2016 – A year in Books!

Hi There,

How are we all? I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year!

I thought that I would do my usual new year post and list the books that I read throughout 2016!

At the beginning of 2016 I went to www.goodreads.com and took part in their reading challenge. This is where you set a reading goal for yourself as to how many books you would like to read throughout the year.

I set a goal of 40 books and ended up reading 42! So here is a list of the books I read and their genre, as well as a rating out of 5!

  1. Night Music: Nocturnes vol. 2 – By John Connolly (Ghost story) 5/5
  2. The House on cold hill – By Peter James (Ghost story) 4/5
  3. 13 More Tales of Horror – By Various (Horror) 5/5
  4. Final Exam – By A. Bates (Point Horror) 4/5
  5. Dream Date – By Sinclaire Smith (Point Horror) 4/5
  6. The Book of shadows – By Alexandra Sokoloff (Horror) 4/5
  7. The Haunting of Blackwood House – By Darcy Coates (Ghost story) 5/5
  8. The Double life of Graham Dyer – By Niamh O’Conner (True Crime) 3/5
  9. Working stiff – By Judy Melineh (Biographical) 4/5
  10. Charlie Ray Hatcher: The Truth – By Jack Rosewood (True crime) 2/5
  11. The Haunting of Gillespie House – By Darcy Coates (Ghost story) 4/5
  12. The Vanishment – By Jonathan Aycliffe (Ghost story) 4/5
  13. Nocturnes – By John Connolly (Ghost story) 4/5
  14. Help Wanted – By Richie Tankersley Cusick (Point Horror) 4/5
  15. Insanity – By Cameron Jace (Twisted fairytale) 4/5
  16. Abbots Keep – By Benedict Ashforth (Horror) 4/5
  17. The Entity Omnibus – By Franklin Kendrick (Ghost story) 3/5
  18. 13 Tales if horror – By various (Point Horror) 4/5
  19. Suicide Forest – By Jeremy Bates (Horror) 5/5
  20. Blood bath – By Stephen Leather & Others (Supernatural) 3/5
  21. The Waiting room – By F.G Cottam (Ghost story) 4/5
  22. Quarter to Midnight – By Darcy Coates (Horror) 5/5
  23. On what Grounds? – Cleo Coyle (Crime) 4/5
  24. Forsaken – By J.D Barker (Ghost story) 5/5
  25. The World according to Danny Dyer – By Danny Dyer (Autobiography) 3/5
  26. The Ripper – By D.E Athkins (Point Horror) 4/5
  27. A spirited Manor – By Kate Danley (Ghost story) 4/5
  28. The Haunting of Lake Manor Hotel – By Nathan Hystad (Ghost story) 5/5
  29. Haunted on Bourbon Street – By Deanne Chase (Paranormal Romance) 5/5
  30. Tales of Horror – By Matt Shaw (Horror) 5/5
  31. Harry Potter & The Philosophers stone – J.K Rowling (Fantasy) 5/5
  32. Harry Potter & the Chamber of secrets – J.K Rowling (Fantasy) 5/5
  33. The Girl with the lower back tattoo – Amy Schumer (Autobiography) 4/5
  34. Once Bitter – Stephen Leather (Supernatural) 4/5
  35. Flesh – Richard Laymon (Horror) 5/5
  36. Ross kemp on gangs – Ross Kemp (Biography) 4/5
  37. More moaning – Karl Pilkington (Humour) 4/5
  38. The Shuddering – Ania Ahlborn (Horror) 5/5
  39. Gangs 2 –Ross Kemp (Biography) 4/5
  40. The Final Leap: Suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge – John Bateson (Real life) 5/5
  41. Blakemort: A psychic surveys Christmas novella – Shani Struthers (Ghost story) 5/5
  42. The Funeral Portrait – Vincent Vinas (gothic love story) 5.5

As is quite apparent,  I was very much into ghost stories this year and I found some really great authors (Darcy Coates & Shani Struthers) that I will definitely like to read more of.

What was your favourite Author in 2016? What book couldn’t you put down?

