Devolution – Max Brooks [Books]

devolutionFirstly, thank you to Cornerstone for providing me a copy of this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

After Mount Rainier erupts,  the assumption is the secluded community Greenloop will, like similar places, be self-sufficient enough to survive. But when rescuers do reach it, they discover the site of a massacre, and Kate Holland’s journal provides the clues as to what actually happened.

The journal also provides a first hand account of what the residents of Greenloop fought against in their final days, and could be the key to unlocking the biggest find of the century. Max Brooks uses his talent to provide Kate’s account, alongside interviews with her brother, and a ranger, one of the first people on site, with extracts containing more relevant information about the characters and mysterious half-ape half-men creatures they encountered.

Max Brooks gives us this first hand account of life in a ‘smart’ community, where groceries are delivered by drone and smart-van, and everything is controlled by an app on your phone. Through Katie’s account, we see how quick technology can let us down where we really need it. This could have been a horror tale without the Bigfoot creatures terrorising Greenloop, an isolated community cut off from the rest of the world by natural disaster, but the addition of the creatures really adds that extra punch.

Throughout the story, it’s not just the external horrors explored. Kate and her husband, Dan, are looking to reconcile their rocky relationship. Around them are an interesting cast of characters, some likable (Mostar was a particular favourite), some not so much, and even though the impressions we get are purely through Kate’s eyes, there’s enough room for the reader to really make up their own minds on the characters.

Brooks also touches upon mental health, particularly through Kate and Dan who both seem to be dealing with their own forms of depression, and are unable to help one another. It’s sad, really, because they clearly care deeply for each other, but there’s a gulf between them at the start, which they both make that little bit bigger.

Through the other characters, Brooks also explores trauma, focused especially on Mostar, who Kate doesn’t know what to think of at first. But it’s obvious to the reader there is more to her than Kate sees, and she becomes one of the most interesting characters in the novel.

Devolution shows what can happen when people become too reliant on technology for everything, when people venture into nature without actually respecting nature, and that’s without the introduction of the creatures. And the creatures really do leave a lasting impression, as Kate catches glimpses of them here and there before they are fully revealed.

I read World War Z a long time ago, and one thing that struck me was how much it read like a history book, how real and vivid it felt, as if the events portrayed had actually happened. I didn’t enjoy Devolution  as much as World War Z (due to personal preference for zombies, to be honest) but it had a similar feel, the complete and utter immersion in this world and the sense that these events are very much real.

The way this book unfolded was fascinating, with the human characters becoming that little bit more ‘feral’ as time went on, with the idea of civilisation shown to be frail, and reflecting how the people who seem the most put together might melt in a crisis, while those who seem most ‘frail’ can really shine. It’s a really solid book, completely engaging with characters you just don’t want to leave behind. Without a doubt, I highly recommend checking this out.

 

American Gods – Neil Gaiman [Books]

american gods

I originally read American Gods years ago, but since seeing the first series of the TV show I wanted to reread it. Listening to the full cast audio version via Audible seemed a good way of getting reacquainted with the story.  As I’ve said before, I’m really enjoying the full cast audio productions, and American Gods is no different.

Shadow Moon is on the verge of being released from prison, and he cannot wait to return home to his wife, Laura. But things don’t go to plan. and Shadow is released early due to the death of Laura and his best friend. With no wife and no job to return to, Shadow very reluctantly accepts a job from the mysterious Mr Wednesday. As Shadow is drawn deeper into Wednesday’s world, he’s also drawn into a brewing war, one between the old gods and the new, one Wednesday seems determined to win.

Like the version of the book I originally read, this is the extended version – the ‘author’s cut’, in a sense. With scenes which were originally taken out of the book. It’s sort of strange coming back to a book like this after so long, especially with a TV series between readings.

Some elements were clear in my mind, and others I remembered as the story progressed, mainly those parts that were changed from book to TV show. But listening to the audio version was a great experience, and the voice actors involved really matched the characters well, especially Shadow and Wednesday.

