I don't quite remember when I fell in love with tea but I do remember the most special moments of me drinking tea. I was eighteen years old and I went to live with my biological mother for four months. I had just met her months earlier and it was awkward for both of us. She and her ex-husband lived a very quiet life in Boulder, Colorado. He was a professor at one of the universities and she was a housewife. After years of drug addiction and being in and out of jail, she deserved the break. I was homeless so she and her husband agreed to let me come live with them. Each evening my mother and I would find a spot in the living room with a cup of tea and a book.

Now, years later, I'm a self proclaimed tea expert. I start each day with a wonderful English Breakfast tea to get me going. As the day progresses, who knows what wonderful tea I will crown queen. But for sure, I have at least three cups of tea a day. And yes, when I can, I have tea everyday at about 3:00 P. M. I love to invite my friends over for tea and cupcakes and so far everyone thinks it’s a delightful experience. I am always in search of the best blend of tea. Yes, I’m a tea snob, I prefer loose tea but I do like some bags also. I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. Some bags can be quite nice. And yes again, any Diva knows, what you drink your tea out of is very important.

Tea for me is a way of life. It's wellness for the mind body and spirit. Here, I will explore every expect of tea possible, with a high concentration on wellness. I will review the best teas, the best places to have tea, the best ways to brew tea, the best tea accessories, what tea goes best with what foods, and the list goes on and on. I plan to share my passion for tea with you. And I've been told, nothing I do is ever boring so be prepared to go on this tea journey with me.

RLT Collection Tea Ball Frosted Clear Beads!

Mint Medley by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

About This Tea:

Until recently I had never drank Peppermint Tea made with loose leaves. And Honestly, I will probably never go back. The freshness of loose Peppermint Tea cannot be denied. When I open the can of Mint Medley, From The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, I feel as if I stepped into a garden of peppermint leaves. It is a perfect blend of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves grown in the US.

Mint Medley has become a favorite and I find myself reaching for this tea tin almost everyday. It is great for on-going nausea. The health benefits and endless. It relieves muscle aches, headaches, migraines, stress. And now that it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I have a mean cough, I'm sure it will help to relieve some of this congestion in my chest. Mint Medley has been in my tea cup more than any tea as of late. It has really helped with my winter cough, congestion related to this bout of pneumonia. You can read my full review on The Persimmon Tree Tea Company Mint Teas.

RLT Collection AIDS Awareness Tea Ball!

Welcome to my world of books! As an pre-teen books changed my world. I fell in love with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance period and the more I read the more I wanted to read. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It spoke to my own degradation and gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books.

I spent hours in my bedroom sequestered with the door closed reading the classics from the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Wright and Baldwin. Books became my escape and my salvation. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me.The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS.

The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.

I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this venture. We already have 110 Book Club Members. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?

This Month We are Reading In My Fathers House by E Lynn Harris

Read along and join our discussion July 19th at 7 pm CST

For more Tea with Rae "Vlogs" Click here to visit her youtube channel

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

RLT Reads! Pretty Betty by Walter Mosley A Review

Well, it seems that RLT Reads Book Club has gone straight to hell in a hand basket. I know some of it was my fought. Over the last two years my health has been a handful and I have been off my reading game and not able to keep up. Trying to balance my health and all of RLT Brands is two full time jobs wrapped  up into one. But I made an executive decision over this past holiday; to take some time for me. Life is to short to not do some of what you enjoy. So I'm back to my favorite pass time on the planet, other than shopping, drinking tea, and knitting, it is reading! I can easily read a book or two a week.

Until we get RLT Reads book club rolling again, I thought that I would at least give you some weekly reviews on the books that I'm currently reading. Over time, if you show some interest, we can see if the on-line book club can get back on its feet. Shoot me an email if you are interested in getting the book club back on it's feet RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com

My first weekly review! Here goes! I'm too excited about sharing my reads with you. I am an absolute fan of crime mystery books. My adopted God Mother, Judy down in Nashville is also an avid reader. You should hear our conversations about books that we have both read. We talk about characters like they are for real... Shoot, we think Alex Cross, the leading man in James Patterson Cross series is our future husband.

She and I both love mystery and she has been trying her best to get me to read Walter Mosley Easy Rawlins series. Because she kept pushing, I purchased a few and they just sat on my book shelf.

Then recently I started to slowly read them. Then over the holiday, I picked one up and now I can't seem to stop. To date I've read, six of the ten in this series, in no particular order. I have even read the last one he wrote in 2009, which killed off the series, Blonde Faith.

I've also read the most famous, of course, the Denzel Washington movie, Devil in a Blue Dress. I have also read, Little Scarlet, White Butterfly and Cinnamon Kiss. So far so good. They were all page turners that I didn't want to put down. I read 3 over the holiday alone. I was on a roll.

But the one I want to review for you today is Black Betty. I just finished reading it and OMG! This was one complex story line that captured the period. The thing I love most about Mosley's Easy Rawlins series is that he does an awesome job of situating his story line in the period and plays it through like a fine violin.

Black Betty is one of the most complex of all the Rawlins series so far. All of the books are situated in Southern California between the 40-60's. It's an interesting period and Rawlins gives us insight on segregation, racism and migration during this time span.

Many African-Americans escaped the degradation of the south. We often read about those from Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Rawlins characters are all from parts of Louisiana and Texas. Which had it's own particular culture and Black folks bring it to Los Angles during it's time of growth.

Rawlins is a private investigator operating in Los Angles who begins his career by default. Well liked and well connected in the Black community Rawlins is asked to help locate people. The police use him from time to time on complex cases in the black community because it's easier for Rawlins to move among black folks then it is for white police officers. Over time, Rawlins is eventuality given his license to practice. Rawlins loves, sex, woman and alcohol, but alcohol doesn't love him. He's a man's man, with a good heart that shines bright in all of the Easy Rawlins books. Oh yeah, his side kick Mouse is a hoot, but mostly a cold-blooded killer.

Now on to Pretty Betty. This story takes place in 1961 at the height of overt segregation in the South and covert segregation and open racism in swanky L.A. Betty is a woman from Rawlins home town, who's sensuality shines bright with every step she takes. She captivates Rawlins as a young boy and years later they meet again in the midst of a complex trail of murder and mayhem.

There are clear and not so clear villains. Betty is a live-in maid for a wealthy Southern California Plantation owner. Yes, I said planation. Mosley gives us a brief insight into migrant slave labor in Pretty Betty. That's the thing about Mosley, all of his Rawlins books give us a history lesson in race relations and what it's like to be mostly black and poor during this period.

I can't tell you the story or you won't have a need to pick it up. Lets just say, there is sexual coercion power relationships and children born of mixed race at it's best. When the patriarch of the family dies, who is also Betty boss, she disappears and the hunt begins.

Murder follows Betty's trail right along with Rawlins. This complex story line of who done it and why and yes who inherits the 50 million dollars will keep you turing pages until the very end.  It is worth the read!

Each Tuesday I will be reviewing two of my favorite things, tea and books #SmallPleasures  Stay tuned for next week and in the meantime don't forget to read my tea Review, Passion in a Cup... Click Here! For more on Walter Mosley, go to his website, Click Here!

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