Blog Tours Book Features Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Book Feature: Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

Published: March 4th, 2021
Publisher: Atlantic
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Crime Series

Today I’m featuring a book that was on my list of anticipated treasures back in May last year. It is now being released in the UK and I’m thrilled to be sharing it with you all today. Thank you TLC tours for the invitation to take part in this tour and the gifted copy of the book.


All it takes to unravel a life… is one home truth.

Marin used to have it all. She’s married to the love of her life, Derek, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and is admired in her community as head of a loving family. Until the world falls apart the day her son Sebastian is taken…

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The police search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. With her sanity ebbing, Marin hires a private investigator to pick up where the police left off.

But instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a much younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband. Derek’s mistress is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. Permanently.


Jennifer Hillier writes about dark, twisted people who do dark, twisted things. Born and raised in Toronto and a proud Canadian, she spent eight years in the Seattle area, which is where all her books are set. She loves her son, her husband, the Seahawks, and Stephen King

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Thank you for reading. Until next time Bibliophiles, Emma xxx

Emma's Anticipated Treasures First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday – The Split by Sharon Bolton

Welcome to First Lines Friday. This is a tag that was started by mrscookesbooks on Instagram and I’ve been doing on there for a while. I decided to start posting here too, offering more than just one line and hoping to entice you into reading the books I share.

This week, I’m sharing the first line from a book I reviewed earlier this year that came out in paperback yesterday:

“It’s not a ship. It’s an iceberg. Oh, thank Christ. She drops her binoculars and feels a thudding in her chest that might be her heart starting to beat again. There’s no smoking allowed in the island, but she pulls out her cigarettes all the same, because if she can subdue the shaking hands for long enough to light one then she might feel like she’s in control again. The wind, though. Won’t let the flame catch.”

This first line is from The Split by Sharon Bolton, which I read and reviewed for the blog tour back in June.



A year ago Felicity Lloyd fled England to South Georgia, one of the most remote islands in the world, escaping her past and the man she once loved. Can she keep running her whole life?

Freddie Lloyd has served time for murder – and now he wants her back. Wherever she is, he won’t stop until he finds her. Will he be able to track her to the ends of the earth?


You can read my full review here.

Buy the book here

*Thank you to Orion for my gifted copy of the book.

book reviews

The Bad Mother’s Virus by Suzy K. Quinn


Published: May 30th, 2020
Publisher: Amazon Media
Format: Kindle
Genre: Humourous Fiction

Thank you to Megan at Ed Public Relations for the invitation to read this book and the gifted eARC.


100% of net profits donated to coronavirus healthcare initiatives (details below)

Laugh out loud for your immune system with this parenting comedy
Single mother, Juliette Duffy, is getting married. Again. And this time, she is determined to make it all the way down the aisle. But you never know what’s around the corner, do you?

Follow Juliette as she tries to plan a wedding that may never happen, cheers up a grandmother quarantined on a cruise ship and experiences self isolation hell with her dramatic ex-partner and his mother.

If you’re feeling gloomy and fed up, and looking for a REALLY good laugh and the ultimate feel-good book, download on Kindle Unlimited and laugh your way to better immunity.

A note from your author
I think we all need a bit of cheering up. There are so many real, human funny and heart-warming stories in the midst of this pandemic, and that’s what this book is about. But there’s a serious side to all this too, that hasn’t been forgotten.
THANK YOU EVERYONE who donates to healthcare heroes by reading this book. You are contributing to many good causes AND hopefully laughing and feeling good, even if things feel scary or uncertain.
We’ll get through this everyone!
Huge love,
Suzy xxx


“But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it’s to expect surprises.”

The Bad Mother’s Virus is the fifth installment in the popular Bad Mother’s series. In this book Juliette Duffy is starting 2020 in a positive mood. She is planning her wedding to Alex and declares that 2020 will be the year of health and wellness, not banking on the coronavirus derailing not only her plans but the lives of the world. The story follows the early days of the virus, its spread to a global pandemic that sees Juliette attempt to navigate panic buying, homeschooling and life in quarantine while fighting a custody battle with her ex.

Though I have two of the other books in this series, this was the first time I’ve read any of the Bad Mother’s books. When I was contacted asking if I wanted to read and review a copy and learned that Suzy was donating all profits from the book to finding a coronavirus vaccine and healthcare heroes, I jumped at the chance. Despite taking my first foray into the lives of the characters five books deep, I never felt confused about their backstories as the author succinctly catches the reader up with past events in the early pages of the book.

