Books & Brews: The Hating Game / Dogfish Head’s Beer for Breakfast

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a book I love with a pint to sip while reading it.

514sa3hcecl

At some point a few months ago, my friend Julia gushed about how much she enjoyed Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game. Then at my local writers conference in September, Sarah MacLean told me she loved it. Then my friend Lindsay read it, and sent around a message saying we had to discuss it. Clearly, with all this prodding I moved it to the top of my to-be-read list. And while we’re talking lists– it’s worth nothing that the novel was in the top ten of Goodread’s Choice Awards for romance and named one of NPR’s best books of 2016. A good book to round out my 2016 Books & Brews series, I suppose!

The premise of the story is classic, bitter work rivals who can’t stand each other, until eventually they start to piece together that maybe they very much can. An enemies-to-lovers story, if you will. Main characters Lucy Hutton and Josh Templeman are executive assistants for co-CEOs of a large publishing house who have a daily routine of disdain for each other. Things get complicated when they are forced to compete for a promotion. And even more complicated when the facade of hate starts to crumble.

Here what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: Results May Vary / Urban Family Brewing Company’s Death to Cereal

 

51TqxsdHhSL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday* of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. (*Except this month … I’m running a little late with August’s book. Which just means double the fun in September!)

Up for reading and pairing in August was Bethany Chase’s RESULTS MAY VARY (which, by the way, might have one of my favorite covers ever). The story opens with the main character Caroline discovering that her husband is having an affair with a man. And when I say husband, know that I mean high-school sweetheart turned husband, with whom she has spent the overwhelming majority of her life– so obviously her world is completely turned upside down. The novel chronicles Caroline’s attempts to make sense of the betrayal and learn how to move forward. The book totally lives up to it’s amazing cover (not that I was judging it by that, at all, in any way).

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: Eight Hundred Grapes / Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch

9781476789255

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. The series kicked off in earnest in May 2015, which means it turns one this month. Happy birthday, dear Books & Brews, happy birthday to you…

The events in Laura Dave’s EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES take place against the backdrop of the yearly harvest party at a vineyard– which makes it a perfect read for this celebratory month. (Synchronization, perhaps. *winking at anyone who has read the book already*) However, unlike my quiet little confetti throwing on the blog, Dave’s novel is full of family drama, in all the best ways. The main character, Georgia, returns home to her family’s vineyard in search of the comfortable familiar. Instead she finds that everything (really, literally everything) has changed. Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: Heart Conditions / Saison du BUFF

heart conditions

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

HEART CONDITIONS is the third book in Phoebe Fox’s Breakup Doctor series which chronicles the adventures of therapist Brook Ogden as she helps her clients through heartbreak, while navigating her own relationships with family, friends, and lovers. The concept is a fresh take on the age-old notion of physician heal thyself. As a writer, it’s the type or premise you read and think– that’s brilliant, why didn’t I think of that? Here’s what I loved about this book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: A Paris Apartment / 10 Barrel Brewing Company’s Cucumber Crush

Paperback-Cover

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

I had been meaning to read Michelle Gable’s A PARIS APARTMENT for a long time! It was on my “to be read” list last year when I was in Paris. My plan was to pick up a copy at Shakespeare & Company and to read while I was in Paris (because reading a book set in Paris, in Paris… I mean really, would anything have been better). Alas, they did not have a copy on hand. Plan foiled, I turned to other books on my near infinite list. Then last month, almost exactly a year later and on vacation again, I was wandering through Powell’s Books in Portland. Out of the bazillions of books, what should catch my eye but  A PARIS APARTMENT. It was clearly meant to be.

