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Full Pour Review: Friday Forward

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I truly love me some good personal development, non-fiction reads and Friday Forward by Robert Glazer was no exception! I flew through this book in about 8 hours and found it to be really motivating, inspiring and simply just a “feel good” read. Personally, I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately and this book honestly came at the perfect time to help me gain momentum back.

DESCRIPTION: Global business leader and national bestselling author, Robert Glazer, believes we all have a responsibility to each other: to give one another the inspiration and support we need to be our best. What started as a weekly note known as Friday Forward to his team of forty has turned into a global movement reaching over 200,000 leaders across sixty countries and continually forwarded to friends and family.

In Friday Forward, Robert shares fifty-two of his favorite stories with real life examples that will motivate you to grow and push you to be your best self. He encourages you to use this book as part of a positive and intentional Friday morning routine to get the weekend started on a forward-looking note that will carry you through the week. At once uplifting and deeply thought-provoking, these stories will challenge you to propel yourself outside your comfort zone to unlock your innate potential. By making small, intentional changes, you have the power to create lasting impact, not only in your own life, but also to inspire those around you to do the same.

I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of stories that Robert Glazer shared in his book and learned a lot of valuable things from them to not only help me improve myself but to also become a better person for others. I had never heard of Robert Glazer or his Friday Forward e-mail subscription before, so immediately upon completing the book I signed up to receive his weekly email. I can’t wait to share these stories and emails with my team and see how these stories will challenge and motivate them in their careers and/or personal lives 🤗 while I read this book straight through, this book is really intended to be referenced on a weekly basis and there are even some journaling prompts spread throughout the book to help you really focus on the material and how it can be helpful to you.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the focus on developing a good morning routine and how it can increase your productivity, improve your mood and overall happiness, increase positive thoughts and ultimately set you up for success to have a great day full of accomplishment. Developing a good morning routine is something that I absolutely want to establish in my own personal life and I look forward to seeing how this will affect various areas of my life.

If you’re looking for a motivating, feel-good personal development book that will help get you out of a rut, I highly recommend checking out Friday Forward by Robert Glazer, releasing on September 1st! Thank you so much to NetGalley and SourceBooks for gifting me this eARC in exchange for my honest review! 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Friday Forward by Robert Glazer is best paired with Bmore Hazy by Oliver Brewing Company. This delicious hazy double IPA is brewed with flaked wheat, flaked oats and is dry hopped with Mosaic and Citra, resulting in a wonderful tropical fruit flavor and aroma 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Girl With The Louding Voice

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

WOW. This one left me speechless. I finished The Girl With The Louding Voice days ago and I can’t stop thinking about it, having delayed my review trying to figure out exactly how to put into words how much I loved this powerhouse of a book. This book is another one that has been on my TBR list for a while that I wish I didn’t take so long to get to. Abi Dare is an incredible storyteller and had me on an emotional roller coaster throughout this debut novel- needless to say, I was HOOKED on this book from the very beginning.

The Girl With The Louding Voice is about a 14 year old girl named Adunni growing up in a rural Nigerian village whose dream is to get a good education so that she can develop a “louding voice” to stand up for herself and others. After her mother passing away and having escaped an unwanted arranged marriage by her father, she finds herself traveling to Lagos and ending up working as a housemaid to a sadistic businesswoman and her terrible husband. Despite the seemingly never ending obstacles thrown her way, and with the help of a few unlikely allies that have crossed her path, Adunni sets out to overcome the cultural confines of Africa’s toxic patriarchy and discover her louding voice.

I fell in love with Adunni’s character hard. At only 14 years old, she is an incredibly strong force to reckon with and I found it impossible to not be completely inspired and endeared by her spirit, strength, bravery, perseverance and determination. Despite all of the obstacles thrown her way, she continues to hold her head high and go after her dream of getting an education and building a better life for herself and the females that will come after her. She is truly the most perfect, unforgettable female protagonist and hands down one of my new all-time favorite literary characters. I finished the book needing to know what happened to her and how her future carries out- anyone else rooting for a sequel?! 🙋🏻‍♀️

If you haven’t read this book yet, I encourage you to place it at the top of your TBR list ASAP. This is one of the most powerful, heartbreaking, infuriating, triumphant and inspiring books that I’ve ever read and it will stick with me for a very long time 🙌🏻


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Dare is best paired with Bourbon Paradise by Prairie Artisan Ales. This smooth and delicious imperial stout is aged in bourbon barrels and conditioned on both coconut and vanilla 🍻

Full Pour Review: Hood Feminism

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Holy shit… this is one of the best books on feminism and social injustices I’ve read this year and I can’t tell you enough how important it is that we all read this, especially for women who are open to learning how to become more inclusive feminists and better allies. This book definitely hit hard for me, and there are so many things in here that I wish didn’t even have to be written about in the first place.

