Book Review: Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

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About the book

Blurb for Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

My thoughts

The story is told as if Gabriel is being interviewed, but in a way that is fully immersive. Gabriel De Leon is the MC, raised by his human mother but once he’s a teen he discovers he’s half vampire. He’s taken by the Holy Order to train to kill the vampires.

I liked Gabriel and pictured him as the Witcher. He is a very dark and broody character. This book was a hefty 800 page novel, but every chapter progressed the story and didn’t feel like filler.

There is plenty of action, blood spilling, and a touch of romance. I loved the thought put into the history of the world, and different vampires. Let’s not forget the stunning art lwork throughout.


Reading Challenge: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S. Weaver

About the challenge

The challenge was set by World Indie Warriors on Instagram. They created three #WIWBingo boards; YA, Romance, and Fantasy.

The aim is to read and review the books on Instagram and tag @worldindiewarriors

The goal is to get three in a line, and help indie books get seen.

I’m doing the challenge. I’ve already read some of the books on the board so I’ll be reposting them this month, and I’m hoping to read some new one too.

The Book Review

Here is my post of my old review for Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S. Weaver. I shortened it for social media.


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Ocean Heart is on Smashwords

My paperback is in libraries and I wanted my eBook to be available too. You see growing up, I really valued the library. I couldn’t afford loads of books but the library gave me access to them.

It felt like Christmas walking through the doors and knowing I could take home any book. Pre- pandemic, I took my kids to the library so they could experience the same joy I had (and still do). My kids are always so excited, I struggle to control them but the lovely staff never judge. It’s given me a greater appreciation of my mum for taking me and my siblings (three under five) to the library so often, and hauling home the heavy bounty of books.

These memories have made the library important to me. And, I know I’m not alone. That’s why it’s been so important to me to have my books in libraries.

But it turns out, Overdrive will not deal with authors directly. So, I had to find an aggregator to be the middle man. They recommend D2D or Smashwords. I chose Smashwords as during my recent review of Aggregators I was impressed by their own store and the deals they do to promote indie books.

Now, Ocean Heart is on Smashwords, I celebrated by enrolled it in their Summer/Winter Sale. This means Ocean Heart is FREE for July 2021!

Ocean Heart free on Smashwords for July 2021

If you are looking for your next Summer Read go check out the sale. You can download Ocean Heart for FREE. I didn’t need to enter the code but if it asks, it’s: SW100

You can then read the ePub on whatever app is your favourite eBook reader.

Ocean Heart ISBN Numbers

If you missed this deal, you should now be able to borrow the paperback and eBook at your library. If it’s not in their catalogue, ask how to request it in. It helps to provide your librarian with the ISBN number.

Below are affiliate links:

Here’s the link to the Summer/Winter sale:

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About Ocean Heart


Book Review: A Heart of Salt & Silver by Elexis Bell

I was so excited for this books release, I preordered it last year! I’m a slow reader but life has really got in my way of enjoying this book. But every time I found a moment to escape, this book was so, so, so, very good!


This book is set in a fantasy world where humans exist alongside demons, werewolves, and vampires. The fantasy world felt more medieval as there isn’t any electricity or tech, and people travelled by foot and live in villages, and there were knights.


Ness is the main character, although it is told from other view points along the way, it’s ultimately her story.

Ness is a demi-demon. This causes her a lot of internal conflict as she fights her demon instincts to destroy all lives, with her human side of empathy, and love. Ness blames herself for events in her past and tries to do the right thing. There are a lot of prejudices and hate towards her because of her demon side.

Elias is the human she rescues from a vampire attack. She takes pity on him and offers to heal him and help him travel through the woods. Ness soon discovers her past actions affected his life in a big negative way and feels she owes him. As they travel together, Elias falls in love with her.

Nolan is Ness’s ex that she never got over. She reminisces about him, longing to fix things but he doesn’t appear in the story until about the mid point. He’s very hot, and it’s easy to see why Ness is still longing for him.

My Review

It can be difficult to write a super powerful character but Elexis did it with Ness. Ness’ demi-demon nether magic is quick and deadly.

Ness is a fabulously complex character. I wish this was a series so I could have more Ness! But, Elexis does bring the book to a satisfying close – if you read the epilogue, you’ll be super happy.

Both the love interests, Elias and Nolan, were great characters and helped Ness discover what she needs. It was clear why one was “the one”.

The World building was immersive with just enough detail to bring the world to life. I loved all the drama and romance of a world where demons, werewolves, and vampires, exist.



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Book Review: Winter Trials by K.S. Marsden

As if by magic, this book appeared on my Kindle. I read the blurb and knew I had to read it.

The Setting

The story is set up North during winter. The snowy setting got me excited for our forecasted snow.

The MC is an only child living with his mum and dad in the countryside, with his nana in the annex. He travels to his local high school by bus.

The Characters

Mark is the main character. He’s grown up in the small town where everyone knows he’s gay and his nana is a witch.

Mark’s best mate is pretty occupied with his girlfriend. When a new guy starts at the school, Mark invites him over for the winter solstice celebration, as well as his mate & his girlfriend.

My Review

I loved this short story. It’s hard not to blab as I want to gush about it. The characters felt so real, and I loved the magic woven into the tale. The snowy scenes were beautiful and the romance.

I gave it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


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Book Review: Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

The first review of 2021, and I’m changing my format a little. I’m not going to write about the Beginning, Middle & End as it was hard to do without spoiling the books.

I’ve been following Ellie’s writing journey on Instagram so when her book released I bought it. And, it didn’t disappoint!

