Full Pour Review: Big Summer

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

“Big Summer” by Jennifer Weiner was an entertaining story about female friendships, frenemies, self love, family, resilience and life as an Instagram influencer. I went into this book blind and was happy that I did, as there was a pleasantly surprising whodunnit twist to the story that I wasn’t expecting!

Six years after the devastating fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is totally shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks right back into her life with a huge favor to ask. Daphne and Drue haven’t spoken a single word to each other in six years, so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the most anticipated wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless and weary of Drue’s intentions.

While Drue was always the one with the seemingly perfect life, she has never been able to maintain healthy friendships. As a result of the fight from six years ago, Daphne’s built a life that she loves and is no longer the same self-effacing sidekick that she was in high school. She has a wonderful friendship with her childhood friend and roommate Darshi, and a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Daphne knows that allowing Drue back into her life is risky, but it includes an irresistible opportunity to spend a weekend at a waterfront Cape Cod mansion- a chance to meet some cute single guys and the perfect Instagram-worthy setting to photograph the new line of clothing she was recently contracted to be the face of.

I enjoyed the character development of Daphne Berg throughout the story and found her to be very strong, relatable and real. We’ve all experienced issues with self-love, body image, sticking up for ourselves, and frenemies, and I loved how gracefully Daphne handled these issues through out the story. Drue Cavanaugh’s character gave off all of the Regina George and Mean Girls vibes, which I both enjoyed and hated. I adored Darshi’s character and felt that she was such a great loyal, loving friend to Daphne- always honest and telling her like it is, but giving her the space to figure things out for herself and providing a non-judgmental, safe space when she needs it most.

One minor aspect of the book that I didn’t completely understand is why the very beginning of the book started off from the perspective of a character who only reappears for a short period of time later in the story. While the story is primarily told by the perspective of Daphne, the initial character perspective at the beginning of the book almost feels out of place and a little unnecessary. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on this as well if you’ve read the book.

A lot of reviews I’ve seen say that this book feels like there are almost two stories in one- the first part of the book feels like a women’s fiction read, while the second half feels like a thriller. I absolutely agree with these thoughts and I think that surprise shift in the story made it that much more enjoyable.

Overall, I thought this was a really enjoyable story. Big Summer is the first book I’ve read by by Jennifer Weiner and I feel like I’ve been missing out. This book was a great first read by this author and I look forward to exploring more of her books!

Beer Recommendation: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner is best paired with Salted Rim by 1623 Brewing Co. This delicious, balanced sour gose gives all of the margarita vibes with notes of lime, salt, and a slight agave after taste 🍻

Full Pour Review: After I Do

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I have heard so many amazing things about Taylor Jenkins Reid and her books and was absolutely thrilled to finally read my first book by her recently, After I Do. OMG you guys- I absolutely see what the hype was all about! This book was amazing and everything that I hoped it to be, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t tear up several times while reading this.

After I Do is an incredibly sweet, modern love story about the marriage between Lauren and Ryan Cooper who met in college at 19 years old, fell in love, and got married. After 11 years together, they begin to fight a lot and forget the reasons why they fell in love with one another and how to make one another happy. When their marriage reaches its breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan to take a year long break from one another in effort to find a way to fall in love again. During this time, they are not allowed to contact one another and will be dating other people. Over the course of a year, Lauren goes through a beautiful journey of self-discovery and begins to change her ideas on what love and marriage are and what she truly values both in life and in a relationship.

I absolutely adored this beautiful story and fell in love with all of the characters in this book. Lauren and Ryan were incredibly relatable and I loved being able to watch them grow throughout the book. Their relationship struggles are something that most of us have experienced at one point or another and it felt like a beautiful reminder about how fragile, wonderful, and complicated love can be. I felt so immersed in their story and relished in all of the emotions I was able to feel while navigating their journey. All of the supporting characters in this story were amazing as well and I loved the various little storylines with each of them.

This story is about what happens when the romance and love fades in a relationship and how to stay in love. It’s about the importance of never giving up and not being afraid to ask for what you want and need in a relationship. It’s a reminder that everyones opinion on love and marriage drastically varies and that there is no definitive one-size-fits-all meaning or guide to follow. If you are looking for a feel good modern love story that will not only be difficult to put down, but teach you some wonderful reminders and insights about love, family and relationships, I highly recommend reading this book!