Hood Feminism is a collection of essays that explore the many ways that the mainstream feminist movement has failed to address the needs of all women, and instead, focuses on increasing the privilege of a few (A.K.A. white women). Mainstream feminists do not address, nor prioritize, basic needs for all women such as having access to quality education, medical care, food, living wages and safe neighborhoods due to the simple fact that they’re portrayed as race or class issues instead of feminist issues. Instead, we tend to solely focus on the issues that directly impact white women so that we may pave the way for other types of women to potentially live better lives (eventually). Mikki Kendall touches on topics such as poverty, politics, eating disorders, gun violence, hunger, sexual harassment, education, housing, reproductive justice and much more.

I want to share a few quotes from this book that stood out to me:

“Main stream, white-centered feminism hasn’t just failed women of color, it has failed white women. It’s not making them any safer, any more powerful, or even any wiser. It supports the goals of white supremacy so often and so uncritically that 53% of white women voted not just for the idea of a president who has a legacy of disrespecting and abusing women, but for the system that supports him. Conditions aren’t getting better for white women; in fact these patterns reflect a return to a paradigm where the only difference is that their cage is gilded, while others are entrapped in less decorative confines.”

Mikki Kendall, Hood Feminism

“It isn’t just Kavanaugh or the other judges like him—the ones with a history that clouds their ability to render anything like justice—that’s the problem. It isn’t just the mothers willing to render their daughters as disposable to protect the sons of the privileged. It is all the ways that the problem is either ignored or poorly addressed until it is a public crisis because white women often choose race over gender based on fear stoked by bigotry. It’s the harm that this fearful mind-set can do across communities. Fear of Black people. Fear of immigrants. Fear of the Other. It’s an endless cycle that hinges on the willingness of white women to ignore their own power to effect positive change.”

Mikki Kendall, Hood Feminism

“Too often white women decide that when they feel uncomfortable, upset, or threatened, they can turn to the patriarchy for protection. Because they don’t want to lose that protection (dubious as it is), they stand by it when it’s convenient, and challenge it only when it directly threatens them. Yet, they know they benefit from it being challenged, and thus rely on others to do the heaviest lifting. They fail to recognize that the conflicted relationship they have with the patriarchy includes a certain cowardice around challenging not only it, but other women who have embraced it.”

Mikki Kendall, Hood Feminism

“Feminism that comes from a place of fear, that prioritizes not being afraid of not being uncomfortable over being effective, is dangerous. It allows no room for considering the impact of some “feminist” choices that include increasing surveillance or inviting the state into spaces in ways that render those spaces fundamentally unsafe for some. The fear of alienating other white women by refusing to challenge them or deny them support as a consequence for their racism is fundamentally damaging to any concept of feminism as a place that can create safety for all.”

– Mikki Kendall, Hood Feminism

You guys. Please just fucking read this book. Thank you 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall is best paired with Grapefruit by Downeast Cider House. This deliciously sweet cider is infused with fresh grapefruit, producing an approachable grapefruit flavor that isn’t too tart 🍻

Full Pour Review: Want

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I’m going to be completely honest. Want by Lynn Steger Strong was one of my most anticipated books for this year. Not only is the cover art absolutely gorgeous, but the book description and reviews that I read on Amazon back in March had me completely sold on the book and I preordered it several months in advance. I read this book within a day, and while it was a quick read, I felt that the storyline fell flat and was overall disappointed that it did not live up to my expectations.

Years after arriving in New York to build a new life, Elizabeth has found herself with a PhD, two children, a husband, two jobs and in the process of filing for bankruptcy. While trying to balance her dreams and the impossibility of ever achieving them, her home and work life are on the verge of collapsing and the only way to help quiet her thoughts from all the noise is by waking up at ungodly hours of the morning to run miles by the river. After being estranged from her long-lost childhood friend for years, she finally re-connects with Sasha as she is experiencing a crisis of her own, opening up the possibility for them to come back into one another’s lives.

