Posted in Books and Shows

January: What I’ve Been Reading

We made it to Friday! This week has seemed to never end. Actually, I feel like January has been the longest month ever! I saw this meme on Facebook and it’s the truth 😂

Well, it’s January 31st, and I read three books this month: A Woman is No Man, The Wives, and The Hate U Give. All pretty heavy/intense reads….especially compared to my lighter reading in December with a focus on holiday books.

A Woman is No Man

I will be shocked if this book isn’t one of my top 5 reads of 2020….and it’s the first book I read in 2020. #offtoagoodstart

Good Reads summary:

This debut novel by an Arab-American voice,takes us inside the lives of conservative Arab women living in America.

In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her community.

My thoughts: This book caught my attention from the first page. The focus of the Arab culture and arranged marriages was so interesting to me. I loved the format of the book with chapters alternating Deya and her mother Isra. There were definitely some painful and gut-wrenching scenes to read, but I guess they were necessary to tell the full story. The twist in the plot with the note helped start putting together the pieces of the plot puzzle. This was a book I couldn’t put down even though it was definitely a heavy read.

The Wives

This book was a spur of the moment read. I follow Kristy Wicks on Instagram, and she mentioned her daughter had chosen a few books to start an online book discussion. So many people in the Facebook group for the book club were talking about how great the book was, so I actually bought it and downloaded it to my Kindle (I rarely buy books for my Kindle). I read the book in a few days.

Good Reads Summary:

New York Times bestselling author Tarryn Fisher delivers a pulse-pounding, fast-paced suspense novel that will leave you breathless. A thriller you won’t be able to put down!

Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.

What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.

My thoughts: It’s been awhile since I’ve read a good thriller/suspense book. The idea of the main character having multiple wives definitely hooked my interest from the start. The narrator is his second wife, Thursday, and I kind of just felt sorry for her. I kept thinking, “How does she have so much self-control as to not look up/find out more information about the other wives?” Well, it was only a matter of time! I enjoyed this book and it was suspenseful BUT the second half of the book didn’t sit right with me. Midway through the book there was a big shift…and after that, I wasn’t sure what to think about Thursday. Also, some of the plot from that point forward seemed rushed…including the ending. The book was good, and it was suspenseful, but I definitely liked the first half of the book way more than the second half.

Kristy and her daughter posted a book club discussion last week with a full summary (so…warning! if you click on the link below), their thoughts, and questions for their blog readers about the book.

The Hate U Give

I’m sure most everyone has heard of this book (or movie!). I may have been one of the last people to have read this book! I was prompted to read it because so many of my high schoolers have read it. It’s a young adult read that focuses on some hot topics and includes relevant and timely life examples.

Good Reads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

My thoughts: This was a good read. I see why so many young adults/high school students would like the book. Unfortunately, I have students who live this life, who have seen things I will never see in my lifetime, and who have experienced these injustices first hand.

The book has classic elements for young adults like the characters, the setting, the language and the ongoing themes to hold the reader’s attention. This book definitely provides opportunity to spark conversation with not only young adults, but adults as well. I haven’t seen the movie, but my interest is definitely piqued after reading the book.

Those we my three January reads. I’m about halfway through with The Broken Girls, and it’s been a great read so far! I will share about it in February.

I hope you’ve had a great week.

Take care,


Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Books and Shows

December Books + TOP 5 books of 2019

Happy last day of 2019! Even with the hustle and bustle of December, I was able to read 6 books this month! That being said, my first book, I started reading right around Thanksgiving and had the nine hour car ride home from KC combined with some extra time after Christmas to read as well.

I technically have a Good Reads account, but never really keep up with it. Instead, I have a note on my phone (I know, really high tech) with books I want to read (the list is getting too long) and then books I’ve read (2018 and 2019). When I looked at my list of the 40 books I read this year, my top 5 jumped right out at me! So, I thought I’d share those as well.

But first….the books I read in December.

I’m so glad I chose to read holiday books during this time. With the craziness of Christmas, I love the twinkle of the lights on the tree, peppermint mocha creamer, and the days getting darker earlier (I know, I’m weird). So, reading holiday themed books during this month, just helped the coziness creep in even more to offset the craziness of this time of the year.

