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July 2, 2014

Loved It: Dark Paradise by Angie Sandro

Series: Dark Paradise 1
Format: eGalley
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Forever Yours
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: New Adult | Urban Fantasy
DARK LEGACY

Mala LaCroix has spent her whole life trying to escape her destiny. As the last in a long line of "witch women," she rejects the notion of spirits and hoodoo and instead does her best to blend in. But when she finds a dead body floating in the bayou behind her house, Mala taps into powers she never knew she had. She's haunted by visions of the dead girl, demanding justice and vengeance.

DEADLY SECRETS

Landry Prince has always had a crush on Mala, but when Mala discovers his sister, murdered and marked in some sort of Satanic ritual, he wonders if all the rumors about the LaCroix family are true. Yet after Mala uses her connection to the spirit world to identify his sister's killer, he starts to form his own bond to her . . . a very physical one. As they move closer to each other and closer to the truth, Mala and Landry must risk everything—their families, their love, and even their lives.

Isn't the cover art simply gorgeous?! Wouldn't you pick up the book just so you can look at it? I bet the print version is even better than the digital art, I hope the details are embossed too so it really pops out. Not only that, the rose against the dark and rustic background is expressive of how beautiful, dark, and creepy DARK PARADISE is, Angie Sandro's debut novel. 

Set in the swamps of Louisiana, DARK PARADISE is more of a thriller than an action packed urban fantasy novel. Though Mala LaCroix is labelled as a witch, her abilities are more of the I-see-dead-people variety than serious hoodoo. Mala came from a line of women who have special abilities, they can see the dead, talk to the dead, call the dead, make a juju bag and some other tricks but nothing extraordinary. So don't expect spell casting or psychopomps, expect lots of haunting and goosebump inducing scenarios courtesy of Lainey Price though, the murder victim and sister of Landry Price. I love the creep factor of DARK PARADISE and combined with the murky and foreboding swamps of Louisiana, I could easily scare myself if I think about it too much. 

The plot, conflict and resolution are great, I can't nitpick anything about it. From the start I was drawn to the story and furiously swiping at the pages because I want to get to the bottom of the mystery. Until the end, I have no idea who the culprit is, was it really a Satanic ritual? Why was Lainey Price murdered? Is Mala involved in the murder? I have no clue what's happening in the background as I was too engrossed with Mala and her coming to terms with her crift. That or my investigative skills and eye for detail are shot. I think it's a toss-up. Anyway, ASandro really wrote creeptastic scenarios where illusion/imagination and reality are blurred at the moment. 

Overall, the characters are well crafted, except for Landry Price but I'll get to him later. Mala has this vulnerability about her that made her quite an endearing character. Her mother can hear and see the dead too but it got too overwhelming that it drove her to seek solace from a bottle and random men who'd pay for her service. They love each other though but it's heartbreaking to see Mala taking care of her mom when it should be the other way around. Then there's the usual judgmental neighbors and friends who are quick to believe that Mala's a witch and is up to no good. 

Landry Price. He's gorgeous, a jock, and a champion of sorts. He should be the quintessential new adult hero who's got everything except his parents are messed up and all that tortured hero stuff. Yeah, I didn't care much for him and his character development is almost nil. Sure there's some posturing and chest puffing here and there, but nothing spectacular stood out that had my 21yo self weak-kneed and googly eyed. He's a good supporting character, I'll give him that. 

Good thing the romance wasn't essential to the story so my feelings towards Landry didn't affect my DARK PARADISE experience. I love the darkness and mystery of the story although I hoped that the hoodoo went deeper than a juju packet, maybe I'll get that in the next installment. DARK PARADISE gave quite the impression, ASandro wrote a captivating dark world and I want more of it. Dark Sacrifice should be an interesting follow up, Mala embracing her crift (curse/gift) should make for a good read and I do hope Landry develops an interesting personality in book 2 if he's going to be her love interest.








36 comments:

  1. You are right, that cover is eye catching and the book sounds really good too. I'm adding it to my TBR.
    Great review.

