Mini Reviews: LGBT+ Paranormal/Urban Fantasy – Stake Sauce, Kelpie Blue, Caroline’s Heart


In Stake Sauce, a vampire hunter struggling with grief meets a cute punk vampire. In Kelpie Blue, a boy and a kelpie grow closer and work together to overcome everyday struggles and fae-related ones. In Caroline’s heart, a cowboy and a witch meet and help each other. Enjoy my mini reviews for these three LGBT+ paranormal/urban fantasy books!

Stake Sauce Arc 1 by RoAnna Sylver

Book Review: Stake Sauce (Stake Sauce Book 1) by RoAnna Sylver | reading, books, lgbt+, paranormal/urban fantasy, vampires, disability
Title: Stake Sauce Arc 1
Author: RoAnna Sylver
Series: Stake Sauce
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 206
Rating: 2 stars
This book was really slow to start, and I struggled to get into it. I felt like Jude had no personality, and his voice felt flat. This also just wasn't what I was expecting because it was very focused on grief, trauma, and healing, and most of the book consisted of Jude thinking about how he and his friends were coping, discussions between him and his friends about how they were coping, etc. I also had some issues with things in the plot and character reactions to things. What I did like though was all the diversity that was included. Jude was trans, gray aro/ace, mentally ill (PTSD), and physically disabled (prosthetic lower leg). The other main characters were diverse in various ways as well. And though I can't say for sure, the rep seemed good. Overall the book wasn't for me, but other people may enjoy it more than I did.

Kelpie Blue by Mell Eight

Book Review - Kelpie Blue (Out of Underhill Book 1) by Mell Eight | reading, books, lgbt+, paranormal/urban fantasy, disability
Title: Kelpie Blue
Author: Mell Eight
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 226
Rating: 4 stars

*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

This book was unusual in that it didn't really have a focused plot with a clear end goal (there was some conflict involving the fae, but it was just a small part of the story and handled fairly easily), but I found I didn't mind and was happy to go along for the ride. This was a sweet, fluffy, stress-free read about a period of time in a character's life and his growing relationship with the kelpie he loved (who loved him back). And it was exactly what I was in the mood for when I read it. I also just love books about uncommon paranormals, so I enjoyed getting to read this author's take on kelpies. Blue was an interesting character to read about because his mind seemed a little more simplistic and pure than is typical---mostly focused on comforts, food, swimming, and being with Rin---due to his animal nature, and sometimes he would blurt out things about eating people that would take me so by surprise I couldn't help but laugh. There were some very brief sexy scenes, and I liked that they were kind of understated because it made them feel realistic. Another plus was disability rep since Rin (the main character) had bag legs due to an accident he was in when he was younger. I even feel like I learned a bit about horse racing since there was a lot about that. Overall this book was short but sweet, with a cute relationship and likeable characters, and I enjoyed it!


Caroline's Heart by Austin Chant

Book Review: Caroline's Heart by Austin Chant | reading, books, lgbt+, paranormal/urban fantasy, trans
Title: Caroline's Heart
Author: Austin Chant
Pages: 97
Rating: 3 stars
There just wasn't enough oomph to this story for my taste. It was a novella, so it was a quick read, but it was slow and lacked tension. The characters didn't have much personality, and I didn't feel the connection between them. That being said, if you're looking for a subdued, easy-to-read, diverse (both main characters were trans and, I think, bisexual) story set in the Old West with a bit of magic and romance, you may enjoy it more than I did.

Talk to me!

Have you read any of these LGBT+ paranormal/urban fantasy books?
What's the most diverse book you've read lately?
Do you like when non-human characters act very non-human?
Do you like subdued romance stories?


Your Thoughts


28 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: LGBT+ Paranormal/Urban Fantasy – Stake Sauce, Kelpie Blue, Caroline’s Heart

I'd love if you'd share your thoughts, too!


