Book Review: The Hive by Scarlett Brade

Book Review: The Hive by Scarlett Brade

Book cover for The Hive by Scarlett Brade
Vibrant purple and black, two women's faces on opposite sides of the title in white. A bee is crawling across the word Hive
The Hive by Scarlett Brade

Title: The Hive  

Author: Scarlett Brade

Publisher: Zaffre

Genre: Thriller, Psychological

Release Date: 21st July 2022

Purchase:

Blurb

SHOULD HE LIVE OR DIE? YOU DECIDE.

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. With bloodied hands she takes a calm sip of tea before continuing. Lincoln Jackson will now make his confession, then the viewers must 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?

Bonded by mutual tragedy, Charlotte’s three best friends have supported each other through the soaring highs and devastating lows of their lives. Now, in Charlotte’s hour of need, her friends also face a choice, whether to help her get away with murder.

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.

My Thoughts

This is one of those books that begins with the end and carries the reader into the protagonist’s life to explain why that outcome was inevitable. With a strong beginning where viewers of a live broadcast can choose whether Lincoln lives or dies, I was hooked. Social media has its bonuses but has a dark side which this novel taps into well. As much as I’d like to think the opening scenario was veering to the realms of fantasy, people have been encouraged to suicide so why not murder?

Charlotte is flawed and damaged but has a strong moral code but along with her friends tiptoe on the edge of the law. Her friendship group has strong bonds thanks to past traumas, shared experiences, and they all have issues. This connection and loyalty is pushed to the limits and can only admire the sense of sisterhood that drives them and the plot.

Living the Instagram dream with flash house, clothes, jewellery and meals, Charlotte lives in a different world than I and in reality, we could never be friends, but I needed to know what she’d do next, making me read past bedtime. When horrific events happen leading to the potentially deadly consequences, I had to feel sorry for her.  

With the judgemental and spiteful world of social media at its core, it threw up intriguing thoughts so would be a good book club choice to have in depth discussions especially the unexpected ending.

Would I recommend?

If you love your psychological thrillers, with flawed characters and moral dilemmas, this is a book to try. With an unusual view of the dark side of social media at its core, it is a fast paced and intriguing read.

Scarlett Brade has a strong voice and style so I’m looking forward to seeing what she writes next.

Author Biography

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.

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Other blogs on this tour

Book review: The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox

Today I’m excited to share my review for The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox. The gorgeous cover of a partially hidden door promises a book of secrets, scroll down to see if it achieved this.

Book review: The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox

Book cover for The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox.

A blue door covered with ivy and the image of a young girl walking away through a keyhole.
The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox

Title: The Shadow Child

Author: Rachel Hancox

Publisher: Century

Genre: Fiction

Release Date: 14th April 2022

Blurb

Eighteen-year-old Emma has loving parents and a promising future ahead of her. So why, one morning, does she leave home without a trace?

Her parents, Cath and Jim, are devastated. They have no idea why Emma left, where she is – or even whether she is still alive. A year later, Cath and Jim are still tormented by the unanswered questions Emma left behind and clinging desperately to the hope of finding her.

Meanwhile, tantalisingly close to home, Emma is also struggling with her new existence – and with the trauma that shattered her life. For all of them, reconciliation seems an impossible dream. Does the way forward lie in facing up to the secrets of the past – secrets that have been hidden for years?

Secrets that have the power to heal them, or to destroy their family forever …

The Shadow Child is a book of hope and reconciliation, of coming to terms with trauma and learning to love again. Most of all, it’s about how you can never quite escape from the shadows of your past – especially when one of those shadows is a child …

My Thoughts

The first chapter with young Emma hooked me into the story and though it isn’t a fast paced read, I couldn’t put it down because I connected to all but one of the characters. The beginning focused on the parents’ distress of having a missing child, their coping strategies, the mystery behind Emma’s disappearance and the relationship with their new tenants. Everyone had secrets and I kept turning the page to discover how they would all be revealed and whether reconciliation would be possible.

The arrival of Emma’s voice lured me in further. Her turmoil and reasons for disappearing surprised me and made this novel different to others I’ve read.  All the characters including those on the fringes had depth and believable backstories making it an emotional and engaging read. It is told with empathy and sensitivity which is crucial as it delved into the affects of grief, disability and the impact they have on families and individuals.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it’s an engaging and emotional read with well-developed characters thrown into an unimaginable situation. With some heart-breaking moments tissues maybe required but these are also balanced with moments of hope.

I look forward to reading more from the author in the future.

