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.
I received a copy of this story for an honest review from NetGalley.
Are you a young adult fan looking for something with a little more edge? Dark Paradise may be just right for you. Young love meets voodoo murder mystery in this ambitious debut.
Malaise "Mala" LaCroix has dealt with stares and whispers her entire life. Not only is she the daughter of the town prostitute, but every woman in her bloodline is rumored to be a powerful witch. All Mala wants to do is escape but when she finds a dead girl in the swamp of her family home she knows things are going to go from bad to worse. Little could she imagine that the worse would included being haunted by one very angry dead girl...
Landry Prince has fought his romantic feelings for Mala LaCroix for years. When his sister Lainey is found brutally murdered on the LaCroix property, Landry's attraction quickly spirals to rage. Landry must decide if Mala is the culprit or the key to finding out what really happened to Lainey. He begins a dangerous cat and mouse game that spins out of control when supernatural forces play their hand.
What I Loved: Angie Sandro has a very vivid and emotional writing style that made it not only easy for me to visualize Mala and Landry but also feel the tension and sparks passing between them. Sandro provided POV's for both characters and I felt that went a long way in helping me connect to the characters and care about the outcome of the story.
What I Didn’t Love: Dark Paradise starts out as a engaging and suspenseful YA. Then right around the 75% mark – BAM – it switches to something much more brutal and I felt like I was reading a completely different story. I actually had to reread the ending several times to make sure I understood where the story veered off to. Please be warned that Dark Paradise has a massive cliff-hanger and does leave a lot of unanswered questions.
“My body tingles like I’ve stuck my finger is a light socket. Energy pours off me and zaps into Landry. I’ve never felt so alive or so turned on by a guy in my entire life. I hate it.”
“Rage surrounds my body – a tainted black aura hovering above my skin that crackles with raw energy. Hate throbs. Burning and consuming like fire until only the ashes float through my mind.”
“Can’t it be enough that I want you? That I need the warmth of your arms to hold back the memories?”
While it is not without its issues, Dark Paradise is an intriguing debut to a series that has a lot of promise. I would recommend to fans of Young Adult books like Beautiful Creatures or Mortal Instruments.
Dark Paradise will be followed by Dark Sacrifices and Dark Redemption, both of which I plan on checking out and reviewing.