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 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Midnight Library

You guys… this was SUCH a good book. It was heartwarming, it was heartbreaking, it was nerve-racking and it was liberating. It is absolutely no surprise to me that The Midnight Library is currently sitting pretty at #10 on the Amazon Charts this week and has a 4.4 rating with a total of 43,480 reviews.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In “The Midnight Library,” Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

I savored this book over the last few days and I was left in awe of the lessons I learned inside these pages. I simply adored Nora. Matt Haig did a wonderful job at painting such a beautiful character and taking so much care in detailing her flaws, her darkness, and her transformation with such care. I also found Nora to be incredibly relatable in several ways. I too, overthink majority of what I do and say. I too, fear of disappointing others and tend to make decisions that satisfy the desires that other people have for me/themselves. I too, replay every decisions that I make and wonder what the outcome would be if I did something different. I too, at times, wonder if the life I’m living is what I should be doing and what I could be doing instead to be happier. Navigating Nora’s journey throughout this book and watching her get to live out many different lives helped allow me to think deeply about some of my own possible lives and served as an excellent reminder of how beautiful and messy and wonderful life is and how this life I am living is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

After a year of feeling a lot of uncertainty in many ways, and for simply just being such an overly anxious person constantly thinking about the “what if’s” and searching for the meaning in things, The Midnight Library was all at once a breath of fresh air and a warm hug. I’m so thankful that I stumbled across this book on Bookstagram a few months ago and while I did not read it right away, I think the messages and fresh perspectives I took away from this book were received at the perfect time 💛 I know I will be thinking about this book for a while.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is best paired with White Russian by Left Hand Brewing Company. This highly enjoyable nitro white stout contains coffee, vanilla and notes of chocolate 🍻

Full Pour Review: With The Fire On High

Oh my god. I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book! YA is honestly a genre that never really piques my interest, but because I read so many rave reviews about this one on Bookstagram, I decided to give this one a shot. I’m so glad that I did, because this story was absolutely wonderful and is the best YA book I’ve read in a really long time.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela.

The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.”

Elizabeth Acevedo is a very talented writer and absolutely kills it with a captivating storyline, well developed characters, and addressing delicate topics in such a beautiful way. Acevedo does an incredible job at crushing the stigma and societal hypocrisy around teenage pregnancy with the main character, Emoni, who is an incredibly brave, strong, hardworking, loyal, talented, creative and loving mother/daughter/granddaughter/friend, etc. I loved being able to watch her mature as she overcame several challenges and fears with grace throughout this book. Emoni is an incredible role model and her character made me so proud, wishing I could step into the story and give her a huge hug. I also loved the supporting characters that played such a crucial role in Emoni’s life and senior year- ‘Buela, Angelica, Malachi, Chef Ayden, Chef Amadi, Ms. Fuentes, and even Tyrone. It was refreshing being able to watch Emoni and Tyrone handle their unique relationship in such a mature way, and seeing them grow throughout the book and increasingly support one another as co-parents in order to best raise Emma and support one another in achieving their own personal goals was beautiful.

I also loved that this book centered around Emoni’s passion for cooking and her natural skills at creating incredible meals that are known for eliciting so much emotion from others and bringing people together. I loved the recipes placed throughout the book and Acevedo’s attention to detail in describing Emoni’s culinary experiences to the reader was mouth-watering. I was truly captivated by Emoni’s passion and perseverance when it came to chasing her culinary dreams.

I truly can’t recommend this book enough, especially for those like me who aren’t as into YA novels. If you’re looking for a feel-good story with a wonderful storyline and inspiring characters that will stick with you for a long time, you need to read this. This was the first book I’ve read by Elizabeth Acevedo and it absolutely lived up to all the hype. I am officially looking forward to moving the other books I own by her at the top of my TBR list.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo is best paired with Nitro Crème Brûlée by Southern Tier Brewing Company. This delicious imperial milk stout is like liquid dessert-smooth, creamy and sweet with flavors of burnt sugar 🍻

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: 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 🍻