Full Pour Review: The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

OOF, this one was a gut punch right in the feels! What an intense and stunning love story! I really enjoyed The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo and how it left me with so much to think about long after the story ended. Before I started reading this book, it had been a few months since I read the description so I went into this story blindly and I’m happy that I did —it wasn’t what I expected (in the best way) and I was pleasantly surprised by how raw, real and relatable it was.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story–their story–at the very beginning.

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated–perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

This devastatingly romantic debut novel about the enduring power of first love, with a shocking, unforgettable ending, is Love Story for a new generation.”

Jill Santopolo is a beautiful writer and storyteller, so needless to say, I was genuinely shocked to discover this was her debut novel. The characters in this book are so well developed and while this story was written from Lucy’s perspective, I was also pleased with how well I got to know Gabe by jumping back and forth between past and present, getting to relive some very intimate moments between the two of them over the course of several years. The fact that I was able to connect with these characters so easily made their story that much more emotional and intense (warning: this story will make you cry). I think what I ultimately enjoyed the most about this story was how relatable some aspects of this book were to my own life in minor, unique ways, and through Santopolo’s writing, I was granted the opportunity to reflect back on my own first love and smile at the experience. Life is truly beautiful through all of the ups and downs, happiness and heartache, new relationships and old, the lessons learned… — I love how appreciative of it all this book made me feel.

If you’re looking for a good palette cleanser that will tug at your heartstrings and make you sob, I highly recommend checking out The Light We Lost. Lucy and Gabe’s love story will capture your heart and leave you with so much to think about. The Light We Lost was the first book I’ve read by Jill Santopolo, and it certainly won’t be my last 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo is best paired with The Pastryarchy: Chocolate Dipped Pretzel by DuClaw Brewing Co. this delicious Russian imperial stout tastes exactly like a chocolate dipped pretzel with subtle roasted sweetness, malty chocolate undertones and a light salt bite 🍻

Full Pour Review: Ten Rules For Faking It

OMG MY HEART. I can’t express enough how much I loved Ten Rules For Faking It by Sophie Sullivan. I fell in love with this story instantly and adored every single character. This one was tough to put down and left me feeling so many emotions because it is so relatable and came at a perfect time to help me address/sort through some of my own personal struggles with anxiety at this moment.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “What happens when your love life becomes the talk of the town?

As birthdays go, this year’s for radio producer Everly Dean hit rock-bottom.

Worse than the “tonsillectomy birthday.” Worse than the birthday her parents decided to split (the first time). But catching your boyfriend cheating on you with his assistant?

Even clichés sting.

But this is Everly’s year! She won’t let her anxiety hold her back. She’ll pitch her podcast idea to her boss.

There’s just one problem.

Her boss, Chris, is very cute. (Of course). Also, he’s extremely distant (which means he hates her, right? Or is that the anxiety talking)?

And, Stacey the DJ didn’t mute the mic during Everly’s rant about Simon the Snake (syn: Cheating Ex).

That’s three problems.

Suddenly, people are lining up to date her, Bachelorette-style, fans are voting (Reminder: never leave house again), and her interest in Chris might be a two-way street. It’s a lot for a woman who could gold medal in people-avoidance. She’s going to have to fake it ‘till she makes it to get through all of this.

Perhaps she’ll make a list: The Ten Rules for Faking It.

Because sometimes making the rules can find you happiness when you least expect it.”

First, these characters are magical. Let’s start with Everly, who suffers from severe social anxiety. I can personally relate to Everly’s character so much and the positive and delicate way that her social anxiety was addressed in this book made me tear up a few times because I felt like Sullivan was also indirectly helping me to understand the need to be more gentle and positive with myself. Everly’s character was raw, real and wonderful and I loved how much of her growth we got to experience throughout this book as she bravely overcame a lot of difficult things. Chris’s and Stacey’s character were truly incredible as well and I was in awe of their sensitivity and care toward Everly’s anxiety. They were both so encouraging, consistently reminded her of how brave and strong she truly was, and not once did they ever make her feel like her and her anxiety were too much. That finally leads me to the emotional connection that Everly and Chris shared- it truly was a breath of fresh air. Sullivan couldn’t have done a more perfect job with creating such a beautiful, more relatable relationship that didn’t focus heavily on the steam or physical connections found in most rom-com’s.

Once I was done reading this book, I immediately went online and preordered myself a physical copy. I wasn’t expecting this one to leave such an impact on me, but it did and I’m very grateful for that 💛 I was really impressed with the way that Everly’s social anxiety was handled in this book and I truly can’t recommend this book enough if you’re looking for a sweet, light hearted, not-your-typical rom-com that will not only leave you thinking about the story long after you finished it, but leave you feeling a little stronger if you suffer from general/social anxiety like I do. Ten Rules For Faking It hits shelves on 12/29 and really is a terrific palette cleanser for ending at 2020. Thank you so much NetGalley and Griffin for gifting me this incredible eARC in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Ten Rules For Faking It by Sophie Sullivan is best paired with Rainbow Sherbet by Prairie Artisan Ales. This delicious summer-forward sour ale is brewed with raspberry, pineapple and orange 🍻

Full Pour Review: Wild at Heart

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

OH. MY. GOD 😭 Wild at Heart by K.A. Tucker was everything I was hoping it would be, and more. After falling in love HARD with The Simple Wild, I was eager to dive in to Wild at Heart so I could find out what would happen next with Calla and Jonah and the second book in this series absolutely did not disappoint.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Calla Fletcher returns to Toronto a different person, struggling to find direction and still very much in love with the rugged bush pilot she left behind. When Jonah arrives on her doorstep with a proposition she can’t dismiss, she takes the leap and rushes back to Alaska to begin their exciting future together.

