Full Pour Review: All Boys Aren’t Blue

I don’t think that I will be able to come up with the right words to describe how wonderful and beautiful this book is. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson is a beautifully written YA memoir manifesto that navigates the complexities of identity, specifically being Black and queer. It is a collection of essays that illustrate Johnson’s life from childhood to college and serves as a beautiful exploration of sexuality, identity, race, gender, as well as a constructive analysis of the anti-Black and anti-queer society we desperately need to move away from. It’s raw, it’s real, it’s honest, and it needs to be read by everyone.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, “All Boys Aren’t Blue” covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.”

I want to begin by saying that George M. Johnson is an incredible storyteller and his storytelling abilities have the power to help and influence so many people. I loved reading his stories about addressing his internalized homophobia head-on and accepting and loving himself as the incredible human he is. I loved reading about the unconditional love and unwavering support provided by his family, especially his beautiful Nanny. I loved the bravery and vulnerability it took to discuss and reflect on the sexual abuse he experienced during such a confusing time in his life, and how this reflection can help protect others and save lives. Simply put, Johnson bared his soul in this book and it is a truly beautiful thing to witness. There isn’t a single book like this out there that can help Black/LGBTQIA+ young adults and the messages in this book must be shared with everyone.

I truly can’t recommend this book enough and if it’s not already on your radar, please add it to your TBR list immediately 💛 All Boys Aren’t Blue will make you cry, ache, laugh, smile, hope and ultimately grow as a person. I know with great certainty that this book will be on my mind for a while.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson is best paired with Cobbler: Apricot and Black Currant by Black Flag Brewing Company. This highly delicious fruited sour was brewed with vanilla, cinnamon, milk sugar and 440lbs of apricot and black currant 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Poet X

It’s official- Elizabeth Acevedo is an auto-buy author for me. I was sold on her after reading With The Fire on High, but I’m even more obsessed with her stories after reading this one. I went into The Poet X with very high expectations because of the raving reviews I’ve read on Bookstagram and this book most certainly did not disappoint!

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.”

First, I absolutely adored Xiomara’s character. She is so fierce, loyal and brave and she was an incredible protagonist. I love how fiercely she loved her family and friends, how she would stand up for herself, how she questioned authority when it was necessary and how she ultimately stopped living her life to satisfy others and fight for what she wanted. Her character serves as a wonderful, strong female lead to young adults. I also loved that she had such a wonderful support system in her brother, best friend, “boyfriend,” and teacher. All of their characters were wonderful supporting roles and helped encourage Xiomara to be unapologetic about who she wanted to be.

Second, I thoroughly enjoyed how this book was written in verse and felt it added an awesome element to the storytelling. I loved how descriptive and immersive the reading felt. It’s not often that you come across books that truly plant you in another world and make you feel apart of the story, but Elizabeth Acevedo seems to consistently excel at doing this effortlessly.

I truly can’t recommend this book enough. If you haven’t already read The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, please do yourself a favor and add it to your TBR list 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is best paired with Habanero Nectar by RAR Brewing. This deliciously smooth IPA is brewed with habaneros, giving it a spicy finish with the perfect kick of heat 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Perfect Stranger

You guys already know that Megan Miranda is one of my auto-buy authors so in honor of her newest book coming out this summer, it was my goal to finally read The Perfect Stranger, the last book of hers in my MM back log. I’ve been putting this one off for a while, and I’m so glad that I finally got to read it! While it was not my favorite book of hers, and honestly left me feeling pretty confused, I still enjoyed it overall and was intrigued by the storyline.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?”

I enjoyed how this book started out as a slow burn that began picking up the pace about halfway through. I felt like the story definitely kept my interest and I found it hard to put down, but once I was wrapping up the book, I was a little disappointed by the ending because it felt really rushed and left me confused as to what was actually happening and if I somehow missed key details. I even re-read the last several pages of the book and tried reading other online reviews to see what other people were saying about the ending (and thankfully I wasn’t the only one left feeling confused it seems😅). I also felt that compared to other books by Megan Miranda, we didn’t get to know the characters as well and develop any sort of connection with them- everything felt pretty surface level in my opinion. I also felt that maybe there were almost too many overlapping character plots and that it was a bit hard to wrap them all up toward the end in a way that felt right?

If you’re a fan of Megan Miranda- I definitely still recommend reading this book! If you’ve already read The Perfect Stranger, please reach out to me so that we can discuss this confusing ending 😅😂 I would really love to know your thoughts on it!


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda is best paired with Vanillafort by Sapwood Cellars. This incredibly delicious double IPA is brewed with 200 gallons of their Pillowfort IPA and 40 Madagascar vanilla beans, resulting in a creamy vanilla flavor that makes this a wonderful dessert DIPA! 🍻

Full Pour Review: Last Call

What a fascinating story! Last Call by Elon Green was one of my most anticipated 2021 reads and it was honestly even better than I imagined it to be. Prior to this book, I had never heard of the Last Call Killer so I went into this story blind and came away from this book having learned SO much.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.

He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.

Nor will he be his last.

The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.

This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.”

This story is incredibly well written and heavily researched; the attention to detail gripping my attention from the very beginning and maintaining it throughout the entire book. I loved how much Green focused on the victims instead of the killer. As the reader, you get to develop an emotional connection to the victims as you learn a good bit about their lives and hear from their loved ones. This book really is a dedication to these victims, finally giving their lives the respect and attention they deserve (and had not received back in the 80’s and 90’s). I also learned so much from this book about the historical mistreatment of the LGBTQ+ community and the severe mishandling of the AIDS epidemic. These recollections were absolutely heartbreaking and infuriating and while we’ve slowly been making progress over the last 30 years, we still have SO MUCH work to do in regards to fighting for equality and correcting the misinformation that was spread during this time.

If you’re looking for an intriguing LGBTQ+ history/true crime story that will leave you with all the feels, I highly recommend checking out Last Call by Elon Green.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Last Call by Elon Green is best paired with A Raspberry and Peach Walked Into a Bar by Crooked Crab Brewing Co. This highly delicious fruited sour was conditioned upon hundreds of pounds of peach purée and raspberries, resulting in the perfect amount of tartness and sweet, juicy flavor 🍻