Because of my inability to read a schedule correctly, this is coming to you a day late. But I’m no less enthused to tell you about the stellar book that took the prize home in the 2021 Book Bloggers Book of the Year Award: May Day by Josie Jaffrey! Our winner from last year is an urban fantasy that has a lot going for it; vampires, mystery, and a kickass female lead that instantly had me rooting for her. But, before I get into my tour stop, let me tell you more about BBNYA.
BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official.
The sign-ups are still open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!!
As a note, I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA tours organized by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest. Now, let’s get into the post!
If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.
It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.
When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.
To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.
Body bags on standby.
May Day is the first book in Josie Jaffrey’s Seekers series, an urban fantasy series set in Oxford, England.
About the Author
Josie is the author of multiple novels and short stories. Most of those are set in the Silverse, a pre- and post-apocalyptic world filled with vampires and zombies.
She is currently working on a range of fantasy and historical fiction projects (both adult and YA). Ultimately, she hopes to be a hybrid author, both traditionally- and self-published.
After finishing her degree in Literae Humaniores (Classics) at the University of Oxford, Josie wasn’t sure what to do with her life.
She slogged through a brief stint working for an investment bank in London during the 2008 credit crunch, then converted to law and qualified as a solicitor specialising in intellectual property. She worked at a law firm for five years before moving to a UK-based international publisher in 2016. Whilst she loved law, in the end she didn’t love it quite as much as writing, which she now does almost full time.
Josie lives in Oxford with her husband and two cats (Sparky and Gussie), who graciously permit human cohabitation in return for regular feeding and cuddles. The resulting cat fluff makes it difficult for Josie to wear black, which is largely why she gave up being a goth. Although the cats are definitely worth it, she still misses her old wardrobe.
Urban fantasy is a subgenre that I’ve only very recently started exploring more. That’s not to say that I actively avoided it before, but it wasn’t something I gravitated towards. Apparently, I just hadn’t found the right urban fantasy because I have been loving the books I’ve read and May Day is no exception!
In this story, we follow a young woman named Jack Valentine. Jack is also a young vampire who happens to be on in a group called the Seekers. Think the police, but their sole purpose is to punish other vampires that come close to expose themselves to humans and proving that vampires really exist. At the beginning of the tale, a new case has landed in the Oxford Seekers’ laps and Jack is bound and determined to solve it. More to the point, she is bound and determined to prove that her arch-nemesis, Killian Drake, is the culprit. But nothing about this case is as it seems and Jack may be getting in over her head.
I’ve talked before about how vampire books don’t really do it for me, but this book makes me want to retract that statement. I loved the vampires and vampire culture in this book! It’s unique and intriguing, but still familiar, so it manages to be easy to get into while also keeping me interested. The world-building in this is woven throughout the story with a deft hand and I ate it up! I loved learning more about the Seekers, about how vampire society works, and how they interact with humans and each other. It was all fascinating and definitely pulled me into the story.
My favorite aspect of this story, however, has to be Jack Valentine. Jack is an absolute mess of a vampire and I LOVED HER. She has strong principles, a backbone made of steel, and literally does not take shit from anyone, even if it might make her life easier. She’s an alcoholic, she is prone to self-sabotage, and she is real bad at flirting, but you can see that she has a good heart that has been deeply bruised. Getting to know her character throughout this book was an experience and it’s impressive how quickly Josie Jaffrey managed to get me to care about Jack so freakin’ much. And can we talk about Killian Drake? I need to know more about Drake! Like… everything, if possible, please. I loved his character almost as much as I loved Jack! I was a little less impressed with some of the side characters. There were a couple that fell a little flat for me. Overall, though, this author has a way of writing her characters that makes them so vivid that it’s hard to look away.
The plot of this story was pretty solid, as well. This is a book that I flew through because the suspense and action did. not. stop! I needed to know what was going to happen next, where a clue or a conversation was going to lead, and if Jack and her smart mouth were going to survive it. I was captivated by this story and found it hard to put it down! I do love a book where I can lose myself within the pages and this one certainly delivered. And it definitely made me eager to read the next book in this series!
Final thoughts: From now on, if I want vampire stories, I’m turning to Josie Jaffrey. This is everything I could want in one and more! I loved the plot and the world-building. They both conspired to make it very hard to put this book down once I started. Most of all, though, I loved our main character, Jack Valentine. She’s complex, she’s intriguing, and she kicks ass! I want to read more solely to see more of Jack just being Jack, haha. Some of the other characters felt a wee bit flat, but, for the most part, I thought they were all well-written. Jack was just the most vibrant, though, and I can’t wait to continue reading her story!