The setting

Set in a world with gods & goddesses, Miran’s lands have been cursed by the gods to only have rain once a year. Water is now so precious and many struggle to make the year through the drought.

The characters

The book has two main characters, Quil who is human, and Lira who is a demi-goddess.

It starts off with Quil, a human girl from an affluent family. She’s not very good at being a classy lady, so her parents send her off to different noble families to improve. They are out of options… except the castle, home to the king & sickly prince. They decide to send Quil there and task her to spy on the prince and report back in her letters.

Lira takes pity on the humans plight, and worries the punishment will turn the humans against them. If she is to betray their farmer, by breaking the curse, she will be banished to hell. Lira is in competition with Arch as next in line, and can’t trust anyone.

My review

This book is a must read! I had no idea what to expect when I started reading. Quil starts off very stuck up due to her upbringing but evolves with the story. Lira is very untrusting of everyone, but her empathy for humans brings down her walls. Quil’s story was like a fantasy retelling of The Secret Garden, whereas Lira’s story was full of mythical beasts and sexy gods. Both stories had conspiracies and power plays going on. I didn’t see the ending coming, but it was amazing!

I loved this book! If you enjoy greek gods, mythical beasts, and The Secret Garden, then check out this amazing fresh take. This book will surprise you and keep you turning the page.


Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Shop Link.


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Behind the Book: A Heart of Salt & Silver by Elexis Bell

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Behind the Book: A Heart of Salt & Silver by Elexis Bell

Elexis Bell is about to release another amazing book, and you can preorder it now. Discover how she created A HEART OF SALT & SILVER, and more on what it’s about.

I have to add how much I love the cover. It has all these gorgeous autumn colours that would look stunning in an outdoors bookstagram pic.

What genre is A Heart of Salt & Silver and can you name any similar books?

It’s a gritty paranormal high fantasy romance. I haven’t seen a lot of paranormal books set in other worlds or fantasy books with demons and werewolves, so comparable books have eluded me.

I’ve recently learned about the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout which blends fantasy and paranormal with some romance, but since I haven’t read it yet, I don’t know if it gets quite as dark as mine.

What inspired your novel A Heart of Salt & Silver?

Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I imagine a character or two and see what happens. It helps me to center my mind so I can go to sleep. If I like the characters, I come back to them the next night, and the next, and the next. That’s how I got Ness.

I pictured the opening scene and just had to come back to it. So I wrote it. Then, I just kept going, letting the novel unfold as it needed to.

This book has werewolves & vampires, which would you rather be?

There was a time when I might have said vampire. But I’ve been drawn more and more to the woods lately, so I’d have to say werewolf.

Especially if they’re like the ones in A Heart of Salt & Silver. The vampires in my book are especially ruthless and cruel, whereas the werewolves are very loyal and honor driven.

This is your fifth published book, what’s your method?

As far as writing is concerned, I just write. I’m definitely a pantser. If I know too much about where a book is going, I lose interest. So I don’t plan. I just write. If I need to stop and change anything, I stop writing to make adjustments, as that will likely affect the way the rest of novel goes. For instance, I stopped writing A Heart of Salt & Silver at 40,000 words in and did a complete rewrite. Some chapters were removed entirely and replaced with new ones. Every chapter that remained, had to be completely redone because of a very serious perception shift for one character that affected how that particular individual viewed (and acted toward) every other character.

Usually, it takes me about 4 to 6 months to write the first draft. Even with the 40k rewrite, I still came in at 4 months for this novel.

Then, I edit while writing something else.

Are there any genres you can’t see yourself writing?

Contemporary romance. I don’t like writing in the real world. Not unless there are really high stakes for the individual, like in a thriller.

What are you working on next?

Well, I’m editing two dark high fantasy romances and a thriller novella. I’m also writing a sci-fi series that just keeps expanding.

Please share a short snippet or teaser from A Heart of Salt & Silver?

Behind me, the wounded man waits.

Turning to face him, I take in his appearance. A bit of scruff decorates his jaw. Dark eyebrows and tan skin frame shining green eyes. Simple clothes stretch tight over a well-honed physique.

Not that his muscles did much good to ward off a dagger.

No words cross his lips. He stares up at me, part fear and part awe. It’s a strange mixture, but not one I’ve never seen before.

Again, I twirl my finger in the air, releasing his Nether binding, and he slumps against the tree.

Several deep breaths quell the desire to finish him off. Still more chase away the vastly different images of him beneath me, positioned between my legs to drive Nolan from my mind, just for a while.

I blink once more and conceal my true form so that nearby animals may feel at ease. For all the world, I appear to be a normal human woman.

Jaw dropping, he presses a hand to his side and leans his head back against the tree.

“Can you walk?” I ask.

“I’ll manage,” he answers, deep voice coarse with pain.

“And your name?”

“Elias.” His voice comes out strained.

A small part of me wants to heal him. Whether it’s my half-human heart, the morals instilled in me by the Knight who raised me, or the years I’ve spent working at self-control, I can’t be sure. Perhaps it’s my stupid, overly emotional, half-demon heart sympathizing with him. Regardless of the cause, I want to take away his pain.

And yet, another, darker part of me wonders what the ground beneath him would look like dyed red with his blood.

“I’m Ness,” I say, concealing my dilemma carefully. “How about some tea?”

Where can we find out more and buy your books?

All my books are available at the link below:

If you’re looking specifically to pre-order A Heart of Salt & Silver, you can do so here:

And if you want to stay up to date on all my upcoming book releases, giveaways, and blog posts, you can subscribe to my newsletter on my website.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate shop link.


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