Full Pour Review: The Simple Wild

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

WOW, you guys… I am speechless. I went in to this book with high expectations due to all of the praise this book has received on Bookstagram and without a doubt, The Simple Wild absolutely lived up to the hype and is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I can’t even begin to describe all of the feelings K.A. Tucker made me feel with this one, but it was a wild ride and now I DESPERATELY need to get my hands on Wild At Heart.

24 years ago, Susan Fletcher left her husband Wren and life in Alaska to return home to Toronto with their 2 year old daughter, Calla. During those 24 years, Calla has neither returned to Alaska or seen her father. Now, 26 years old, Calla finds out that her father has been diagnosed with lung cancer and decides to fly to Alaska to meet her dad and reconnect with him in the remaining time he has left. During her time in Alaska, she meets Jonah, who lives next door to her father and helps him run his charter plane company, Alaska Wild. While Calla initially struggles to adjust to the vastly different life in Alaska, Jonah can’t imagine living anywhere else or adapting any other lifestyle. Calla thinks that Jonah is a brooding, stubborn asshole and Jonah thinks that Calla is way too pampered to handle life in Bangor. Determined to prove him wrong, Calla and Jonah wind up forming a bond that slowly develops into a romantic relationship- one that Calla is too scared to pursue long term out of fear of choosing the same path that her parents attempted, and failed at, many years ago.

There are so many things that I LOVED about this book: the budding relationship between Calla and Wren, the friendship of Agnes and Maybel, the steamy romance and witty banter of Calla and Jonah, the Alaska Wild family, the unwavering sense of understanding from Simon, Calla’s growth and maturity during her time in Alaska with her father, the love between Wren and Susan… I could honestly go on and on. K.A. Tucker is an incredible writer and storyteller- this story left me utterly floored and the ending was incredibly heart wrenching yet satisfying, and left me immediately wanting more.

This book deserves all of the stars. If you’re looking for an incredible story with romance, complex relationships, family drama, and a beautiful journey of self-discovery that will leave you breathless, make you smile, cry, laugh and cheer, The Simple Wild is your next must-read.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker is best paired with Dragon’s Milk White by New Holland Brewing. Dragon’s Milk White is a light and smooth bourbon barrel aged white stout with notes of coffee, vanilla, cocoa and oak🍻

Full Pour Review: You Had Me at Hola

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Okay, you guys… I am convinced that You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria is going to be the next favorite rom-com on Bookstagram after the Beach Read craze. This book was everything I expected it to be and more, and I can’t wait for everyone to read this!

After a humiliating public breakup that ended up all over the tabloids, Jasmine Lin Rodriguez is thrilled to be flying back home to NY where she can have a fresh start. In NY, she will be starring as the leading role in a new romantic comedy television series called “Carmen In Charge” alongside Ashton Suarez, an incredibly sexy, well-known telenovela star. Both Jasmine and Ashton are looking forward to “Carmen In Charge” being the show they need to really launch their careers, and are committed to making this show and their on-screen chemistry irresistible. After a mortifying first encounter with one another, Jasmine and Ashton agree that running their lines together in privacy would help them feel more comfortable with one another. However, the off-screen attraction between Jasmine and Ashton is undeniable and their private rehearsals turn into a steamy romance behind the scenes. While this helps improve their on-screen performance together, they soon find themselves under the media spotlight which threatens to expose Ashton’s most private secret and destroy Jasmine’s newly repaired image.

First off, the intense chemistry between Ashton and Jasmine is completely swoon-worthy and steamy and I could not get enough of their love story. Alexis Daria did an amazing job with the character development of Jasmine and Ashton throughout the book. Their characters were real, relatable and hard not to fall in love with. Jasmine and Ashton are both incredibly strong characters that overcome a lot of personal struggles with self doubt, trust, communication and love. I loved that the story was written from both of their point of views in such a way that allowed me to feel completely immersed in their worlds.

Second, I enjoyed the glimpse into the glamorous and dramatic world of telenovelas as well as the latinx culture presented in the book. I liked how the story was written where some chapters were about Ashton and Jasmine’s off-camera love story, and other chapters were episodes from the telenovela show that they were filming together, “Carmen In Charge.”

