Full Pour Review: Jackie and Maria

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Historical fiction is a genre that I have not explored much of, but am working on changing that! Jackie and Maria by Gill Paul is a wonderful historical fiction novel that focuses on Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas and their connection with one another through their involvement with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, one of the world’s most richest and captivating men. I was so intrigued by these women and their experiences that I binged this book pretty quickly, struggling to put it down.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: The President’s Wife; a Glamorous Superstar; the rivalry that shook the world…

Jackie Kennedy was beautiful, sophisticated, and contemplating leaving her ambitious young senator husband. Life in the public eye with an overly ambitious–and unfaithful―man who could hardly be coaxed to return from a vacation after the birth of a stillborn child was breaking her spirit. So when she’s offered a holiday on the luxurious yacht owned by billionaire Ari Onassis, she says yes…to a meeting that will ultimately change her life.

Maria Callas is at the height of her operatic career and widely considered to be the finest soprano in the world. And then she’s introduced to Aristotle Onassis, the world’s richest man and her fellow Greek. Stuck in a childless, sexless marriage, and with pressures on all sides from opera house managers and a hostile press, she finds her life being turned upside down by this hyper-intelligent and impeccably charming man…

Little by little, Maria’s and Jackie’s lives begin to overlap, and they come closer and closer until everything they know about the world changes on a dime.

Gill Paul is an incredible writer and storyteller and I found myself in awe of her skills. She will take you on a mesmerizing emotional rollercoaster with this one as you navigate through the years preceding JFK’s presidency and after his assassination. Alternating between both Jackie’s and Maria’s perspectives, this book was full of glitz and glamour that featured a lot of beautiful Mediterranean background. I was INVESTED in these characters- I absolutely adored learning so much fascinating info about these two beautiful, complicated women and my heart ached for them throughout the book as I learned about the infidelity and fertility issues that both women faced and how these experiences shaped their lives. The small glimpse of the PTSD experienced by Jackie Kennedy after JFK’s assassination was truly heartbreaking to read about as well.

I enjoyed this book so much and if you haven’t already read this book, I highly recommend checking it out. Not only is it a wonderfully written and captivating story in general, it’s a wonderful read for those interested in Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas, as well as anyone (like me!) who doesn’t read much historical fiction or know much about these women at all! Thank you so much WilliamMorrow for gifting me this wonderful story in exchange for my honest review! I will be thinking about this one for a while 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Jackie and Maria by Gill Paul is best paired with Native Peach by Downeast Cider House. This deliciously refreshing peach cider is both sweet and tart with subtle flavoring in the beginning that grows with every sip 🍻

Full Pour Review: Vanishing Falls

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Set in a small town of Tasmania, Vanishing Falls by Poppy Gee is a slow burning murder mystery full of intriguing characters with dark secrets and a fascinating glimpse into class separation and drug addiction.

DESCRIPTION: Celia Lily is rich, beautiful, and admired. She’s also missing. And the search for the glamorous socialite is about to expose all the dark, dirty secrets of Vanishing Falls…

Deep within the lush Tasmanian rainforest is the remote town of Vanishing Falls, a place with a storied past. The town’s showpiece, built in the 1800s, is its Calendar House—currently occupied by Jack Lily, a prominent art collector and landowner; his wife, Celia; and their four daughters. The elaborate, eccentrically designed mansion houses one masterpiece and 52 rooms—and Celia Lily isn’t in any of them. She has vanished without a trace.…

Joelle Smithton knows that a few folks in Vanishing Falls believe that she’s simple-minded. It’s true that Joelle’s brain works a little differently—a legacy of shocking childhood trauma. But Joelle sees far more than most people realize, and remembers details that others cast away. For instance, she knows that Celia’s husband, Jack, has connections to unsavory local characters whom he’s desperate to keep hidden. He’s not the only one in town with something to conceal. Even Joelle’s own husband, Brian, a butcher, is acting suspiciously. While the police flounder, unable to find Celia, Joelle is gradually parsing the truth from the gossip she hears and from the simple gestures and statements that can unwittingly reveal so much.   

