The Meadows by London Clarke

The Meadows

The Meadows by London Clarke

FOUR Creepy Stars 😈😈😈😈

My Thoughts

Since this month is all about SPOOKY READS, I decided I needed to try and find something that was really going to make me think twice about sleeping with the lights off. But like horror movies, this task can be hit-or-miss for me. I’m looking for something scary, something I can read at night that has me inching closer and closer to the middle of the bed and paying more attention to whether or not I let my foot inch out of the covers while I sleep. Something creepy that stays with me throughout the following day, careful to keep my eye on the darker corners of the house and constantly telling myself to, “CHILL OUT, it’s just a story!” THAT kind of book. And I think London Clarke did an excellent job bringing those emotions to life for me.

The Meadows is about a woman who buys an old mansion, far away from her troubled city life, in hopes of making it into a bed and breakfast. The people in town keep hinting that something isn’t right with her new business venture, the mansion may have a dark history (as most old mansion do), and weird stuff is happening on the property she has put A LOT of money into. But this isn’t your run of the mill old ghost story. You see, she is also dealing with the possibility that there are flesh and blood human beings who welcome the chilling events that take place on this expansive property. And being new to town, it’s impossible to know who you can trust.

Scarlett doesn’t believe in ghosts, nor does she entertain the thought that what happens in the house can’t be logically explained. Is she right, or is she in for a very rude awakening? She is also a recovering addict who has lived in the world of blackouts and hallucinations, so strange things usually follow a glass (of three) of wine.

The plot itself may not seem the most original to the more seasoned horror reader out there, but it does certainly take you on a paranormal journey that muddies the lines between rumor and fact. I found that the discoveries of new evidence builds in the most delicious way, and makes the end of the book really come together the way a good read should. After reading, I can also appreciate the time and effort the author put into researching the parts of the story that come from the real world.

I will say there were a couple things that didn’t sit well with me in terms of the story. First, I wasn’t feeling the romance element. I didn’t detect any real chemistry and felt that it didn’t ADD anything to what was going on. I prefer my horror to be filled to the brim with things I don’t see coming and crazy, paranormal events that seem like they could happen in the real world. I don’t need a romance thrown in there unless it actually strengthens the plot.

I would also have enjoyed more exploration of the grounds, maybe more of a backstory with the original owner and why exactly he named the house as he did. I think the author could’ve taken this a bit further, giving our paranormal entities more depth in personality and origin.

But as I said at the beginning of this review: the book is still worth giving a read, especially if you are obsessed with the horror genre. There is a lot of originality to this book, on top of the traditional ghost story elements that we appreciate. There is a second book that follows The Meadows and I am curious to see what the author does with it. Will we get more into the origins of Asphodel House? Will there be more deadly consequences for those who step foot inside? I can’t wait to find out.

If you’ve read this book or are planning to read it, tell me what you thought! Will you read book two?

Thank you for reading! Enjoy the rest of your #booktober!

BOOK HAUL #1: Story Time Reads

I’ve acquired quite a few new books this month thanks to some awesome sales and, well of course, the library. Thought I’d share them with you all. Let me know if you’ve read any of these or what you think I should pick up next. Happy reading!

Physical Copies

Binti (Binti, #1)The HistorianYear of Wonders

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor: I’ve seen this one floating around on Booktube and various other sites for sometime and decided I’d really like to give it a try. At only around 90 pages, this SYFY book should be full of fast-paced action.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: The synopsis reminded me of The Davinci Code and sounds like it’s going to be an awesome mix of just that kind of history, only with old folklore. I can’t wait to get into this one.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks: The covers of Brooks’ novels have always intrigued me, so I decided, “why not?” There’s nothing like a good historical fiction with a plague ravaged backdrop for a setting.

The Iron King (The Accursed Kings, #1)Unhonored (The Nightbirds, #2)Flight of the Sparrow

The Iron King by Maurice Druon: How often do you find a book blurbed by an author who claims his/her own book is the copycat of said book??? If you are a fan of the Game of Thrones series as I am, then you’ll understand exactly why I needed this book in my hands ASAP.

