Tuesday, 16 August 2022

The Family Retreat by Bev Thomas BLOG TOUR #TheFamilyRetreat @BevThomas20 @FaberBooks @portassoph #BookReview

 


When Rob decides the family needs to get away for the summer Jess is not convinced - won't all the things they're escaping be waiting for them on their return? But the kids are thrilled, and before long their idyllic little cottage, the sea air, and the feel of skin sticky from sun-cream, lollies and sand, begins to work its magic. Jess allows herself to sink into the holiday vibes - the family even make holiday friends.

The summer heat intensifies Jess - ever vigilant - unearths a secret, a problem she's sure she can help solve. But things are not always as they seem. The water may look inviting but even the gentlest looking waves can hide the deadliest undercurrents.

As autumn approaches, Jess - and the reader - will come to realise this is going to end in a way no-one could have imagined...


The Family Retreat by Bev Thomas is published by Faber on 25 August 2022. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, as part of this Blog Tour. 




Back in April 2019 I read Bev Thomas' debut novel, A Good Enough Mother. That book astounded me, I was totally enthralled by it and it went on to become one of my top books of that year. 
It's been a long time since that book and I was delighted to find that Thomas had published her second novel; The Family Retreat.

Just like her debut, this book is fairly short at just over 300 pages long, and just like the other one, this is packed with evocative and emotional writing. This author draws on her own experiences as a counsellor to deliver a story that packs such a punch, and one that left me reeling in parts. 

Jess and Rob have decided to spend the summer in a cottage by the sea. Jess works as a GP in an inner-London surgery where she often takes on too much, and gets far too emotionally involved in the lives of her patients. The reader is aware that Jess is currently not working, but it takes some time for us to know why. Rob is a script writer, always on the verge of great things, currently working on the script that will make his name. From the outside, this couple and their two small children appear happy and carefree, but the inner turmoils that they face daily are slowly simmering toward the surface. 

There's a small community in the holiday cottages and Jess feels drawn towards Helen whose family are also staying for the summer. Helen is nothing like Jess, she's practical and orderly and neat. Their families are similar, with sparkly attractive parents, and a boy and a girl each, but the two women are very different in outlook. However, as they spend more time together, Jess learns more about Helen. 

There are many strands to this story, not only is Jess dealing with the fallout from her workplace, she's also having to cope with the increasingly strange behaviour of her elderly father. There's quite a lot of foreshadowing within this story, the reader is perfectly aware that something terrible is about to blow these families apart, but we are never quite sure what is going to occur. When it does happen, it's shocking and dark and the passages that deal with it made my heart pound with fear. It's a quiet book and then wham! the reader is knocked sideways by unexpected and horrific revelations and events that change everyone. 

For me, the creeping fear and tension created by Jess's thoughts really made the book work. I liked the fact that I knew that something was going to happen, I loved the slow exploration of events and the fact that what seemed to be the obvious conclusion really wasn't. 

I've waited a long time for this book and it has most certainly been worth it. Bev Thomas is a talented author whose descriptive prose, powerful characters and incredible insight into the human mind really appeals and pleases me.  Love it, highly recommended. 





Bev was a clinical psychologist in the NHS for many years. She currently works as an organizational consultant in mental health and other services. 

She lives in London with her family.


Twitter @BevThomas20











Monday, 15 August 2022

The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh BLOG TOUR #TheLastParty @claremackint0sh @BooksSphere @RandomTTours #BookReview #DCMorgan

 


On New Year's Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests.

His lakeside holiday homes are a success, and he's generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbours. This will be the party to end all parties.

But not everyone is there to celebrate. By midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.

On New Year's Day, DC Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects.

The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbours, friends and family - and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.

With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn't who wanted Rhys dead . . . but who finally killed him.

In a village with this many secrets, a murder is just the beginning.



The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh was published by Sphere Books on 4 August 2022 and is the first in the D C Morgan series. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour



Oh my goodness, what a wonderful start to a new series. Welcome to the world of DC Ffion Morgan and her small community in Wales. This is high-class crime fiction at its very very best. With a plot that grips and twists and throws up the unexpected and populated by a cast of characters who are so richly described. Some you will loathe, some you will love, but each and every one of them are perfectly created. 

