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Moonshine (Zephyr Hollis #1)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  429 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Imagining vampires at the heart of the social struggles of 1920s, Moonshine blends a tempestuous romance with dramatic historical fiction, populated by a lively mythology inhabiting the gritty New York City streets

Zephyr Hollis is an underfed, overzealous social activist who teaches night school to the underprivileged of the Lower East Side. Strapped for cash, Zephyr agre...more
Paperback, 278 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Rachel Brown
An urban fantasy/paranormal romance set during Prohibition in an America in which supernatural beings called “Others” exist and are known to the public, but lack civil rights. Thankfully, they are not just stand-ins for real-life oppressed groups, as those groups also exist (and are oppressed) in the world of the novel.

New York City teacher and full-time activist Zephyr Hollis, who becomes widely known during the book as “the singing vampire suffragette,” is the daughter of a demon-hunter, but u...more
feux d'artifice
Basically this is the paranormal romance catering completely to my id. 1920s Jazz!Vampires! Zephyr being the awesome bleeding heart liberal ex-demon hunter that she is! Female-to-female interactions that completely pass the bedchel test and are ALL AWESOME. Daddy issues from multiple characters! Hot but morally ambiguous male lead! AND BEST OF ALL, a ‘open world fantasy’ that does NOT try to use Supernatural Creatures as a replacement metaphor to explore racism without any POC in the cast! (You...more
Ruby Rose Scarlett
Meet Zephyr, the vampire suffragette (she's not a vampire, though, quite the opposite). This book hooked me and wouldn't let go. First of all, the setting: New York City, 1920s. Female heroine very involved in social justice who's also a teacher. Does it get any better than that, I wonder?
The plot reminded me of The Godfather, in a good way - different factions of a city fighting for power and blood, with a lot more social commentary than Mario Puzo's novel as well as a dollop of supernatural e...more
Aug 16, 2010 Nafiza rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Moonshine is quite different from the usual urban fantasy sprinkling the shelves. First of all, Zephyr does not put on leather pants to go hunting (though her name would suit her wicked well in one, eh?), she barely has clothes (clean ones at least) to put on for normal stuff. Actually, Zephyr is not a hunter. Not a willing one anyway. She’s what they call a “vampire suffragette.” And she’s a do-gooder. Like, the kind of do-gooder that’s involved in a gajillion societies and goes to pickets ever...more
I couldn't decide quite how to rate this one. Although I ended up enjoying it, I was able to walk away from it initially and wasn't drawn back to it. If it hadn't been a challenge read, I might have left it a while longer. So ... 3.5★ even though I'd read #2, if it's to be a series.

Moonshine tells the story of Zephyr Hollis living in NYC in the 1920's. She's the daughter of Montana's best demon hunter. She moved to NYC after deciding demon hunting wasn't for her. She considers herself able to h...more
Jan 05, 2014 Callista rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Callista by: Jamina Fritts
Loaned to me by a friend as a bonus (in addition to the book I'd asked for). Now vampire books are following me home!
Overall, I enjoyed this book. While the plot is a little bit wobbly in a few places, the story kept me interested. The end is obviously a set-up for a sequel, and I would pick up the next book when it gets published.
The story stands out among the recent flood of stories featuring vampires because of some unique qualities. The author does a much better job making a case for vampir...more
Have you ever picked up a book with a lackluster cover, read it, and thought to yourself, “Why isn’t this book a bestseller?” There are hundreds of books (perhaps more) that go unrecognized every year. These books are almost impossible to find at your local bookseller, there is little to no details about them, and they remain in obscurity. While bestsellers take up shelf space, crowd display windows, and leave avid readers thinking, “Why is this book even popular? It’s trite, poorly written, and...more
Sucked in from the onset, I fell instantly in awe of the singing vampire suffragette, Zephyr Hollis and her world of out of the coffin, vamps that have inalienable rights just like any other person. I find my fascination didn't end with the character of Ms. Hollis though, it also extended to her dashing counterpart Amir and her charming friends, Lily, Iris and Aileen. Johnson definitely has a knack for character creation. Paired with the strong 3 dimensional characters was also a very staccato a...more
This book is set in the 20s. Not exactly the roaring 20s we usually are privileged to have in our movies, but more like the social problems of the 20s we rarely see. This book, of course, goes further and has another group of people who suffer the injustices of prejudice. "The Others" are any groups of people who aren't human.

