Recent Reads Rapid Reviews

The Truth About Keeping Secrets

The Truth About Keeping Secrets

The Truth About Keeping Secrets is one of those multi-layered books, the kind that just pull you in until you realise you’ve nearly finished the book. I enjoyed it, and it kept my interest the whole way through. An intriguing book and definitely one to add to your list if secrets and lies are your bookish bread and butter!

Killman Creek

Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake Book 2)

Following on from the events of Stillhouse Lake, Killman Creek picks up in the aftermath. I binge read this series because it was so utterly compelling. I had to keep reading, I had to find out what was going on, I JUST NEEDED TO KNOW!!!! I’m a huge lover of US-based crime thrillers and this series satisfies that need. Thoroughly enjoyed this one!

The True Queen

The True Queen (Sorcerer to the Crown novels)

The True Queen is a beautifully-imagined fantasy, rich in detail and imagery and with a really diverse cast of characters. Its an absorbing and engaging read, and it almost reminds me of The Invisible Library series of books by Genevieve Cogman. If you enjoy fantasy with stunning desccriptive writing, then definitely add The True Queen to your TBR.

The Ruin

The Ruin: The gripping crime thriller you won't want to miss (The Cormac Reilly Series)

I don’t tend to read much Irish crime fiction, but being a Galway girl, I just had to bump The Ruin up my TBR. I ended up blasting through this book. The setting was really well used, and I found myself nodding along with places I recognised. This is the first in a series, and it is a cracking start. I really enjoyed it. Clever plot, good characters and pacing made this book a great read. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Recommended for sure!

Recent Reads Rapid Reviews

Don’t You Forget About Me

Don’t You Forget About Me: Hilarious, heartwarming and romantic – the funniest romcom of 2019

Don’t You Forget About Me is another fabulously relatable book from Mhairi McFarlane and I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. It’s got all of the ingredients for rom-com gold. Endearing characters, a will they/won’t they scenario, laughs and some emotional bits too. It was a really easy read. It was warm, funny but completely down to earth too. Highly recommend this one!

Girls of Paper and Fire

Girls of Paper and Fire

I had seen Girls of Paper and Fire all over social media, so I requested it from my library to read. After a bit of a wait, I got stuck in and I was hooked. At times dark and brutal, Girls of Paper and Fire is a thoroughly absorbing book. Excellent characters, a dastardly feel in there too, and a gripping plot. I really enjoyed this one, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

This Cruel Design

This Cruel Design (This Mortal Coil)

I loved This Mortal Coil so it’s safe to say I was looking forward to catching up with the characters in This Cruel Design. While it took me a bit of time to get into it, once the story really got going I couldn’t put it down. This series is brilliantly dystopian, with real scientific edge. Definitely recommended!

Stillhouse Lake

Stillhouse Lake

I had seen the hype around this series when it was first released, so naturally I grabbed a copy for myself. Fast forward to this year (when book THREE) came out, that’s when I decided to pick up Stillhouse Lake. Talk about a thrill ride. I was hooked from the very beginning, caught up in the drama, absorbed in the characters. I loved it so much that I went on to read the following two books in the series in quick succession. If you enjoy fast paced thrillers, then I would definitely suggest adding these books to your TBR!

Blog Tour: Fear in the Lakes by Graham Smith~Ellen’s Review

Hey everyone,

Today, Ellen in taking part in the blog tour for Fear in the Lakes by Graham Smith, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all just a little further down this post.

About the author:

Graham Smith is the bestselling author of four explosive crime thrillers in the Jake Boulder series, Watching the Bodies, The Kindred Killers, Past Echoes and Die Cold. Watching the Bodies spent over two weeks at number one in the Amazon UK chart and Amazon CA charts. Graham is also the author of the popular DI Harry Evans series and has collections of short stories and novellas. His latest novels with Bookouture are set in Cumbria and the Lake District, featuring DC Beth Young.

He is the proud father of a young son. As a time-served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland. 

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer for the well-respected review site since 2010.

When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.





About the book:

A case with no leads.
A victim with no enemies.
A killer with no conscience…

When Detective Beth Young is called to investigate a victim with multiple broken bones, nothing prepares her for what she finds. James Sinclair is fighting for his life, and Beth can’t shake the idea that the nature of his injuries suggest someone with a personal grudge against him.

But James’s devastated wife Laura insists that her kind, softly-spoken husband is a man with no enemies. She was the one with the fiery temper, but James was so calm, she’d never once managed to provoke even a cross word from him in their eight year marriage. And he was the same with everyone – she can’t name one person who might want to hurt him.

But she knows virtually no details about her husband’s childhood or his life before he moved to the Lake District as a young man, and Beth feels sure that the key to finding James’s attacker is hidden in the secrets of his past. Who was he really? And what is the significance of the coded messages that Beth finds hidden on his laptop?

Then two more bodies are found in one of the deep, picturesque lakes that the area is so famous for, exhibiting similar injuries to the ones James Sinclair suffered. How are they connected? And how many more people are at risk?

