The Secret to Finding Time to Read

The Secret to Finding Time to Read

The Secret to Finding Time to Read

By: April Hughes

 

“How do you find time to read?”

This is a question I get asked all too often. It’s also a legitimate one considering the circus impersonation that I call my life. I discovered my love of reading in fourth grade when my teacher began reading to us Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. I was completely engrossed in the story. From the cupboard beneath the stairs, to the shocking entrance of Hagrid on that wave-tossed, stony island- every moment captured my interest. Unfortunately, my teacher believed in long drawn-out pauses that did little to dramatize the scenes, and dog-eared the pages on the good parts. Not cool. Naturally, I took it upon myself to finish the novel. At home. Without unnecessary dramatic pauses.

As time went by and I cruised through the rest of the Harry Potter series, Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie, and other childhood favorites, I discovered that reading was a natural part of who I am. Suddenly, the idea of not reading was as foreign to me as putting pineapple on a pizza (yuck!) or walking barefoot over scorching-hot coals (ouch!). The day I stopped reading would be the day I stopped breathing (hopefully that’s not for a long long time as my “to-be-read” pile is going to take me approximately 50+ years to finish).

Because life is an unpredictable and crafty wench, she has to place obstacles-both good and bad-into our path to make things interesting. For me, these cinder blocks would be work, school, kids, housework, familial/friend obligations, and other necessary parts of “adulting”. Thankfully, I enjoy most of these blocks. This just means I have to be a little creative in how I find ways to read (after all, my book boyfriends and paper besties would be devastated if I didn’t find time for them). So, here’s how I jumped these hurdles and found the time:

  1. Arrive 20 minutes early to everything- work, meetings, your little nephew’s birthday party, etc. That way you can spend 15 minutes reading in the quiet of your car.
  2. Read while you cook- sounds weird, I know. But you’d be amazed how much reading you can do while stirring that minestrone and waiting for things to bake.
  3. Read on scheduled breaks and during lunch at work- this is a great way to escape the monotony of your work life.
  4. That peaceful thirty minutes before bed- After the kids are tucked- squawking and all- into their cozy beds at night, I treat myself to a little, uninterrupted reading time.
  5. Keep a book in your purse/man-purse, fanny-pack- You never know when you’ll have unexpected time to read. For example, at the doctor’s office. Thankfully, mine is notorious for being late. That means MORE time to READ! Yay!
  6. “Sick Day”, also known as “I-can’t-come-into-work-because-I’m-on-a-good-part-in-my-book” Day- Let’s be honest, bookworms, we’ve all done this a time, or two, maybe three? *wink*

Finding time to read is POSSIBLE. You just gotta be creative.

 

See my tips on surviving the holiday season here!

See some of my more steamier book recommendations here!




Morse’s Sauerkraut and European Deli – Waldoboro Maine

Morse’s Sauerkraut and European Deli – Waldoboro Maine

Morse’s Sauerkraut and European Deli

By: April Hughes

 

Morse’s Sauerkraut and European Deli is both a specialty store and restaurant that offers a variety of European dishes and imported goods. The Kraut Haus restaurant at Morse’s has been our favorite place to enjoy a Sunday brunch for the past couple of years. From Marzipan Stollen French Toast and Reuben Omelets, to Schnitzel dishes and Spaetzle, the Kraut Haus has a lot to offer. The restaurant also makes their pickles and sauerkraut in-house. I tried the garlic-herb pickles and they were phenomenal. The sauerkraut is served either hot or cold, and unlike canned mushy sauerkraut, this kind provides the perfect amount of crunch and tartness. The freshness and quality of the food is spot-on and the service is both warm and welcoming. As for the environment, you can enjoy your hearty German fare while seated in a booth that offers a great deal of privacy due to the high-backs. The space is illuminated by antique lanterns which perfectly accentuate the green-toned booths and brick walls. An assortment of condiments, including a few different varieties of German mustard are available to adorn your dishes.



After finishing the meal, we cash out at the register located in the store. Whoever designed the restaurant was a genius. I mean, you can’t just walk past the marzipan, stroopwafels, European biscuits, rare herbs and spices, imported candies and drinks, and not want to buy anything. I stepped maybe one foot into the store and my gaze fell upon the Kinder candies with overzealous glee. I was immediately taken back to my years of living in Germany and Italy and how these treats were a favorite part of my childhood. Naturally, I had to purchase a few (Note: remember that these treats are imported. This means that they are going to cost a wee bit more than they would in a normal store. But it’s totally worth it!). The back of the store boasts an excellent selection on European meats and cheeses. The deli serves Speck and Schinken hams from Germany, Bavarian sausages, aged Dutch Goudas, and many others!

Check out Morse’s Sauerkraut and European Deli in North Waldoboro, Maine if you’re looking for delicious German fare and something uniquely European to bring home. I highly recommend this location for your holiday shopping!