Reading your comments makes me a very happy blogger!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Karen

    I liked Stake Sauce more than you did but I do think you have to be in the right mood for it and that it’s not for everyone. It’s….odd lol

    I have Caroline’s Heart on my Kindle because I liked Chant’s Coffee Boy and heard that Peter Darling is amazing. have you read that one yet?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t think my mood would make any difference, I think it’s just not a book for me. But I do remember talking about it with you.

      I really enjoyed Peter Darling, but Caroline’s Heart just kinda missed the mark for me.

  2. sjhigbee

    Thank you for the mini-reviews, which concisely gave your opinions and why. Nicely done, Kristen and I hope you have a great weekend:)

  3. Greg

    Stake Sauce- I love that title. Sorry it was only a 2 star but it does seem to have the diversity down! Kelpie Blue sounds like the one I would like the most, with a kelpie and a relatively low-key story. Sounds like a nice interlude read. Plus that cover! So misty and mysterious. πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes, it did have great diversity! I really liked Kelpie Blue. Definitely perfect for those lowkey reading moods. The cover and blurb make it seem mysterious, but honestly it’s really not mysterious or creepy, just sweet!

  4. Bookworm Brandee

    Ooo, I like these mini reviews. πŸ™‚ Sorry Stake Sauce didn’t work for you but I understand why. So disappointing when the MC is flat. I mean, with all those elements, the author should have been able to make you care, but… Kelpie Blue sounds pretty good. Sometimes a stress-free read is just the thing! And Caroline’s Heart has me curious…historical, western, and LGBTQIA+…you don’t find a lot of books with those genres combined. And as I said, stress free or easy-reading is sometimes exactly what I’m looking for!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! Yeah, I thought Stake Sauce sounded great, but it just didn’t work for me. Yes, sometimes stress-free is exactly what you need! You’re right, there are not a lot of western fantasy lgbt books, now that I’m thinking about it!

  5. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    It makes me sad that you didn’t enjoy Stake Sauce more because it sounded like it should be a cool book. I do like that it’s a diverse read dealing with grief though so that’s good. I still probably won’t read but I’m glad it had good points because it sounded cool. And a book about a kelpie? That’s pretty cool, but I reckon the lack of direction might be a bit off-putting for me. It must have been well written for you to have enjoyed it so much but I need more story to my reads, you know? And your issues with Caroline’s Heart is the reason for my dislike of novellas. I’ve read some good ones (Alpha & Omega by Patrica Briggs springs to mind, but that’s a novella which leads on to a series) but normally novellas are too slow, lack depth, or just don’t have enough story to them. It’s frustrating because it means I’m put off by novellas and I’m sure I’m missing out on good ones.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I thought I’d like it more too :-/ I mean, it’s got vampires! Normally meandering plots bother me, but I was in exactly the right mood for Kelpie Blue, and I really enjoyed the characters and all that. I’m the same, I don’t read a lot of novellas cuz I usually find myself not able to connect to the characters when there’s so little time to show their depth, or I just end up wanting more when the story ends. But this one sounded good, so I gave it a shot.

  6. Olivia Roach

    I think the book I just finished was a diverse recent read for me. It was the Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. It had discussions and representations of religion, LGBT+, feminism, curly hair and person of colour. Brilliant, right?

    Also, is it bad that I don’t even know what a kelpie is? Could you explain? I am curious especially as I had thought I’d heard of most paranormal creatures by now.

    The first book you mentioned and the last book both just sound like they wouldn’t interest me enough for me to pick them up. Shame :/

    1. Kristen Burns

      That does sound awesomely diverse!

      It’s a type of fae that’s kind of like a horse that lives in water? Google can prob explain better than I can, haha.

      I thought those other two books would be good, but eh, they just didn’t work for me.

  7. Jessica

    I’m still stuck reading the last Dark Tower book. The Dark Tower series is a very diverse book series. There is a black woman who has multiple personalities and she has stubs for legs. A man pushed her onto a train track. Eddie is a drug addict and marries the black woman. There are creatures that are half human and rat in the book series.