Monday, January 3, 2022

Review: Josefine: Shadows of the Witch and Vampire by Denise Daye

I was simply in the mood for vampires, witches, and tension, when I grabbed up this one. This comes from an indie author (at least, I'm 99% sure it does) I found the cover intriguing as well as the blurb. It does start out in modern day Germany and does an exciting flip from there. But I'm not going to say anything more. Nope, my lips are tight until you read the review. 

Shadows of the Witch and Vampire
Book One
by Denise Daye
YA Fantasy
338 pages

My grandma is one of the last true masters of witchcraft. I'm nothing. Yet someone thinks I'm too dangerous to live…

Josefine comes from a prestigious line of witches, but she's never possessed so much as a breath of magical ability. Nevertheless, life in her sleepy German town is peaceful, and working in her grandmother’s herbal remedy store keeps Josefine happy.

But then her grandmother is killed in a merciless vampire attack. Wounded and alone, Josefine finds herself the target of a relentless pursuit. Each day is a battle to survive, so when one of the most powerful and dangerous vampires alive unexpectedly offers his help, a skeptical Josefine is left with no choice but to accept.

Lucius is not only as handsome as the devil, but he’s also as mysterious as the night is dark. The dashing vampire couldn’t care less that Josefine’s hostility for him is transforming into a fiery passion, and yet, she needs him more than ever.

The catastrophic secret surrounding her grandmother’s death will place Josefine in the very center of a war that could kill her once and for all, along with every soul on earth.



One of my favorite things about being a book reviewer is discovering gems in the sea of self-publishing and small publishers. This book is one of those. 

Josefine lives with her grandmother, who is a powerful and ancient witch, in a small town in Germany. Tired from years of wars, power plays, and such, the grandmother now sells herbs and spices to tourists. Although Josefine was born in the same bloodline, she's a doormat...a cruel term for dormant witches with no powers. When her grandmother is murdered by a powerful being, Josefine finds herself being hurried away to the Order in France, according to her grandmother's plan. The same creature wants to destroy her, although she has no idea why, but then, she has no clue why everyone is trying to protect her. She only knows that her grandmother's plans are they only thing standing between the creature and the end of humanity.

Josefine is easy to root for as she suffers under the loss of the person she loved most and refuses to go against that trust even when things go crazy. Her decisions are mostly understandable as she tries her best to work with a sudden thrust into a dangerous and confusing situation. The characters around her don't have quite as much depth, which I missed, but then, one of the main drives in this plot is that no one really seems to know what's going on, and for reasons of self-preservation, they keep everything about themselves close. So, the depth builds as the story happens.

The plot is woven with action, intrigue, and secrets, and everyone is in a mad race to avoid the very evil First Vampire, while trying to follow a plan laid out by Josefine's grandmother. And not everyone involved even knows this much. So, there's a lot to unfold as Josefine blindly trusts whatever her grandmother claimed she should, while battling to stay alive and knowing that her life, thanks to her complete lack of powers, is truly in the hands of others...and these others have so many dark sides, that it's hard to know if they can be trusted, too. So, there is a lot of tension and twists and turns.

There is death. There are vicious vampires, heartless witches, and ruthless gods, and an approaching war. And among this, there is romance. Sort of. It'd be wrong with all of the blood, confusion, and loss for Josefine to flip head over heels and suddenly fall in love...I mean the girl has a massive portion on her plate. The author kept this end very slow burn, and while this first book does leave suspicions of possible future romance pairings, it's not fleshed out yet. I appreciate that, since there is so much more to come.

This does leave off with a cliff-hanger, and I do wish book two were already out because I would have instantly picked it up. But fans of secrets, vampires, witches, ancient gods, intrigue, and action will enjoy this one.

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