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Oil and Water Book Review

Lara Ann Dominick's Oil and Water will be the first review featured on our blog! Before we get started, I'll disclaim that I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review, and all opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone (no mind possession occurred).

Without further ado, let's hop into the review!

Coffee, Book, & Candle indie vampire book review Oil and Water Lara Ann Dominick

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

Category: Emotional Read

Want to know more about how we categorize books? See our Lexicon for details.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Well, to kick off, I gave myself two weeks to read this book and blew through it in two days if that tells you anything.


Oil and Water follows the story of two women: Elsie, a human in her late twenties who is living with her parents while trying to pay back her student loans, and Opal, a ruthless vampire who uses seduction to feed when she wants and has no qualms about the humans she kills.

Though I am far from an Elsie, I immediately clicked with this character. From the first page, her mental tangents exude genuineness. She shamelessly admits she is a sucker for novels she describes as "trashy young adult fantasy romance," normally of the vampire persuasion, and goes on to detail the thrill of escaping the monotony of the real world by inserting herself into these epic romances.

I'd found it far too easy to get absorbed into the unrealistic romance; to lose myself in the somehow simultaneously overdone and watered down action; to picture myself living within the impossible realm of the story. And yet it was so hard to let go of the book, to put it on the shelf and force myself to return to reality. (Chp 1)

There's something about this unabashed truth that startled me out of the formula I expected of a vampire romance, but in a fantastic way. Almost immediately, Elsie was real to me. She has a circle of friends she hangs with regularly and parents who care about her and occasionally smother her, as parents are wont to do. Her job isn't glamorous, but she finds joy in what she does: helping troubled kids in the school system.

The best part about having someone so normal, so relatable be the heroine is that imagining her story taking place, as Elsie likes to do with her romances, actually felt possible. Her meeting with the soon-to-be vampire love Cyrus, or Cy, unfolds under very common circumstances: she's out with a friend, asks him for a cigarette, then starts flirting a little because, well, he's hot.

He had on a white button-down with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows and dark jeans that were slim cut, but not too tight. He was fit, but in an understated way, just enough that you could see toned and defined muscles under the lines of his shirt [. . .] His black hair was styled in that way that looked natural and carefree but probably took an hour to get just right [. . .] every part of his look was very casual, but altogether there was something about him that came across as just decadent. (Chp 5)

Cy's personality is everything modern love interests should be: caring, supportive, respectful of Elsie and her boundaries, patient, kind, thoughtful, and emotionally intelligent.

There are two hallmarks to a romance I cannot put down: 1) I have to relate to the main character, even if our personalities differ. 2) I have to be as in love with the love interest as the character is.

Check and check! Cy is officially on my Book Boyfriend list. Sorry, Elsie, he's stolen in my mind. Moving on to our other leading gal Opal...well, she's ruthless. She has zero memories of her human life, rendering her the most apathetic and murder-hungry vampire anyone has come across. Readers get to follow her into the world of vampirism, ruled by a heavy-handed council and fraught with all the sensuality and darkness one would expect, yet Dominick paints it in an aptly gritty light.


Despite Cy's dreaminess, vampires are not all human-loving softies. They are murderers, SA criminals, and power-hungry political assholes. Basically, a realistic take on what a vampire society would look like.

I wasn't a fan of Opal, and I get the sense I wasn't meant to be. She's dark, emotionless, and so far from human that there's no connection. I found myself skimming some of these chapters to get back to Elsie and Cy (what can I say, I'm a simple girl), but—believe me—once Elsie's and Opal's stories clash, each chapter has weight.


What's the conflict? A vampire ex with a vendetta against Cy and, by association, Elsie, plus a vampire council that could bring their fist down at any moment.

But this story is so character-driven (and the conflict so twisty-turny, I dare not spoil it) that I wanted to focus on those characters.

Oil and Water is an exploration of love and loss, mediocrity giving way to the fantastical, kindness and darkness, and two warring ideals of justice that aren't black and white. I enjoyed this book in all its emotional complexity and that, while it ends on a good note, it's not without sacrifice.

As a final point, this book deals with a lot of sensitive material on SA, but I never felt it took precedence over the characters. While Dominick keeps anything graphic respectfully off-screen, readers are still privy to the aftermath of various forms of assault and the lack of legal punishment.

Ultimately, though, this is a story about a human and a vampire (two, counting Cy) and how, even when the world is bleak, light can be found in the people we love.

Enjoy this review? Share on social media to give this book a boost. If you're inclined to purchase a copy for yourself, you can find the Amazon listing below. Also, maybe buy an extra copy to throw at someone who needs to read it?

Coffee, Book, & Candle indie vampire book review Oil and Water Lara Ann Dominick

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