BEER PAIRING: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid is best paired with No Way Frose by Prairie Artisan Ales. This enjoyable, lightly tart sour ale is brewed with juniper, lime zest, pineapple purée and strawberries, reminiscent of the traditional Frose drink 🍻

Full Pour Review: Conjure Women

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Conjure Women was my first buddy read with my amazing bookish girl gang on Bookstagram and I’m so glad that we selected this as our first book because there was a lot to digest and discuss afterwards, hence the reason I delayed writing this review as long as I did.

Conjure Women is set in the South and spans over the course of multiple generations before and after the Civil War. Moving back and forth in time among the characters, this story focuses on three women- a healing woman named May Belle, her daughter Rue, and their master’s daughter, Varina. The secrets and deep-rooted bonds that these three women share come to a head when the Civil War begins and upon the birth of a child that is believed to be cursed. The birth of this child, Bean, brings forth a lot of fear and superstition among the townspeople that they worry will threaten their newfound freedom.

While this book was beautifully written and very interesting, I feel like I read this at the wrong time because I struggled with being able to focus and deeply appreciate everything being presented in the story. I fully intend on re-reading this book when I am able to devote all of the attention that it deserves. For now, I absolutely can’t give this book anything less than a rating of 4 stars because the story overall was very rich and beautifully written with complex characters. It is very clear how much passion went into writing this story.

If you’ve already read this book, I would love to know your thoughts on it and continue to discuss it! 🤗

BEER PAIRING: Conjure Women by Afia Atakora is best paired with Bamburana by Oskar Blues Brewery and Cigar City Brewing. This boozy beer is an imperial stout double barrel-aged in whiskey and brandy barrels with amburana wood spirals, dates and figs. The wood produces a warm, gingerbread spice flavor as well as hints of vanilla 🍻

Full Pour Review: Godshot

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Godshot by Chelsea Bieker was truly a remarkable read that took me on a roller coaster ride of so many different thoughts and emotions. This unnerving debut novel paints a tragic, yet gripping picture of girlhood, mother loss, cults, religious extremities, resilience, trauma, sexual violence, desperation, belonging, alcoholism, and much more, leaving the reader with so much to chew on.

Godshot is based in the drought-stricken town of Peaches, California, where its citizens have turned to a cult leader named Pastor Vern for guidance and assurance that their raisin farms will return to the agricultural paradise that they used to be. According to Vern, the answers to their prayers lie within the special, secret assignments that are carried out by a select chosen few. Lacey May has seen Pastor Vern bring rain to the town before, so she has no reason not to trust his intentions this time around. That is, until her entire world is quickly turned upside down. At fourteen years old, Lacey May is so excited to finally get her first period, indicating that she is now ready for her special assignment. Shortly after, her mother is banished from the church for her sins and abandons Lacey May by running off with a man she hardly knows. Now under the guardianship of her grandmother, Lacey May begins to piece together the horrifying details of Pastor Vern’s plan and decides to go search for her mom and bring her home with the help of a woman who may know her whereabouts.

“I imagined her floating above our beloved town of Peaches, dropping God glitter over us like an angel, summoning the rain to cure our droughted fields. I imagined all these things with a burn of jealousy, for I had not received my woman’s blessing yet, the rush of blood between my legs that would signify me as useful. I’d just turned fourteen but was still a board-chested child in the eyes of God and Pastor Vern, and so I prayed day and night for the blood to come to me in a river, to flood the bed I shared with my mother. Then I would be ready. I could have an assignment too.”