Let me know!

The Secret Girly Girl

xxxxx

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Book Reviews: June/July 2016

Hello There,

During June and July I managed to read quite a bit as there was a little bit of travelling involved and a week spent relaxing in Holland. I am a fan of the paperback, I love the physical feeling of a book in my hand but throughout June and July I found myself reading more through the kindle app. It was just easier than taking numerous books with me while travelling. I managed to read seven books, most of which were Ghost stories with one or two mysteries thrown in for good measure. Here they are:

the waiting rooom

Title: The Waiting Room

Author: F.G Cottam

Format: Paperback

Pages: 294

Category: Ghost story

Rating 4/5

Thoughts: This is a great ghost story set in the British countryside.

A fraudulent television medium takes on a case at the home of an ageing rock star and soon realizes he may be out of his depth when he experiences a genuine case of paranormal activity.

I really liked the way the author peeled away the layers of the main characters till we saw past all the bravado & really came to know them for who they really are.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a really great British ghost story.

quarter to midnight

Title: Quarter to Midnight

Author: Darcy Coates

Format: Kindle

Pages: 314

Category: Horror story anthology

Rating: 5/5

Thoughts: I have read a few books by Darcy Coates and I have always enjoyed them, so when a friend of mine recommended this book I downloaded it right away – and wasn’t disappointed. There really is something for every fan of the supernatural/horror in this book. I really enjoyed this and I will be buying all of Darcy’s books because she never lets me down! A truly fantastic read.

on what grounds

Title: On what Grounds?

Author: Cleo Coyle

Format: Kindle

Pages: 275

Category: Berkley prime crime mystery

Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: If you are a reader that loves a good murder mystery then you definitely need to check out the Berkley prime crime mystery books. Most of the books are based around hobbies or interests of the authors such as reading, cats, cooking etc. Cleo’s books are all based around Coffee and this was the first book in her Coffee House mystery series. This is a great murder mystery and there was quite a lot of information about the specifics of coffee brewing too so you learn something new as well. I would definitely read more in this series.

forsaken

Title: Forsaken

Author: J.D Barker

Format: Kindle

Pages: 386

Category: Ghost story/ Witches

Rating 5/5

Thoughts: When an author starts to write his new novel based on the witch trials he finds that he writes the novel with little to no effort. Soon the events he has been writing about start to come true. Was the book written from his own imagination or by the hand of another? This is book one in the Shadow cove saga and I could not put it down. It was so gripping, unfortunately this is the only book available at the moment so I have to wait for the next one. I will certainly purchase it as soon as it is released. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good supernatural horror.

danny dyer

Title: The World according to Danny Dyer

Author: Danny Dyer

Format: Kindle

Pages: 320 pages

Category: Autobiography

Rating 3/5

Thoughts: I first saw this book while on the ferry to Holland so I downloaded it and read it while chilling out in the hotel. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of Danny Dyer but I though it may be an interesting read, it wasn’t. Danny wrote a lot of the book in cockney rhyming slag so I didn’t have a clue what half of it meant (thank god for the index at the back). In some places it was like it had been written by a child, it was really basic and he had a knack for pointing out the obvious. Also throughout he liked to keep reminding the reader of what an amazing actor he was and how diverse his skills were. I’ll be honest I’ve only ever seen him play one role (the hard man/cockney lad) and this book doesn’t do much to dissuade me that he has only ever been playing himself. If you’re a fan of Eastenders or of Dyer himself you may enjoy this book but it did nothing for me.

ripper

Title: The Ripper

Author: D.E Athkins (see what they did there)

Format: Paperback

Pages: 176

Category: Point Horror

Rating 4/5

Thoughts: A group of friends go to cemetery point on Halloween to party. While there one of them is murdered, soon they start to be picked off one by one. As I have mentioned before I have started collecting all the point horror books that I used to read when i was younger and this has always been one that has stuck in my mind. I enjoyed reading this book just as much as I did when I was thirteen. It is still one of my favourites.

a spirited manor

 

Title: A spirited Manor

Author: Kate Danley

Format: Kindle

Pages: 172

Category: Ghost story

Rating 4/5

Thoughts: When a widow is invited to a séance’ she has no idea that they will awaken something evil. Soon everyone at the table has to fight to stay alive. Book one in the O’Hare house mysteries series. I really liked this book. It was a nice mixture of ghost story and murder mystery. I will certainly look into getting other books in this series.