Author Biography

Photo of author Rachel Hancox
Rachel Hancox

RACHEL HANCOX read Medicine and Social and Political Science at Cambridge, qualified as a doctor three months after getting married, and has juggled her family, her career and a passion for writing ever since. She worked in Paediatrics and Public Health for twenty years, writing short stories alongside NHS policy reports, and drafting novels during successive bouts of maternity leave. Rachel has five children, three dogs and a cat. She lives in Oxford with her husband and youngest children.

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Cover reveal: A Scottish Highland Affair by Julie Shackman

It’s Friday and nearly the weekend! I’m thrilled to be one of the first to show the cover of an upcoming novel, A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman.

First the blurb to whet your appetite for a new book:

Blurb

Discover the secrets and surprises that the scenic Scottish town of Briar Glen has to offer…

When wedding planner Sophie Harkness refuses to move a friend’s wedding to accommodate a spoilt bridezilla, she finds herself out of a job. That is until she discovers her late grandma has purchased a local shop for her in the pretty Scottish town of Briar Glen.

Surprised and delighted, Sophie opens her own porcelain shop in honour of her grandmother. But when an unusual tea set is left with Sophie, along with a mysterious letter, she can’t help but be intrigued by the story behind the antique.

And when the handsome but aloof art critic Xander North comes knocking on her door, Sophie is about to find out the true colourful past of her latest treasure.

The perfect feel-good romance for fans of Jo Thomas, Katie Fforde and Trisha Ashley.

So are you ready?

Here it is the beautiful and cheery cover for A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman

A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman

Title: A Scottish Highland Surprise

Author: Julie Shackman

Publisher: One More Chapter

Genre: Romance, women’s fiction

Release Date: 22nd April 2022

Pre-order links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scottish-Highland-Surprise-Julie-Shackman-ebook/dp/B09MMZ75KL

US – https://www.amazon.com/Scottish-Highland-Surprise-Julie-Shackman-ebook/dp/B09MMZ75KL

Author Biography

Photo of author Julie Shackman
Julie Shackman

Julie Shackman is a former journalist from Scotland, who has always wanted to write feel-good romance. As well as being an author, Julie also writes verses and captions for greetings card companies. Julie admits to having an obsession with stationery and handbags. She is married, has two sons and a Romanian rescue pup, who she named Cooper. A Scottish Highland Surprise is Julie’s sixth novel.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/G13Julie

https://www.facebook.com/julie.shackman

https://www.instagram.com/juliegeorginashackman

A photo of the cover A Scottish Surprise cover on a blanket

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this reveal and making my TBR list a little longer.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: Before We Grow Old by Clare Swatman

I’m excited to share my review for Clare Swatman’s new novel, Before We Grow Old. I adored her previous book Dear Grace so I couldn’t wait to get started with this.

Book Review: Before We Grow Old by Clare Swatman

Book cover: Before We Grow Old by Clare Swatman
Before We Grow Old by Clare Swatman

Title: Before We Are Old

Author: Clare Swatman

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Woman’s fiction

Release Date: 19th Jan 2022

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2Y7Z8l7

Blurb

When seven-year-old Fran first met Will they knew instantly that they were made for each other. For eleven years they were inseparable, but then, at the age of eighteen, Will just upped and disappeared.

Twenty-five years later Will is back.

Is fate trying to give them a second chance?

Still nursing the heart break from all those years ago, Fran is reluctant to give Will the time of day. The price Will must pay is to tell the truth – the truth about why he left, the truth about why he’s back…

And Fran has her own secrets to hide. The time has come to decide what Fran and Will really want from life – before it’s too late.

My Thoughts

This is a love story with believable characters that grabbed me from the start. Fran and her son Kieran have a settled life which changes with the arrival of her childhood sweetheart Will. The themes of first love and second chance love are covered and I enjoyed reading the chemistry between Will and Fran in the past and the present. With the rediscovery of a list they made when younger listing all they wanted to do before they grow old, there are moments of joy, sadness and reflection. Both characters have secrets that could change their path forever.

It is a highly emotional read told with compassion and sensitivity. Fran as a narrator , allowed me to see her growth, her turmoil but also the depth of her love for Will.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it has a different feel to Dear Grace with the focus on a younger generation but is a delightful, and heart-breaking romantic novel to rival the classic  The Love Story. It’s one that requires a box of tissues and a duvet day to indulge in one day.

Author Biography

Clare Swatman
Clare Swatman

Clare Swatman is the author of three women’s fiction novels, published by Macmillan, which have been translated into over 20 languages. She has been a journalist for over twenty years, writing for Bella and Woman & Home amongst many other magazines. She lives in Hertfordshire.

