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 Woman in the Window

HOLY SHIT! Talk about a major emotional roller coaster! The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn is easily one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read since Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Verity by Colleen Hoover 😳 Fast-paced, unsettling and utterly mysterious, this book truly was unputdownable and I couldn’t get enough of the characters, plot twists, suspense, etc.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.”

It is obvious that A. J. Finn is an incredible storyteller. I was addicted to the attention to detail in this story when familiarizing the reader with the characters and their backgrounds, as well as the random puzzle pieces of information connecting Anna’s past with her present. I was so captivated by Anna and the sudden onset of agoraphobia that she developed after a traumatic life event. My heart truly ached for her and all that she had been through and was suffering from and I love that Finn didn’t shy away from the ugly and messy side effects of trauma. Finn managed to have me obsessed with Jane Russell as much as Anna was, desperately trying to figure out alongside her what really happened that fateful evening and although it was certainly creepy and unsettling at times, I enjoyed getting to engage with Anna in her spying on the neighbors. A few of the twists in this book were predictable while the majority of events, including the ending, genuinely surprised me. I really wasn’t sure where exactly this book was headed and I love that it kept me on my toes for so long.

As enthralling at this book was, it certainly comes with many trigger warnings that were hard to stomach at times: alcohol abuse, drug abuse (popping pills), trauma, loss, murder, violence, mental disabilities (agoraphobia, narcissism, personality disorders, etc.), and more. If you’re a fan of Gone Girl or Verity or are looking for an incredibly suspenseful psychological thriller, I highly recommend adding The Woman in the Window to the top of your TBR list! Now that I have finally gotten to read this book, it is no surprise to me why this is being made into a movie adaptation. I have a feeling it’s going to be incredible and am beyond excited to watch it on May 14th 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn is best paired with Hallow Bright by Sapwood Cellars Brewery. This deliciously smooth New England IPA is double dry hopped with Citra and Citra Cryo hops, resulting in flavors of citrus, melon and vanilla 🍻

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: Last Call

What a fascinating story! Last Call by Elon Green was one of my most anticipated 2021 reads and it was honestly even better than I imagined it to be. Prior to this book, I had never heard of the Last Call Killer so I went into this story blind and came away from this book having learned SO much.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.

He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.

Nor will he be his last.

The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.

This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.”

This story is incredibly well written and heavily researched; the attention to detail gripping my attention from the very beginning and maintaining it throughout the entire book. I loved how much Green focused on the victims instead of the killer. As the reader, you get to develop an emotional connection to the victims as you learn a good bit about their lives and hear from their loved ones. This book really is a dedication to these victims, finally giving their lives the respect and attention they deserve (and had not received back in the 80’s and 90’s). I also learned so much from this book about the historical mistreatment of the LGBTQ+ community and the severe mishandling of the AIDS epidemic. These recollections were absolutely heartbreaking and infuriating and while we’ve slowly been making progress over the last 30 years, we still have SO MUCH work to do in regards to fighting for equality and correcting the misinformation that was spread during this time.

If you’re looking for an intriguing LGBTQ+ history/true crime story that will leave you with all the feels, I highly recommend checking out Last Call by Elon Green.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Last Call by Elon Green is best paired with A Raspberry and Peach Walked Into a Bar by Crooked Crab Brewing Co. This highly delicious fruited sour was conditioned upon hundreds of pounds of peach purée and raspberries, resulting in the perfect amount of tartness and sweet, juicy flavor 🍻

Full Pour Review: Leaders Eat Last

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek has been on my TBR list for a long time, and I’m so glad that I finally got around to reading it! I really enjoy books about leadership and management, and being a manager feeling the typical burn out brought on by the year that was 2020, I knew I was in need of some “professional self care.” For me, that includes reading leadership books- something that helps reinstate my confidence, motivation and excitement as a leader. This book was a perfect reminder of the importance of establishing and maintaining trust among your team, as well as putting their well-being first and sacrificing your own needs for the good of those you lead (ultimately things that probably fell to the wayside or were tested for many of us throughout 2020).

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders create environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.

In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?

The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. “Officers eat last,” he said. Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. What’s symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: Great leaders sacrifice their own comfort–even their own survival–for the good of those in their care.

Too many workplaces are driven by cynicism, paranoia, and self-interest. But the best ones foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a “Circle of Safety” that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside.

Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories that range from the military to big business, from government to investment banking.”

