Full Pour Review: In Five Years

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I absolutely adored In Five Years by Rebecca Serle and found it impossible to put down. This beautiful story is about love and friendship and will leave you with a beautiful, unexpected ending. It was such a lovely distraction from the stress and uncertainty of everything going on in the world today.

Dannie Kohan lives her life by numbers and has a very thorough plan and vision of what she expects her life to be like in five years. One day, she gets to check off two of the milestones within her plan when she accepts her dream job as a corporate lawyer at Wachtell and accepts a dream marriage proposal from her boyfriend David. That evening, Dannie falls asleep perfectly content knowing that her life is going exactly as planned. Suddenly, she awakens five years in the future on December 15, 2025. She is in a totally different apartment with a completely different man and a new ring on her finger. She spends one hour in this incredibly vivid premonition before waking back up in her and David’s apartment home just before midnight, completely shaken by this unforgettable vision. Four and a half years later, she encounters the man from her vision in a completely unexpected way, and makes a point to do everything in her power to stop this premonition from happening.

Rebecca Serle is an amazing writer and I thought she did a wonderful job with the story plot and character development. While the book is written from the perspective of Dannie, each of the main characters are developed so well that I did not feel like I was missing out on anything from there not being multiple perspectives and it made the build up to the surprise factor in this story that much better. I loved that the main characters were all so relatable and that I was able to fall in love with each of them. The raw emotions demonstrated by Dannie and Bella in regards to the beauty and heartbreak that come with love, friendship, destiny and finding our purpose resonated so much with me. While I wouldn’t change anything about the way the story was written, I still can’t help but think that it would’ve been interesting to witness Bella’s perception of the friendship and various events in the book.

This was one of the purest, most heartwarming books I have read in a long time and I loved the surprise turn that this book took, steering away from being your typical love story. Not only will this story make you laugh, cry, and fall in love with every single character; it will leave a beautiful impression on you about the meaning of destiny, friendship, and love. I honestly couldn’t recommend this book enough 💛

BEER RECOMMENDATION: In Five Years is best paired with Bonedagger by Burial Beer Co. This highly enjoyable American Pale Ale is made from Simcoe, Idaho 7 and Citra hops and double dry-hopped with Lupulin Powder. Bonedagger produces a mildly sweet taste due to the citrus, wheat and peach flavors with a nice light bitterness at the end to balance it out 🍻

Full Pour Review: Darling Rose Gold

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

So. Many. Feels. You guys!! I was so impressed with “Darling Rose Gold” by Stephanie Wrobel. This book was a serious page turner from the beginning and worth the exhaustion from very little sleep the past two days 😅 It had a pleasantly surprising twist to it that I was not anticipating, giving me some serious “Gone Girl” vibes that I absolutely loved!

Throughout the first 18 years of her life, Rose Gold was convinced that she was terminally ill. Among many other things, she was dehydrated, allergic to everything, couldn’t keep any food down, suffered from various gastrointestinal issues, had trouble breathing, and used a wheelchair. Despite spending most of her life in and out of hospitals and doctors offices, nobody could figure out what was wrong with her. That is until we figure out that Rose Gold’s mom, Patty, is just an incredible liar who suffers from Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy and has been poisoning Rose Gold this entire time. Patty is ultimately arrested for child abuse and after Rose Gold testifies against her in court, she is sentenced to 5 years in prison. When Patty is finally released from prison, the community is stunned to discover that after everything she’s been through, Rose Gold has allowed her mom to move in with her. However, what her mom and the community don’t realize is that Rose Gold is no longer the same weak and naive child that she used to be. She knows better than to trust her moms alleged forgiveness and sees right through her act of wanting to amend their relationship and move on from the past. She has been planning for this day a long time…

“When Ursula was about to destroy Ariel, Prince Eric didn’t make a peace offering. He didn’t divvy up sides of the ocean, settle for living amicably with a sea witch. He drove a ship’s mast straight into her gut and killed her. I’m my own Prince Eric. I saved myself.”

– Rose Gold, Darling Rose Gold

Stephanie Wrobel is a fantastic storyteller. She captivates your attention from the very beginning but still manages to take her time building up the story, alternating between past and present and the perspectives of both Rose Gold and Patty, before the story takes an abrupt change of course. The character development in this story was excellent as well. I loved being able to see how much Rose Gold’s character grew into herself through out the book as well as the opportunity to witness the relationship dynamics between Rose Gold and various characters. I was also very intrigued by the startling glimpse into the mind of someone like Patty, who thrived off of the attention she received from her community and medical professionals by intentionally destroying her daughters health.