Though it is full of humour, there are some emotional and more serious topics covered in the book too. As someone who’s fought custody battles that element of the story is very real and brought back some unwelcome memories for me. I felt a camaraderie with Juliette and was rooting for her every step of the way. In fact overall I found the characters to be compelling, real and relatable and laughed most at Nana Joan’s antics. 

An entertaining, quick and easy read that offers a relatable look at our current crazy times. 

Rating: ✮✮✮.5



Suzy K. Quinn is the author of feel-good romance and page-turning thrillers and published her hilarious parenting memoir Lies We Tell Mothers last year. She wrote The Bad Mother’s Virus exclusively during the lockdown, while juggling homeschooling, the inevitable extra cleaning and cooking, and generally not having a moment’s peace! Suzy’s books have sold over three quarters of a million copies worldwide and have been translated into 7 languages. Suzy is also a journalist and has previously written for The Guardian, Perfect Wedding Magazine, Sunday Times Magazine and The Sun. Suzy currently lives in Essex with her husband Demi and two daughters, Lexi and Laya and is available for interview and to write features.

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Blog Tours book reviews

The Split by Sharon Bolton


Published: May 28th, 2020
Publisher: Orion
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this riveting thriller. Thank you to Alex at Orion for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBooks ARC.



A year ago, in desperation, Felicity Lloyd signed up for a lengthy research trip to the remote island of South Georgia.

It was her only way to escape.


Freddie Lloyd has served time for murder. Out at last, he’s on her trail.

And this time, he won’t stop until he finds her.


Tense, gripping and with a twist you won’t see coming, Sharon Bolton is back in an explosive new thriller about a woman on the run…


“The ends of the Earth. That’s how far she ran this time.

Not far enough.”

Felicity Lloyd is a Glaciologist taking part in the research trip of a lifetime in South Georgia. But her career isn’t the only reason she signed up for the two-year expedition. She is also a woman on the run. But even running to the ends of the Earth wasn’t enough to stop the man she lives in fear of from finding her. He is on the island and won’t stop until he finds her.

Wow! I am still trying to catch my breath after reading this exciting and twisty thriller. A rip-roaring and wild ride that had me holding on for dear life, this was as impossible to predict as it was to put down. Packed with heart-stopping tension and gripping cliffhangers, there is much more to this layered thriller, and its characters, than first meets the eye.

“The last ship of the season. One more and she’s safe. She thinks of the fear inside her like cancer, eating away at muscles, organs, bone, growing all the time, until there is nothing left of her but a rotten, stinking mass in skin stretched like an overfilled balloon. How will the terror burst out, she wonders, when it inevitably does. A scream? A petrified wimper?“

Sharon Bolton is the Queen of the complex and chilling thriller. I’ve been a fan ever since reading Blood Harvest two years ago but was unprepared for the twisted web she would weave on these pages. The story is cleverly written and plotted, taking me in unexpected directions every time I thought I had it figured out. And even though one wild theory of mine was ultimately proven true, her clever red herrings had me convinced I was wrong right until the reveal.

One of the things I loved most about this book is its setting in the beautiful, bleak and icy Antarctic. The author breathes life into the surroundings with evocative imagery that is so transportive that I almost forgot I was sitting in the summer sun whilst reading. The author had clearly done her research and I found myself getting an education about glaciers and the Antarctic whilst reading.

Atmospheric, unexpected and riveting, The Split has ticks every box needed for a sensational thriller. Sharon Bolton is definitely on my list of auto-buy authors after this novel and I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone who enjoys a well-written thriller that keeps you on your toes.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮



Sharon J Bolton was born and brought up in Lancashire, the eldest of three daughters. As a child, she dreamed of becoming an actress and a dancer, studying ballet, tap and jazz from a young age and reading drama at Loughborough University.

She spent her early career in marketing and PR before returning to full-time education to study for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Warwick University, where she met her husband, Andrew. They moved to London and Sharon held a number of PR posts in the City. She left the City to work freelance, to start a family and to write.

She and Andrew now live in a village in the Chiltern Hills, not far from Oxford, with their son and the latest addition to the family: Lupe, the lop-eared lurcher. Her daily life revolves around the school run, walking the dog and those ever-looming publishing deadlines.

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Blog Tours Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up – May 2020

Collage 2020-05-30 17_33_28

Another month is done and I’m writing another wrap up. These seem to come around quicker each month. Does anyone else think the same?

May has been my best reading month in quite some time. I finished sixteen books and took part in fourteen blog tours. The quality of books has again been high with all books being four stars or above.