Social Media Links  

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/clareswatmanauthor

Twitter https://www.twitter.com/clareswatman

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/clareswatmanauthor

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Book Review: The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

Welcome to my review for The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy. The tagline intrigued me and I was keen to find out more so jumped at the chance when invited on this blog tour.

Book Review: The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

Book Cover The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy
The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

Title: The Gosling Girl

Author: Jacqueline Roy

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: Crime Fiction

Release Date: 20th Jan 2022

Blurb

Monster. Murderer. Child. Victim.

Michelle Cameron’s name is associated with the most abhorrent of crimes. A child who lured a younger child away from her parents and to her death, she is known as the black girl who murdered a little white girl; evil incarnate according to the media. As the book opens, she has done her time, and has been released as a young woman with a new identity to start her life again. When another shocking death occurs, Michelle is the first in the frame. Brought into the police station to answer questions around a suspicious death, it is only a matter of time until the press find out who she is now and where she lives and set about destroying her all over again. Natalie Tyler is the officer brought in to investigate the murder. A black detective constable, she has been ostracised from her family and often feels she is in the wrong job. But when she meets Michelle, she feels a complicated need to protect her, whatever she might have done. The Gosling Girl is a moving, powerful account of systemic, institutional and internalised racism, and of how the marginalised fight back. It delves into the psychological after-effects of a crime committed in childhood, exploring intersections between race and class as Michelle’s story is coopted and controlled by those around her. Jacqueline writes with a cool restraint and The Gosling Girl is a raw and powerful novel that will stay with the reader long after they have turned the last page.

My Thoughts

The premise of this novel drew me in but the character, Michelle kept me captivated. Naïve, institutionalised, and surprisingly likeable she is understandably conflicted with the knowledge that she’d killed a child, and battles with guilt but as the story progressed it was clear nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

At times, my heart tugged when she is filled with hope of a new start with a new name despite a conviction looming over her while other times, I dreaded turning the page because I wondered where it would lead. Getting to grips with living outside prison and dealing with people with their own agendas is not a smooth path.

Child murder by children is a difficult topic to tackle but it is done sensitively, and is helped by keeping the reader at a distance from the action and having Michelle as an unreliable narrator. There isn’t a graphic description of her crime which allowed for it not to overshadow the emotional aspects of the book. It gives a snapshot into the consequences of actions and highlights the trauma on all sides of the crime including the perpetrator. It investigates the effects of race and in some respects, money and class, on a case and how easy it is for facts to be manipulated to fit different narratives.

Tyler, a police detective has her own battles with prejudices on the force which is topical and relevant in recent events in the Met.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this novel is gripping, thought provoking, and is one that refuses to let you go once you’ve read the last page. It evokes many emotions including initial guilt for connecting and liking a convicted murderer. I’m sure when I watch events unfold on the news the voices of Michelle and Tyler will sneak their way into my thoughts and influence my own judgements; they will remind me no one ever knows the full story and there are many things at play in how events came about and how things are seen. It is ideal for book clubs and initiating discussions.

Author Biography

Author Jacqueline Roy
Jacqueline Roy

Jacqueline was born and raised in London. Her father was Jamaican and her mother was English and she comes from a family of writers. She hated the pressure to conform at school and left early, so she did her degrees as a mature student and moved to Manchester to take up a full-time teaching post at Manchester Metropolitan University. She lectured in English for many years, specialising in postcolonial literatures. She also taught creative writing at MMU’s Writing School. She is particularly interested in exploring racial identities and the ways in which those who are marginalised find strategies for fighting back. She is now a full-time writer and has produced fiction for adults and children.

Twitter: @Jacquel27815478

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Guest Post: Shh… It’s Our Secret, by Lizzie Chantree

I am thrilled to hand over my blog to international best-selling author, Lizzie Chantree, on her publication day of Shh… It’s Our Secret. She is an author I love to read and follow on social media because she is actively supportive of writers and readers which is always good to see and I recommend following her. If you are a writer, you can read my review of her networking book here.

So a huge congratulations on the release of your new book and over to you, Lizzie.

Shh… It’s Our Secret, by Lizzie Chantree

Shh… It’s Our Secret, by Lizzie Chantree Book Cover

Thank you for inviting me onto your blog today and for the amazing support of the launch of my latest book!

It’s possible that we all might have kept a secret or two at one point. It could be yours, your partners or a friends. It may be harmless, or life changing. For Violet, in Shh… It’s our secret, the secret she is keeping could destroy everything about the quiet life she has built up, managing a rundown café bar at the centre of a small town in Kent.