I can’t recommend this book enough. If you enjoy psychological thrillers and are a fan of Gone Girl, I think it’s safe to say that you will enjoy this book too.

BEER RECOMMENDATION: Darling Rose Gold is best paired with Christmas Bomb by Prairie Artisan Ales. Christmas Bomb is an imperial stout that is brewed with cinnamon, using their original Bomb! stout as it’s base. This delicious beer has notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, ginger and ancho chili peppers, giving it the perfect amount of heat. If you’ve already read Darling Rose Gold, you will understand why Christmas Bomb is the perfect pairing 😉🍻

Full Pour Review: My Dark Vanessa

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

“My Dark Vanessa” is the incredibly dark and emotional story of 15-year old high school sophomore Vanessa Wye and the love affair that begins with her 42-year old English teacher, Jacob Strane, during the fall of 2000. In 2017, a former Browick student accuses Strane of sexual abuse and urges Vanessa to come forward about her relationship with him. Now 32, Vanessa becomes faced with an impossible decision: to betray her first love who has remained a constant presence in her life, or completely redefine who she is by reconsidering her long held beliefs of what exactly happened between them. The story alternates between past and present, going in to great depth about Vanessa’s past and how it has continued to impact her over time.

Kate Elizabeth Russell’s character development throughout this book is phenomenal. I loved how complex, strong and relatable Vanessa’s character was. I felt like I was planted inside her mind, easily seeing things through her eyes in an alarming, yet fascinating way. I found myself truly amazed by her and the inner battle she constantly fought with herself when it came to deciphering her thoughts and feelings about her relationship with Strane; was what she experienced with him abuse or a tragic love story? If this was abuse, why did she remain complicit for so many years afterward? was Strane a pedophile or just unlucky to fall in love with a teenager, forever being branded as a deviant? How different could her life have been had this relationship not occurred? The exploration of these questions throughout the book was both intriguing and heart-wrenching to read because Vanessa is so firm in her belief that she is not a victim of abuse and was willing to engage in the sexual relationship with Strane; that he worshipped her, genuinely loved her, and was nothing but careful and kind with her.

“I see him so clearly now, understand how lonely it must be for him, wanting the wrong thing, the bad thing, while living in a world that would surely villainize him if it knew.”

Vanessa Wye, My Dark Vanessa

• • •

“I just feel…” I press the heals of my hands into my thighs. “I can’t lose the thing I’ve held on to for so long. You know?” My face twists up from the pain of pushing it out. “I just really need it to be a love story. You know? I really, really need it to be that.”

“I know,” she says.

“Because if it isn’t a love story, then what is it?” I look to her glassy eyes, her face of wide-open empathy.

“It’s my life,” I say. “This has been my whole life.”

Vanessa Wye to Ruby, My Dark Vanessa

With Strane, I was constantly infuriated by his character and despised his behavior throughout the book. I could not stand how manipulative he was with Vanessa, the Browick staff, and his other victims. However, I found it fascinating to get glimpses of his mind and see how he would justify certain behaviors; the lies he would say in order to assure himself, or be assured of by Vanessa, that he was not a monster and prevent himself from feeling guilty for his actions. Strane was really good at giving Vanessa a false sense of control in their relationship, claiming that she held all the power between them when that definitely was not the case.

“It’s important that you never feel coerced. That’s the only way I’ll be able to live with myself…you’re in charge here, Vanessa. You decide what we do.”

Jacob Strane, My Dark Vanessa

Watching him groom Vanessa and displace his weaknesses and fears on to her was really uncomfortable to experience because she was so young and naive, an “easy target” for someone like Strane to take advantage of due to her strong desire for love and attention. The deep hold on her that he managed to maintain was truly frightening, and the negative affect it had on her ability to have both romantic and friendly relationships with others was deeply upsetting.

“It wasn’t about how young I was, not for him. Above everything else, he loved my mind. He said I had genius-level emotional intelligence and that I wrote like a prodigy, that he could talk to me, confide in me. Lurking deep within me, he said, was a dark romanticism, the same kind he saw within himself. No one had ever understood that dark part of him until I came along. “It’s just my luck,” he said, “that when I finally find my soulmate, she’s fifteen years old.”

