Scary books for Hallowe’en

Close the curtains, turn off the telly, light some candles, and cosy down on the couch with a scary book this Hallowe’en. Why not just ignore the door and eat all the sweets for yourself? Those pesky trick-or-treaters will get plenty from the neighbours, and you’ll need the comfort of those sugary snacks to get you through your creepy novel.

My bookcase is practically bursting at the seams, and the main genre? You guessed it, horror.

When I was in primary school my favourite books to read were Point Horror and Goosebumps. Silly kid stories, but fun and with just enough ghouls and gore to keep me interested.

I then graduated to the master of horror, and my hero, Stephen King. I’m not sure what the first novel of his I read was (maybe Carrie), but i was instantly hooked and am now the proud owner of all his tomes.

If you fancy delving into a terrifying tale this weekend (you should) then here’s a list of ones I highly recommend. Some may not be of the ghosts and monsters variety, but they will disturb you and stay with you long after you’ve closed the book:

  1. Intensity by Dean Koontz
  2. Midnight by Dean Koontz
  3. Dracula by Bram Stoker – the classic gothic tale of the king of vampires, Count Dracula. After English lawyer, Jonathan Harker, arrives at Castle Dracula he discovers the counts horrifying secret. And when Dracula shipwrecks at Whitby it is down to Jonathan and professor Van Helsing to put a stop to him once and for all.
  4. IT by Stephen King
  5. The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro
  6. The Shining by Stephen King
  7. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty – the scariest book/film I have ever read/seen. Regan MacNeil has an invisible friend called Captain Howdy. She met him whilst playing with a Ouija board, but he isn’t a figment of her imagination. He is the demon Pazuzu and he possesses young Regan. Jesuit priests, Fathers Merrin and Karras are her only hope.
  8. Rats by James Herbert – I reviewed this novel last year in my blog. You can find it in the menu under Book Reviews.
  9. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  10. We need to talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
  11. Storm of the Century by Stephen King – a small island off the coast of Main is hit by a very powerful storm, stranding it’s residents. It brings with it a mysterious stranger who demands one of the children or the town will vanish forever.
  12. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
  13. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  14. Carrie by Stephen King
  15. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  16. Books of Blood by Clive Barker – I also reviewed this book last year. It can also by found in the menu

Of course, the list could go on, but for brevity I’ve kept it short. I hope you find something here, or elsewhere, that gives you goosebumps.

If you have a favourite scary novel, please tell me what it is in the comments below.

Happy Hallowe’en x

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What I’ve Been Watching #2

Over the past few months I have been watching a lot of excellent t.v. shows – too many to list in this one post, so I’ve picked three of the most recent ones to share with you.

There may be SPOILERS ahead. . .

Liar

Teacher Laura Nielson (Joanne Froggatt) is recently single and agrees to go on a date with the father of one of her pupils, Dr Andrew Earlham (Ioan Gruffudd).

Andrew is charming, polite and very friendly. Laura invites him back to hers for a drink and to call a taxi.

The next morning she wakes up feeling groggy and with very little memory of the night before. One thing she is sure of though, is that Andrew raped her.

The police are involved, but with no evidence and Andrew’s insistance that the sex was consensual, it’s a case of he-says-she-says and the police close the case before it’s even opened.

As the weeks go on Laura behaves more and more like a deranged banshee, screaming “rapist” whenever she sees Andrew and tarnishing his name on social media sites, whereas Andrew comes across as the patient, down to earth, loving father while he trys to understand why Laura is doing this to him.

Who’s telling the truth?

It’s not long until we find out and the story takes an even darker turn.

There are many twists and turns in Liar which launches it from a regular straight forward crime mystery to something that’s posed to explore the mind of a very disturbed individual.

If you want to catch up on this intriguing show then go to the ITV Hub. Next week is the finale and it’s sure to be explosive.

Dr Foster

The second series of the acclaimed BBC drama begins two years after the events of the first. Gemma (Suranne Jones) and her son, Tom (Tom Taylor), are happily living their lives, safe in the knowledge that husband and father Simon (Bertie Carvel) is far away with his new family.