Listening to this reminded me why I loved the book in the first place. Shadow is an absolute sweetheart, just trying always to do the right thing, though sometimes it’s hard to tell what the right thing is. And the people around him push and pull in every direction, meaning he’s not always completely clear on what’s happening, left with no choice but to simply go through with it. Even then, he does it, and he does it without complaint, because he’s made a promise and Shadow never breaks a promise.

Shadow is well written, and so undeniably human in the face of all these gods who surround him. He doesn’t back down from a challenge, something that can be dangerous when faced with gods. And around him is a really strong supporting ‘cast’, including his dead wife, Laura.

As well as great characters, there are some absolutely wonderful settings here, rich in their description and all which serve a solid purpose, from The House on the Rock (which I want to visit so, so bad) to the town where Shadow hides. Gaiman creates beautiful settings which really serve the story, and it works so well here, grounding us even as Wednesday and Shadow zip from one place to the next.

I really enjoyed re experiencing this world again, and getting to meet these characters in a different setting. The book and TV show are very different, and though I haven’t caught up with season 2, I did thoroughly enjoy season 1, but it’s definitely a situation where both should be viewed slightly separate from one another. That said, if you are a fan of the show but haven’t yet read the book, I do recommend checking it out. And if you are a fan of audio books, the full cast version of this was absolutely fantastic.

iZombie, Vol 1: Dead to the World [Books]

izombie

Once I’d finished reading this, I checked out the Netflix series. If you’ve only experienced either the series or the graphic novel, be aware – they are completely different. Even the names of the characters are changed – Gwen in the graphic novel, Olivia in the series. So far I’ve only seen two episodes of the show, and it is really good, but don’t go into it expecting an adaptation of the graphic novel, and don’t read the graphic novel expecting something similar to the show.

In the graphic novel, Gwen is a zombie. She needs to eat brains once per month to stop herself going full, mindless zombie. Luckily, she works as a gravedigger, giving her access to freshly buried bodies. But when she eats those brains, she gets flashes of the dead person’s life, often driving her to solve whatever unfinished business they had.

Assisting her, she has her best friend Ellie, a ghost, and the guy with a crush on her, a wereterrior called Scott/Spot. In this story, she discovers her latest dining experience died at a mysterious house, and she sets out to find out what happened.

I really liked this graphic novel. The art style matches wonderfully with the story, really capturing the ‘essence’, as such, of the characters, making Gwen look almost dead – but not so dead it’s obvious to others – and giving Ellie an almost ethereal feel, really giving the impression of a ghost.

The story, too, is intriguing, as we – and Gwen – try to piece together the dead man’s life and death, and how exactly the mysterious stranger is involved. It lays out the situation well, and does a fantastic job of presenting the relationships Gwen has with others.

And the friendships were something I really enjoyed. Gwen can’t really hang out with ‘living’ people, and she spends most of her time alone, but Ellie and Scott ensure she still has people she can turn to and trust, while both are still shown to have lives away from the main character.

By the end of volume one, we’re left with some elements tied up, and others remaining open, including a love interest for Gwen and the mystery surrounding the man who could be a possibly ally to her. It’s overall a really intriguing story, with great artwork, and I really hope I can read volume two sometime soon.

New York City in 1979 – Kathy Acker

new york in 1979

I wanted to read this book as part of my research for a future WIP. I thought this might help me get an idea of New York, specifically perhaps the alternative culture in New York during the end of the 70s.

Instead, New York in 1979 is a short, snapshot-type look at a few different ‘characters’.  I’ve never come across Kathy Acker’s work before, so I didn’t really know what to expect.

Goodreads’ description notes, “A tale of art, sex, blood, junkies and whores in New York’s underground, from cult literary icon Kathy Acker.” I wanted something to really dig my teeth into, to really get a sense of people and place, but instead it’s a collection of dialogue, thoughts, and images.