Just as the water from the falls disappears into the ground, gushing away through subterranean creeks, the secrets in Vanishing Falls are pulsing through the town, about to converge. And when they do, Joelle must summon the courage to reveal what really happened to Celia, even if it means exposing her own past…

Poppy Gee is a talented writer. I really enjoyed the complexity of the characters and how the book was told from multiple POV’s- the interwoven character story lines gave me a Big Little Lies vibe. Joelle was an excellent protagonist and I adored her strength, resilience and vulnerability. I also adored her husband Brian and their relationship, but would’ve loved to have learned more about his character. I felt that out of all the characters portrayed in this story, I knew the least about him. I also really enjoyed the setting of the story. Poppy Gee did a fantastic job at illustrating a beautiful and intriguing Tasmanian rain forest setting, as well as the Calendar House occupied by Celia and Jack- I was fascinated by the concept of a house like this and would love to see it in person. The drug addiction and class separation portrayed within this small town was intense and Poppy Gee did a wonderful job at detailing the struggles that the characters (i.e. Cliff and Kim, Brendan and Karen) faced as a direct result of these things. I couldn’t help but feel pain and sadness for these characters.

This was my first novel by Poppy Gee, and I look forward to reading more by this author! If you’re looking for a slow burning murder mystery with intriguing, complex characters and an illustrative setting, I recommend checking out Vanishing Falls. Thank you again so much to WilliamMorrow for gifting me this book in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER DESCRIPTION: Vanishing Falls by Poppy Gee is best paired with Dunkin’ + Pumpkin by Harpoon Brewery. Inspired by everyone’s favorite fall pumpkin latte, this “Spiced Latte Ale” is brewed with real pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices, and a splash of coffee. Light in color and easy-drinking, it’s a perfect blend of all the autumn flavors we love, with just a touch of espresso-like roast 🍻

Full Pour Review: Little Deadly Secrets

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

To say that I enjoyed this book would be a great understatement. Little Deadly Secrets by Pamela Crane is officially one of my favorite suspense novels this year. The opening scene was intense and eery, setting the tone for the rest of the book super fast.

DESCRIPTION: Three best friends. Two unforgiveable sins. One dead body. Mackenzie, Robin, and Lily have been inseparable forever, sharing life’s ups and downs and growing even closer as the years have gone by. They know everything about each other. Or so they believe. Nothing could come between these three best friends . . . except for a betrayal. Nothing could turn them against each other . . . except for a terrible past mistake. Nothing could tear them apart . . . except for murder.

The characters in this book were phenomenal. Pamela Crane did a wonderful job connecting the reader with each of the characters and immersing them into their worlds. I loved that the story was told in multiple POV’s and not just from the adults, but even some of the children. Each character took me on an emotional roller coaster through their intense story lines and I loved how much their strength and vulnerability seeped through the pages. It was incredibly hard not to fall in love with all of the characters and their triumphs, failures and flaws.

I don’t want to go into particular story lines and give too much away, but the drama within this book is very similar to Big Little Lies– domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, drug addiction, infidelity, murder, alcohol abuse, dark secrets, betrayals and more. The building tension, surprise twists and explosive ending kept me on the edge of my seat and made it incredibly hard to put this book down.

I truly can’t recommend this book enough. If you are a fan of Big Little Lies and looking for your next binge-read, I think it’s safe to say that you will love Little Deadly Secrets as well. Thank you again so much to WilliamMorrow for gifting me this amazing book in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Little Deadly Secrets by Pamela Crane is best paired with Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin by New Belgium Brewing Company. Not only is this my absolute favorite pumpkin beer, I’ll bet it’s unlike any pumpkin beer you’ve had before 😉 Not too spicy and not too sweet, this pumpkin ale was brewed with Saigon Cinnamon and Habanero and De Arbol peppers for an explosion of flavors that’ll keep you coming back for more 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Queer Advantage

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

“Being queer has made me more sympathetic to people who are different, all across the board. It’s given me occasion to interrogate my own privilege and consider just how hard other people’s lives are. Because I know how hard my life was and it makes me more able to understand the burdens that other people carry in silence.”

