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

Copy of BLACKTHORN BOOK TOURS PRESENTS.png

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.

FacebookTwitterInstagram

HBB Pic

 

 

Follow Him: Craig Stewart – Blackthorn Blog Tour

BLACKTHORN BOOK TOURS PRESENTS (1) (2).pngFirstly, thank you very much to Blackthorn for inviting me onto this book tour, and providing a free ebook of Follow Him. Today is my stop on the tour, and you should definitely check out the other bloggers to see what they’ve said about this novel, too.

Blurb

True love doesn’t die – it devours. Just outside the sleepy town of Dreury, a mysterious cult known as The Shared Heart has planted its stakes. Its followers are numerous. More join every day. Those who are lost and suffering seem to be drawn to it; a home for the broken. When Jacob finds himself in need of such a home, he abandons his dead name and gives himself over to the will of The Great Collector. However, love refuses to let Jacob go so easily; his ex-fiancé, Nina, kidnaps him in the hopes that he can be deprogrammed. As she attempts to return Jacob to the life they once had, a terrible fear creeps in: what if there isn’t enough of her Jacob left? When The Great Collector learns of his missing follower, the true nature of The Shared Heart is unleashed. Nina discovers what Jacob already knows: that hidden behind the warm songs and soaring bonfires is a terrifying and ancient secret; one that lives and breathes and hungers. And it’s coming for them.

Review

Follow Him is a dark, twisted novel with the sort of imagery that would be hard to shake off in a hurry. It’s told through different perspectives, mainly focusing on Jacob and Nina, a young couple, who have very contrasting views about The Shared Heart. After a slight breakdown of their relationship, Jacob seeks comfort in the cult and falls completely for what he’s told. Nina, desperate to locate her missing boyfriend, tracks him down, kidnaps him and takes him back home, where she discovers just how far she’s willing to go to keep him from the clutches of The Great Collector and The First.

And the beauty – and horror – in this book lies in discovery. In the discovery of what, exactly, The Great Collector has been doing to the cult members. In finding out why Jacob really left, and the slow revelations scattered throughout the book.

The gore is really amped up towards the end, as the Harvest approaches and the plans of The Shared Heart start to be revealed. This is not a novel for the faint of heart, with uncomfortable moments scattered throughout the book, and scenes that might just turn a reader’s stomach.

Characters

I don’t always have a section dedicated to characters in a review, but I wanted to have one here, because I feel it’s important. The two main characters of the novel are Jacob and Nina, and both conceal things from the reader and those around them. Nothing that feels forced when revealed, but information that deepens our understanding of both of them.

For Nina, we begin to understand her desperation in getting her boyfriend back, her close relationship with her brother, her fears about what is and isn’t out there, and it all combines to form a strong woman who may not always act in the best way, but who definitely has us, as readers, rooting for her, as she’s lured towards The Shared Heart but constantly pushes herself away from the cliffedge.

Jacob, on the other hand…

I started off rooting for Jacob, not necessarily wanting him to achieve what he wanted, but wanting to see him, in some way, succeed, anyway. That changed – Jacob is not the hero of the story, and by the mid-way point, I was almost wishing for his death. He’s just not a good guy, at all, as much as he pretends otherwise. He’s selfish, and cruel, even before he joined The Shared Heart.

But the way these two characters are put together, then apart, then opposite each other, it works really well, and carried me throughout the novel.

All in all, Follow Him is a twisted, creepy, gory novel, with plenty of tense and stomach-twisting moments, with a fantastic ending. Definitely gets a recommendation from me.

follow him

Author

Craig Stewart is a Canadian author and filmmaker who learned how to count from the rhyme, “One, two Freddy’s coming for you.” He’s a creator and connoisseur of everything horror; never afraid to delve into the dark. His first novel, Worship Me, received the New Apple Literary Award of Excellence for horror in 2018. He has also written and directed several short films that have enjoyed screenings across North America. He currently wanders dark hallways in Toronto, Canada.

Find out more about Blackthorn Book Tours