Then Gemma and her friends receive a card from Simon stating that he’s moved back to town with Kate (Jodie Comer) and their wee girl.

The shit well and truly hits the fan, then. Simon is completely obsessed with Gamma, but it’s a dangerous obsession laced with sexual attraction and hate. He turns Tom against his mother and delights in harrassing Gemma by sending her flowers with “Bitch” on the card and setting up appointments with estate agents who turn up at her home thinking she wants to sell.

He is a smug, self-involved little man and I’ve never hated a character as much as I hate him – not even Lord Voldermort or Ramsey Bolton!

Gemma’s behaviour is unhinged and very stressful to watch. Her pretentious friends are no help to her plight, but the worse thing about the whole sorry affair is that Gamma and Simon are so busy trying to destroy each other that they are blind to who their actions are really affecting . . . Tom.

I was torn over the finale. It was obviously not going to end well, but I felt is was a bit lacklustre. However, you cannot fault the performances of all the actors involved.

Tune into IPlayer to catch up.

Power

James “Ghost” St.Patrick (Omari Hardwick) is a powerful business man in New York. Not only is he owner of high-end nightclub Truth, he also runs a multi-million dollar drug operation. His partner and childhood friend Tommy Egan (Joseph Sikora) enjoys their lifestyle, as does his wife Tasha (Naturi Naughton), but Ghost is feeling tired and disillusioned by the whole thing, his dreams plagued by the murders he’s committed.

One night in Truth he meets his high school girlfriend Angela Valdes (Lela Loren) and the two embark on a passionate affair. What Ghost doesn’t know is that Angela is a government attorney for the FBI and is working on an investigation to uncover and take down the enigmatic druglord “Ghost”. In turn, Angela has no idea that the love of her life is, in fact, Ghost.

Meanwhile, someone is killing drug dealers and couriers on the street, with the murder of Ghost their ultimate goal. We discover that the murderer is obeying orders from Kanan (50 Cent) who is rotting in jail, put there by Ghost and Tasha.

Kanan wants revenge, but it’s a pity Fiddy’s wooden acting and mumbling dialogue makes it impossible to care what he wants. Whenever he’s on screen I tend to switch off and ask Paul what I missed.

Don’t let this put you off, though. The story is gripping, with Joseph Sikora giving an electric perform as the violent and unbalanced Tommy.

Watch all 4 seasons now on Netflix. The season 4 finale is particularly exciting.

Keep smiling x

Kat Von D Lock-it Foundation

Hello, there! Remember me? It’s been a while, but I’m back to bring you weekly reviews, short stories, and general musings.

This week I want to tell you all about my new favourite foundation; Kat Von D Lock-it Liquid Foundation.

At this moment in time I can, without a shred of doubt, tell you that this is the best foundation I have ever used. In fact, just ignore all my previous foundation reviews, Lock-it has rendered them null and void!

Of course, this isn’t new on the market, but I only purchased it a few months ago in preparation for my best friend’s wedding. I was a bridesmaid and, as we were doing our own makeup, I wanted to ensure that I wore a foundation that, not only provided full coverage, but lasted all day.

Full disclosure, I am a rather sweaty person, with my top lip getting particularly drippy, and I am rarely seen without blotting paper at hand. Most foundations, even under a layer of setting spray, cannot withstand my . . . glistening, and simply slide off my skin, but Lock-it . . . my oh my, that foundation literally locked onto my face like the facehugger from Alien.

The formula is thick, very thick, so you must be careful when applying it. You do not need a lot. I made the mistake of slapping it on with a trowel (not literally) the first time I used it and it felt like cement on my skin. Heavy and suffocating. Finished off with a dusting of powder it turned cakey and unsightly, a common complaint on other reviews I’ve read.

But I’d spent too much money (£27 for 30ml) on it to simply abandon it at the bottom of my makeup case, so the next time I just dabbed a few dots over my entire face and blended it all in with a brush.

