Are you taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo (April 2020)?

About Me

Anyone else find it hard to write about themselves? It’s crazy considering nobody knows me as well as I do.

My author card from World Indie Warriors brochure

I’ve written lots of my own author bios but they feel prescriptive and miss that raw personal depth of a genuine connection. But, here I go:

Felixstowe is a small coastal town where friendships forged are forever. My girls from high school are now my girls on Whatsapp. After my parents divorce I was reluctant to commit to anyone. Rob was my friend and I didn’t notice I was falling in love with him until I was head over heels. A friends to lovers romance is complicated but we did it. Now we’re married with two beautiful children.

My Camp NaNo Project

IG Pic to share my Twitter PitMad pitch

I’ve been working on this novel for ten years and since deciding to self publish life has seriously got in the way.

First, my car managed to get three fines for ridiculous parking rules. These unexpected costs meant money was tight. I questioned if I could afford to invest in my dream? But, Pagan Malcom’s motivational talks on her Facebook group, Paperback Kingdom, challenged me to think, “Could I afford NOT to invest in my dream?”

I started the year with a bad cold, then I got a sick bug. Then I heard about C-19 and been dodging it like it’s the plague. Now we are in lockdown.

I’ve always been an advocate for home-working but this is not how I pictured it. I’m not going to lie, juggling home schooling, caring for a one year old and working from home is exhausting!

Is the universe testing me to see how badly I want this? Well universe, I may have slowed down but I have not stopped. This April, I am going to do Camp NaNo!

Camp NaNo Goal

I’ve set my goal to edit Ocean Heart in full (85k words). I doubt I can achieve that in a month but I’m going to try my damn hardest. Anything I can do to get back on track with my goal to publish by this summer is vital.

You can read more about Ocean Heart on my home page.

You can find me on NaNoWriMo as Redfae, but for this challenge I am team World Indie Warriors. They are supporting ‘campers’ on their Facebook page and have an IG chat group. Already they are getting me hyped to take on this challenge and I can’t wait to see what we achieve.

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Boost My Bio

About Me

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Camp NaNo July 2019

Writing Progress: March

This a summary of the highs and lows of my writing this month.

Hitting 300 Followers

This might not be a lot for some blogs but for mine it is an epic milestone. I think I should celebrate.


Oh dear! I really haven’t made much progress on this. It’s rather disappointing. But, I won’t let it defeat me.

Next month is Camp NaNo and I will be taking part. Together with my reading notes and developmental feedback, I will be attempting to achieve a hefty goal of editing 85k words ready for ARC readers.

World Indie Warriors Brochure

I was still chasing authors for content in March. I mainly had to work on my mobile phone. With an increased interest and a new design and look, this was a much bigger project thank I anticipated.

Somehow, I managed to get the proofs out a week before the end date. There were a few amendments requested and I got these done and a preview posted on the Facebook page for everyone to see while we worked on uploading it to the website. When I say we… I passed this task to J D Groom as I didn’t want to mess the website up.

Working From Home

With Covid-19 on the rise many of the companies I visit are either working from home or no longer accepting visitors.

This has involved me having to adapt my working practice to the changing business world. I have been preparing resources I need to enable me to work from home. And, I’ve been preparing my students for how online learning and assessments will work.

I’ve also been supporting colleagues with the change and finding news ways to keep connected. My greatest challenge will be working and keeping two kids entertained and out of trouble.

Home Schooling

Due to Covid-19, all schools are now closed except to students of critical key workers that have no other option. This is to reduce contact.

I am a bit nervous about my ability to do this but I’ll try my best. There are lots of people online supporting each other and sharing resources.

My difficulty is that I won’t be able to give Noah my full attention as I will be working and caring for Aria.


If you follow my blog, you will be aware I have been concerned about this disease since I learned about the outbreak in Wuhan back in January.

Back then I felt silly about my fears. My worry about an outbreak in the UK seemed irrational. It is unlike me to worry about such things. But, I felt so strongly I embarrassed myself in-front of friends and family by raising my concerns and encouraging social distancing.