If you are looking for a fun, lighthearted, witty and STEAMY rom-com (and if you were a fan of Beach Read!), I highly recommend checking out You Had Me at Hola, releasing on August 4th. Thank you so much NetGalley and HarperCollins for gifting me this eARC in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria is best paired with Double Blend by Downeast Cider House. This delicious unfiltered cider is a variation their original cider, but a little less sweet and higher in ABV 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Safe Place

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Whew! – Anna Downes took me on a ride with this one. The Safe Place was not at all what I was expecting, and I thoroughly enjoyed this story and how much it kept me guessing.

Emily Proudman lost her temp job at Proem Partners, her apartment, and her acting agent all in one day. Distracted and sobbing after leaving the meeting with her agent, she almost gets hit by a bus and is rescued none other than Scott Denny, the CEO of Proem Partners. During this encounter, Scott learns of Emily being fired from Proem and offers her another employment opportunity to work as a personal assistant for him and his family at their estate in France. Despite feeling hesitant about this offer that feels way too good to be true, Emily is desperate for an opportunity to start fresh and agrees to Scott’s offer. Life at the estate feels like heaven, and Emily has never been happier- she’s getting along well with his beautiful wife Nina and eccentric daughter Aurelia, and is beginning to feel like a French local. However, some things really are too good to be true and Emily soon begins to realize that things aren’t as they seem and that the Denny family is hiding a huge secret- one that could get Emily killed if she doesn’t go along with it…

I enjoyed the slow, brilliant burn with this book. Until I was about 75% into the story, I truly had no idea where the story line was going and the mystery and character development throughout the book kept me on the edge of my seat.

The story was written primarily from the POV’s of Emily and Scott, but Nina’s POV made random appearances during Emily’s and Scott’s respective chapters. Anna Downes did a great job with the character development of Emily Proudman. I really enjoyed getting to know her character and see her grow and mature by the end of the book. Scott and Nina’s characters were very intriguing and mysterious, and while I enjoyed being able to get inside Scott’s head during his chapters, I feel that we could’ve gotten a little more out of their characters. Personally, I would’ve loved if the book included chapters that were primarily written in Nina’s POV, as I feel like there is so much history to uncover about who Nina is and what she has suffered from. Without giving anything away, both Nina’s and Scott’s characters left me with a lot of questions at the end of the story based on things that occurred throughout the book that I would’ve loved to get answers for. That being said, the ending of the story was still very satisfying and I was so proud of Emily and her strength.

If you’re looking for a good vacation thriller, I definitely recommend checking out The Safe Place, releasing on July 14th 💛 thank you so much NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for this gifted eARC in exchange for my honest review!


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Safe Place by Anna Downes is best paired with White by Downeast Cider House. This delicious take on an *almost* classic unfiltered Belgian style is brewed with orange peel, lemon peel, and cracked coriander 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Holy shit, you guys. I absolutely adored this book. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid was on my list for several months and the only thing I regret about this book is that it took me so damn long to get around to it. The hype behind this book is very real- and it surpassed every expectation I had.

At 79 years old, reclusive Hollywood movie starlet Evelyn Hugo is ready to share the story behind her glamorous, scandalous life in the form of a tell-all book. Evelyn doesn’t just want anyone though to share her story with and provide this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She specifically wants Monique Grant to write her story. Nobody is more surprised to hear this than Monique- she is not exactly the most well known or established writer in her field. In fact, her professional life is going nowhere. Thrilled by the promise that this opportunity would jumpstart her career in a major way, she agrees to write Evelyn’s story.

Evelyn is infamous for her seven husbands and everyone wants to know her side of the story- did Evelyn ever truly love these men? What did they mean to her? Who was the love of her life? Inside Evelyn’s luxury apartment home, Monique is fascinated by the details of Evelyn’s story: leaving New York for a life in Los Angeles in the 1950s, deciding to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. During this time with Evelyn, Monique begins to feel a genuine connection form with her and almost as quickly as this connection was established, it is threatened to be destroyed once she discovers the truth behind why Evelyn chose her to tell her story.

“Sometimes reality comes crashing down on you. Other times reality simply waits, patiently, for you to run out of the energy it takes to deny it.”

