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 🍻