Sunday, 12 January 2014

Book Review/Author Interview: Bloody Secrets

Bloody Secrets
Author: Jackie Trippier Holt
Series: Dirty Monsters #2
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal | Adult
Release Date: 31st January 2013
Publishers: Book Snuffler Publishing
No. Pages: 124
Source: Purchased
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
"1st November. Venue: Bournemouth."

I thought everything was going well. Despite their natural apprehension, the troupe has been performing spectacularly well – so much so that the Hallowe'en acts prompted a visit from one of our forefathers, Mr Harvey Burfoot. The veil between life and death is, after all, thinnest at Samhain.

"It was a heady evening! My guard down, I accidentally mentioned my plan, explaining how it would give Burfoot's Circus security and space to develop our skills. The idea was not completely disregarded, so I have high hopes. While I still have not discovered who is borrowing The History and presumably reading it, I'm certain I soon will. Also, the townies accused us of stealing their wallets. I've no idea if this is true. There was an unpleasant scene as we packed up to leave for Blandford Forum, diffused thanks to my taking charge, with help from Bridget's spells and The Boy's natural charm.

I'm sorry to report that not sure how to hesitant to repeat not sure what happened after that but one of the performers has run away left us. She packed in the night and has apparently gone back to the Real World, knowing what the penalty is for desertion.

"Harvey, if you're reading this, please don't hurt her."

The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

Bloody Secrets is the first sequel to a book I've read previously, and it didn't let me down whatsoever. Although it had been almost a year between reading Freaks Like Us and this sequel, I found it quite easy to fall back into the world Holt creates in Burfoots circus and I realised just how much I'd missed her wonderful characters. Bloody Secrets takes place shortly after Freaks Like Us, and continues on with the plot twist she had created in the first of the series, however, it became apparent that while the subject dealt with was quite a strong player in the book, Holt had started to concentrate on the characters and their development much more in this book, and I really enjoyed getting to know and learning more about those intriguing 'freaks'. Learning more about the background of those characters and where they came makes relating to the characters feelings and emotions much much easier, and that was highlighted throughout my reading of Bloody Secrets. However, some of the strongest character developments for me personally were some of the smallest, for example, Hectors attempts to become less of a flirt and throw away and concentrate on how he spoke more, and Zachariah's' attitude change when Harvey started placing pressure on him. It was these little changes I feel that will make some of the biggest impacts on the overall series.

But once more, just like Freaks Like Us, I was most impressed by how well Holt covered the very difficult subject featured in Freaks Like Us. I knew that it'd be mentioned more in a more emotional sense, and I was nervous to see what exactly Holt would put Violet through in this installment, but she covered it brilliantly. Holt highlighted how emotionally affected Violet became due to Henry's actions, and how, even as a human cat, she still felt exactly how anyone would feel. She covered how the family of Burfoots was affected by the whole ordeal, especially the tension between Hector and Henry, and how Henry cared very little for what he had done to Violet. Holts wonderful style of writing was back again for round two and it was once again beautifully written, reminding me of poems yet with so much more depth and care. She delved into how selfish some of the characters were, the sacrifices some made for secrets, she covered the aspect of betrayal and fear through friends and family, and once again, she and her cover designer wrapped a wonderful story in a stylish cover representative of some of the characters within. I loved this book, and after that cliff-hanger at the end, I'm so glad I received a copy of Lies and Lures off Jackie for Christmas; I don't know what I'd do without it.

Overall, I loved this book, but it couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that made me feel this didn't quite reach 5 stars. I'm really excited to read on in the Dirty Monsters series, and I look forward to how the secrets unfold in Lies and Lures.

About the Author

Jackie's career has been varied: bar maid, fortune teller, market trader, public relations officer, teacher, newspaper and online journalist, copywriter and freelance writer of women’s erotica.

So far she's published two books from the 'Dirty Monsters' series, and a full-length work ‘Annie, the Doll, its Thief and her Lover’.

Contact Jackie: WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads

The Interview

Hi Jackie, it's wonderful to be able to do this; I'm quite a fan and this is just fantastic!

1. Burfoots Circus has a wide range of intriguing characters, were any of them based on people you know or have met in life?
Oh my! There are many elements of me in the characters, and not all of it flattering! It's safe to say a few quirks of other people I know and am fond of are in there too, but no one character is based upon a real life person. The series itself was inspired by some online role-playing I did a few years ago in a horror game, and I've drawn from characters I created there.

