Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dark Paradise: Blitz, Giveaway, & Review!

Title: Dark Paradise
Author: Angie Sandro
Release date: July 1st 2014
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About Dark Paradise:

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.

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.


Landry’s truck sits in the driveway when I stroll out of the house at a quarter to eight in the morning. I’m in such a glorious mood that I don’t bother trying to sneak off without him catching sight of me. It would've been easy, I learn upon climbing on the bumper and sticking my head through the truck’s open window. He has the seat pushed back and his legs stretched out kitty corner across the passenger seat. Snores, loud enough to scare a bear, echo through the cab.

I reach in and poke his shoulder a few times. “Wake up, Sleeping Beauty.”

Landry’s thick lashes flutter then open to meet mine. “I’m supposed to be woken with a kiss, not a jab.”

I snort. “I don’t kiss slimy critters. You’re playing double duty as a frog, and I throw them in a frying pan with a little butter and garlic.”

“Oh, so now you’re trying to butter me up?”

The heat of a blush rises. “Saints, boy. You’re fraying my last nerve.” I plant my hands on my hips, toe tapping. “What are you doing here? In case you forgot, I’m mad at you.”

“No you’re not.” He grins and runs his fingers through his thick hair. My breath catches as my brain stutters. I shake my head to dispel the wave of pheromone-induced stupidity that washes over me. My noses twitches. Why does he have to smell so good? Like cinnamon and brown sugar. “Did you forget yester—”

An oily paper bag flies in my direction. I grab it out of the air before it drops to the ground. It’s warm in my hands, and the smell makes my mouth water. “Ooh, cinnamon rolls,” I mumble around the melting mouthful of cinnamon-y goodness. “I love these.”

“I know,” Landry says, throwing open the truck door.

I hop off the bumper with a scowl. The arrogant jerk thinks he has me eating out of his hands; all he has to do is flutter those insanely long eyelashes, smile to show off his pearly whites, and tempt me with fresh, warm buns.

“These are mine?” I clutch the bag to my chest as I eye him in suspicion.

“Yeah, they’re your favorite, right?”

“Mmm hmm.”

Landry props his elbow on the open window and ducks his head. Black hair tangles across his face, hiding his eyes. “I hoped you’d be more accepting of my apology if I bribed you with sweets. Forgive me for being an ass yesterday?”

Lucky guy. He figured out the fastest way to soften my heartstrings—sugar. Wait how does he know they’re my favorite? Stupid question. It’s like him knowing my nickname and my job. He pays way too much attention to me, and I’m kinda scared to ask why. I stare at my sticky fingers, then lick the icing off one by one. Landry’s gaze draws my attention. He’s staring at my mouth. My gut tightens in response, and I slowly lick my lips. Get a grip. Don’t trust him just because he says he’s sorry.

I concentrate on the mouthful of cinnamon roll. Each chew echoes the rapid patter of my heart. God, why does my body react like this when I’m around him? Why? He’s still staring at me. Can’t he tell I’m uncomfortable? Oh, I get it. He’s irritating me on purpose so I can’t totally ignore him.

I pass the empty bag to him. “You’re not going away, are you?”

“Nope.” He smiles.

About the Author
Angie Sandro was born at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Within six weeks, she began the first of eleven relocations throughout the United States, Spain, and Guam before the age of eighteen. Friends were left behind. The only constants in her life were her family and the books she shipped wherever she went. Traveling the world inspired her imagination and allowed her to create her own imaginary friends. Visits to her father's family in Louisiana inspired this story. Angie now lives in Northern California with her husband, two children, and an overweight Labrador.
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Title: Dark Paradise
Author: Angie Sandro
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: July 1st 2014
Source: Netgalley


This is a book that had me suckered in from the get-go. First of all, look at the cover. It's just gorgeous. It's so simple and yet is so striking, and it would definitely grab my attention if I saw it on display in a book store. And then of course, we move to the story itself. Dead bodies, magic, and budding romance? Yes to all of that, please.

What really stood out to me the most in this book was the setting. I used to frequently visit my dad down in Louisiana, and I've grown to be a sucker for southern settings. Dark Paradise didn't disappoint. The language and descriptions of the areas around Mala are brilliant. From the Spanish moss hanging down in the trees to the stagnant, oddly colored waters of the bayou and the wet heat that seems to drape over the entire landscape, the language of this book draws you ever closer into the plot. Of course, the characters and powers are well described too. All together, I was just really impressed with the flow of the vision and story that Angie Sandro wanted to tell and how well it came out on paper.

I was also really impressed how this book managed to blend quite a few different genres together into one really good story. While I am a big fan of southern fiction, fantasy, New Adult, and paranormal books, I have a history of being not all too crazy about books involving murders and crime. This book made it work. From the moment when Mala stumbles onto the body in the bayou, I was curious and eager to find out what sort of foul play was afoot. I really can't put it into words, but somehow the superstition of the south, romance, fantasy and a good ole fashioned corpse join together to make an intriguing story that is hard to put down. The suspense killed me and made me excited to find out there will be another book to continue the plot.

I really liked Mala. She was set in her goals and her views, and when presented with new information they changed accordingly. Though I didn't always agree with her decisions, and sometimes I thought she came off as a bit young for her age, I was cheering for her. I also really liked the way her relationship with Landry pans out. He was a believable mix of sweet and infuriatingly irritating that made him endearing. Even the more secondary characters like local police and family members were memorable and well written.

Although my pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to Dark Paradise, one thing I did notice was that at some parts the dialogue felt a bit forced or a bit unrealistic. However, it wasn't often enough to really hinder my reading experience too much. I think this is part of what made Mala come off as a bit naive or young. While I did notice this more than once, it didn't put me off from finishing the book, nor will it stop me from picking up the second book in the series.

If you're a fan of darker themed YA/NA books, enjoy magic and hoodoo, a steamy romance, or a suspenseful mystery with forces that may reach beyond our mortal world, than this is definitely a book worth checking out.

Thank you to Netgalley and Forever Yours for my copy in exchange for my honest review.


  1. This book sounds so good, I love the excerpt. I might have to go buy it if I don't win. Excellent review babe :)