With many job losses and shops shutting down locally, Violet’s secret could bring immense wealth into the community, push her out of the shadows that she has been hiding in since the death of her parents and into the limelight. She has to find the self-confidence to stand up for herself, when all around her people seem to miss how special she really is.

Blurb

Violet has a secret that could change the lives of everyone she knows and loves, especially the regulars at the run-down café bar where she works. After losing her parents at a young age, they are the closest thing she has to a family and she feels responsible for them.

Kai is a jaded music producer who has just moved outside of town. Seeking solitude from the stress of his job, he’s looking for seclusion. The only problem is he can’t seem to escape the band members and songwriters who keep showing up at his house.

When Kai wanders into the bar and Violet’s life, he accidentally discovers her closely guarded secret. Can Kai help her rediscover her self-confidence or should some secrets remain undiscovered?

Universal Purchase link: mybook.to/ItsOurSecret

Author Biography

Lizzie Chantree

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

Social media links:

Website: www.lizziechantree.com

Author page: https://www.viewAuthor.at/LizzieChantree

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizzieChantree/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizzie_chantree/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LizzieChantree/pins/

FB Groups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/647115202160536/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lizzie-chantree

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/lizziechantreeauthor

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnCop-RlAcGqggZG3JfE-Mw

Other books by Lizzie Chantree

Thank you so much for popping by Lizzie Chantree and I can’t wait to read this secretive book. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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Cover Reveal: The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild

I’m so excited to be involved in a cover reveal for The Secret Notebook by Julia Wilde.

So first here is the blurb to tempt you.

Blurb:

When Izzie Dean’s beloved nan, Molly Blackshaw, passes away, Izzie returns to the Blackpool bungalow where she grew up, to say goodbye once and for all. When Izzie’s homecoming reunites her with her first love, Justin Swift, every emotion that Izzie has repressed since the day he broke her heart comes rushing to the surface. But then an unexpected discovery changes everything.

Between the pages of the battered secret diary Molly kept during WWII, Izzie discovers a story of love, heartbreak, and the incomparable hardship of life in a world at war. Reading her grandmother’s words soon puts her own story into perspective, and suddenly Izzie realises that the only thing holding her back from happiness, might be herself. Now she just has to convince Justin that they deserve a second chance at forever…

Pre-Order Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RS6JBRJ/

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RS6JBRJ/

Publisher: One More Chapter

Genre: Romance, woman’s fiction

Publication Date: 8th July

So are you ready? Here is the cover for The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild.

The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild Book Cover

It looks beautiful, intriguing and I’m adding it to my TBR list.

Author Biography

Julia Wild

Lancashire born, I moved to Bedfordshire in the late seventies, married and started a family. I’m a past Hon Sec of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, have been a member since 1993 when I joined their New Writers’ Scheme as a probationer. That came about after winning a week’s historical writing course on the strength of the first chapter of my third Poldark-era romance. The tutor on the last day loved the story and handed me details of the Romantic Novelists’ Association – she said I absolutely must join as they would be able to help me towards publication.

Some four years later my first published book, Dark Canvas, won the RNA’s New Writer’s Award in 1997, the sixth, Illusions, won the RNA’s Romance Prize in 2003.

After working in the local library service for 18 years, during library cut-backs I took the leap to become self-employed as a writer and worked on releasing my backlist as eBooks for Kindle.

Most recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with amazing Charlotte Ledger when she pulled me from the writing wilderness and have now signed a three-book deal with One More Chapter.

Social Media Links –                       www.facebook.com/authorjuliawild

Twitter:                                                @juliawildauthor

Instagram:                                          juliawildauthor

Website:                                             www.juliawildauthor.co.uk

The Secret Notebook will be released on 8th July 2021, why not check out the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources around that date.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book cover of Pter Cratchit's Christmas Carol and a cup of tea

Book Review: Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne

Christmas Eve is nearly here making it an ideal time to share my review for Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne. I adore A Christmas Carol in both literature and film so was excited to discover what this book had to offer and whether it lived up to the original tale. Scroll down to see if it met my expectations.

Book Review: Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne

Book Review: Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne

Title: Cratchit’s Christmas Carol

Author: Drew Marvin Frayne

Publisher: NineStar Press, LLC

Genre: festive romance, LGBTQIA

Release date: 18th November 2019

Blurb

Peter Cratchit, a young lad preparing to make his way in the world, is the eldest son of Scrooge’s lowly clerk Bob Cratchit. Peter flourishes under the tutelage of his “Uncle” Scrooge and seeks to make his mark as a man of business, like his uncle before him.