So those were the books I couldn’t put down throughout June & July. What books have you read recently that you enjoyed ? What are you currently reading? Let me know!

The Secret Girly Girl

xxxxx

 

Kitty Cat Chat: Feline IBS (Sponsored)

Hi There,

As any of you who are regular readers of my blog will know I have a Black cat called Lucifer (and he’s a Star Wars Fan!)

blue light sabre lucifer

Just over a year ago Lucifer started to pass quite significant amounts of blood in his stools, which was extremely worrying.

We rushed him straight to the vets where he was diagnosed with Irritable bowel syndrome. I had no idea that cats could suffer from IBS.

IBS in Cats is caused by food intolerance, a deficiency in fibre, or stress.

In Lucifers case it is caused by dry cat food that is high in grains and low in protein.

He doesn’t tend to have any problems with wet food but we now have to feed him small amounts of dry food that is high in protein.

The lovely people at www.petshop.co.uk got in touch with me after hearing that Lucifer suffered with IBS. They offered to send me some high protein products for Lucifer to try that wouldn’t affect his IBS. So here is a review of the products that they kindly sent to us:

Almo Nature Classic in Jelly Cat Pouch 55g £0.69p

Almo-Nature-Classic-in-Jelly-Cat-Pouch-55g_Chicken-5040

Lucifer isn’t a fan of jelly food so he didn’t like this very much. This isn’t due to the food itself it’s just down to personal preference. However this food is made from pure cuts of human grade meat so would be perfect for any cat whose owner likes to give them only the best ingredients.

Almo Nature Light cat food pouch 55g £0.71p

Almo-Nature-Light-Cat-Food-Pouch-55g_Eastern Little Tuna-5410

Now this went down a treat!. Consisting of tuna flakes and rice in a rich broth, Lucifer wolfed it down. Lucifer is a neutered male house cat, so keeping his weight in check is really important to us. So I am really glad that www.petshop.co.uk offers lighter options. I also liked that this is high in protein and contains no chemicals, additives or preservatives.

Available at: http://www.petshop.co.uk/Brand/Almo-Nature

Dreamies Chicken & Duck Mix – 60g £1.25

Dreamies-Cat-Treats_Chicken Duck Mix-161569

So what cat doesn’t like Dreamies? If Lucifer has gone into hiding, shaking a Dreamies packet is guaranteed to make him appear! He loves them! Normally the packet says you can feed a cat up to 20 a day but we always tend to feed him less just to err on the side of caution. Dreamies are available at: http://www.petshop.co.uk/Brand/Dreamies

Canagan Scottish Salmon Dry Cat Food 375g £5.20

Canagan-Scottish-Salmon-Dry-Cat-Food-4kg_ZS4

This food was amazing! We started out by giving Lucifer tiny amounts sprinkled on his food, slowly increasing it without any trouble. These biscuits are 75% fish protein and grain free (the major cause of Lucifers IBS). Lucifer loved these biscuits, he usually leaves a few at each meal but he ate them all. I would definitely repurchase these all natural biscuits. These biscuits are available in a small 375g bag and a 4kg bag (£36.49).

Available at: http://www.petshop.co.uk/Brand/Canagan

Overall Lucifer loved his order. I’m sure he would highly recommend these products for any cats suffering with feline IBS. I know I would certainly repurchase them for him!

Do any of you have animals with IBS or other health problems relating to their food?

If so let me know below!

The Secret Girly Girl (& Lucifer)

Xxxxx

Bath Time Essentials – Travel Edition!