One Day in December

This book was a sweet little read. It had been on my list for awhile, and I decided to start the month with it. The main character Laurie sees a man out the bus window and feels an instant connection. She then is on a mission to find him while not knowing his name, where he lives, etc. She ends up being reunited with Jack but not the way she would have preferred. The story follows the friendship and relationships of Laurie, her best friend Sarah, and Jack for over ten years…and I love how the month of December is a timeline reference throughout.

The Winter Street Series

  • Winter Street
  • Winter Stroll
  • Winter Storms
  • Winter Solstice

I get so many awesome book ideas from Mix and Match Mama and she had mentioned this series at some point. I had decided to at least read the first two. Then, another favorite (food) blogger, Bev Cooks, shared on her Instagram Stories that she was going to read all four of the books before Christmas. After reading the first book, I was hooked….and just kept chugging along while adding the next book to my Kindle. These books are fairly short, so they were easy to read somewhat quickly. Plus, I just fell in love with the Quinn family.

Like any big family, there are ups and downs, chaos, and celebrations. The Nantucket setting at Christmastime for each book, ties them together. Since I read each book back to back, the plot lines are all so intertwined. Overall, Kelley Quinn and his wife Mitzi run an inn on Nantucket. Each December, there’s a Winter Stroll through town. Kelley was married to Margaret for many years before Mitzi. Margaret is a CBS anchor and with Kelley, they have three adult children. With Mitzi, Kelley has a son named Bart who is a prisoner of war. Again, there are ups and downs, strained relationships, blended families, imprisonment and more. I seriously teared up at the conclusion of this series. I was sad to say goodbye to the Quinn family.

Christmas in Paris

This was a cute read with such a picturesque setting. Who wouldn’t want to visit Paris at Christmas time?

Isabel has canceled her wedding but decides to go on her honeymoon in Paris. While there, she meets Alec who also had wedding plans dissolve. Alec shows her around Paris, and they meet a fortune teller who tells Isabel she will meet and marry a French aristocrat. Isabel has been so unlucky in love that she’s adamant in pursuing whatever it takes to see those “dreams” come true.

This is a charming and light hearted read which was a perfect way to wrap up my December reading.

Top 5 books of 2019

Books #5 and #4 I read in January. I started the year off right! Actually, I ended 2018 reading on a high note. The Dinner List was the last book I read in 2018, and I loved it. (So, there’s a bonus reading recommendation if you’d like one.)


All Your Perfects was a tough read. I remember picking this book right off the shelf of the library, reading the back, and thinking it would be a good book. BUT once I started to read it, such a main emphasis was on infertility and how it can impact a marriage. Since I’ve dealt with infertility , it piqued my interest and that part of the plot drew me in. Quinn and Graham had a great marriage and all the dreams in the world as any freshly married couple has in the beginning. As time goes on, the strain of infertility and the wondering of what the future holds gets to them. The book is structured in past and present which is a clear delineation in their happy and sad times. As a couple, they struggle to communicate. Quinn feels the grief and shame of not being able to start a family (I can relate). It’s not that Graham isn’t always there for her. It’s just that as a woman, she bears the burden on her own and they feel and process the devastation in their own ways. Honestly, the ending wasn’t what I expected, but I could appreciate why Hoover ended their journey the way she did.

If you are in the thick of infertility, it may be too soon to read this book, but Quinn and Graham and their relationship were certainly relatable.

This book hooked me from the beginning, had me in tears throughout, and definitely provides a perspective on a topic that very few people talk about.


Swear on this Life was the first book I read in 2019. My goodness it was so good. Emiline is a writing instructor. She reads a book about two best friends, Emerson and Jackson, who are childhood sweethearts living in rural Ohio. Emerson has a very tough childhood and life and as Emiline reads the book, she realizes it bears a resemblance to her own upbringing. She then realizes the author, “J. Colby” must be Jase her childhood sweetheart. So, of course, she must find him and confront him for telling her story.

This book was so good, and I read it so quickly! I definitely recommend it.

Books #3-5, I’ve actually written about in my monthly book reviews, so I will share those posts as well.


Ask Again , Yes was so amazing. The lives of two families over decades and how time can heal wounds made this book such an interesting read.


Bread and Wine was an inspiring mix of food, recipes, stories, friendship, and nourishment (both for body and for mind).


