December 7, 2013

Braine Reviews: Lies & Lures by Jackie Trippier Holt

Series: Dirty Monsters 3
Format: Mobi
Release Date: December 5, 2013
Publisher: Book Snuffer
Source: Author
Genre: Fantasy
“5 November. Venue: Glastonbury. Our little sister Violet has come home. Frankly, I'm amazed she survived Harvey's Curse – did he let her go, or did he somehow lose her? I asked him and he insinuated the former, though I'm not sure; she's a slippery one and so is he.

“She doesn't seem to be very happy now she's back. The unpleasantness between her and Henry might be a sticking point, and can only hope she gets over it quickly. Her performance tonight at the bonfire was jaded. If she wants in, and apparently she does, she must give every ounce of herself. They all must.

“I don't understand why they don't try harder! The Hallowe'en show proved they are capable of much more. Yet they slide into mediocrity if they don't have a boot up their backsides. This is not a place in which to hide, to languish: Burfoot's is a circus and we are proud to be different!

“At least, we were. I'm committed to making it so again.

“Fortunately, Violet understands why she can't speak about the money she brought back, which I fear would dazzle the troupe into even worse habits. Harvey was right to alert me to that possibility. On the other hand, his constant whispering is getting me down. He can't leave anything alone. He says knowledge is power: yes it is, but sometimes it feels so heavy.

“I wish he'd shut up. I feel like he's in my head. I can't think straight.”

BRAINE: Congratulations on Dirty Monsters 3! Woot! Lies & Lures is such an interesting name. What do you have in store for us this time around?

Jackie Trippier Holt: Thanks, and thanks for inviting me back to your blog! So, this installment of the story takes up where we left off at the end of book two (Bloody Secrets), the dramatic cliffhanger that threw the proverbial cat among the pigeons. I can't say too much in case I spoil it for anyone who hasn't started the series yet, but readers should expect to leap straight into the action with this book. I also introduce a cool new character.

BRAINE: Zachariah was on the verge of revolutionizing Burfoot's in book 2, is that storyline present in Lies and Lures?

Jackie Trippier Holt: Poor Zack - one of the themes of the series is his plan to make the circus great again, and he's pretty determined despite being thwarted by the rather apathetic attitudes of the troupe, and unexpected events. He's not a quitter - but now we see the lengths to which he *thought* he was willing to go, and the consequences of his desires.

BRAINE: Zachariah is my fave character, do you have plans of writing a volume that's centric to his character?

Jackie Trippier Holt: Aw, glad you like him! He is lovely - genuine, well-meaning, optimistic, which is more than can be said for some of the others. In Lies & Lures we learn some interesting things about him. I don't plan on writing about Zack as the central character, but he is woven heavily throughout this volume. That's him on the cover. Cracking his whip.

BRAINE: Can you give us a short update on Violet's crazy romantic life?

Jackie Trippier Holt: Still crazy ... Dirty Monsters is Violet's tale, really, with a strong supporting cast - her bad decisions, her good ones, how she became what she is, how she can craft what she wants to be, and the distractions caused by others on the way. It's her rite of passage, and love is always a part of that, and is often complicated.

BRAINE: How many more books will you write for Dirty Monsters? 

Jackie Trippier Holt: Even with planning, you don't know where a story will take you until  you're in it. I originally thought I'd write 11 but that was before I'd even started Freaks Like Us (book 1). As it's come to life, I've tweaked and tightened the story so, actually, there will be five books in all - Lies & Lures is the half-way point. Part of me mourns the idea of a longer series but the story will be better for brevity. Part of its personality is the fierce pace, the almost out-of-control ride, and I don't want to lose that by forcing extra content.

BRAINE: What direction will the series take after this? 

Jackie Trippier Holt: *looks shifty* North. No, it's true! The circus has been travelling around the south of England, taking in some historic landmarks and locations close to my heart, like Glastonbury Tor. Burfoot's Circus moves on again in Lies & Lures. And I know what you're really asking, but I can't possibly say any more than ... it will be dark and challenging for the characters, for certain, and as each has their own agenda it remains to be seen whether Zack can make his plan work.