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake / Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout

finalC3

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

I’ll admit, I did exactly the thing the old adage tells us never to do: I judged this book by its  cover. But you see it up there, right? How could you not fall in love, but if for some odd reason, the cover didn’t draw you in, the description would get you: Lou is a chef. Al is a restaurant critic who writes under a pseudonym and is known for his scathing reviews. He dines at Lou’s restaurant on a very off night. And by very off, I mean walked in on her fiancé with another women when she stopped by to surprise him with a coconut cake– off. Al skewers her restaurant in a review. Then the two meet at random in a bar and Lou accepts the challenge to show Al all the best of Milwaukee’s food scene. One caveat– no talking about work. As Lou’s business collapses, largely due to Al’s review, the two fall in love. Which is clearly problematic.

Here are just a few things I loved about Amy E. Reichert’s THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE: Continue reading

Books & Brews: The Strangeness of Men / Isley Brewing Company’s Choosy Mother

45564f_05b0b5dfb8ef402fb20ee836bf214ee6

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

I’m kicking off 2016 with a Book & Brews first — instead of featuring a novel, I’m thrilled to share a collection of short stories, flash fiction, and poems! Kim Drew Wright’s The Strangeness of Men is thirty-eight unique stories bound together under one lovely cover (really, look at that cover up there– so gorgeous). Obviously, it would be impossible to give you a synopsis of each and every one of those stories, but what I can tell you is that each one explores some element of humanity– from the mundane (think laundry, cooking, and cleaning bathrooms), to the quirky (a naked sleepwalker), to the unimaginable (life in a quarantined town where people die every day). And each piece leaves you thinking just a little differently about the world around you and the stories everyone carries with them.

Here are just a few things I loved about this book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: The Good Neighbor / Anchor Steam

GoodNeighbor_2B-2-200x300

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a novel I love with a pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

This month I read The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan and I could not be more excited to share it with you! Many of you are on a bit of a break from work and/or school right now and if you’re like me, reading is near the top of your winter break “to do” list– just go ahead and add this book to the very top of that list.

Izzy Lane, the main character in The Good Neighbor, is recently divorced and has just moved back to her childhood home with her son, Noah. She’s in transition, learning to navigate sharing custody with her ex and starting over in the neighborhood she grew up in. In the midst of this, she starts an anonymous blog as a place to express her feelings about all the change. She has a regular readers and enjoys connecting with them in the comments. Just as she is starting to find her footing, she runs into her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Caught off-guard and wanting to seem “fine” about it all, she invents a boyfriend. Just a tiny little lie. No big deal. Until she slips and mentions this fictional beau on her blog, and her best-friend Jade approaches her about writing a dating blog for 40-somethings on her extremely popular website, Pop Philly. Suddenly Izzy’s tiny lie has the potential to cause more harm than she ever imagined.

Here are just a few things I loved about The Good Neighbor: Continue reading

Books & Brews: Courtship of the Cake / Ballast Point’s Calm Before the Storm

COURTSHIP-OF-THE-CAKE-fina-high-res

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a novel I love with a pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

This month I read Jessica Topper’s Courtship of the Cake. I’ll start with a warning – this book is going to make you want to eat cake. Even if you wouldn’t particularly list cake as your favorite dessert. Hummingbird Cake, loaded with fruit and spices and covered in a pineapple cream cheese frosting, yes please. It’s also going to make you want to get a massage. You’ll find yourself sitting on the stretch-y machine thing at the gym, thinking if only Dani were here with some essential oils to rub that spot between my shoulder blades, that would be so superior to this. That’s how well you get to know the characters in this book – so much so that you want them to hop off the pages and give you massages and bake you things. Continue reading

Books & Brews: Sisterhood is Deadly / Festina Peche

Sisterhood

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a women’s fiction novel I love with the perfect pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

I was excited about Lindsay Emory’s Sisterhood is Deadly from the moment she first posted about it online. Sorority advisor turned ammeter sleuth when a sister dies during a chapter meeting. You had me at sorority advisor. Seriously, I’m a sucker for books set on college campuses. Throw in a lighthearted mystery, a cast of dramatic college women, a hilarious best friend and a broodingly attractive cop who isn’t a fan of the Greek system– and I won’t be able to put the book down. Continue reading