Full Pour Review: Everybody (Else) Is Perfect

Prior to reading this book, I had no idea who Gabrielle Korn was. I just happened to stumble across her book on NetGalley and decided to request it because it sounded interesting. I’m happy that I did, because getting to discover Gabrielle’s existence was a highlight of 2020- not only is this girl hilarious, smart, witty, and a total fucking badass, but she is vulnerable and real and discusses a lot of important topics such as sexuality, feminism, racism, eating disorders/body dysmorphia, mental healthy, misogyny and more.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Gabrielle Korn starts her professional life with all the right credentials. Prestigious college degree? Check. A loving, accepting family? Check. Instagram-worthy offices and a tight-knit group of friends? Check, check. Gabrielle’s life seems to reach the crescendo of perfect when she gets named the youngest editor-in-chief in the history of one of fashion’s most influential publication. Suddenly she’s invited to the world’s most epic parties, comped beautiful clothes and shoes from trendy designers, and asked to weigh in on everything from gay rights to lip gloss on one of the most influential digital platforms.

But behind the scenes, things are far from perfect. In fact, just a few months before landing her dream job, Gabrielle’s health and wellbeing are on the line, and her promotion to editor-in-chief becomes the ultimate test of strength. In this collection of inspirational and searing essays, Gabrielle reveals exactly what it’s truly like in the fashion world, trying to find love as a young lesbian in New York City, battling with anorexia, and trying not to lose herself in a mirage of women’s empowerment and Instagram perfection.

Through deeply personal essays, Gabrielle recounts her struggles to reconcile her long-held insecurities about her body while coming out in the era of The L Word, where swoon-worthy lesbians are portrayed as skinny, fashion-perfect, and power-hungry. She takes us with her everywhere from New York Fashion Week to the doctor’s office, revealing that the forces that try to keep women small are more pervasive than anyone wants to admit, especially in a world that’s been newly branded as woke.”

I really enjoyed learning about Gabrielle’s life and reading these essays. Gabrielle is raw, real and relatable and I applaud her for everything that she stands for. Her work ethic, courage and strong desire to stand up for others and for equality is truly inspiring and I loved reading her ideologies on so many relevant complex issues. Her essays about body image really resonated with me and were a bit triggering, yet healing in a way, due to forcing me to unbury some of my own past personal experiences with disordered eating, not realizing until now what it truly was. What I loved most about this book was that it felt like I was having a deep conversation with a best friend over champagne.

Gabrielle’s voice is a force to be reckoned with and the world will be a better place simply because she exists. I personally can’t recommend this book enough. Everybody (Else) Is Perfect comes out on 1/26 💛 thank you so much Atria Books and NetGalley for gifting me this eARC in exchange for my honest review.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Everybody (Else) Is Perfect by Gabrielle Korn is best paired with Rainbow Sherbet by Prairie Artisan Ales. This highly enjoyable sour ale is brewed with raspberries, oranges and pineapple 🍻

Full Pour Review: Coming Out Stories

Oh, my heart! Talk about a feel good read! Coming Out Stories: Personal Experiences of Coming Out From Across the LGBTQ+ Spectrum edited by Emma Goswell and Sam Walker was such a powerful, moving and inspiring read!

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Based on the hugely popular Coming Out Storiespodcast, this empowering, humorous and deeply honest book invites you to share one of the most important moments in many LGBTQ+ people’s lives.

From JP coming out to his reflection in the mirror, to Jacob coming out to their Mum over email, from Christine knowing she was trans as a young child, to Kerry coming out as a lesbian in her late thirties, all of the real life stories in this book show you there is no right or wrong way to come out, whatever your age and whatever your background.

Whether you’re gay, pan, queer, bi, trans, non-binary, or an ally, this uplifting go-to resource is filled with helpful advice and tips on what to expect, and inspirational quotes from leading LGBTQ+ figures, to help you live your very best self. Welcome to the family!”

I was absolutely moved by all of the coming out stories and unique experiences portrayed in this book. These beautiful stories were full of emotion – while most made me smile and laugh, others made me sad and cry. My favorite aspect of this book was its ability to inspire the reader to live their best life and stay true to their most authentic self. To put it simply, this book feels like being enveloped in a warm hug 🤗 no matter what you identify as, you will find value and appreciation in this book.

I truly can’t recommend this book enough and think that everyone should read it. Thank you so much Jessica Kingsley and NetGalley for gifting me this wonderful eARC in exchange for my honest review. Coming Out Stories will be released on 1/21 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Coming Out Stories edited by Emma Goswell and Sam Walker is best paired with Dan’s Jams: Blackberry Raspberry Crumble by Full Tilt Brewing. This highly delicious fruited sour ale is aged on blackberries, raspberries, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, ginger and lactose 🍻

Full Pour Review: Detransition, Baby

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters is one of my top five favorite books I’ve read in 2020 and I cannot recommend it enough. This story is so unique, witty and heartbreaking and had me hooked from the very beginning. I walked away from this book feeling so many different emotions and I still feel like my words won’t be able to do this book the justice it deserves.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby—and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together? 