But Calla soon learns that even the best intentions can lead to broken promises, and that compromise comes with a hefty price—a log cabin in rural Alaska that feels as isolating as the western tundra. With Jonah gone more than he’s home, one neighbor who insists on transforming her into a true Alaskan, and another who seems more likely to shoot her than come to her aid, Calla grapples with forging her own path. In a world with roaming wildlife that has her constantly watching over her shoulder and harsh conditions that stretch far beyond the cold, dark, winter months, just stepping outside her front door can be daunting.

This is not the future Calla had in mind, leaving her to fear that perhaps she is doomed to follow in her mother’s fleeing footsteps after all.

Once again, the Alaska setting was absolutely captivating and K.A. Tucker does an incredible job at painting vivid scenes that suck you in. I loved being able to be a part of Calla and Jonah’s journey of buying a house and navigating their new life together in Alaska. I felt that both characters grew a lot throughout this book, especially Calla, as she tried to find her place in her new home. I enjoyed the new relationships that Calla developed with Toby, Muriel, Roy and Teddy- it was rewarding to see the part they all played in her growth and overcoming fears throughout the book. I also enjoyed the return of Agnes, Mabel and Marie and getting to know them more.

I can’t say enough amazing things about this book. This has been my favorite series in a long time, and I am in awe of K.A. Tucker’s skilled writing. Just like The Simple Wild, it is a perfect, feel-good romantic read and I know that I will be thinking about this book for a while. Even though it hurts knowing that Calla and Jonah’s story is soon coming to an end, I cannot wait to read the third and final novella in this series, Forever Wild, that was just released on 12/1.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Wild at Heart by K.A. Tucker is best paired with Fluffy GBS by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. This delicious holiday stout is a variant of their original gingerbread milk stout brewed with toasted marshmallow 🍻

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: Ties That Tether

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo is a beautiful, emotional and thought-provoking rom-com that touches on topics such as immigration, Nigerian culture, love, family, balancing multiple cultural identities, and the importance of putting your needs first by living a life that feels true to you.

At 12 years old, Azere’s father passes away and her last words to him include a promise that she will marry a Nigerian man and help preserve her family’s culture- even after they’ve moved to Toronto. To help hold Azere accountable to this promise, her mother is insistent on constantly setting her daughter up with eligible Nigerian men- men that Azere wants nothing to do with. After another one of these dates going horribly wrong, Azere finds herself in a hotel bar enjoying the company of an incredibly attractive white man named Rafael Castellano. Rafael is in town from NY for a job interview and just as quickly as they hit it off, their encounter turns in to a one night stand. A few weeks go by and as fate would have it, Rafael ends up getting hired at Xander, the company that Azere works at. What started out as a one night stand begins to develop into something much more serious and complicated, and Azere is torn between the need to please her mother’s wishes by marrying a Nigerian man and her growing feelings for Rafael. When her fears begin to get the best of her, she worries that being Rafael will somehow make her less of a Nigerian and compromise her identity. Is it possible for Azere to betray the promise she made to her father long ago and give in to the happiness that Rafael provides her? Or will she continue to remain complacent in living the unsatisfying life her mom has planned for her?

This book was a really quick read (I finished it in one day) and I loved the depth of various thought provoking topics that are touched on throughout this book. I was very intrigued by things I learned about Nigerian culture in this story and really loved the fact that Jane Igharo unintentionally implemented personal aspects of her life into this book. In the acknowledgments, she mentions that she unconsciously wrote her family into this book and her statement made my heart swell:

Christina is my hilarious sister, Precious. Jacob is my kind brother, Divine. Chapter forty-three- the shortest chapter and dearest to my heart- is dedicated to my father, Fred. He died before I knew him, yet he found a place in this book somehow.

Jane Igharo, Ties That Tether

I also empathized with Azere’s character so much and was heartbroken over the emotional back and forth she was going through in regards to respecting her Nigerian culture and her growing feelings for Rafael- her struggle felt incredibly authentic and gave me all the feels.

There are a few things that I would have loved to see more of that could have made this story even stronger. First, I wish that there were more details about the relationship development between Azere and Rafael. I felt like I wasn’t completely convinced that Azere and Rafael were perfect for one another simply because I didn’t have enough of a view into their relationship and felt that there wasn’t enough strong chemistry between them felt like it was hard to truly fall in love with them as a couple. I also would have loved more of a backstory for Azere’s parents so that I could learn even more about their backgrounds and culture. I feel that if the book was written from multiple POV’s, I could’ve learned about and loved the characters so much more.

