Full Pour Review: Vanishing Falls

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Set in a small town of Tasmania, Vanishing Falls by Poppy Gee is a slow burning murder mystery full of intriguing characters with dark secrets and a fascinating glimpse into class separation and drug addiction.

DESCRIPTION: Celia Lily is rich, beautiful, and admired. She’s also missing. And the search for the glamorous socialite is about to expose all the dark, dirty secrets of Vanishing Falls…

Deep within the lush Tasmanian rainforest is the remote town of Vanishing Falls, a place with a storied past. The town’s showpiece, built in the 1800s, is its Calendar House—currently occupied by Jack Lily, a prominent art collector and landowner; his wife, Celia; and their four daughters. The elaborate, eccentrically designed mansion houses one masterpiece and 52 rooms—and Celia Lily isn’t in any of them. She has vanished without a trace.…

Joelle Smithton knows that a few folks in Vanishing Falls believe that she’s simple-minded. It’s true that Joelle’s brain works a little differently—a legacy of shocking childhood trauma. But Joelle sees far more than most people realize, and remembers details that others cast away. For instance, she knows that Celia’s husband, Jack, has connections to unsavory local characters whom he’s desperate to keep hidden. He’s not the only one in town with something to conceal. Even Joelle’s own husband, Brian, a butcher, is acting suspiciously. While the police flounder, unable to find Celia, Joelle is gradually parsing the truth from the gossip she hears and from the simple gestures and statements that can unwittingly reveal so much.   

Just as the water from the falls disappears into the ground, gushing away through subterranean creeks, the secrets in Vanishing Falls are pulsing through the town, about to converge. And when they do, Joelle must summon the courage to reveal what really happened to Celia, even if it means exposing her own past…

Poppy Gee is a talented writer. I really enjoyed the complexity of the characters and how the book was told from multiple POV’s- the interwoven character story lines gave me a Big Little Lies vibe. Joelle was an excellent protagonist and I adored her strength, resilience and vulnerability. I also adored her husband Brian and their relationship, but would’ve loved to have learned more about his character. I felt that out of all the characters portrayed in this story, I knew the least about him. I also really enjoyed the setting of the story. Poppy Gee did a fantastic job at illustrating a beautiful and intriguing Tasmanian rain forest setting, as well as the Calendar House occupied by Celia and Jack- I was fascinated by the concept of a house like this and would love to see it in person. The drug addiction and class separation portrayed within this small town was intense and Poppy Gee did a wonderful job at detailing the struggles that the characters (i.e. Cliff and Kim, Brendan and Karen) faced as a direct result of these things. I couldn’t help but feel pain and sadness for these characters.

This was my first novel by Poppy Gee, and I look forward to reading more by this author! If you’re looking for a slow burning murder mystery with intriguing, complex characters and an illustrative setting, I recommend checking out Vanishing Falls. Thank you again so much to WilliamMorrow for gifting me this book in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER DESCRIPTION: Vanishing Falls by Poppy Gee is best paired with Dunkin’ + Pumpkin by Harpoon Brewery. Inspired by everyone’s favorite fall pumpkin latte, this “Spiced Latte Ale” is brewed with real pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices, and a splash of coffee. Light in color and easy-drinking, it’s a perfect blend of all the autumn flavors we love, with just a touch of espresso-like roast 🍻

Full Pour Review: Little Deadly Secrets

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

To say that I enjoyed this book would be a great understatement. Little Deadly Secrets by Pamela Crane is officially one of my favorite suspense novels this year. The opening scene was intense and eery, setting the tone for the rest of the book super fast.

DESCRIPTION: Three best friends. Two unforgiveable sins. One dead body. Mackenzie, Robin, and Lily have been inseparable forever, sharing life’s ups and downs and growing even closer as the years have gone by. They know everything about each other. Or so they believe. Nothing could come between these three best friends . . . except for a betrayal. Nothing could turn them against each other . . . except for a terrible past mistake. Nothing could tear them apart . . . except for murder.

The characters in this book were phenomenal. Pamela Crane did a wonderful job connecting the reader with each of the characters and immersing them into their worlds. I loved that the story was told in multiple POV’s and not just from the adults, but even some of the children. Each character took me on an emotional roller coaster through their intense story lines and I loved how much their strength and vulnerability seeped through the pages. It was incredibly hard not to fall in love with all of the characters and their triumphs, failures and flaws.

