Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Review: Blood Orange by Karina Halle

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Release Date: October 16, 2022
GenreAdult Dark Fantasy Romance
Pages: 372

Once there was a man who fell deeply in love with a woman he could never have. When their affair was uncovered she was brutally murdered in front of him, and he discovered he was cursed, doomed to live forever as a vampire.
Over the centuries, he found his love again, and lost her again, until he was so broken he gave up on love entirely, sinking into the depths of depravity, losing his humanity.
Then one day, she came back into his life. A student of music studying under him at the conservatory in Venice, Italy where he was a professor. But even though he found her beautiful and intriguing, he didn’t recognize his fated mate at all.
Because this time she had to hide her true self.
This time she came back as a witch, whose destiny wasn’t to love him…but to kill him.
Blood Orange is a modern-day Dracula retelling about the “real-life” Dracula that inspired Bram Stoker. This is a dark vampire romance with plenty of content warnings and while it is a spinoff of The Dark Eyes Duet, it is a complete standalone novel. It was previously titled "King of Darkness"
LINKS: Goodreads   |   Amazon




I write this down because I don't trust Bram to write his novel without twisting my story around.


BLOOD ORANGE is a dark romance retelling of Dracula. It mostly takes place in modern day with flashbacks of Valtu's "Dracula" time with his reincarnated Mina. For the time being, he has settled for a bit in Venice as a music professor who moonlights as the dom daddy owner of the vampire-human sex/feeding club. Little does Valtu know Dahlia is a witch vampire slayer with a vendetta and a mission to destroy him. That is until their hate and lust is overpowered by their undying love . . .

𝐼 𝒢𝓂 π“ƒπ‘œπ“‰ 𝒢 𝒹𝑒𝓁𝒾𝒸𝒢𝓉𝑒 𝓂𝒢𝓃. 𝐼 𝒸𝒢𝓃 𝒷𝑒 π“‡π‘œπ“Šπ‘”π’½. 𝐼 𝒸𝒢𝓃 π’Έπ’Άπ“Šπ“ˆπ‘’ 𝓅𝒢𝒾𝓃. 𝐼 π“‚π’Άπ“Ž 𝓂𝒢𝓀𝑒 π“Žπ‘œπ“Š 𝒽𝒢𝓉𝑒 𝓂𝑒 π“ˆπ‘œπ“‚π‘’π“‰π’Ύπ“‚π‘’π“ˆ. π΅π“Šπ“‰ 𝐼 π“Œπ’Ύπ“π“ π’Άπ“π“Œπ’Άπ“Žπ“ˆ 𝒷𝑒 π‘œπ“ƒ π“Žπ‘œπ“Šπ“‡ π“ˆπ’Ύπ’Ήπ‘’. 𝐼 π“Œπ’Ύπ“π“ π’Άπ“π“Œπ’Άπ“Žπ“ˆ 𝓂𝒢𝓀𝑒 π“Žπ‘œπ“Š 𝒻𝑒𝑒𝓁 π’Έπ’½π‘œπ“ˆπ‘’π“ƒ.

Honestly, when I first started reading BLOOD ORANGE I was a little thrown off. The man who plays Dracula is not at all what I expected him to be. Every time Valtu's character came on page it felt like he was two different people and I guess that makes sense in a way since he is a vampire trying to maintain some of his humanity . . . Still it was so odd because I constantly heard how terrible and awful monstrous he is and why the Bram Stoker's "Dracula" is based on him but then again he had a day job as a music professor who genuinely enjoyed teachingit was so strange. Then you saw Valtu in the vampire sex/feed club he owned and all of a sudden he was like this Dom Daddy who had a degradation kink, not for himself but to use it on his partners. And in those times he seemed like the badass vampire kingyou know, the one we all imagine Dracula to beI expected to be. All hot and brooding and nasty in the best possible way. But then that image got slashed down when his character interacted with the two vampire baddiesnot in a good wayand all of a sudden Valtu was knocked down the food chain and I honestly don’t know how I felt about that. I'm lying, yes I did, I didn’t like it at all. Daddy Dracula was supposed to be the baddest vampire aroundpower, fearless, and sex on a stick. Period.

For the writing, it was decentnot Karina‘s best workbut still engaging. For example, the chapter flashback of Mina and Valtu at the beginning just really threw me for a loop because it didn’t seem to make sense with the way the story started and it was like a lot of things were thrown at me so fast without any kind of foundation for emotional attachment. Nevertheless, it was interesting and for the first half of the story, the flashbacks were my favorite part of the book. Moreover, the pacing of BLOOD ORANGE was slow for the first half of the book but once you hit Midpoint it's all uphill from there.

As for the romance between Dahlia and Valtu, it was definitely a slow-burn but not really enemies-to-lovers although while she really desired him she did hate himbut it was only on her side and for an exceptionally short time. Having said that, I do wish there was more spicy tension coming from him I wish he put more pressure on her. Talking about spice and smut based off of reading the trigger warning note from the author I was definitely expecting more sex on page so that was a little disappointing. For example, I was about 30% in, and the furthest that Dahlia and Valtu got was like him touching her lower back and her elbow during a walk which was at 30% through BLOOD ORANGE and I was very disappointed.

Howeverrr, Valtu’s flashbacks with Mina and Mina incarnate were hot as fuck. Rest assured I highlighted those scenes in my Kindle so I can go back to them and enjoy them again. And once you hit the Midpoint, MY GOD! The spice was DELICIOUS! Then and thereafter. . . Music lesson, blindfolded good morning *wink, wink* And that's all I'll say about that.

𝒲𝒽𝒢𝓉 π’Ύπ“ˆ 𝒾𝓉 π’Άπ’·π‘œπ“Šπ“‰ π“‰π’½π’Ύπ“ˆ π“Œπ‘œπ“‚π’Άπ“ƒ 𝓉𝒽𝒢𝓉 𝐼 π“Œπ’Άπ“ƒπ“‰ π“‰π‘œ 𝒹𝓇𝒢𝑔 𝒽𝑒𝓇 π’Ήπ‘œπ“Œπ“ƒ π“‰π‘œ 𝒽𝑒𝓁𝓁 π“Œπ’Ύπ“‰π’½ 𝓂𝑒?

All in all  BLOOD ORANGE was a fast, enjoyable read. If you’re interested in undying love, student/teacher romance, and human/witches and vampires f*cking then this book is for you.


Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books. Halle is represented by the Root Literary and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

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