Book Review: In A Dark, Dark Wood

In A Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware

Rating: 3 out of 5.

In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever. 

Let me start by saying that I had very mixed feelings about this book. It started out okay, I was intrigued, and then it went downhill from there. It is marketed as scary, and the little reviews on the cover were telling me that this book was scary and would terrify me as a reader. It did not. Mystery, sure, I guess. Not particularly thrilling. And definitely not scary.

This review may include a few spoilers, so if that might bother you, please don’t scroll down any further.

So the premise of this book is that Nora, out of nowhere, gets invited to a hen party weekend, in the middle of nowhere, for someone she hasn’t seen or spoken to in a decade. Now, logic would probably tell you, were you to receive a similar invite, that you were either a last resort invitation (as in the first choice guests had all declined/dropped out/died), or that something is up. Of course, if Nora had declined said invitation there would be no book, so yeah.

So, naturally, Nora goes to the hen weekend, and of course, it is a disaster from start to finish. The plot is fairly predictable, you already kind of know what is about to happen.

Nora – the last resort friend, Clare – the long abandoned best friend, and Flo – the over the top new bestie and maid of honour, are all kind of annoying. And the entire ridiculous debacle of what ensues is because of something that happened TEN YEARS AGO when everyone involved was 16 years old. We all do dumb things at 16, I would hate to think that most people still go around holding grudges over it.

See, Clare is now engaged to James. James was Nora’s boyfriend at the age of 16, they broke up at the 16, and now ten years later, nobody has moved on. Clare did a petty thing at the age of 16. Nora is still so obsessed with her ex-boyfriend (of a mere few months) that she has allowed it to shape and dictate her adult life, has allowed it to eliminate the possibility of another relationship of any kind. James finds out about stupid, petty thing that Clare did ten years ago, and is so mad about it that he absolutely needs to ensure that it is put right. To be honest, all three of these characters sound like they are still 16 years old. And if they were, maybe it would have been slightly less annoying to read about.

The details and descriptions of the setting were fabulous, and there was an eeriness about it that I did enjoy. I absolutely would not want to be stuck in this house with this group of people, that is for sure.

The book cover is absolutely stunning, and it wasn’t an unbearable read, just a bit tedious at times and a fair amount of eye-rolling.

Have you read In A Dark, Dark Wood? Let me know your thoughts!


Weekend Reading Plans: Jan 7 2022

It has been freezing here all week long, with windchills of -40, but it is supposed to warm up to -15 which will be nice. My daughter has her first gymnastics class of the year tomorrow (as long as it isn’t cancelled before then), and is back at school on Monday so it seems like life might start getting back to normal after the chaos of the holidays. Christmas is a nice mix of not long enough and being glad it’s over for me, and I always start January with complete optimism that this is my year.

What Am I Reading?

I found a version of A Christmas Carol on Audible that is narrated by Hugh Grant, so I’m going to listen to that a bit later today. I need to get some general decluttering done, so I’ll throw on the audio book while I get it done.

I’m also planning to start I Invited Her In by Adele Parks. I have been loving psychological thrillers lately, so hopefully this one won’t disappoint.

What Am I Watching?

I want to start Wheel Of Time on Prime, and Lottie and I are planning to watch the Disney movie Encanto together tomorrow night.

What are your weekend reading plans? Let me know!

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2022

January. The time of year when I get overly enthusiastic about reading challenges that I may or may not complete by the end of the year. This one however, seems to be quite doable. Reading historical fiction? Great, sign me up! I love a bit of historical fiction.

The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is hosted by The Intrepid Reader.

There are multiple levels that you can choose to hit, but I am going to plan for the Ancient History Level which is to read 25 historical fiction novels by the end of 2022.

I have a few historical fictions that I would like to get to this year. I would like to read a few books in the Outlander series. I read the first one last year, and would like to read books 2 & 3 this year. I would also like to read The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, and The Kew Gardens Girls by Posy Lovell.

Have you read any amazing historical fictions that you think I should check out? Leave me your suggestions!

2022 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge

I always love the idea of reading challenges, and I’m forever signing up for them with the hope that I will actually stick with it. So here is one more for the list. Who know, maybe 2022 will be the year!

The 2022 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge, hosted by GIRLxoxo. Each month there is a different motif/theme, and the idea is to read a book inspired by that theme. Now, I am not going to plan out an entire year of reading based on these prompts, but I do have some ideas for January-March so let’s start with that.

JANUARY-  New To You. Celebrate the New Year with something new to you- a new genre, a new author, a new book series, a new book purchase, etc.

I have a few books already on my January TBR which meet the new to me author prompt: The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kubler, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

FEBRUARY- Girl Power. Highlighting Women! Female Authors, Fierce female characters, feminism, female body positivity, females in science/government, etc.

I have quite a few books by female authors on my shelves: Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore, The Swap by Robyn Harding, A Stranger In The House by Shari Lapena.