While reading the book, I was disappointed to see that the story essentially just covers a day in the life of Elizabeth and her husband over the course of a short period of time while they go through the process of filing for bankruptcy. By the end of the story, I felt like I didn’t get to know Elizabeth’s character and her dreams/desires as deeply as I would’ve liked to, despite how complex her character was. I also would have loved to know more about what was happening with her and her husband after filing for bankruptcy and reclaiming their lives, as well as how they even got into their financial predicament in the first place. When it came to the friendship between Elizabeth and Sasha, I was happy that they seemingly rekindled their relationship toward the end of the story, but it’s a very quick rekindling that still left me with some questions. It wasn’t what I was expecting since the book description made it sound like the rekindling of this friendship was more of a major plot in the story.

In this story, Lynn Steger Strong explores a lot of different themes such as economic fragility, the apparent safeguard of middle-class jobs and Ivy League education, and the broken American dream, but again, seemingly not as deeply as I was expecting. I finished the book feeling like there was still so much potential to strengthen or deepen the story and these various themes, and that the story simply fell flat.

If you’ve read Want by Lynn Steger Strong, or have it on your TBR list, please reach out to me because I would love to discuss this further and hear your thoughts!


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Want by Lynn Steger Strong is best paired with Cush by Cushwa Brewing Company. This crushable hazy IPA is fruity, piney and lightly jammy in flavor with a bready malt backbone to balance it out 🍻

Full Pour Review: Black Sunday

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Fuck. This one took me on a roller coaster ride. Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham is not a book that I have seen much on Bookstagram and it deserves SO MUCH attention.

In 1996, twin sisters Ariyike and Bibike are enjoying a comfortable life in Lagos until their mother suddenly loses her job and in the midst of facing poverty, their family becomes drawn to a new church with an enthralling pastor who worships earthly wealth and possessions. Shortly after joining this church and befriending the pastor, the girls’ father wagers their family home on a bet and loses the home. As their parents marriage collapses, the girls and their two younger brothers are forced to live with their grandmother. Once inseparable, Ariyike and Bibike are now forced to diverge down separate paths of self discovery and independence.

Tola Rotimi Abraham is a truly incredible writer and story teller. The story line and character plots throughout this book provoked a lot of intense emotions, making it incredibly hard to put down. My heart ached for what Ariyike, Bibike and the rest of their family experienced and how it altered the courses of their lives. I loved the way she explored various themes like social and political strife, poverty, violence, religion, the nature of regret, and the power of redemption and self-reliance. It is incredibly hard to believe that this is Tola Rotimi Abraham’s debut novel and I look forward to the possibility of reading more books by her in the future.

I feel like my words can’t do this book justice. If you’re looking for a quick, captivating and addictive read that’s packed with a lot of intense themes, or are a fan of the storyline and writing style by Chelsea Bieker in Godshot, I highly recommend checking this one out!


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham is best paired with Fresh J’s by RAR Brewing. This delicious, juicy triple IPA is triple dry hopped with calypso, moteuka and zyrhos hops, resulting in a smooth and hoppy tropical flavor🍻

Full Pour Review: Ties That Tether

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo is a beautiful, emotional and thought-provoking rom-com that touches on topics such as immigration, Nigerian culture, love, family, balancing multiple cultural identities, and the importance of putting your needs first by living a life that feels true to you.

At 12 years old, Azere’s father passes away and her last words to him include a promise that she will marry a Nigerian man and help preserve her family’s culture- even after they’ve moved to Toronto. To help hold Azere accountable to this promise, her mother is insistent on constantly setting her daughter up with eligible Nigerian men- men that Azere wants nothing to do with. After another one of these dates going horribly wrong, Azere finds herself in a hotel bar enjoying the company of an incredibly attractive white man named Rafael Castellano. Rafael is in town from NY for a job interview and just as quickly as they hit it off, their encounter turns in to a one night stand. A few weeks go by and as fate would have it, Rafael ends up getting hired at Xander, the company that Azere works at. What started out as a one night stand begins to develop into something much more serious and complicated, and Azere is torn between the need to please her mother’s wishes by marrying a Nigerian man and her growing feelings for Rafael. When her fears begin to get the best of her, she worries that being Rafael will somehow make her less of a Nigerian and compromise her identity. Is it possible for Azere to betray the promise she made to her father long ago and give in to the happiness that Rafael provides her? Or will she continue to remain complacent in living the unsatisfying life her mom has planned for her?

This book was a really quick read (I finished it in one day) and I loved the depth of various thought provoking topics that are touched on throughout this book. I was very intrigued by things I learned about Nigerian culture in this story and really loved the fact that Jane Igharo unintentionally implemented personal aspects of her life into this book. In the acknowledgments, she mentions that she unconsciously wrote her family into this book and her statement made my heart swell:

Christina is my hilarious sister, Precious. Jacob is my kind brother, Divine. Chapter forty-three- the shortest chapter and dearest to my heart- is dedicated to my father, Fred. He died before I knew him, yet he found a place in this book somehow.

