Sunday, June 9, 2019

7 Books to Kickstart Your Summer

fiction, reading, amreading, goodreads, Kindle, book club, beach reads, summer reads

Summer is coming in quickly, friends.

And there's nothing many of us enjoy more than a great summer read.

I've got a few recommendations for you.

Some are old, some are new, but whenever they were published matters not - they're going to get you through your summer travels, the impossible and unbearable heat, the days by the pool, your commute to work, your road trips (audiobooks, y'all) and the days when you really wish your kids were at camp but they're not. So. Join me!

* As always there are affiliate links in this post. By making a purchase through these links you support Good Girl Gone Redneck at no additional cost to you. Thank you! * 

7 Books To Start Your Summer Off Right

fiction, reading, amreading, goodreads, Kindle, book club, Delia Owens, Where The Crawdads Sing, beach reads, summer reads

First things first, I know - this book came out last summer - but if you're anything like me this year hasn't been your finest reading year. And so, Where The Crawdads Sing is on your radar for this summer. Or it needs to be. It's one of the most recommended books in not just my circle of friends, but their circles of friends. And that's about all I need. Want to read it together? Let me know. 

fiction, reading, amreading, goodreads, Kindle, book club, Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, Sonali Dev, beach reads, summer reads

This book has also already been released, but it's much newer than Crawdads - which is why you probably have not heard of it. Sonali Dev's books explore women's issues around the world, which is part of why I am really excited for this one. Also - I'm trying to ensure that this summer I continue to explore authors who are new to me, and Dev is one of those. Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors is at the top of my list!

June 11, 2019

fiction, reading, amreading, goodreads, Kindle, book club, The First Mistake, Sandie Jones, beach reads, summer reads

I'm a big fan of Sandie Jones. Her debut novel, The Other Woman, was one of my favorite books of 2018. It was so well written she had me questioning things until the very end. Even when I thought I knew what was going to happen - I still didn't know. It was THAT good. The First Mistake already has the same appeal. I have an advanced copy that is sitting on my nightstand waiting for me to jump in feet first. The Wife. The Husband. The Best Friend. I mean. Right there you find yourself wanting to know more. Go forth and order your copy today.

June 18, 2019

The Travelers, Regina Porter, fiction, reading, amreading, goodreads, Kindle, book club, beach reads, summer reads

The characters in The Travelers do just that. They travel. Not just locations - but time, too. A Black family. A white family. From the 1950s to the early 2000s. Admittedly this aspect of a book might not be considered new. But Porter's writing is, as this is her debut novel [see what I did there?]. And it's set throughout New York City, which, no surprise, really appeals to me. I'm consistently homesick and love reading authors who include aspects of any of the boroughs in their work. This book? Moves throughout more than just one part of the city. So I'm really looking forward to it. 

June 25, 2019

fiction, reading, amreading, goodreads, Kindle, book club, Claire Lombardo, The Most Fun We Ever Had, beach reads, summer reads

I'm excited for Lombardo's debut novel. The story details drew me in as I read the descriptions of the characters and all they go through. I'll admit, the new-to-me-author (new to everyone!) also caught my eye because she's a former social worker. And, well, we kinda stick together. Former or otherwise. Also, I really love stories that span the lifetime of characters. Reflecting back. And this one does just that and more. I'm truly excited to read The Most Fun We Ever Had.

July 9, 2019

fiction, reading, amreading, goodreads, Kindle, book club, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, Abbi Waxman, beach reads, summer reads

Nina Hill sounds like someone I'd like to be friends with. Introverts unite! (Ah, fine, I'm more of a combination of an introvert and an extrovert, but still ...) She's an only child of a single mother who feels like her life is set. When she wants to branch out beyond her personal reach she picks up a book. Sound familiar? I know it well. Some days reading is all we need - right? But surprise. Nina is shocked to learn that the dad she never knew had a huge family. And they're now HER family. Thanks, but no thanks? I guess we'll have to turn/swipe each page to find out. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill will be my introduction to Abbi Waxman's work. I can't wait to meet her and Nina, both!