One Christmas Eve, as Scrooge lays dying, Peter embarks on a risky ocean voyage that he believes will secure the future for his family. Onboard, Peter finds love, happiness, and success, only to lose it all by the voyage’s end.

Returning to London, Peter shuns his family and instead finds himself living on the streets, haunted by his failures and his dead lover, selling his body just to survive while he waits for the winter cold to claim him once and for all. But winter snows also mean Christmas is coming, and for the Cratchit family, Christmas is a time of miracles. Can a visit from three familiar spirits change Peter’s life again? Is there one more miracle in store for the lost son of one of Dickens’ most enduring families?

A Note From the Publisher

WARNING: Death of a prominent character, suicidal ideation, suicide

My Thoughts

Peter Cratchit has a lot to live up to; he admires his Uncle Scrooge and what he stood for after the ghosts’ visitation and appreciates the protection and happiness the old man gave. When Scrooge dies, Peter vows to take over the role as protector and make sure the Cratchits are well provided for but nothing is easy. The novel begins with him living on the streets and selling himself in exchange for food in Victorian England. As Christmas approaches, he is ready to give up and die but the ghosts return. Peter’s story of love, lost chances, and determination are revealed in unexpected ways.

Like the original, this book is dark, gritty and highlights poverty and the values of the era when life is cheap but the spirit of Christmas shines through when Peter faces the ghosts Scrooge told him about as a child for himself. Peter and the relationships he has with his family and his partner have depth and the love between them leap from the page. It is an emotional journey but the conclusion left me feeling uplifted, and warm. It will stay with me for a long time.

Elements of this novel are darker and more graphic than the original and it does not hold back in the sex scenes so this is not suitable for children.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if are a lover of A Christmas Carol. Beautifully written, it captures the Dickensian atmosphere and it complements the other Christmas Carol books on my forever shelf well. These include Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye, and an illustrated version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Like them, I will revisit this novel again for its warmth, festive message and characters.

Thank you Ninestar Press via NetGalley for a copy to read so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

What are you reading this Christmas? Do you love A Christmas Carol too? Let me know in the comments below or on social media.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins

I am pleased to share a book I am currently reading, An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins.

An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins

An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins

Title: An Unusual Boy

Author: Fiona Higgins

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Boldwood books

Release Date: 20th October 2020

Blurb

Meet Jackson – a very unusual boy in a world that prefers ‘normal’…

Julia Curtis is a busy mother of three, with a husband often away for work, an ever-present mother-in-law, a career, and a house that needs doing up. Her fourteen-year-old daughter, Milla, has fallen in love for the first time, and her youngest, Ruby, is a nine-year-old fashionista who can out-negotiate anyone.

But Julia’s eleven-year-old son, Jackson, is different. Different to his sisters. Different to his classmates. In fact, Jackson is different from everyone. And bringing up a child who is different isn’t always easy.

Then, one Monday morning, Jackson follows his new friend Digby into the school toilets. What happens inside changes everything; not only for Jackson, but for every member of his family. Julia faces the fight of her life to save her unusual boy from a world set up for ‘normal’.

An extraordinary boy. The mother who loves him. The fight of their lives.

Bestselling novelist Fiona Higgins returns with a heart-stopping, devastating, but ultimately uplifting story about loyalty, love and forgiveness.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2Xu0bsa

Author Biography

Fiona Higgins is the Australian writer of several bestselling contemporary novels including The Mothers’ Group and Wife on the Run. Her work has been widely reviewed, translated internationally, and described as ‘page-turning domestic melodrama for the social media age’. She lives with her family in Sydney and her first book for Boldwood will be published in October 2020.

Social Media Links

Twitter @https://twitter.com/fionahiggins101

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/fionahigginsauthor/

Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/fionahigginsauthor/?hl=en

Website https://www.fionahiggins.com.au/

For more information and reviews for this book, why not pop along to the others on this tour. My review will be with you shortly.

Happy reading, stay safe!

Love

Little Eden Book One by KT King

Yesterday, KT King popped over to discuss ME/CSF awareness week. I am pleased to share information and an extract from her first book in the Little Eden series.

Little Eden by KT King

Little Eden Book 1 cover image

Little Eden Book One by KT King

Title: Little Eden

Author: KT King

Publisher: Independent

Release date: 2018

Available here: https://linktr.ee/ktkingbooks

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-9164296-2-8

Kindle ISBN: 978-1-9164296-3-5

Blurb:

2012. Little Eden, London, England.

The beautiful sanctuary town of Little Eden is under threat.