Beth knows she is in a race against time to hunt a vicious killer who is both elusive and incredibly dangerous. A killer who knows what James did in the past. Who likes to be one step ahead. But who – if they realise they’re being hunted – might come for Beth next…

Fear in the Lakes by Graham Smith

Ellen’s Review:

Oh myyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!! I have loved the past two books in the DC Beth Young series (Death in the Lakes and Body in the Lakes) but this one…this one is a proper belter. Sick and twisted murders are my favourite (don’t judge me), the more blood, guts and broken bones the better and the number of bones broken in Fear in the Lakes must be a record!!

Beth Young is called to investigate a victim with multiple broken bones; not just broken but shattered to tiny pieces and beyond salvation. This attack on local man James Sinclair looks like a professional hit job but his wife is adamant that her husband is not mixed up in anything dodgy, she can’t think of anyone that would want to hurt this calm tempered, quiet man. It’s obvious that there must be something in James’ past that she does not know about; he has never told her much about his childhood or his life before he moved to The Lake District. Beth’s dogged determination and unusual thought processes lead to the discovery of secret coded messages on James’ laptop and she becomes convinced the secret to his brutal attack is hidden in his past.

After two more bodies emerge with similar injuries to the ones James suffered it appears there is a ruthless and vicious killer on the loose in the picturesque surroundings of The Lakes. The skill and precision that the murderer exhibits are exceptional; to be able to take a person to the brink of death but leave them with life changing injuries or simply cut their life short…impressive! Can Beth find the killer while putting herself in their sights as another victim?

As well as this case, Beth is wrangling with the knowledge of discovering more about the man that was involved in the bar fight which left her scarred for life; can she trust herself to delve further into without getting distracted from the investigation?

For such a dark read there is some light relief in O’Dowd (my second favourite character after Beth) and heartfelt emotion with the repercussions of bereavement within the team.

My absolute favourite in the series so far – more please Mr Smith!!

Check out the blog tour:

Recent Reads~Rapid Reviews


Wildcard (Warcross 2)

After reading Warcross and really enjoying it, I was eager to get my hands on the follow up. Wildcard was as good as I was hoping for. It continues on from the events at the end of Warcross (I won’t say what happens, just that you should read it before you pick up this one) and we catch up with Emika and her crew. There is lots going on, and there is a definite Ready Player One vibe here. I really like the world that Wildcard is set in, and the characters are excellent. If you’re a fan of techo/gaming thrillers, then you need to add these books to your TBR!

Every Day

Every Day (Every Day 1)

I loved the concept of Every Day. Imagine waking up every day in a different body, having to acclimatise to that particular person’s life. No two days are the same, and its up to you how you go through the day. I haven’t read a book like this before, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The premise is unique, and I found myself really rooting for the main character, A. A quirky and unusual read, Every Day was a great departure from my usual books. Definitely recommended!

Holding Up The Universe

Holding Up the Universe

I had this on my TBR for a while and then Liz from Liz Loves Books said I should bump it up. I am so glad I did. This was a gem of a book, full of heart and emotion. It is quietly hopeful and it has a beautiful story. I’m still thinking about it months later. Highly recommended!


Caraval: the mesmerising Sunday Times bestseller

I had tried to read Caraval before, but I just couldn’t get into it. I picked it up again this year, and obviously I was ready for it this time. Once I started it, I was hooked. I liked the magic, the characters, the story. I found it really easy to get into it and I got lost in the story. I hadn’t even finished it before I requested Legendary from the library. Always a good sign!

Recent Reads~Rapid Reviews

The Alchemist’s Secret

The Alchemist's Secret (Ben Hope)

I have quite a few of these on my kindle to read, so I picked up the first in the series earlier this year. It introduces Ben Hope, an ex-SAS soldier still reeling from tragedy in his past. Hope gets called in to search for an old manuscript that contains the recipe for the elixir of life. You have to suspend your belief a little for these, but it fun. Almost Dan Brown-esque in its capers. A promising start to a series, recommended for sure!

The Queen’s Wing

The Queen's Wing: A completely gripping fantasy romance (The Queen's Wing Series Book 1)

I had been looking for something fantasy-related and The Queen’s Wing seemed like a great place to start. Part space-opera, part fantasy, it was a really interesting mix. I liked the space fighter pilot idea and it meshed well with the fantasy world-building. The Queen’s Wing was a nice, easy read. It had a decent plot and I liked the characters.

The Lost Plot

The Lost Plot (The Invisible Library series)

The Invisible Library series is such a great series of books to get lost in. The world-building is exceptional, and the characters are brilliant. I have really enjoyed following Irene and Kai as they navigate different worlds and try to save priceless library volumes. This one is set in Prohibition era New York and it was packed with action. Dragaons aplenty made this one a super fun read. Can’t recommend this series enough!

The Bear and The Nightingale

The Bear and The Nightingale: (Winternight Trilogy)

I had been dying to read The Bear and the Nightingale for ages so I was delighted when the library were able to get a copy for me. This was a really magical and atmospheric read. Rich in visual imagery, gorgeous prose and a really intricate story made this one a great read. Highly recommended for sure.