It’s not bad as such, it’s just…not great. I can see how this could have gained prominence and a cult following back in the 80s, and I can see how important something like this might be, but I don’t think it necessarily deserves to be called a ‘modern classic’.

Like I said, these are snapshots, presented in ways such as overheard conversations in a jail, or quick, short, almost stream-of-consciousness scenes about an escort arranging her schedule. They’re interesting, but I read through this pretty quickly and I don’t think it would have that much of a lasting impression in the long-term, for me personally.

I might give this another go at some point in the future. It’s short enough that it barely takes any time at all to read, so it’s no loss to try again. But in this instance it just didn’t click for me, but maybe it will with someone either more familiar with the writer, or who enjoys more experimental type writing.

Twisted Tales: So This Is Love – Elizabeth Lim [Books]

so this is love

Yep, it’s another Twisted Tales book, so far one of my favourite ever series. I really hope these books keep coming, because I will definitely keep reading. And the next cover has just been revealed – Unbirthday, an Alice in Wonderland tale. So far my favourite is Reflection, but I think this takes the second top spot. Which I’m pretty sure is what I said about Straight on ‘Till Morning too, but Elizabeth Lim is such a fantastic writer, it’s hard not to fall in love with her books.

The thing is, Lim is excellent at writing couples. It’s easy to feel like characters are in love in one of her books, even while other forces keep them apart.

In So This is Love, Cinderella is not able to try on the glass slipper, and the duke rides away from her home without even knowing she’s there. Unable to remain with her step-mother, Cinderella flees, and ends up working in – of all places – the castle.

But meeting the prince isn’t as easy as it seems, and Cinderella soon decides to try and make a life for herself with her new job and new friends. But she’s still determined to help her fairy godmother, and in doing so she unravels a conspiracy that threatens everything.

When this series works well, it’s clear the author knows these characters inside and out. After all, they’re taking the core elements of whatever character it is, and putting them in a new situation. And these are characters many people love, which means the expectations are high. Lim did brilliantly with Mulan in Reflection, and So This Is Love is another example of how well she knows and how much she loves Disney.

Cinderella feels very much like the character we know from the original story, but like in many of these tales she has that little bit more agency. As optimistic as she tries to remain, she knows deep down she is unhappy, though she never lets this leave a mark, continuing to do her job as best she can, even when it seems like everything is against her.

As for the scenes which do take place between Cinderella and the prince, Lim really keeps the reader on edge. For every warm, happy feeling a scene gives, the rug is soon yanked out as the reader realises it cannot all go as hoped. And the characters are fantastic – completely and utterly engaging, meaning it is easier to connect to the characters and feel what we’re supposed to.

I could really go on and on and on about what a good writer Elizabeth Lim is, but seriously, if you haven’t already, do check out Reflection and/or So This Is Love, and while you’re at, pick up Spin the Dawn too because they are all awesome.

So This Is Love is another fantastic addition to the Twisted Tales series, by a brilliant writer, once more keeping the core of the characters while putting them in a new and interesting situation. Definitely one for Disney fans to check out!

 

How To Write Your First Novel – Sophie King [Books]

how to write your first novelI am a big lover of writing craft books. I read a lot of them, and I read a variety. Many have interesting tips, great advice, and can be written really well. Unfortunately, How to Write Your First Novel is not one of them.

This book is for absolute, complete beginners. The problem, I think, is assuming people know absolutely nothing about writing when coming to this book. I honestly think by the time someone picks up a book about the craft, they know something. They know the elements of a story, perhaps, or have written some short stories. Which then makes a lot of the ideas raised in this book a little bit obsolete.

As well as that, this book was published in 2014. It is beyond the author’s control, but it means a lot of information contained within is now outdated. But it is still being promoted alongside the fantastic Writing Magazine in the UK, given as a gift to subscribers (that’s how I got my copy), so perhaps it is time to do a revised updated version.

