Book Review – The Venetian by Shani Struthers

I first heard of British based Author Shani Struthers when I read ‘The Haunting of Highdown Hall’ the first book in her Psychic Surveys series and really enjoyed it.

I automatically downloaded other books in the series but came upon ‘The Venetian’ when looking for books in my Kindle unlimited subscription.

the ventianAs the title would suggest, this book is set in Venice.

The book starts by introducing us to Rob & Louise, a married couple visiting Venice for a romantic weekend away.

While exploring the city one night they go for a meal, only to meet another couple.

The couple offers to take them over to Poveglia a small island off of Venice said to have a haunting history of plague victims and an Asylum for the Mentally ill, but does this mysterious couple have an ulterior motive?

The book then takes you back in time to 1938 to Charlotte, an English woman who has moved to Venice to be at the side of her husband Doctor Enrico.

When Enrico is offered a work placement working with his Uncle at the Mental Asylum on Poveglia, the couple moves to the island to take care of the patients and start married life together.

Soon Charlotte begins to suspect that the treatments being carried out on their patients may be more sinister than she first thought.

The book flips between the years but soon their fates collide with malevolent repercussions.

This book had me on the edge of my seat throughout I couldn’t put it down.

While reading the book I did a little research and found that Poveglia does in fact exist and that it was a place of quarantine to plague victims in 1805 and that in 1922 an Asylum for the mentally ill was opened on the island but the asylum shut it’s doors in 1968 (although the Asylum still remains standing).

The fact that this book is so richly woven in fact just made it all the more spooky.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a great ghost story!

I gave this book 5/5 – It was fantastic!

What books are you currently reading? Let me know!

The Secret Girly Girl


Let your books do the talking!

As you have probably seen on my blog I am an avid reader. But when I’m busy with work I don’t always have time to sit down for a couple of hours and read a book. So in February I decided to sign up to Audible so that I could listen to books while I commute to work and also while I’m working.
Audiobooks by nature are pretty expensive, and you are normally looking at paying around £19.99 for a recent audiobook in the current book chart.
Audible offer a monthly subscription service where you pay £7.99 for one book a month. This may seem like not that much but many books can have a listening time of 45 hours while others are just 5 hours so it is worth having a look and trying to get a book that gives you value for money.
Also Audible often offers you the chance to buy 3 extra credits (that’s 3 books) for £18.00.
Audible is also owned by Amazon so you often find that if you have the Kindle book then Audible will offer you the Audiobook version for even cheaper.
I have signed up to and they send you emails everyday letting you know what books are either on offer or are free on the kindle store.
So I’ll get the book for free on kindle and then just buy the Audiobook for a couple of pounds – there are plenty of ways to get cheaper audiobooks, they also offer a 30 Day free trial too so you get your first book for free and only get charged for your second book after 30 days.
I am really enjoying listening to a variety of books while on the go and it helps the work day pass quicker. I wanted to let you know what I’ve been listening to for the last few months so here are my top picks…

The Bride of Casa Dracula – Book 3 of The Casa Dracula Series
Length: 8hrs 1min
Plot: Milagro de los Santos is marrying the man of her dreams – he just happens to be a vampire. As the plans for the wedding are coming together Milagro has to navigate various obstacles from an over zealous friend to the ancient vampire council – will she ever get to marry Oswald?
Thoughts: I have read the first two books on Kindle and really enjoyed them. I had this on kindle but decided to get the audio version and really enjoyed it. I would say this is supernatural chick-lit but is lighthearted and well written.
Rating: 7/10

Ellie Jordan Ghost Trapper: Ellie Jordan Book 1
Length: 8hrs 19mins
Plot: Ellie Jordan is a paranormal exterminator, her job is to release earthbound spirits into the hereafter. She comes across an evil ghost and soon realizes maybe she has bitten off more than she can chew.
Thoughts: This is a great book for fans of the paranormal. I liked this book so much that I have already purchased the Audio Book for book 2.
Rating: 8/10

The Housewife Assassin’s Hand Book – Book 1.
Length: 5hrs 59mins
Plot: Donna stones husband is killed in cold blood hours after she has given birth.
Donna becomes an undercover (assassin) housewife hell bent on avenging her dead husband.
Plot: This book was so well written, I enjoyed the mix of comedic moments with tense situations. I will definitely be getting more books in this series.
Rating: 8/10

