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Nightfall Gardens

(Nightfall Gardens #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  240 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Vain Lily Blackwood and her shy brother Silas wonder if their family will ever settle in one place long enough to lead a normal life. When a mysterious stranger arrives claiming to be their uncle, they discover their parents have been hiding a secret that turns their world upside down.

The two are kidnapped to Nightfall Gardens, the family’s ancestral home, a place shroude
Paperback, 250 pages
Published May 10th 2013 by Flycatcher Books (first published May 8th 2013)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  240 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
First things first: I need to mention I received this book from Goodreads giveaways.

Lily Blackwood is a young girl who dreams of becoming a great actress and playing on greatest Paris theater scenes. Her dreams are shattered the moment a mysterious stranger dressed in a cloak with a wolf head shows up one day claiming it is time for her to take over as a protector of their family mansion and nearby dreaded Nightfall Gardens.

To make a long story short, this is the best book I won in Goodreads g
** 12/22/19 Kindle version is FREE **

“Only later, when she was locked away at Nightfall Gardens, would Lily realize that the moment she saw the man with the wolf’s-head cloak was the beginning of the end of her old life.”

Fourteen year old Lily has dreams of being an actress on the famous stages of Paris. Her brother Silas is writing a play. Theirs is a family of the stage, their parents trying to make a go of a run-down theater in New Amsterdam.

Lily is a bit shallow and vain, Silas a bit of a dr
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: Often it is said that never judge a book by its cover but over here that along with the blurb, was exactly what drew me to Nightfall Gardens. When the author approached us for a review, I read an excerpt and ended up asking for a review copy simply because of the intriguing narrative. Now usually I don’t review much in the YA/MG fantasy genre but with this book, I was glad to that I got to read it.

The story begins in the late seventeenth or early
Jessica (The Psychotic Nerd)
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I usually read YA books, but I also have a love for MG. This is a very very very dark MG book! But I loved it!

Lily and Silas Blackwood's family is constantly moving from place to place, running various 'pathetic' plays. When a mysterious uncle shows up, one Lily and Silas knew nothing about, wanting to take Lily away, things change completely. It turns out tha
Jul 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
Trade paperback/YA Fantasy: This book has "Book One" on the cover, but it is actually "Part One". It does not end and you have to read the second book to see how two major story lines and three minor plots end. I had a problem with that because there was no defined plot to the book until the middle of the book. Granted, I understand Nightfall Gardens is YA and well written, but I wish the publisher let the writer finish out some of the story lines. I don't think it would hurt to let it go anothe ...more
Gave it a try, but it’s not for me.
Amy M
[I won my copy through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway!]

The synopsis and cover were enough to garner my attention, and I have to say the book looks even better in person. I'm a sucker for quality illustrations, especially one with a decidedly vintage flair, and the gothic image set my mind abuzz.

From what I can gather this is actually a self-published novel (my first) which just added to my curiosity. In that vein it was a good introduction for me. Its written in an effortless way, where you
Amanda White
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked this book quite a bit...Full of mystery , creatures and myth. A story that kept my attention and made me want to keep reading . If you like greek mythology, horror stories, paranormal stories and mystery you would like this book .
mark monday
effective tale of horror and dark adventure, for the little ones. young Lily and Silas are whisked away from their parents and taken to the estate known as Nightfall Gardens, their ancestral home, and a locus for all that is full of malice and dark plans for the human kind. Lily and Silas come from a long line that has established itself as the caretakers and wardens of this treacherous supernatural place, which is locked in some sort of netherworld except for those brief moments when its gates ...more
Amy_Read to My Heart's Content
Original review at:

My Thoughts:

I received a copy of Nightfall Gardens for my honest opinion of it. I wasn't sure if it would be my type of story; I was afraid it would be too much for the kids and not exciting enough for myself. I shouldn't have worried! This book is amazing!
Before I get to the actual story can we talk about the cover?
I love when the illustration conveys the story perfectly and this cover definitely does it! I also love that it is in jus
John Clark
Jan 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Deceptively smooth read with an interesting world, great characters and plenty of creep. It ends on a major cliffhanger, so I played it safe and ordered both books 2 & 3 right after I finished.
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
“Nightfall Gardens” was a surprisingly good read. I knew from the book summary that it was going to be a fantastical adventure, but never would I have been able to guess just how much of a fantastical adventure it was going to be. I was astounded by this author’s obviously limitless imagination! He conjured up creatures I’ve never heard of before, and then proceeded to entwine them with mythical creatures to create a novel that would test the boundaries of every imagination.

The writing itself i
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-juv
Nightfall Gardens by Allen Houston. Supposed to be for a younger audience, but the novel seems a bit dark and grotesque for the younger age range, and for an older YA audience, the lack of characterization might be a problem. I found it hard to care about any of the characters, and this is the kind of novel that demands that you care about the danger the young people are in.

There are frightening experiences and grotesque and sinister characters that only elicited an intellectual response (from
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri

Oh, what a wonderful book! This book ( and series) appeals to that deep part of my soul that was enraptured by THE SECRET GARDEN as a child, and by the concept of Brigadoon (appearing only centennially). WHO cannot love a living, sentient, always mutable house? Or gardens full of shapeshifters, monsters, and the Dead? I am always magnetized by stories of family curses and a family chosen to hold back evil, throughout their generations. Here there are two
Lavender  Sparrow
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really did enjoy Nightfall gardens very much, but I wanted it to be scarier.
I loved the easy to read but vivid writing style. The story was good; you really have two stories working alongside each other. As we find out what is happening in the house told from Lilly’s point of view, we read about the gardens told by her brother Silas. The characters where instantly likeable and some of the creatures that are found in Nightfall were brilliantly imagined.

