Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

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Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

Empire of the Vampire #1

US Publication Date: September 14th 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

752 Pages, Hardcover

Goodreads Summary: From holy cup comes holy light;
The faithful hand sets world aright.
And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,
Mere man shall end this endless night.


It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order could not stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.

Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:

The Holy Grail.

From New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff comes Empire of the Vampire, the first illustrated volume of an astonishing new dark fantasy saga.

Review: *Note: I received an exclusive 400 page sampler from the publisher so this review is based solely on those 400 pages.*

It comes as no surprise to anyone that has been following me for awhile that Jay Kristoff is one of my favorite authors. I am also a huge fan of vampires so when I found out that he was writing a book trilogy about vampires…. I almost lost my mind in excitement. And when St. Martin’s Press sent me the exclusive sampler, whoa boy! I was torn between wanting to devour it and savoring it because I knew that the sampler was going to leave off on a massive cliffhanger so if I finished it too quickly I would be left dying inside waiting for my finished copies to arrive. (And yes, I did say copies plural… but more on that later.)

From the moment I cracked open the sampler, I knew I was going to be in for the ride of my life. There was a huge sense of forboding but in the way that you know you’re reading a vampire novel if that makes any sense. The story starts out in Gabriel De Leon’s present and then proceeds to backtrack to how he came to be in his present circumstances as Jean-Francois of the Blood Chastain records Gabriel’s oral history via the written word and sketches. In that sense it had a similar setup to Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. And yet, Gabriel is a captive which is likely the only reason he is being so forthcoming in telling the details of his life and how he became to be the Last Silversaint. The banter between Gabriel and Jean-Francois is absolutely hilarious which provides a nice bit of levity amongst the heaviness of Gabriel’s tales. Gabriel has lived a rather hard life which is evident from his stories so those brief moments of humor really help to break things up. There is even more humor added once Gabriel arrives at San Michon and the other silversaints are introduced… be prepared to write down some really fantastic insults!

Jay Kristoff’s writing really has a way of immersing the reader into the worlds he creates and it is no different with Empire of the Vampire. It was incredible to visualize certain scenes in my mind and have them match up very similarly with the illustrations. And let’s talk about the illustrations…. wow!!! Bon Orthwick (aka @monolimeart on Instagram) did a phenomenal job on the illustrations for this novel. Bon’s attention to detail in transforming Jay’s words into these stunning illustrations… just amazing.

Everything about this book so far has completely drawn me in! I love all of the different editions that are out there and had actually preordered 6 different editions for my collection! The book published in the UK last Tuesday so I actually received one of my UK editions yesterday and my first US edition is currently out for delivery! The Waterstones special edition is the one that arrived yesterday and it is bloody gorgeous! I can’t wait for my other editions to arrive and add them to my shelf. I have continued reading the rest of the book with the Waterstones edition.

*Please note: These are not glamorous vampires. This book is graphic in terms of violence and sexual content so proceed at your own risk.*

I received an exclusive sampler of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

5 bloody fangs!

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UK Edition

Available to purchase:

To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters

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To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters

The Regency Vows #2

Published April 6, 2021 by Atria Books

384 Pages

Goodreads Summary: The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.

After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.

Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.

With Martha Waters’s signature “cheeky charm and wonderfully wry wit” (Booklist, starred review), To Love and to Loathe is another clever and delightful historical rom-com that is perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Evie Dunmore.

Review: I adore regency period romances so I knew that this one would be right up my alley. I hadn’t read the first book yet when I requested it on NetGalley but wanted to read that first before reading this one. I wouldn’t say that it is 100% necessary for you to read the first book in this series to be able to read this book but there is some continuity. The focus of the first book is on Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley and the second book focuses on Lady Diana Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham. Diana is a widow who has no desire to marry again because she enjoys her freedom too much so when Jeremy comes to her with his proposition, she decides to take him up on it. Diana and Jeremy soon realize that there may be more to their relationship than what they had planned. While the story is a tad predictable, it was still a fun read. I really loved Diana and Jeremy’s banter. They were such fun characters. I definitely liked them and their story more than Violet and James from the first book. Their story felt more petty and ridiculous whereas this one was fun, witty, and cute. I am hoping that the third book will be about Emily and Julian. If you’re looking for a flirty historical romance, I recommend checking this book out.

4 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones

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A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones

Sunshine Vicram #2

Expected Publication Date: July 27, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

416 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Running a small-town police force in the mountains of New Mexico should be a smooth, carefree kind of job. Sadly, full-time Sheriff–and even fuller-time coffee guzzler–Sunshine Vicram, didn’t get that memo.

All Sunshine really wants is one easy-going day. You know, the kind that starts with coffee and a donut (or three) and ends with take-out pizza and a glass of chardonnay (or seven). Turns out, that’s about as easy as switching to decaf. (What kind of people do that? And who hurt them?)

Before she can say iced mocha latte, Sunny’s got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. All evidence points to a local distiller, a dangerous bad boy named Levi Ravinder, but Sun knows he’s not the villain of her story. Still, perhaps beneath it all, he possesses the keys to her disappearance. At the very least, beneath it all, he possesses a serious set of abs. She’s seen it. Once. Accidentally.