2. In the Dirty Monsters Series, you've taken on some very serious subjects that appear a lot in today's society, for example, Violets struggle with Henry's actions towards her. Was it important to you to highlight those subjects throughout the series and how they affect people?
Dirty Monsters started life as a fickle idea to write very naughty stories about characters who were not entirely human. As I fleshed out the idea, it grew a life of its own and became something far more poignant, frightening and real. Violet's struggle with Henry's actions, I have to say, was much easier to write about than Henry's perspective; I found that very difficult. The bottom line is to tell the story though, not to preach, the reader will make up their own mind. And while I didn't initially intend it, the themes I'm exploring do feel important and relevant to me as a person living in the 21st century, where women are still subjected to violence and romance is still complicated and so many of us are desperately lonely or excluded from so-called normal society.

3. Out of all that characters in Burfoots Circus, who is your favourite to write about?
From an instant gratification perspective: Hector for his reckless profanity and car-crash psyche, Bridget because frankly she's very strange, and Sanguini for personal reasons. Long term, I love Violet and Zack, but their themes are relatively slow-moving; they are conduits for the drama and as such I'll probably get a lot of enjoyment tying everything up at the end for these two; it's a different kind of enjoyment.

4. The cover designs for the series are simple, yet completely compliment each character and the setting in each book; what kind of feeling did you get when seeing the finished designs?
My cover illustrator Karl (Craft Isn't Dead) politely listens to my ideas for the visuals, then tells me under no uncertain terms he's going to ignore most of it, and creates these wonderful images. He hasn't read the books (yet) he just listens as I talk about the characters, and works his magic. They are very beautiful, I'm always awed and excited to see them.

5. Is there any information or news you can give regarding the fourth book in the Dirty Monster series, or is it all top secret?
Hmm. It gets darker. And more desperate. And new characters will be introduced.

6. Your books are only available in ebook and paperback editions, which of those formats would you say you prefer to read from or do you generally not mind?
A good book will engage whether it is digital or print, while paperbacks are more aesthetically pleasing. I love paperbacks for the feel of them; but I buy a lot of Kindle ebooks to keep costs down. I can devour more of them.

7. Where do you get your inspiration from and where do you feel most comfortable writing?
Inspiration happens all the time; a song, feeling, sentence, dream, photograph, conversation, memory, moment of realisation. I prefer to write alone in a quiet house; I don't always get that; earphones are my friend.

8. If you could describe The Dirty Monsters series in exactly your own words, how would you describe it and encourage others to follow my footsteps and give the series a go?
This rite-of-passage tale follows Ringmaster Zachariah's efforts to make his rather shabby troupe of freaks and misfits into a proper circus, and Violet the cat girl's tentative first steps into having what all young women want; a proper boyfriend, of course! Thanks to a supporting cast of weirdos with quirks, issues and secret agendas that make horns, tails and scales pale into insignificance, Zack finds absolutely nothing will go to plan; while Vi discovers that being under the spotlight is serious business when someone else is setting the scene and trying to pull your strings.

Thank you so much for your time Jackie, it's been wonderful to talk to you, and I hope we will continue to keep in contact throughout the series. For those who may be interested in this wonderful series, all the books available to buy can be found below, and my corresponding reviews can be found with them.

Books Available

                                     Freaks Like Us                   Bloody Secrets                  Lies and Lures
                                        Goodreads                           Goodreads                           Goodreads
                                          Amazon                                Amazon                              Amazon
                                 The Book Depository           The Book Depository           The Book Depository

Well, I must say, now that's over I can finally fangirl over the fact I've just interviewed one of my favourite authors, oh, my, days. It was wonderful to talk to Jackie, and I hope we do keep in contact, it's been wonderful so far. Don't forget to check out the series on Goodreads and let me know if you intend to try the series and if you've bought them.


  1. Never heard about this book but maybe, I am going to try it someday seeing that you're all praises for it. I love my characters are flawed yet managed to redeem themselves by the end. And of course, I also love it when the plot is intense. Makes things really heart wrenching.

    And wow, a cliffhanger? Gaah. I really hate it when authors do that. >,<

    Lovely review!

    1. It's definitely a series with it's fair share of flawed characters, that's for sure. Thank you for you kind words, and do let me know how it goes with Freaks Like Us then, I'd love to know what you thought of it :)


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