 

Treworgy Family Orchards – Levant, Maine – October 2017

Treworgy Family Orchards – Levant, Maine – October 2017

Treworgy Family Orchards

Treworgy Family Orchards

Treworgy Family Orchards

It has been a tradition in our family to visit Treworgy Family Orchards in Levant, Maine every October. This is a family event that we look forward to every fall, and for a variety of reasons. From the unique corn maze designs and orchards, to the hayrides and pumpkin patch, there is a little of everything for people to enjoy. Personally? I truly enjoy the corn maze. This isn’t your typical randomly designed maze that you have to run around until you find the way out. Treworgy comes up with a new design every year.

Here’s a little review of their maze designs in the past five years:

2013: Richard the Lion

2014: The Lost Locomotive

2015: Edwin the Elephant’s Exciting Escapade

2016: Dragon and Knight

2017: Paul Bunyan Legendary Lumberjack

It does cost money to access the maze. This year, for four of us (3 adults and 2 kids under 10) it cost us $38.00. I will say, considering the size of the maze, the time and effort that went into creating it, the unique riddle posts (which I will explain later), and the ice cream included at the end, for five people that isn’t a bad price.

Now, once you have a map of your maze, you will notice numbers, typically 1-6, pinpointed in different locations throughout the maze. What you’re intended to do is follow your map to those locations. Once you get to a number, you’ll notice a post with a riddle or question displayed (see picture). After answering the question, you will mark the answer on your map. Once you have made it to all number stations and have answered all the questions, you will locate the answer key displayed next to the large “You Did It!” sign at the maze’s exit. Right or wrong, you can chuckle over your maze adventure at the main farmhouse where you will turn your answer key in for a FREE ice cream.



While you enjoy your ice cream, you can amble around the farm stands to check out the produce, or visit the goats that are inclined to loiter around the 25 cent machines filled with goat food. Smart goats. There is also a small sandbox for the little ones to enjoy and a randomly placed bird cage housing pigeons (the cage is by no means “small”. Au contraire, the cage appeared large enough to fit five or six people comfortably). Near the sandbox and pigeon cage is the hayride pick-up/drop-off location. After finishing our ice cream, my family and I tend to catch a ride on the tractor-pulled hay wagon where we comfortably situate ourselves on a hay bale. This provides us an excellent opportunity to check out the rest of the wide-expanse of farm and orchards. The hayride was free! However, if you want to ride on the horse-drawn hay wagon, then there is a 5.00 fee.

 

We then complete our day by using one of the provided wagons and then heading over to the pumpkin patch. To make pumpkin searching a bit easier on visitors, the farm places orange flags near the “best” pumpkins. My family tends to get a bit more adventurous and spends their time in the patch avidly avoiding the orange flags. Some people just enjoy the hunt.



After loading our pumpkins into the wagons, we head towards the large tent near the back entrance to the Treworgy where we have our pumpkins weighed. Pumpkin prices can range from $5.00-$20.00. Near the registers, you have the option to purchase apple cider made right there on the farm from their apple trees, or other seasonal produce. We rarely ever leave without picking up a pint of apple cider (it is absolutely DELICIOUS!).

So, if you’re looking for an affordable and fun place to take your family this fall, then Treworgy Family Orchards in Levant, Maine is the place to go!

Treworgy Family Orchards

Treworgy Family Orchards

 

Check out my other adventures in the New England area Here.

Review of Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Review of Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Review of Unhooked by Lisa MaxwellUnhooked four-stars
by Lisa Maxwell
ISBN: 9781481432061
Published by Simon and Schuster on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Pirates, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Adaptations, Juvenile Nonfiction, Activity Books
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

From “talented wordsmith” (Publishers Weekly) Lisa Maxwell comes a lush, atmospheric fantasy novel filled with twists and turns about a girl who is kidnapped and brought to an island inhabited by fairies, a roguish ship captain, and bloodthirsty beasts.

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home. Her mother believes they are being hunted by brutal monsters, and those delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. Gwen’s only saving grace is that her best friend, Olivia, is with her for the summer.

But shortly after their arrival, the girls are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and dragged into a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey. And Gwen begins to realize that maybe her mother isn’t so crazy after all…

Gwen discovers that this new world she inhabits is called Neverland, but it’s nothing like the Neverland you’ve heard about in stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through your fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and tries to find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the captivating pirate who promises to keep her safe.

Caught in the ultimate battle between good and evil, with time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to finally face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But can she save Neverland without losing herself?

Review of Unhooked

Unhooked is a standalone novel by author Lisa Maxwell. I will admit to being intrigued by all the unique and fresh re-imaginings of the more popular fairy tales. Peter Pan has always been a favorite of mine; so, when I saw this book sitting on the shelf of Books-a-Million in Portland, Maine, I just had to check it out. There were quite a few things about this novel that piqued my interest- first, the brooding, seafaring Captain Hook. Unhooked’s captain is nothing like the one in Disney’s animated Peter Pan, or is he anything like Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal in the 1991 film Hook. This Captain doesn’t sport a long, curly wig or sport an obnoxious handlebar mustache- the only thing he sports is a wicked hook, a brooding disposition, and looks that tempt a girl to never want to leave Neverland, despite how dark and ominous this version of the land is.

