Summer Reading...Or, How to Read When Your KIDS are Home

It’s summer time, and for moms, that means one thing: kids are out of school!  As for me, my three year old is always out of school, which makes reading with her in the house difficult to say the least.  A complicating factor, and huge roadblock to my reading success, is the fact that she no longer naps.  Yes, you read that right: my precious toddler stopped napping in May 2013, which was, coincidentally, the month my reading and reviewing output took a nosedive. 

Here are my tips on fitting reading time in: what I've learned after a year of staying home with a toddler who gives me no time to myself.

1.    Surrender to the hypnotic pull of electronic devices.  Oh, yeah, I said it!  My little girl’s big gift for her 3rd birthday was an iPad.  I’m not sorry…it’s my saving grace for both sanity and reading time.  I set limits for it, and of course I don’t let her use it all day long, but it’s great for 20 minutes here and there.

2.    It’s much easier for me to pick up an e-reader and read a chapter here and there than it is for me to pick up a hard copy.  I can read my Kindle in the kitchen while cooking, while on hold on the phone, while parked in the car, eating at the table, you get my drift.  It’s much more flexible than a hard copy---not to mention the fact that my daughter loves nothing more than to tear pages out of my books right now.

3.    Don’t be ashamed to park and read while your little one watches a movie in the backseat.  That’s what built-in entertainment systems are for, right?  Forget road trips: we’re hanging out in parking lots, with her watching Frozen and me reading away like my life depends upon it.

4.    Create a routine “reading time.”  I have the LeapFrog Tag Reading system for my little girl.  I like to have her “read” her books while I read mine.  This usually buys me 15 or so minutes----hey, I have to take what I can get!

5.    If your kids are old enough to clean, give them the choice of either cleaning or reading for an hour a day.  (I got this tip from a mom of four).  They will almost always choose reading---then, you can read too!

6.    Get an audiobook!  You can listen to it while your kids are at the park, during bath time, while cooking; the possibilities are endless.

7.    Bribes.  Oh, yeah, I totally bribe my little one so I can read: “If you sit still and play, you can have some candy,” *while I am furiously reading away*

8.    When all else fails, read when they are in bed at night (if you can keep your own eyes open).  Isn’t that why most e-readers are now back-lit?  J

Books Worth Ignoring Your Kids For
(AKA, Our Top Summer Reading Picks)

Since summer reading time is more limited, the books Natalie and I ignore our kids for better be worth it.  Here are our recommendations for your summer reading list.  Click each book's title to be taken to it's Goodreads page.

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf.  Little Mercies is such a relevant story: it’s about a busy working mom who accidentally leaves her infant in a hot car.  These types of accidents are so prevalent in the news right now, and terrifying to contemplate.  It’s so easy to think, “That could never happen to me.”  Well, Gudenkauf shows us just how easily it could happen to anyone.  There is a secondary story line in Little Mercies about a young girl who gets separated from her father.  The two stories converge in the most interesting of ways, with so many lives affected.  This book was a tear-jerker: moving and just completely outstanding. Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe  This book embodied everything we love about YA: a strong, smart heroine, a swoon-worthy love interest, a gripping mystery, and it was full of surprises to boot.
In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar.  For fans of Christian fiction and historical fiction.  This was one of my favorite Afshar books to date and the message has stayed with me for weeks after reading it.
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.  Hyperbole and a Half is a memoir by Allie Brosh, who writes the insanely popular blog of the same name.  This book was hilarious and so poignant.  Brosh writes about her life and her experience with depression---and describes the way depression makes you feel (or, in her case, not feel) better than anyone else I’ve ever read. of the Most High by Anna Scanlon. Scanlon is a new author who writes historical fiction.  Children of the Most High is her second novel, and it's about a young Amish girl who is victimized by her boyfriend.  The implications of the attack are far-reaching, and life-changing.  This book is not to be missed.

And there you have it: my current favorite reads.  Be sure to check back for reviews of these outstanding books!  Read on for more information about Heather Gudenkauf's Little Mercies---a gripping novel that I'm still thinking about weeks after reading it!

In her latest ripped-from-the-headlines tour de force, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf shows how one small mistake can have life-altering consequences…

Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity—the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children's advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends' couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen's and Jenny's lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.

Heather Gudenkauf is an Edgar Award nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Heather lives in Iowa with her husband and children. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and running.


· Watch the Book Trailer
· Visit Heather Gudenkauf’s Official Site
· Follow Heather Gudenkauf on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest
· Visit Little Mercies page on Goodreads



Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Harlequin.  All thoughts are my own.


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