One thing I’ve definitely found I dislike in writing advice books: writers who only use their own works as examples. And King does it here a lot. It’s not in a “here’s an idea of how you can do this” way either, or “this works for me maybe it’ll work for you”, it’s essentially putting herself as the expert, showcasing extracts of her work as perfect examples.

They’re not bad as such, but they’re not really as good as the author seems to think they are. And as another sign of an aging book, some of the extracts (and, apparently, the author’s novels themselves) are pretty ableist.

There are so many fantastic how to write novel books out there, or general how to write, or genre specific books, and this one really doesn’t add anything to the discussion. If you’re looking for ways to improve your writing, I would suggest picking up On Writing by Stephen King, Damn Fine Story by Chuck Wendig, or one of the first writing books I ever read, How NOT to Write a Novel, by Howard Mittelmark. The information in How to Write Your First Novel is too basic to really be of interest, the publishing advice is by now outdated, and the extracts are at times uncomfortable, making it feel like the author is patting themselves on the back.

I’ll always suggest reading books about the craft of writing, but I wouldn’t suggest reading this one.

April 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part Two [Books]

April 2020 2

January  / February / March Part 1 / March Part 2 / April Part 1

Welcome to my April Reading Wrap Up, Part 2! Like March, I read a lot in April. 18 books in total. I’ve hit a little bit of a reading slump in May, so hopefully May’s Wrap Up won’t need 2 parts to go through. But anyway, here are the other 9 books read in the second month of lock down.

Bone Harvest – James Brogden

bone harvestMy Review

I really liked this book. Brogden’s novel spans decades, starting with World War I and coming right up to a now alternative 2020 where Covid-19 doesn’t exist. Instead, all these characters have to worry about are the VE Day Celebrations. Or at least they think so. This novel really hit a couple of sweet spots, and I really do recommend it.

The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas, Volume 1

twilight zone

My Review

This was a very enjoyable listening experience. These radio dramas are fully casted, and contain multiple stories, all of which had that strong Twilight Zone feel to them. I only came to this show fairly recently, but I absolutely love anything to do with it (Tower of Terror is a ride I refused to go on when we went to Florida, because I was five and terrified, and was my second favourite ride visiting Disney Paris) including this audio production.

The Seven Endless Forests – April Tucholke

seven endless

My Review

This had all the makings of a book I wanted to love. Female led fantasy based around the King Arthur legend, I was sold. Unfortunately, the book itself wasn’t that great. It rambled, a lot, and there was little to resemble King Arthur’s story found in the pages. This one definitely wasn’t for me.

Catalyst – Tracy Richardson

catalyst

Review Coming Soon

This was a book I read for one of the Write Reads blog tours. Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy this one. It took some really interesting ideas and felt like it simplified them too much. And presented simple ‘solutions’ to the main crises’ we’re facing today. Was a little disappointed, but keep an eye out for the blog tour, as I’m sure other bloggers felt differently from me.

Shades of Magic, Volume 1: The Steel Prince – V.E. Schwab

shades of magic steel prince

My Review

I don’t know which situation I would prefer: always having a few Schwab books to read, or being completely caught up and eagerly awaiting the next one. Either way, just like with Vicious, I knew picking up this graphic novel I would love it. I haven’t come across a Schwab book I didn’t like. If you’ve read the Shades of Magic trilogy, I highly recommend jumping into The Steel Prince.

Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds: The Musical Drama – H.G. Wells

war of the worlds

My Review

Another great listening experience! Though sadly there is no singing in this one. It was still very enjoyable though, and the cast involved was excellent. I definitely recommend this one, as the soundtrack is amazing.

Tiger Queen – Annie Sullivan

tiger queen

My Review

I enjoyed this one. It was a fun, easy read that had be completely hooked. A good YA novel, that maybe leans a little too much on various tropes, and could have done with stronger female characters, but overall, like I said, it was enjoyable.