This time I was able to appreciate just how flawless the product made me look. My skintone was perfectly even, with blemishes and dark circles obscured. As I had only applied a thin layer this time, no product settled into the creases around my eyes and it felt weightless, almost as though I was makeup- free. Almost.

I am quite pale, but can just about take a tan when the sun is out (which isn’t often in Scotland) and the shade I wear, as seen above, is Light 48 Neutral.

As for it’s durability; well, during a day filled with five bridesmaids laughing and drinking in the morning, then rushing to get the bride to the chapel in the afternoon, followed by photographs in the rain then raucous dancing until midnight, I can put my hand on my heart and say that Lock-it served me well, without a single touch-up.

Keep smiling x

What I’ve been watching #1

Since the new year there have been a lot of great shows on the telly . . . whether they’re Netflix Originals or BBC dramas, there’s no denying we’ve all been entertained since January.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for months now, but I have been concentrating on my creative writing recently so the blog has been on the back burner. However, I want to get back into regular blogging and share with you some of the programmes I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and think you will, too.

The O.A.

This is a beautifully written and passionately acted Netflix Original about a girl who returns to her parents 7 years after going missing. The intriguing thing about Prairie Johnson’s return is that she has somehow regained her sight, having been blind from a young age.

Despite questions from the police and her parents, Prairie refuses to discuss how her sight became restored or what happened to her during the 7 years she was gone. What they don’t realise is that Prairie does want to tell her story, but only to a certain chosen few. Five local people, mostly high school students and each living their own anguished lives, meet with Prairie – who now refers to herself as The OA – every night to listen to her amazing and emotional tale.

I was sucked right into this show from the get go. It’s slow moving, but with so much depth and intrigue it keeps you gripped and constantly guessing as to what exactly is going on. The acting is incredible, with the writer Brit Marling taking on the role of OA, one, which is obvious from the very beginning, that she is completely invested in. OA is a complex and ethereal character that only creator Marling could bring to life.

As with any show, you know that you’ll reach an explosive – and hopefully satisfying – series finale, but I was completely blown away with The OA’s climax. It initially seemed that it had came completely out of left field, but I believe that it was always heading that way, OA and the five just didn’t realise it.

I cried uncontrollably at the end and have watched the final scene many times on YouTube, it’s incredibly powerful and moving.

If you’ve scrolled past this show on Netflix, unsure if you should devote any of your time to it, do me a favour and give it a shot. But have your hankies at the ready.

No Offence

It’s been two years since the 1st season of this exciting drama aired on Channel 4 and I had been waiting impatiently for season 2, but it was worth the wait.

The show follows the Friday Street police station and it’s unconventional detectives, particularly DC Dinah Kowalska, DS Joy Freers and, their boss, Detective Inspector Viv Deering.

Season 1 focused on the team trying to solve the murders of girls with Down’s syndrome, and was a great introduction to the predominantly female cast. DI Deering and her gang of gutsy girls are a force to be reckoned with and leave you punching the air at their awesome show of girl power.

The shocking twist at the end of Season 1 caught me totally off guard, but left me wanting more and Season 2 delivered. This time the detectives have to investigate a Manchester crime boss called Nora Attah, and with more twists and turns than a roller coaster you’re never quite sure if Nora is fully aware of the atrocities taking place within her criminal world, until the very end.

The writing and acting on this show is impeccable, and although the subject matters are very serious, the show isn’t afraid to pull out a few laughs and poke fun at its characters.

If you like police shows that are a wee bit different, then check out No Offence and let me know what you think.

The Moorside

You may all be very familiar with the case of 9 year old Shannon Matthews who dissappeared for 24 days in 2008. She was last seen outside of her school at the end of the school day, but didn’t make it home.

After a huge manhunt and lots of publicity, Shannon was found concealed under the bed in a flat owned by Michael Donovan – the uncle of Shannon’s mothers boyfriend. It later transpired that Michael and Shannon’s mother, Karen Matthews, had orchestrated the whole thing hoping to pocket thousands of pounds generated from the publicity of Shannon’s “kidnap”.