Vanessa Wye, My Dark Vanessa

Despite the story’s unsettling subject matter and being difficult to read at times, I was blown away by this powerful, thought-provoking and incredibly well written debut novel. It serves as an accurate portrayal of how the system has failed women when it comes to sexual assault, bringing to light examples of mistakes we can learn from and how we can improve. With the continued rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, this book could not have arrived at a more perfect time; opening up an uncomfortable but necessary dialogue about consent, abuse, grooming, manipulation, and the horrifying psychological consequences it can produce. “My Dark Vanessa” is a compelling read that will be tough to put down and leave the reader with so much to reflect on long after they’ve finished reading it.

BEER RECOMMENDATION: “My Dark Vanessa” is best paired with Triple Barrel GBS by Hardywood Brewing. Triple Barrel GBS is an imperial/double milk stout that was created by aging their traditional gingerbread stout in brandy barrels for 11 months, then aging again for 4 more months- half in Caribbean rum barrels and the other half in A. Smith Bowman bourbon barrels. Nearly black in color, this highly enjoyable, boozy beer has notes of white ginger, honey, maple, cinnamon, vanilla, bourbon, brandy and rum.

Full Pour Review: Untamed

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Wow. Where do I even begin with this book? Untamed by Glennon Doyle is the loving, inspiring and honest wake-up call that we all needed right now. At just under a month before my 30th birthday, the messages in this book honestly could not have arrived at a more divine time.

Glennon‘s stories are incredibly relatable and I greatly appreciated her gentle and therapeutic way of sharing her advice with the reader. The story felt like an incredible, yet objective, thought provoking conversation with your most trusted confidante. Through her empowering stories, Glennon earns the respect and trust of her reader by proving to be incredibly understanding of the things they mentally put themselves through while also urging them to take action and change the harmful habits and fearful thoughts they have developed over time.

Women are constantly striving to be the best version of themselves for everyone else while placing their own needs and desires on the back burner. We desire to be a good wife, girlfriend, sister, mother, friend, employee, and more. Often times, that desire to be good for everyone else eventually leaves us feeling unfulfilled, overwhelmed, stressed out, and stuck. This feeling leads us to wonder if we are missing out on something better, often asking ourselves “is this it? shouldn’t there be more?”

“Why do women find it honorable to dismiss ourselves?

Why do we decide that denying our longing is the responding thing to do?

Why do we believe that what will thrill and fulfill us will hurt other people?

Why do we mistrust ourselves so completely?”

Glennon Doyle, “Untamed”

Glennon assures women that these thoughts and tendencies are “normal” based on how we have been raised, as our society has unfortunately long been built upon the control of women. She grants the reader loving permission to finally break free from the anxiety-fueled lifestyle they have developed as a result of putting the opinions of others first, and inspires them to stop avoiding their pain and finally prioritize honoring their gut instincts by changing the things that are not serving us.

“Pain is not tragic. Pain is magic. Suffering is tragic. Suffering is what happens when we avoid pain and consequently miss our becoming. This is what I can and must avoid: missing my own evolution because I am too afraid to surrender to the process. Having such little faith in myself that I numb or hide or consume my way out of my fiery feelings again and again. So my goal is to stop abandoning myself— and stay. To trust that I’m strong enough to handle the pain that is necessary to the process of becoming. Because what scares me a hell of a lot more than pain is living my entire life and missing my becoming. What scares me more than feeling it all is missing it all.”

Glennon Doyle, “Untamed”

Overall, I was a huge fan of this book and couldn’t be more grateful that its messages arrived to me when they did. I look forward to using Glennon’s wisdom and guidance to better navigate my thirties by truly prioritizing my self-love, self-fulfillment, needs, wants, setting boundaries, etc. and making an effort to never again justify making decisions that do not benefit me in order to avoid disappointing others. Life is too short and beautiful to be wasting time shrinking ourselves to fit the molds that society and others have cast on us.

If you are looking for a book that will help you alter the course of your life, learn how to honor your truest instincts, set boundaries, and grant you the permission to unapologetically put yourself first, this is for you! Throughout this book, you are likely to experience sadness, laughter, joy, guilt, and inspiration all at once through Glennon’s magical storytelling abilities that will help you shed light on all of the areas we have been neglecting ourselves so we can take back control and live our truest life.

