Blood Casino (Vampires & Vices Book 1) by Nina Walker

Emoji Review by Rebecca Dixon

I just finished re-reading the first book in the Vampires & Vices series, Blood Casino, by Nina Walker ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป! I initially read this book through Kindle Unlimited last March. I wasnโ€™t writing reviews back then, so I never wrote one for it (but it is DESERVING๐Ÿ…!) Since we are getting close to 777 members, a lucky Casino ๐ŸŽฐ number, it reminded me of this series and that I wanted to circle back and do a review for it! I mentioned it to my girls, mods Maria Tracy & Patricia Mizell, and all three of us dropped what we were reading and read this book in the past 24 hours! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

So the story is about a young FMC (18 yrs old) waitress who lives in the good olโ€™ city of New Orleans in a modern day world where vampires are out-of-the-closet and running all of the seedy businesses. It actually reminds me a lot of Sookie Stackhouse (aka, TV series โ€˜True Bloodโ€™) with vamps being a part of mainstream society. But this definitely differs from True Blood in that human blood can be legal payment for services rendered! Which is where this book kicks offโ€ฆ an FMC whose mother gambles her way to dangerously low blood ๐Ÿฉธ levels in a Big Easy Casino ran by vampires ๐Ÿง›โ€โ™‚๏ธ ! And of course, since this is an UF (Urban Fantasy,) our sassy FMC shows up to save the day while taunting a Vampire Prince! Wait โœ‹๐Ÿป! Did someone say Vampire Prince ๐Ÿง›โ€โ™‚๏ธ+๐Ÿคด!?! Yep, my ears perked up at that too! ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†

OK! So first off, this book is a FANTASTIC cleanser! Itโ€™s light, fun, and easy to read ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป. It just flows really well from beginning to end. Itโ€™s soooo nice to pick up a book and understand the story from the get-go! And BONUS ๐Ÿ’ฐ!!! Itโ€™s FIRST person POV (my FAV ๐Ÿ˜!) This book was such a nice, refreshing surprise! It was one of those times when I picked a book based on its cover and I had NO idea what to expect when I started reading it. I ended up inhaling it over a weekend and then when it ended, the only disappointment I had was that the second book wasnโ€™t out yet ๐Ÿ˜ฉ (it now is though ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป!)

So this book is actually a really great, lesser known UF (Urban Fantasy.) I actually never see it mentioned in other FB groups, which is super surprising ๐Ÿ˜ฎ! (Hopefully this write-up helps change that ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป!) Itโ€™s Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Blade meets Sookie Stackhouse! The FMC is a pessimistic, ballsy realist that is a walking oxymoron as she is also youthfully naรฏve. Whereas a lot of young FMCs can frustrate the heck out of you with their pretty stupid choices, this FMC is endearing ๐Ÿ’œ for her hopeful ambition! There is also great vampire hunting action and some mystery about the other supernatural races (which we have yet to meet ๐Ÿ˜ฎโ€ฆ super exciting ๐Ÿคฉ!) The book does a good job of making you think the author is from NOLA, actually lives there, or deserves A++ for her homework! I really want to go to Pops and have some of that cajun brisket ๐Ÿฅฉ and Pecan Pie ๐Ÿฅง! Mmmmm ๐Ÿ˜‹

But what of the ROMANCE ๐Ÿ’˜ , you ask?! Oh boy!!! So this is actually a really great book for those who love romance in a UF, but donโ€™t want it to overpower the non-romance plotline. There is a HUNKY MMC (cough cough Vampire Prince ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜,) who comes across as a Christian Grey (stature-wise, not bondage-wise โ€ฆ sorry ladies ๐Ÿ˜œ) meets Lucius Septimus (hereโ€™s looking ๐Ÿ‘€ at you Afterlife fans ๐Ÿ˜†!) Heโ€™s powerful, ambitious, snarky, and he even FLIES! We are talking Eric Northman zipping up into the sky out-of-the-blue (no pun intended ๐Ÿ˜†) type flying! Thereโ€™s not a lot of steam in this book, but there is DEFINITELY enough chemistry ๐Ÿ”ฅ between the two MCs that you are rooting ๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿป for it in the future!

This book really was a lot of fun and pretty original! I am super excited ๐Ÿคฉ to read Book 2 and see what happens with our FMC and MMC! So if you are looking for a new UF (or maybe looking to try one for the first time,) this is definitely a solid choice! It really is a UF with a great balance between fantasy and romance! And itโ€™s free on KU!!! So roll that dice ๐ŸŽฒ baby and give it a go! You’ve got nothing to lose!