I don’t want to go into particular story lines and give too much away, but the drama within this book is very similar to Big Little Lies– domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, drug addiction, infidelity, murder, alcohol abuse, dark secrets, betrayals and more. The building tension, surprise twists and explosive ending kept me on the edge of my seat and made it incredibly hard to put this book down.

I truly can’t recommend this book enough. If you are a fan of Big Little Lies and looking for your next binge-read, I think it’s safe to say that you will love Little Deadly Secrets as well. Thank you again so much to WilliamMorrow for gifting me this amazing book in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: Little Deadly Secrets by Pamela Crane is best paired with Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin by New Belgium Brewing Company. Not only is this my absolute favorite pumpkin beer, I’ll bet it’s unlike any pumpkin beer you’ve had before 😉 Not too spicy and not too sweet, this pumpkin ale was brewed with Saigon Cinnamon and Habanero and De Arbol peppers for an explosion of flavors that’ll keep you coming back for more 🍻

Full Pour Review: The Nanny

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Whew! The suspense was real with this one! 🙌🏻 Full of dark secrets and bizarre twists, I thoroughly enjoyed The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan. This book was really well written; containing rich characters that evoke so many emotions and a story line that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

DESCRIPTION: When her beloved nanny, Hannah, left without a trace in the summer of 1988, seven-year-old Jocelyn Holt was devastated. Haunted by the loss, Jo grew up bitter and distant, and eventually left her parents and Lake Hall, their faded aristocratic home, behind. Thirty years later, Jo returns to the house and is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her mother. But when human remains are accidentally uncovered in a lake on the estate, Jo begins to question everything she thought she knew. Then an unexpected visitor knocks on the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again. Desperate to piece together the gaping holes in her memory, Jo must uncover who her nanny really was, why she left, and if she can trust her own mother…

This book was a solid thriller about misperceptions that we mistake as reality, sucking you in from the very beginning. I really liked how this book was told by three different perspectives- Virginia (the mom), Jocelyn, and Hannah. I liked being able to see Jocelyn and Virginia’s side of the story in real time and learn about the family’s dark past. For Hannah, her perspective was mainly told in past tense and while I don’t think anything was missing from the story, I think it would have been really cool to see her perspective in present tense as well. I would have also enjoyed getting some of Ruby’s perspective as well in regards to her relationship with Hannah. The depth of the characters was great too and they evoked a lot of emotions in the reader. I felt like I really got to know Jocelyn and Virginia well and I enjoyed the “love-to-hate” feelings I had for Virginia along with the ability to feel some understanding behind why she does the things she does. I also really enjoyed the setting of the story and found the ending to be surprising and very satisfying.

The Nanny truly is another great debut thriller that hit shelves on August 4th. If you haven’t already added this to your TBR list, I highly recommend checking it out! This was my first time reading a book by Gilly MacMillan and I definitely look forward to reading more by her. Thank you so much again to WilliamMorrow for gifting me this book in exchange for my honest review 💛


BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan is best paired with Good Gourd by Cigar City Brewing. This delicious imperial pumpkin ale is brewed with cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla to emulate the flavors of a decadent, piquant pumpkin pie 🍻

Full Pour Review: When No One Is Watching

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I haven’t read many thrillers this year, and that. needs. to. change. 👏🏻 That being said, I’m happy to say that the few thrillers that I have read so far this year have not left me disappointed and When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole was definitely no exception! Compared to Rear Window and Get Out, the fast-paced storyline for this deeply unsettling novel is unlike any other thriller I’ve read before. Not only did it have me hooked, but Alyssa Cole weaved so many important messages into this book that left me with so much for think about.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?

There are so many things that I enjoyed about this book. First, the storyline. It’s a gripping psychological thriller with gentrification being the main focus, while police brutality, racism, harassment, financial struggles, loss of loved ones, all play large roles too. There are several characters (i.e. FUCKING KARENS) in this book that had me so fired up. Alyssa Cole did a great job with immersing the reader into the story. I felt like I was witnessing everything right alongside Sydney and Theo and while I enjoyed their characters and friendship, I felt their romantic relationship was a little out of place and unnecessary.

If you’re looking for an exciting and intriguing psychological thriller with a side of conspiracy, I highly recommend reading this book! Thank you again to WilliamMorrow and HarperCollins for gifting me my review copy in exchange for my honest review 🤗


BEER RECOMMENDATION: When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole is best paired with The Fear by Flying Dog Brewery. This delicious pumpkin beer has bold pumpkin and spice flavor complimented by notes of chocolate and graham cracker 🍻

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 🍻