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: 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 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Perfect Stranger

You guys already know that Megan Miranda is one of my auto-buy authors so in honor of her newest book coming out this summer, it was my goal to finally read The Perfect Stranger, the last book of hers in my MM back log. I’ve been putting this one off for a while, and I’m so glad that I finally got to read it! While it was not my favorite book of hers, and honestly left me feeling pretty confused, I still enjoyed it overall and was intrigued by the storyline.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?”

I enjoyed how this book started out as a slow burn that began picking up the pace about halfway through. I felt like the story definitely kept my interest and I found it hard to put down, but once I was wrapping up the book, I was a little disappointed by the ending because it felt really rushed and left me confused as to what was actually happening and if I somehow missed key details. I even re-read the last several pages of the book and tried reading other online reviews to see what other people were saying about the ending (and thankfully I wasn’t the only one left feeling confused it seems😅). I also felt that compared to other books by Megan Miranda, we didn’t get to know the characters as well and develop any sort of connection with them- everything felt pretty surface level in my opinion. I also felt that maybe there were almost too many overlapping character plots and that it was a bit hard to wrap them all up toward the end in a way that felt right?

If you’re a fan of Megan Miranda- I definitely still recommend reading this book! If you’ve already read The Perfect Stranger, please reach out to me so that we can discuss this confusing ending 😅😂 I would really love to know your thoughts on it!


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda is best paired with Vanillafort by Sapwood Cellars. This incredibly delicious double IPA is brewed with 200 gallons of their Pillowfort IPA and 40 Madagascar vanilla beans, resulting in a creamy vanilla flavor that makes this a wonderful dessert DIPA! 🍻

Full Pour Review: Conditional Citizens

WOW, What an incredible story! Conditional Citizens by Laila Lalami is full of powerful, thought provoking essays that shed light on what it’s like to become an American and how being an American citizen does not guarantee everyone the same rights and protection (a fact that many of us somehow still refuse to acknowledge, unfortunately).

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize­­–finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth—such as national origin, race, and gender—that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today.

Lalami poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained that keeps the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people with whom America embraces with one arm and pushes away with the other.

Brilliantly argued and deeply personal, Conditional Citizens weaves together Lalami’s own experiences with explorations of the place of nonwhites in the broader American culture.”

I learned a lot of valuable information from Lalami’s personal accounts and heavy research and I loved how the presentation of this information felt like a captivating conversation in an intimate college lecture. This book made me genuinely wish I was a student in one of Lalami’s courses, and even though she packed a lot into this small-but-mighty book, I feel like I could easily sit and listen to more of her thoughts on this subject. What I loved most was that this book served not only as a detailed account of her personal experience with the immigration system, but it also served as an honest evaluation of the state of our country and how the U.S. unfairly allows class status, religion, ethnicity, gender, racial bias and more, to stop someone from gaining citizenship. Due to the current racial climate we live in, and in order to help reduce our ignorance on this subject matter, this book should be essential reading. Things need to change.

If you’re looking for a fast paced, intriguing read about our modern immigration system, I highly recommend checking out Conditional Citizens. This book serves as a great reminder of how far we still have to go as a country, and shows us how we can be better allies and fight for justice in different ways that will move us further in the right direction for not just improving our citizenship process, but becoming more accepting of others. This was the first book I read by Laila Lalami and I look forward to reading more by her 🤗


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Conditional Citizens by Laila Lalami is best paired with SOBO by Monument City Brewing Company; a juicy and smooth New England IPA brewed with tangerines 🍻

Full Pour Review: Outspoken

For such a small book, this one sure did pack a mighty punch! Outspoken: Why Women’s Voices Get Silenced and How to Set Them Free by Veronica Rueckert was a fascinating read, with something in here that would resonate with every woman. This book is filled with a lot of inspiring, infuriating and thought-provoking studies of the role of female voices and how they’re being silenced, as well as effective tips and exercises on how to reclaim our power and ensure we’re being heard.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Women’s voices aren’t being heard—at work, at home, in public, and in every facet of their lives. When they speak up, they’re seen as pushy, loud, and too much. When quiet, they’re dismissed as meek and mild. Everywhere they turn, they’re confronted by the assumptions of a male-dominated world.

From the Supreme Court to the conference room to the classroom, women are interrupted far more often than their male counterparts. In the lab, researchers found that female executives who speak more often than their peers are rated 14 percent less competent, while male executives who do the same enjoy a 10 percent competency bump.

In Outspoken, Veronica Rueckert—a Peabody Award–winning former host at Wisconsin Public Radio, trained opera singer, and communications coach—teaches women to recognize the value of their voices and tap into their inherent power, potential, and capacity for self-expression. Detailing how to communicate in meetings, converse around the dinner table, and dominate political debates, Outspoken provides readers with the tools, guidance, and encouragement they need to learn to love their voices and rise to the obligation to share them with the world.