Jane Igharo, Ties That Tether

I also empathized with Azere’s character so much and was heartbroken over the emotional back and forth she was going through in regards to respecting her Nigerian culture and her growing feelings for Rafael- her struggle felt incredibly authentic and gave me all the feels.

There are a few things that I would have loved to see more of that could have made this story even stronger. First, I wish that there were more details about the relationship development between Azere and Rafael. I felt like I wasn’t completely convinced that Azere and Rafael were perfect for one another simply because I didn’t have enough of a view into their relationship and felt that there wasn’t enough strong chemistry between them felt like it was hard to truly fall in love with them as a couple. I also would have loved more of a backstory for Azere’s parents so that I could learn even more about their backgrounds and culture. I feel that if the book was written from multiple POV’s, I could’ve learned about and loved the characters so much more.

Overall, Ties That Tether was a really enjoyable debut novel and I look forward to reading more by Jane Igharo in the future! One of my favorite lines from the story that sums up this book well is “let go of the life you’ve planned and accept the life waiting for you….” Thank you so much to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for gifting me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo is best paired with Fancy Papers by Cigar City Brewing. Fancy Papers is an enjoyable fruit-forward Hazy IPA brewed with Strata, Sabro and Idaho 7 hops 🍻

Full Pour Review: Atomic Habits

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I am a huge fan of non-fiction and personal development books, so naturally I was super attracted to Atomic Habits by James Clear after seeing so many people recommend it. I found this book to be incredibly interesting and was able to take away a lot of useful tips and tricks to help me better achieve my goals by making small changes to alter my habits.

Atomic Habits by James Clear is a really powerful and informative guide on how we can make tiny changes to change our habits and produce remarkable results that will help change our lives. According to Clear, when we struggle with changing our habits, the issue isn’t us- it’s our system for change that is keeping us from rising to the level of our goals. In this book, Clear is able to break down the complex process of changing our system into digestible pieces that are easy to apply to your daily life and routine.

The best part about this book is that no matter what your goals are, it offers a proven framework that will help you improve daily and achieve more by focusing on less. Atomic Habits will help teach you how to make time for creating new habits and destroying bad ones, overcome a lack of willpower or motivation, tailor your environment to help make achieving success that much easier, get back on track when you steer off course, and much more.

If you’re looking for a good personal development book that will leave a lasting impression on you and that you will want to reference over and over again, I highly recommend checking out Atomic Habits!


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Atomic Habits by James Clear is best paired with Glen Cocoa by Black Flag Brewing Company. This highly enjoyable chocolate milk stout is brewed with oats, milk sugar and milk chocolate, producing a deliciously subtle rounded chocolate flavor 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Grace Year

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Due to the rave reviews and recommendations by my girl @kelseyandherbooks, The Grace Year by Kim Liggett has been on my TBR list for a few months now. With the launch of Kelsey and Emma’s book club #EmmaAndKelseyMadeMeDoIt and in honor of their first book selection for July being The Grace Year, there was no better time for me to finally dive into this highly anticipated and incredibly hyped up read 🤗

The Grace Year is set in Garner County, where its residents believe that when girls approach the age of 16, their skin releases a powerful aphrodisiac that lures men from their beds and drives other women crazy with jealousy. For their sixteenth year, they are banished from the county for an entire year (known as the grace year) where they are expected to rid themselves of their powers so that they may return home purified and ready to begin their lives as docile married women. During the grace year, not only are these young girls made to believe that they must suffer, but also that many of them will not make it out alive. As Tierney James enters into her grace year, she dreams of a better life for the girls of Garner County- a life of freedom where they are able to decide their fates, where men don’t control their bodies, where women can befriend one another… and a life without the grace year. Shortly after arriving at the encampment, it doesn’t take long for Tierney to learn that the biggest threat to their safety are not the the brutal elements, the ghosts of prior grace year girls seeking revenge, or even the poachers patiently waiting outside the encampment for the opportunity to skin and gut the grace year girls alive, bottling and selling the essence of their youth in order to feed and take care of their families. It becomes incredibly clear that the greatest threat of all is each other.

