Full Pour Review: All Boys Aren’t Blue

I don’t think that I will be able to come up with the right words to describe how wonderful and beautiful this book is. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson is a beautifully written YA memoir manifesto that navigates the complexities of identity, specifically being Black and queer. It is a collection of essays that illustrate Johnson’s life from childhood to college and serves as a beautiful exploration of sexuality, identity, race, gender, as well as a constructive analysis of the anti-Black and anti-queer society we desperately need to move away from. It’s raw, it’s real, it’s honest, and it needs to be read by everyone.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, “All Boys Aren’t Blue” covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.”

I want to begin by saying that George M. Johnson is an incredible storyteller and his storytelling abilities have the power to help and influence so many people. I loved reading his stories about addressing his internalized homophobia head-on and accepting and loving himself as the incredible human he is. I loved reading about the unconditional love and unwavering support provided by his family, especially his beautiful Nanny. I loved the bravery and vulnerability it took to discuss and reflect on the sexual abuse he experienced during such a confusing time in his life, and how this reflection can help protect others and save lives. Simply put, Johnson bared his soul in this book and it is a truly beautiful thing to witness. There isn’t a single book like this out there that can help Black/LGBTQIA+ young adults and the messages in this book must be shared with everyone.

I truly can’t recommend this book enough and if it’s not already on your radar, please add it to your TBR list immediately 💛 All Boys Aren’t Blue will make you cry, ache, laugh, smile, hope and ultimately grow as a person. I know with great certainty that this book will be on my mind for a while.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson is best paired with Cobbler: Apricot and Black Currant by Black Flag Brewing Company. This highly delicious fruited sour was brewed with vanilla, cinnamon, milk sugar and 440lbs of apricot and black currant 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Poet X

It’s official- Elizabeth Acevedo is an auto-buy author for me. I was sold on her after reading With The Fire on High, but I’m even more obsessed with her stories after reading this one. I went into The Poet X with very high expectations because of the raving reviews I’ve read on Bookstagram and this book most certainly did not disappoint!

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.”

First, I absolutely adored Xiomara’s character. She is so fierce, loyal and brave and she was an incredible protagonist. I love how fiercely she loved her family and friends, how she would stand up for herself, how she questioned authority when it was necessary and how she ultimately stopped living her life to satisfy others and fight for what she wanted. Her character serves as a wonderful, strong female lead to young adults. I also loved that she had such a wonderful support system in her brother, best friend, “boyfriend,” and teacher. All of their characters were wonderful supporting roles and helped encourage Xiomara to be unapologetic about who she wanted to be.

Second, I thoroughly enjoyed how this book was written in verse and felt it added an awesome element to the storytelling. I loved how descriptive and immersive the reading felt. It’s not often that you come across books that truly plant you in another world and make you feel apart of the story, but Elizabeth Acevedo seems to consistently excel at doing this effortlessly.

I truly can’t recommend this book enough. If you haven’t already read The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, please do yourself a favor and add it to your TBR list 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is best paired with Habanero Nectar by RAR Brewing. This deliciously smooth IPA is brewed with habaneros, giving it a spicy finish with the perfect kick of heat 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Mothers

Holy shit- this book was INTENSE. I was immediately intrigued by this story based on the description and it absolutely delivered! The Mothers by Genevieve Gannon is a powerful, well-written, and emotional story about an IVF treatment gone wrong that was incredibly hard to put down. Lately it’s been taking me several days to finish a book but I binged this in about 2 days because I NEEDED to know what happened (#TeamNoSleep 🙃).

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Grace and Dan Arden are in their forties and have been on the IVF treadmill since the day they got married. Six attempts have yielded no results, and with each failure a little piece of their hope dies.

Priya Laghari and her husband Nick Archer are being treated at the same fertility clinic, and while they don’t face the same time pressure as the Ardens, the younger couple have their own problems.

On the same day that Priya is booked for her next IVF cycle, Grace goes in for her final, last-chance embryo transfer. Two weeks later, both women get their results.

A year on, angry and heartbroken, one of the women learns her embryo was implanted in the other’s uterus and must make a devastating choice: live a childless life knowing her son is being raised by strangers or seek custody of a baby who has been nurtured and loved by another couple.”

This book gave me ALL. THE. FEELS 👏🏻 The Mothers was written in the perspectives of both our main characters, Grace and Priya, and Gannon did an amazing job at developing these characters and letting the reader feel like they were getting to know them equally. My heart was breaking for both of these women and the horrible IVF nightmare they were faced with and the devastating legal battle that ensued. While there were no winners in this situation at all, I genuinely had no idea where this story was gonna go and felt that Gannon did a great job at putting the reader in the shoes of both women to see where they were coming from and feel their pain equally. By the end of this book, I found myself talking about the book with my significant other and discussing thoughts about what makes a mother and what we may think/do if we ever experienced a situation like this.