Zephyr is a "do-gooder" with a heart of gold. She doesn't blindly try to help anyone in need (but she does what she can for those who ask) and sees the hypocrisy of some of...more
K. Bird
Moonshine was an uneven experience for me. I loved, loved, the prohibition-era feeling of it (the heroine rides around on a bicycle in the snow and is called the "vampire suffgatte").

I loved the non-European character of Amir, as well as the emphasis on immigrants rights/vampire rights of all those new vampires living in tenements.

Quite an interesting twist on the whole vampire culture.

Zephyr is an ex-Defender (killer of vampires and Others (there seems to be fairies and djinni too) who has ref...more
The main character of Moonshine is Zephyr Hollis, described as "an overzealous, underfed social activist" . She really was, almost to the point of irritation. The only thing that saved her from being a total goody two shoes was her rather instant attraction to Amir (dark-skinned Arabic-looking hot djinn - literally hot - hot to the touch, burning hot...Careful Zephyr!), and the rather intense sense of bloodlust that would come upon her when she had to fight for her life....but she was ashamed of...more
First of all, this cover is awesome. The blood red lipstick and two neck bites contrasted with the pale skin give the book a very dark and appealing cover. That's what really drew me in at first. To top it all off, the book is set during the Prohibition Era. Zephyr is going to speakeasies, listening to jazz, promoting the equal rights of immigrants and taking up a host of other issues that needed to be addressed during this time. The setting of the 1920s is meticulously researched and it never s...more
M.K. Hobson
"Moonshine" tells the story of Zephyr Hollis, an underpaid and overworked social worker in Lower East Side New York in the Roaring ’20s. A “vampire suffragette,” she is outspoken in her defense of the rights of downtrodden “Others”—supernatural beings including vampires, golems, faeries, skinwalkers, etc. Along the way she has to deal with her Demon Hunter heritage, a burgeoning singing career, a slightly flaky roommate, and her attraction to a mysterious gentleman who is very literally “hot.”

I was very lucky to win this through one of the First Reads Giveaways.

I really enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I was struck by how easily Ms. Johnson set up the world and the character within even the first scene. You knew who Zephyr Hollis was and what this 1920's New York was supposed to be from simply those first few pages.

Zephyr herself is immensely likable. Spunky, intelligent, gutsy, able, and empathetic: she is the "singing Vampire Suffragette" as she is labeled at one point. Ze...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

How did I possibly miss Moonshine! Zephyr Hollis, former vamp hunter and current crusader for social causes, teaches night classes to immigrants and the underprivileged, but by day, takes part in all manner of protests and marches. The only problem is, these endeavors are not going to make her rich, and when she’s approached by one of her students to find and help take down a vicious vampire mob boss, she takes the job. Li...more
This was such a delightful mess of a book with everything through in for a good measure - gangsters, vampires, social activists, demon hunters, jazz and The Prohibition, of course. Can't have roaring 20s without it!

Oh, I forgot djinn! The mysterious stranger with a dark sex appeal, the client whose dragging Zephyr in his messy dealings with gangsters started all her troubles. Yep, meet Amir.

