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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.

Idol By Louise O’Neill

Idol‘Idol’ is Louise’s first book with her new publisher Transworld and it’s just as gripping as her previous books.

For Samantha Miller’s young fans – her ‘girls’ – she’s everything they want to be. She’s an oracle, telling them how to live their lives, how to be happy, how to find and honour their ‘truth’. And her career is booming: she’s just hit three million followers, her new book Chaste has gone straight to the top of the bestseller lists and she’s appearing at sell-out events. Determined to speak her truth and bare all to her adoring fans, she’s written an essay about her sexual awakening as a teenager, with her female best friend, Lisa. She’s never told a soul but now she’s telling the world. The essay goes viral. But then – years since they last spoke – Lisa gets in touch to say that she doesn’t remember it that way at all. Her memory of that night is far darker. It’s Sam’s word against Lisa’s – so who gets to tell the story? Whose ‘truth’ is really a lie?

The story is seen through the perspective of Samantha and is written in the past and present tense. Samantha is an influencer with a legion of followers, who follow her way of life, obey her every word and most importantly believe every word she says.

But when Samantha releases an article about a lesbian encounter with a friend, her world turns upside when this friend replies with a different version of the story. Samantha finds her world falling apart and having to defend and justify her actions and past.

I absolutely love Louise’s books, her writing is sharp with deplorable characters that you instantly hate but you find their flawed personalities addictive and suddenly it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you’re struggling to get up for work the following day.

In the typical style of Louise’s writing, she takes a complex subject of toxic female relationships as well as the contradictions of influencers and deliver a wonderfully, intricately weaved story with twists and drama along the way.

Samantha is a horrible character, a narcissist absorbed in her own world and sees everything through her own narrative. To her loyal followers, she’s a vision of purity when in-fact she’s a cruel and jealous person and when she lets the mask fall, it makes for fantastic reading.

Louise’s writing is sharp and she’s unapologetic for shining a light on the harsh reality of social media, where likes and engagement are considered more important than personal feelings and privacy. It gives a true account of the world that we live in and are all consumed with on a daily basis.

A gripping story with revelations that shook me to the core, ‘Idol’ is another thought provoking, brutal and compulsive book from Louise that reeled me in from the first page.

You can pre-order ‘Idol’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 12th May 2022.

My (Secret) You Tube Life By Charlotte Seager

My (Secret) You Tube Life‘My (Secret) You Tube Life’ is the latest book by Charlotte Seager.

YouTuber LilyLoves has an amazing life: a rockstar boyfriend, a totally Insta-worthy London flat and a collection of beauty products that seems to grow daily (thanks, PO Box). Sixteen-year-old Melissa’s life is way less amazing – LilyLoves is the only thing getting her through it. She’s Lily’s biggest fan and spends hours each night watching her videos and liking her posts. Melissa wants that life for herself – or at least to look like she has it. As Melissa starts to grow in confidence – and followers – she discovers a crushing secret about Lily – the ultimate YouTube lie. Does she share Lily’s secret and crush her fame? Or will they both continue to live a lie – both online and off?

This is Charlotte’s debut novel and it’s a really interesting and addictive story that I read in one sitting.

I’ve a keen interest in social media and influencers so for me, this book was the perfect book to curl up with, as it dealt with the positive and negative sides of having a following.

The story is seen through the narrative of LilyLoves, a hugely successful video blogger who has just reached three million followers on YouTube. To her followers, she has the perfect life, the perfect relationship, boyfriend and the perfect lighting to take the perfect selfie. But behind closed doors, her life is far from perfect, battling anxiety and self fear, LIly is trying hard to keep it together for her loyal following.

Meanwhile, 16 year old Melissa, is a huge fan of LilyLoves and believes everything that she reads and sees on social media and she aspires to be just like her idol. So, when she falls in with the popular crowd and gets herself a boyfriend, she uses this to her advantage and uses photographs and filters to create her own following.

I really enjoyed this book, it gives an interesting and realistic insight into the world of blogging and how much pressure there is to be seen as perfect. As it’s currently the number one job that children aspire to do, it shows the stress that people are put under to create perfection, it also shows shallow and reactive it is, as fans can change over the simplest thing and quickly become the enemy. I really liked Lily, she was a sweet woman, who’s hobby slowly took over her life and she was unable to decide what was real or purely staged for social media. She showed the immense pressure that influencers are put under by their audience to always maintain their perfect lives.

Mellisa is a regular teenage girl, who is obsessed with social media and is off a generation where communication is through memes and pictures. She wants to be sought after after and hopes with creating this made up life, that her audience and life will become real.

A story of filters, selfies and followers, ‘My (Secret) You Tube Life’ is an interesting story about the complexities of social media and how fickle and hateful it can be, when things don’t always go the followers way.

You can buy My [Secret] YouTube Life from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Read An Extract Of Follow Me By Angela Clarke

Follow Me’On the book tour for Angela Clarke’s new thriller, ‘Follow Me’, sit back and enjoy an extract from the gripping tale.