The cruelty and horrific acts that these girls succumbed one another to during the grace year was horrible and heart wrenching to read about. However, the book overall is powerful in the way it portrays the beauty in finding your voice, speaking your truth, resisting the patriarchy and being brave enough to pave a new way for future generations. Tierney James is an incredibly strong protagonist who is fiercely brave and risks her life many times during the grace year, as well as public execution once she is home, in order to help lead the changes that are needed to help the girls and women of Garner County have a better life.

I think what makes this book, as well as The Handmaid’s Tale, so intriguing to me is the terrifying idea that dystopian worlds like this could exist. It’s hard to ignore how much these books speak to the time that we are living in. The systemic silencing of women through out this book is absolutely heart wrenching.

While I absolutely enjoyed this story and felt the strength of the underlying messages within it, I didn’t fall in love with it. Maybe it’s because I haven’t read a YA novel in so long, but I felt that the plot fell a little flat for me, especially in comparison to The Handmaid’s Tale, which is obviously not YA. The beginning of the story started off strong, the middle dragged on a bit, and then while the ending picked up and was satisfactory, it felt like it wrapped up a little faster than I wanted and could’ve offered a little more closure. There were also some characters and themes that I wished were more developed throughout the story. At the same time though, this book was still a page turner and I kept wanting to know what was happening next. A lot of people compare this book as a cross between The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale and while I may be one of the rare bookstagrammers on here who have not yet read The Hunger Games, I definitely felt a lot of Mean Girls vibes with Kiersten’s character being Regina George. That being said, this book still receives a solid 4 out of 5 stars from me. Kim Liggett is a beautiful writer and wonderful storyteller and this book left me intrigued to read more of her stories.

If you are a fan of The Hunger Games, Mean Girls and The Handmaid’s Tale, this is definitely a book that you should read! Also, if you have already read it, don’t forget to participate in the book discussion with #EmmaAndKelseyMadeMeDoIt on July 27th at 7pm MST on Instagram! 🤗 For more details, visit Instagram and view the profiles of @emmasfavoritebooks and @kelseyandherbooks.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett is best paired with Death by Affogato by Oskar Blues Brewery. This delicious coffee porter is brewed with lactose, cacao, vanilla and espresso beans 🍻

Full Pour Review: Vagina Problems

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Wow. This book gave me ALL the feels. Vagina Problems by Lara Parker is such an important and timely book about what life is like living with chronic pain as a result of endometriosis, pelvic floor dysfunction, vulvar vestibulitis, vaginismus, and vulvodynia combined. Candid, raw and real, Vagina Problems starts the much needed conversation about various taboo female topics that can no longer be ignored.

Lara Parker is the Deputy Editorial Director for Buzzfeed and back in 2014, she wrote an article where she openly discussed her vagina problems in detail for the first time, even letting everyone know that she wasn’t having sex due to how excruciating painful it was to her. Less than a year before she published this article, she was finally diagnosed with her vagina problems after five years of searching for answers, trying every method under the sun to relieve her pain, and getting opinions from multiple doctors who wouldn’t take her concerns and pain seriously. These debilitating conditions have wreaked havoc on Parker’s life since she was 14 years old. Vagina Problems is a detailed account of her journey fighting back against a medical community that is not only biased against women, but still knows next to nothing about endometriosis and any other vaginal disorders that women face.

I applaud Lara for using her platform to be so open and vulnerable about the topic of vagina problems and share all of the painful depths of her experience in such great detail. As a reader, it is excruciatingly hard to not take her pain and concerns seriously but Lara speaks some serious facts when she says that women are told that most of their issues or pains are associated with “really bad period cramps” or something psychological going on, and are written off many times before anything is even looked into. Not only is it heart wrenching to learn that one in ten women have endometriosis and that it takes an average of seven years to receive an accurate diagnosis, but that there is no cure or reliable method of long term relief from the chronic pain associated with endometriosis. This is not okay and we need to keep these uncomfortable conversations going if we want to see changes with how these concerns are handled in the medical community and find a reliable cure or treatment method for these disorders.

What I especially love about this book is that Lara doesn’t just describe to us in necessary painstaking detail about her day-to-day life living in chronic pain from endometriosis, she also describes her experiences with vaginal physical therapy (I had no idea this was a thing!), dating as a straight woman without being able to have penetrative sex and the depression and anxiety of feeling unloved. When she discusses her experiences in all of these areas, not only is her pain clear as day, but so is her sense of humor, strength to live her best life, and hope and determination for change and answers.