Unhonored by Tracy Hickman & Laura Hickman: I’ve very recently finished Unwept, the first book in The Nightbirds duology and I couldn’t leave the last book unread, not knowing how it all ends. I was able to find this one SUPER cheap online so YAY discounts!

Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown: It’s becoming difficult to resist buying a historical fiction novel based more on truth than fiction. And that’s how this book was introduced to me. Had to have it…I have no regrets.

The DollhouseA Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis: Bad influences, 1950’s New York City, beautiful book cover, and I was sold. I don’t know about you, but I love a story with rebellious house maids.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield: This has been on my TBR for awhile now and with it being part of a book sale, I broke down and just BOUGHT IT ALREADY. I think the story itself sounds like an interesting premise for a book, and am curious to find out how close to a memoir it will be.

A Manual For Cleaning Women: Selected Short Stories by Lucia Berlin: Didn’t I tell you I’m a sucker for stories about maids? This is a compilation of short stories about the nitty gritty daily life of housemaids and servants. I will be starting this one soon.

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (One Thousand White Women, #1)The Secret Chord

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus: Is anyone else fascinated by old pioneer stories that don’t leave out the strong Native American presence that belongs there? This book not only has that, but I’m really excited to see it was written based on the journals of a woman who was a pioneer. At over 400 pages, I’m hoping for an awesome story.

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks: This is the 2nd book I’ve bought by an author I have yet to read anything by. But the synopsis sounded amazing, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grab it. Another historical fiction fascination of mine is a story based on the Bible, set in Biblical times. And with this novel being about King David’s life, I can’t wait to dive in.

Library Ebooks

Although I don’t buy many ebooks (I prefer to buy the physical copies), I always try and keep something new on my Kindle or Nook. That way I can read in the dark and not keep my husband awake with an obnoxiously heavy and poorly aimed book light. Netgalley is usually my go-to for new ebooks, but sometimes I like to see what my local library has to offer. Here are a few I’ve just recently added!

In the Shadow of BlackbirdsWilla of the Wood (Willa, #1)Dark Places

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters: I’ve had my eye on this one for some time now and was happy to find it available. Set in early twentieth century America, this novel comes with seances, war torn love, and the panicked loves of people surrounded by the Spanish Influenza outbreak. It seems dark and honest, which is exactly what I’m expecting from this historical fiction.

Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty: The stunning cover is what drew me to this initially. It’s GORGEOUS, isn’t it? I’m excited to follow Willa through the wilderness of her homeland, maybe even dabble in a little passed-down family magic. This adventure will be fun!

Dark Places by Gilliam Flynn: The only novel by Gillian Flynn I have yet to read. I was blown away by Gone Girl and Sharp Objects, so it’s safe to say this book will follow as just the kind of raw, dark, and unfiltered Flynn fiction I have come to love.

That’s all for this haul! What books have you hauled recently?

The Darkest Part of the Forest

Darkest Part of the Forest.jpg

FOUR stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Author: Holly Black

My Thoughts

Let me start by saying I am in love with this book cover! It has perfectly blended the beauty of nature and the dark, ominous dangers that lurk within. The cover is what prompted me to buy the book in the first place, before even reading a review or synopsis. Yeah, that’s impulse buying at its finest and I’m not even sorry, because Holly Black… can write a book.

The attention to detail is stunning, but not even close to overly descriptive. Each sentence written about what lurks in the forest is dripping with imagination and creativity. Black has created a fairy tale town that seems to coexist with the modern world as a kind of tourist destination. Only this isn’t Disneyland, and the creatures that inhabit the forest don’t always play nice.

Our main characters well know the rules of dealing with faerie. The story belongs to siblings Hazel and Ben, with perspectives written in a voice that will have you turning pages well after dark. You’ll get to hear their stories of trauma, of heartache, of longing for something more, all while becoming completely enthralled in the parts they each play in the world of faerie. And while there is a bit of that signature “YA romance” here and there, it didn’t take away from the magic of the overall story or the dark and twisty parts that make this a beautifully written piece of fairy tale perfection.

The Darkest Part of the Forest was the perfect cozy October read for me, one that I will not soon forget. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, don’t wait… the faerie won’t.