YOLO – You Only Live Once

Saturday 31 October

Eight Times People Actually Died of Boredom. A WhatsApp chat alert flashed on Freddie’s phone, which was under the till out of the sight of customers.

A white speech bubble from Milena, who was outside taking a fag break, read: ‘Dan is’, and then there was a series of smiling poo emojis.

Freddie typed back: ‘Espress-woes.’

‘Are you in charge?’

Shoving her phone into her pocket, she looked up to find a drunk in a pinstripe suit, swaying in front of her. His eyes pink.

‘Look!’ He prodded at the fruit toast he’d placed on the counter.

‘This slice has no raisins. This one all the raisins.’

She waited…

‘Is not right,’ he stabbed again, catching the edge of the paper plate and flipping one of the half-eaten slices onto the Almond Biscottis they were pushing this month.

You’ve got to be kidding? As she reached out to retrieve the toast, his hand – cold and damp – grabbed hers and she was pulled across the counter toward him.

‘Or yous could give me your number?’ His stale beer breath buffeted her face.

She scanned the cafe for help. A Japanese couple, heads down, earphones in, oblivious. The gossipy women who’d been here for hours had left. Dan was in the stockroom. She was on her

‘Giz a kiss,’ the drunk lunged.

Shame burned up her body and then ignited into anger. Wrenching her hand free, she sent the fruit toast flying toward him. ‘Get lost!’

Alerted by the disturbing sound of an employee raising their voice, Dan bustled into the cafe, oozing toward the drunk. ‘Sir, I’m so sorry. There’s obviously been a misunderstanding. I’m sure
Freddie here can help.’

What the…‘Are you suggesting I prostitute myself for a piece of sodding fruit toast?’

Milena swung through the glass door – had she seen?

‘Our Freddie, ever the joker!’ Dan laughed like a screaming kettle.

‘Sir, I make you some new toast, please, have a seat. I bring it over.’ Milena’s megawatt smile blindsided the pink-eyed man.
‘Sure,’ he swayed.

‘The customer is always right,’ Dan glared at Freddie.

How the hell was this her fault? ‘But he…’

‘I don’t care, Freddie. You need to see the positives in all customers.

Visualise them as your close personal friend.’

‘That’s what I was sodding worried about!’

‘Espress-oh partners don’t use language they wouldn’t feel comfortable saying in front of their mothers,’ Dan stage whispered.

Flinging her arm in the direction of the drunk who was now face down asleep on the counter, a puddle of drool spreading toward the discarded fruit toast, Freddie screamed: ‘If my mum was here
she’d tell that dirty bastard to fuck off!’

‘Enough! Take your break! Now!’

Furious, she smacked her palms hard against the glass door and powered toward the train platforms. A few hardy souls were bundled, with suitcases, on the cold metal benches, waiting for
the first Eurostar. All this money regenerating the station and they forgot to put doors on? Yet another deterrent to Kathy and her homeless mates. Barely more appealing than metal spikes. She
was heading to the taxi rank where she could bum a cigarette off a cabbie, when she saw her:

Nasreen Cudmore.

They’d played together virtually every day since they were six, until…she couldn’t deal with thinking about that now. Eight years ago. Must be. Nasreen looked the same. No, different. There was no puppy fat, and she was tall too, like her dad. Five foot eight, at least. She’d cut that ridiculous waist-length black hair. It now hung in a sleek curtain to her shoulders. Perfect against her milky coffee skin. With both pride and pain, Freddie acknowledged Nasreen Cudmore had grown into a beautiful woman.

What the hell was she doing here at this time in the morning?

Wearing a hoodie and jeans, Nasreen was stood with a group. All dressed casually. Most looked to be in their twenties or thirties.

One guy, slightly older, early forties, broad shoulders, Bruce Willis buzz cut, was wearing a blue down puffa jacket zipped up over a tight white T-shirt. Friends’ night out? One of those godawfulsounding corporate away-days?

Freddie remembered seeing Fiona Cogswell at a pop-up Shoreditch tequila bar. Among the inane drivel about what every Pendrick High alumnus was now doing – mostly out of work management consultants, or pursuing worthless PhDs until the economy recovered – there’d been one lime wedge of interest: Nasreen Cudmore had joined the police.

She looked again at Nasreen’s group: men, all with regulationneat haircuts. Police. Undercover? A bust? Seize the story. Neil’s advice echoed in her head. Behind her, Dan was waiting for a
grovelling apology.

A plan formulated in Freddie’s mind.

You can pre-order Follow Me from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 31st December 2015

Angela Clarke Release New Book – Follow Me

Follow Me’If you fancy a thriller with a bit of a twist, then Angela Clarke’s new book, ‘Follow Me’ might just be the book for you.

The story of ‘Follow Me’ is –

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they outrun their own past?

Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #murderer. But what if he is following you?

This is most definitely a book that I am curious to find out more about!

You can pre-order Follow Me from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 31st December 2015.