Sunday, October 7, 2018


ALL THE DOGS ARE DANCING is an absolute triumph in terms of world building.  The post-apocalyptic North America that Burner and Aaron traverse has texture, beauty, foreboding, strange perils, deep history, and layers that give it a strange plausibility despite being fill with roaming lions, bands of human cannibals, werewolf fight clubs, and terrifying deadwalkers.

Burner has a great deal of charm as a protagonist and the planned future alpha of his pack--which makes a peaceful subsistence living  migrating back and forth across the re-wilded countryside and staying away from the cities which are largely dystopian nightmares.

The plot, however… well.  It starts off as a risky rescue mission but quickly becomes a disorganized zigzag across the country punctuated by torture, explosions, more torture, and more explosions.  While Burner and Aaron instigate a few situations they spend the latter half of the story largely being rescued by more influential individuals.  The author makes use of some pretty huge coincidences, a couple of info-dumps, and the story eventually just peters out without anything in the way of an obvious conclusion.

This story is also very much a “with romantic elements” rather than a romance, but the charms of the main characters are undeniable and they do get a happily-ever-at-least-for-a-while. but it’s kind of a bittersweet one compared to the life Burner was living in chapter one. I found the entire book wildly original and entertaining but hope that in her future endeavors the author decides to focus more on blending these aspects with a plot that properly resolves by the end.

That said the vampires-by-another-name in the story are a truly novel take on the vampire idea in their origins, attributes, and philosophies. Goguen has mastered the art of not over-explaining how the supernatural-esque elements of the novel work, and they stand apart for the cliches that are now so common.  That alone makes me inclined to see what else this author may have written and look for opportunities to return to this dark world.

Review copy courtesy of Netgalley, 2/5

Saturday, October 6, 2018


VICTORIAN VAMPIRE has a lot of exciting supernatural and gothic elements, but nevertheless manages to be a fairly dull read. It is a full length novel but the prose is quite flat, the scenes disjointed, and the overall impression is of the story written once-through hastily with limited thought and research—but trying to hit a lot of popular tropes.

Our heroine Tabitha seems to spend very little time being a governess, let alone filling the role as would be expected in the Victorian era when your employer is a member of the nobility. In her various wanderings she manages to attract three suitors, one vanishes from the story without much explanation about why he was there in the first place, the other two are a sorcerer and a vampire. There is a disjointed story that involves Tabitha wandering down quite a few dark alleys and finding murderous monsters, and also repeatedly entertaining bachelor men unchaperoned. Anachronisms about.

If you aren’t worried about any kind of plausibility you might find this to be an entertaining read with the requisite romance happy ending. For me, I think I would have preferred it if Tabitha’s antics lead to a more realistic and unfortunate end and the vampire ended up with her employer, the lusty Lady Irene, instead.

Review copy courtesy of HiddenGems, 1/5, #Yawn

Monday, October 1, 2018


Based on the blurb I expected THE VAMPIRE’S MASQUERADE to be a dual point-of-view story, when actually it is told entirely from Kasima.  The romance is quite straightforward and mainly impeded by the hero and heroine hesitating to express their level of commitment—which is understandable given the overall context of the story.  The author does a good job of filling in the world-building and introducing characters from the first book (which I have not read).

The vampire mythos itself is not especially interesting with standard romance vampires (a.k.a. hot vampire super-heroes with no real problems from their condition) but I did like the back-history of the civil war between humans and vampires after the vampire’s were outed. Honestly, I might have preferred a more gritty story from this time period rather than a largely cozy romance set in what seems like a very comfortable community doing well after the reconstruction. THE VAMPIRE’S MASQUERADE is not an overly complex story but emotionally gratifying and engaging throughout mainly due to Kasima’s likeability. 

Review copy courtesy of Netgalley, 6/10 #SuperheroVampire