Now the government is encouraging social distancing. It frustrates me that some people still don’t get it but now those I love are starting to see how serious this is.

My heart goes out to my best friend and her colleagues working in a London hospital on the frontlines.

Mother’s Day

This was an odd Mother’s Day. I didn’t visit my mum. I called and told her I love her, to stay safe and if she wanted anything from the shops.

Noah had made me a card at school. He had hid it so well at home he couldn’t find it so Rob helped him make a new one. Rob had bought me a gift from the kids and a perfume. I felt very spoilt and loved.

It was an uneventful day but I got to cuddle my kids and we are healthy. And, right now, that’s all I want. Good health for all.

Story Seller Academy by Pagan Malcolm

I have not had time to look anymore at the course or content. Now the brochure is done, I’m hoping I will have some free time to appreciate my access to this fabulous course.

If you enjoyed this, check out:

Why I chose to self publish

Progress February

Progress January

My big plans for 2020

To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree.

Book Review: Wiccan Romance – Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

This book was on my to buy list and then I won a signed copy in a completion on Twitter. There is something special about a physical signed book and I will treasure it forever.

The Beginning

Amelia is a quadruplet and a hereditary witch. In their garage, their dad teachers her and her brothers the history of their kind and how to control their powers. Each of them will master an element.

Amelia is crushing on Aiden, her brother’s best friend. During some sibling fallout over dog walking duties, Aiden offers to accompany her as he has to walk his dog.

The Middle

It doesn’t take Amelia and Aiden long to figure out their chemistry. With the blessing of her brothers, Aiden asks her out…

But, just as things are going well, the family receive a guest demanding the family honour an ancient promise. Edward believes that their families are to be joined in marriage and he strongly believes he is supposed to fulfil that promise by wedding Amelia.

The family then try to figure out away out of the promise, however, Edward is extremely persistent. His sister Emily is the complete opposite and when she starts Amelia’s school they quickly become friends.

Meanwhile, a rival Wiccan family plot to steal Amelia’s and her brother’s magic. They believe it was originally theirs and want it back. The rival witches are stalking Amelia and attack her whilst walking the dogs with Aiden. Amelia has to use her powers to fight them off.

Amelia has to lie to Aiden about what happened as he can’t know about magic unless they all agree to tell him. Aiden knows Amelia is not being honest with him. He learns about the Edward situation and gets jealous. They break up. Aiden then hooks up with the rival witch (he has no idea about witches). Amelia finds out and it breaks her heart.

Now Amelia is single, Edward gets more pushy. In the end, things get violent and her brothers have to throw him out their home. One of the brothers realises that the prophecy says nothing about who should marry who and maybe one of them could marry Emily to join the families.

Aiden realises what an idiot he is and begs her brothers to let him make up with Amelia. At first they won’t let him anywhere near her but seeing her so upset, they give in. Amelia and Aiden make up and the siblings reveal their magical secret.

The End

Aiden is captured by the rival witches and taken to a cave. The siblings work together on a plan but Amelia can’t wait and sneaks off alone to rescue Aiden. Amelia discovers it is a trap to force her to surrender her powers in return of Aiden’s release. Amelia is about to give up her magic for love when her brothers arrive. Together the siblings use their magic together to fight the rival witches and free Aiden.

Afterwards, Aiden realises how much Amelia loves him to surrender her magic. They have a happy ending.

Final Thoughts

This novel was a sweet romance, it has a very innocent feel of first love. The world building of magic is very subtle and natural. Nicola has woven the magic into the story and made it a natural part of their life. It makes it easy to embrace and follow.

Whilst reading this I picked up on a few Riverdale vibes. If you like Riverdale look out for those Easter Eggs. It was fun to spot them.

This novel is written in third person which isn’t my preference but I think it is useful as a writer to read different styles as you can learn a lot from other authors and how they deliver their stories.

I am curious to discover what’s next in the series and heard that book 2, Sam’s Story, was released at the end of February.

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Book Reviews of 2019

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Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

What inspired you to write Sorceress of Truth?

From being around 12 years old I’ve had a love for books, which evolved to fantasy. From as far as I can remember, my dream has been to see my very own book on the shelves of Waterstones and WHSmiths, etc.