Dark Ends – Edited by Clayton Snyder

dark ends

Review coming soon on Dead Head Reviews

This is an absolutely brilliant dark fantasy anthology, and one I really suggest picking up. This anthology is made up of novelettes, many set in worlds already created by the writers. Which is great because with every story I definitely found myself wanting more.

The Deception of Kathryn Vask – Mark Steensland

the deception
My Review

My final book for this month. The Deception of Kathryn Vask is a fantastic, tight play that I can easily imagine on stage, and will hopefully one day get to see on stage, too. My review is nothing but glowing praise for Steensland, and recommendations to keep an eye out for this one.

And that is it for April! How did your month go? I seem to be going through books faster than I realise at the moment, though it has calmed down for May. I’m also reading slightly longer stuff this month, and listening to American Gods on Audible which is really long. I amended my Goodreads Goal to 75, after hitting the 50 mark, and I’m currently on 55 so I’m pretty happy with that.

April 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part One [Books]

April 2020 1JanuaryFebruaryMarch Part 1March Part 2

I am not doing great at getting these up in a timely way. Ah well. April was another month in which I finished a lot of books, which means this is going to be another two parter. April also saw me complete my 2020 Reading Goal, which was set at 50. I’ve now increased it to 75. And it seems May is a bit of a reading slump month for me. So far I’ve finished 5 books this month, which is still good for me but I doubt it’ll exceed the 18 I read in April.

Doctor Who, The Tenth Doctor Adventures, Volume 1

doctor who tenth doctor adventures

My Review

2020 is the year I started listening to audiobooks. After a rocky start with DisneyWar, I’ve found myself enjoying them a lot, especially full cast productions. The Tenth Doctor Adventures contains three stories starring my favourite doctor and Donna, who though not my favourite of the companions, is still one I really like. This audio production was absolutely great to listen to, and I look forward to checking out more in the future.

Dead Daughters – Tim Meyer

dead daughters

My Review

Poltergeist Press are an absolutely fantastic indie horror publisher, putting out great books. Dead Daughters was slightly more thriller than horror for me, but I still really enjoyed this one. It’s got an intriguing premise and interesting characters able to carry the reader through. Definitley worth checking out.

Cirque Des Freaks and Other Tales of Horror – Julián López

cirquwMy Review

I had really high hopes for this one, and unfortunately it didn’t match up. I go into more detail in my review, but these felt more like doomed love stories than actual horror. Not to mention the plot for one story is ripped straight out of the horror film Waxwork. If you’re looking for LGBTQ+ horror anthologies, I recommend Black Rainbow instead.

The Devil’s City – Sara Tantlinger & Matt Corley

the devil's city

Review coming soon on Dead Head Reviews

Talking to friends who have read this, The Devil’s City works much better as a companion to the game currently in production, rather than as a standalone novella. I didn’t really get on with it, but I can see the appeal for others. For me, it moved too fast and didn’t feel like it had enough space to breathe, but many horror lovers have throughly enjoyed it.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J.K. Rowling

tales of beedleMy Review

I gave this a listen on Audible as it was a freebie. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if it hadn’t been free anyway, but I was still glad I didn’t spend money/credits on it. The narration is great, with some fantastic actors involved, but parts of the book smack of self-righteousness. I read this originally at university, but returning to it now, I really wasn’t fussed.

Vicious – V.E. Schwab

vicious

My Review

I really liked this. Of course I did, it’s a Schwab novel, and I know I’m always getting interesting characters, intriguing plots and wonderful settings with Schwab’s books. Vicious asks what it really means to be a hero or a villain, and who actually decides who is who. If you’ve not checked this out, I cannot urge you enough to do so.