Human greed, selfishness and disregard are about to turn the last 1,000 years to dust.

Robert Bartlett-Hart must make a choice.

With the help his friends (plus plenty of tea and cake), Robert learns that there is more at stake than just Little Eden.

Something lies at the heart of Abbey; something that stands between mankind and Armageddon.

The friends must navigate past lives, other dimensions, and even Heaven itself, to find a way to save Little Eden and themselves.

Will Little Eden survive to usher in a new age, or will humanity perish with it?

Both novels have recipes at the back based on the delectable delicacies served in the No.1 Daisy Place Café-Bookshop such as Strawberry and Cream Shortbreads, Late Night Cheesecake and Over the Rainbow Cake. The E-books have wiki-links and links to YouTube for the soundtrack. You can find everything Little Eden on KT’s Blog www.ktkingbooks.wordpress.co.uk

Look out for…Little Eden, Book Three, Haunted or Not…Available (hopefully) 2021

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

Chapter 1

~ * ~

It was a sad beginning to 2012 for the residents of Little Eden, and as it would turn out, it would not be a good year for the rest of mankind either – but more about that later!

First things first…

New Year’s Day was almost over as Robert Bartlett-Hart sat alone in his library sifting carefully through the mounds of newspapers which were strewn all over a capacious mahogany table. The sombre shadow of dusk began to seep into the clear blue January sky, and all at once multifarious reading lamps, scattered randomly amongst the furniture and piles of books, turned themselves on, in perfect unison. Robert poured another cup of tea from his Kyushu and sighed. He fought, ineffectually, with the oversized, dry, rustling broadsheets, trying to tame them by folding and flattening them the best he could. For posterity, Robert attempted to glue the numerous obituaries into the Little Eden archive (a huge, slightly musty, leather-bound book), but the scissors kept losing themselves amongst the unruly sheets and little scraps of paper kept sticking to his hands; no matter how much he tried to shake them off, they just re-stuck somewhere else!

Robert’s silent contemplation was suddenly shattered by the brusque opening of the library door and his mother’s voice slicing through the peaceful air.

“Did you find the obituary I asked Lancelot to put in the Kolkata Times?” Jennifer Bartlett-Hart asked him. She went straight to the large mirror which hung majestically over the sideboard and began adjusting her black, feather-laden hat. She caught sight of a picture of Lilly on the front page of Tatler magazine which lay amongst many others on the table. The magazine was running an old photograph of the glamorous stage star, Lilly Rose, from 1964. Lilly was posing in a ‘Vivienne Westwood’, wearing white go-go boots, long curling fake eyelashes, and her blond hair was peeking out from beneath a jaunty velvet cap.

The headline read:

“A celebration of the life of a Parisian Diva who became a very English Rose. Lilly Rose D’Or. Her life in pictures: pages 10 – 14.”

Jennifer turned away to look in the mirror again. “Lilly hasn’t been Lilly Rose, star of stage and screen, for decades!” she huffed.  “I doubt she even has any fans left who remember her! All this fuss and for what? She owned a Café for most of her life for goodness sakes and put on far too much weight eating all those afternoon teas. I don’t think that is much of anything to shout about.”

Robert sighed and ran his fingers through his brown tousled hair. “Thousands of people come every year to her charity concerts, Mother, you know that,” he replied. “And she has been a Trustee with us for over twenty-five years, and a friend to us – all my life at least. I don’t know what we would have done without her all these years.”

“I was the most beautiful woman in London once upon a time,” Jennifer replied, tilting the brim of her hat this way and that to make the most of her features. “I don’t suppose I will be on the cover of a magazine when I die. I had to give up any chance of fame to marry your father and have you boys.” Absently, Jennifer picked up a couple of newspaper clippings and added, “I hope you are nearly ready to go? Collins will be here any minute. Did you hear me Robert?” Jennifer looked admiringly at her long, manicured nails. “It’s just one funeral after another these days. It could just have easily have been me.”

“They say only the good die young,” Robert said under his breath, trying, in vain, to get the glue off his hands.

Jennifer took off her hat and rearranged her hair again, scowling into the glass. “I don’t see why your father insisted Lilly be buried with our family. Lillianna Rose D’Or or whatever she wants to be called this season is not family and never will be, and it is embarrassing for me! Your cousin Lancelot insisted on it. He can find a legal loophole when it suits him – but not when it suits me it seems.”