Overall, Ties That Tether was a really enjoyable debut novel and I look forward to reading more by Jane Igharo in the future! One of my favorite lines from the story that sums up this book well is “let go of the life you’ve planned and accept the life waiting for you….” Thank you so much to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for gifting me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo is best paired with Fancy Papers by Cigar City Brewing. Fancy Papers is an enjoyable fruit-forward Hazy IPA brewed with Strata, Sabro and Idaho 7 hops 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Simple Wild

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

WOW, you guys… I am speechless. I went in to this book with high expectations due to all of the praise this book has received on Bookstagram and without a doubt, The Simple Wild absolutely lived up to the hype and is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I can’t even begin to describe all of the feelings K.A. Tucker made me feel with this one, but it was a wild ride and now I DESPERATELY need to get my hands on Wild At Heart.

24 years ago, Susan Fletcher left her husband Wren and life in Alaska to return home to Toronto with their 2 year old daughter, Calla. During those 24 years, Calla has neither returned to Alaska or seen her father. Now, 26 years old, Calla finds out that her father has been diagnosed with lung cancer and decides to fly to Alaska to meet her dad and reconnect with him in the remaining time he has left. During her time in Alaska, she meets Jonah, who lives next door to her father and helps him run his charter plane company, Alaska Wild. While Calla initially struggles to adjust to the vastly different life in Alaska, Jonah can’t imagine living anywhere else or adapting any other lifestyle. Calla thinks that Jonah is a brooding, stubborn asshole and Jonah thinks that Calla is way too pampered to handle life in Bangor. Determined to prove him wrong, Calla and Jonah wind up forming a bond that slowly develops into a romantic relationship- one that Calla is too scared to pursue long term out of fear of choosing the same path that her parents attempted, and failed at, many years ago.

There are so many things that I LOVED about this book: the budding relationship between Calla and Wren, the friendship of Agnes and Maybel, the steamy romance and witty banter of Calla and Jonah, the Alaska Wild family, the unwavering sense of understanding from Simon, Calla’s growth and maturity during her time in Alaska with her father, the love between Wren and Susan… I could honestly go on and on. K.A. Tucker is an incredible writer and storyteller- this story left me utterly floored and the ending was incredibly heart wrenching yet satisfying, and left me immediately wanting more.

This book deserves all of the stars. If you’re looking for an incredible story with romance, complex relationships, family drama, and a beautiful journey of self-discovery that will leave you breathless, make you smile, cry, laugh and cheer, The Simple Wild is your next must-read.


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker is best paired with Dragon’s Milk White by New Holland Brewing. Dragon’s Milk White is a light and smooth bourbon barrel aged white stout with notes of coffee, vanilla, cocoa and oak🍻

Full Pour Review: You Had Me at Hola

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Okay, you guys… I am convinced that You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria is going to be the next favorite rom-com on Bookstagram after the Beach Read craze. This book was everything I expected it to be and more, and I can’t wait for everyone to read this!

After a humiliating public breakup that ended up all over the tabloids, Jasmine Lin Rodriguez is thrilled to be flying back home to NY where she can have a fresh start. In NY, she will be starring as the leading role in a new romantic comedy television series called “Carmen In Charge” alongside Ashton Suarez, an incredibly sexy, well-known telenovela star. Both Jasmine and Ashton are looking forward to “Carmen In Charge” being the show they need to really launch their careers, and are committed to making this show and their on-screen chemistry irresistible. After a mortifying first encounter with one another, Jasmine and Ashton agree that running their lines together in privacy would help them feel more comfortable with one another. However, the off-screen attraction between Jasmine and Ashton is undeniable and their private rehearsals turn into a steamy romance behind the scenes. While this helps improve their on-screen performance together, they soon find themselves under the media spotlight which threatens to expose Ashton’s most private secret and destroy Jasmine’s newly repaired image.

First off, the intense chemistry between Ashton and Jasmine is completely swoon-worthy and steamy and I could not get enough of their love story. Alexis Daria did an amazing job with the character development of Jasmine and Ashton throughout the book. Their characters were real, relatable and hard not to fall in love with. Jasmine and Ashton are both incredibly strong characters that overcome a lot of personal struggles with self doubt, trust, communication and love. I loved that the story was written from both of their point of views in such a way that allowed me to feel completely immersed in their worlds.

Second, I enjoyed the glimpse into the glamorous and dramatic world of telenovelas as well as the latinx culture presented in the book. I liked how the story was written where some chapters were about Ashton and Jasmine’s off-camera love story, and other chapters were episodes from the telenovela show that they were filming together, “Carmen In Charge.”

If you are looking for a fun, lighthearted, witty and STEAMY rom-com (and if you were a fan of Beach Read!), I highly recommend checking out You Had Me at Hola, releasing on August 4th. Thank you so much NetGalley and HarperCollins for gifting me this eARC in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria is best paired with Double Blend by Downeast Cider House. This delicious unfiltered cider is a variation their original cider, but a little less sweet and higher in ABV 🍻

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 🍻