Book Review: Shadows of the Circus by J D Groom

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About the book

This book is a prequel to the Sorceress of Truth series by J.D. Groom.

Blackpool, 1894, and a deadly creature lurks in the shadows…

Shadows of the Circus by J.D. Groom

My thoughts

This is my first Historical Fantasy. The story is set in Blackpool, 1894, and tells the story of vampire Kylan.

Kylan is working at Blackpool Tower in construction and getting things ready for the grand opening of the famous landmark. He is struggling with managing his vampire urges.

Then he meets Mary, a well established vampire who takes him under her wing and gives him a crash course in control. When Kylan finds Mary in a dangerous situation, the fangs come out and everything is ruined.

Although this novel is a prequel to Sorceress of Truth (YA Contemporary Fantasy), this has a different feel with a male voice, more adult themes, spicy scenes and violence. There is a glossary of Victorian slang at the end, I particularly liked the words for idiot.

Read it for vampires, historical settings, and a little spice and gore.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You can get this book from:

This book is currently only availabile for free direct from the authors website by joining her newsletter: https://jdgroom.com

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Book Review: Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew

This post contains affiliate links. Please check out my affiliate disclosure page for more information.

About the book

Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew (Blurb)

My thoughts

Book Review of Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew on YouTube

Frankie lives next door to her bestie. Together they love to hang out in their tree house planning to take pictures of the moon. But, they don’t agree on everything. Her BFF is boy crazy, and Frankie finds it embarrassing.

There is an internship at the Planetarium and there’s a few hoops to jump through to get the role. Both girls decide to go for it. Frankie works hard on her essay and gets her science teacher to check it over and write her reference.

When she finds out her BFF sent an inappropriate photo to the science teacher instead of an essay, Frankie worries how their friendship will affect her reference. Her BFF knows she screwed up and is hurt that Frankie won’t stand by her side when she needs her most. The girls have a massive fight and are no longer friends.

To make matters worse, her now ex-BFF tells their mutual friends her version of what happened, and now Frankie is alone. Being alone enables Benjamin to get to know Frankie better. The pair get closer, and closer, and one thing leads to another.

The best feeling in the world, rapidly turns into a dirty secret. Someone knows the sordid details of what Frankie and Benjamin did that afternoon. And, now it’s all over the internet, one meme after another.

How can Frankie get the bullies to stop and who can she trust? This is a fast paced emotionally driven story of friendship, bullying, and first love. With an epic ending.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If you want to buy this book you can get it from:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3eHxoeO

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Catch up with a cuppa Ko-Fi (July 2022)

Here is the low down on what I posted on Ko-Fi last month, so you don’t miss out!

Sky Heart – Briefed my cover designer

Taking those next steps towards publishing book two is very exciting. It’s still a way off, but I’ve reached out to my cover designer to discuss ideas and book in.

Content Creation

An update on what I was doing in July. Originally I’d toyed with the idea of doing a project for Camp NaNo.

Instead, I was busy planning my husband’s secret party, and attending all the end of school/nursery events for my kids.

In the end, I was working on remaining present on social media by developing content. This included opportunities to feature in Felixstowe Magazine and interviews with other bloggers.

Smashwords Summer Sale (July)

I posted at the start and end of July to make people aware that Ocean Heart was in the Smashwords sale at 50% off. This needed some prompting and content to spread the word.

Coming Soon – Author Diaries

I’ve also been busy working on this collaborative project, and developing content to start promoting.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel and stay tuned for more info coming soon.

Follow me on Ko-Fi

It’s free to follow me on Ko-Fi and be sure you don’t miss out on my latest news, or any freebies. You can buy me a virtual cuppa or merchandise from my shop, including a signed copy of my book.

[Kofi]

More About Sky Heart

Catch up with a cuppa Ko-Fi (June 2022)

Here is the low down on what I posted on Ko-Fi last month, so you don’t miss out!

Sky Heart Chapter 3

Another draft chapter on Ko-Fi. I wonder how this will compare to final version once Sky Heart is edited, formatted, and published.

Sky Heart Coming Soon

Busy Week

I can’t wait for the holidays and to relax. My best friends wedding was a busy weekend but the lead up to finishing school has been crazy. I’m literally taking one day at a time.

Sky Heart – Sent off to the editor

This is a HUGE milestone. I can’t wait to see what my editor has to say. She is fabulous at slapping me with the truth in a way that doesn’t hurt and helps me make my story better. I know there will be a lot of work but I’m ready for it.

Summer Sale

https://youtube.com/shorts/bNQr3J8Y1Mo?feature=share

Just a quick reminder that Ocean Heart is half price in the Smashwords Summer Sale. Grab a copy on discount before the end of July.