The nation was shocked and disgusted by this so-called Mother’s actions, but no more than the community where the family lived.

This BBC drama tells the story of Shannon from the point of view of all Karen Matthew’s friends and neighbours, who all rallied together to find the little girl. They searched the streets, they comforted Karen, they campaigned publicly – never wanting the country to forget poor Shannon . . . their lives revolved around Shannon Matthews and reuniting her with her poor mother, and then they had to face the sickening realisation that they had been duped.

I found this show very interesting and we’ll executed. With most true crime programmes, the focus is mainly the victim and criminal, with very little detail on those close to the people involved. The Moorside not only featured the community’s tenacious spirit in helping others, but also the fallout in being deceived so cruelly, with one couples’ marriage falling apart thanks to Karen’s lies.

It shows the ripple effect ones actions can have and how there can be no coming back from it.

Keep smiling x

March Favourites ’17

Oops, posting my March Favourites blog on the very last week of April isn’t ideal, and I am fully aware that I have been slacking this month and promise to be better next month!

Please grab yourself a drink and read on for what products I enjoyed last month.

Emite Make Up Lip and Cheek tint:

I have many different lipsticks in my makeup collection, all different shades – or variations of the same shade – but I tend not to wear lipstick on a daily basis.

I feel that it can be too heavy on my lips and I am aware that I am wearing it, which can be bothersome. However, I do like a dash of colour on my lips and that is where a lip tint is perfection.

This cheek and lip tint from the brand Emite Makeup is very lightweight without being watery.  It dries fairly quickly and, although the intensity of the shade fades over time, your lips retain a lovely plummy-red that could almost pass as natural.

I’m on the hunt for other lip tints so if you have a favourite, please let me know.

L’Oréal Volume Million Lashes Fatale:

I’m not sure if i have mentioned this before, but I am not a huge mascara fan. Most I have used in the past have irritated my eyes and I think it’s a pain to remove.

The only one I’ve liked so far is Mac Haute & Naughty Waterproof Lash mascara, but I wanted to find a decent high street mascara that’s easier on my purse to renew.

I purchased L’Oréal Volume Million Lashes Fatale mascara and am very impressed.  It makes my eyelashes look thicker, longer and darker. It can be clumpy when more than one coat is applied, but that doesn’t really bother me.

The only time I wear mascara is when I have a night out and it’s needed to finish off whichever eyelook I’m going for, and aswell as adding a dramatic flair to my look, this mascara is affordable for those of us who don’t want to fork out too much on a product they don’t use a lot of.

Clinique Superbalanced Foundation 03 Ivory:

Moving on from a high street product to a highend product. Clinique isn’t a brand I tend to buy from, but they do sell my most favourite foundation; the Superbalanced Foundation in shade 03 Ivory.

Many years ago I was gifted this and just fell in love with it.  It’s creamy yet gives a medium coverage, a little goes a long way and it leaves you skin looking flawless.  As much as I loved it, I didn’t repurchase it until a couple of years ago to use as part of my wedding makeup, due to it being pricey.

If you want to treat yourself then I highly recommend this foundation.  I may start asking for it every Christmas.

Keep smiling x

20 things about me

As you may already know, my last blog post was a short story called Only in the Night.  I don’t normally let people read my work, so it was a big deal for me to share it with you.  Luckily, it seemed to go down well and I may share another short story in a couple of weeks.

Sharing one of my stories was a bit like sharing a part of me (1, 2, 3 . . . awwww), which has now led me to write this blog post.  Don’t expect any deep confessions, this is just for fun . . . I don’t want to get into trouble with the law!

Just kidding . . .