I put off reading Where the Crawdads Sing because I felt like everyone was reading it. I finally borrowed it from a friend to read on vacation; I read it in two days…and didn’t want it to end. For me, it had a To Kill a Mockingbird feel to it which is one of my favorite books of all time. Kya, “Marsh Girl,” is a fighter and a survivor and an outcast in her society. I loved the setting of North Carolina and Owens certainly paints a picture of that part of the country. The symbolism, the imagery, the characters, the plot, and the lessons learned made this book one that I will never forget…and I’m sure I will read it again.

One more bonus book—Verity by Colleen Hoover was a page turner!! I read it on vacation as well and a review of it is in the link above.

I can’t believe I’ve only been blogging a few months and that this is the last post of 2019. Thanks for following along on my journey. I hope you find a book or two that you’ll love. What was your favorite book that you read in 2019?

Happy New Year’s Eve!


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Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Books and Shows

November Book Review

It’s hard to believe that we are almost to Thanksgiving and wrapping up November. November and December are so hectic for most, so I tend to have less time to read, but I did read three books this month….and I’m almost finished with a fourth book, but I will save it for next month. In November, I read The Affair, The 13th Gift, and I finished reading The Residence which I’ve been reading off and on over the past couple of months.

The Affair

I read this book on my Kindle, and it was a quick read for me. The plot centers around, you guessed it, an affair. Kathy and Robert have been married for many years and while she raised the kids, he ran the business. Through the years, she suspects him of cheating, of which he’s denied. She does some investigating and finds out the truth. The book is also about other family relationships, growing as individuals and what that may mean for a relationship. I liked that the story was told from three points of view: the husband, the wife, and mistress. There are a few R rated scenes which isn’t surprising given the title and topic. The story did seem to kind of wrap up quickly for me…but as a reader, I also knew there must be more….hence the follow up, The Consequences, which I’ve already downloaded to my Kindle for future reading.

The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle

I loved this book. Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit like random acts of kindness. In this true story, Joanne Huist Smith is struggling to find happiness and stay afloat after her husband’s death. She’s a full time working mom to three kids, and as the holiday season approaches, they are overcome with grief and wondering how they will get through the holiday while in their “new normal.” Then, twelve days before Christmas, gifts begin appearing on their doorstep each evening. As the days draw closer to Christmas, the family finds the spirit of the holiday and even come together to carry on traditions in the spirit of their lost loved one. This book was a quick read that just brings hope and restores faith in humanity!

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House

This book is not necessarily something I would normally read, but I really loved it. I’m not one to read much about history, but the interviews and anecdotes woven through history made this book stand out to me. I did read this book over a couple of months…and not because I didn’t enjoy it. It was just easy for me to leave on my bedside table and read a bit at a time.

The Residence focuses on the service staff in the White House such as the butlers, maids, secretaries, and florists. The book provides the reader with insider information on the various Presidents and families who lived in the White House. I thought the traditions and relationships were interesting. For example, there was insight into the days following JFK’s assassination , how the family grieved, but also who the staff was there for them. Also, the protocol of moving one President out on Inauguration Day while moving the new President in was another great explanation. Also, the relationships between the staff and Presidential families as well as the formalities that come with living in the White House were all just very interesting. The reader learns about the Presidential eras of Johnson to Obama. While not usually a genre that I typically read, I’m glad that I took the time to read this book and learned quite a bit along the way.

Holiday Reads…

Last year, after reading one of Shay’s November blog posts, I decided to follow her suggestion and read holiday books in December. I’m doing the same thing this December, but thought I’d share my December list from last year.

In December of last year, I read:

  • Christmas Camp
  • Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe
  • Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery

I kicked off holiday reading this year with The 13th Gift and I’m almost finished with the first book in the Winter Street series….Winter Street.

Also on my list for December are:

  • Winter Stroll (book 2 of 4 in the Winter Street series)
  • One Day in December
  • The Christmas Sisters
  • The Christmas Room

It may be wishful thinking to get four books read this month, but I’m sure going to try!

I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday! I will be back on Friday with a post about kindness. ‘Tis the season (to be stressed, to be tired, to be over-scheduled, but to hopefully also enjoy the holidays with family and friends)

Happy Thanksgiving!


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