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The Hive By Scarlett Brade

The Hive‘The Hive’ is the debut novel by Scarlett Brade.

Charlotte Goodwin looks directly at the camera and reveals a chilling truth to the thousands watching her Instagram Live broadcast. She has killed her ex-boyfriend’s new partner in cold blood. But she is not finished yet. The viewers must now vote to decide whether he should live or die. The public display sends shockwaves rippling through the online community and the numbers of viewers skyrockets. But as Lincoln’s past is revealed, how will he be judged?

This debut has got to be one of my favourite books of 2022. With a sizzling storyline and strong females, this topical story certainly packed a punch and kept me gripped throughout.

The story is seen through the perspective of Charlotte and starts in the present time, when she’s live broadcasting the death of her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend and how she has got to this moment in her life.

The story then travels back to the past when Charlotte first meets Lincoln, a successful boxer and influencer, Charlotte is an admin assistant and she falls for Lincoln’s charms and good looks hard. But when tragedy strikes and they break up, Charlotte finds it hard to move on especially when Lincoln moves on with a new woman and has his new relationship flaunted in her face.

This story is a powerful and triggering story that certainly makes for thoughtful and topical reading, as we join a woman on a journey to breaking point.

Charlotte is a fantastic lead, she’s strong and passionate and as her relationship and life unravels around her, so does her sanity and this truly is a sad reading. She is supported by a strong network of friends, who have all been there for each other during the hardest of times, whether that’s drugs, abuse or loss, they are always there to help.But they are struggling to help Charlotte particularly, as the life that she could have had is always there to be seen on ‘The Hive’ the social media platform that is rife with gossip and updates and keeps Charlotte informed of Lincoln’s news. Charlotte becomes addicted to social media and is consumed with passion to help put her life together but ‘The Hive’ is always there to catch her at her worst.

The story is topical in that it focuses on social media and life in the limelight. Nothing is private and everyone has an opinion, whether it’s good or bad and the author cleverly included social media posts about the rise of Lincoln and demise of Charlotte. I absolutely hated Lincoln, a narcissist, vain and he constantly gaslit Charlotte and made her double think everything.

Powerfully written, thought-provoking and packed with attitude, ‘The Hive’ is a fantastic thriller about the strength of the sisterhood, the toxicity of social media and the determination to seek vengeance and all these factors made this uniquely written and gripping debut impossible to put down!

You can buy ‘The Hive’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Book News – Jane Fallon Releases New Book Called Just Got Real

Just Got RealQueen of the revenge story, Jane Fallon is back with another deliciously wicked story called ‘Just Got Real’.

What the back cover says –

When happily divorced Joni is reluctantly talked into joining a dating app, she is surprised to quickly hit it off with Ant. Phone calls and texts soon evolve into a plan to meet up. Which is a problem, as Joni’s profile picture is of someone else.

Joni daren’t confess her lie. Yet unable to stop thinking about what might have been, she hatches a plan to ‘meet’ Ant in real life without revealing who she really is.

Once she and Ant are an item, however, it’s soon clear that the only thing Ant was honest about was his profile picture. He’s still online dating. And intimately texting other women.

So Joni contacts them: they need to know. And once they’re comparing notes on Ant, upset turns to thoughts of revenge.

But how do you get your own back on a truly heartless man?

You can pre-order ‘Just Got Real’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 23rd June 2022.

Worst Idea Ever By Jane Fallon

Worst Idea Ever‘Worst Idea Ever’ is the latest book by Jane Fallon.

Georgia and Lydia are so close, they’re practically sisters. So when Lydia starts an online business that struggles, Georgia wants to help her – but Lydia’s not the kind to accept a handout. Setting up a fake Twitter account, Georgia hopes to give her friend some anonymous moral support by posing as a potential customer. But then Lydia starts confiding in her new internet buddy and Georgia discovers she doesn’t know her quite as well as she thought. Georgia knows she should reveal the truth – especially when Lydia starts talking about her – but she just can’t help herself.Until Lydia reveals a secret that could not only end their friendship, but also blow-up Georgia’s marriage.

Jane is back with another fascinating story delivered with her trademark wit and insight into the complexities of female friendships. I started this book late one night, which was the best/worst idea ever as I was wrecked the following day, but it’s such a gripping story that I was unable to put it down until I reached the final page.

The story is about best friends Georgia and Lydia, they’ve been friends since university and have quite a complex friendship. Even though they are close and are there for each other, underneath it all is simmering resentment and jealousy towards each other. Georgia has achieved it all, a happy marriage, children and a successful career as a children’s author. Whilst Lydia goes on failed dates, lives alone and aspires to be a published author but is yet to find success. Georgia feels sorry for her best friend and reaches out to her on social media in the guse of another person who loves Lydia’s illustrations and believes in her, as the pair become close Lydia confides in Georgia and as much as Georgia wants to back from the fictional friendship, she becomes even more involved.

I find it hard to review Jane’s books, because her writing is so cleverly crafted and twisted that it’s so easy to put in a spoiler in or a big reveal. As per Jane’s previous books, I loved this one just as much. Her observational writing made for insightful reading about friendships, how hard they can be and how there’s always that one friendship that requires a bit more work than others.

Both Georgia and Lydia are fascinating characters and although they are there for each other, the underlying tension between the pair of them is evident from the first page and this really sets the story up for me. I liked Georgia, she’s thankful for the life that she has been given and is aware of her luck and wishes that Lydia’s was better and that more stable, whereas Lydia is somewhat bitter that life has become what she dreamed off.