Way back in 2006/7 my now husband and I went to visit Cheddar Gorge in Somerset. The huge cliff faces of the gorge cutting through the earth and the story of the Wookey Hole Witch are what sparked the beginnings of Sorceress of Truth.

How long did it take to write and publish from the first idea?

From my initial idea, I spent a year or so on a fact finding mission. I really wanted to lay down the foundations of my characters back stories and origins of the races, though there have still been a number of surprises along the way.

Up until November 2015 I’d written no more than 20,000 words. I had a lot of other things happening in my life, so writing became something that I picked up every now and again. That is until I discovered NaNoWriMo.

It gave me the boost I needed to write ‘The End’ and I finally published in November 2019.

What genre is Sorceress of Truth and can you name any similar books?

I class Sorceress of Truth as a YA urban fantasy with a hint of paranormal romance.

I’m massively inspired by Richelle Mead, Cassandra Clare, and P.C. and Kristin Cast. Collectively their works fill the majority of my bookshelves. I guess you could say that Sorceress of Truth deals with a similar discovery journey as the House of Night series. At the same time, the different races are a lot more integrated into normal society, like the Vampire Academy books.

Where is the novel set and do you have a personal connection to the location?

The novel is set in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and the surrounding area. The small town of Springs is loosely based around somewhere I lived whilst completing my own Alevel’s, with a few artistic differences.

Why did you choose to self publish?

I would say self publishing chose me!

Initially I wanted to go with traditional publishing, although I wasn’t keen of having an agent. That massively reduced the already short list of publishing houses who would accept my submission.

I did everything right. I read the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, wrote a synopsis and short bio, batched everything up as per the publishers requirements, hit send, and waited. And waited.

Eventually I had a few replies, ‘Thank you, but no thank you.’, and I found myself at a crossroads.Should I continue pursuing the golden ticket, or should I re-evaluate what I wanted out of my writing?

There were many factors when it came to my decision, one of those being reaching the top 250 out of 3112 entries in the UK Novel Writing Competition with an early, poorly edited, version.

Self publishing won.

That’s not to say it’s been the easier option. From my experience, and from stories I’ve heard, self publishing can often be a much harder and braver option. Though, in some ways, the rewards are so much sweeter.

Please share a snippet or teaser from the book?

“So, I’m going to wake up in two months time and be able to shoot bolts of lightning from my fingers? Or, is this your way of telling me I’m being shipped off to some school for magic?” I glared at Ky with my fists by my side, the nails digging into my fleshy palms. It was the only way I could think of to make me feel something, to make sure this wasn’t all some twisted dream.

“Your family seems to have eluded The Guard for many years.”

“The Guard?” That piqued my interest, and not in a good way. I still didn’t know much about them, and an uneasy feeling churned within my stomach.

“The Guard was formed hundreds of years ago. There’s a prophecy that, one day, a powerful sorceress will cast a demon, Belial, into the mouth of hell.”

Belial? Hell? Was everyone here crazy?

I pushed myself from the tree and began striding back towards the house. There was no way I was going to get caught up in all of this. Next, they’re going to tell me that there are unicorns roaming the woods and mermaids living in the lake.

There are two love interests in your novel, which is most like your man?

This is really hard because all of my characters are an amalgamation of friends, family, acquaintances, even characters from books I’ve read and films I’ve seen.
My husband is a great dad, and very supportive of me and my many crazy ideas, so he definitely has a lot of Kylan in him. On the other hand, as a gamer and anime watcher, he does tend to have a soft spot for the darker and more troubled characters.

Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Jodie Groom.

To be honest, in my eyes, my day is pretty boring to anybody looking in.

I start my day with my phone alarm going off several times before I eventually crawl out of bed and wake my daughter for school. Once the school run is out the way I try and do half an hour or so of exercise in the living room followed by breakfast and coffee.

Begrudgingly I try to fit in an hour or two of housework, or related tasks, then turn to the computer to deal with email and social media posts. If I’m feeling creative I will try to write, but it’s rare.