Follow me on Ko-Fi

It’s free to follow me on Ko-Fi and be sure you don’t miss out on my latest news, or any freebies. You can buy me a virtual cuppa or merchandise from my shop, including a signed copy of my book.

[Kofi]

More About Sky Heart

Catch up with a cuppa Ko-Fi (May 2022)

Here is the low down on what I posted on Ko-Fi last month, so you don’t miss out!

Sky Heart by Ally Aldridge

Sky Heart Chapter 2

This month I posted another chapter of Sky Heart. Now you can read two chapters on Ko-Fi.

Update on my website

I realised I hadn’t shared how my website update went so finally did this.

Sky Heart Coming Soon

Sky Heart Update

I’m getting close to finishing my self edit and shared where I’m up to with the plot hole fixes.

Follow me on Ko-Fi

It’s free to follow me on Ko-Fi and be sure you don’t miss out on my latest news, or any freebies. You can buy me a virtual cuppa or merchandise from my shop, including a signed copy of my book.

[Kofi]

More About Sky Heart

Catch up with a cuppa Ko-Fi (Apr 2022)

Here is the low down on what I posted on Ko-Fi last month, so you don’t miss out!

I’m doing Camp NaNo

In this post I introduce my Camp NaNo project and goals.

Sky Heart by Ally Aldridge

Sky Heart – Chapter 1

I share my first chapter of Sky Heart. This has only been self edited and needs to go through professional edits but I thought it’d be fun to share a little of my work in progress.

Sky Heart – NaNo Update

I shared how I was progressing towards my NaNo goal, what has gone well and what I still need to work on.

Sky Heart Coming Soon

Follow me on Ko-Fi

It’s free to follow me on Ko-Fi and be sure you don’t miss out on my latest news, or any freebies. You can buy me a virtual cuppa or merchandise from my shop, including a signed copy of my book.

[Kofi]

More About Sky Heart

My Birthday Book Haul

My birthday was back in November and my online writer friends clubbed together and got me an Amazon voucher. I didn’t spend it right away. I wasn’t sure if I might get books for Christmas. Plus my book Wishlist is insane so I took my time narrowing down my choices.

This post includes affiliate links. Check out my Affiliate Disclosure page for more info.

Here’s what I got:

Fiction

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

The Weavers by Ania Whiteley

World for the Broken by Elexis Bell

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

PREORDER: When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando

Non-Fiction

Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

The Rural Setting Theasarus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

The Urban Setting Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

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What I did for World Book Day!

I delivered my first ever face-to-face author event for World Book Day. It was extra special because I got to attend the high school where my book Ocean Heart is set.

The Setting

Ocean Heart is set in Felixstowe. When I started writing the novel there were two high schools in the town. Deben High School and Orwell High School, both named after local rivers. The two schools had some rivalry and I didn’t want my book about that so I merged the schools together and made Felixstowe High School.

Little did I know that the council were going to do this. The old schools were knocked down and a new modern building erected.

I’ve never had the opportunity to visit the high school so it was really fun to see if it was anything like I imagined. The school was lovely, and very modern, and a lot bigger. I was very impressed.

The students

I met up with groups of five to six students from Key Stage 3. The plan was to introduce myself, and my book, and discuss what had inspired my writing.

I’m not great at public speaking, so I took a notebook with some conversation bullet points to boost my confidence and feel more prepared. I’m not sure what I’m scared will happen, other than making a fool of myself.

The students were very sweet and polite. Once I flipped the attention off myself and onto them, I was able to relax and the conversation flowed better.

We discussed my writing, debut novel, and reading. The students came up with some great questions for me, some that madrWhen we discussed their interests they even had some book recommendations for me.

The book recommendations

My notebook came in handy to write down the books the students recommended I read.

Reflection

I’m so thankful to Felixstowe High School for having me. I appreciated that Deputy Head, Darren M arranged for me to chat with a small groups rather than in-front of a large audience.

Darren also got me thinking about delivering some leisure learning courses for Creative Writing. I’ve been going over old books, notes from courses I’ve done, to explore the idea. Ifurther

I think the more I do, the easier it will get. As a natural introvert, I have to push myself outside my comfort zone but this is good for my professional development. Plus, afterwards I was buzzing that I did it.

Discover Ocean Heart

You can pick up Ocean Heart from all good book shops and online retailers, and borrow through your library or Overdrive.

Book Blitz: Mermaid of Sicily

Mermaid of Sicily
Jincey Lumpkin
(Mermaid of Venice, #2)
Publication date: September 20th 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

The glamorous Gia Acquaviva struggles to maintain her freedom and hold onto her business empire. A Sicilian mob boss nips at her tail, hoping to lure her into his sick fantasies. Meanwhile, the global media hunts Gia, attempting to hold her accountable for a string of murders. Can the world’s most famous mermaid escape their net, or will she be caught?

