Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez Five Star Review

I recently read Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez and it was a total five star read! It will be one that’s added to the stack of Five Star Reads of 2022! This historical fiction based on true events will completely captivate you.

I selected this as one of my Book of the Month picks a few months ago. If you’re not familiar with Book of the Month, it’s a fantastic subscription service. I’ve been a member for five years with no plans to stop. Some of my all-time favorites like Pachinko, The Poisonwood Bible, and The People We Keep have been discovered through this service. You can click here and get your first box for only $5!

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Take My Hand

Take My Hand is one that will sit with you for a long time. Based on real events, this story takes place in Montgomery, Alabama. Civil Townsend is a young nurse who is determined to help her patients at the family planning clinic.

Two of her first patients are 11- and 13-year-old sisters that are being administered monthly birth control shots, despite not being sexually active. They are poor and Black, and for those in control of the family’s welfare benefits, that’s all that’s needed to justify mandatory shots.

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One day, Civil discovers something horrific and irreparable has happened to the girls. She vows then and there to advocate for these girls and their family. They take their case all the way to the Supreme Court.

I was in the trenches for this one. Civil internally debates many of the issues that are still debated today, in respect to birth control and abortion. It broke me to keep remembering that this was based on real events.

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It’s moving and emotional. It was absolutely an “I’m not stopping until it’s done” book. A one-day read. The narration is incredible. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend the audio file.

Check out my review on Instagram for more on this beautiful book!

You can purchase Take My Hand here.

You can also browse all of my favorite books in my Amazon Storefront.

Have you read Take My Hand? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

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The Bodyguard by Katherine Center Five Star Review

“Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.” That viral sound clip was the first thing that came to mind when I closed this precious gem of a book.

I read The Bodyguard on a plane ride back to Texas after spending a week in Colorado. Set on a Texas ranch, it was the perfect coming home novel.

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Hannah is an Executive Protection Agent (a bodyguard) and she’s been hired to protect the household-name celebrity Jack Stapleton. Oh yeah, and he’s also the sexiest man alive. Literally.

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The best way to protect “the principle” in this scenario? To act as his girlfriend. The more time they spend together, the harder it is to keep professional boundaries…

…and the harder it was for me to pace my reading because I couldn’t put this story down! It was a full sprint! I was sad when it ended because that meant I couldn’t keep living in this world with Hannah and Jack.

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Center’s books are auto-reads for me and this one is no exception. I absolutely loved it!

I loved it so much that I decided to create an embroidery of the cover art. It was extremely fun crossing my two passions of reading and embroidery.

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My fangirl level hit record highs when Center invited me to attend her Fort Worth tour stop at Monkey and Dog Books and I gifted her the embroidery. It was a bookworm’s absolute dream of a day!

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The Bodyguard is Center’s latest novel and it’s out now. This is a must-read and also one of my Five Romance Recommendations of 2022. Grab your copy here and thank me later!

Other favorite books by Katherine Center: How to Walk Away and What You Wish For

Have you read The Bodyguard? I’d love to hear from you! 

Leave me a comment below and let me know what you thought!

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This post contains affiliate links.

The Hotel Nantucket – Five Star Review and Cocktail Recipe

If you’re looking for the buzziest read of the summer, you’ve found it!

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It’s no secret how much I love Elin Hilderbrand novels. Take a look at my Instagram page and you’ll quickly realize how much I love her work.

I once met her while on a beach in St. John, USVI! I felt like I was living in an Elin Hilderbrand novel at that moment!

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I recently read her latest novel, The Hotel Nantucket, and it was a slam dunk! If this post doesn’t convince you to pick up your copy, know that it’s been at the top of the New York Times Best-Sellers list for hardcover fiction for weeks! If you need a sweet escape read, already know and love Hilderbrand’s work, or are actually packing your bags to head to the beach, this title needs to be on your list!

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Here’s the synopsis:

Fresh off a bad breakup with a longtime boyfriend, Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton is desperately seeking a second act. When she’s named the new general manager of the Hotel Nantucket, a once Gilded Age gem turned abandoned eyesore, she hopes that her local expertise and charismatic staff can win the favor of their new London billionaire owner, Xavier Darling, as well as that of Shelly Carpenter, the wildly popular Instagram tastemaker who can help put them back on the map. 

And while the Hotel Nantucket appears to be a blissful paradise, complete with a celebrity chef-run restaurant and an idyllic wellness center, there’s a lot of drama behind closed doors. The staff (and guests) have complicated pasts, and the hotel can’t seem to overcome the bad reputation it earned in 1922 when a tragic fire killed nineteen-year-old chambermaid Grace Hadley. With Grace gleefully haunting the halls, a staff harboring all kinds of secrets, and Lizbet’s own romantic uncertainty, is the Hotel Nantucket destined for success or doom?

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FIVE STAR REVIEW

I’m sure glad Elin wrote a guide to Nantucket at the back of this book because after reading The Hotel Nantucket, I just want to experience it all!

This book is filled with comfort, escape, and entertainment. I loved the passion and personalities of each character, but especially fell in love with Grace, the resident ghost.

There’s so much to love about Lizbet, Edie, Chad, Mario, Mrs. English, and Xavier. Hilderbrand crafted such a developed melody of characters. They worked together so well, not only to establish and run an immaculate hotel, but to bring the reader along for the ride. They’re an entertaining staff that I could have read so much more about!

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I had several theories throughout the book and enjoyed being both right and wrong!

If you’re a Hilderbrand fan, there’s no doubt that you’re going to love every second of this novel.

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You can purchase The Hotel Nantucket at the links here:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/a/55315/9780316258678

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3aB0Otz

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FIVE STAR COCKTAIL

This was a Five Star read, which means that I’m pairing it with a Five Star cocktail!

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Below are the steps to make the drink that has taken over my summer: The Strawberry Basil Margarita

A little sweet with the perfect grounding of basil, this drink is perfect for these long hot days! You can make it by the glass or scale it and make it by the pitcher. This is one that would be so easy to serve at a summer gathering like a book club!

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Ingredients:

3 oz. tequila

½. oz. agave

5-6 strawberries

2-3 sprigs of basil

Juice from half a lime

Sparkling or mineral water

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Steps:

  1. Pour tequila, agave, and lime juice into a blender
  2. Add strawberries and the basil sprigs
  3. Blend until you have a juice consistency
  4. Pour over ice
  5. Top with sparkling or mineral water
  6. Garnish with basil sprig
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This drink is TASTY! Plan ahead if you’re hosting, because your guests will be asking for more! 


Need to boost your cocktail game? Click here to check out my party and hosting essentials.

Interested in other Five Star Reads and Cocktails? Check them out HERE.

Please leave a comment and tell me what you thought of The Hotel Nantucket and The Strawberry Basil Margarita!

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This post contains affiliate links.
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