After lunch, I’ll do more housework and jobs that have built up, before picking my daughter up from school again. Sometimes she has clubs etc so I act as taxi, and once home, we cook and eat dinner.

This normally brings me to about 7pm when my husband takes over and does the whole bedtime routine, allowing me to get on with whatever I need to be doing on the computer. Sometimes that’s writing, sometimes it’s creating video’s and trailers, and sometimes it’s updating my website.

Time seems to fly pretty quickly then. I’m at my most creative at night and, if I’m having a really good writing session, I have been known to stay up past 3am. Which is another reason why I loathe my alarm clock and the morning school run.

Some day’s I spend a lot of time up at school helping with the PTA activities, and other day’s I can be quite involved with tasks for World Indie Warriors. Every day is different and comes with its own challenges. For now, I may be a stay at home mom, but I definitely don’t see myself fitting into any of the regular stereotypes.

What project are you currently working on?

I always have many pies on the go, I can’t help it. I learned very early on that I get fed up easily so have to be able to switch to something else. It’s not just in my writing, it seems to be in most things.

I’ve recently turned my focus back to Sorceress of Flame, the second instalment of the Divine Prophecy Series. We continue Tory’s journey but this time it will be NA rather than YA. It wasn’t intentional but Tory is growing up, maturing, and so it felt fitting that he story followed the same path.

In the background I’m also writing a 3 book series, whose working title is The Don of Avery, which I can’t wait to unleash. It’s a dark mafia romance set in Leeds that definitely isn’t YA.

Where can we find out more and buy Sorceress of Truth?

Sorceress of Truth is available in print and ebook from all good book shops, such as Warterstones, Barnes & Nobel, Apple etc. Or you can purchase direct from Amazon.

I try to post regularly on my website, , where there is information about upcoming events that I’m attending. Alternatively, Instagram is where I mostly hang out.

If you enjoy this, you should check out: 

Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Behind the Book: Gem of Meruna by Elexis Bell

Behind the Book: Number Eight Crispy Chicken by Sarah Neofield

World Indie Warriors Brochure (1st edition)

To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree.


Behind the Book: Annabelle by Elexis Bell

Interview with author Elexis Bell

Annabelle is your second published book but the first book you self published. Why did you choose to self publish?

I self-published Annabelle because it’s a novella, and getting a traditional publisher to consider a novella is…well, rather difficult. Only later did I decide to self-publish all my books. Part of that decision was born of impatience. Traditional publishers take months, sometimes even a year, to get back to you, and only accept about 1% of the manuscripts submitted to them. It can take years to get a book deal. So, while I was wasting time and energy on query letters and five different synopses of different lengths for each manuscript, along with one sentence summaries, summaries of varying page lengths, and all manner of other things (formatted differently for each publisher or agent) to even submit…All my work was gathering dust. Since I write quickly, the manuscripts were also piling up. So I did some more research and found that self-publishing would be a better fit for me. Having creative control and the final say on each step played a huge role, as did the fact that most of the marketing (a.k.a. the part I really wanted a traditional publisher for) is up to the author in traditional publishing, unless the author is already famous.

Annabelle by Elexis Bell (Blurb)

What genre is this book and can you name any similar books?

Annabelle is a bit of a hybrid. It’s a thriller, specifically a vigilante justice story set within a western. I’m terrible with comparisons, but one reviewer said that fans of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn or The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins will like Annabelle.

Please share a snippet or teaser from Annabelle?

I walk along the main road of another dirty western town and sashay past the saloon, knowing my prey follows close behind. My silken yellow dress and all of its lace flows behind me, trailing in the dust.

I can hear him getting closer but pretend to be so absorbed in the folds of my parasol that I don’t notice. Really, I’m checking over the mechanisms concealed within it, making sure that everything is in working order.

I turn down a bare alleyway as the sun begins to dip below the horizon. He follows. Still, I pretend not to notice that anything at all is amiss. A smile spreads across my features.

Where did you come up with the idea of a weaponized parasol?