I really have nothing bad to say about N
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in two days because I didn't want to put it down. While it's technically a YA novel, it has a depth that makes it work for me. Houston incorporates an interesting mix of Greek mythology, ghosts, goblins, and his own novel creatures to create a terrifying world that, without the efforts of a young girl and her brother, will soon be consumed by them. I'm a fan of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" Trilogy and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game Series; this first volume is up there ...more
Melissa Flynn
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fun read! As a junior high teacher, I preview all new books before adding them to my classroom library. This is another one my students will love. It has an edge to it that keeps readers hooked, children and adults. And like other great YA authors, Houston fills Nightfall Gardens with literary devices that add to the story's richness: symbolism, foreshadowing, metaphor, theme, personification, to name a few. I am really looking forward to the next book! ...more
Jessica Rushing
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.75 out of 5 stars

Nightfall Gardens is a dark little story about Lily Blackwood and her brother, Silas, are whisked away from their nomad lives as "actors" on their father's theater stage by their surprise uncle to a surprise grandmother living on a surprise estate - Nightfall Manor in Nightfall Gardens.

The story is, their family is descended from Pandora. Yes, that Pandora. They are the entrusted (forced) caretakers of the gardens which imprison all the evil beings - old gods, mummies, jinkin

Wow. I was really pleasantly surprised by Nightfall Gardens. I mean, I definitely found the synopsis interesting, but I was not expecting the level of imagery I got once I was ensnared inside the Nightfall Gardens. This is one of those stories that you read that the world, and it's inhabitants, are so rich and completely incredible that you crave to see these ideas brought to life! Seriously, this book could SLAY as a graphic novel, with the right artist, although I have seen the other covers f
T.M.B.A. Corbett
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Check out the review on my blog and see other giveaways and fun stuff!
I was asked to review this book by the author. I looked up the book and loved the synopsis and cover, so I told him I would review it. I was a bit nervous because what if it was a complete let down and I had to tell the author that my review wouldn't be so kind. Thankfully though the book lives up to the cover and description. Actually it does better than that it blew my mind. This book is the best Gothic novel I have read in
Bruce Gargoyle
Ten Second Synopsis:
Lily and Silas are taken against their will to Nightfall Gardens, there ancestral home in a void between the our world and the next, and repository of all ickiness.

It is nice to find a YA horror/paranormal/fantasy sort of a book with an original premise and setting. Nightfall Gardens (the book) was as creepy as all the reviews I read promised it would be. In fact, Nightfall Gardens (the house and grounds) was almost too depressing and hopeless for my liking. The section in wh
Rob Slaven
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As is almost always the case I received this item free in exchange for a review. Also as always I'm still completely honest about the book despite the powerful lure of free stuff.

The high-level view on this book is that it's rather reminiscent of The Addams Family... if the Addams family happened involved in a inter-species civil war with entirety of human mythology. The general tone is incredibly varied and wonderfully dark. If you like dark novels in which some new species of creature with bi
NIGHTFALL GARDENS tells the story of the Blackwood family. We’re first introduced to Lily, who longs for the stage lights of Paris and London and her brother Silas, who is shy and timid. Their parents run a small traveling theater troop which has yet to turn any substantial profit. When Lily’s uncle shows up, he kidnaps Lily and Silas follows after to rescue her. What Lily and Silas don’t know is Lily is the last Blackwood female and is needed to take over for her grandmother as guardian and pro ...more
Elaine Miller
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I wasn't too sure at first but this book really hits it's stride a couple chapters in. The author has used an interesting mix of creatures from fairytales and mythology to populate the gardens and the house is wonderfully gothic and creepy. The characters really grew on me by the end of the book and I'll definitely be picking up the next novel to find out what happens to them especially since this one ended on such a cliffhanger!

Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: yafiction
Interesting premise. There were times I couldn't put down the book, eager to see what would happen next. But, at times the story lost my interest. It ended a bit abruptly, of course making you want to read the next volume. I wanted a few more answers to keep me interested, but maybe the next volume will be stronger. ...more
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Nightfall Gardens was absolutely an enjoyable read! The characters, both main and minor, were a pleasure to journey with to the Gardens. Houston's story is most definitely full of adventure :) I think the spin on Pandora's Box is intriguing and I look forward to reading the second book in the series. If you or yours enjoyed A Series of Unfortunate Events this is a read I would recommend! ...more
Valerie - Cats Luv Coffee
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Why Did I Pick This Book?
Um, that cover of course! That cover says dark, gothic fiction. I didn't even realize that it was a MG book. I came for the cover, but I stayed for the story. Curses, fairy-tale nightmares, mythical beasts, ghosts? Yes, please!

Read more at Cats Luv Coffee
Kerry Machemer
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a page turner. I couldn't put it down and would even wake up in the middle of the night to read just a little more. This resulted in some interesting and eerie dreams.... I'm anxiously awaiting the next installment. ...more
Melissa (thereaderandthechef)
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Oh, this book is GOOD. It took me a long time to finish it, but it was not its fault I had other things to do. But I made sure to read a few pages every night before going to sleep. Not a really smart choice though, sort of a creepy book, but still worth it. Looking forward to the next book!
Kimberly Houston
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best, series
I want more! Can't wait for the 2nd in the series. ...more
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Allen Houston is a native Oklahoman who has lived in Japan and Indonesia. He has worked as a journalist at the Dallas Morning News and the New York Post. Allen lives in Brooklyn with his wife, daughters, and a menagerie of animals.

Other books in the series

Nightfall Gardens (3 books)
  • The Shadow Garden (Nightfall Gardens, #2)
  • The Labyrinth (Nightfall Gardens, #3)

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