Rosecliff Manor Haunting – Addison Lockhart: Book 2
Length: 5hrs 1min
Plot: Addison is a paranormal investigator with a sixth sense. When she becomes haunted by dreams of Vivian & Grace, twin girls who met their demise nearly 40 years earlier, Addison becomes embroiled in the mysteries of Rosecliff Manor.
Addison comes face to face with something much darker than she could have ever expected, can she save the souls of the little girls?
Thoughts: I had read Book 1 in this series and loved it so I knew that there was a high chance I’d enjoy this too. I loved it. I will be getting more in this series in the near future.
Rating: 9/10

Single Woman Seeks Revenge – By Tracy Bloom
Length: 8hrs 36mins
Plot: Suzie is an Agony aunt for a magazine, when she is cruelly dumped by text.
She decides to tell the women who write to her exactly what they should be doing to those who treat them mean. Soon Suzie is on a mission to take her revenge against her old flames that have done her wrong. But will she get so caught up in revenge that she won’t see that true love has been right in front of her all along?
Thoughts: I loved this book. It’s a must for any fan of Bridget Jones.  A funny rollercoaster that leaves you with the warm fuzzies.
Rating: 9/10

My Not so perfect life – Sophie Kinsella
Length: 11hrs 58mins
Plot: Katie moves to London to become a highflying executive only to find that once she gets there London isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Working for Demeter the boss who has everything. Style, a high powered job, a loving family and the respect of her peers. Suddenly Katie is fired and she has to go back home, her tail between her legs. She begins working for her father on his Glamping venture. When Demeter comes to stay Katie disguises herself to get close to her, But is Demeter’s life really all that wonderful?
Thoughts: Written by the woman who brought us Confessions of a shopaholic this was everything I hoped it would be. Funny, cringe worthy and heart warming in equal measure. I couldn’t turn it off!
Rating: 10/10
I am loving listening to books I wouldn’t necessarily read, but are great for getting through the work week! I have downloaded a number of other audiobooks so I will do a Part two soon. What books are you currently reading?  Let me know!
The Secret Girly Girl

January Book Reviews.

Hi There,

I just thought I’d publish a quick post on the books that I have read throughout January and what I thought of them. So here we are:

Night Music Nocturnes Volume 2 By John Connolly


I asked for this book for Christmas having been recommended it on my Amazon account. I have recently been into Horror/Ghost stories in a big way so this book really appealed to me.

The book is a compilation of thirteen short horror stories, which I really liked because every story was so different from the last.

It stands at 448 pages so it is a substantial book but I managed to read it in a couple of days because I just couldn’t put it down.

My favourite stories were ‘The blood of the lamb’ and ‘The Lamia’ as well as ‘Razorshins’.

The stories cover all aspects of horror from Ghosts, to terrifying predators. There truly is something in this book for all horror fans.

I loved this book so much that I have already purchased the first volume in the series. I could not recommend it more. 5/5

The House on Cold Hill – By Peter James


Peter James is famous for writing crime fiction but quite a while a go I read his Ghost story ‘Possession’ and I really enjoyed it. So when I saw that he had released this book in December I really wanted to read it.

Once again this was a book I read in a couple of days, as I could not put it down.

The book is about a couple that move to a large stately home called ‘Cold Hill House’. Before long they soon realize that the house is in a greater state of disrepair than they first thought. With all there money tied up in the house they are unable to move or sell the house and the couple soon realize that they are not alone.

The thing I loved about this book is that the social commentary is right up to date, with references to social media, music and attitudes.

While this is fine for anyone reading the book now I do feel that this book will soon become dated within a year or two. However it is a fantastic twist on the modern ghost story and is a really fantastic read! 5/5

Thirteen More Tales of Horror – Various


This is a compilation or horror stories. It is part of the Point Horror series of books (very popular in the 1990’s) and was a nice light read. Although aimed at teenagers I think there is plenty in this book for adults too.

A really great book 5/5.

Final Exam – Diane Hoh


Again, this book is part of the Point Horror collection. Set in America, it focuses on Kelly a car mechanic who is currently taking her Final exams at High School.

Soon strange things begin to happen to her and she soon realizes someone is out to get her, but who can it be? Her best friend? Her new love interest?

This is a great little horror/mystery and at around 200 pages it’s a nice quick read. Again aimed at a teenage audience but still a great read for any adult. 4/5

I managed to read four books in January which I am really happy about.

It means that I am now 1 or 2 books ahead of schedule on my reading goal for 2016, which is fantastic. I really enjoyed these books.

Have you read any of these books? What books did you read throughout January? Let me know.

The Secret Girly Girl


April & May’s Books – Reviewed!