The second thing that caught my interest was Neverland itself. Lisa Maxwell’s description of this whimsical world is imaginative, that you almost feel like you’re there with the characters. The mermaids in this tale were blood-thirsty and frightening, the fairies weren’t glittery and sweet-they were tricksters whose skills were more aligned with manipulation and deceit. The lost boys weren’t young boys who longed for a mother- Nope. They operate solely on mayhem and violence. They are more apt to terrorize someone’s mother than to ask to be read to and tucked in at night. Even the land itself is dangerous. With it constantly shifting and changing, you could end up being the victim of a harrowing survival tale, rather than the heroine of a dashing adventure. Finally, Peter Pan himself is a character worth noting- This Peter isn’t the fun-loving, brave hero that we were introduced to in “Peter Pan” or “Hook”. This guy might be considered handsome and charming- but he’s as bad as the Fae that I described above.

The heroine of the novel, Gwendolyn “Gwen” Allister describes a strained relationship with her mother because she feels her Mom’s ramblings about monsters is ruining their lives. After all, they have just moved to London in the beginning of the story to escape them. Luckily, Gwen gets to bring her best friend Olivia along to help her get settled in to her new home. We begin detecting something “off” in the beginning of the story by the situation with the lantern Gwen is told to keep on in her room, and Gwen’s strange encounter with a beautiful, albeit ominous, woman (Unhooked’s creepy version of Tinker Bell). My suspicion that this story was heading toward a more dark re-telling was confirmed when Gwen and Olivia are snatched from their room in the night by monstrous creatures and swept away to Neverland, where Gwen nearly drowns.

This retelling of Peter Pan is brilliant! The characters are three dimensional, the imagery and descriptions were extraordinary, the romance was tantalizing, and the story developed perfectly. I found myself chuckling at a few parts, fanning myself after a few encounters with Gwen and Hook, and anxiously gripping the book during the more tense, bone-chilling moments. Unhooked is the perfect blend of adventure, mystery, horror, and romance.

If you’re looking to be swept away into another world, pick up (or download) your copy of Unhooked today!

four-stars
Review of Be Still My Love by Deborah J. Hughes

Review of Be Still My Love by Deborah J. Hughes

Review of Be Still My Love by Deborah J. HughesBe Still, My Love five-stars
by Deborah J. Hughes
Series: Tess Schafer-Medium, #1
on December 13, 2011
Genres: Fiction, Ghosts
Pages: 304
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

ABOUT BE STILL, MY LOVE:A personal loss throws medium Tess Schafer's beliefs into question and severs her communications with "the other side". Unable to move on with her life, she takes a healing vacation to a haunted resort on the coast of Maine. Her arrival triggers a spike in paranormal activity and the return of her spiritual connection.

As the spirits of two young lovers reach out to her, Tess soon finds herself in the middle of much more than a tragic love story. Why are they afraid and why are they warning her away? Personal doubts, skeptics, a growing sense of menace and a distracting attraction to another guest will not stop her from uncovering the resort's secrets.

Review of Be Still my Love by Deborah J Hughes

 

Be Still, My Love is the first novel in the Tess Schafer-Medium series by fiction author Deborah J. Hughes. The story follows Tess, a grieving widow with a history of being able to communicate with “the other side”. Tess’s grief leads her to a resort, Sea Willow haven, on the coast of Maine where she hopes to find time to heal. It is while she is here that she meets the handsome and reclusive painter, and former Marine, Kade Sinclair. While Tess contends with her growing attraction to Kade, she inadvertently becomes swept up in the tragic history involving Sea Willow Haven and two lovers, Abigail and Nathan.

The novel was a perfect blend of gothic mystery, romance, and horror-though of the ghostly kind, not so much gore. With these types of novels I anticipate a huge twist at the end, so I made sure to be extra cognizant of the fact that one, if not more, of these characters was going to surprise me. So, I paid extra close attention to the dialogue, setting, and newly introduced characters. I was determined to pronounce, “Aha! I got it! I knew it was the butler!” (Mind you, there was no butler, but if there were, he/she would probably be the guilty party).

Imagine my surprise when, during the climax of the story, I was completely and utterly surprised! I mean…what the heck just happened?? How did I not see that one coming?? Those who know me know I’m quite quick to point out my guesses for murderers, suspects, and possible love interests-I am rarely wrong, mind you. So, the fact that this novel should completely flummox at the end is a welcoming, and pleasant, surprise. I love nothing more than a shocking end! Naturally, I had to flip through the pages to see what I could have possibly missed to have so inaccurately predicted this outcome.

Oh! And that scene with Kade and Tess in the tunnel…whew! I need a fan to cool me off and something to ease my throat from all the laughing I was doing.

I highly suggest this novel if you’re looking for a book with unique characters with depth, a spooky gothic locale, and a surprising mystery with an unpredictable and shocking end!

Five stars!!

Read this book for free with KindleUnlimited or buy on Kindle for $2.99 from Amazon here.

five-stars

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