GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Author Rachel Magee

by | Aug 29, 2018 | guest post, spotlight

Hello, readers, I know it’s been a little bit since you’ve heard from me. There’s be a LOT happening in my personal life and it has been hectic. How timely author Rachel Magee’s post is! She’s with us today talking about how to add reading into our back-to-school routines. And, as much as I haven’t been able to fit my normal routine in, reading has not been something I’ve been enjoying lately either. But she has excellent advice. AND she is offering a giveaway! AND telling us about her book Happily Ever Afters! So, this post today, my friends, is full of fun things for you. So, I’ll stop rambling and let you get to it…

Four Ways to Add Reading to Your Back-to-School Routine

by Rachel Magee

Four Ways to Add Reading to Your Back-to-School Routine

It’s back to school season. That time of year when every store is teeming with freshly sharpened pencils and brand-spanking-new backpacks. The air is electrified with the excitement of new beginnings. And whether you’re headed back yourself, sending your little darlings out the door each morning, or simply having to adjust your daily commute to deal with the school zone traffic, this is a great time to rethink daily routine, making healthy choices a priority. But is reading one of those priorities?

Reading has tons of benefits for every age group. Studies have proven spending more time reading or being read to can increase vocabulary, is directly linked to doing well in school, lessens stress and makes you more productive at work. Plus, it’s enjoyable. Who doesn’t love curling up with a good book? But in our busy lives, finding time to carve out for reading can be tricky. So here are four easy ways to add more book time to your daily schedule.

  1. Read to your kids before bedtime, even the big ones.

Many parents do this when their kids are little, but do you continue when they get into elementary school, junior high or even high school? Making this part of your daily routine, even if it’s only ten or fifteen minutes before lights-out can be a great thing for both of you. Besides all the benefits of reading before bed (helps you sleep, reduces anxiety, sharpens mental focus) it can also give you a chance to connect with your child. Have your kid choose books he/she likes or pick titles they have to read for school. It’s a great way to learn what your child like as well as spark discussion. You might even try throwing in a favorite book from when you were their age. Your kids, especially the big ones, might find you have more in common than they thought.

  1. Read out loud to your spouse.

I know several couples who have celebrated decades together who have always made this part of their daily routine. Sharing a book with your significant other can create intimacy and keep you connected. At first, choose a book you will both enjoy and take turns reading out loud. As you get more in the rhythm of this routine, take turns picking titles from genres each of you enjoy. This will deepen your understanding and appreciation of each other as well as expose you to books you might not have chosen on you own.

  1. Listen to audio books on your commute.

We all spend time in the car, and with audio books so widely available, this is an easy way to incorporate more reading time into your day. Even a ten minute commute is enough time to listen to several pages, if not a whole chapter of a book. Do you carpool? Perfect! You now have your very own book club. Driving kids to soccer practice and piano lessons? This is a great time to read a book together as a family. For some added discussion, stop the book from time to time and ask thought-provoking questions. You might learn something new about the people you drive with every day.

  1. Make waiting time reading time.

Whether we want to or not, we spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for an appointment, waiting in carline, waiting to see the doctor or while you get your oil changed. And let’s be honest, most of us waste that time staring at social media. Why not make this time your reading time? Keep an ebook on your phone just for these occasions. Not only will it make the wait go faster, you’ll be doing something good for yourself at the same time.

So what do you think? Are you ready to make reading part of your daily back-to-school schedule? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and let us know when you’re reading this fall and who you’re reading with

Thanks for that wonderful post, Rachel. Now, if I can nab you for a couple of questions, I’d love for you to tell us a little about your novel.

Happily Ever Afters came to me when I was on vacation with a group of my girlfriends. It is a love story, but at its core it’s a story about friendship, resilience, and learning to love after loss.

I also have a new book coming out next month based on one of the characters in Happily Ever Afters. This new book is a lot of fun and I’m really excited about it, but I’m not releasing any details until next week. If you want a sneak peek now, you have to head to my website:

I love those kinds of sequels–ones that are not necessarily a cliff-hanger, but give us more of the story in that “world”.  What are you currently reading?

The titles on the stack of books next to my bed may change, but the composition pretty much stays the same. There is a devotional, a non fiction book about some topic I want to learn about (right now it’s writing) and, of course, a novel with a happy ending.