The Wedding Party, Jasmine Guillory
July 16, 2019

fiction, reading, amreading, goodreads, Kindle, book club, The Wedding Party, Jasmine Guillory, beach reads, summer reads

I recently became introduced to Jasmine Guillory's work when I read The Proposal, which I enjoyed so much. Actually, that was almost going to be front and center on this list, then I realized she had a new book coming out next month. So. The Wedding Party. If it's anything like The Proposal it will be the PERFECT summer read. I already love Guillory's writing style, and think you will, too. Her books are perfect for that pick up-put down pool read, that plane ride to your tropical vacation read, or basically whenever you need an escape and want to live in someone else's life kinda' read. Enjoy!

So, there you have it. Start the summer of 2019 off right with any one of these reads.

Looking for other suggestions? I have several.

Nonfiction Reading Recommendations: Spring 2019

Diversify Your Personal Library With These Titles

Beach Reads You'll Dive Right Into

Grab One of These Unlikely Beach Reads

Sunday, May 26, 2019

so•ca cocina latina

Raleigh restaurants, Raleigh eats, drinks, local eats, local NC restaurants, cocina latina, pollo, small plates, tapas, platas pequenos
This was my drink. It was called Little Mendoza.
It was a pretty little cocktail with a way not little punch. 

This week was one of the longest weeks in creation.


So. Very. Long.

But fortunately for me, I had a night out with a friend at the delicious so•ca restaurant in Raleigh.

The food at so•ca was delicious. And the atmosphere was fantastic.

It was a weeknight, so it wasn't horribly crowded. And although the temperatures were mellowing out, we decided it would be more comfortable to eat inside.

Actually, I deferred to the host and he suggested inside. We agreed. Comfort over outdoor seating. North Carolina seems to have glossed over spring and it has to be much later in the evening to enjoy an outdoor meal. This is unfortunate, as I love the cooler temps.

Even last night on my way home from dinner (different meal) I opened the window in the Uber and enjoyed the breeze, then looked at the temperature and it was still 80 degrees. What on earth?

But back to so•ca.

We decided to start with a small plate, choosing the Colombian Pan de Yuca.

Raleigh restaurants, Raleigh eats, drinks, local eats, local NC restaurants, cocina latina, pollo, small plates, tapas, platas pequenos

This picture doesn't do it justice. It was these buttery garlicky cheesy bread bursts with pickled onions. And I probably could have eaten several more servings of it - maybe they'll add an unlimited version to the menu just for me? (A girl can dream.)

I think that the next time I go I'll be ordering several little plates so I can leave room for dessert. Because the dessert options and beverages looked amazing, but I was too full to eat anything else just then.

I ordered the Pollo a la Brasa for dinner. It was beautiful. And delicious. Which matters more, certainly, but still. Look at how pretty it was plated.

Raleigh restaurants, Raleigh eats, drinks, local eats, local NC restaurants, cocina latina, pollo, small plates, tapas, platas pequenos

The chicken was amazing. So well-cooked. And the avocado and tomatillos? Yum. I will let you know that the green stuff? Salsa verde. A little bit of an unexpected kick for me - the spice wimp - so if you order it and can't do spicy? Be warned. But get it anyway. I'm sure they'll help accommodate your taste needs.

so•ca offers a variety of options for your meal, and I've already decided that I really want to get back there for brunch sometime, because, omg, yum.

Have a look at these huevos rancheros from their Instagram feed? I mean, seriously.

Hello, so•ca brunch, here I come.

So if you're looking for somewhere new to try and can't decide where to go? I highly recommend so•ca. I think you'll find whatever you're looking for and more. And I hope you enjoy it!

* This is not a sponsored post. I went to dinner at so•ca and thought I'd share some info about it with you. I had a wonderful experience and the staff is great, so why not spread the word, right? I hope you decide to go and do let me know how your meal goes. * 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Nonfiction Reads: Spring 2019

nonfiction, must-read, Kindle reads, books, am reading, Stephanie Land, Maid, Abby Wambach, Wolfpack, Kamala Harris, The Truths We Hold, Calm the F*ck Down, Sarah Knight

There are so many books that I want to read, and each time a new novel or nonfiction book comes out I find myself adding them to my list.

