Demon Copperhead Five Star Cocktail

Where do I even start? I’m not even sure…I guess I’ll start with my deep love for Barbara Kingsolver’s writing. She wrote one of my all-time favorite books, The Poisonwood Bible. I’ve read it multiple times and if you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably seen it pop up in recommendation stacks!

When I found out about Demon Copperhead, I could hardly contain my excitement. If you’ve never read Barbara’s writing (Barbara, because obviously I’m deeply and personally connected to her and we’re on a first name basis), it’s work that will swoop you up and place you within the mindset of the characters, as if you’re one in the same. She has such a unique ability to write with such a balance of raw clarity and beauty.

Demon Copperhead was the deep dive read I needed this year. I equate it with “the greats” of my reading history: 11/22/63, Betty, Pachinko, Shadows of Pecan Hollow, and, of course, The Poisonwood Bible. It’s a heavy-hitter and one you’ll sink down into.

The style of writing slowed me down more than I was expecting, as most of the dialogue between characters is being recalled to you by Demon. Most of the conversations are within the paragraphs, so there’s no skimming this one. All the better, honestly, it forced me to slow down and soak it all in.

It was perfect and painful and tender and honest. I just loved it all.

To celebrate my admiration of this book, I’ve paired it with one of my most-loved cold weather drinks, Austin’s Old Fashioned.

A few years ago, we discovered a speakeasy bar in downtown Fort Worth and started frequenting the establishment because of its calm atmosphere and absolutely phenomenal drinks. Our favorite was The Old Fashioned. The perfect balance between whiskey, bitters, and syrup. An Old Fashioned that’s too heavy on the bitters is… garbage.

Austin set on a mission to replicate this drink at home! After many attempts, he finally found the ratios he was looking for. It’s my favorite choice to cozy up with on a cold night!

Other Five Star Cocktail Recipes can be found here:

The Strawberry Basil Margarita

The Slow Burn

Other Five Star Recommendations can be found here:

Five Books To Read This Fall

Five Summer Romance Reads

Austin’s Old Fashioned

You’ll need:

  • 2 oz  Kentucky Straight Bourbon (we often use Buffalo Trace or Old Forester)
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • 3 drops of Angostura bitters
  • Orange peel
  • Luxardo cherry + 1/2 tsp syrup

Directions:

  1. Pour the bourbon, simple syrup, and three drops of bitters into a glass and stir for at least 30 seconds. You want it to be smooooooooth.
  2. Rim the inside of the glass with the inside of the orange peel.
  3. Squeeze the orange peel inside of the glass, releasing the oils into the drink. 
  4. Twist the orange peel and drop it in!
  5. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry + 1 tsp cherry syrup

The Old Fashioned is traditionally served at room temperature, which is why you want to use a quality bourbon. If you prefer yours chilled, add 1-2 ice cubes after preparing the drink.

I hope you love Demon Copperhead as much as I did! It was also Oprah’s Book Club pick for November!

Read it, make a drink, and send me a cheers! I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of the above!

This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my work!

Atomic Habits Five Star Review and Cocktail

Atomic Habits by James Clear is the first book I’ve ever read twice in the same year! 

I first read this book in February and it was like fireworks going off in my brain. There were logical pieces of advice and applicable examples on every page. I was just in awe of the breakdown of thinking about your goals and working to accomplish them. 

You can follow along with all the books I read on my Instagram, Facebook, and Goodreads pages!

The idea is to become 1% better at something each day. 1% doesn’t sound particularly noteworthy, but this small, incremental progress is compounding. It will continue to build until you have no choice but to acknowledge that you have, in fact, grown at a skill or habit.

You don’t have to go for the all or nothing approach! This was an instrumental read for me, as I charted out goals for this year.

I read it again in September *WITH MY HUSBAND* – big deal! He’s not a reader. Podcasts? Loves them. Online articles? All about it.

Until this moment he had absolutely no interest in books – physical or audio. 

Well…

I had wanted to listen to the book again, just to refresh my mind on these ideas and keep a clear process. I couldn’t help but notice the audiobook length was about the same time it takes to drive to Abilene, TX (his hometown) and back. We took a weekend trip and *gasp* he was open to the idea of listening to the book together in the car.

He was enthralled! I could tell because, while he usually has a heavy foot, he slowed down the drive. 

The conversations that followed were great! We set some goals to work on together and some personal goals we’re taking on.

All of that to say, if you haven’t read this book yet, buy it now! I’m typically not a big fan of self-help books, but I highly recommend this one.

It would be the perfect book to read around the time you’re setting goals for the new year. I like to start brainstorming goals in November and December, so I can hit the ground running in January!

This celebratory book deserves a celebratory moment, so I chose to pair it with the classic French 75!

It’s sparkly and strong and clean and fresh – just like Atomic Habits!

Other Five Star Cocktail Recipes can be found here:

The Strawberry Basil Margarita

The Slow Burn

Other Five Star Recommendations can be found here:

Five Books To Read This Fall

Five Summer Romance Reads

The Classic French 75

You’re going to need a cocktail shaker and champagne flutes for this recipe. You can check out bar tools and other party essentials at my Amazon Storefront!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 oz chilled dry champagne
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Directions:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice
  2. Shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds. You want these ingredients evenly blended!
  3. Strain into a champagne flute
  4. Top with prosecco
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist and enjoy!

This boozy take on the traditional champagne toast is the perfect pairing for celebrating the new year and setting new goals. 

Read it, make a drink, and send me a cheers! I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of the above!

This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my work!

I’m Glad My Mom Died Five Star Cocktail Recipe

I recently read I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy and it was a grand slam five-star read! It will be one that’s added to the stack of Five Star Reads of 2022!