– Jennifer Finney Boylan, The Queer Advantage

Wow… Talk about a feel-good, inspiring book! 🥰 The Queer Advantage by Andrew Gelwicks is a powerful celebration of queerness via essays and interviews that focus on the following key themes: channeling anger in a positive way, the power of the Internet as a tool of self discovery, bridging generational gaps, leveraging your difference to beget new ideas and strategies, finding your queer tribe and leaning on one another, and accessing resources to conquer crippling denial/doubt/internalized homophobia.

This book features 50 high-profile individuals and each individual has a chapter in the book that is set up in an interview format between them and Andrew. Before the interview questions, Andrew provides some interesting background information on each of the individuals. I really liked the layout of this book and I learned so much about each of the people he interviewed. The people interviewed vary from celebrities, politicians, athletes, business leaders, tech leaders, and much more. I loved learning about how each of them navigated coming out to their friends/family/workplaces, their hard-won lessons along the way, and the variety of perspectives that these individuals offered on why their queerness has been advantageous to them and how it has propelled them to forge their own paths in their personal lives, their careers, etc.

“The biggest thing I have (certainly as a writer, but also in other ways) is belief in revision. If you don’t get something right the first time, your life isn’t over. To be willing to admit that any belief you have might be wrong, to be willing to have your mind changed, to be open to new knowledge. What is being transgender if not a kind of cosmic way of believing in the power of multiple drafts? Being trans made me understand you get a lot of shots in this life. It’s never too late to become yourself. It also helped me understand when I was forty that my life wasn’t over. That it was possible to start my life over as a woman and to take the goodness of my earlier life with me…”

– Jennifer Finney Boylan, The Queer Advantage

My favorite take away, and one of the most common pieces of advice offered across all of the interviewees in the book, is the importance of being your most authentic self and bringing that to the table every day. When you are not living your most authentic life, you are only getting in the way of your genuine happiness, success, creativity and more.

“(Being gay) has made me more empathetic, more easily able to understand how other minority groups feel, and how fighting for a group that’s discriminated against is important. I grew up in Sandusky and 30 percent of my classmates were people of color. That was normal to me. But coming out as gay and living through those direct attacks- and understanding how unequal we were- helped me understand how unequal life was for my friends who were people of color. It helped build my sense of empathy, my willingness to speak up on another’s behalf, and to fight.”

⁃ James Obergefell, The Queer Advantage

“Anytime you get to look at things from another point of view is an advantage. That’s why I think being different is always an advantage. The entire structure of the world is built for straight people, and we’re seeing it from a different angle. So if you bring that to bear on your creative projects or businesses, that’s always going to be an advantage.”

⁃ Richie Jackson, The Queer Advantage

Needless to say, I loved this book and can’t wait for the public to get their hands on it! This book is truly for everyone and anyone and I highly recommend checking it out. The Queer Advantage by Andrew Gelwicks hits shelves on 10/13. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Hachette Books for gifting me this wonderful eARC in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Queer Advantage by Andrew Gelwicks is best paired with Double Blueberry and Cherry Funk by Jailbreak Brewing Company. This highly delicious and refreshing fruit sour is made with blueberries and cherries and contains slight notes of stone fruit 🍻

Full Pour Review: In A Holidaze

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I was so excited when NetGalley emailed me about this new book by Christina Lauren – something fun, festive and romantic before Christmas? SIGN. ME. TF. UP 🙌🏻 In a Holidaze was an adorable story that kept me laughing and entertained throughout the entire book. The storyline definitely reminded me of a Hallmark movie and immediately got me in a holiday mood 😍

DESCRIPTION: It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

First, let me talk about how lovable ALL of the characters in this book are and how enjoyable the family dynamics were. Maelyn was so entertaining, witty and relatable while Andrew was easy to fall in love with due to his charm and attention to detail. Benny was another favorite character of mine and I adored the friendship he shared with Maelyn. In general, I absolutely LOVED the fact that these close family friends vacation together for the holidays every year at the cabin- I feel like growing up with a tradition like this would be so much fun. Second, I enjoyed the time travel aspect of this story. It was fun to watch her navigate this journey to discovering what would truly make her happy and find new ways to define herself.