 

Hi guys I’m currently on a week-long break in Holland. My boyfriend has to judge a competition out here and I figured I’d come with him and have a few days just chilling out in the hotel.

In our home we don’t have a shower, we have a shower wet room so when we go away I always take that as a chance to treat myself to a long soak in the tub. These are my afternoon bathing essentials (I’m sorry about the Picture quality I had to be inventive in the hotel).

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My first essential is the Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath 60ml

I love the smell of this milk bath. It smells so good and instantly makes me feel relaxed. It contains milk protein, which is rich in vitamins and amino acids.

This is a great product for anyone like me that finds their skin really dries out when they have a bath. It contains Oat extract, which leaves my skin feeling really soft.

This is a travel size that I got in a Travel set at Christmas time. The full sized product (400ml) usually retails for around £43.00 which is expensive but as I only use it when I go away, the full size would last me a long time and it really does smell delicious!

Available from www.timetospa.co.uk

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As I used up the Elemis milk bath Yesterday I have been using the Aromatherapy Associates Relax deep bath and shower oil 7.5ml.

Ooooooh boy, this oil is amazing. With Vetivert, Patchouli and sandalwood essential oils it smells really earthy which I love. This is a great unisex oil so you can share it with your significant other too. This is just a small travel sized oil that I got in another gift set that I bought but it has around three uses in this little bottle. You simply add 2 capfuls to your warm bath then lay back and relax. Patchouli is one of my favourite essential oils so it instantly puts me in chill out mode. Please note that if you are pregnant you are not to use this oil!

The full sized oil (55ml) retails at £34.00 but the great thing about Aromatherapy Associates is they always have great gift sets and offers available on their website www.aromatherapyassociates.com

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Next up is the Parlor By Jeff Chastain Moisturizing & Repairing Shampoo (30ml) I received this sample in one of my past Birchboxes and had never tried it before. I grabbed it out of my Shampoo Miniatures collection that I have boxed up for when I travel. This shampoo smells so fresh and fruity, I did a little research and the scent is a mix of Peach, cut grass and white woods, which just sounds delicious. It left my hair silky soft! Parlor is an American company but is available in the UK via www.birchbox.co.uk

The full size product (236ml) retails for £16.00. I find that a little too expensive for a shampoo, so I will probably not repurchase this. But it really is a great shampoo!!

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After washing my hair I love to exfoliate and one of my favourite body scrubs has to be the Soap & Glory Scrub of your life 50ml. I love Soap & Glory products especially the ones that have that original signature Soap & Glory scent. I have a full sized one of these at home and I have gone through quite a few of them in the past.

The full sized product (200ml) retails for £7.00 at www.boots.com but boots often have deals on Soap & Glory products that often make them cheaper!

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After exfoliating I like to use a body wash. I doubt any of you guys would be shocked to find another Elemis Product in this post as I love the brand so much!

The Skin Nourishing Shower Cream 100ml is another product from the Sp@ Home range. It’s thick and creamy and really feels like you’re giving your body a treat. Again this contains milk proteins to nourish the skin and leave it feeling soft and moisturised.

The full sized 300ml product costs £25.00 and is available from www.timetospa.co.uk

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Once I get out of the bath I like to moisturise. As the weather is a little warmer in spring/summer I hate to use thick creamy moisturiser/body butters. I think I may be late to the party on this one but The Body Shop now do Body Sorbets. These are a gel moisturiser that absorbs into the skin really quickly and don’t leave you feeling greasy or sticky. I apply this when I get out of the bath but I also have started religiously applying this at bed time too before I put on my PJ’s! They are amazing! On this trip I have been using the Green Tea Scent and oh wow does it smell good. It smells really fresh and light and leaves your skin lightly scented. I will definitely be stocking up on more of these sorbets.

I brought a full size product as I knew I would be using it a lot. It costs £8.00 for 200ml but again the body shop often have special promotions on body care items. Grab yours at www.thebodyshop.co.uk

So that’s my Bath Time essentials! Let me know what your favourites bathtime essentials are!

Love & Bubbles

The Secret Girly Girl

xxxxx