Evelyn Hugo

First, I need to mention how BRILLIANT the characters were. I am *obsessed* with Evelyn Hugo and completely blown away and in awe of her character. Evelyn is an incredibly strong woman who is fierce, loyal, honest, unapologetic, driven, wonderfully flawed, unconventional and I loved absolutely everything about her. While her character could easily be viewed by some as unlikable after learning some of her secrets, I found her to be very real, relatable, and admirable. Her life story was beautiful and messy and flawed and just down right perfect. Taylor Jenkins Reid did an absolutely amazing job with her character development throughout the story, as well as Monique’s. I admired Moniques tenacity and strength throughout the story as well, and applauded her grace at the end of the story.

Second, the old Hollywood glamour throughout this book is addictive, swoon worthy and mesmerizing. Taylor Jenkins Reid is truly a brilliant writer that knows exactly how to immerse her reader into the story. I was hooked from the very beginning of the book and did not want to put it down.

Finally, I couldn’t get enough of all of the unexpected turns and touching messages about heartbreak, betrayal, love, sexuality, loyalty, authenticity, race and so much more.

Without a doubt, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is one of my favorite books of 2020 and I highly recommend checking it out if you have not already. It is a heartbreaking, beautiful and mesmerizing literary work of art that will stay with me for a long time.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is best paired with Bomb! by Prairie Artisan Ales. This flavor intense and slightly spicy imperial stout is aged on Nordaggio’s espresso beans, ancho chili peppers, chocolate and vanilla beans 🍻

Full Pour Review: Here For It

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Okay, this is officially the best memoir I’ve read so far this year 👏🏻 Within the first few pages, Here For It by R. Eric Thomas had me smiling and cracking up, and I continued to smile and laugh throughout the entire story. To be perfectly honest, I knew I was going to be hooked on this book by like page 3 of the prologue 😂

Here For It is a collection of essays where R. Eric Thomas examines his personal experiences on what it was like to be an “other,” his struggle with reconciling his sexual and religious identities, finding his way during and after college, poor dating decisions, accidentally getting famous on the internet (a few times!), and stumbling upon his career with Elle. R. Eric Thomas ultimately takes all of these lessons learned along the way and uses them to answer the questions we’re all trying to figure out ourselves: is the future worth it? Do things really get better? How do we power through when things only seem to be getting worse?

“You’re exactly who you need to be. Each of you. It may not feel like it; it may seem like it would be much easier being anyone else. You may look back at the person you were at one point and wish that you could instead be the person you are now at that far distant, unreachable point in the past. But you had to be who you were to get to who you are. Every page in the story is successive; they’re all numbered and bound like a book.”

R. Eric Thomas, referring to the various versions of oneself at different ages

You guys, I didn’t want this book to end. I honestly couldn’t get enough of R. Eric Thomas’s quirky and witty remarks, pop-culture references and beautiful candor. Please stop whatever you’re doing and buy this book- not just because of how joyful, entertaining and deeply moving it is (and because you will want him to be your new BFF), but because this book is exactly what 2020 needs and I promise that there is something within it that will surely resonate with everyone 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Here For It by R. Eric Thomas is best paired with Guns ‘n’ Rosé by Oskar Blues Brewery. Guns ‘n’ Rosé is a fruit ale brewed with hibiscus and prickly pear, playing off of the dry, tart or fruity flavors and pinkish color of rosé wines 🍻

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.

I’m gonna be totally honest with you guys. I really wanted to love this book but I struggled with it and it just didn’t do much for me. I don’t know if it’s because it was hard to focus due to everything going on right now, or if it was the writing style and story plot itself that just didn’t pique my interest like I expected it to, or if it just simply is not the book for me. I found myself re-reading a lot of parts and felt like the plot fell flat, struggling to identify where the story was going and was left with a lot of questions at the end. The first 150 pages were hard to get through and while things slowly started to pick up a little after that, I felt like a lot of the surprise twists were randomly snuck into the story and not as strong as they could’ve been due to how slow the story was and not being totally sure what was happening and why. It’s very possible that because I was struggling to focus, I could have missed out on some key pieces of information that would have helped me better understand some things.

I think that it’s worth revisiting when things are back to normal to see if I feel any different. I absolutely can’t give it anything less than a rating of 3.5 because the story overall was very rich and beautifully written with complex characters. It is very clear how much research and passion went into writing this story. Please don’t let my opinion discourage you from reading this book because there are so many glowing reviews and there is so much potential with 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.”

Godshot

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: 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 🍻