This was my first book by Christina Lauren and I definitely look forward to reading more by her! If you’re looking for something fluffy, heartwarming, fun and festive to help you get in the holiday spirit, I highly recommend checking out “In A Holidaze,” hitting shelves on 10/20. Thank you again so much NetGalley and Gallery Books for gifting me this delightful eARC in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren is best paired with Kentucky Christmas Morning by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. This delicious stout is the infamous Gingerbread Stout aged exclusively in Kentucky’s own Heaven Hills Bourbon barrels with locally roasted Mexican Chiapas Coffee 🍻

Full Pour Review: A Rogue Of One’s Own

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I am pretty new to the historical romance genre, with A Rogue Of One’s Own only being my second historical romance read this year, and it definitely did not disappoint! A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore is the second book in her “League of Extraordinary Women” series, set in late-1800’s Britain and centered around the women’s suffrage movement.

AMAZON BOOK DESCRIPTION: Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price–a night in her bed.

Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smoldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.

As Lucie tries to out-maneuver Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war…

A Rogue of One’s Own is definitely a character driven story and I’m happy to say that I absolutely adored both Lucie’s and Tristan’s characters. Lucie is a very quick-witted force to be reckoned with and I loved her strong commitment to “The Cause” (equal rights for women). Tristan is an intelligent, witty and swoon-worthy rogue who has held a lifelong attraction toward Lucie, is incredibly supportive of her and her values, The Cause and equal rights for women. THE BANTER BETWEEN LUCIE AND TRISTAN THOUGH 😍🙌🏻 I loved the development of their enemies to lovers relationship and I indulged in the witty dialogue between them throughout the book.

A Rogue Of One’s Own is the perfect follow up to Evie Dunmore’s debut novel, Bringing Down The Duke. This delightful novel released on 9/1 and if you are a fan of historical romance, or are looking to embrace a new genre, I highly recommend starting with this and Bringing Down The Duke! Definitely looking for the third book in this series, coming out in 2021!! Thank you so much to NetGalley and Berkeley Romance for gifting me this eARC in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore is best paired with Vicious Hook by Flying Dog Brewery. This deliciously light and juicy fruit punch sour is a perfect balance of sweet and sour 🍻

Full Pour Review: When No One Is Watching

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I haven’t read many thrillers this year, and that. needs. to. change. 👏🏻 That being said, I’m happy to say that the few thrillers that I have read so far this year have not left me disappointed and When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole was definitely no exception! Compared to Rear Window and Get Out, the fast-paced storyline for this deeply unsettling novel is unlike any other thriller I’ve read before. Not only did it have me hooked, but Alyssa Cole weaved so many important messages into this book that left me with so much for think about.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?

There are so many things that I enjoyed about this book. First, the storyline. It’s a gripping psychological thriller with gentrification being the main focus, while police brutality, racism, harassment, financial struggles, loss of loved ones, all play large roles too. There are several characters (i.e. FUCKING KARENS) in this book that had me so fired up. Alyssa Cole did a great job with immersing the reader into the story. I felt like I was witnessing everything right alongside Sydney and Theo and while I enjoyed their characters and friendship, I felt their romantic relationship was a little out of place and unnecessary.