The One Who’s Not The One

The One Who's Not the One: A feel good, laugh out loud romantic comedy

Keris Stainton’s books are highly relatable, and The One Who’s Not The One is another great read. I found this one really funny, heartwarming and a really easy read. I’ve enjoyed all of her books, but I think this one was my favourite. It was relevant, witty and full of characters with real heart. Definitely recommended!

Blog Tour: The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald~Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today on the blog, Ellen is reviewing The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Patricia MacDonald is the author of several psychological suspense novels set in small towns. MacDonald grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut and has a master’s degree from Boston College. Before writing her own novels she was a book editor and was once an editor for a soap opera magazine in New York. She is married to writer Art Bourgeau. They live in Cape May, New Jersey and have one daughter.

Her first novel, The Unforgiven, published in 1981, received an Edgar Award nomination from the Mystery Writers of America. Secret Admirer (1995) won the literary prize at the 1997 Deauville Film Festival in France, where MacDonald is consistently a number one bestseller. She’s also been awarded the prize for literature at the International Forum of Cinema and Literature in Monaco.

About the book:

Fifteen years ago, Blair’s best friend Molly was murdered. Fifteen years ago, Adrian Jones went to prison for it. Fifteen years ago, the real killer got away with it.

And now, Blair’s terminally ill sister has made a devastating deathbed confession, which could prove that the wrong man has been imprisoned for years – and that Molly’s killer is still out there. Blair’s determined to find him, but the story behind Molly’s death is more twisted than she could imagine. If she isn’t careful, the killer will ensnare her and bury Blair with his secret.

The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald

Ellen’s Review:

Fifteen years ago Molly Sinclair was murdered after leaving her best friend Blair Butler’s house. Now Blair is forced to return to see her terminally ill sister one last time – only for Celeste to make a shocking deathbed confession. At the time of the investigation she denied being in the company of a young, black man (Adrian Jones) due to the attitude of her bigoted Uncle and an innocent man was sent to the jail. Blair promises her sister she will try to solve this injustice and begins her own investigations into the shocking events of the past. Things are not made easy for her along the way; as far as the police are concerned they have the right man and Celeste’s confession does not hold much power. They are loathe to admit any wrong doing was done by them in the first place. Blair also faces the fact that the murderer is still out there and does not want to be discovered.

It was interesting to see how Blair had to readjust to the small town mentality and fight to have the truth heard and her ability to now tell her Uncle Ellis a few home truths that were long overdue. In my opinion there were a few threads within the story that seemed to peter out with no explanation but if you’re looking for a quick read you’d do no wrong with this one.

Check out the blog tour:

Recent Reads~Rapid Reviews

Hey everyone,

I had great plans for getting in some blogging time recently, but as I’ve learned, it doesn’t always work out the way you planned it. I have a MASSIVE backlog of reviews to catch up on. At last count, it was 51… Yes, FIFTY ONE. Some of these are my own books, and of course, there are ARC reviews in here too. SO re-instating the RR posts is definitely necessary to get through them all.

I’ve just checked when I read these four books, and I am ashamed to say these are languishing in my drafts since January. That is 6 whole months ago. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!

The Cow Book by John Connell

The Cow Book: A Story of Life on a Family Farm

I would never have seen this were it not for the Rick O’Shea Book Club on Facebook! I don’t tend to read books set in Ireland, but I liked the idea of this one. It’s the story of John’s life as he returns home to take care of his family farm. It details the usual daily grind, but John also discusses his mental health and I found that to be the most poignant take away from The Cow Book. It is a quiet exploration of his life, but it speaks volumes. Recommended for sure.

55 by James Delargy


I read the premise for 55 and thought it sounded like it would be a really great crime story. It follows the events after a man presents himself to a police station saying he’s escaped from a serial killer. A killer who has apparently had 54 victims prior to him. When another man appears and says the exact same thing, but that the first man is the killer, it becomes a game of cat and mouse to find the truth. 55 has a clever plot, and if you like twisty crime thrillers, the this is definitely one to add to your list!

One In A Million by Lindsey Kelk

One in a Million: The No.1 bestseller and the perfect romance for spring 2019

One in a Million is definitely a book geared towards current social media trends. It’s basically about making a complete unknown become Insta-famous in thirty days. I really enjoyed this one. It’s funny, romantic and very relevant.

The Invitation by Keris Stainton

The Invitation: The perfect laugh out loud romantic comedy

I was muchly in need of some light-hearted and fun reads earlier this year, and it’s safe to say Keris Stainton’s books where exactly what I needed. The characters in this book are great, relatable, warm, funny. It was a really easy story to read and connect with, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It Had To Be You by Keris Stainton

It Had To Be You: An absolutely laugh out loud romance novel

This one is more quirky than The Invitation. The main character, Bea, has a recurring dream about (literally) the man of her dreams. When she ends up meeting him in real life, they end up dating. Things don’t always go the way we planned though, and It Had To Be You shows how different things can be. I didn’t love this one as much as her others, but it was a good read!

That’s it for this group of reviews! But rest assured, seeing as how I have 50+ reviews to do, there will be more coming!

Until next time 🙂