Throw in the evocative setting of a small Welsh community of Cwm Coed, alongside a luxury lakeside development, and all of the bitterness and mistrust between the two communities and you have the perfect read. I flew through this in two days, never knowing quite what to expect and always thrilled by the turn of events. 

Ffion Morgan is thirty, with a failed marriage behind her, she's moved back home to live with her mother and younger sister. Ffion has a well-known, long history of being something of a wild child and she does little to shake off that reputation. In fact, as the story starts and Ffion finds herself entangled in the bedsheets belong to a bloke whose name she struggles to remember, we realise that Ffion is a bit of a law unto herself, 

Ffion is also a police officer. Based in her home town, everyone knows her, she's the person they come to when they need advice on anything crime related.

It's New Years Day and the residents of Cwm Coed are about to take the traditional swim in the lake when the activity is stopped. A body is in the water, and this is soon identified as Rhys Lloyd. Rhys was also local, but he crossed the boundary to the other side. It was Rhys who has developed the lake shore, using money that he inherited from his father. Rhys has also had a celebrated career as a singer, but his star has been fading recently. 

Ffion is teamed up with Detective Constable Leo Brady, from the English side of the border, although this is not the first time they've met. 

Clare Mackintosh tells the story through multiple voices, both before and after the events of New Years Eve. It's a clever and compelling structure that keeps the reader on their toes, and allows us to form our own opinions on characters and motive. What this author does so very well is totally and utterly shock the reader, and there's a revelation that turns every single thing we may think we know totally on its head. 

Clever, intriguing and compelling. Ffion Morgan and Leo Brady are an amazing team, both of them are flawed characters and both of them are incredibly likeable. Their relationship sparks from the pages, with their vulnerabilities exposed many times.

The Welsh setting is just wonderful, with the smattering of the Welsh language throughout that brings an authenticity to the story. 

Totally and utterly top-class crime writing, and Ffion Morgan is superb. I cannot wait to read more about her. Bravo Clare Mackintosh. Highly recommended.






Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author of five Sunday Times bestselling novels,
including I Let You Go, which was the fastest- selling debut thriller in the year it was released. Translated into forty languages, her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide, have been New York Times and international bestsellers and have spent a combined total of 64 weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart.

Clare spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant and is the founder of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival. 

She now writes full time and lives in Wales with her husband and their three children.







Friday, 12 August 2022

Miles and the Soldier by G J Kemp BLOG TOUR #MilesandtheSoldier @TB5Publishing @RandomTTours #BookExtract

 


The front door swung open. The icy blast of air hit Miles full in the face.

For the first time in months, a smile played across his lips.

Freedom.

Miles knows his life changed when the Lady’s sword cut deep into his back. He knows he’ll never achieve his lifelong dream.

Then a stab of joyous pain slices down his leg. With renewed hope, Miles leaves behind the shackles of Dr Viktor’s house and travels east, to the training grounds of the Queen’s Guard.

Will Miles get the chance to compete for a place? And will they accept him in the warrior’s holy ground of Battleacre?

The Acre Story follows Miles’s journey through the eastern lands as our epic fantasy continues.



Miles and the Soldier by G J Kemp was published on 13 June 2022. As part of this #RandomThingsTours blog I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 



Extract from Miles and the Soldier by G J Kemp 

Through the icy wind, Miles felt the pins and needles crawl across his lower back. With each step, they turned into jolts of painful electricity down his legs. His right foot facing inwards grew more tired as it dragged a long groove through the snow. The knuckles on his right hand turned white as he leant more heavily on his cane.

A howl broke through the gusting wind.

Miles froze.

From behind a tree, a wolf’s snout appeared.

The end of Miles’s cane dug deep into the snow as he threw his full weight against it.

With a snort, the snout disappeared behind the tree.

Miles scanned the darkness, squinting at each tree, searching for any movement.
With the cold starting to work through his clothes, Miles tightened his cloak around his body and continued walking down the southern path. After another hour, he reached the fork in the road and, without stopping, he turned left and walked towards the eastern land.

A flash of fur caught his eye. Miles stopped and crouched. He scanned the forest, and stopping at the base of each tree, he searched for movement.

A long, menacing growl spun his head back along the eastern path. The black-haired alpha wolf, standing in the path, lowered his head and snarled at Miles.

‘Whoa there, big boy,’ Miles said, holding out his hand while getting back to his feet.