Outspoken is a substantive yet entertaining analysis of why women still haven’t been fully granted the right to speak, and a guide to how we can start changing the culture of silence. Positive, instructive, and supportive, this welcome and much-needed handbook will help reshape the world and make it better for women—and for everyone. It’s time to stop shutting up and start speaking out.”

I’ll be honest and say that I went into this book blindly and was pleasantly surprised by Rueckert’s focus on exercises for adjusting your actual voice projection, not just tips and tricks for how to speak more confidently and boldly. This book wasn’t totally what I expected, but I enjoyed it for what it was. It is very clear that a lot of research and passion went into this book and through her discoveries and advice, Veronica Rueckert has helped me become more cognizant of my own voice and natural tendencies/reservations when it comes to speaking out. I feel that there are a lot of useful nuggets of information scattered throughout this book that will help me reclaim my confidence and voice in situations where it matters most and I look forward to putting this feedback into action.

In a world where women need to be reminded of their power and encouraged to speak their truth, both in the workplace and in their personal lives, Outspoken by Veronica Rueckert arrives at the perfect time 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Outspoken by Veronica Rueckert is best paired with Save Your Blushes by Idiom Brewing Co. This delicious strawberry cheesecake milkshake IPA is the first of many female brewed beers at this brewery. Made with Barbe Rouge hops, strawberries, graham cracker, vanilla and lactose, this beer is a perfect representation of this classic dessert 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Outsider

I am reluctant to admit this, but this was the first Stephen King novel I’ve ever read. I know, I know- what kind of reader/Bookstagrammer am I?! 🙃 However- I’m not a fan of horror and so for the longest time, I was turned off by reading Stephen King’s books out of fear that they would be too much for me. I am really happy that I started with The Outsider though- I LOVED the TV series when it came out last year so I was definitely interested in reading the book. This book absolutely did not disappoint and just like the TV show, I loved that it was a slow burning plot but consistently eery enough to grip your attention throughout the entire book.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is discovered in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens—Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon have DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying details begin to emerge, King’s story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.”

Stephen King is a great storyteller and I really enjoyed how immersive and suspenseful the reading experience was. He’s very detailed in describing the scenery, the characters, their thoughts and emotions, etc. and because of that, I felt like we got to know each of the main characters pretty well and really understand just how deeply this horrifying incident shook the residents of Flint City. In comparison to what I remember from the TV series, I felt that with the book we got much more detailed accounts of what happened to Frankie Peterson as well as more insight as to how El Cuco haunted various characters such as Jeannie, Jessa Maitland, Jack Hoskins, Claude Bolton and more.

For how intense of a story this was, I felt that the pacing of the book and strong attention to detail was very appropriate and that it kept the story so intriguing. I also felt that the ending was satisfying, thought-provoking, and left the reader with the perfect amount of curiosity.

If you’re like me and aren’t a fan of horror, have never read any of Stephen King’s books, and/or are looking for an eery, captivating and slow burning thriller that will leave you with a lot to think about, I definitely recommend checking out The Outsider. To those of you who are Stephen King fans, I would love to hear your recommendations on which books by him I should consider reading next!


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Outsider by Stephen King is best paired with Harvest Autumn IPA by Southern Tier Brewing Company. Untappd best describes this enjoyable seasonal IPA as “brewed with American hops, cracked barley and hard work as a tribute to what makes this beer so special – the harvest”🍻

Full Pour Review: Know My Name

FUCK, man – talk about another incredible book to start off 2021! Know My Name by Chanel Miller is a moving, powerful and heart-wrenching memoir that left me absolutely speechless. Chanel is such an impressive human being and it was a privilege to hear her story. This book will captivate you from the beginning and take you on the emotional roller coaster ride you didn’t realize how much you needed.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Universally acclaimed, rapturously reviewed, and an instant New York Times bestseller, Chanel Miller’s breathtaking memoir “gives readers the privilege of knowing her not just as Emily Doe, but as Chanel Miller the writer, the artist, the survivor, the fighter.” ( The Wrap). Her story of trauma and transcendence illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicting a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shining with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.

Know My Name will forever transform the way we think about sexual assault, challenging our beliefs about what is acceptable and speaking truth to the tumultuous reality of healing. Entwining pain, resilience, and humor, this memoir will stand as a modern classic.”

First off, Chanel is a very talented writer and I want to applaud her for approaching her trauma in such a beautiful and hopeful way. This was a very emotional read and I was utterly moved by her resilience as I watched her grow through her pain and find herself again through the pages of this book. I am in awe of her strength, passion and commitment to fight for justice and hold predators accountable for their sexual assault. This story should absolutely be required reading for everyone, not just those who know of, or work with, sexual assault victims or predators. Brock Turner’s sentencing is a truly embarrassing example of how far we still have to go as a society to not only encourage victims to share their truths, but completely overhaul the way we currently address these crimes in the justice system. Because of Chanel’s courage and perseverance, I am hopeful that one day we will eventually get to where we need to be. Because of Chanel, I know we will be better.