Dive into the extremely glamorous life of Gia Acquaviva, an ultra-rich Venetian mogul with a portfolio of clubs and casinos around the globe. Gia harbors dark secrets––and an underwater graveyard filled with the bones of her former lovers.

Her family’s roots descend from the mythological sirens of ancient Greece, but she’s taken every precaution to protect her anonymity and the existence of other mermaids. Gia lures in men with a beguiling façade, but inside lurks a deeply troubled soul, severely damaged by a mysterious past.

Fans of Killing Eve and Big Little Lies will love Mermaid of Sicily, a sexy psychological thriller with lush fantasy elements. The chic mystery and European hot spots of Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley with a juicy splash of the lavish lifestyle in E. L. James’s 50 Shades series. This is not the Little Mermaid you grew up with. Gia’s out for blood.

Mermaid of Sicily is the second installment in a series of 6 books about Gia Acquaviva.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Google Play / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Gia arrived at the base of the Eiffel Tower in disguise. An auburn wig, a pair of large sunglasses, and a wooly cap hid her identity. She approached the brown awning of the Jules Verne restaurant with supreme caution, hyper vigilant of her surroundings and potential threats. It was then that she was met at the front door by two of Q’s men.

“Are you here for Signor Mosca?” one asked.

“Unfortunately,” Gia chirped, sarcasm thick in her voice.

“This way.”

As they entered the restaurant, Gia discovered that Q had paid enough money to clear the place out completely.

How much had that set him back?

People waited months for a reservation—it couldn’t have been easy to compensate all those angry patrons overnight. The men escorted Gia into the glass elevator. As it rose, they passed through level after level of the brown iron that Mr. Eiffel had twisted himself.

The men took Gia all the way to a table that was situated in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows.

“Thank you gentlemen,” Q said, patting them on the back. “I have asked the chef to set up a table for the two of you in the kitchen. Please enjoy your meal. We will come to you when we are ready to go.”

He shuffled toward Gia and took her hand in his. Gia resisted the urge to pull away, her stomach lurched in revulsion to his touch.

Signorina Acquaviva, I have been looking forward to spending time with you since we met in Athens…”

Author Bio:

JINCEY LUMPKIN is a writer and creative director in Luxury Beauty. She is the author of the Mermaid of Venice fantasy thriller series. Recognized as a thought leader on women and culture, Jincey has written more than 50 columns for the Huffington Post and Playboy. She headlined Sex Week at Harvard and gave an infamous TEDx talk, “Are Robots the Future of Sex?” She has been profiled by Dateline NBC, Vice, and GQ, among others. Out Magazine listed her in its “OUT 100”, naming her as one of the world’s most influential LGBTQ+ people, alongside celebrities like Laverne Cox and Ricky Martin.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Newsletter


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More on Blessed Darkness by Elexis Bell

Did you see my previous post about Elexis Bell’s imminent release?

As a fan of her writing, I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out on the giveaway ending 24 Feb and I wanted a chance to share more about Blessed Darkness.

Filled with grit and magic, this literary romantic fantasy will take you on a ride. A Blessed Darkness by @elexis_bell is out NOW! Get started on it today ➞ https://amzn.to/3HPvzq9⁣

A Blessed Darkness
Elexis Bell
Publication date: February 22nd 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

A dark connection. A deadly responsibility.

Sparks fly when Elairie, a mixed-blood elf living on the edge of society and serving as a night guard, meets her latest prisoner. Strange auras surround them, and a magical gravity draws her to him, despite what her associates might say about his race. But the connection they share comes with a dark side.

When Beluroan learns that he and his guard are Blessed Ones, hand-crafted by the Gods to stop a madman from recreating the Blood Magic of old, his veins run cold. Threatened with a return to the magical slavery such magic commands, fear grips him, and memories of his childhood Master fill his mind.

But together, their potential power frightens even the Gods. Can they overcome the prejudices marring their land and master their new magic in time to stop the man trying to enslave their country? Or will they succumb to their own power?

Filled with grit and magic, this literary romantic fantasy will take you on a ride.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Author Bio:

I’m a nerd with a lot of hobbies and enough sarcasm and swear words to make a sailor blush, though, you’ll never hear a word of it if I’m not comfortable around you. I’ve been an introvert since birth. When I’m writing, though, words come easily.

At the end of the day, I just want to write stories that make people feel something.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Newsletter


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Meet the main characters:

𝑩𝒆𝒍𝒖𝒓𝒐𝒂𝒏⁠
His life has been… difficult. To say the least.⁠

Born a slave to the Blood Magic, serving an especially brutal Master, he has a lot of scars, both physical and emotional. The worst of those scars come from the night that brought him freedom but stole his parents’ lives… and almost his.