The wolf lowered his head and took a step towards Miles.

Miles reached behind his back and, with one practised fluid movement, he drew his greatsword.

Growls from both his left and right broke through the gusting wind.

Miles kept his focus on the alpha wolf in front of him.

The black wolf raised his snout, sniffed the air, then lowering his head, he let out a deep, gurgling growl. With his lips sliding across his thick white teeth, he advanced on Miles.

A sudden jolt sent a new powerful set of pins and needles across Miles’s back. His hands trembled as the nerve endings in his lower back knit together. He watched his right foot turn outwards until it faced the way it always had. The cane dropped out of his hand and fell softly into the snow. Miles adjusted his stance, shifting some of his weight onto his right leg. His foot held steady and strong.

The alpha wolf, his muscles rippling across his shoulders, broke into a trot.
Black snow puffed up into the air as a barking wolf pup bounded through the trees and jumped onto the path in front of the alpha wolf. The alpha skidded to a halt and snapped his jaws at the pup. The pup dodged the sharp white teeth and, lowering her front legs until her chin touched the snow, she let out small ear-piercing barks.

‘Get out of here,’ Miles said under his breath.

With her eyes trained on the alpha wolf, the pup shuffled back towards Miles.

‘We don’t want any trouble,’ Miles said, pointing the greatsword at the wolf. ‘Leave us alone.’

The alpha wolf’s muscles rippled across his shoulders as he continued stalking forward.

Miles spread his legs as the pup backed in between his feet.

The pup spun in between Miles’s legs, growling and yapping.

Miles reached behind his back and rubbed the muscles running along his spine. The nerve endings felt like fire coursing through his back and down his legs.
The pup stopped her ear-splitting yapping and looked up at Miles.

‘Have you got something to do with this, little one?’ Miles said.

Big brown eyes gazed up at Miles.

Paws padded on the black snow as the alpha wolf again picked up speed.

Miles placed the greatsword across his chest to protect himself.

Bits of snow sprung up from between Miles’s legs as the pup, her small limbs scrambling, darted towards the alpha wolf.

A sickening yelp reverberated through the trees as the alpha wolf clamped his jaws around the pup’s tiny neck and threw her into the black snow.

Billy’s cloak slipped from Miles and fluttered to the path. The muscles rippled across his shoulders as he looked at the pup’s lifeless body. His head jerked back to the alpha wolf, and with a yell, he charged.

The wolf, in one fluid movement, squatted, then sprang, sending his enormous body to the height of Miles’s head. Miles sidestepped and slammed the flat side of his greatsword into the wolf’s side. The wolf slashed out its front claw and narrowly missed the tip of Miles’s nose before he crashed into the snow on the side of the path. Miles moved his feet through the snow, searching for a solid footing. The wolf, his teeth bared, scrambled to his feet, and sprang again. Miles turned his greatsword and rammed the hilt into the side of the wolf’s head. The wolf yelped and crashed to the ground.

‘I didn’t want to hurt you,’ Miles said. ‘I told you to leave us alone.’





A nomad at heart, GJ has lived in nine countries across Africa, Europe and the Middle East. His career has included working as a Divemaster in The Red Sea, a zookeeper in Israel, and a proofreader in Sweden.

Born with cerebral palsy, GJ has spent a lifetime trying to tie his shoelaces while standing up in the hope of not falling over. It is a constant challenge, but sometimes he occasionally succeeds.

Finding the love for writing later in life, GJ spends most of his free time going for walks and dreaming of story ideas. 









Thursday, 11 August 2022

All In by Kathia BLOG TOUR #AllIn @kathiaherself @RandomTTours #winnersinc #BookExtract

 


Get all the feels in this steamy, feel-good standalone romantic comedy about falling in love and finding happily ever after despite the odds.

The goal… Find Erik Nilsen, young star of England’s hottest football club, a nice girl.

The coach… International football superstar Jamie MacNiven. Over thirteen years with women using his money and his fame have left him more than jaded—it’s left him numb. But Jamie knows he can train Erik to win in his personal life as much as he wins on the field.

The drive… For Jamie it’s simple: Erik still believes in love. Na├»ve? Maybe, but the thought of the kid losing that faith twists a part of his heart he thought was long dead.

