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 Out of Shape Superhero by Black Flag Brewing Company and Fourscore Beer Co. This boozy, delicious hazy TIPA is brewed with Citra, Strata and Mosaic hops 🍻

Full Pour Review: Vagina Problems

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Wow. This book gave me ALL the feels. Vagina Problems by Lara Parker is such an important and timely book about what life is like living with chronic pain as a result of endometriosis, pelvic floor dysfunction, vulvar vestibulitis, vaginismus, and vulvodynia combined. Candid, raw and real, Vagina Problems starts the much needed conversation about various taboo female topics that can no longer be ignored.

Lara Parker is the Deputy Editorial Director for Buzzfeed and back in 2014, she wrote an article where she openly discussed her vagina problems in detail for the first time, even letting everyone know that she wasn’t having sex due to how excruciating painful it was to her. Less than a year before she published this article, she was finally diagnosed with her vagina problems after five years of searching for answers, trying every method under the sun to relieve her pain, and getting opinions from multiple doctors who wouldn’t take her concerns and pain seriously. These debilitating conditions have wreaked havoc on Parker’s life since she was 14 years old. Vagina Problems is a detailed account of her journey fighting back against a medical community that is not only biased against women, but still knows next to nothing about endometriosis and any other vaginal disorders that women face.

I applaud Lara for using her platform to be so open and vulnerable about the topic of vagina problems and share all of the painful depths of her experience in such great detail. As a reader, it is excruciatingly hard to not take her pain and concerns seriously but Lara speaks some serious facts when she says that women are told that most of their issues or pains are associated with “really bad period cramps” or something psychological going on, and are written off many times before anything is even looked into. Not only is it heart wrenching to learn that one in ten women have endometriosis and that it takes an average of seven years to receive an accurate diagnosis, but that there is no cure or reliable method of long term relief from the chronic pain associated with endometriosis. This is not okay and we need to keep these uncomfortable conversations going if we want to see changes with how these concerns are handled in the medical community and find a reliable cure or treatment method for these disorders.

What I especially love about this book is that Lara doesn’t just describe to us in necessary painstaking detail about her day-to-day life living in chronic pain from endometriosis, she also describes her experiences with vaginal physical therapy (I had no idea this was a thing!), dating as a straight woman without being able to have penetrative sex and the depression and anxiety of feeling unloved. When she discusses her experiences in all of these areas, not only is her pain clear as day, but so is her sense of humor, strength to live her best life, and hope and determination for change and answers.

While I am incredibly grateful that I do not have any personal experience myself with endometriosis any of the other problems mentioned in this book, this book still hit close to home for me because I grew up watching my sister suffer from endometriosis and seeing her struggle with finding answers to her pain for years. I remember her missing so many days of school and work as a result of debilitating pain, nausea, and suddenly turning so pale that I thought she was going to pass out at any second. I remember her suffering from this pain when she wasn’t even on her period yet, and all of her pain and symptoms were drastically worse during her period. I remember hearing her tell me that our gynecologist wasn’t taking her concerns seriously and acted like her pain was normal and that she just experienced “really bad periods.” I remember wondering why her and I had such drastically different experiences and why even on my own worst period symptoms days, I still never seemed to be anywhere near as miserable as she was. It took my sister years, and a new gynecologist that listened to her, to finally get diagnosed with endometriosis. While she finally has an answer to her pain, she still hasn’t experienced much relief from it since her diagnosis a few years ago.

I want to mention again how important this book is. While there are parts of the book that seem repetitive, I was honestly glued to this book and finished it in one sitting. Whether or not you have experienced any vagina issues yourself, or know of anyone who has been diagnosed with endometriosis or any other vaginal disorders, I highly encourage all women to read this necessary book, hitting bookshelves on October 6th! Thank you so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for this gifted eARC in exchange for my honest review 💛

BEER RECOMMENDATION: Vagina Problems by Lara Parker is best paired with All Together by Mully’s Brewery and Other Half Brewing. This delicious, juicy New England style IPA is an open-ended beer collaboration started by Other Half Brewing Company with hundreds of other breweries around the world. Portions of the proceeds go toward supporting the hospitality industry 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Safe Place

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Whew! – Anna Downes took me on a ride with this one. The Safe Place was not at all what I was expecting, and I thoroughly enjoyed this story and how much it kept me guessing.

Emily Proudman lost her temp job at Proem Partners, her apartment, and her acting agent all in one day. Distracted and sobbing after leaving the meeting with her agent, she almost gets hit by a bus and is rescued none other than Scott Denny, the CEO of Proem Partners. During this encounter, Scott learns of Emily being fired from Proem and offers her another employment opportunity to work as a personal assistant for him and his family at their estate in France. Despite feeling hesitant about this offer that feels way too good to be true, Emily is desperate for an opportunity to start fresh and agrees to Scott’s offer. Life at the estate feels like heaven, and Emily has never been happier- she’s getting along well with his beautiful wife Nina and eccentric daughter Aurelia, and is beginning to feel like a French local. However, some things really are too good to be true and Emily soon begins to realize that things aren’t as they seem and that the Denny family is hiding a huge secret- one that could get Emily killed if she doesn’t go along with it…

I enjoyed the slow, brilliant burn with this book. Until I was about 75% into the story, I truly had no idea where the story line was going and the mystery and character development throughout the book kept me on the edge of my seat.

The story was written primarily from the POV’s of Emily and Scott, but Nina’s POV made random appearances during Emily’s and Scott’s respective chapters. Anna Downes did a great job with the character development of Emily Proudman. I really enjoyed getting to know her character and see her grow and mature by the end of the book. Scott and Nina’s characters were very intriguing and mysterious, and while I enjoyed being able to get inside Scott’s head during his chapters, I feel that we could’ve gotten a little more out of their characters. Personally, I would’ve loved if the book included chapters that were primarily written in Nina’s POV, as I feel like there is so much history to uncover about who Nina is and what she has suffered from. Without giving anything away, both Nina’s and Scott’s characters left me with a lot of questions at the end of the story based on things that occurred throughout the book that I would’ve loved to get answers for. That being said, the ending of the story was still very satisfying and I was so proud of Emily and her strength.

If you’re looking for a good vacation thriller, I definitely recommend checking out The Safe Place, releasing on July 14th 💛 thank you so much NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for this gifted eARC in exchange for my honest review!

BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Safe Place by Anna Downes is best paired with White by Downeast Cider House. This delicious take on an *almost* classic unfiltered Belgian style is brewed with orange peel, lemon peel, and cracked coriander 🍻