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:

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.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy

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Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo

Teen Titans #2

Published September 1, 2020 by DC Ink

208 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Garfield Logan has spent his entire life being overlooked. Even in a small town like Eden, Georgia, the 17-year-old with green streaks in his hair can’t find a way to stand out–and the clock is ticking. Senior year is almost over. If Gar doesn’t find a way to impress the Chosen Ones–the social elite at Bull Creek High School–he will never know what it’s like to matter. Gar’s best friends, Stella and Tank, don’t understand why he cares what other people think. They miss their funny, pizza-loving, video game-obsessed best friend.

Then Gar accepts a wild dare out of the blue. It impresses the Chosen Ones and his social status soars. But other things are changing, too. Gar grows six inches overnight. His voice drops and, suddenly, he’s stronger and faster. He’s finally getting everything he wanted, but his newfound popularity comes at a price. Gar has to work harder to impress his new friends. The dares keep getting bigger and the stakes keep getting higher.

When Gar realizes the extent of his physical changes, he has to dig deep and face the truth about himself–and the people who truly matter–before his life spirals out of control.

Review: As I was going in to this graphic novel, I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about the Teen Titans but I was really excited for the opportunity to read this. This was such a fun origin story to read! Gar aka Beast Boy is a really funny guy with two great friends but is really insecure with his height and weight which is totally relatable. It is so refreshing to read about characters with insecurities, especially in a graphic novel. He has such a fun personality and I really enjoyed his shenanigans, especially saving the animals in the lab (Kong has my heart). I am so intrigued on where this is going to go next and loved the preview of the next installment which I won’t say anything about because nobody likes spoilers. In addition to really enjoying the plot and writing by Kami Garcia (love her), I also loved the artwork by Gabriel Picolo. For me the illustrations can make or break a graphic novel and in this case they totally worked and hooked me. I am going to go track down a copy of Teen Titans: Raven, the first book in this graphic novel series so I can be ready for the next installment coming in fall 2021. Check out the book trailer and a sneak peak below.

4.5 Stars

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

Blood Countess by Lana Popović

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Lady Slayers #1

Published January 28th 2020 by Harry N. Abrams

293 Pages

Goodreads Summary: A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula

In 16th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

Review: I was so excited to see a historical YA horror novel based on Countess Elizabeth Bathory! I’ve read a few other books and have watched a couple of those ghost hunter shows investigate her castle. There is just something strangely compelling about her. The main character, Anna Darvulia, is actually based on the real life Anna Darvolya. Three of the other servants in the book also seem to be based on real life servants of the countess. I really liked that the author actually used characters based on real people that were connected to the countess. That all makes it so much more real. I’ve read that Anna Darvolya was actually considered to be the one who honed the Countess’s torture skills and instructed the other servants. However, in this novel, the author does a little reimagining. Anna is an innocently naive village girl, trained as a midwife under her mother. She has a chance meeting with Elizabeth and her entire life changes from there.

There were things about this book that I liked but also lots of things that didn’t really click with me. Right off the bat the book seemed to be a little overwritten for my taste. Every noun seemed to have a descriptive word, some words I even had to look up and when I did they didn’t quite seem to fit the context. I also didn’t like how naive Anna was portrayed. She overlooked every single terrible thing Elizabeth had done or that Anna’s fellow scullery maids told her they had heard. It also seemed strange to me how high up Elizabeth ended up putting Anna. A countess throwing a ball for a commoner… maybe it happened, but seems a little far fetched. I know a lot of people were excited about the F/F romance aspect in this book but this one was honestly too much for the story I think. I mean, I guess I could see how a young village girl who had never been anywhere or seen anything could fall hard for a Countess who is lifting her up so high but what I really didn’t like was Anna making excuses for Elizabeth when she started to see what she was truly like. No spoilers so I won’t talk about how the book ended but it felt too easy. In the end I don’t think this even works as a horror story. It felt more like a historical romance gone wrong. Overall this book was just okay for me.

2 Stars

I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

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Expected Publication: August 6, 2019

384 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

Review: I’ve heard great things about K.A. Tucker’s books so I was really excited to get a chance to review an early copy of her newest book. The premise of this romance sounded so cute. I love the whole high school romance being reignited years later. Piper was a really strong female character in a business world typically dominated by men which of course meant that she had to deal with a few assholes who didn’t take her seriously. I wanted to punch Tripp square in the jaw for the way he acted around her. I loved Pipers friends from camp, Ashley and Christa. It’s so great that they were able to stay such good friends over the years. And Kyle was the perfect first true love. The book is written in alternating chapters between the past when Piper was 16 working as a camp counselor and the present when she is 29 and in the process of taking over her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm. I’m usually not that into that kind of story layout with the back and forth but I think it really worked well with this book. If you’re looking for a swoony romance, I suggest checking this book out when it releases on August 6th. I will definitely be reading more of K.A. Tucker’s books in the future.

4 Stars

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