Hands down, Know My Name is the most memorable and powerful memoir I have ever read and it goes without saying that this one will be on my mind for a very long time. If you haven’t read this book yet, please do yourself a favor and move it to the front of your TBR list- I promise you will thank me later.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Know My Name by Chanel Miller is best paired with Savage IPA by Burley Oak Brewing Company, a deliciously smooth and crushable New England IPA 🍻

Full Pour Review: Born a Crime

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah was one of the best memoirs I’ve read this year. Trevor lived a truly fascinating life and I was blown away by his story. Embarrassingly enough, prior to reading his book, I didn’t know much at all about apartheid and I’m thankful for everything I learned from the recollections he shared. This book was very insightful and thought provoking and while there were definitely parts that made me sad and angry, the majority of this book made me smile, laugh and cheer.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

“Born a Crime” is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

I really enjoyed learning about Trevor’s upbringing and was awe-inspired by how him and his mother conquered poverty, racism, violence, domestic abuse, and more. Trevor’s rebellious nature was incredibly entertaining at times, and some of his stories had me crying from laughing so hard (especially the poop story from his childhood- IYKYK). If there was anything I wish I could’ve learned more about in this book, it would be how his career as a comedian took off and how he got where he is today. However, that was not the focus of his story and the beauty of this story is understanding the hardships he and his family, and so many others, endured during apartheid and what he has achieved in spite of having so many odds stacked against him as a child. I also loved how this book was essentially a tribute to the unwavering love and support by his mother. She sounds like an incredibly brave and strong woman, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her through this book as well.

I truly can’t recommend this memoir enough. For how much raw emotion these intense subjects sparked in this book, it’s Trevor’s incredible narrative that truly made this story educational yet entertaining as hell. This one deserves to be added to your 2021 TBR list if you haven’t already read it.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah is best paired with Beer Drinking is Not a Crime by Aslin Beer Co. This highly enjoyable double dry-hopped DIPA is brewed with Nelson and Citra hops 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett

What a BEAUTIFUL story! 🥰 I can easily say that The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons is one of my favorite books from 2020 and one that will stick with me for a long time. With an emotional and heartwarming story line, and charming characters whose personalities and growth will leave you smiling, I found this story to be thought provoking and hard to put down.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “It’s never too late to start living.

Eudora Honeysett is done with this noisy, moronic world—all of it. She has witnessed the indignities and suffering of old age and has lived a full life. At eighty-five, she isn’t going to leave things to chance. Her end will be on her terms. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland, a plan is set in motion.

Then she meets ten-year-old Rose Trewidney, a whirling, pint-sized rainbow of sparkling cheer. All Eudora wants is to be left alone to set her affairs in order. Instead, she finds herself embarking on a series of adventures with the irrepressible Rose and their affable neighbor, the recently widowed Stanley—afternoon tea, shopping sprees, trips to the beach, birthday celebrations, pizza parties. 

While the trio of unlikely BFFs grow closer and anxiously await the arrival of Rose’s new baby sister, Eudora is reminded of her own childhood—of losing her father during World War II and the devastating impact it had on her entire family. In reflecting on her past, Eudora realizes she must come to terms with what lies ahead. 

But now that her joy for life has been rekindled, how can she possibly say goodbye?”

Annie Lyon’s is a wonderful author and storyteller. For this story, I loved that it was told solely from the perspective of Eudora and that it flipped back and forth between her past and present so that you could really gain an understanding of the difficult life that Eudora has lived and why she was ready to take control of her death. Eudora experienced a very difficult life full of heartache, loss, guilt and regret and at 85 years old, she is incredibly aware of her mortality and is simply tired and ready to end her life. Being able to see Eudora change over the course of the book and watch her slowly let go of the past that weighed her down so much over the years was liberating.

The intergenerational friendship that Eudora develops with Rose and Stanley is incredibly tender, pure and healing, showing Eudora that life is worth living when you have wonderful people in your life. I couldn’t get enough of Rose’s eccentric, witty, loving personality and infectious energy. Stanley is a very funny, loving and loyal gentleman who is recently widowed, and through their shared heartbreaks, Eudora and Stanley were able to help heal one another and find the strength to continue living their lives to their fullest while they still have time.

I honestly can’t praise this book enough. If you’re looking for a story that will make you laugh, cry, and smile all at once, I highly recommend you check out this book. This is the first book that I’ve read by Annie Lyons and I can’t wait to check out more by her. Thank you so much WilliamMorrow for gifting me this incredible story in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons is best paired with Baby Shark by Aslin Beer Company, a delicious citra dry-hopped IPA 🍻