[Review] Thrall by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish

NOTE: This review is being posted with the promise that if/when I eventually return to this book and un-DNF it, I’ll write a full review that reflects that.

Thrall cover


I wanted to love Thrall, Avon Gale and Roan Parrish’s updated take on Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

I liked what I’d read of it, but loving it did not happen.Read More »


[Review] Shadow’s Bane (Dorina Basarab #4) by Karen Chance

Shadow's Bane Cover

Forty-one chapters in, there’s a moment in Shadow’s Bane where one (fully-clothed and French) vampire beats the holy hell out of another (naked and British) vampire.

While I’d loved the book prior to that chapter and hold up the Dorina Basarab series as one of my favorite vampire series in the genre, that scene in Shadow’s Bane took the series to a whole other level.Read More »

Urban Fantasy 101: A Few of My Favorite Fang-Havers

I know I’m about to get my critical little claws all over vampires in the urban fantasy genre once more with my upcoming piece on vampire supremacy in the genre, but before I do, I want to shout out some of my favorite vampires in fiction. While shapeshifters are my main weakness when it comes to supernatural beings, vampires have always been… neat.

So, here are five of my favorite vampires in no particular order.

Marcel Gerard (The Originals)


Backstory: First introduced on The Vampire Diaries in a backdoor pilot for The Originals, Marcel starts off the series as the ruling vampire in New Orleans. Born to the governor of Louisiana, a slaveowner, and one of the women he enslaved before being turned by Klaus Mikaelson (a werewolf, vampire hybrid with less morals than common sense), Marcel has spent much of his life and unlife trying to get respect and recognition. He’s got power now, but he’s constantly undermined at every turn and the respect he’s spent decades trying to get… is pretty fleeting.

Why I Love Them: In many ways, Marcel is a fantastic successor to many of our older literary vampires that literally shaped how so many of us view vampires. He is romantic, but tragic. Cruel, but with a deep kindness in him. He has so much going on because he’s a Black vampire in a world of largely white ones. Where he’s on the top of the heap in so many ways, but then there’s the Mikkaelsons to remind him that he’s “just” a former slave and not on their level in anyway. He’s one of the few characters in The Vampire Diaries franchise that I want to see survive and thrive. He’s a bit of a douchebag but… he’s my douchebag.

Alas, The Originals needs a writer’s room more diverse than a bag of marshmallows because I still don’t think he’s ever received the storylines that he deserves when compared to the other vampires in the franchise.Read More »

Urban Fantasy 101: Vamping Out

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Vampires, in a Nutshell

If you’re familiar with my Urban Fantasy 101 series, you probably know that I’ve written about the way the genre thinks and writes about vampires on the regular. I’ve shot down the idea that there’s some kind of universal vampire-ness, that every culture that has a bloodsucker in its mythologies, has a vampire. I’ve talked about how difficult it is to empathize with vampires that used to (or still do) own people.

But let’s briefly talk about vampires as a whole.Read More »

[Book Review] Archangel’s Viper (Guild Hunter Series #10)

Archangel's Viper Cover

Title: Archangel’s Viper (Guild Hunter Series #10)
Nalini Singh (Twitter)
Highly Recommended
Urban Fantasy, Angels and Demons, Vampires, Diverse Romance
Release Date:
September 26, 2017

Publisher: Berkley


Note: I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All of the views in this review are my own.


Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s breathtakingly passionate Guild Hunter world with the story of a woman who isn’t a vampire or an angel…or human…

Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it’s not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman–it’s the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.

Now, someone has put a bounty on her head…

Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael’s private guard, and he’s as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly’s. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself–because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening…

No one is safe.


While it’s far from the end of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series, Archangel’s Viper is almost too satisfying to be real.

Not only does Archangel’s Viper answer a bunch of the questions that the series has given readers since it began with 2009’s Angel’s Blood, but it also gives us a deeper look at characters that have been with us from the start of the series.Read More »

[Book Review] Ride The Storm (Cassandra Palmer #8)

Ride the Storm cover.png

Title: Ride the Storm (Cassandra Palmer #8)
Karen Chance
Your Cup of Tea Maybe?
Genre/Category: Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Witches, Time Travel, Psychics
Release Date: August 1, 2017

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

Note: I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All of the views in this review are my own. Additionally, this review talks about sexual assault and a creepy relationship the main character has. There are MAJOR spoilers for the book’s romantic relationships.


The New York Times bestselling author of Reap the Wind returns to the “fascinating world”* of Cassie Palmer.

Ever since being stuck with the job of pythia, the chief seer of the supernatural world, Cassie Palmer has been playing catch up. Catch up to the lifetime’s worth of training she missed being raised by a psychotic vampire instead of at the fabled pythian court. Catch up to the powerful, and sometimes seductive, forces trying to mold her to their will. It’s been a trial by fire that has left her more than a little burned.

But now she realizes that all that was the just the warm up for the real race. Ancient forces that once terrorized the world are trying to return, and Cassie is the only one who can stop them…


I’ve been reading Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series since I was a teeny tiny high schooler. I count it as a formative influence and one of the first (and best) urban fantasy series that I’ve ever read.

That’s why it’s been so hard for me to write this review for the latest book in the series Ride the Storm.Read More »

The Great Big Anita Blake Reread – Guilty Pleasures

Content Warnings: This review of Guilty Pleasures talks about the following content that readers may find disturbing, upsetting, or triggering: racism, internalized misogyny, victim blaming with regard to childhood abuse and sexual trauma, sex worker shaming, connecting sex work with trauma or marginalization (as in the only people in this series who do sex work are people who are broken and/or marginalized and they all need rescuing), gender essentialism.



“Vampires are People, too.”

– The button that Monica Vespucci is wearing when she and Anita first meet echoes a repeated message in this series about how vampires are people too. But people you know… suck. So vampires do too, and not just because it’s how they get nourishment.

Despite it being the first book in author Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Guilty Pleasures was probably the fourth or fifth book in the series that I read. It is um… a doozy of a book.Read More »

Urban Fantasy 101: Single White Vampire

This month in Urban Fantasy 101, we talk about the single white vampire myth and how urban fantasy authors (erroneously) equate vampires with whiteness.

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Why are so many vampires in Urban Fantasy fiction French (and white)?

I have issues with the way that popular vampire mythology and fiction remains singularly focused on white, European, male vampires.

I know that Anne Rice popularized the notion with her white French vampires back in the day, but that’s not an excuse or an explanation for the lingering trend or the genre’s reliance on putting French vampires all over the place – especially where no French vampire has ever belonged.Read More »

Snippet – Saw Palmetto Sacrifice Chapter 1

With all the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance I read, I think it makes sense for me to tackle the genre and try to put my own spin on it. Saw Palmetto Sacrifice is what happens when I look at what I don’t like about the two genres (ceaseless heteronormativity, skimpy representation of characters of color, and cultural appropriation as the main offenders) and try to subvert the genres’ most frustrating tropes and themes.

It’s kind of on a break for now as the Gothic Romance project and my freelance writing take the front seat, but I’m so very fond of it. So this snippet comes from the first chapter and gets us into Alex’s head.


Read More »