As a Blood Elf (formerly known as Fox Elves), he’s tolerated in small doses in society. Blamed for the Blood Magic and the atrocities it wrought during its reign, mistrusted because maybe there’s still a Master out there controlling them all, he’s often denied the means of earning an honest living.⁠

Even his Earth Magic, useful in construction and farming, only gets him so far. He earns less than Light Elves and often resorts to theft in order to provide for himself, his sister, and her two children.⁠

Meeting someone, let alone having a family of his own, hasn’t really been possible. Scrounging a living, stealing food, and hiding from Guards doesn’t allow much time for dating, and anyway, how could he hope to help provide for them when feeding his nephews is already a struggle?⁠

But when he gets thrown in jail for his thievery, he accidentally meets someone he could never dream of walking away from.⁠

Elairie and Beluroan are inescapably linked, created as one entity then split into two for the mortal realm because their united powers are too much for any one mortal to control.⁠

But the gift of their bond has a cost, a destiny written in blood.⁠

Blood Magic, that is.⁠

𝑬𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒓𝒊𝒆⁠
She’s unusual in her village. Of mixed blood, she has attributes of Light Elves and Fox (aka Blood) Elves.⁠

All thanks to a Blood Elf rapist taking a liking to her Light Elf grandmother during what came to be known as the Blood War. Given all the prejudices that carried over from the war, her mixed blood means she lives on the edge of society.⁠

She’s not completely ostracized. She even has a decent paying job, but it’s one that keeps her on the fringes of society. As the night guard at the local jail, most everything in her village happens while she’s asleep.⁠

Not that she minds. Interacting with other people is often exhausting, also thanks to her mixed blood. From one conversation to another, she has to gauge whether to fade into the background or let herself be seen depending on who’s around, and she’s gotten good at reading a room.⁠

Of course, her Aura Magic helps with that, too.⁠

She lives with her mother, having lost her father to the Blood War and her grandmother to old age. Though she’s not opposed to the idea of finding a partner, especially now that she’s in her early twenties and most everyone else her age has partnered up, no one has ever drawn her in.⁠

Until now.⁠

Until Beluroan.⁠

Until they meet, and sparks fly. Literally. In a strange, shared aura that burns and jolts around them.⁠

But neither of them know the truth of their bond. Or the sacrifices it may require.⁠

Excerpt 2

I spur my feet to action, dragging myself into the room. Again, my heart falters at the sight of him, at the strange familiarity of him. I barely keep my jaw from falling open.

Leaning back, propped up on one elbow, he sits with one foot drawn up to the edge of the cot. Oh so casually, he examines his nails. His vest gapes, falling open to the side, and his shirt clings to him.

Gods…

But realization dawns on me.

He’s messing with me.

His chest rises with a deep breath, and he glances up, rewarding me with a coy smile and confirming my suspicions. I balance the tray in the only horizontal opening in the bars. Without a word, he gets up and slinks toward me with an almost feline grace.

He takes the tray gently and sits back down on his cot.

Settling in at the desk, I take a long drink of the cool water. We eat silently, and I’m thankful for the time it affords me to calm my nerves. But I glance at him too many times as I eat.

And more often than not, his eyes linger on me.

He eats slowly, controlling his pace. But it makes me wonder.

Does he not usually get this much food in one meal?

My heart clenches, though I’m sure he’d bristle at the pity.

Then, it hits me, as if all the stone and earth Luxitore ever created were falling down upon me, as if Jemarie were taking all the wind from my lungs…

Does he have a family?

No necklace of eternal bonds peeks out from the open neckline of his shirt, but given the scar on his chest, it may have broken when the magic hit him. My stomach plummets, and I tell myself it’s only out of concern for his possible family. With him here, they may not have food.

It isn’t because he’s attractive. It’s because his family might be starving.

But I know better. It’s both. The two concerns mix, curdling in my stomach.

I finish my food shortly after Beluroan. Gathering my tray and cup, I move to take his. “Would you like more food or water?”

The simple question surprises him. After a moment’s hesitation, he says, “Just some water, please.”

Has no one ever shown him simple kindness?

The lightning scar glares up at me in answer, making my own upbringing seem privileged. People turned their backs on me all the time, but no one turned their magic on me.

He hands me the tray, then drains the remainder of his water in one long pull. My eyes linger on his neck, but I force myself to look away. Reaching through the bars, he passes me the cup. Our fingers brush, and gentle warmth flows between us. His hand lingers, and my breath hitches. Swallowing, I pull away.

But I still feel his touch.

Heat rushes to my face, and he drops his gaze quickly.

I dart from the room, tripping over myself to get to the relative safety of the cold storage, or even just out of this room. I barely notice when I bump into the desk in the front lobby.

I rush down the stairs and drop everything on the table in the corner. My hands shake, sloshing a few drops of water over the rim of Beluroan’s cup as I refill it.

I need to get myself under control.

What is this?

Blessed Darkness by Elexis Bell

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