Here’s what I read in May:

  1. He Started It by Samantha Downing ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  2. Who We Were by B. M. Carroll ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  3. The Happy Couple by Samantha Hayes ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  4. The Secrets of Sunshine by Phaedra Patrick ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  5. One Mistake by Rona Halsall ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  6. Dear Child by Romy Hausmann ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  7. What Lies Between Us by John Marrs ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  8. Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  9. Her Last Mistake (Detective Gina Harte Book 6) by Carla Kovach ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  10. Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  11. The Bride by Wendy Clarke ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  12. The Glass House by Eve Chase ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  13. His & Hers by Alice Feeney ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
  14. The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson⭐⭐⭐⭐
  15. Water’s Edge (Detective Megan Carpenter Book 2) by Gregg Olsen ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  16. The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 You can read the reviews for all the books by clicking on the title except for The Ice Cream Girls and The Majesties. My reviews for those books will be posted in the coming week.

This month there were two books that stood out as favourites for me. They are very different books and I found it impossible to choose one over the over. Therefore, I have two books of the month: What Lies Between Us and Tsarina. What Lies Between Us is an outstanding thriller that was so twisted I can’t stop thinking about it. John Marrs really outdid himself with this book and I’m hoping it is turned into a series or film soon. Tsarina is the epic story of Catherine, Tsarina of All the Russias. Catherine’s story is one so crazy that you couldn’t make it up. The novel is beautifully written and I was utterly immersed in Catherine’s world while reading. I already had a fascination with the fall of the Tsars but this novel brought about a greater interest in the Tsars reign and Catherine and Peter’s stories in particular. I highly recommend both books.

Are any of these in your tbr? What is your favourite book you’ve read this month?

Next month I have a slightly more relaxed schedule of blog tours which I’m looking forward to as maybe I’ll get to do more free reading soon. I’m very excited about my buddy read of The Phone Box at the Edge of the World with Beth as it’s our first buddy read and the book is one of my most anticipated books of the year.

Thank you to all the tagged publishers for my gifted copies of these books.

Hope you are all staying safe and well,
Emma x

Blog Tours book reviews

The Glass House by Eve Chase


Published: May 14th, 2020
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Suspense, Domestic Fiction

Today is my stop on the blog tour for this captivating mystery. Thank you to Gaby at Michael Joseph for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.


Outside a remote manor house in an idyllic wood, a baby girl is found.

The Harrington family takes her in and disbelief quickly turns to joy. They’re grieving a terrible tragedy of their own and the beautiful baby fills them with hope, lighting up the house’s dark, dusty corners.

Desperate not to lose her to the authorities, they keep her secret, suspended in a blissful summer world where normal rules of behaviour – and the law – don’t seem to apply.

But within days a body will lie dead in the grounds.

And their dreams of a perfect family will shatter like glass.

Years later, the truth will need to be put back together again, piece by piece . . .

From the author of Black Rabbit Hall, The Glass House is an emotional, thrilling book about family secrets and belonging – and how we find ourselves when we are most lost.


“Only the trees know what happened in the woods that night.” 

August 1971. The Harrington family are spending their summer at Foxcote Manor in the Forest of Dean in the hope that the idyllic setting will help them recover after a family tragedy. But it doesn’t seem to be working and they feel more fractured than ever. 

But then a baby girl is found on a tree stump in the woods by their house. The family decide to keep her secret and take her in rather than alerting the authorities and it seems like their answer to their healing has arrived.

But then a few days later a body is found in the woods and their idyll is shattered. None of their lives will be the same again. 

The Glass House is an atmospheric, mysterious, compelling and riveting story about deep, dark family secrets that hold the key to the truth of a mystery that has lingered for almost fifty years. It is one of the most beautifully written mysteries that I’ve read and each word has been perfectly polished so that not one is wasted. The author has created a memorable cast of characters and a richly drawn sense of place that gave the novel a mysterious, eerie and haunting ambience. 

Told in dual timelines by multiple narrators, the complex and layered story is tightly plotted and I loved how the author slowly wove together the mysterious and tragic events of 1971 with those in the present day. I was utterly immersed in its pages and inhabited the world inside this book along with the characters. 

The Glass House is an enthralling, dark, and twisting mystery. It was one of my most anticipated books this year and did not disappoint. I highly recommend this exquisitely written book. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮



From Amazon:

I’m an author who writes rich and suspenseful novels about families – dysfunctional, passionate – and the sort of explosive secrets that can rip them apart. I write stories I’d love to read. Mysteries. Page-turners. Worlds you can lose yourself in. Reading time is so precious: I try to make my books worth of that sweet spot.