If you’re looking for an exciting and intriguing psychological thriller with a side of conspiracy, I highly recommend reading this book! Thank you again to WilliamMorrow and HarperCollins for gifting me my review copy in exchange for my honest review 🤗


BEER RECOMMENDATION: When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole is best paired with The Fear by Flying Dog Brewery. This delicious pumpkin beer has bold pumpkin and spice flavor complimented by notes of chocolate and graham cracker 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Girl With The Louding Voice

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

WOW. This one left me speechless. I finished The Girl With The Louding Voice days ago and I can’t stop thinking about it, having delayed my review trying to figure out exactly how to put into words how much I loved this powerhouse of a book. This book is another one that has been on my TBR list for a while that I wish I didn’t take so long to get to. Abi Dare is an incredible storyteller and had me on an emotional roller coaster throughout this debut novel- needless to say, I was HOOKED on this book from the very beginning.

The Girl With The Louding Voice is about a 14 year old girl named Adunni growing up in a rural Nigerian village whose dream is to get a good education so that she can develop a “louding voice” to stand up for herself and others. After her mother passing away and having escaped an unwanted arranged marriage by her father, she finds herself traveling to Lagos and ending up working as a housemaid to a sadistic businesswoman and her terrible husband. Despite the seemingly never ending obstacles thrown her way, and with the help of a few unlikely allies that have crossed her path, Adunni sets out to overcome the cultural confines of Africa’s toxic patriarchy and discover her louding voice.

I fell in love with Adunni’s character hard. At only 14 years old, she is an incredibly strong force to reckon with and I found it impossible to not be completely inspired and endeared by her spirit, strength, bravery, perseverance and determination. Despite all of the obstacles thrown her way, she continues to hold her head high and go after her dream of getting an education and building a better life for herself and the females that will come after her. She is truly the most perfect, unforgettable female protagonist and hands down one of my new all-time favorite literary characters. I finished the book needing to know what happened to her and how her future carries out- anyone else rooting for a sequel?! 🙋🏻‍♀️

If you haven’t read this book yet, I encourage you to place it at the top of your TBR list ASAP. This is one of the most powerful, heartbreaking, infuriating, triumphant and inspiring books that I’ve ever read and it will stick with me for a very long time 🙌🏻


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Dare is best paired with Bourbon Paradise by Prairie Artisan Ales. This smooth and delicious imperial stout is aged in bourbon barrels and conditioned on both coconut and vanilla 🍻

Full Pour Review: Hood Feminism

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Holy shit… this is one of the best books on feminism and social injustices I’ve read this year and I can’t tell you enough how important it is that we all read this, especially for women who are open to learning how to become more inclusive feminists and better allies. This book definitely hit hard for me, and there are so many things in here that I wish didn’t even have to be written about in the first place.

Hood Feminism is a collection of essays that explore the many ways that the mainstream feminist movement has failed to address the needs of all women, and instead, focuses on increasing the privilege of a few (A.K.A. white women). Mainstream feminists do not address, nor prioritize, basic needs for all women such as having access to quality education, medical care, food, living wages and safe neighborhoods due to the simple fact that they’re portrayed as race or class issues instead of feminist issues. Instead, we tend to solely focus on the issues that directly impact white women so that we may pave the way for other types of women to potentially live better lives (eventually). Mikki Kendall touches on topics such as poverty, politics, eating disorders, gun violence, hunger, sexual harassment, education, housing, reproductive justice and much more.

I want to share a few quotes from this book that stood out to me:

“Main stream, white-centered feminism hasn’t just failed women of color, it has failed white women. It’s not making them any safer, any more powerful, or even any wiser. It supports the goals of white supremacy so often and so uncritically that 53% of white women voted not just for the idea of a president who has a legacy of disrespecting and abusing women, but for the system that supports him. Conditions aren’t getting better for white women; in fact these patterns reflect a return to a paradigm where the only difference is that their cage is gilded, while others are entrapped in less decorative confines.”

