3 3-star mini reviews | Snakewood, The Girl on the Train & Secrets of the Lighthouse

snakewoodSnakewood by Adrian Selby
Published: 15.03.2016 by Orbit
Genre: Fantasy, Adult
Rating: 3/5 stars – ★★★

Synopsis: Mercenaries who gave no quarter, they shook the pillars of the world through cunning, chemical brews, and cold steel. 

Whoever met their price won. 

Now, their glory days are behind them. Scattered to the wind and their genius leader in hiding, they are being hunted down and eliminated. 

One by one. 

A groundbreaking debut fantasy of betrayal, mystery, and bloody revenge.


I bought this book when I was on a trip to Dublin for 2 reasons. One, it’s a fantasy novel with a gorgeous cover. Two, it was so cheap for a new paperback (€4.99). Then I was even more curious to start it because of all the mixed reviews it has received. So I added it to my #spookathon TBR.

I am so torn right now. Here’s why.

I really liked the premise of the book. Kailen’s Twenty used to be the best mercenary crew. 15 years later, they are scattered all over the world and not all of them have kept up their physique. Someone’s killing them one by one, but why? And who? Did they succeed? This all makes for a wonderfully intriguing plot. I also enjoyed the way it was written. This book is sort of a collection of the story? We get a preface from Goran, the son of Galen (one of the Twenty) saying that he collected and wrote this story for his father, and the Twenty. So he collected different letters, eyewitness accounts and so on, to tell this story of the Twenty. That way you still got to read from different POVs, but they were all written differently. Some were letters to each other, other accounts of conversations, etc. And I really liked some of the characters. I especially loved Gant and Shale. I kind of hated Galathia and Kigan. 

But I had one problem with this book: the pacing. I usually don’t really mind a slow-paced book. But I feel like a slow-paced book should be character driven. When a plot-based book, such as this one, feels slow I constantly feel like nothing is happening. That’s why it took me 10 days to read a 400 page book. Would I recommend it? I don’t know. Maybe see if you can borrow it from the library or something, if you’re hesitant. I do think the story was interesting. It was just so slow. 

This mini review turned out to be much longer than I intended it to be…

the-girl-on-the-trainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Published: 13.01.2015 by Riverhead Books

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 3/5 stars – ★★★

Synopsis: EVERY DAY THE SAME. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?


I got this one from the library because a) I’d heard such great things about this mystery novel and b) the movie is now out in theaters -and I wanted to read it before I saw the movie. 

I have to admit I’m kind of disappointed in this one. I expected it to be much better, but especially much more engaging. I think the hype just got to me, and my expectations just weren’t met. 

I think the mystery aspect of this book was intriguing! That’s its primary saving grace. I didn’t guess the twist at the end, nor how it was resolved. So the author definitely had the ability of surprising me with her crime and mystery. And I think the author writes morally-grey characters really well. 

But I didn’t really like the other aspects of the book. I felt like I was at a distance the entire time, and wasn’t attached to any of the characters. That made it hard for me to actually care about the crime at all.

I was often frustrated with Rachel too, and at times even disgusted. I often thought the way she intruded in others’ lives, and how that made her feel special, was just wrong. Like she was intruding on someone’s grief because she felt like she knew them, even though she didn’t.

I will go and see the movie, because I think the story may turn out to work better in that format. 

secrets-of-the-lighthouseSecrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore
Published: 01.01.2013 by Simon & Schuster

Genre: Fiction, Adult
Rating: 3/5 stars – ★★★

Synopsis: Set in Ireland on the wild coast of Connemara, this hauntingly romantic novel tells the story of a young woman who goes in search of her family’s past and ends up discovering her future. Ellen Trawton is running away from it all. She hates her job, she doesn’t love the aristocratic man to whom she is engaged, and her relationship with her controlling mother is becoming increasingly strained. So Ellen leaves London, fleeing to the one place she knows her mother won’t find her, her aunt’s cottage in Connemara. Cutting all her ties with chic London society, Ellen gives in to Ireland’s charm and warmth, thinking her future may lie where so much of her past has been hidden. Her imagination is soon captured by the compelling ruins of a lighthouse where, five years earlier, a young mother died in a fire. The ghost of the young wife, Caitlin, haunts the nearby castle, mourning the future she can never have there. Unable to move on, she watches her husband and children, hoping they might see her and feel her love once more. But she doesn’t anticipate her husband falling in love again. Can she prevent it? Or can she let go and find a way to freedom and happiness?


This is another book I got from the library. I’ve been on a library-kick lately! I’m actually using the library to lend out books in genres I wouldn’t usually pick up. If I don’t end up liking them then, I won’t have wasted money. 

This sounded like an interesting and atmospheric read about a young woman trying to find her place in life, and the romance she finds along the way. That’s not how I would describe it though.

My favorite part of this book is the setting, by far. I really wanted to take a plane and taxi and go to Connemara myself. She made it sound like the most atmospheric and wonderful place on Earth. I loved Ellen’s life at her aunt’s place, feeding the animals, taking walks by the sea, getting lost in the scenery of Ireland. I wish I could do that myself. I also liked the family aspect of the book. This book is so centered around Ellen discovering the family she has in Ireland, and where she fits in. Family is such an important part of my life, and I was glad to see Ellen get to know hers. 

But I was disappointed with the romance, and the “finding herself” aspects of the book. As for the romance, Ellen and Connor (is that his name?) don’t actually meet until page 100+. And their romance goes from attraction to slowly more, which I did find adorable. Bu I don’t like how Ellen treated a different man in her life at all. She also wanted to be a writer, but didn’t manage to do anything to pursue her passion at all. I’m not saying she should’ve written a novel in 2 weeks. But she didn’t seem to have any inclinations either…

6 thoughts on “3 3-star mini reviews | Snakewood, The Girl on the Train & Secrets of the Lighthouse

  1. I knew so many people who threw in the towel for Snakewood, but I’m glad I stuck it through. I think it’s a story that gets better with time, and the payoff is worth it, but I agree it takes a while to get there because of the pacing.


  2. I didn’t realise Secrets of the Lighthouse was set in Ireland! Connemara is beautiful. It’s windy and wild and weird, but it’s really beautiful (and has some cracking pubs).


  3. I’ve been meaning to check out The Girl in the Train… or at least see the movie because I’m intrigued by the premise haha. I might leave reading it until after the movie (it will be interesting to see which format delivers the story better).

    The other two books are new to me but I’m very intrigued by Snakewood! I’m used to slow plots so hopefully I don’t have too many issues.


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