Robert sighed again. “It was in father’s will, Mother; you know there was nothing anyone could do. We have been over and over it.”

Jennifer grimaced, and wiggled her hips to prevent her black skirt from riding up her long, slender legs. “Your father went on about Lilly endlessly whilst he was alive; I never understood it. We always had to do whatever he wanted! What did he ever care about Little Eden? Off he goes to America with that floosy, Christabelle, without as much as a by your leave! Well! I am not going to go to this sham of a ceremony. The whole thing is just to embarrass me!” With that, she launched herself out of the room and slammed the door behind her.

Robert shrugged, and raised a resigned eyebrow as he dolefully drank the rest of his, now cold, cup of tea, and continued to cut and paste. 

After the stomping and the banging of doors had finished, he could hear the sound of his brother, Collins, calling jovially from the hall, “Are you ready?” he called, “Varsity says we’ll be late if you don’t hurry.”

“Varsity can wait!” Jennifer shouted down from the landing. She came tottering back down the stairs wearing a different hat and stiffly kissed her son on both cheeks. “Whoever thought of a memorial service in the evening? I ask you!” she complained.

Jennifer stood on the bottom step of the stairs and started to rearrange her son’s clothing, brushing fluff off his black suit. “This is off the peg!” she said, in disgust. “Where did you get it? The fit is terrible!”

“It’s ‘Lanvin’, Mother,” Collins replied. “Varsity picked it out.”

“I don’t care!” Jennifer replied, straightening his tie. “You have perfectly good bespoke suits. Go upstairs and change. You left an Anderson-Sheppard here last week. Go and put that on. If only Robert had your looks and you had his sense of style – I would be less embarrassed to be seen with you both!”

Collins smiled, and kissed his mother. “The fit is perfect, Mother. Only you would ever notice, no one else will.”

Jennifer snorted. “Well those Lawrence girls certainly won’t notice such details. Lucy dresses dreadfully! They were far too self-confident when they were little girls and I don’t see much improvement over the years.” Jennifer fussed with Collins’ mop of blond hair and he tried to get away from her, afraid she might pull out a hanky and start dabbing his face at any moment! “Robert tells me Sophie isn’t feeling well and is staying at the Café indefinitely. She has some sort of fatigue. I ask you! Tiredness is an illness now, apparently! As if we are not all tired all the time! They are as bad as Lilly and your father with their freedom of speech and their women’s liberation and all that environmental nonsense.  Robert’s in the library. There’s caviar on the sideboard – your favourite.”

Collins nonchalantly kissed his mother again, flung open the large panelled door into the library and headed straight for the champagne and canapés. Collins admired his appearance in the mirror and then, turning to the table, he poked at the papers whilst he munched his aperitifs.

“What’s all this?” he asked, in his usual casual manner.

“The obituaries,” Robert responded, without looking up.

“What all of these? Good god! You would think the woman was a saint.” Collins laughed, nearly choking on a piece of crostini.

“I think she was,” Robert mused. “Or she should be!”

Collins smirked, and looked at Robert in the mirror’s reflection. “I suppose I quite liked the old girl myself,” Collins admitted. “Baked a damn good cake! Shame she’s dead.”

“Shame?” Jennifer retorted, marching through the doorway whilst pinning her third choice of hat on her head. “It’s no shame!” she said, pushing her son aside with her hip. “Move, Collins, I need to look in the mirror! Now, perhaps we can have some of the family money to spend for a change?”

Collins downed another quick glass of champers and said, “Talking of money, Mother, I’m a bit short this month.”

“So am I, my dear. Ask your brother! He holds the purse strings around here. He is the one who won’t let us have our own money! Always spending it on the poor or giving it to a charity. Well! Charity begins at home!”

Wearily, Robert pulled on his long cashmere overcoat and replied soberly, “This is not the time to talk about money.”

“Oh come on Bobby, old boy!” Collins said. “With Lilly out of the picture you can hand out the family fortune a bit more. I promised Varsity she could…” Collins paused and grinned, “F**k! Varsity! I left her in the car. She is probably steaming by now!”

Jennifer surveyed herself in the full-length hall mirror. She smiled at herself again in the looking glass but only until she caught sight of Varsity, who was walking up the front steps wearing a magnificent silver fur coat and looking as if she had just finished a photo shoot for Vogue. Collins rushed out onto the porch, put his arm around his wife’s tiny waist and hastily ushered her back into the car.