The playing field… Well, it certainly isn’t Europe, where everyone knows their faces and the amount of money in their bank accounts. No—there’s one obvious choice where to find a nice girl for the kid: Chicago.


All In by Kathia was published on 8 August 2022. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 



Extract from All In by Kathia

His mum claimed a photo was worth more than a thousand words, but as Jamie watched the Chicago streets out the taxi’s window, he only heard one word: FREEDOM.

He took out his mobile and snapped a few shots. It was midmorning, and the best light would be around seven o’clock, he figured, but his mum always said the best photos were ones that were spontaneous rather than planned. These would be especially great because they captured this moment of liberty.

In Chicago, he wouldn’t be Jamie MacNiven, star forward of Italy’s number one football club and one of Europe’s most eligible bachelors. He wouldn’t be son of legendary football player Ian MacNiven and heir to one of Scotland’s nest boutique whiskey brands. He wouldn’t be the son of Titania Summerhill, one of the world’s most renowned photographers. For the next three weeks, he’d be some anonymous bloke in town with his two mates.

Three weeks of anonymity, of being able to stroll without being stopped every few feet by paparazzi or to take a selfie with a fan. Three weeks to be behind the camera instead of in front of it. Three weeks without women throwing themselves at him because of his fame and fortune.

Three weeks of peace.

It was also three weeks to figure out what he was going to do about his life because his current trajectory wasn’t working for him.

The car jolted over a rough patch of road. Lowering his mobile, he held on to the handle on his side of the door. Didier, his friend and former teammate who sat next to him, muttered a curse in his native French. “Les anglais conduisent mieux que ce mec.”

Jamie smiled despite the slur against his countrymen. “Nous arriverons.”

“Encore vivant, j’éspère.” Shaking his head, Didier went back to his own silent contemplation of the passing scenery, the practice ball he traveled with settled loosely on his lap.

He’d been surprised when Didier had unexpectedly shown up and said he was tagging along on this trip. Didier Pascal wasn’t the baddest boy in football, but he was up there. A talented and disciplined player, he was one of Manchester United’s stars, but being half French, half Moroccan, Didier had exotic good looks that the media gushed over as much as they did about his skill.

Meaning he scored a lot—both on the field and off.

Quite frankly, they all did. Being an international football superstar meant you had plenty of money and plenty of women who had their eyes on that money.

Hence this trip to Chicago. 


With over 6 million books sold (and counting), Kathia’s novels have been #1 bestsellers around the world. They’ve received starred reviews from Booklist, have consistently earned Editor’s Picks for Best Romance, and have been featured by O, The Oprah Magazine. Kathia has written over 40 books so far, some translated into several languages, all about hope and dreams and the bonds of friendship and family. She’s also written a couple screenplays and various poems (her ode to the color orange is particularly moving). 

Don't forget to sign up for her newsletter ----> https://www.kathiaherself.com/newsletter
What do you get? The latest news, backstory on her and her stories, and general hijinks.







Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Cold Fish Soup by Adam Farrer BLOG TOUR #ColdFishSoup @AdamJFarrer @SarabandBooks @RandomTTours #BookExtract

 


Before Adam Farrer’s family relocated to Withernsea in 1992, he’d never heard of the Holderness coast. The move represented one thing to Adam: a chance to leave the insecurities of early adolescence behind. And he could do that anywhere. What he didn’t know was how much he’d grow to love the quirks and people of this faded Yorkshire resort, in spite of its dilapidated attractions and retreating clifftops.

While Adam documents the minutiae of small-town life, he lays bare experiences that are universal. His insights on family, friendship, male mental health and suicide are revealed in stories of reinvention, rapacious seagulls, interdimensional werewolves, burlesque dancing pensioners, and his compulsion towards the sea.

Cold Fish Soup is an affectionate look at a place and its inhabitants, and the ways in which they can shape and influence someone, especially of an impressionable age. Adam’s account explores what it means to love and be shaped by a place that is under threat, and the hope – and hilarity – that can be found in community.

WINNER OF THE 2021 NORTHBOUND BOOK AWARD



Cold Fish Soup by Adam Farrer was published on 4 August 2022 by Saraband Books. I'm delighted to share an extract from the book today, as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 



Extract from Cold Fish Soup by Adam Farrer

My phone rang, cutting out the music on my headphones. It was my mother.