This book certainly comes with some trigger warnings (i.e. IVF struggles, IVF mix up, infidelity, trauma, family drama, legal battle, adoption, custody battle, child loss, etc.), so I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. However, if you’re looking for an incredibly intriguing story that is both sad and touching and will stick with you for a while, The Mothers by Genevieve Gannon would be a fantastic addition to your TBR list. Thank you so much WilliamMorrow for gifting me this book in exchange for my honest review. The Mothers by Genevieve Gannon comes out on May 11th! 🤗


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Mothers by Genevieve Gannon is best paired with Banana Painkiller Tastee by The Veil Brewing Company. This delicious smoothie-style sour ale is inspired by the Painkiller tiki drink and brewed with a nice blast of banana, coconut, pineapple, banana, milk sugar, orange and a little nutmeg for garnish 🍻

Full Pour Review: You Love Me

It’s been almost five years since Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes was released- the second book in the You series. FIVE YEARS! How crazy is that?! Of course I was BEYOND excited when I discovered that the third book in this series, You Love Me, was set to release this year because I’m obsessed with this series and needed to know what creepy Joe Goldberg’s been up to after all this time 😂 as expected, You Love Me was full of surprise twists and turns and ultimately lived up to my expectations.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Joe Goldberg is done with the cities. He’s done with the muck and the posers, done with Love. Now he’s saying hello to nature, to simple pleasures on a cozy island in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time in a long time, he can just breathe.

He gets a job at the local library—he does know a thing or two about books—and that’s where he meets her: Mary Kay DiMarco. Librarian. Joe won’t meddle, he will not obsess. He’ll win her the old-fashioned way . . . by providing a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand. Over time, they’ll both heal their wounds and begin their happily ever after in this sleepy town.

The trouble is . . . Mary Kay already has a life. She’s a mother. She’s a friend. She’s . . . busy.

True love can only triumph if both people are willing to make room for the real thing. Joe cleared his decks. He’s ready. And hopefully, with his encouragement and undying support, Mary Kay will do the right thing and make room for him.”

As anticipated, we got a new setting and cast of characters in this book and similar to the first two books, there are characters you’ll love and others that will make your skin crawl. All of the characters worked well in this story and we even had a few quick appearances of some old favorites (Hi, Love and Ray!). I loved that we still had a connection with The Quinn family, as anticipated, but the way this connection played out was not at all what I was expecting. Without giving anything away, I feel that some aspects of their role in this book felt rushed and out of place, and others were not focused on enough and left me wanting to know more about what was going on or wishing for a different outcome.

I found the ending of this book to be a pretty surprising twist and a part of me hopes that there will eventually be a fourth book, as I feel that there were some loose ends in this story that could be tied off or further explored in the future. Overall, while I found this book to be less scary than the first two, it was still suspenseful and incredibly hard to put down. I am so excited to see where we go with the third season of the TV series and what aspects of this book will be adapted to the show. If you’re a longtime fan of the You series, or into psychological thrillers and looking for something new, I can’t recommend You Love Me and this entire series enough 💛

If you have read this book and want to talk more about it in greater detail, PLEASE feel free to reach out to me! There’s a lot I want to say but feet that I can’t so that I don’t spoil anything.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes is best paired with Summer Fruittata by Aslin Beer Co. This delicious desert style sour ale is brewed with plum, blueberry, peach, vanilla, and milk sugar to mimic the perfect summer fruit tart🍻

Full Pour Review: Learning to Lead

I’ve had Learning to Lead by Ron Williams on my TBR list for a while, so it was really nice to finally be able to read this book this month! Prior to reading Learning to Lead I had never heard of Ron Williams before- I just happened to stumble across this book on Amazon and thought it sounded really interesting. Long story short, Ron Williams is one of the leaders responsible for drastically turning Aetna around and this book did a wonderful job at exploring William’s leadership and personal development journey as well as engaging the reader with thoughtful, powerful, and practical advice on how to challenge and strengthen their leadership skills.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “In “Learning to Lead: The Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading an Organization,” Ron Williams provides you with practical, tested leadership advice, whether you’re searching for a new career, looking for proven management solutions, or seeking to transform your organization. Developed from Williams’s own personal and professional journey, as well as the experiences of America’s leading CEOs, these strategies emerge boldly from engaging stories, outlined with practical steps for you to accomplish goals such as:

  • Launching your career quest
  • Avoiding professional pitfalls, wrong turns, and wasted effort
  • Overcoming interpersonal challenges and conflicts
  • Building and leading an effective, high-performance team
  • Prioritizing and solving problems from multiple perspectives
  • Developing your leadership style and mastering communication
  • Casting a vision and changing the culture of your organization

After finishing “Learning to Lead,” you will be well equipped to take the next step to success in your personal and professional leadership journey. Williams’s book has the potential to join other leadership development classics on your shelf to be read repeatedly and consulted throughout the span of your career.

This book was jam-packed full of incredibly valuable insight about what it takes to be a great leader and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Ron Williams and learn about his leadership journey. The information in this book spoke to me on a personal level and because of where I currently am in my career and personal life, and where I want to be, I feel like I read this at the perfect time. I can’t wait to implement the advice in this book and I am certain that Learning to Lead will be one of my most favored leadership books that I reference again and again.

If you’re looking for an inspiring leadership book that will stick with you for a while and not only help you become a better leader, but also a better person, I highly recommend Learning to Lead by Ron Williams.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Learning to Lead by Ron Williams is best paired with Role Models by Aslin Beer Co. This deliciously crushable milkshake IPA is brewed with Citra, Simcoe & Motueka hops and contains notes of candied tangerine, mixed berries & fresh cut grass 🍻