Hi there, I thought I would write a review of the books that I have read throughout April & May (there is quite a few) as I have really enjoyed getting back into the habit of reading. Some books I loved and some were little disappointing  so I thought I’d give you my thoughts on them:


Title: Finger Licking Dead

Author: Riley Adams

Format: Paperback

Pages: 257

Genre: Murder Mystery

This book is part of the Memphis BBQ mystery series. I really enjoyed the book, it was a great who done it? with lots of twists to keep you guessing through out. The only down side was that as it was based in the South of the USA there were a few references to local traditions and food that I didn’t understand and so I did need to Google one or two things but other than that this is a great murder mystery book and I will definitely read more in the series! 4/5


Title: Working Stiff

Author: Rachel Caine

Format: Paperback

Pages: 473

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

I have read a few books by Rachel Caine (The Morganville vampire series) so when I saw this in a discount bookshop I picked it up. Front the start I could not put this book down! It centres around a new employee at a funeral home who stumbles across the fact that the owner is reanimating bodies with a wonder drug. The employee herself is killed and reanimated and she fights to bring down the pharmaceutical company who is producing the drug. The book is well written and is full of suspense, there are more books in this series which I will definitely be purchasing!! 5/5


Title: The Haunting of Hill House

Author: Shirley Jackson

Format: Hardback

Pages: 233

Genre: Ghost story

I bought this book as part of the limited edition Penguin Horror releases. It has been hailed as a classic so I was so excited to start it. I was bitterly disappointed!

The build up of the story was slow and monotonous. I kept expecting for it to pick up and become even slightly scary unfortunately it didn’t and the ending was extremely disappointing too. A real let down 2/5


Title: Bellman & Black

Author: Diane Setterfield

Format: Paperback

Pages: 388

Category: Supernatural/ Victorian ghost story

This was a very strange book for me. The Book was fleshed out with well written character back story and it really felt like you were going on a journey through William Bellman’s life and I really loved that about the book. I loved the details about all aspects of a Victorian funeral and it’s finery and purpose but I was really disappointed with the ending. For me the books journey was fantastic but it’s conclusion not so much! Such a shame. 3/5


Title: Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet

Author: M.C Beaton

Format: Paperback

Pages: 237

Category: Murder Mystery

This is the second book from the Agatha Raisin Series. I saw a pile of these books at an antique store (of all places) and picked them up for a fairly decent price and I’m glad I did because I really have enjoyed the first two books.

The books are based around Agatha Raisin a PR executive in London who decides to trade the rat race lifestyle for the peace and quiet of the Cotswolds’. She may have been expecting the quiet life but her neighbors have other plans. Before long Agatha finds herself at the center of a grizzly murder mystery and sets our to solve the mystery before her life is the next one taken. Both charming and amusing this book was well written and I couldn’t help but love Miss Raisins feisty spirit. I have the next few books to read so I look forward to those! 4.5/5


Title: No one gets out alive

Author: Adam Nevill

Format: Paperback

Paged 628

Category: Horror/ Supernatural

I was recommended this book by the staff at Waterstones so I picked it up and ended up loving this book.

The action started from the first page and continued relentlessly until the very end.

Based around a young woman who seeks out accommodation in a building offering low rent, she soon discovers that if something seems too good to be true it probably is. What ensues is pure unadulterated horror! There was one point in the book where I had to stop reading as I found it really disturbing. Once sat in daylight, I was able to resume and loved it!I could not recommend this book highly enough, absolutely fantastic!  5/5


Title: House of small shadows

Author: Adam Nevill

Format: Paperback

Page: 371

Category: Horror

Another book by Adam Nevill (I think I may have found my new favourite author) this book is less disturbing and more creepy. If taxidermy and puppets are the things of your nightmares you may not want to read this book. Some great twists throughout and really well written! It reminded me of the gritty horror or James Herbert. I will be ordering more of Adams books come pay day!! 4/5



Title: Call of the Weird

Author: Louis Theroux

Format: Kindle

Paged 306

Category: Non-Fiction

This book is the follow on from Louis’ documentary series about subcultures. The book sees Louis revisiting some of his more memorable guests such as the White supremacist girl band (no really), the dooms day preppers, and ex porn stars. This book Offers a great insight into American subcultures woven into Louis’ no nonsense narrative.

This is a must for anyone who enjoyed Louis’ documentary series. 4/5

So those are the books that I reading during April/May 2015! Have you guys read any of these books? What books have you been reading recently? Let me know in the comments.

Love & Bubbles

The Secret Girly Girl