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, April 16, 2013

RLT Reads: Book Review-LIttle Bee

I love reading historical fiction, you really do learn something that you never knew. Now, some historical fiction will take a particular event or period in history and that will be the baseline for the story. Then others will create a story around themes in history. That's what Chris Cleave, a writer from the United Kingdom (UK) did in Little Bee. He took the ongoing oil issue in Nigeria and the issue with immigration dentition centers in the UK and crafted a story in the presence. In Little Bee, the past meets the right now, dead in the center.

I have got to be honest. This book sat on my shelf for at least 4 years. Published in 2008 it was a New York Times best seller. I finally picked it up and for sure the topic was so heavy that I had to put it down a few times and pick up some lighter reading.

This story starts in the UK with some girls being released from an immigration detention center. The story centers around Little Bee, a 16 year old Nigeria girl was has been in the center for two years. The only contact she has in the UK is the name and number of a man Andrew that she met along with his wife Sarah on the beach of Nigeria a tad over two years earlier.

That chance meeting outside of a resort where Sarah and Andrew were vacationing changed all of their lives forever, Sarah, Andrew, Little Bee's and her sister. That day on the beach a horrific decision had to be made. One that speaks to the humaneness and inhumanness of people.

I never give away the story in my review and this one will be no different.

Needless to say, Little Bee arrives on Andrew's and Sarah's door step and the story unfolds. It is told in the voices of Sarah and Little Bee alternating chapters. I love this format because it gives voice to both of these women. For sure this is a powerful story line! Cleave's creativity is brilliant.

I love a fictional novel that makes me Google a topic. From this book, I learned that I knew nothing about Nigeria Oil; NOTHING. I even called my good friend Keith who works in international politics to get a briefing.

The oil in the "Delta" of Nigeria is some of the best in the world. It requires less processing, I learned then other oils. I also learned that the continent of Africa Imports about half of their oil to the United States. SHUT UP! And someone got us thinking that the Mid-East is the major source of our oil. Just think Royal Dutch Shell spent $383 million to protect it's staff and the oil in 2007-2009 with over a total of $1 billion going to security. I wonder how many people who could have been feed and how much infrastructure could have been built with $1 billion.

Well, this book dances around the conflict of oil in the Delta and the on-going fight for control. Little Bee is a tragic story of horror and mayhem and how one recovers from such trauma or not.

It also gives us a glimpse into the UK culture and the detention centers that store illegal immigrants looking for a better life.  And to think that we in the US think that we are the only one's with immigration issues. It made me wonder about the conditions of detention centers in the U. S. See, this book made me think. It made me cry and it made me laugh.

Little Bee left me wanting more and that is a great story in my opinion . It also had some great lines. This was my favorite.

"We must see all scars as beauty... Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived."

I think Little Bee by Chris Cleave is worth the read. Its great to read international books for it gives us insight on the lives outside of the United States. I gave it five stars on Good Reads.
Post Script: If you love to read you should consider joining Good Reads. It's a great place to share and learn about books.... And if you have read my book,  The Politics of Respectability. will you please join, rate and review my book on Good Reads. Here is the link to my Good Reads Page.

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