  1. I played the saxophone for a few months in school. I always fancied myself as a bit of a Lisa Simpson, but when I had to choose between Music and Art in school . . . I chose Art, which meant I had to quit the sax. I was forced to study French which I wasn’t interested in, but had to give up something I truely enjoyed. Sometimes you have ever to wonder about the education system *shakes head.
  2. I hate avocado. I just don’t understand what the big deal is about it?
  3. I never went to any of my secondary school discos. It wasn’t me. I had no interest in going so I literally stayed in and read books.
  4. I have never been in a fight. Plenty of arguments, but never fisticuffs.
  5. I had my first kiss at age 13. And it was bleurgh!
  6. I correctly chose the Man of The Match during an Old Firm Game. I won 3rd price for guessing Chris Sutton in 2002 (or 2003, can’t remember), but never received my price! Boooo!
  7. I had a pet Dalmatian called Levi. He was fat and lazy and I loved him.
  8. I have read just about all of Stephen King’s books. He will always be the greatest.
  9. I think His Dark Materials is better than the Harry Potter series. I’m a Potterhead, but still think Philip Pullman’s work is far superior. 
  10. Queen are my favourite band. And I have a tattoo to prove it.
  11. I got my first tattoo at age 16. It’s a tramp stamp, but tasteful. 
  12. I have 5 tattoos and 10 piercings. All the piercings are in my ears.
  13. The only Valentine’s cards I have ever received are from my husband. I was a bit of a loser growing up. Maybe if I’d went to a few school discos . . .?
  14. When I was a toddler I escaped from my house and ran three streets away to the chip shop in just my nappy. I’m still a grubber.
  15. I prefer white bread to brown bread. It toasts better.
  16. My family and friends took me to Amsterdam for my hen do. And it was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had.
  17. As I write this I am watching Designated Survivor. I love Keifer Sunderland. 
  18. I could happily watch horror movies all day long. Was scared of my own shadow growing up, but have always had a morbid curiosity.
  19. I won awards for both college courses I completed. I can be a swot if I put my mind to it.
  20.  I’ve been on radio. Granted, it was a supermarket radio station, but it still counts.

    And there you have it! Twenty not-so-interesting facts about me. I could list more, but you’re probably bored already. 

    Tell me something interesting, or not-so-interesting, about you.

    Keep smiling x 

    My first diary #1

    For the past couple of weeks I’ve been reading my old diaries and, boy, does it make for some interesting, embarrassing, and hilarious reading!

    My very first entry was on 28/12/1997 when I was 12 years old and in my first year of secondary school. That transition from carefree and fun Primary school to serious and oppressive Secondary School is a hard time for kids and I was a bit afraid to relive it, but reading about my first year wasn’t too bad.

    Okay, maybe not everyone found school “oppressive”, but I hated it so much it felt like a punishment just being there!

    It wasn’t all that bad, I suppose.  I did make wonderful friends for life, but I was never comfortable in my own skin and, at times, felt like I didn’t quite fit in.  I wasn’t popular and I wasn’t brainy . . . I guess you could call me an “inbetweener” – minus the comical sexual exploits, of course!

    Anyway, I found a rather mild entry that I can share with you – please ignore my spidery writing, terrible spelling, and use of expletives . . . I use them a lot.

    28/1/98
    Dear Diary, 

    Nothing much happened today and if something did happen I missed it, but I had my singing test today.  I got a one for that (a one’s the best).  Oh, today was sooooo boring it was unbelievable.  I’ve got Maths homework to do, but I can’t be f***ed.  I mean school is soooooooooooooooooooo crap I wish I could leave even though I’ve just started secondary school.

    Well, I’ll tell you my ambitions.  I want to become an author because I  (and a lot of other people) think I am brill at writing stories and i’m going to buy a large cottage!  God I’m bored !

    Goodnight, Deborah x 

    Only a few months into school and I want to leave already – that feeling only intensifies as the years go on! No modesty about my story writing skills, then – if only 31 year old Deborah was still as confident as 12 year old Deborah.

    I need to be picky about what I share – I don’t want to upset folk with what a 12 year old girl wrote in her most secret log –  and I moan a lot about things, especially school. 

    Keep a look out for my next entry. 

    Keep smiling x