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    1. It was an impulse click at NG, it might still be up there

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  2. Okay, my comments have been deleted twice on here so I'm trying again! I recently picked this up from NetGalley and can't wait to read it! The cover is eye catching and while I was a little hesitant about the NA label the story and setting made me want to read it anyway. Glad it was a great read for you, awesome review Braine! :)

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    1. Don't worry about the NA label, except for Landry, Mala was pretty much a level headed character. Although there's one scene that's a bit off, I think the author's trying to squeeze some sexy in but it didn't flow well.

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  3. I am glad you liked this one too. I can't wait to read the others! I am glad we won't have long to wait for them.

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    1. Hi5! I hope the next two blows my mind

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  4. This is the third positive review for this book I have read this week. I don't know how I missed it, I definitely like setting. I am going to have to read this one.

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    1. I hope you manage to grab a copy on NG if it's still up, if not then there's always that nifty one-click thingy...

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  5. You have me wishing I'd had time to take this for review! I've been looking for something different lately, and Dark Paradise certainly seems that. I love the witchy heroine, the mystery and am a sucker for Louisiana setting.
    Great review!

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    1. Read PNR/UF, Andrea, you know you want to...

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  6. Hmm first time I've seen these. I haven't read a thriller in a long time. I might just be tempted!

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    1. *putting hoodoo on you so you read this*

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  7. That cover really is gorgeous! This sounds like a good read- I am always looking for New Adults read that are not contemp. Great review!

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    1. Thank you and I think non contemporary NA is all I can read comfortably as far as that genre's concerned

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  8. I still have not read a NA book

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    1. I don't know if you're lucky or not to haven't had tried one, let's keep it that way for now, OK?

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  9. Love these covers. I saw this somewhere else and read the blurb, hoping it would be good. I passed because of the dead sister and wanting to avoid the angst there lol
    Knowing romance isn't essential...yeah, I'm really glad I passed.
    Thanks for the review! <3

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    1. LOL, I hope you don't feel that way with RUIN ME.

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  10. I love a good thriller as much as an urban fantasy so this story sounds very attractive. Sorry the guy wasn't as developed, but maybe it will happen later in the story.

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    1. Yeah, he was always fumbling around, what a turn off! LOL

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  11. Love the cover and the sound of it! Landry's character will probably get better as the series progresses.

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    1. I hope he does! If not Mala would be better off alone or with someone else.

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  12. Nice review Braine! I agree, the covers are gorgeous! It sounds like a good read and glad that not every man can effect your girl parts! lol

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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  13. I agree, the cover is gorgeous! I actually saw this on NG but didn't request it for some reason but I'm glad that you ended up loving this book even though the hero wasn't a favorite. Hopefully, there will be proper character development in the succeeding books. Lovely review, Braine! ^.^

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    1. I have the same hopes, thanks, Amir!

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  14. you're right, the cover is so nice! I didn't know this one but I think I saw it on NG. And it's true that I also love when we have a good plot like that where you don't really know the true. Thanks for the review!

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  15. I love the setting and you have me excited that it blends the genres of thriller and UF. Despite a few bumps it looks like this was a hit. You are right the cover is lovely.

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    1. Cross-genre'd books are the best! OK, I just made up a word there, I'm so lame...

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  16. OK. Love the cover art, but DANG! I would not have picked it for urban fantasy. I love me some UF. I am used to seeing the bad ass chick posing on roof tops, or looking over her shoulder holding her weapon of choice, so these covers kinda threw me. Interesting!! Posturing and chest puffing, lol!! Swamps of Louisiana. You sure have me intrigued!!

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    1. This and the next one are on NG so you don't have to wait for long ;)

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    2. Ok, I found one on NG so bagged it :D

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  17. Oh, I'm glad you read this one, b/c I had an eye on it. What is it about Louisiana swamps/bayous that makes my ears perk up? I don't know, but this definitely sounds creeptacular, and even if Landry isn't well-developed, I kind of want to see his puffed-chest posturing, LOL. Great review, Braine!

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    1. Me too! LA and hoodoo never fails to get me interested. It's auto-click for me

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  18. I do like the cover - I like them all, actually. And the story sounds creepy good, too! There's something about stories set in LA, with all its witchcraft, voodoo, etc., that draws me in. I was just in Texas, visiting my family, and my mom had some program on that had a voodoo 'alter' set up and I was like, 'oh, that thing with the chicken bones, that's a gris-gris'. LOL

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