(Also, can we take a moment to appreciate how absolutely STUNNING this cover is?! It’s as magical as the content inside 😉)

Beer Recommendation: Untamed is best paired with Cuvée Peach by Hardywood Brewing. This delicious and refreshing peach tripel is aged in white wine barrels anywhere between three months to over a year. This highly enjoyable beer is both sweet and tart at the same time, producing notes of juicy peach, white wine, and light vanilla with a slightly dry finish 🍻

Full Pour Review: Big Magic

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

To say that I was impressed with “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert would be a bit of an understatement. I began reading this book with high expectations because of how hard I fell in love with City of Girls and as expected, this book absolutely did not disappoint.

Elizabeth Gilbert enchants the reader with her unique perspective about creativity and what it means to live a creative life. From the beginning, Gilbert explains that living a creative life is not necessarily pursuing things within the arts, but rather simply having the creativity and courage to unearth the hidden jewels within us that reveal our true capacities, secret talents, and aspirations.

Gilbert’s insight about creativity, inspiration and fear is very practical, and a refreshing change from the usual societal bullshit that tends to be forced down our throats that are blocking us from our creativity. For example, this book discusses the simple notion that we can live a fulfilled, creative life without worrying that our creativity is all for not if it won’t evolve in to something that will financially support us in a way that allows us to “quit our day job.” Another example is how society also fools us into thinking that we are not qualified in pursuing our creative outlets if we don’t have the college education to prove it when this is also not always the case. Throughout the book, Gilbert paints a colorful picture of the attitudes and habits that we must develop in order to live our creative lives, address the fearful thoughts that hold us back, and take on the things that we love most.

I found myself mesmerized by Gilbert’s theory of ideas because it was not something that I had ever considered before and it resonated with me. In her book, she describes her belief of how creativity functions as this:

“I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and planets and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us — albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert, “Big Magic”

Gilbert further explains that when these ideas find us, they will latch on to us and try to get our attention. When we don’t notice them, or give them the attention they deserve, they leave us and seek out the next person that they can partner with to bring their purpose to fruition. The personal experience she shares that supports this theory is startling in the most exquisite way, and is one of my personal favorite stories from the book.

Overall, “Big Magic” feels like a wonderful conversation with a good friend and mentor. You will obtain a lot of valuable insight to help guide you out of whatever rut you’re in, push through the fears that block out your creativity, and inspire you to be serious about having fun when pursuing your passions.

BEER RECOMMENDATION: “Big Magic” is best paired with Crimson Ridge Vat No. 1 by Bold Rock Cider. This highly enjoyable champagne-like cider has a well-balanced profile of sweetness from the crisp Virginia apples and a slightly dry finish 🍻

Full Pour Review: Judgement Detox

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Judgment Detox is a really light and refreshing, “feel good” spiritual book that will leave you wanting to reference it long after you’ve finished reading. You do not need to be a religious person by any means to enjoy this book and appreciate the valuable lessons that it provides. Gabby’s Judgment Detox is a six-step practice that provides the reader with thorough direction on how to decrease judgment in their lives through the practice of witnessing their own judgments without judgment, honoring their wounds and trauma, surrendering fear-based judgments by choosing to see the light, making an effort to see people for the first time, and understanding the importance of forgiveness in order to let go of harmful resentments that have been held on to.

Each step builds off of the other and within each step, the reader is called to take action on the lessons taught via journaling prompts, meditating, praying, experimenting with The Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as “tapping”), and more. Each of these principles are intended for the reader to implement in their daily lives in order to help let go of resentments as well as to develop a healthier relationship to judgment that will allow them to be more mindful of how they respond to it when it arises. These steps and principles are easy to follow and serve as loving, gentle guides to helping you let go of judgments and resentments you have developed. Many of these techniques also provide “miracle moments” of quick relief that help raise your mood in an instant, allowing the reader to see just how quickly and easy it can be to change our thoughts and how much power we have in creating our happiness.

If you’re in a slump and feel like your mind is constantly focused on the negatives, are tired of feeling guilty of judging yourself and others, or simply want guidance on how to create your own happiness and transition your fear-based thoughts to a place of love, this is the book for you. In a time when we are surrounded by so much judgment and negativity, this book couldn’t have come at a better time to remind us that we are not so different from one another after all, and how important it is to take a look inward and do our best to be the light we want to see in the world in order to best serve ourselves as well as others.

Beer Recommendation:

Judgment Detox is best paired with Guayabera by Cigar City. This tropical, juicy pale ale with citrus notes and Citra hops is light and refreshing with a nice little punch of bitterness to it. Like this book, Guayabera will taste like the mental vacation you didn’t realize you needed and leave you feeling rejuvenated and inspired.