MARCH- Buzzed About Books. Read a book you saw buzzed about a lot in 2021 but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

Oh, I have so many that could fit this prompt. But I’ve had Night Circus and The Lost Apothecary on my list, so I think I will probably choose one of them.

Top Ten Tuesday: Anticipated Releases

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The theme this week is most anticipated books releasing in the first half of 2022.

It was incredibly hard to narrow this list down to just 10. There are so many books that are coming out this year that I want to read.

After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.

The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.

When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, Chloe’s father had been arrested as a serial killer and promptly put in prison. Chloe and the rest of her family were left to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.

Now 20 years later, Chloe is a psychologist in private practice in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. She finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to get. Sometimes, though, she feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. And then a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, and that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, and seeing parallels that aren’t really there, or for the second time in her life, is she about to unmask a killer?

Helen’s idyllic life—handsome architect husband, gorgeous Victorian house, and cherished baby on the way (after years of trying)—begins to change the day she attends her first prenatal class and meets Rachel, an unpredictable single mother-to-be. Rachel doesn’t seem very maternal: she smokes, drinks, and professes little interest in parenthood. Still, Helen is drawn to her. Maybe Rachel just needs a friend. And to be honest, Helen’s a bit lonely herself. At least Rachel is fun to be with. She makes Helen laugh, invites her confidences, and distracts her from her fears.

But her increasingly erratic behavior is unsettling. And Helen’s not the only one who’s noticed. Her friends and family begin to suspect that her strange new friend may be linked to their shared history in unexpected ways. When Rachel threatens to expose a past crime that could destroy all of their lives, it becomes clear that there are more than a few secrets laying beneath the broad-leaved trees and warm lamplight of Greenwich Park.

It’s official: Zoey Marks is the cursed bridesmaid that no engagement can survive. Ten years, three empire waist dresses, and ZERO brides have walked down the aisle.

After strike three, Zoey is left wondering if her own ambivalence towards marriage has rubbed off on those she loves. And when her building distrust of matrimony culminates in turning down a proposal from her perfect All-American boyfriend, Rylan Harper III, she and Rylan are both left heartbroken, leaving Zoey to wonder: what is it exactly about tying the knot that makes her want to run in the opposite direction?

Enter Hannah Green: Zoey’s best friend, who announces that she’s marrying a guy she just met (cue eye roll). At a castle. In gorgeous, romantic Ireland, where Rylan will be in attendance, and Zoey will be a bridesmaid. It’ll be fine.

Okay, the woman definition of fine (NOT FINE).

Determined to turn her luck around, Zoey accepts her role and vows to get Hannah down the aisle—all the while praying her best friend’s wedded bliss will allow her to embrace marriage and get Rylan back.

But as the weekend goes on, Zoey is plagued with more questions than answers. Can you be a free spirit, yet still want a certain future? Can you have love and be loved on your terms? And how DO you wrangle a bossy falcon into doing your bidding? 

Leigh Fletcher: happily married stepmom to two gorgeous boys goes missing on Monday. Her husband, Mark, says he knows nothing of her whereabouts. She went to work and just never came home. Their family is shattered.

Kai Janssen: married to wealthy Dutch businessman Daan and vanishes the same week. Kai left their luxurious penthouse and glamorous world without a backward glance. She seemingly evaporated into thin air. Daan is distraught.

Detective Clements knows that people disappear all the time—far too frequently. Most run away from things, some run toward, others are taken but find their way back. A sad few never return. These two women are from very different worlds. Their disappearances are unlikely to be connected. And yet, at a gut level, the detective believes they might be.

How could these women walk away from their families, husbands and homes willingly? Clements is determined to unearth the truth, no matter how shocking and devastating it may be.

Anna loves Girls’ Night with her friends. With the kids safely in bed, it’s a chance for the women to let loose, enjoy some wine, and just laugh. But after one lively evening, Anna doesn’t arrive for school drop-off the next morning—or the next, or the next.

Everyone, especially her husband and young son, are frantic with worry but none more so than Grace, her childhood best friend. Grace is certain that someone is hiding the truth about Anna’s unexplained disappearance. As rumors fly and accusations are whispered among neighbors, Grace decides to take matters into her own hands and find out what happened to Anna…or die trying.

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among warehouses in London. Its roof terrace is so discreet, you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there—a man you’d recognize anywhere. He may be older now, but it’s definitely him.

But that can’t be because he’s been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact.

Because you’re the one who killed him

Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.

The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.

1978: At her renowned treatment center in picturesque Vermont, the brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Hildreth, is acclaimed for her compassionate work with the mentally ill. But when’s she home with her cherished grandchildren, Vi and Eric, she’s just Gran—teaching them how to take care of their pets, preparing them home-cooked meals, providing them with care and attention and love.

Then one day Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—does not behave like a normal girl.

Still, Violet is thrilled to have a new playmate. She and Eric invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they catalogue all kinds of monsters and dream up ways to defeat them. Before long, Iris begins to come out of her shell. She and Vi and Eric do everything together: ride their bicycles, go to the drive-in, meet at their clubhouse in secret to hunt monsters. Because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere.