This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel.

Detransition, Baby is essentially a study of motherhood and three women: Amy/Ames, Katrina and Reese. Ames is a former trans woman who detransitioned from Amy and began dating his cisgender boss, Katrina. When Katrina became pregnant, after Ames was convinced he was sterile due to his 6 years of treatments while he was Amy, he finally came clean to Katrina about his past as a trans woman. Reese, also a trans woman and Amy’s ex girlfriend, wants to be a mother more than anything in this world. After finding out that Katrina is pregnant, Ames comes up with the unconventional idea of proposing to Reese and Katrina that they raise this baby together. The story flips back and forth between pre-conception and post-conception, giving you a detailed view of Amy’s transition, her relationship and life with Reese, the reasons why she ended up detransitioning and how her life led her to Katrina and their current situation.

I was truly blown away by the characters in this book. They are raw, real, complex and leave you with no choice but to be utterly invested in them- I couldn’t get enough of Amy/Ames’s and Reese’s stories. What I loved the most about them was how messy and honest these characters are and how eye opening their experiences are. You will not be able to read this without feeling their pain, fear, triumphs, joys, hopes, disappointments, and more.

Torrey Peters is an incredibly talented writer and storyteller and after reading her dedication in the beginning of the book, I need to know about her story and everything that inspired this book. Detransition, Baby is an incredible thought-provoking book that taught me so much about the lives of white trans women. Peters does an incredible job at exploring so many other themes such as divorce, parenthood, womanhood, unconventional family structures, sexuality, gender, mental illness, body dysphoria, friendship and more. The exploration of these themes made for quite a few moments of discomfort throughout the book, but they were absolutely necessary and I how thought provoking they were.

This book will make you feel so many different feelings and I encourage you to sit with those feelings afterward. I am so impressed with this compelling story and I truly cannot applaud Peters enough for writing such a fantastic debut novel. I look forward to reading more by her and watching her career grow. Thank you so much NetGalley and Random House for gifting me this eARC in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters is best paired with Cobbler: Blueberry Peach by Black Flag Brewing Company. This delicious fruited sour is brewed with cinnamon tincture, vanilla, lactose and over 450lbs of blueberries and peaches 🍻

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: 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: The Prettiest Star

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Fuck… I am at a loss for words with this one. The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read, and will read, this entire year. This story overflowed with so much raw emotion and is easily one of the most beautifully written and heartbreaking stories I’ve ever read in my life.

At the age of 18, Brian Jackson moves to New York City in search of acceptance and freedom. Just six years into his new life, AIDS has claimed the life of his boyfriend, several of his friends, and now his own future. Now only 24, alone, and desperate to get out of New York and away from the constant reminders of death, Brian decides to go back home and be with his family. At home, Brian’s family struggles to adapt to his return. Terrified by Brian’s disease and sexual identity, and desperate to keep these details secret from everyone in town, his family has no idea how to talk to him, support him or care for him. Seemingly, the only person happy to see him return home is his grandmother. The Prettiest Star is told in multiple POV’s: Brian’s mother Sharon; his younger sister, Jess, as she grapples with her brother’s mysterious return; and the video diaries that Brian records to document his final summer and the horrors that him and his friends have faced from AIDS.

This book had me hooked from the very beginning and gave me all 👏🏻 the 👏🏻 feels 👏🏻. I feel like I have so much to say, yet don’t really know where to start. Carter Sickels is a literary genius and does such an amazing job at developing the characters in this story. I was blown away by how deep and intense the anger, frustration and hurt that I felt towards Brian’s mother, father, sister and other townspeople was as a result of their actions throughout the story. And Brian’s character…. everything about him felt so authentic and real. Every ounce of me wished that I could somehow step in to the story and protect him. Throughout the entire book, I was so thankful that he had his grandmother and best friend Annie as loving allies.

The way that Carter Sickels describes the struggles and prejudice experienced by the LGBTQ+ community is so powerful, heartbreaking and mind blowing. My heart hurts so bad from reading what is only a small sliver of cruelty that members of this community have suffered, and continue to suffer from. When it comes to equality and justice, we still have so far to go…

The Prettiest Star is a MUST READ. This story is so important, and I want everyone to be able to experience what I felt while reading this. Thank you so much, Carter Sickels, for writing this incredible story. This one will stick with me for a very long time 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels is best paired with Sour Me Three’s Company by DuClaw Brewing Company. This delicious and highly enjoyable fruited sour is brewed with pomegranate, passion fruit and plum in collaboration with Whitey’s Liquors, located in MD, as well as Britt and Cassie from @SlightlySour 🍻

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 🍻