Fun witty and injected with Jane’s trademark dark humour, ‘Worst Idea Ever’ is another fabulous story delivered by Jane that is riddled with deceit, suspense and revenge.

You can buy ‘Worst Idea Ever’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Exclusives By Rebecca Thornton

The Exclusives‘The Exclusives’ is Rebecca Thornton’s debut novel.

1996. Freya Seymour and Josephine Grey are invincible – beautiful and brilliant, the two best friends are on the cusp of Oxbridge, and the success they always dreamed they’d share. 2014. Freya gets in touch, looking for a conversation Josephine has run away from for eighteen long and tortured years. Beginning with one ill-fated night, The Exclusives charts the agonising spiral of friendship gone wrong, the heartache and betrayal of letting down those closest to you and the poisonous possibilities of what we wouldn’t do when everything we prize is placed under threat. And in the end, as she realises she cannot run for ever, Josephine must answer one question: is it Freya she cannot face, or is it her own darkest secret?

I read this book one day, when I fancied a change, I liked the bleakness of the cover as well as the synopsis, a story about two best friends at a boarding school whose indestructible friendship falls apart one night and how the years progress after this seemingly perfect friendship becomes hostile.

The story is seen primarily through the narrative of Josephine Grey, a popular and successful student with Grade A results, she is shoo in for Oxford and her best friend Freya Seymour, a kind friend who looks out for Josephine and treats Josephine more like family than a friend. The two friends go out one night to celebrate Josephine being appointed Head Girl, but it ends in disaster with vague memories and the girls covered in blood. Terrified Freya tries to talk to Josephine to find out what happened but Josephine refuses to talk and begins to the ignore the situation and this begins the downward spiral of their friendship. As the years pass, Josephine becomes a loner of the school, focusing on her studies and her editorial position at the school newspaper, whilst Freya befriends Josephine’s arch enemy, Verity all with the intentions of jeopardising each others lives. Almost twenty years later Freya gets in touch with Josephine wanting to talk. Josephine is now a successful archaeologist travelling the world and the last thing she wants to hear is from her old best friend, so she refuses to meet and this begins the agonising despair of remembering those years of sadness and loneliness.

The story flashes between the past the present and gives a vivid description of life in a boarding school, the loneliness, the bullying, the pressure to succeed and above all the bitchiness of girls and how they pick up on vulnerabilities. Josephine’s life is far from perfect but she puts on a brave face, her mother is severely depressed and is often in hospital and her father is busy with work. Only Freya knows the truth about Josephine’s family and uses this to her advantage.

Whilst reading this book, I felt a lot of sympathy for Josephine, both in the past and present as she dealt with her own emotions and life, but I found her to be an incredibly dislikable character, who only seemed interested in her own succession and didn’t really consider the feelings of others particularly her best friend and I also felt that her own selfishness was the demise of the best relationship she had.

The story concentrates on the friendship and how it ended and also how Josephine has progressed in life, with relationships and her own mental health and we see how a woman is battling hard not to turn into her mother, which seems to be her major fear. My only real complaint about the book, was that I felt there wasn’t enough detail about the night that ruined Josephine’s and Freya’s friendship, I felt after the consequences of that night, there should have been a bigger reveal, apart from that I enjoyed this story

This book gripped my attention with the grim environment, the troubled characters and the complexities of life, it was cleverly written with many twists and turns and gave an interesting insight into how life at boarding school isn’t always like an Enid Blyton novel.

You can buy The Exclusives from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Postcards From The Past By Marcia Willett

'Postcards From The Past‘Postcards From The Past’ is the latest book by Maria Willett.

Siblings Billa and Ed share their beautiful, grand old childhood home in rural Cornwall. Their lives are uncomplicated. With family and friends nearby and their free and easy living arrangements, life seems as content as can be.

But when postcards start arriving from a sinister figure they thought belonged well and truly in their pasts, old memories are stirred. Why is he contacting them now? And what has he been hiding all these years?

This is the first book that I have read by Marcia and even I though I enjoyed the book, I did find myself thinking that the synopsis of the book was a bit deceptive. I was preparing myself a dark tale of lies and intrigue and instead found myself reading about a group of people starting new lives.

The story is seen from the perspective of many people but is primarily about brothers Ed and Dom and their sister Billia, who after years of absence start to receive sinister postcards from their stepbrother Tris, who left many years ago when they were children. The four of them never got on and Tris was cruel to them many times, so when he sends the postcards saying that he will see them soon, they all immediately are on edge as to why he is suddenly reappearing in their lives.

The story then flashes between the past and present as they reflect on why there is such ill feeling between them all.

Throughout the book, there are a few smaller sub stories. Tilly, who is a friend of Dom’s and is staying with him whilst she gets her life in order and works with her Sarah, who has set up a business called U-Connect, that helps elderly people adapt to new technology, with texting and emails. Tilly adapts to this role tremendously, with her patience and kind nature, she is heavily in demand. But when she meets Clem, the new pastor, the two of them begin a tentative new relationship as he is a widower with a little boy, the scenes with the two of them are quite tender as they get to know each other. Sarah is also a fiery character, a busy mum of two, she struggles whilst her husband is away and is envious of Tilly’s carefree life. The bad boy of the story is also interesting, as we see him return to his old life and we are kept guessing until the very end as to why he has reappeared.

An entertaining story that I really enjoyed, ‘Postcards From The Past’ is an enchanting tale of friendship, love and old ghosts.

You can buy Postcards from the Past from Amazon and is available from good bookshops.