Full Pour Review: Home Before Dark

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Well, it should come as no surprise that Riley Sager did it again! Home Before Dark has been one of my most highly anticipated books so far this year and it lived up to all of my expectations! This story was incredibly spooky with several surprise twists that I wasn’t expecting and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the emotional roller coaster that this story took me on.

25 years ago, Maggie Holt and her parents, Jess and Ewan, moved into Baneberry Hall and only lasted 20 days before fleeing in the dead of night and leaving behind all of their personal belongings. Ewan ended up writing a story called House of Horrors about their horrific experience in that house, consisting of tales about encounters with ghosts and evil spirits that rivaled with The Amityville Horror in both skepticism and popularity. This book has haunted Maggie all of her life, making her an outcast among peers. The worst part? She doesn’t remember any of her time at Baneberry Hall, convinced that nothing in the book actually happened and that her parents have been lying to her all of her life.

Now, at 26 years old, Maggie discovers shortly after her fathers passing that her family never sold Baneberry Hall and that she has now inherited this house. Since Maggie has her own home restoration business with her best friend, she plans on renovating the home and putting it up for sale. In addition, Maggie ultimately decides to use this project as an opportunity for her to finally figure out what really happened in this house and what made them suddenly flee and never return. Despite her disbelief that the house is haunted, it doesn’t take long for Maggie to begin experiencing weird, unexplainable events in the house- events so strange, that she begins to wonder if the tales that her father wrote about in House of Horrors are actually true… and if the real secrets that are hidden within the house are much more terrifying than anything her dad wrote about in his book.

Riley Sager is an incredible storyteller. I absolutely love the way he writes and how he draws the reader in so quickly with his stories, keeping them on the edge of their seat the entire time. I flew through this book because I NEEDED to know what happened next. One of my favorite things about this book was how the chapters rotated between Maggie’s present day experience, and chapters from House of Horrors.

I also really enjoyed the spookiness to this story. I am such a baby when it comes to scary/haunted things and I do NOT like horror movies. I was traumatized with The Amityville Horror in 6th grade and still make an effort to distance myself from things that have to do with haunted houses and evil spirits to this day (including haunted houses/hay rides around Halloween 😂). However, while this book definitely came me there spooks and despite there being several comparable events in this book that resemble events from The Amityville Horror, I was actually able to fully appreciate and enjoy everything taking place in the book and manage to sleep at night just fine 😂

So happy that my favorite bookish girl gang decided to do this as a buddy read this month! 🤗 If you’re looking for a really spooky thriller with a lot of surprises twists and a wonderful surprise ending, I highly recommend picking up Home Before Dark. I was sold on Riley Sager being an auto-buy author for me after reading Lock Every Door last fall, and after finishing Home Before Dark, I REALLY need to finally check out his other two books.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager is best paired with Roast Coffee Cider by Bold Rock Cider. Partnered with Pisgah Coffee, this delicious cold brewed hard cider is infused with a medium roast coffee, resulting in a rich coffee aroma and wonderfully balanced flavors 🍻

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: 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 🍻