The never-ending and always growing to-read list.

So for today I thought I'd share some new nonfiction books that I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this year. (Referral links are scattered throughout this post.)

Let me know which of these you're interested in.

Who knows? Maybe I'll decide to gift you a copy!

Nonfiction Recommendations for Spring

nonfiction, must-read, Kindle reads, books, am reading, Stephanie Land, Maid,

You guys? Maid was so good. Like really good. This book was a powerful and moving read. In sharing her perspective as a single mother who worked as hard as she could to get by and keep herself and her child safe, sheltered and sometimes barely fed, Land pulls us in and doesn't let us go until the very end. Even after you turn the last page or swipe on through the entire book? You'll want to find out more about her and see what she's up to now. And how her daughter is doing. Don't miss Maid, y'all. 

nonfiction, must-read, Kindle reads, books, am reading, The Truths We Hold, Kamala Harris

Regardless of your thoughts about Harris, she was one of the first Democrats to throw her hat into the race for President for the 2020 election. As a woman candidate, there is bound to be so much information thrown around - and I - for one - would love to get to meet her for who she is before I make any decisions about her. The Truths We Hold: An American Journey seems to be a great way to jump into doing just that. 

nonfiction, must-read, Kindle reads, books, am reading, Calm the F*ck Down, Sarah Knight

I really like Sarah Knight. So far, You Do You is my favorite of her No F*cks Given Guides. That said, who doesn't want to read a book titled Calm the F*ck Down, am I right? Fine. Maybe you don't want to. But I do. And I think this is going to be a good one. It was released in December, but who had time to read in December, anyway? Not me. Want to join me in reading this one? Let me know. Maybe I'll send you an e-copy. I'm just THAT big of a fan.

nonfiction, must-read, Kindle reads, books, am reading, Abby Wambach, Wolfpack

The best way for me to describe why I plan on reading this book is to simply state that Wolfpack has been repeatedly showing up in my world in different ways. I can't even pinpoint why or where, I can just tell you that I plan on reading it because it seems to hold something that I currently need in my life. I regret not getting my hands on it sooner. But spring seems like the perfect time to grab a copy. Renewal. Growth. Expression. I plan to walk away from Wambach's book with all of those on my mind. 

So - thoughts? Which might you choose for your spring reading this year?

Care to share some suggestions of your own? Your favorite nonfiction must-reads?

Let me know! I look forward to hearing from you. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Life Takes Hold

life, motherhood, single woman, dating apps, writing, community, connection

Hello, friends.

I have not written in a while.

Quite possibly over a month. Maybe longer?

Life took hold of me and didn't let go.

I'm quite active on social media.

You know how that goes.

It's my norm.

Facebook is where I talk to all the people.

Twitter is where I talk about whatever crosses my feed.

And Instagram is the new home away from home.

And on all but Facebook I've experienced my own radio silence over the last month.


I honestly couldn't say.

Because life takes hold, I suppose.

I'm a writer.

I always have been.

I always will be.

I don't have to have my words on a page or screen or whatever other format there might be to say as much.

And yet.

I do.

Because I miss it. I miss writing and updating and sharing and so much more.

So much so that I'm here now. Asking you to invite me back into your space.

Or, well, really, truly, I've returned to my own and I'm asking you to accept my invitation to come back by, have a seat, join me for some coffee or tea - and no worries - I have something stronger if you choose. I'll even bake cookies. I may not eat any, I go through stages of avoidance of certain foods as I've learned more over the years, and even recent months that my body doesn't do well with them. Or without limitations of them.

But I ramble and I sound like the kind of person who can't make changes to my eating without announcing it to the world, right? But aren't we all that person? (Indeed.)

Life takes hold, y'all.

And when you're a single woman in her 40s (fine, late 40s) it's quite an interesting adventure when you choose to journey out into the world of dating apps. If you want to see more of what I've seen? Head to my Instagram stories and click the Still Single or Fishing4Dates highlights. And. Uh. Enjoy?

I'm also trying to read a bit more, and looking forward to getting back to discussing books with you, friends. Because there's no greater escape for me than a wonderfully written book.

