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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Blogtober Day 9: Vampires and Werewolves

Blogtober Day 9

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

I could not do a post about my favourite vampires and werewolves without mentioning someone very special to me, someone who looks after and takes care of me and yes, is ensuring I actually get to spend my 30th birthday at Disneyland Paris. For those of you unaware, my lovely boyfriend is Jedi Werewolf, and yes he can be found on Twitter under that name so maybe go check out his twitter and follow, if you’re so inclined.

Okay! Favourite FICTIONAL vampires & werewolves! Though I must admit, most of these are from TV, rather than books – a lot from TV adapted from books – so this is less of a bookish post and more just an…excuse to include lots of pics. Enjoy!

The Hybrids

Yeah, I kind of love this messed up family. Klaus is a vampire/werewolf hybrid, who starts off as somewhat of a monster but like so many vampires out there, turns slowly klausinto an almost good guy, mainly because of the birth of his daughter, Hope. He tries so hard to do right by her, and to protect her, and it never works out well for him. By the end of The Originals, I was really sad to say goodbye to him most of all, despite loving the vast majority of the cast, including the other hybrid, Hayley, mother of Hope. I never got the whole Klaus/Caroline love, probably because I watched Originals then went back and watched Vampire Diaries, so maybe I did in the wrong order. THEN I read the books. And, after that, Legacies came out, and honestly, I freaking love that show. The continuation of hopeHope’s story is handled really well, and I love the exploration of the other characters around her, as well as the inclusion of others from both Vampire Diaries and Originals. Hope is a fantastic character, and though she’s technically a tribrid – vampire/werewolf/witch, I’m including her here along with her father. There is one vampire, however, I am so upset we don’t get to see more of in the show…

Vampires

Damon freaking Salvatore. Look, I don’t like the direction his character arc ended up damongoing, but he was always fun to watch on screen. He starts off complete bad guy, similar to Klaus, and only through Elena blah blah blah. Early seasons Damon was my favourite, he was like an antidote to his moody, brooding brother (don’t get me wrong – I love him too)  and I’ve loved Ian Somerhalder since I first watched Lost, so of course I was going to love Damon. How can you not? He’s tortured, and angry, and takes that out on the people he loves AND the mortals around him, not to mention he’s a big reason why a lot of events in Vampire Diaries went the way they did.

You could probably guess my next choice, but what’s not to love about a blond vampire viking in a Southern American town? Eric, like Damon, starts off as sort of a bad guy, but his arc makes more sense to ericme – he has a huge soft spot for Sookie, but his actions, no matter what he does, always make sense, and him and Pam are absolutely fantastic to watch on screen. Like Damon, some of his best moments come when he’s at his most vulnerable, and both actors deserve praise, IM-very-HO, for the way the characters are portrayed. Out of all the True Blood vampires, he’s by far my favourite, again adding something extra alongside the whiny, brooding Bill.

He’s not the only one in the family to play a vampire, either. Bill Skarsgård, before becoming the terrifying version romanof Pennywise, played Roman in Hemlock Grove, a series I have only recently actually started watching. And again, deeply tortured vampire, but Roman isn’t evil like some of the others. He’s a rich, entitled prick to start with, but he’s confused and lost and doesn’t know what he’s going half the time. Once more, his most vulnerable moments are his best ones, even if the character goes in some seriously questionable directions. Not my VERY favourite vampire (see previous entries) but definitely one I thoroughly enjoy watching.

More literary versions of vampires I adore are of course, both Lestat and Louis (yeah, there’s a film version, and I love it, but I still prefer the books) and Julian, in GRRM’s Fevre Dream. Another tortured, uncertain vampire, though he – more like Louis and Roman than the others – does his damndest to remain good and refrain from drinking human blood. Julian is convinced he has been sent to help the rest of his kind, and he tries so hard to do that. If you haven’t read the book yet, it’s definitely worth checking out. Hmm, tortured-possible-bad-boy definitely seems to be my type here, doesn’t it? I could mention Spike, but it’s just more of the same really…

Werewolves

Returning to Hemlock Grove and we have the absolutely fantastic wolf, Peter. Peter befriends Roman, and reveals his true nature to him, in what is possibly one of the best, petermost gory, most amazing werewolf transformation I have ever seen on screen. Once more, Peter is just a joy to watch, as he agonises over his nature and tries to prevent others discovering what he really is. If you’ve never seen it but want to check out the transformation, have a look on YouTube. Just make sure you’re not eating at the time.

And staying with TV, and returning to True Blood, I really do have to mention Alcide. The alcideatypical alpha male, he will do anything to protect his loved ones and his pack, and I was actually upset when the romance between him and Sookie didn’t continue in the series. But Alcide is amazing and yes I actually really struggled to find a picture of him with his top on.

From the book world, Richard, in the Anita Blake series. I loved Richard from the moment we met him – in some ways, he is a lot like Alcide, and though I haven’t read the books in years, he’s definitely a character that really sticks with me.

And who can forget, another tortured boy, though like the other wolves on this list he’s firmly in the ‘good guy’ category. My top favourite werewolf of all time, because I just freaking adored the character when reading the books – Remus Lupin. The legend that is, the wonderful, kind hearted DADA teacher who is forced out by the prejudice of the wizarding community, and a character who deserved way more time than we got in either the books or films. Remus, without a doubt, will always have a special place in my heart.

I am always looking for more vampire and werewolf book recs, so if you have any, please do let me know! And who are some of your favourites? Do you agree with these choices, or any of them make you think, “Ah, no, nope, not at all”?