I really enjoyed the stories that Sinek shared throughout this book, as I found them all to be very motivating and inspirational. While some of the items in here may seem like common sense, I think that’s what makes this book so valuable and timeless. The information in here reiterates the importance of good, “common sense” leadership skills and traits and while these skills seem easy to implement, they take a lot of work, patience and consistency. What I enjoyed most about this book was that it allowed me to engage in my own self reflection and see where I’ve been both excelling, and slipping, this past year and how to get back on track. 2020 was a challenging year for so many reasons and personally left me very anxious and distracted- I found myself consumed by my own anxieties (both personal and professional) and the need to do whatever I could to make myself feel safe, that I wasn’t as focused on others and making sure to check in with them consistently and offer them the extra support that we all truly needed. While I understood that I needed to focus on my self care so I could be beneficial to others, I was not placing as much focus on making sure I was doing everything in my power to make my team feel safe, secure and supported. This book served as a wonderful reminder of just how important the “basics” are- sacrificing your needs for the good of your team and maintaining that “Circle of Safety” among them. Making sure that you do this will guarantee that your needs as a leader are still met, or even exceeded, no matter what you may be going through.

If you feel like you’re in a slump, are looking for a boost of self confidence and guidance in your leadership capabilities, or just want to read a really good personal development book, I highly recommend reading Leaders Eat Last. This is the first book I’ve read by Simon Sinek and I look forward to reading more books by him this year.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek is best paired with Brew ‘em Hop-Ups: Apple Cinamonomnoms by Hysteria Brewing Company. This highly delicious fruited sour tastes just like an apple cinnamon pop tart with the perfect sour kick 🍻

Full Pour Review: Malibu Rising

Holy shit was this intense! Taylor Jenkins Reid blew it out of the water again, as per usual. I fully expected all of the usual TJR magic with Malibu Rising and not only did she deliver, but it was way more magical than anticipated- the characters, the storyline, the family dynamics, the Malibu landscape, the history… everything.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come rising to the surface.”

I couldn’t get enough of the characters in this book. Specifically, the Riva siblings: Nina, Jay, Hud and Kit. They are truly badass and I was blown away by everything that they endured through out this book. I don’t want to give anything away, but these siblings experienced truly heartbreaking hardships and loss over the course of their young lives and their resilience is absolutely inspiring. Nina Riva is the most incredible of all and the roles that she assumed/decisions she had to make as a young girl because of these hardships are things that absolutely NO child should have to do but SHE 👏🏻 FUCKING 👏🏻 KILLED 👏🏻 IT.

I really enjoyed the deep dive into Mick Riva’s life and background. Readers get to familiarize themselves with his childhood, his relationship with June (his first wife and the true love of his life), his skyrocketing career and even the other marriages along the way. I LOVED how this story still connected (very briefly)in some ways to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo with a few quick mentions of some beloved characters.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is a fantastic storyteller and the queen of inventing dynamic characters who feel so realistic and make you become instantly attached to. I love how she addresses forgiveness, resilience, child neglect, spousal neglect, infidelity, acceptance, self love, and much more, in such a mature and thought provoking manner. One downside to this book is that there are A LOT of secondary characters that get introduced throughout the book and it can feel a little overwhelming at times not knowing who you should be focusing on.

If you’re a fan of TJR, or are looking for an engrossing, gut wrenching and heart exploding family drama that will suck you in from the very beginning, I can’t recommend Malibu Rising enough. This story will be released June 1st 💛 thank you so much NetGalley and Random House for this gifted eARC in exchange for my honest review.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid is best paired with Lil’ BB’s Brekkie Tastee by The Veil Brewing Co. This delicious smoothie-style sour ale is brewed with milk sugar, oats, maple syrup, strawberry, banana, and blueberry purée 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Oh my god… what a beautiful, intriguing and mind blowing story! I wanted to kick off 2021 with something magical and that is exactly what The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab is – pure fucking magic.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever―and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.”

I can honestly say that this is one of the most beautifully written stories I’ve ever read. I’m normally not a fan of fantasy, so I was admittedly anxious about reading this one, but the storyline was so captivating and well put together, I was instantly drawn in to the magic of the blended fantasy/historical realism. The characters in this story are absolutely brilliant and I really enjoyed how the story bounced back and forth between timelines, locations, and even character perspectives at random times as we got to know more about Addie’s and Henry’s unique stories. I was so fascinated by this book that I slowly read it over the course of eleven days because I didn’t want to rush through any of it. This story was so incredibly gratifying and went down like a satisfying sip of champagne.

Needless to say, this book absolutely lived up to the hype that we’ve all been seeing online and I will happily add to it- I truly cannot recommend this book enough and already know that this will fall in my top 10 for 2021. This was the first book I’ve ever read by V. E. Schwab and I look forward to reading more by her 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab is best paired with Sour Me Unicorn Farts by DuClaw Brewing Company and Diablo Doughnuts. This incredibly unique glittered sour ale is brewed with fruity cereal mashed in, bringing forward a bouquet of fruit flavors & a hint of biscuit 🍻