Annabelle was originally inspired by a statuette made of starched doilies, which actually became a gift for someone else. I was looking at it as I boxed and wrapped it, and just imagined it coming to life, twirling its delicate little parasol. But my mind doesn’t really leave things…delicate. It very quickly morphed, becoming something much darker. For the time period, a parasol was a perfectly acceptable thing for a girl to carry, making it a perfect concealed weapon.

What do you want readers to get out of your book?

The courage to speak up. Now, obviously, I don’t endorse serial vigilantism. But victims of sexual assault need to speak out, and people need to take it seriously. Victim blaming NEEDS to be a thing of the past, as does sexual assault. But neither of those things will ever happen if people keep ignoring or hiding or minimizing the problem.

If you could have any super power what would you choose and why?

Either flying or teleportation. I’ve always wanted to be able to fly, but the idea of not having to spend days in a car or hours on a plane to travel is pretty appealing.

Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Elexis Bell.

Usually, it starts with me posting to my author pages from the passenger seat as my husband drives us to work. Then, I spend the day brainstorming while working in the factory. Repetitive work, mostly comprised of muscle memory, is great for thinking through story arcs and world building. After work, I do chores around the house and watch an episode or two of one of our shows with my husband. Then, somewhere between midnight and 2am, I start writing or editing. I don’t usually go to bed until 5 or 6am. On days off, I just start earlier on my book stuff.

Where can we find out more and buy your books?

My website has information and links for all my published works, as well as little tidbits about my WIPs. My blog is chock full of (blunt) writing advice and updates on all my work.

All my books are available on Amazon, and can be found on my Amazon author page.

If you enjoyed this, you should check out:

Behind the Book: Gem of Meruna by Elexis Bell

Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Behind the Book: Number Eight Crispy Chicken by Sarah Neofield

Book Review: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree.


Do you have anything published?


If you follow my blog then you will already know that my big plan for 2020 is to publish my debut novel.  Publishing a novel has always been my big dream.  I want to see my book in bookshops, online stores, on bookstagrams but not just one book, many.  

I’m so focused on publishing my novel I often forget about my previous published works.  Today, I am going to delve down memory lane and share my previously printed work.  


I was born in East London and raised a Leyton Orient Football Club fan.  My dad took me to matches every Saturday.  We would sit in the stands,  eating a hot-dog and listening to Tijuana Taxi and chanting, “Come on you Os!” and some other chants with naughty words that you wouldn’t believe crossed my lips.

The Os Fanzine were the first official publication to print my writing.  I was just a kid but I decided to design kits and merchandise for fans (especially kids) and they shared my article and drawings in the magazine.  

Since then I have written a number of blog articles on a wide range of topics (writing, gaming, sex and fashion).  The most recent was on conservation regarding Orangutans for Ginger Parrot.


These pics were taken in 2010 when my short contemporary romance, Cherry Blossom, was printed in the Scribblers Anthology. The proceeds of the sale went to charity.

Scriblers is a local writing group in Felixstowe that I once was a regular member.  The fortnightly writing challenges were a lot of fun but the best part about the group was meeting up with other writers that were as passionate as me.  I like to check in with them from time to time and it is always a joy to see familiar faces.  

Have you published anything?

 I often don’t count any of the above as be published, but the articles and anthology have been stepping stones towards my ultimate goal.  I am so thankful for opportunities I have been given and that the above deemed me worthy of printing.  

Sometimes I am so focused on what I’m trying to achieve I fail to acknowledge my achievement along the way.  This year, I am going to try to be more mindful and take a moment to acknowledge how far I have come.  

I’m not an aspiring author, I am an author.  I have published works.  Next, year, I hope to be able to add novel to this list of accomplishments.

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My Books

Article writing for publication

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My plans for 2020

Click my link tree to discover more ways to connect.




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Ally plus text

My To Be Read Pile

When I tell people I would love to read their book but unsure when I can because my reading pile grows faster than I can keep up with, this is what I am talking about…. I’m really not joking!

Here is my current reading pile… okay, so this isn’t even half of it, but these are at the top.

Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

The Sentinels (series) by Cassidy Reyne

Sea Witch Rising (series) by Sarah Henning

Number Eight Crispy Chicken by Sarah Neofield

A Court of Thorns & Roses (series) by Sarah J Maas

The Mirror Souls by Julia Scott

[More of] The Red Queen (series) by Victoria Aveyard

Join or Die by J Adrian Rut

The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Nobel

Dying Ember by River K Scott

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

As you can see this is a rather long list considering I’m lucky if I manage to read one a month. Have you read any if the above? Are any of these in your pile?

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My Books

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Recipe: Grilled Chicken with Mango and Salsa

This is February’s recipe. The month flew by so fast that it didn’t make the blog for the end of the month. But, this super simple recipe was worth the wait.

My hubby leaves out the chilli for the kids as they don’t handle spice well. It’s super quick, healthy, and fills hungry tummies.

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Recipe: Salmon Fillet with Pesto and Mozerella

About Me

Aria’s Alice in Wonderland 1st Birthday

Happy Holidays (photo shoot)


Book Review: Trust Me by Maddie James

The novel is set in the future. Cyan and her mother are hunted because they are the last Caucasian women. They are wanted for science, trafficking, etc. Cyan’s mother was lost, presumed dead, when she was younger during an attack in their home. Cyan has spent most of her life on the run with her dad until he was murdered. Cyan is then on the run getting help from an unlikely companion, her father’s murderer.


The book starts off by showing us this futuristic world. As Cyan’s needs to live off the grid to keep her safe, they actually live a very simple life. Cyan grows up in an extremely sheltered life where her mum is her main companion.

The start of the book is a little disorientating as we jump back and forth in time and between the viewpoints. You best get used to this style of story telling as it is used throughout the book.


I’m not keen on books where the characters are travelling. As Cyan is never safe, she’s always on the move.

Cyan lost her mother when she was young during an attack in the family home. She then spent a number of years raised solely by her dad. Her dad is getting old and struggling to keep her safe so he gets Devin (someone who has hunted them for years to get the bounty) to kill him and take on the role of protecting Cyan. The promise Devin makes to Cyan’s dad forces them together.

It was uncomfortable to read at times. There wasn’t only one rape scene but several, told by different characters and at different times.

At first Cyan doesn’t like Devin, he killed her dad. Devin keeps their relationship strictly business as he worries that if he gets emotionally involved it will cloud his judgement. Cyan learns to depend on Devin for protection and Devin learns to trust Cyan and her premonitions. The romance between them grows and I enjoyed the steamy scene in the barn.

I also liked Cyan’s powers and would have liked to have seen more of this but then she would have been less vulnerable. She gets a vibration feeling when danger is coming and premonitions that cone true. She also has a very destructive power which she used to attack hunters when they hunted her family. All the time in hiding, they never thought to encourage her to practice her powers to use them to keep them safe. So sadly, Cyan can’t use them.

The End

There was a decent end to the book. There were two plot twists and Cyan finally used her powers to save them.

The ending is left open for possibly another book.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this book was not for me. I was provided this book by Net Galley for an honest review.

I wasn’t keen on the constant danger or the idea that being the last woman with blue eyes meant men wanted to rape you. I found it hard to understand and it felt racist at times because men of colour were unable to control their urge and behaved like savage animals. If these are trigger points for you, give this book a miss.

Another gripe was her father’s plan for her survival.  I found it a bit odd – why die. I couldn’t understand why Devin was risking his life for a promise to a dead man he had never really known. I didn’t believe Cyan would willingly go with Devin after seeing him murder her dad, especially as she didn’t know why and only had Devin’s word that it was what her dad wanted.

However, there are also many good points. The book is very well written with lots of showing and the world was brought to life in a natural way that sucked you in. I loved Cyan’s powers and wanted more. I loved the secret behind her necklace and it was a great reveal at the end. The slow burning romance kept me turning the page and I was thrilled when the pair finally got it on.

The author has written plenty of other books and maybe another title would be more my thing but I don’t think I will be in a hurry to read another one unless it comes highly recommended by someone who knows my reading tastes.

Have you read a book by Maddie James? Do you like novels set in the future or characters with powers?

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Book Review: Who runs the world by Virginia Bergolt

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Discover more ways to connect by clicking my link tree.