My office is a garden studio/shed. There are roses outside. I live in Oxford with my three children, husband, and a ridiculously hairy golden retriever, Harry.

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Blog Tours book reviews

His & Hers by Alice Feeney


Published: May 28th, 2020
Publisher: HQ
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Police Procedural

Happy Publication Day to this spectacular thriller! Thank you to HQ for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.


If there are two sides to every story, someone is always lying…

Jack: Three words to describe my wife: Beautiful. Ambitious. Unforgiving.
Anna: I only need one word to describe my husband: Liar.

When a woman is murdered in Blackdown village, newsreader Anna Andrews is reluctant to cover the case. Anna’s ex-husband, DCI Jack Harper, is suspicious of her involvement, until he becomes a suspect in his own murder investigation.

Someone is lying, and some secrets are worth killing to keep


“People might recognise my face, they may even know my name, but they’ll never know the real me.”

It is impossible to know who to trust in this compelling thriller where long-held secrets lead to revenge and murder. 

When a woman is found murdered in Blackdown, newsreader Anna Andrews reluctantly heads back to the village she grew up in to cover the story. Her ex-husband, DCI Jack Harper, is eager to solve the murder quickly. They are both hiding secrets they would like to keep hidden. Secrets that might even be worth killing to keep… 

Wow! This is exactly the kind of dark, twisted thriller I love. Fast-paced and deftly plotted, the short, quick-fire chapters kept me on the edge of my seat and the author had me in the palm of her hand from the start. I didn’t foresee the jaw-dropping twists she had in store and was left reeling after turning the final page. 

“Sometimes I think I am the unreliable narrator of my own life.
Sometimes I think we all are.”

The characters are flawed, complex, nuanced and richly drawn. Jack and Anna are both struggling to recover and move on after the tragedy that ended their marriage. They are both keeping secrets and are clear suspects from the start. I really enjoy a book that is told by unreliable narrators as I love having to decipher all the small clues in what they say and do and how it increases the tension as you try to figure them out. Anna and Jack are both unreliable narrators, with Anna also being a character that is far from warm or likeable.  

As the death toll rises it is clear from the brutal murders that this is personal to the killer. Someone wanted the victims to suffer and is out for revenge. The chapters from the killers point of view offered a chilling insight into their twisted mind, motives and the sadistic pleasure they took in the murders. Could Anna or Jack really be hiding such darkness? Though I had my suspicions about the killer’s identity from early on they would vacillate many times over the course of the book and I could never settle on a clear suspect. For me, that is the sign of great writing and a fantastic novel and I loved the breathless anticipation of waiting for the final reveal. 

His & Hers is the second time I’ve read and loved a book by this author and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. She is definitely now one of my auto-buy authors. Taut, twisty, breathtaking and full of suspicion, the twists and turns kept coming, taking you on a rollercoaster ride right up until the shocking climax. This is an electrifying thriller you don’t want to miss.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5 



Alice Feeney is a New York Times and international bestselling author.

Her debut thriller Sometimes I Lie is being made into a TV series by Ellen DeGeneres and Warner Bros. starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.

His & Hers is her third novel and will be published around the world in 2020.

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Blog Tours book reviews

Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Published: May 14th, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this magnificent  debut. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Bloomsbury for the gifted copy.


Lover. Murderer. Mother. Meet TSARINA, the most powerful woman history ever forgot.

Spring 1699: Illegitimate, destitute and strikingly beautiful, Marta has survived the brutal Russian winter in her remote Baltic village. Sold by her family into household labour at the age of fifteen, Marta survives by committing a crime that will force her to go on the run.

A world away, Russia’s young ruler, Tsar Peter I, passionate and iron-willed, has a vision for transforming the traditionalist Tsardom of Russia into a modern, Western empire. Countless lives will be lost in the process.

Falling prey to the Great Northern War, Marta cheats death at every turn, finding work as a washerwoman at a battle camp. One night at a celebration, she encounters Peter the Great. Relying on her wits and her formidable courage, and fuelled by ambition, desire and the sheer will to live, Marta will become Catherine I of Russia. But her rise to the top is ridden with peril; how long will she survive the machinations of Peter’s court, and more importantly, Peter himself?


“He is dead. My beloved husband, the mighty Tsar of all the Russias, has died – and just in time.”

