lately I've noticed a trend in book titles and I couldn't help finding out who this girl is that is popping up on every book cover out there. Obviously, there are tons of books out there with "girl" in the title but these aren't just any books. They're at th top of lists, they're prominent on the shelves and people are raving about them. 

She's in the woods, she's on a train, she's in a garden. It's like where in the world is Carmen San Diego for us bookworms out there. So here's a mashup of all the books that are getting some attention out there for being great reads that all have "that girl" in common. Happy reading! 

Cheryl Strayed told me to read this. I mean, she told her millions of followers on social media but I like to think she was speaking right to me. Girl in the Woods is the personal account of Aspen's experience of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail just like Strayed's story in Wild. Aspen is reeling after bring raped on her second night of college. Even worse, she's confused and lost after her parents discourage her from going to the police. She sets out to find herself and finds much more on the way. Any story of a woman being brave and overcoming demons and hardships is a book I know has my name written all over it. 

I feel like when the weather starts to cool off and it starts getting darker sooner is the best time to bring out a chilling thriller and this is exactly the book you need for that. I read this a while ago and have recommended it to my fellow bookworms. The girl in this book is a character that you are never really sure if you can trust or not, which is a twist that I always enjoy, especially in a thriller. Rachel takes the train every day and every day she watches a couple who lives next door to an old familiar place that Rachel knows all too well. The mystery couple are Rachel's ex husband's neighbors, who left her and is now married and a father, and she's not very happy about it. She begins to intertwine herself into their lives and it does not end well. To say Rachel is a little obsessed is an understatement but I feel like if I say too much, I'll ruin it. Just read it, but leave the lights on. Read my complete review here.

The Girl from the Garden is  generational saga about an Iranian family that explores the traditions and emotional strain that comes from the oppressive culture. This story is inspired by events that actually happened within the author's family. It piqued my interest not only because of the title, but also because of how many layers there are to this family. I'm most interested in Rakhel, whose husband is putting pressure on her as his expectations of a son are not being met, and her fertile sister-in-law is making Rakhel feel even more devastated. This poignant story has me super intrigued. 

The setting: The Hampton's, Manhattan and high society. Plus, it's a family saga that goes over the span of several years. The description hints at love triangles, passionate affairs and secrets. Sounds like something I will dive into and love, so I added this to my list instantly. 

Girl in the Moonlight is the next book on my list, but currently I am reading Infinite Home (still, I know but I read as fast as my crazy schedule allows, I swear!) and I am listening to The Mistake I Made on audible. 

I've also been doing alot of work on the new house, including a new garage door, new screen doors and watching my Mr. Fix It hubs install keyless entry for the garage and a door bell. Now I must go, for our new bedding just came and there are cuddles to be had. There's truly nothing better than new bedding, amiright? 

Here's a few snapshots from our life lately...

Show Us Your Books: February

Life According to Steph

This might be kind of a whomp post but I felt like there's this side of bookworming that I never talk about, which is to admit that there are many books that I start...but don't finish.

Gosh, it felt good to finally admit that. 

There were several that I started in the past couple of weeks that have just not held my attention. 

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend - I really, REALLY wanted to like this book, and I still like it, it just moved way too slow to keep me distracted enough not to start a new book. Which is exactly what happened. My favorite part was the many references to other books and it's a great list! There's just not enough interesting conversation and action to keep my interest, which makes me sad because it's got a lot of potential. This is one that although I did put down for now, I may pick up later. 

The Turner House  - Too many characters, too much jumping around and nothing too interesting except a couple lost souls and an old house. Snooze.
A Little Life - I listened to this about halfway through on Audible and it wasn't memorable enough for me to remember what happened between car rides. I liked the characters alot. Four life long friends, one of whom has a strange ailment that the others don't know the story behind. I need fast-paced stories to keep me entertained during my commute and this just didn't do it for me 

Here are  the books that I actually DID finish this month that I really really loved: 

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout was really powerful. It's short- I read it in just a couple days. It's about a woman who, while bedridden after a serious illness, comes to find herself face to face with her estranged mother, whom she hasn't seen in almost a decade. She finally gets to talk to her mother about their past that have been plaguing their relationship. It's really just a stream of storytelling that is riveting and heartfelt. You get to see Lucy as a child, a woman on the verge of adulthood, and then later as a mother and wife. I just loved watching her develop and see her grow. Her experiences, that paths she chooses and the forgiveness she finally gets to's all just very pleasing to read. 

 I listened to Beasts and Children on Audible. It was a great easy listen, mostly because there are several stories within the book and the author has a great, no-nonsense story telling manner that keeps you interested but is also descriptive and in depth. It was hard to listen to because it's basically all about children who are either left behind or not taken care of by the people who are supposed to love them above all else. There are alot of relationships with pets and humans that really pulled at my heart strings. There was a scene with a boy and his beloved dog that had me crying like a baby...

 It's tough to see the world through eyes of children who think or assume that their parents' love for them in unending or unconditional and what a harsh reality it is when they are finally old enough to understand that it's not. 

The Longest Night  was really good. It started off just a tad slow but by the end, I was really into it. It's about Paul and Nat Collier. He's stationed at a nuclear reactor site in the middle of nowhere and she's a young wife trying to navigate army life as a mother . It's loosely based on America's first nuclear accident in Idaho in 1960. There are many side stories going on and you are on the ledge the entire time about things you know are going to come tumbling down... It was a very tense story, as the characters hid secrets from from another, about their jobs, their feelings and the lives they lead when no one is around.

Right now, and probably for a while because it's HUGE, I am reading: 

My favorite people over at Book Riot have been raving about this and even though the language is pretty thick and it takes some concentration, I think I am going to really like it. It's about an opera singer with a secret past who has always dreamed of starring an opera that was written only for her. Alas her dream finally comes true when she is approached by a mysterious writer who has a story that he wants her to star in. The only problem is that the opera is the story of her life that no one except her and a few others know. Now she must decide if she wants to risk people knowing who she really is and uncovering the past she has tried to hide in order to become the world famous opera star she has always dreamed of being. Or, keep her secrets hidden, where they belong? All this in mid 1800s France. Yes, please. 

What was the best book you read in February?