Thursday, August 9, 2018

Diversify Your Personal Library With These New Releases

YA, read, books, recommendations, goodreads, young adult, nonfiction, fiction, cultural reads, diverse books

Looking to branch out beyond your usual reads?

Want to find ways to tackle your shelves and incorporate authors you've never heard of before?

Want to diversify your personal library?

Let me recommend a few recent releases you can add to your to-read shelves.

Links throughout this post bring you directly to a place where you can purchase the eBooks and thank you for using them, I'll make a few pennies towards the next book I buy when you do!

Diversify Your Library Today

fiction, reading, YA, young adult, books, recommendations, goodreads, diverse books

Children of Blood and Bone has been on my to-read list for a bit, and maybe it's not exactly described as a new release at this point, especially since I think there is a book #2 coming out soon and well, who knows? Y'all know I don't really do any type of series reads, but I may have to make an exception and finally get a copy of this one. I was kinda sorta waiting for the paperback to come out, because I feel like I need a hard copy of this and - well - so many books - never enough money! But now that I took a look, hmmn. The hardback is barely a dollar more than the paperback will be. Maybe I have to buy this one tomorrow ...

Retta, nonfiction, reading, books, recommendations, goodreads, diverse books, memoir

Confession time. I have not watched Parks and Recreation. I have also not watched whatever the new show is that Retta is on where she is a thieving housewife or something like that. But I adore her, because I HAVE watched Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce. And she is so so very good in that show. And so, because of that? I'm reading this right now. And I'm encouraging you to do the same. She's adorable and hilarious, and real. And she has a handbag addiction. So we're practically twins. Except hers are Coach and Berkin and, well, all the kinds mine are not. But still. We could so totally be besties anyway. Plus? Look at this title, friends. So Close To Being The Sh*t, Y'all Don't Even Know, is there any better title out there right now? I'm thinking not.

fiction, reading, books, recommendations, goodreads, diverse books, short stories, Jamaican stories,

Although she has been writing for some time, Alexia Arthurs has published her first book in How To Love a Jamaican. Filled with page after page of short stories, Arthurs doesn't ask for commitment. You can easily read one story at a time. But I have a feeling you're not going to want to. That you're not going to be able to put it down. Just head over and click the "look inside" option. Start reading the sample story. Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands. That's enough to get you hooked. It's that good. She's that good. 

fiction, reading, books, recommendations, goodreads, diverse books, cultural awareness

I'll admit, all of the good things I've heard about There There didn't jump out at me as I made my way through the prologue. I honestly thought to myself something like - oh no, I'm not sure I'm ready for a history lesson. But I kept going. And I'm still going. I can't give you a full review just yet, but I do understand why the story of these "twelve unforgettable characters" has stuck with so many. Dive into Orange's debut novel with me, and join these powerful characters in their lives as they try to determine what it really means to be who they are. 

fiction, reading, YA, young adult, books, recommendations, goodreads, diverse books

You guys? I really loved this book. It's just so so good. I can't explain the magic of it, but I can tell you that you need to get your hands on a copy. Emily X.R. Pan is just an author I know I'll be watching from this point forward. The mystical aspects of the story captured my imagination, but at the same time the characters held so much power in how they connected, argued, even, and found their way through the days of this story, that I related to them in such interesting ways. The Astonishing Color of After, is a must read. I don't use the phrase trust me often, but for this one? I might toss it out there if you asked me if I was certain.

fiction, reading, books, recommendations, goodreads, diverse books, mystery, murder

Because I read The Astonishing Color of After, Rainbirds has shown up repeatedly in book recommendations for me on a number of sites. From Amazon to Goodreads. My eye, of course, was drawn immediately to the cover. It's stunning. Bright and beautiful. Eye-catching doesn't do enough to describe it. A story that pulls us into the mystery of a murder, the drama of a family and its relationships, and relocates us (unless, of course, you already live there!) to Japan - Goenawan's novel has received accolades across the board. This is absolutely the next book I'm going to purchase, even though I'm trying really hard to start with the books I already own. So that has to say something, right?

fiction, reading, books, recommendations, goodreads, diverse books

The cover of this book has been enough to catch my eye repeatedly. It's been on a number of lists I've seen over the last month or so, and so I keep thinking I have already purchased it, which, honestly, the book hoarder that I am? - I may have. But I'm not sure. But I know I want to. What I already love about Crystal Hana Kim's first novel, is that it is written from the perspective of more than one character. If you know me and my reading style, you'll already know I love those kinds of books. Being in the minds of more than one character is something that fascinates me - from a writing perspective - and as a reader. That alone makes If You Leave Me a books I can't wait to dive into.

So, there you have it - a few of my recommendations to help you wrap up the summer, or kick off the fall, or get you through the winter - depending on how quickly you read!

Looking for more suggestions? I have MANY.

Spring 2018: 8 Must Read New Releases

The Best Fiction Books of 2017

The Perfect Winter Reads

6 Books for Nonfiction November

And please consider joining me on Facebook in my I Like Big Books group, where I share my favorite reads, and ensure that I post any deals I find for fellow readers like me. Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Is There Anybody Out There?