‘Are you okay?’ she asked. ‘You’ve been gone for hours.’

She sounded concerned, as if she was preparing to grab her coat and perform an intervention. This would have been an overreaction had it not been Christmas. If someone disappears at Christmas time it’s never for a good reason. At best, they’ve left the house in a panic to source a last minute, terrible gift. At worst, or close to it, they are standing on the edge of a cliff and contemplating their next move, like I was.

The coastline in my hometown of Withernsea is fragile and perilous, built of soft, vulnerable clay. Each day the waves collide with the cliff face and drag a little more of it into the sea. Several feet of these cliffs are lost in this way each year, making them the perfect suicide spot for the idle. I knew that if I stood there for long enough, I wouldn’t have even needed to summon the energy to throw myself off them. Just give it enough time and the ground would have made the decision for me, disappearing beneath my feet like a supervillain’s trapdoor.

‘I’m fine,’ I told her. ‘I’m heading back now. Millie just wanted a long walk.’

Millie is my aged dog, who strained at her lead while I spoke, desperate to peer over the edge and sniff at the unknown below. When I’d adopted her a few months earlier, it had been pre- dicted that she wouldn’t make it to Christmas. Yet here she still was, wobbling onward. The image of me with Millie seemed to calm my mother down. Because really, who kills themselves with their dog? Especially a tragic one. But I found myself pic- turing it all the same. Toying with the image of me hopping off the cliff, my body descending, my hand raised above my head as I gripped Millie’s lead. A Victorian aeronaut attempting to take flight by holding on to a dog-shaped balloon. I shuddered. From the thought, the cold weather and the tiny compulsion in me that was telling me to do it. 

Jump!


Adam Farrer is a writer and editor who has performed at festivals and events including Manchester Literature Festival and the Northern Lights Writers Conference. 

His work has been published in the anthology Test Signal and he edits the creative non-fiction journal The Real Story, as well as teaching writing workshops. 

Cold Fish Soup is his first book. 

Adam Farrer has previously been a photo lab technician, a kitchen porter, the voice of an automated phone system, an illustrator, ceramicist, musician, music journalist, and he currently works at the University of Salford. 

Twitter @AdamJFarrer





Tuesday, 9 August 2022

The It Girl by Ruth Ware BLOG TOUR #TheItGirl @RuthWareWriter @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours #BookReview

 


Everyone wanted her life

Someone wanted her dead

It was Hannah who found April’s body ten years ago.

It was Hannah who didn’t question what she saw that day.

Did her testimony put an innocent man in prison?

 She needs to know the truth.

 Even if it means questioning her own friends.

Even if it means putting her own life at risk.

 Because if the killer wasn’t a stranger, it's someone she knows…



The It Girl by Ruth Ware was published on 4 August 2022 by Simon & Schuster. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour




The It Girl is one of the cleverest and most compelling crime thrillers that I've read for a long time. With a fairly slow beginning, as the reader gets to know the characters, it soon turns into a dark and utterly compelling page-turner that left me frantically reading faster and faster, not quite knowing what to expect. 

Cleverly structured throughout, with chapters from 'Before' and 'After', allowing the author to show many viewpoints to the plot. I really enjoyed this style, it keeps the story fresh and raises question after question.

'Before' - Hannah was a regular comprehensive school educated girl from a small town where nothing really happened. Raised by her single mother, she's the first person from her school to get into Oxford. She's in Pelham House and is sharing a 'set' with it-girl April Clarke-Cliveden, a girl who is beautiful, talented and very rich. Hannah and April become unlikely friends, sharing a living space, clothes and a bunch of friends. 

'After' - ten years later, and Hannah has never recovered from April's death. Hannah found her brutally murdered in their living quarters. She's now married happily to Will (April's ex boyfriend), they are expecting a baby. Hannah learns that John Neville has died in prison. Neville is the university porter that Hannah's testimony helped to put him away for life. Neville has always claimed to be innocent, and after speaking with a podcast journalist, Hannah herself begins to wonder if she put an innocent man in prison. 

The reader gets to know everything about Hannah, April and their eclectic assortment of friends. The author reveals the intricacies of their relationships, their closeness, and also the bitter rivalries that simmer under the surface.