Lacey May, Godshot

Godshot is full of many larger-than-life characters that you’ll either love or hate for all the right reasons. Lacey May is incredibly strong, brave, heroic, loyal, forgiving, naive and good hearted. I loved being able to watch how much her character grew up over the course of the story and was amazed at how forgiving and loving she remained despite everything she went through with her mom, Vern, Lyle and Cherry. Lacey May’s mom is a very complex character who suffers from alcoholism and incredibly low self esteem, continuously dating terrible men that verbally and physically abuse her and her daughter. This abusive cycle eventually leads Lacey May’s mom to be banished from Vern’s church, abandoning her daughter in the process. The majority of the book is centered around Lacey May trying to find her mom and bring her “home”, and the aching loss that she feels as she slowly comes to terms that her mom may never be a part of her life again. One of my favorite characters in the book was Daisy, a single mother to Florin who ran a small business as a phone sex operator. She became an amazing mother-figure to Lacey May, taking her under her wing and giving her the type of love, protection and guidance that she had so desperately craved to receive from her own mother.

Bieker’s storytelling is impeccable, fully immersing the reader inside Lacey May’s world and providing a glimpse into a seemingly dystopian society that reminded me a lot of Gilead and The Handmaid’s Tale. I personally have a lot of mixed feelings about religion and tend to feel uncomfortable by the subject matter, so while this book was difficult at times for me to read, I loved Bieker’s ability to take such a jarring subject matter and make it comical, frustrating, heart wrenching and even exciting.

“Vern breezed to the front, an impatient energy about him. He wrung his hands and kept glancing toward the main door. “Girls! Your stomachs are growing and growing! Praise be to the one who created us. In your wombs are church babies, of course. Future leaders of our army. Miracles in human form, the greatest offering we can turn over to God. Only then he will bless us with…” “Rain,” we all said together.”


There is SO much that can be discussed about this book, which honestly made this a challenging review for me to write because I absolutely don’t want to give too much away. Overall, this book was beautifully written with many great messages to take away from it. If you are a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale, I would be willing to bet that you will love this book too.

BEER RECOMMENDATION: Godshot is best paired with Even More Jesus by Evil Twin Brewing and Two Roads Brewing Company. Even More Jesus is an imperial stout, clocking in at 12% ABV. This sweet, thick and boozy fudge-like stout is pitch black in color with a mocha brown head and boasts with notes of chocolate, coffee, dark fruits and burnt brown sugar 🍻

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: Such a Fun Age

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Such a Fun Age was an impressive, quick read that all at once was entertaining, enlightening and a little uncomfortable at times. From the very beginning, I was completely engrossed in the story and finished the book in two days.

In this book, Kiley Reid provides timely insights on several important topics such as race, privilege, social biases, power struggles and boundaries in a comical way through the complicated relationships between characters Emira Tucker, Alix Chamberlain and Kelly Copeland.

Alix Chamberlain is a young blogger who hires 25 year old Emira Tucker to babysit her 2 year old child, Briar. One late evening while Emira is out celebrating a friends birthday, Alix calls her in an emergency, hoping that Emira could help them by entertaining Briar away from home while Alix and her husband Peter addressed the situation. While walking around a local grocery store with Briar, another customer became concerned that a young black girl was out so late with a white toddler and reported her to the grocery store security guard. In front of a small gathering of customers and while being filmed by one of the them, Emira is verbally harassed by this security guard and customer; completely mortified to be accused of kidnapping Briar. Alix is shocked that this incident occurred in her neighborhood store and with the best of intentions, goes out of her way to help make things right for Emira.

At this moment in her life, Emira has no idea what she wants to do when she grows up; concerned that she has not discovered her talents or passions as easily as the rest of her family, and growing increasingly concerned that she will be kicked off of her parents health insurance plan prior to finding a full time job with benefits. While Emira absolutely adores Briar and being her babysitter, she is not the biggest fan of Alix and is wary of her sudden deeper interest and desire to help her.

Kiley Reid’s storytelling ability is incredible and it’s hard to believe that this is her debut novel. While the personalities and lives of Alix and Emira were vastly different, I found them very relatable. I thoroughly enjoyed how entertaining and thought provoking this story was, leaving the reader with so much to reflect on long after they have finished the book. If you’re looking for a fun, dramatic, contemporary fiction story that you can easily power through, I highly recommend checking out “Such a Fun Age.”

Beer Recommendation:

Such a Fun Age is best paired with NOBO by Monument City Brewing Company. NOBO is a delicious New England style IPA that was double dry hopped with Citra and El Dorado hops. This juicy, citrusy beer starts with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel and finishes mildly bitter 🍻