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

Review: Please note that if you haven’t read the first book there may be spoilers in this review. After reading and loving A Bad Day for Sunshine last year, I was SO excited to get an advance copy for the sequel. I couldn’t wait to find out what was in store for Sunshine, Auri, Levi, and the rest of Del Sol. First things first…. I absolutely LOVED this book! I think I liked it even more than the first book. While I was reading I never wanted to put it down. When I finished the book I could not stop thinking about it. I had such a book hangover! Everyday for a few weeks, all I could think about was this book and everything that happened. I couldn’t read anything else because I just wanted to read this one all over again. It had everything I have come to love and expect from a Darynda Jones novel. I laughed, a lot, I was angry, I even cried a couple of times. The growing tension between Sun and Levi… whoa… You could cut it with a knife. And my heart was completely crushed for Cruz. I couldn’t believe it *insert crying emoji here*. I loved seeing Sun and Auri’s unique mother-daughter relationship continue. If you’re a fan of the relationship between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, then you will love them as much as I do. Clay, one of Levi’s uncles, made his appearance in this book as a convict in neighboring state Arizona. He summoned Sun to see him and oh man… the things he had to say were shocking.

As the story went on I was hoping like hell that we would get some answers about Sun’s abduction and Auri’s father. I had my own suspicions that I was hoping to confirm. Once the reveals started happening, damn! Without saying too much about it…. it was everything I wanted. I am very much hoping that there will be a 3rd book in the series because I have SO many things I still want to read about these characters and this town.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A Fate of Wrath & Flame by K.A. Tucker

A Fate of Wrath & Flame by K.A. Tucker

Fate & Flame #1

Published May 25th 2021 by K.A. Tucker

533 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Gifted thief Romeria has flourished from her days as a street kid pilfering wallets to survive. Now she thrives, stealing jewels from the rich under the involuntary employ of New York City’s most notorious crime boss. But when an enigmatic woman secures her services at swordpoint, Romeria is plunged into a startling realm of opposing thrones, warring elven, and elemental magic she cannot begin to fathom.

Her quest is straightforward: Steal a stone from Islor’s sacred garden without anyone discovering her true identity, which would earn her certain death. But the identity she has inexplicably assumed is that of the captured Ybarisan princess—an enemy to Islor after she poisoned their beloved king and queen on the day she was to marry the prince.

Her betrothed, the newly crowned King Zander, detests her with every grain of his handsome being. Fortunately for Romeria, she is more valuable to him alive than dead. Zander gives her a choice: life in a cell, or an acquittal of all charges in exchange for her help in exposing the growing plot against him.

Romeria sees no other option and embraces the tricky role of smitten queen-to-be until she can escape, a ruse that brings her far closer to the king than she anticipated and threatens more than her safety. As she digs deeper into this sacred garden and the ancient feud between Ybaris and Islor, she discovers monstrous truths that could spell ruin for all.

She would know the world of vengeful gods and monsters, and the lengths one would go for love. And nothing would ever be the same for her again.

Review: In the past year and a half, I started reading and loving K.A. Tucker’s novels. I really enjoy romance however, add in the fantasy genre and I am sold. When I first found out about this book, I was so excited! I mean, first of all look at that gorgeous cover! Second of all, did you read the summary?! And I was even more excited when I got to receive an advance copy to review!

First off… the characters… Romeria is a total badass in NYC earning her way by stealing goods for a notorious crime boss when she meets the mysterious Sofie. Romeria is definitely the kind of heroine I love reading about… strong, independent and can defintely take care of herself in tricky situations but has some emotional baggage that you know will come out to play at some point in the story… and boy, just wait until the twist about her dad! Zander is the new king of Islor and most definitely has baggage of his own, some of which involves Romeria, or should I say the original Romeria… *you’ll have to read the book to find out what I mean there, wink*. There are so many other colorful characters that I came to love while reading this book… Corrin, Elisaf, Wendeline, etc.

I don’t even know where to begin with the storyline, and in a good way! Everytime I picked up my Kindle to read, I did not want to have to put it down. I was completely enthralled by this world and the magic system, the different types of creatures, etc. I could not get enough. I think having Romeria end up there was a great help to the reader being new to the world because it didn’t feel like a total info dump on learning about the world as the book went on, it felt very natural. I loved seeing Romeria grow as she learned the new world around her and how she reacted towards the negative as well as the positive.

The closer I got to the end of the book, the more my heart raced as I was reading. The events at the end had me completely shocked and dying to get my hands on the next book! I loved this book so much and hope we won’t have to wait too long for the next book in the series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy novels and especially for those fans of From Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout… this book will be right up your alley!

5 Stars

I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Meet Kathleen

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.

She is the internationally bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, The Simple Wild, Be the Girl, and Say You Still Love Me. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, Oprah Mag, and First for Women.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto.

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Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

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Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

Published November 14, 2017 by St Martin’s Press

346 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places. From freak storms to trees that appear to grow over night, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best and at worst, a danger to himself and the woman he loves. But Mary doesn’t care. Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.

There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.

In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder.

Review: I am so behind the times on this review but I just have to say that I unexpectedly enjoyed this one so much. I wasn’t really expecting to care for it too much, especially with having gone this long without reading it. But the more I read, the deeper I was drawn into Weylyn’s story and unusual life. There was so much heart in this story and I found myself in one of those moments where I was fully visualizing the story and setting in my mind so easily. Many of the characters were so memorable but Weylyn and Mary were my absolute favorites. Their shared affinity with the wolves and how that brought them together… so beautiful. My heart broke for Weylyn when he started to believe that he was a danger to those he loved because of his magical ability to affect the weather. As Weylyn traveled around the country, I was so fascinated to see what he would be up to next. I don’t want to give too much away about the ending but I felt very happy for the way Weylyn’s story ended. Also, side note… I would very much like to have a one-horned pig named Merlin… thank you. Overall, I loved the themes of friendship and being true to who you are. The author did such a wonderful job writing this book and creating this unique story. I will definitely be looking forward to more books by Ruth Emmie Lang.

4 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.