2019: Lizzy Shelley, the host of the popular podcast Monsters Among Us, is traveling to Vermont, where a young girl has been abducted, and a monster sighting has the town in an uproar. She’s determined to hunt it down, because Lizzy knows better than anyone that monsters are real—and one of them is her very own sister.

She thought she was alone

True crime writer Wylie Lark doesn’t mind being snowed in at the isolated farmhouse where she’s retreated to write her new book. A cozy fire, complete silence. It would be perfect, if not for the fact that decades earlier, at this very house, two people were murdered in cold blood and a girl disappeared without a trace.

As the storm worsens, Wylie finds herself trapped inside the house, haunted by the secrets contained within its walls—haunted by secrets of her own. Then she discovers a small child in the snow just outside. After bringing the child inside for warmth and safety, she begins to search for answers. But soon it becomes clear that the farmhouse isn’t as isolated as she thought, and someone is willing to do anything to find them.

Are there any of these that you are looking forward to? Let me know!

January 2022 TBR

You may have noticed I took a not too brief hiatus from the blog to get myself over the Christmas/Winter hump. I found myself in a bit of a reading slump as well as lacking inspiration, and work always speeds up towards the end of the year, so I decided that a break was indeed best for my mental health.

But I am back! Refreshed and ready to get back into the reading! So what am I planning to read in January? I’m going to be trying to clear off some of the many, many books that have been sitting unread on my kindle and physical bookshelves for an embarrassing amount of time. And since it’s January and the time for fresh starts and all that, I’ve decided to start with the Mount Everest of books I just haven’t gotten around to reading yet.

In A Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware. I read The Woman In Cabin 10 back in…October, and I wasn’t the biggest fan. But I also have a backlog of Ruth Ware books chilling out on my bookcase, so I’m going to give this one a try.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher. I enjoyed the TV show, but I haven’t gotten around to reading the book yet. This is actually my Buzzword Challenge book for January. The Buzzword prompt for January is a book title featuring one of the 5 W’s (where, what, why, when, who & how).

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green. I have neither read this book nor seen the movie, but I plan to do both this month.

The Perfect Couple – Jackie Kabler. I have really been enjoying thrillers lately, and I’ve had this on Kindle Unlimited for a little bit, so I’m excited to give it a read.

Every Heart A Doorway – Seanan McGuire. I am planning to participate in the Be Sure Athon readathon hosted by The Wild Sasha. I haven’t read any of this series before, but I’m looking forward to starting it.

Down Among The Sticks and Bones – Seanan McGuire.

I Invited Her In – Adele Parks. This is another thriller I’m looking forward to reading.

What are you planning to read this month? Let me know!


Top Ten Tuesday: Pumpkins

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is online resources for books. However, I’m still very much feeling the Fall vibe, so I’ve decided to do ten books with Pumpkins on the cover.

  • Pumpkin Heads – Rainbow Rowell
  • Pumpkins & Poltergeists – Nyx Halliwell
  • Pumpkin Picking With Murder – Auralee Wallace
  • The Bakeshop At Pumpkin And Spice – Donna Kauffman & Kate Angell
  • Pumpkin Spice Peril – Jenn McKinlay

  • Pumpkins In Paradise – Kathi Daley
  • Town In A Pumpkin Bash – B.B. Haywood
  • Pumpkins, Paws & Murder – Kathy Manos Penn
  • The Cottage On Pumpkin And Vine – Kate Angell
  • Death By Pumpkin Spice – Alex Erickson

Have you read any of these books? Let me know!

Fall Bucket List Book Tag

I was tagged in the Fall Bucket List Tag a few weeks ago by Koo Reviews. It was originally created by Read With Tiffany.

Light A Scented Candle – a book that is light hearted

Yours Truly is a cute romantic comedy about learning to be honest with yourself and others about what you truly want in life. It is cute, cuddly, and light hearted. (Yours Truly review)

Drink Pumpkin Spiced Lattes – A book that has a lot of hype

I was seeing The Girl Who Drank The Moon everywhere this year, but when I read it I didn’t quite love it as much as everyone else seemed to. It was a 3* read for me.

Go Apple Picking – A book that has fun friendships

If you are looking for books with awesome best friends, Dear Mrs Bird and Big Sexy Love both have them. (Dear Mrs Bird & Big Sexy Love)

Wear A Cozy Sweater – A book that warms your heart

Tanabata Wish was a nice, cute read. (My review here)

Bake Cinnamon Rolls – A character who is a talented chef

I had trouble coming up with a chef from any of the books I’ve read this year. Skyler in Tanabata Wish learned to prepare some traditional Japanese dishes.

Jump Into a Pile of Leaves – A Book That Made You Jump For Joy

Not necessarily joy, but there were definitely a few funny moments in Dear Mrs. Bird.

Thanks for tagging me, Koos Reviews! I TAG:

Anyone who wants to give it a go!

Have you read any of these books? Let me know!

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