Tsarina is a story of power, lust, sex, murder and betrayal. Of rags-to-riches. Of Catherine, the first Tsarina of all the Russias. 

It begins in February 1725, on the night that Peter the Great, Tsar of All the Russias, dies. Catherine, her children and his advisors try to conceal his death for as long as possible to delay their fate. It is a matter of life and death. The story then moves between that night and flashbacks to Catherine’s life, beginning when she was just thirteen-years-old, still known as Marta and living with her serf family. We then follow her journey from poor peasant girl to Tsarina; a story that would be deemed too far fetched if you tried to sell it to a publisher. But every word of this novel is based in fact, with just a few liberties taken as the details of Catherine’s early life is shrouded in mystery.

I have always had a love for history and ever since studying the fall of the Tsars for my History A Level I have been fascinated with their story. So when I saw this book advertised I knew from just the title that I HAD to read it and after reading the synopsis it became one of my most anticipated books of the year. Thankfully, this magnificent debut surpassed every one of my high expectations. It was an all-encompassing read. A book that I took my time with, taking time to soak in every word, but also one that I couldn’t put down or stop thinking about when I had to do so. 

Ellen Alpsten is a new talent to watch. Exquisitely written and wonderfully crafted, her meticulous research shines through on every page, bringing back to life those who lived and died three hundred years ago and making you feel like they are right there beside you with her powerful storytelling. I was hooked from the start and became totally lost in Catherine’s story, living every word of this book while reading it. Every moment of love and joy, every piercing pain of heartbreak and every gut-wrenching horror she witnessed and experienced, I felt along with her. 

“Together, we have lived and loved, and together, we ruled.”

After reading this novel it seems unimaginable that Catherine’s story has been forgotten. That such a strong, brave and remarkable woman had been consigned to a footnote in history. At that time life for most of Russia’s people was hard, harsh and bleak. Even those in the upper classes lived in fear of falling out the Tsar’s favour and losing not only their wealth but their lives. Peter had a new vision for Russia and was a ruthless leader who was willing to sacrifice anyone and everything to achieve it. Even as his wife Catherine walked a tightrope knowing she could be stripped of everything and either sent to a convent or killed should the fancy take him. The brutality of life at that time and the lack of rights that were held by even the highest-ranking women is starkly illuminated in Catherine’s story in sobering detail. 

Tsarina is a masterpiece of historical fiction. Atmospheric, intoxicating, unsettling, and compelling, this outstanding novel is one that will linger long after you close it’s pages. This gloriously decadent debut is one you don’t want to miss. 

Ellen Alpsten Author Pic


Ellen Alpsten was born and raised in the Kenyan highlands. Today, Ellen works as an author and as a journalist for international publications such as Vogue, Standpoint, and CN Traveller. She lives in London with her husband, three sons, and a moody fox red Labrador. Tsarina is her debut novel.




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The Bride by Wendy Clarke ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Published: May 20th, 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: Kindle
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Happy Publication Day! I’m thrilled to be sharing my post on the day of release. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.


The moment Joanna told me she was engaged, I had this awful feeling that something was wrong.

We used to speak on the phone every day. Growing up I spent more time at her house than I did at my own. I’d always imagined what it would be like to see her get married, and now I didn’t even know her fiancé’s name.

She asked me to come and meet Mark and I intended to tell her to slow down. You can’t know someone for a month and be sure that you want to spend the rest of your lives together.

When I got to Joanna’s front door, only Mark was there. He was charming and gorgeous and nothing but nice to me, and I started to understand.

And then he told me that Joanna was missing.

The Bride is a twisty, unputdownable psychological thriller that will have you reading until late at night. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl and anything by Lisa Jewell.


Alice and Joanna were best friends for years. They were inseparable: doing everything together and even dressing alike, until one day something happened that changed everything. They haven’t spoken for 10 years until Alice gets a message out of the blue from Joanna saying she’s getting married and she wants to see Alice. So Alice travels to London hoping that this trip will get their friendship back on track. But when she arrives she is greeted by Mark, Joanna’s fiance. Though he’s charming and kind Alice can’t help but feel there’s something a little off. And then he tells her Joanna is missing.

The Bride is a story filled with secrets, lies, betrayal and revenge. A mysterious, dark, sinister and suspicious read. It starts at a steady pace but the tension soon ramps up and I was on the edge of my seat as it reached its crescendo. 

