Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Moonshine” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Zephyr Hollis #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  586 ratings  ·  117 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 ...more
Paperback, 278 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Griffin (first published 2010)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Moonshine, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Moonshine

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  586 ratings  ·  117 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Moonshine
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
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
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 t
Jul 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-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
Emma Rose Ribbons
Nov 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Nicole 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 felt a little bit wobbly to me in a few places, the story kept me interested. The end is obviously a set-up for a sequel, and I'm interested in reading it.
The story stands out among the recent flood of stories featuring vampires because of some unique qualities. The author does a good job making a case for vampires (and other non-human
Jul 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
May 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Moonshine by Alaya Dawn Johnson is a clever, inventive book as well as a fun read. Zephyr is an unusual but likable heroine. Amir is a smoldering man of mystery. Side characters are interesting and often surprisingly complex, from a diverse range of backgrounds. The historical setting feels accurate and realistic, full of little details (clothing, social activities, historical facts, etc) that add authenticity without bogging down the flow of the plot. The supernatural element has been incorpora ...more
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
K. Lincoln
Jul 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 09, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vampires, gave-up-on
Every time I go into Barnes & Noble, I always check out the bargain section. Well today I looked at it and I found this book. I'm not sure what it is that made me want to buy it. I think it was because it says on the cover that it is "A cross between Gangs of New York and True Blood. That sounds awesom. Anyway, I got it for $3.99!(gotta love that bargain ...more
Apr 30, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
A 1920's vampire novel? Be still my paranormal loving heart. :-D ...more
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! ...more
Zephyr Hollis has a reputation as a do-gooder. As a singing vampire suffragette, actually. From Brooklyn to Midtown to Battery Park to the LES, she and her bicycle are near-ubiquitous as she runs from protest to meeting to night school, where she teaches. One night, before class, she comes across a young boy, victim of an Other attack, and tries to save him. She’s helped by Amir, a mysterious Other who attends her classes, who in turn offers her a deal: if she will help him track down Rinaldo, t ...more
Virginia Vantries
Jul 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Moonshine is a 1920s Take on 2000s Paranormal Romance Trends

Reviewed on

As someone who enjoys the odd dip into paranormal romance, Moonshine had been on my radar for a couple of years. I lost track of it because it’s not available on Kindle or through my library system. But when I read the synopsis for Johnson’s upcoming release, Trouble the Saints, I was so enthused I had to track down this book from a decade ago. I discovered, surprise, this book does indeed feel like
C.L. McCollum
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Obviously I'm WAY behind the times with this one, but after reading SUMMER PRINCE, I went searching for anything the author had written and was excited to find she'd done an urban fantasy vampire centric novel (two even!). This definitely played with the urban fantasy genre with some delightful twists: setting the story back in time to Prohibition, creating a main character who's not as much of a "warrior" as a true social justice warrior - throwing all of her energy into trying to make things b ...more
Jul 22, 2020 rated it liked it
The only other work I’ve read by this author before is a short story in the Zombies vs. Unicorns anthology, but their story was my favorite out of all of them, so I was hoping to really like this book. However I just could not get into it at all. It was well-written and the concept was cool - vampires and supernatural creatures in a late 1920’s era, set in a magical realism world where vampires and “Others” are recognized and accepted as a normal part of society. But there was a lack of world bu ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, vampires
Johnson creates a wonderful world that seamlessly mixes magic with reality. Amazing novel!
Dec 21, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
Dec 2020: I’ve basically realized that when I find a Paranormal romance / urban fantasy book I add it to my TBR. Since this is set in 1920 it looks different enough for me to be intrigued...
Very entertaining premise (real and acknowledged vampires in 1920s New York City winter) and a winning heroine can't completely make up for the fact that this book was just okay. It was just a little bit all over the place. Entertaining but not memorable. ...more
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
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Stuff I Read – Moonshine by Alaya Dawn Johnson Review

Forward into some urban fantasy! I have absolutely loved basically everything that I've picked up from Alaya Dawn Johnson, but most of it was technically YA (Love is the Drug and The Summer Prince). So when I saw that she had an urban fantasy series marketed more toward adults I jumped all over that. Please and thank you! What I found was Johnson's signature fun wrapped in a city at turns gritty and hopeful. This actually is a bit lighter a re
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten!

In 1920s New York, vampires and other such Others are minorities with few to no rights and Zephyr Hollis is the singing vampire suffragette, famous for how much she gives and her never-ending crusade for Other rights. She teaches classes for Others and immigrants so they can learn how to function in American society and it's normal for her to give all the money she has and have trouble paying her rent. Then along comes Amir, who offers her money to help hi
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More cool stuff from my People I Saw At Readercon list! I will be doing this for a long time, y’all.

Anyway, the people in question is Alaya Dawn Johnson, who I saw speak on… uh… four panels, I think, but who I was not able to meet in person, which is a bummer, because she was pretty awesome on all her panels. Her newest book, and first YA book, is The Summer Prince, which I was sort of intending to buy until I saw she wrote vampire books as well, so I bought those instead for now, because I am p
Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

I love stories set in the 1920’s, and I loved author Alaya Johnson’s most recent book, Love is the Drug. So I had high hopes for Moonshine, which is a paranormal with romantic elements about a social worker in New York in the 1920s. As it turned out the book was…OK. It was entertaining but it was easy to put down. It’s the first book in a series, so the romance element ends in a cliffhanger, and the dialogue felt off somehow. Despite having many trapping
Linda Koerber
Jul 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: july
(Originally posted

I have a fascination with the richness of the 1920’s: the glitz and glamour, flapper dresses, jazz music, desperation, ignorance, corruption, to name just a few. Moonshine captures all of these things and more. The streets of 1920’s New York gets shined on with a gritty light and reveals what life would have been like if you added other dark denizens haunting the streets, particularly vampires. It’s a tale that’ll make you rethink the p
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Untamed
  • The Affair of the Mysterious Letter
  • The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels (Dangerous Damsels, #1)
  • 葬送のフリーレン 2 [Sousou no Frieren 2] (Frieren: Beyond Journey's End, #2)
  • 葬送のフリーレン 3 [Sousou no Frieren 3] (Frieren: Beyond Journey's End, #3)
  • Frieren: Beyond Journey's End, Vol. 1
  • Baking Bad (Beaufort Scales Mystery #1)
  • Dungeon Critters
  • Yule Be Sorry (A Beaufort Scales Mystery #2)
  • Under Lock & Skeleton Key (Secret Staircase Mystery, #1)
  • The Savior's Book Cafe Story in Another World (Manga) Vol. 2
  • The Savior's Book Cafe Story in Another World (Manga) Vol. 1
  • Spear
  • Days on Fes, Vol. 2
  • Days on Fes, Vol. 3
  • Days on Fes, Vol. 1
  • A Manor of Life & Death - A Cozy Mystery (with Dragons): A Beaufort Scales Mystery, Book 3
  • Murder in Bloomsbury (Atlas Catesby #2)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Alaya Johnson graduated from Columbia University in 2004 with a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures. She lives in New York City.

Other books in the series

Zephyr Hollis (3 books)
  • Wicked City (Zephyr Hollis, #2)
  • The Inconstant Moon (Zephyr Hollis)

Related Articles

  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
97 likes · 21 comments