While I am incredibly grateful that I do not have any personal experience myself with endometriosis any of the other problems mentioned in this book, this book still hit close to home for me because I grew up watching my sister suffer from endometriosis and seeing her struggle with finding answers to her pain for years. I remember her missing so many days of school and work as a result of debilitating pain, nausea, and suddenly turning so pale that I thought she was going to pass out at any second. I remember her suffering from this pain when she wasn’t even on her period yet, and all of her pain and symptoms were drastically worse during her period. I remember hearing her tell me that our gynecologist wasn’t taking her concerns seriously and acted like her pain was normal and that she just experienced “really bad periods.” I remember wondering why her and I had such drastically different experiences and why even on my own worst period symptoms days, I still never seemed to be anywhere near as miserable as she was. It took my sister years, and a new gynecologist that listened to her, to finally get diagnosed with endometriosis. While she finally has an answer to her pain, she still hasn’t experienced much relief from it since her diagnosis a few years ago.

I want to mention again how important this book is. While there are parts of the book that seem repetitive, I was honestly glued to this book and finished it in one sitting. Whether or not you have experienced any vagina issues yourself, or know of anyone who has been diagnosed with endometriosis or any other vaginal disorders, I highly encourage all women to read this necessary book, hitting bookshelves on October 6th! Thank you so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for this gifted eARC in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Vagina Problems by Lara Parker is best paired with All Together by Mully’s Brewery and Other Half Brewing. This delicious, juicy New England style IPA is an open-ended beer collaboration started by Other Half Brewing Company with hundreds of other breweries around the world. Portions of the proceeds go toward supporting the hospitality industry 🍻

Full Pour Review: Home Before Dark

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Well, it should come as no surprise that Riley Sager did it again! Home Before Dark has been one of my most highly anticipated books so far this year and it lived up to all of my expectations! This story was incredibly spooky with several surprise twists that I wasn’t expecting and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the emotional roller coaster that this story took me on.

25 years ago, Maggie Holt and her parents, Jess and Ewan, moved into Baneberry Hall and only lasted 20 days before fleeing in the dead of night and leaving behind all of their personal belongings. Ewan ended up writing a story called House of Horrors about their horrific experience in that house, consisting of tales about encounters with ghosts and evil spirits that rivaled with The Amityville Horror in both skepticism and popularity. This book has haunted Maggie all of her life, making her an outcast among peers. The worst part? She doesn’t remember any of her time at Baneberry Hall, convinced that nothing in the book actually happened and that her parents have been lying to her all of her life.

Now, at 26 years old, Maggie discovers shortly after her fathers passing that her family never sold Baneberry Hall and that she has now inherited this house. Since Maggie has her own home restoration business with her best friend, she plans on renovating the home and putting it up for sale. In addition, Maggie ultimately decides to use this project as an opportunity for her to finally figure out what really happened in this house and what made them suddenly flee and never return. Despite her disbelief that the house is haunted, it doesn’t take long for Maggie to begin experiencing weird, unexplainable events in the house- events so strange, that she begins to wonder if the tales that her father wrote about in House of Horrors are actually true… and if the real secrets that are hidden within the house are much more terrifying than anything her dad wrote about in his book.

Riley Sager is an incredible storyteller. I absolutely love the way he writes and how he draws the reader in so quickly with his stories, keeping them on the edge of their seat the entire time. I flew through this book because I NEEDED to know what happened next. One of my favorite things about this book was how the chapters rotated between Maggie’s present day experience, and chapters from House of Horrors.

I also really enjoyed the spookiness to this story. I am such a baby when it comes to scary/haunted things and I do NOT like horror movies. I was traumatized with The Amityville Horror in 6th grade and still make an effort to distance myself from things that have to do with haunted houses and evil spirits to this day (including haunted houses/hay rides around Halloween 😂). However, while this book definitely came me there spooks and despite there being several comparable events in this book that resemble events from The Amityville Horror, I was actually able to fully appreciate and enjoy everything taking place in the book and manage to sleep at night just fine 😂

So happy that my favorite bookish girl gang decided to do this as a buddy read this month! 🤗 If you’re looking for a really spooky thriller with a lot of surprises twists and a wonderful surprise ending, I highly recommend picking up Home Before Dark. I was sold on Riley Sager being an auto-buy author for me after reading Lock Every Door last fall, and after finishing Home Before Dark, I REALLY need to finally check out his other two books.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager is best paired with Roast Coffee Cider by Bold Rock Cider. Partnered with Pisgah Coffee, this delicious cold brewed hard cider is infused with a medium roast coffee, resulting in a rich coffee aroma and wonderfully balanced flavors 🍻