When we meet Alice her life is falling apart so the text from Joanna is just what she needs. When she learns Joanna is missing she is steadfast in her determination to do everything she can to help find her. But there are two mysteries in this story and while Alice is helping Mark solve the mystery of Joanna’s disappearance, flashbacks telling the story of their friendship offer small clues to the mystery of what terrible thing happened to tear them apart. And while Mark seems genuinely concerned for his fiancee, I had a strange feeling about him from the start. Was this because he was behind it all or a case of the author cleverly throwing me off the scent of the truth? I couldn’t decide. Thrown into the mix were other suspicious and unreliable characters who made it even harder to predict what had happened and where the story would go next. 

Atmospheric, unpredictable, claustrophobic and filled with twists and turns, I flew through this entertaining thriller in under a day.  A great read for anyone who likes their thrillers gore-free.

Wendy Clarke


Wendy Clarke started her career writing short fiction and serials for national women’s magazines. After having over three hundred short stories published, she progressed to writing novels. With a degree in psychology, and intrigued with how the human mind can affect behaviour, it was inevitable that she would eventually want to explore her darker side.

In her previous life, Wendy has published three collections of short stories and has been a short story judge for the Chiltern Writers Group, Nottingham Writers Group and The Society of Women Writers and journalists.

Wendy lives with her husband, cat and step-dog in Sussex and when not writing is usually dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food




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Blog Tours book reviews

Dear Child by Romy Hausmann ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Published: May 14th, 2020
Publisher: Quercus
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery

Welcome to my spot on the Social Media Blast for this sensational debut. Thank you to Quercus for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of this book.


You escaped. But your nightmare has just begun.

The No 1 International Bestseller – 250.000 copies sold in Germany – 5th bestselling paperback in Germany in 2019

A windowless shack in the woods. Lena’s life and that of her two children follows the rules set by their captor, the father: meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. He protects his family from the dangers lurking in the outside world and makes sure that his children will always have a mother to look after them.

One day Lena manages to flee – but the nightmare continues. It seems as if her tormentor wants to get back what belongs to him. And then there is the question whether she really is the woman called ‘Lena’, who disappeared without a trace over thirteen years ago. The police and Lena’s family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle that doesn’t quite seem to fit.


I first heard about this book when I received a sampler of it last summer. I devoured it quickly and was left wanting more. Lucky for me, I received an ARC of the full novel and was excited to finally have the answers to all of my questions. Once again, I devoured this story, only reluctantly putting it down when my eyelids became too heavy to keep reading. I was addicted and completely unprepared for the rollercoaster ride this story took me on. 

Dear Child begins at the point where most novels would end; when Lena and her daughter Hannah escape after years of imprisonment in a cabin in the woods. The police think that they’ve finally found Lena Beck, a woman missing for thirteen years, but when her father Matthias arrives he is adamant the woman lying in the hospital bed is not his daughter. But when he lays eyes on Hannah he sees a clone of his daughter as a child. With Lena injured by a car in the escape she is unable to answer any question and Hannah is reluctant to talk. As snippets of information are slowly revealed, the police begin to piece together the puzzle. But they soon find that things aren’t quite what they first appear to be.

OMG! What a book! Spectacularly written, masterfully plotted, surprising and sizzling with suspense, this complex and layered thriller had me hooked from start to finish.

The author filled the pages with dark, nuanced and compelling characters and unreliable narrators. Of the three narrators Hannah was the one I felt most drawn to. It was heartbreaking to read how normal she thought her world was, especially how she would berate her mother when she was beaten by her father for doing something to deserve it rather than thinking it was him in the wrong.  But while I felt a lot of empathy for her, I also felt there was something not quite right about her. She is a peculiar child and while at first I put that down to her secluded upbringing, after a while I started to wonder if she was all that she seemed. 

The abductor, known only as ‘Papa’, is another character who stood out to me. Papa is an enigma, his identity shrouded in mystery. Even Lena doesn’t ever say his name. He is a loathsome, sadistic, controlling and violent man who strikes fear into Lena and the children. Most of the abuse is inferred but enough detail is included to give the reader an understanding of the complete terror they felt and understand why Lena would acquiesce to his will.

Tense, chilling, twisty and unpredictable, Dear Child is a riveting and spectacular debut that you won’t want to put down. This is one you don’t want to miss!



Romy Hausmann was born in the former GDR in 1981. At the age of twenty-four she became chief editor at a film production company in Munich. Since the birth of her son she has been working as a freelancer in TV. Dear Child is her thriller debut. Romy Hausmann lives with her family in a remote house in the woods near Stuttgart.




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