Hello, dear friends.

Remember me?

Oh, how quickly they forget.

I'm Andrea.

Good Girl Gone Redneck.

I'm the blogger who you hear from now and again, the one - maybe - who you wonder about. You ask yourself, I wonder what books she's reading. I wonder if she's still on Whole30? Is she officially divorced yet?

Well, the answers to your questions will come!!!

I'm writing again.

I have to.

I miss it so much.

I hate that I ever stopped.

But I think that I needed to catch my breath.

I had been writing on and off throughout my separation from my husband and struggled with the emotions writing brought forth. I found it (and still find it) important to be open and honest with my friends. The rare few who subscribe to my site.

This is me.

I've been through a number of ringers over the past year and my hope is that I can find my way back to y'all in a way that makes me someone you enjoy reading. Someone you find you can relate to. And someone you find simply gets it. Gets you. Gets all the things, or at least offers you ways to help you get them for yourself.

And so, since I started this post a few days ago, I'm just gonna hit the ole publish button and say hey, okay? And if you're so inclined? Say hey back, wouldja? I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Lace up and Join Marathon Kids This Summer!

fitness, family workout, walking, emotional support, kid-friendly, exercise

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Marathon Kids.

My daughter and I are no strangers to walking around our neighborhood. Although lately she's more inclined to hop on her scooter while I walk behind, trying to catch up. I'd like to change that, and I'm hopeful that this summer could be the time that we do.

Evenings in North Carolina are often hot and sticky. And I know, it's kind of like that everywhere right now. But, some days you find the cooler temps taking hold and that that's the best time of the day to get out and MOVE.

I'm partnering with Marathon Kids this summer to help encourage moms and dads everywhere to engage our children in participating in their FREE Summer Walk and Talk Challenge.

This free challenge is a great way to not only get your kids moving, but to get them talking. And talking to YOU!

Monday, May 28, 2018


Some days it feels like we're all simply sinking.

Holding our heads above water is nearly impossible.

The rain falls at the same time.

Hail hits the top of our heads.

We reach out, and there's nobody there.

We fall under.



The water covers us.

We open our eyes and look around.

We look above us.

We belong up there.

And so we break through the surface.

And we look around.

But some days.

Above the surface.

We take a deep breath.

And dive back down.

Because some days ...

Fighting doesn't feel worth it.

Some days ...

We lack the energy.

We want the water to carry us.

To wherever we're going next.

To whatever comes our way.

To whatever we can't see in front of us.

Not down, necessarily.


But not up, either.

Up is too damned hard some days.

We feel like we need to float.

We know we can only do that on the surface.

And so, we need to decide.

What to do next?

Because some days ...

We feel like we're sinking.

And we're just too tired to swim.

** I feel as though I need to include a disclaimer here. I wrote this a few days ago. I had made it through a rough day, and I'd seen many friends going through the same. Our political climate is a hotbed of disasters, and our friends and loved ones often fight the unexpected, and it's exhausting. So. Please know I am okay. And many of my loved ones are okay, as well. But some days. We all feel it. This hold. The pulling of the water that surrounds us. And it sucks. But we find our way. But we also know that some days, well, we just want to try to float, sink a bit, sink a bit further, and then, then we decide to swim again. Maybe not that same day. Maybe not the next. But we keep swimming. Or we grab hold of someone who is. Or a floatation device that will hold us up. Because we're worth it. Each of us. Always. ** 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Cantina 18 Raleigh

Cameron Village, a wonderful shopping center in Raleigh, NC is the perfect place for Cantina 18. And these beautiful summery nights are the perfect time to head over there and try out their delicious Southwestern fare with, as they describe it, a Southern drawl.

I had the opportunity to attend a hosted event there about a month ago and since I'm so delayed on all the things I haven't had the chance to get a detailed post up until - well - now.

We had an opportunity to try out some of the items on the Cantina 18 catering menu, and everything was delicious. The setting of the Cantina 18 restaurant is really perfect. I loved being upstairs with the wide open windows and view of the sky over across the parking lot. Sounds weird, I know, but it was a really pretty night. Now, before you ask what I was drinking in order to think the parking lot looked pretty - remember I said the SKY - and that I started off the evening with a refreshing beverage and switched to water soon after. But, looking for a place to say cheers with your friends? This is it.

Now, listen, I have no idea what sort of magic was in the queso, I only wish I'd discovered it sooner. I dove right in, even after enjoying their buffet of fajita deliciousness. I'd pretty much marry the queso if that was an option. In fact, I really wish I had some right now.

Oooh, this queso and the nachos from either Maverick's Smokehouse and Tap Room or Top Of The Hill - sigh, now I really want ALLLLL the nachos.

Anyway, the queso was incredible. All of the food was. I shared a few pics on Instagram to show y'all just how happy it made me. Each and every bite.

Oh - let me not forget that I really need to thank my girl Kate of Life of a Ginger for getting me out of the house! We went to enjoy this meal together and had, as always, a fantastic time.

A huge thanks to the team at Cantina 18 in Raleigh for hosting us. The food was incredible and I definitely plan on coming back - especially for more of that queso!