The Corpse Garden – S.H. Cooper

the corpse garden

My Review

I will shout this from the rooftops: S.H. Cooper is a bloody fantastic writer. Her short stories are excellent at combining heartbreak with horror, and reinforce an idea I will bang on and on about until someone tells me to shut up – horror is at its best when it is about love. If you haven’t checked out any of Cooper’s work, why not? For horror fans, there’s her two short story collections and the novella, The Festering Ones. If horror isn’t your thing or you also love YA Fantasy, go read The Knight’s Daughter.

Ghostland – Duncan Ralston

ghostland

My Review

Unfortunately I wasn’t really fussed on this one, and I absolutely love stories with multiple ghosts focused around an interesting setting. But this just read a bit superficial to me. There was no real character development, the book didn’t know if it wanted to be YA or Adult, and there wasn’t anything really new to it. It felt much like Jurassic Park with Ghosts. Which is an awesome premise, just not pulled off very well here.

Beauty – Sarah Pinborough

beauty

My Review

I already really miss this series. After reading all three, I can safely say this is a fantastic, interesting take on fairy tales, giving them modern twists while creating a new fantasy world around them. I really enjoyed all three books, but they definitely got better with each one. And I got through all three really quickly. This is a trilogy definitely worth checking out.

So there we have the first 9 books I read in April. Part Two coming as soon as possible!

Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds [Books]

war of the worldsYep, another Audible Drama. Going into this, I expected something…different. I really should have read more about this version before getting it. What I wanted was, essentially, an audio version of the musical, though I suppose that would technically just be the album then, wouldn’t it?

Anyway. That aside, and putting away my disappointment at not hearing Michael Sheen singing, this is actually a fantastic audio drama. The cast is brilliant, especially Sheen as the main character. He carries us through the story, and makes the narration sound natural rather than, well, narration.

The music really does add to the drama, underscoring the action and dialogue and at times, providing further clues as to what might be happening. Most of the music here will be familiar, even if you’ve never actually listened to Jeff Wayne’s soundtrack, some of the songs have still wedged themselves in. And it works really well here.

This is a really great production. I think overall full cast audio works brilliantly in general, and it’s really used to full effect here. Even though the story is just told through dialogue and sound effects, it becomes really easy to picture the scenes of destruction around the characters, to see the crowds in London as they flee their villages, and to see the huge crater housing the alien invaders at the beginning.

War of the Worlds is a timeless classic with endless adaptations. But what struck me most about this one was how relevant it feels, especially now. True, the apocalypse, it seems, doesn’t quite happen as Wells imagined it, though there are very good parallels. There are those who refuse to believe what is actually happening, until they maybe see it with their own eyes. Those in charge try to insist on life carrying on as normal until it’s almost too late. One character is convinced his ultimate vision of the world will be what saves humanity – a hypermasculine vision where the strong survive and the ‘weak’ are discarded, only to find himself unable to even take the first steps in pursuing his dream.

Listening to this, the threat feels real, the reactions feel real, and the tension is handled wonderfully. It’s a really brilliant audio production with a really strong cast. It might not have actual singing in it, but I can always listen to the album for that.

Sangre: The Wrong Side of Tomorrow -Carlos Colon [Blackthorn Book Tours]

received_2714049208646313Blurb

The Story of a Reluctant, Undead Vigilante.

The harrowing saga of Nicky Negron’s tortured soul continues as the inner and outer demons shadowing Newark, New Jersey’s undead vigilante have no intention of letting him rest in peace.

Knowing his paranormal existence can only lead to complications, Nicky tries not to draw too much attention to himself. This becomes difficult as he learns that he has captured the interest of an unrelenting federal agent.

Suspected of being an assassin for a South American drug cartel, Nicky finds himself dealing with the exact kind of scrutiny he’s been trying to avoid since he was turned almost thirty years ago. It complicates matters even more when Nicky is confronted with another undead presence that is threatening to commit atrocities to the children of a friend Nicky had sworn to protect. This pits the foul-mouthed night stalker, Nicky Negron, against the most horrifying monsters – both the human and non-human variety.

