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, March 26, 2013

RLT Reads! The Twelve Tribes of Hattie Book Review!

Oprah is always on point. I've read over a third of of her book club picks and they have all made think a certain kind of way; that to me is good writing.  My goal is to read them all.

Now, honestly, some of her picks have provoked more thinking than others. Nonetheless, her books are typically great writing and great story telling.

Over the years, I've liked some writing styles over others and some story lines over others, but at the end of the day, I've never had a bad read from her book club picks. So when she said that, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was transformative, I was all in. Now, I cannot say that it didn't transform her life, but for sure I can say, that it didn't transform mine. Was it a good read? Yes, without a doubt! Transformative No!

The author tackled some important issues; child sexual abuse, class, race, infidelity, womanizing, homosexuality and the complicated issue of abuse in the black family. It's all there, and when you think about it, with 12 children you are certainly going to have all these important and disconcerting issues within a family.

This book started as a wonderful migration story. Chapter one was brilliant; a young marriage seeking a better life in a Northern city and the failure of that promise rooted in the hard reality of life up North and youthful pride. I was all in!

Then came chapter two and I said hummm and by chapter three I was confuse. Now don't get me wrong, each chapter was great story telling. Where the book went left for me was with the structure. By the third chapter, I felt like I was reading short stories and not a novel. The thing that made this book great was the thing that made this a weak novel.

Each chapter told the story of one or two of Hattie's children and it may or may not have mentioned the other children. Even Hattie was a passing thought. Yes, each child was birthed by Hattie and therefore this book is true to it's title, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, but the thread that connected them in the writing was incredibility thin at best, with a failed attempt in my opinion, to try and bring them all together in the last chapter.

What makes this book powerful is that each chapter is a well written and the author tackle's important issues. Each chapter is a page turner for sure, but with each new chapter, there was a level of disappointment waiting to see how this was going to become a novel.

I gave it 4 stars on Good Reads because over all it really was a good book and each chapter was thought provoking. This is Ayana Mathis first novel and she is well on her way, not just because Oprah choose it, but because she is clearly not afraid to deal head on with important issues in the African-American community such as, Homophobia Class, Skin Color and Child Abuse.

I recommend this book! Now, Black folks are always talking about how Oprah never chooses African-American authors, which by the way is not true, so this is your time to pick up this book and not only join the discussion, but support this raising star! I'm already waiting on Ayana Mathis next book.

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