Zephyr is a no-nonsense skinny activist, a do-gooder who fights for social equality between humans an...more
You know, I had this sitting around for quite awhile before I made myself pick it up and read it. It sounded sort of interesting, but the 1920s aren't really a time period I've ever been drawn to, and I'm a little bored with vampires, and so many of the urban fantasies I've picked up over the years have been...not awesome. But once I finally gave Moonshine a chance, I was hooked. I really enjoyed the writing--I feel like in urban fantasies especially I tend to either get caught up in the plot an...more
Eeeeee. I almost didn't read this, because my library classified it as horror and I am not big on vampires at the best of times, but it turns out when the vamps are in the 1920s, being oppressed (as well as dangerous, though that's mostly the powerful vamps who have the social capital to avoid the effects of oppression) and striking for fair labour laws? I am all over it. Zephyr is a fabulous heroine, with individual flaws, lots of female friends and acquaintances and a snappy, assured first-per...more
Angela R.
A delightfully original vampire novel set in the 1920's. Definately not your typical sappy teenage vampire romance novel. The heroine was a bit too much of a doo-gooder for my tastes, but by the end she redeemed herself with daddy issues, conflicted emotions, and not letting the romance in the novel take over the story. Will appeal to vampire novel lovers and non-lovers alike, as it is more about social issues and equal rights than about vampirism itself. I read the entire thing in 24 hours, sta...more
Original take on urban fantasy. I love the New York City Roaring Twenties setting. The heroine is really unique: she's a bleeding heart social activist who gives away her rent money to bail people out, concerned with women's rights, poverty, and Other's rights (supernatural people), and who came from a family of demon hunters. I've also never seen a semi-feral child vampire street gang, which was fun and intriquing. All of the story elements came together nicely in the end, and I had a lot of fu...more
Lone Book Club
An excerpt from the Lone Book Club blog:

Moonshine is quintessential urban fantasy: gritty and mysterious, full of monsters, eccentric characters, magic, tall buildings, crime, politics, excess, romance, and decay. Our heroine really gets around (mostly on bicycle). Through the course of the book, we get a glimpse of lower class tenements, noisy underground speakeasies, and posh high rises.

The characters are all fun and eccentric. Zephyr throws herself into humanitarian endeavors with the enthusi...more
How awesome was this book? You have an alternate history but without the steam punk for once (not that that's a bad thing, but it's a good change), you have the prohibition and vampire gangs roaming the streets and LSD and blessed non-Christian blades and cities straight of the Arabian Nights and a very courageous and intimidating heroine protagonist.

A really fun re-imagining of the 1920s (vampires! djinn!) with a fabulous protagonist and intriguing plot. If you like a combination of historical and supernatural, mysteries where all the pieces come together very nicely, and idealistic twenty-somethings trying to make a difference in a messed-up world, I highly recommend it.
Another feisty heroine, another sexy immortal love interest, vampirism as a tragic disease, and all set in the slinky 1920s. Familiar tropes, but well written and infused with sufficient uniqueness to make this a truly excellent beginning to a promising series. Recommended!
I made it to page 20 when I realized that this book didn't captivate me, which surprised me as I usually love reading about prohibition era. But with kids being vampires changed against their will turned me off. This one just wasn't for me.
Aside from some nitpicky things, I loved this to death - but the ending. The ending! :( IS THERE GOING TO BE A SEQUEL? Please tell me there's going to be a sequel!
A 1920's vampire novel? Be still my paranormal loving heart. :-D
Victoria Janssen
Alaya Johnson's MOONSHINE is set in 1920s New York City, and is one of the most original vampire books I've ever read, because of the thematic depth. Vampires and various other "Others" are common and known in the novel's world; Others are part of a growing social problem, as some vampires feed on humans indiscriminately, usually turning them against their will. Another group of vampires restrict themselves to blood banks and try to fit in with humans, becoming yet another underclass, mirroring...more
Ms. Library
I'm not normally one for vampire stories. I find them either 1) too docile 2) too needlessly violent. I normally don't like reading about vampires who just want looooovvvee, or about vampires tearing people apart.
So, I was a little surprised about how much I liked this. I had picked this up because I really enjoyed the Summer Prince by the same author, and I decided to explore some of her other work.
This takes place in the 1920s, with vampires as mob bosses and "others" (djinnis and other supe...more
Jul 22, 2010 Amber rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in vampires and other paranormal characters, as well as historical fiction.
That’s right! A vampire book! But not just a vampire book…a book that also includes genies and fairies (though fairies do not play a large role)! Oh and here’s the other thing: humans are completely aware of these “Others”!

Set in New York during the Prohibition, the story opens with the young do-gooder Zephyr Hollis who has a not so do-gooder past that she is trying to make up for through teaching night school and participating in various charities. Her life becomes even more complicated when on...more
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Alaya Johnson graduated from Columbia University in 2004 with a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures. She lives in New York City.
More about Alaya Dawn Johnson...
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