Robert escorted his mother to the Bentley. Jennifer slid onto the leather seat and into her best finishing school position. She greeted Varsity with a ‘good evening’ and a ‘you look awfully nice.’ She couldn’t help pouting at Varsity’s youthful beauty. To comfort herself, she checked that her finger nails were still in perfect condition.

As the car passed by the end of Adam Street, the ice on the road was treacherous and Dyson, the chauffeur, was taking it slow. By the time they had reached the old Assembly Rooms, on the corner of Knight’s Walk, Jennifer had run out of things to say, so she began rooting about in her handbag for her hanky, pretending she was unable to find it, whilst Varsity occupied herself by refreshing her lipstick.

Eventually, the car pulled up outside the gates of the graceful gothic Sainte Chappelle. It was a dark winter’s eve, but the street lamps gave a cosy glow to Dovecote Street and softened the harshness of the icy chill in the air. As Jennifer stepped out of the car she cockled over on the curb. Robert caught her just in time before she landed face down on the cobbles! She had expected to see some famous guests outside the Chappelle, but looking anxiously around she was relieved that no one was there. She took Robert’s arm and paraded up the lantern-lined path, to be greeted by the singular Reverend Sprott, who was looking rather chilly, but who had been determined to wait outside, in the high and very ornate porch, to meet and greet the Bartlett-Harts. Robert gladly gave his mother over to the Reverend Sprott’s care.

The Chappelle was full of shadows – peppered with sudden bursts of flickering candle light. The glorious gold leaf of the majestic pillars seemed to be on fire, and the towering cobalt blue windows shimmered in a heavenly dance. The delicate, sweet scent of pale pink roses played amongst the deeper, muskier odour of beautiful bright white lilies. The melange of ancient church odours – a faint dampness of stone, wood polish, and carnal fresh flowers – invoked a shiver of ancient memories in the mourners.

Tonight, this holy and most sacred palace of light played host to the friends and family of Lilly D’Or. Not least, to her two beloved nieces, Lucy and Sophie Lawrence, who were standing by a small table which was covered in flowers, bottles of water and a mound of pink crystals. The sisters had been greeting the many mourners for at least half an hour already.

Author Biography

KT Image

KT King

Many may wonder how I can write novels if I have ME/CFS. I am able to write when I don’t need to do  anything else. The fluctuation of the illness baffles everyone as does the resolve of those with it to battle on trying to make a living. I lost my home, my income and my independence in 2012 coming back to live with my elderly parents on whom I now rely for physical daily help and financial support. By age 40 I had lost the battle with ME.

Writing too much gives me migraines so I can only write a few days a week for about an hour at a time on what is called ‘a good day’. I write through chronic pain and fatigue but it keeps me alive and it keeps me sane.

Mental and emotional health deteriorate for all of us because we can rarely socialise or see friends. We feel we have no purpose or usefulness and many of us are in terrible pain 24/7 with Fibromyalgia which often accompanies ME.

We can either give up or we can try to do something even if it’s just a little thing on ‘a good day’.

Becoming a published writer is a lifelong dream come true and escaping into Little Eden helps keep the suicidal thoughts at bay. I hope it’ll be a beautiful escape place for you too. One of the main things readers say is that they would love to live in Little Eden which makes it all seem worthwhile!

I’m an indie author, using my savings from before 2012 to publish. I can’t meet deadlines of publishers or do the usual sales promotions.

I can spend months, even years unable to get out of bed so I need all the help I can get spreading the word about my books, especially from kind book bloggers like Katie.

I find crafting is good for mental and emotional health so when I can I make handmade jewellery to give to friends and to sell in my Etsy shop where all the gifts inspired by Little Eden. I rarely have the energy to bake but now and again I manage to make a cake or some cookies! Some of my recipes have made their way into the novels.

Come and browse in my little Etsy shop http://bit.ly/KTKingShop

You can follow the global campaign called MillionsMissing and/or KTKing on Twitter.

http://bit.ly/KTKingTwitter

For more information please visit the ME Association website https://www.meassociation.org.uk/about-what-is-mecfs/

For more information on KT and ME why not visit Meet the Author post or yesterday’s raising awareness.

Happy reading!

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Both novels have recipes at the back based on the delectable delicacies served in the No.1 Daisy Place Café-Bookshop such as Strawberry and Cream Shortbreads, Late Night Cheesecake and Over the Rainbow Cake. The Ebooks have wiki-links and links to Utube for the soundtrack. You can find everything Little Eden on KT’s Blog www.ktkingbooks.wordpress.co.uk

 

Look out for…Little Eden, Book Three, Haunted or Not…Available (hopefully) 2021