Mikki Kendall, Hood Feminism

“It isn’t just Kavanaugh or the other judges like him—the ones with a history that clouds their ability to render anything like justice—that’s the problem. It isn’t just the mothers willing to render their daughters as disposable to protect the sons of the privileged. It is all the ways that the problem is either ignored or poorly addressed until it is a public crisis because white women often choose race over gender based on fear stoked by bigotry. It’s the harm that this fearful mind-set can do across communities. Fear of Black people. Fear of immigrants. Fear of the Other. It’s an endless cycle that hinges on the willingness of white women to ignore their own power to effect positive change.”

Mikki Kendall, Hood Feminism

“Too often white women decide that when they feel uncomfortable, upset, or threatened, they can turn to the patriarchy for protection. Because they don’t want to lose that protection (dubious as it is), they stand by it when it’s convenient, and challenge it only when it directly threatens them. Yet, they know they benefit from it being challenged, and thus rely on others to do the heaviest lifting. They fail to recognize that the conflicted relationship they have with the patriarchy includes a certain cowardice around challenging not only it, but other women who have embraced it.”

Mikki Kendall, Hood Feminism

“Feminism that comes from a place of fear, that prioritizes not being afraid of not being uncomfortable over being effective, is dangerous. It allows no room for considering the impact of some “feminist” choices that include increasing surveillance or inviting the state into spaces in ways that render those spaces fundamentally unsafe for some. The fear of alienating other white women by refusing to challenge them or deny them support as a consequence for their racism is fundamentally damaging to any concept of feminism as a place that can create safety for all.”

– Mikki Kendall, Hood Feminism

You guys. Please just fucking read this book. Thank you 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall is best paired with Grapefruit by Downeast Cider House. This deliciously sweet cider is infused with fresh grapefruit, producing an approachable grapefruit flavor that isn’t too tart 🍻

Full Pour Review: Want

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I’m going to be completely honest. Want by Lynn Steger Strong was one of my most anticipated books for this year. Not only is the cover art absolutely gorgeous, but the book description and reviews that I read on Amazon back in March had me completely sold on the book and I preordered it several months in advance. I read this book within a day, and while it was a quick read, I felt that the storyline fell flat and was overall disappointed that it did not live up to my expectations.

Years after arriving in New York to build a new life, Elizabeth has found herself with a PhD, two children, a husband, two jobs and in the process of filing for bankruptcy. While trying to balance her dreams and the impossibility of ever achieving them, her home and work life are on the verge of collapsing and the only way to help quiet her thoughts from all the noise is by waking up at ungodly hours of the morning to run miles by the river. After being estranged from her long-lost childhood friend for years, she finally re-connects with Sasha as she is experiencing a crisis of her own, opening up the possibility for them to come back into one another’s lives.

While reading the book, I was disappointed to see that the story essentially just covers a day in the life of Elizabeth and her husband over the course of a short period of time while they go through the process of filing for bankruptcy. By the end of the story, I felt like I didn’t get to know Elizabeth’s character and her dreams/desires as deeply as I would’ve liked to, despite how complex her character was. I also would have loved to know more about what was happening with her and her husband after filing for bankruptcy and reclaiming their lives, as well as how they even got into their financial predicament in the first place. When it came to the friendship between Elizabeth and Sasha, I was happy that they seemingly rekindled their relationship toward the end of the story, but it’s a very quick rekindling that still left me with some questions. It wasn’t what I was expecting since the book description made it sound like the rekindling of this friendship was more of a major plot in the story.

In this story, Lynn Steger Strong explores a lot of different themes such as economic fragility, the apparent safeguard of middle-class jobs and Ivy League education, and the broken American dream, but again, seemingly not as deeply as I was expecting. I finished the book feeling like there was still so much potential to strengthen or deepen the story and these various themes, and that the story simply fell flat.

If you’ve read Want by Lynn Steger Strong, or have it on your TBR list, please reach out to me because I would love to discuss this further and hear your thoughts!


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Want by Lynn Steger Strong is best paired with Cush by Cushwa Brewing Company. This crushable hazy IPA is fruity, piney and lightly jammy in flavor with a bready malt backbone to balance it out 🍻