BRAINE: Do you have other projects aside from your circus freaks?

Jackie Trippier Holt: I'm brainstorming ideas for some promising projects, alone and with
other writers, but I'm not starting anything else substantial until Dirty Monsters has been completed. I like the immersion of just working on this one story. It's impossible to stop inspiration though, so I have lots of notes jotted down. All the ideas have a supernatural aspect to them. So far Dirty Monsters is the only one with so many unusual creatures in one place. So far ...

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Dirty Monsters by Jackie Trippier Holt are circus themed novellas. There's a mish-mash of creatures dripping with magic. You'll enjoy the sense of familial love and camaraderie the characters have for each other. They may squabble and fight but like families, they still work it out out of love and loyalty. The cast is a little extensive but each is unique in their own way you won't get confused. LIES & LURES is a pivotal volume, a lot of things happened here that will change the texture of the series plot. I say it's about to get even darker and the characters are about to go through huge developments that will nudge the story in a different direction. If the cover arts' gradation of colors is indicative of the series' direction, I won't be surprised if volume 4 is blacked out.

LIES & LURES is the third Dirty Monster novella and the tone of the series is getting darker and darker. The series as a whole isn't romance driven although the conflict the troupe find themselves in is rooted on a love triangle gone awry. Violet, the heroine, is a Cat who used to date the damphir, Henry, but her true feelings is for Hector, a Tomcat [just to clarify, Violet and Hector aren't weres, they're humans with feline features hence they're circus freaks]. Henry did something despicable to Violet and now that the entire troupe's found out about the damphir's evil deed, they want to exact justice not just on behalf of Violet but to make an example out of Henry and to keep their home safe. 
We're all we've got. We have to preserve the family.
JTHolt really added depth to her characters in LIES & LURES. Violet in particular became a driving force in as far as dictating what direction the troupe and by extension, the series is taking. I thought her decision regarding Henry would be obvious, Violet's been suffering over Henry's transgression since Bloody Secrets and I was surprised by her reaction. Out of loyalty and some sort of residual love for Henry, Violet now wants to save him by giving him to his vampire kin, Blood Mother. Very noble of Violet but unfortunately tragedy struck towards the end and I feel like things are about to change for the troupe. I have a feeling it will be one of those cathartic events that might level them down either literally or figuratively. 

Aside from the compelling drama surrounding the troupe because of these star-crossed lovers, there's a lot of side stories happening as well. We discover Zachariah, the current Ringmaster of Burfoot's Circus, secrets but there's more to the story and it that has yet to be divulged. The addition of Blood Mother and the threat she poses to the troupe is thrumming with suspense and danger and I'm eager to know if she'll have anything to do with my prophesied catastrophe or if Burfoot will destroy itself from within. 

LIES & LURES is a very important novella in the series because it's a game changer for a lot of reasons. I love how the story is getting darker with JTHolt adding darker tones to her already grim characters. They are barely recognizable from when I first met them in Freaks Like Us. The series is even more character driven, heavy with dilemmas and conflicts, quite meaty for a series of novellas. Lots of things to look forward to in book 4 and with that cliffhanger ending, even a cover reveal will give me a clue on what's going to happen.
It's all a glamour, and somehow they had lost the sense of what that meant and how to conjure it with meaning. Times had changed for the worse.

Purchase Dirty Monsters

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 three books from the 'Dirty Monsters' series, and a full-length work ‘Annie, the Doll, its Thief and her Lover’.

Stalk Jackie


  1. Wow, I haven't heard of this series before but the blurb sounded really interesting! It does sound like a dark and intriguing read and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    1. And these are novellas so you get instant gratification somehow.

  2. oh that's always so nice to have circus stories. I'm always intrigued. But I confess I don't think I knew this one. THanks for the interview and your lovely review.

    1. Happy to introduce you to this one. It's one of those hidden gems :)

  3. Eek this one looks good. Need to read this series.

    1. I think this is something you will enjoy, Mel :)


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