But - alas - life takes hold.

And Game of Thrones took the place of alllll the books for a short bit.

And I was introduced to that show by a guy. A guy I met on a dating app.

See? Everything comes back around.

Anyway - I look forward to reconnecting with all of you. And seeing what you've been up to. And where you, too, have been "hiding" for a bit.

It's time for me to take hold of life for a change. And use my time as I so choose.

Join me?

Thursday, April 4, 2019

For The Single Parent: Children and Transitions

childhood, parenting, motherhood, fatherhood, coparenting, divorce, single mom, single parent, transitions, childhood transitions, grief, loss, change

When parents and child(ren) live together in one home they're a family unit.

Regardless of how the day plays out, the child(ren) knows that they will return home to that family unit - together - whether they go to work, school, travel, whatever they are out and about doing, that child will - at some point - be under the same roof with his / her parents. Two parents. Whatever the combination of parents that may be.

When couples divorce, it's a brand new world for them. And for their children.

Brand. New.

These kids, they're learning that what they trusted. What they expected. What they thought would last their entire lifetime and beyond? Is no longer there.

And boy, it hurts. It stings. It's freaking confusing. Painful. Head-shaking.

And so, when this child, this beautiful child of yours who you love with your entire heart, goes off to spend time with one parent instead of both, as they used to? It is perfectly normal for that child to feel torn. Like, almost literally, because the confusion and pain they feel, to them, a kid, small or big, is severe.

Maybe mom talks about dad to the child.

Maybe dad is rude to mom in front of the child.

Maybe it's the most amicable divorce known to (wo)mankind.

But these kids are experiencing the transition to beat all transitions.

And when we parent our children from two separate households? The transitions multiply.

I won't infer that they double, because that would lead one to believe that all co-parenting arrangements fall equally at 50-50. Which would be bullshit, as we know they do not.

But they multiply.

Think of when your kid had the most meltdowns as a toddler.


Think of how they struggled with the unknowns.


Think of how you soothed their fears whenever something startled them.


Now think of what their life is like. Packing a bag to go back and forth from one home to the other. Reminding themselves that this - THIS - wherever this is - is also their home now.

Backpacks. Schoolbags. Duffles. Suitcases. Stuffed animals. Electronics. Journals. Books.

And clothes. Oh, goodness, the clothes.

All new transitions. These things lived in one home, under one roof, for so very long. And now they, just like your child, travel between two.

If you are the primary parent, you may find that you receive the brunt of the frustration of transitioning. You probably find that you're never quite sure which version of your child will be returning home to you that particular day.

I'd like to say this will go away.

But I can't.

It does, to some extent, as our kids get used to the changes. As they find themselves more comfortable in two houses. As they make the other place "home," too.

But it doesn't disappear.

There will always be those days when they return home and give you so much attitude you don't know what to do with it.

You'll want to tell them to go to their room and stay there until they get through this shit.

You won't. Or you might. But try not to. Not right away.

Although, honestly? They're probably going to WANT to go to their room. And not process this shit, but just to hide for a bit, ease into returning home to you, their pets, their space. And maybe - depending on their age - they'll yell at you. Or maybe they'll cry. Or maybe they'll say "At Daddy's!!!!" or "At Mommy's!!!!" and fill in the sentence with what the other parent lets them do.

And you'll bite your tongue because Daddy or Mommy doesn't see what you do. They see a different version of the child. Or they do see it and want to make everything okay. Because their time is limited. It's changed. It's different.


When your child(ren) returns home to you from their other parent's home, it's so so different. And regardless of what point you're at in your separation, divorce, or co-parenting journey, you'll find that your child is emotional, probably exhausted, and really just needs you. Just - plain and simple - you. To listen, to not. To hug them, to not. To cook their favorite foods, to watch TV with them, to make them finish their homework and clean their room. And before you blink you'll be back on track on your own routine again.

Until the next time.

Because transitions. They're a part of life.

And as our kids (and we) experience them, we want to do all we can to make things easier. And smoother. And so, we try. And we may fail. But let us remember. We're doing the best that we can.