The setting of Oxford University is wonderfully done, with the totally unique world of the rich, the entitled and the people who find themselves a little out of their depth so beautifully created. Each character is richly described, from charismatic Will, to sharp talking Emily .... and it seems, each one of them could have a motive for murder. 

The 'After' setting is equally as gripping, as Hannah delves deeper into her past, alienating Will as she does and starting to suspect every one of the people who've been part of her life for years. The final scenes made my heart pound, and are quite terrifying in parts and for me, totally unexpected. Ruth Ware drops enough red herrings along the way to make the sharpest of reader begin to doubt themselves. 

So very finely constructed, with characters that leap from the pages in a setting that is atmospheric and dark. I loved it. Highly recommended. 



 

Ruth Ware worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language, and a
press officer before settling down as a full-time writer. 

She now lives with her family in Sussex, on the south coast of England. 

She is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail (Toronto) bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood; The Woman in Cabin 10; The Lying Game; The Death of Mrs. Westaway; The Turn of the Key; One by One; and The It Girl. 



Visit her at RuthWare.com or follow her on Twitter @RuthWareWriter.






Friday, 5 August 2022

The Hive by Scarlett Brade BLOG TOUR #TheHive @scarlettbrade @ZaffreBooks @RandomTTours #BookReview

 


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?

The Hive explores our darkest fears of the relationship between social media and mental health, but, most importantly, the strength of sisterhood against all the odds.


The Hive by Scarlett Brade was published on 21 July 2022 by Zaffre. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 



Well, where to begin? I could talk for hours about this book, my review could go on for pages and pages, but it won't. As much as I'd love to sit and debate this book for ever, I will just let you know some of my thoughts and then you read it, and you can decide. 

First and foremost. I don't think I'm the target audience for this novel. I don't relate to the character's way of life, their morals, their behaviours or their age. However, our lead group of characters are women, so am I. They have also endured hardships and tragedy throughout their lives and those problems are as old as the human race; abuse, addiction, violence, so despite their age, and their lifestyle, I certainly can empathise with their issues. 

The story begins with a shocking prologue that grips the reader and will ensure that they carry on reading. Using social media for the basis of the story makes it modern up-to-date and totally refreshing. Our world has changed in terms of reporting. No longer do we have to wait for the evening news bulletin, or the morning newspaper to find out what is happening in the world. Today it is there, in our face, immediately and occasionally, as in the case of The Hive, live from the actual scene. 

Charlotte Goodwin is famous for being famous, she's the ex of a well known boxer and their relationship; it's growth and it's grimy and difficult break down has been talk of The Hive for weeks. The Hive is an Instagram account devoted to celebrity news. Regularly posting gossip and hearsay and the perfect place for Charlotte to carry out her plan. 

Charlotte has murdered her ex boyfriend's new girlfriend and has Linc (he ex) held hostage in a hotel suite. She's asked The Hive's viewers to #VoteLive or to #VoteDie - they will decide Linc's fate. 

Scarlett Brade takes her readers back to the beginning of Charlotte and Linc's relationship and also introduces Charl's three best friends. These are a bunch of mixed-up women who between them, have enough issues to keep the chat show agony aunts going for years. It's really difficult to like any of the women, with the exception of Poppy, but oh my goodness, they are engrossing and compelling. It's like a car crash, you just want to look away, but you just can't help yourself. 

Made up almost entirely of dialogue and nipping between characters, this is a quick and frenzied read at time, with extracts from the comments section on The Hive to ensure that the reader knows exactly what the world is thinking about Charl, and about Linc. 

I can't say that it is great literature, but I can say that it's original and extremely addictive, I read it it just two sittings, totally enthralled and at times, a little bit disgusted by the extraordinary lives of these women and just what they'd do to protect each other. 

The ending is a bit bonkers, it's totally mad but it is also satisfying and I gave a little fist pump in the air when I turned the final page. Obsession, social media, the pull of the celebrity lifestyle and the strength of the female friendship takes centre stage in this novel. Try it and see what you think! 


Scarlett Brade is the daughter of parents who migrated from the Caribbean to England in the early 1970s. 

She was born and educated in London, though as a child she spent her summers in Canada, where she developed her love affair with reading. 

When not writing Scarlett spends most of her time cooking, drinking fine wines, and entertaining family and friends. The Hive is her first psychological thriller novel, and she is currently writing her second.