An absolute rollercoaster of a novel, Sangre: The Wrong Side of Tomorrow delivers even more suspense, insight, laughs, and emotional wallop than its predecessor. Nicky is back! See you on the other side…

Review

Sangre: The Wrong Side of Tomorrow is the sequel to Colon’s Sangre: The Color of Dying. I hadn’t read the first book, but that really didn’t impact my enjoyment of The Wrong Side of Tomorrow. It very much read as a standalone novel, though has made me curious about the first book and what happens to Nicky when he originally gets turned.

The novel is told in two strands. The past, giving us glimpses into Nicky’s life as a teenager, his decaying relationship with his mother and his crush on a young woman who works at a nearby department store. But the main story is focused on the present, as Nicky comes up against the same vampire who killed and turned him, tries to enlist the help of a doctor researching vampires and intent on killing them, and facing off against an FBI Agent determined to pin recent killings on him.

Nicky is an interesting character. The vampirism in Sangre is fairly different to the type in most vampire novels. Nicky has a resistance to it, meaning he retains much of his humanity, and is all too aware of the monster he is, as much as he struggles against it. But Nicky puts this down to just being a vampire, when the flashbacks show us he wasn’t exactly a ‘good guy’ before he died either. He practically stalks his crush, leers over women, and sleeps with the wife of the supervisor who looked after him after his mother left.

Put simply, Nicky is a bit more complicated than just the brooding, moping type of vampire often found in teen fiction, and the strong, don’t-give-a-shit type found in some urban fantasties. It works really well, painting a picture of someone who feels, well, human.

The book is a good, enjoyable read, with plenty of action to keep the reader entertained. However, there were a couple of small things that bugged me.

Firstly, it feels too long. There was quite a bit of repetition, especially around the middle to end parts, and it felt like there was a lot that could have easily been cut without losing anything. We’re told over and over how Nicky is resistant, how Stacey is beautiful, that the doctor has injected herself with a serum, etc. The repetition made these sections feel like filler, relaying information the reader is already well aware of, and stretching the book out longer than needed. In some flashback scenes, too, it feels too much like we’re being told the same things, seeing the same scenes, with little added until later in the novel.

The other thing – and this is totally personal preference – was it felt like an overuse of exclamation marks, almost like trying to force a gasp from the reader. At times it got a little annoying, especially in the climax of the novel.

Overall, however, I really did enjoy this book, and found it to be a thoroughly fun ride. I’d recommend it if you like vampire focused urban fantasy, with an interesting anti-hero and lots of action.

Purchase on Amazon

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The Author

Born in Spanish Harlem and raised by Puerto Rican parents in the South Bronx, Carlos Colón drew attention from his high school teachers with his penchant for storytelling. Before long, they nicknamed him Hemingway. After graduating from CUNY’ s Herbert H. Lehman College, Carlos dabbled in screenwriting for a few years before settling into the insurance business. Several decades later, Carlos returned to the entertainment world when he formed the retro rock ‘n’ roll band, the Jersey Shore Roustabouts. After twelve successful years performing live and producing two albums, the band moved on after their farewell concert in 2018.

Prior to that, 2016 saw the release of Carlos’ first novel, “Sangre: The Color of Dying”. It was later that year named as one of the Top Ten novels written by a Latino author.  After receiving extraordinary praise from literary critics and the unexpected devotion of readers to his foul-mouthed, yet oddly endearing anti-hero, Nicky Negrón, Carlos knew he had little choice but to begin working on a sequel. In 2019, the follow up “Sangre: The Wrong Side of Tomorrow” was released and it received just as much praise as its predecessor. Readers are already hoping that there is a third installment in the works.

When not busy with his multiple projects, Carlos enjoys his private time living in the Jersey Shore area with Maria, his wife of 40 years, and their cat, Tuco.

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