Rachel, thank you so much for being on the blog today, sharing your thoughts and giving us some practical ways to enjoy reading even as our schedules get a bit more hectic. And now, readers, we’ll turn more toward Rachel’s book, Happily Ever Afters and get a closer look.

Happily Ever Afters

Lainey Stratton does not fall in love with strangers she meets on vacation. It simply doesn’t make sense. So when Lainey meets Carter Thompson on the first day of her Caribbean vacation, she knows it could never amount to anything more than a crush. At the end of the vacation she will return to Dallas, and he will return to DC, and that will be the end of it. Well, unless he wants to join her at a friend’s destination wedding, which would be considered vacation too, right?

But when an unexpected tragedy sends Lainey’s world spiraling out of control, she realizes her vacation crush might be the only one who can help her pick up the pieces of her shattered life. That is, as long as she can get out of the way of her own happiness. And as long as Carter’s past doesn’t catch up with him before she gets a chance.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I found myself face-to-face with a long, slender fish that had to be close to three feet long. His shiny stainless steel scales looked tough, and his eyes seemed to fix on me as he glided through the water with confidence. I inched back, but he continued straight for me. His lips curled up, and he flashed a smile revealing two ominous rows of razor sharp teeth. I’ve seen pictures of the majestic barracuda before and admired their sleek beauty, but seeing one up close and personal made me want to pee my pants.

I scrambled to the side, out of his direct path, hoping he would continue on to wherever it was he seemed so intent on going. But the fish altered his trajectory, his menacing smile widening as he came right at me. The realization that I was his intended destination shivered through me.

Let the record show that in the battle of Lainey versus the fish, the fish won. I conceded. I screamed, a muffled sound that shot out my snorkel, and turned for the boat’s platform. Grabbing the ladder, I pulled myself out of the water and struggled to tuck my finned feet up to the highest rung. The fish sauntered under me, pausing to cast one last menacing glance my direction.

“Holy fish!” I breathed out, spitting the snorkel from my mouth. A chuckle came from above me.

“They might be scarier than sharks.” Carter sat casually on the end of the platform with his feet dangling in the water, his fins and mask propped next to him.

“I wasn’t expecting him.” I climbed all the way out of the ocean and onto the boat. Scanning the water to find Kara and Reece, I located them midway over the reef, seemingly unaware of my absence. I slunk down next to Carter and pulled my knees into my chest. Until my shiny friend was long gone, I wasn’t willing to dip anything into the water. I slid my mask off and wiped the salt water from my face.

“What are you doing up here and not out there?” I asked.

“Watching a hardcore chick take on an unusually large barracuda.”

“Yeah, thanks for the help.”

“I never doubted your ability to take him.” A playful half smile lit his face.

“I did. Did you see those teeth?” I shivered thinking about it. “He was not my favorite fish of the day.”

“You going back out?”

I peered over the side and searched the water below. “Still trying to make up my mind. You?”

“Same. I’m enjoying the solitude of the moment.” Carter stared serenely out at the sparkling water before us.

“Is that a hint for me to dive in?”

“No,” he said, his blue eyes meeting mine. “Stay.”

Buy Link


Also on Kindle Unlimited

More About the Author

Rachel wrote her first novel when she was twelve and entered it into a contest for young author/illustrators. Unfortunately, the judges weren’t impressed with her stick figures. So she dropped the dream of becoming a world famous illustrator and stuck to spinning stories. When she’s not busy working on her latest book, she loves to travel with her family and friends. By far, her favorite destination is the beach, which tends to work its way into most of her stories. Between vacations, you can find her at home in The Woodlands, TX with her wonderful husband, their two adventurous kids and a couple of spirited pets, all of whom share Rachel’s love of the ocean. Well, except the cat and dog. They’re both afraid of water. Find out more about what Rachel has been up to at

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Rachel is offering a $10 amazon gift card for one winner!! The winner will be chosen from among the comments on this blog post. We will close the contest September 5, 2018 at 11:59 pm. You can find the comment button most often at the top of the blog post. You can react to the post in your own words or answer this question:

How do you find time to read in the busyness of the school year?

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