I read this memoir in August, along with 12 others. You can check out this post to see the ratings on the other books I read and connect with me on Goodreads to stay up to date on what I’m reading!

A title like this took me by surprise! As a self-proclaimed “Nickelodeon kid,” I was first excited to hear Jennette had a memoir about her years as a childhood actor. The excitement quickly drained when I realized it wasn’t good.

Then, my need to read it really hit. Like, what was going on in your life?! You seemed so happy and fun to young me. Goes to show that just because it looks beautiful and glossy doesn’t mean it is.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

The audio narration is a must for this book, although I immediately bought a physical copy because I just needed it. I know you’ll understand. Especially with the babysitters club vibe like this, a must.

Jennette narrated her own book and my earbuds were glued to my head. I couldn’t take in her story fast enough. It was shocking and sad and infuriating- and, I hope, cathartic that she finally chose to share.

A must read for any millennial who grew up watching Nickelodeon, fans of memoirs, and those interested in learning more about the dark sides of Hollywood and acting.

Check out my review on Instagram for more!

You can purchase I’m Glad My Mom Died on Amazon, Bookshop.org, and Libro.fm!

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

It took me a while to identify a cocktail that accurately suited this dynamic memoir. I finally settled on The Slow Burn. This is a recreation of one of my favorite drinks from a new bar here in Fort Worth, Birdie’s Social Club.

It’s sweet and full, but packs a spicy punch. It satiates the need for a strong drink and compliments both happy times and melancholy ones. Perfectly made for the complexities of this book.

Did you think I could get that deep on a margarita recipe?!

THE SLOW BURN

You’ll need:

  • 1 part tequila
  • 2 parts pineapple juice
  • 1/2 part ginger juice
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 part agave
  • Jalapeno slices
  • Pineapple slice
  • Tajin

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Rim glass with pineapple juice, followed by tajin and fill with ice
  2. Shake pineapple juice, jalapeno slices, ginger juice, lime juice, tequila, and agave in ice and strain into glass
  3. Garnish with pineapple and jalapenos as desired! I like to press a pineapple slice into tajin for added flair!

Tip: You’re going to want more than one of these and they make fantastic drinks when hosting, so prepare the pineapple juice + jalapenos ahead of time! Use a large mason jar and fill with pineapple juice and jalapeno slices. Pour from this when preparing cocktails. The jalapenos will spice up the juice and you won’t be stuck cutting up jalapenos every time you want this drink!

Have you read I’m Glad My Mom Died? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

I’d love to know if you make The Slow Burn!

Five Books You Need to Read This Fall

Cozy vibes are setting in and that means it’s time to get your fall books lined up. It can be so overwhelming to sift through a sea of choices and know which books to prioritize. To be fair, there are some amazing books on the shelves and, of course, more being added each week!

Leave it to me, your friendly bookworm, to give you a list of “bangers only,” as my husband often labels the good stuff. I’ve lined up five books to read this fall that are guaranteed to keep your attention and maybe even give you some feels. 

All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

This pulsing thriller is written by the host of Crime Junkie Podcast. A journalist uncovers her hometown’s dark secrets when she becomes obsessed with the unsolved murder of her childhood neighbor—and the disappearance of another girl twenty years later. This was a binge-read, or rather, listen. If you’re looking for an eerie story that will keep you guessing until the end, this one’s for you!

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Bookshop.org

Buy it on Libro.fm

I’m Glad My Mom Died By Jennette McCurdy

As a self-proclaimed “Nickelodeon kid,” I was first excited to hear Jennette had a memoir about her years as a childhood actor. The excitement quickly drained when I realized it wasn’t good. Jennette narrated her own book and my earbuds were glued to my head. I couldn’t take in her story fast enough. It was shocking and sad and infuriating- and, I hope, cathartic that she finally chose to share. A must read for any millennial who grew up watching Nickelodeon, fans of memoirs, and those interested in learning more about the dark sides of Hollywood and acting.

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Bookshop.org

Buy it on Libro.fm

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

This historical fiction is one that will sit with you for a long time. Based on real events, this story takes place in Montgomery, Alabama in the 1970s. Civil Townsend is a young nurse who is determined to help her patients at the family planning clinic. One day, Civil discovers something horrific and irreparable has happened to her two young patients. She vows then and there to advocate for these girls and their family. They take their case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Bookshop.org

Buy it on Libro.fm

The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon

This creepy, compulsive read will have you wrapped up until literally the last page! I binge-read it in a day! Dual time lines and multiple perspectives keeps you entranced in this Frankenstein-inspired thriller. It starts in 1978, Violet and Eric grow up with their grandmother, an acclaimed doctor for her therapy work with the mentally ill. They are bright, diligent kids with a fascination for monsters. One day, their grandmother brings home a girl named Iris. She explains Iris is a part of the family and to take her in and care for her as she adjusts. They love Iris, but it isn’t long before the children believe something is different about her.

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Bookshop.org

Buy it on Libro.fm

The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle

This suspenseful thriller is told from multiple perspectives and dual timelines. It centers on Alex, an influencer with one million followers. Overnight, her life turns upside down when a controversial post is shared on her Instagram page. This begins a series of attacks on Alex and her family for reasons that are unclear. The main suspect? Her personal assistant who has gone missing. I loved this story! Put this one on your TBR now, because it publishes on 11/29/22!

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Bookshop.org

Buy it on Libro.fm

Want more great book recommendations? 

Check out my other reviews and book content here!

Follow me on Instagram, Tiktok, and Facebook to stay up to date on what you should read next!

Would you add any must-reads to this list?! Leave me a comment and let me know!

This post contains affiliate links.

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!

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.

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.

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!

Close Me
Looking for Something?
Search:
Post Categories: