Dark Paradise by Angie Sandro is a new adult romance that is due to be released today. I was given the honor of reading this book early via Net Galley in return for an honest review. And, what are my reviews if not honest?
I LOVED this book! I could not put it down. The main character, Mala, is a deep southern girl with a mysterious connection to the world of the dead that she refuses to believe exists. Her Mama is a prostitute that the entire town thinks is a witch, and she takes advantage of that. Mala gets mixed up in a murder and has trouble with, you guessed it, a love triangle. There is George, the guy she has pined over for years but thinks of her as a little sister to protect, and there is Landry, the guy that has been pining for her and just watches her rather than talk to her. Both of these boys have pros and cons, and Mala doesn’t know who to choose and if they are even giving off the signals she thinks she sees. I know, I know, not another love triangle, but it is not a cheesy one that has all the characters over analyzing every word the other says and brooding over whether their love is unrequited or not. There is too much action of the ghostly kind to brood for too long.
Seriously though, I couldn’t put this book down. Mala is great and her love interests are easy to like. The story is set in the deep south of the country in Louisiana, and I love me some good ol’ southern girls. My favorite scene is of Mala’s voodoo conjurer aunt standing in the road with a top hat and cane like any voodoo woman worth her salt would. Dark Paradise is the first book in a series, the second book is titled Dark Sacrifice and it is being released on August 12th of this year. Oh, and I don’t recommend reading this story alone in the dark, there are lots of scary ghostly encounters in this book.
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 live
1. Your blog says that you have spent a lot of time with your Dad’s family in Louisiana growing up. Louisiana is a very diverse state and each perish seems to be different. How much time did you spend in Louisiana and in what area? Was it the deep south?
We moved to Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, LA when I was in the eighth grade. This was in 1985, a time of feathered bangs, parachute pants, Jheri Curls, and gold teeth. Let me tell you, it was total culture shock. I went from living on the tiny, but beautiful tropical island of Guam, back to the mainland. It took months before I fully adapted to the southern accent. To this day, my own accent will come out when I’m fired up.
My father’s family lives “down south” compared to Bossier City in St. Martins and New Iberia Parishes. I’m a huge genealogy freak. I’m perfectly happy obsessing over old records to find a hint of my ancestral roots. I won’t bore you with the details, because I can be obsessive about this topic. If you’re interested, I kept a blog about my journey finding my roots. http://angiesandro.blogspot.com/
My genealogical research inspired DARK PARADISE, and many of the character’s names were taken from my family tree.
2. I know that you have two more books to be released at least for this new series. How long did it take you to write your first and how long before you start that first writing session once you decided to write the book?
DARK PARADISE is actually the third book I finished. You know the saying “If at first you don’t succeed…” Its original title was JUJU’S CHILD. It was my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project for 2010, but I didn’t start searching for an agent until March 2011.
3. How do you handle writer’s block?
Writer’s block is a plague within the brain! I hate the itchy feeling of having my words trapped inside my skull. I’ve learned when I have writer’s block, it’s usually because my subconscious is protesting the direction that the plot is heading in. If I wait it out, I’ll usually come up with a resolution to whatever problem I’m having with the story. If I force myself to write through the block, it’s chaos on the page.
4.What do you think makes a good book?
I need nuanced characters and an interesting plot. I read and write as a stress reliever. I have a stressful day job, and I love to escape real life and immerse myself in a book for a few hours. Make me laugh, engage my emotions, and I’m sold.
5. Did you pull inspiration from people you know for your characters or are they completely fictitious?
Inspiration comes from many places. These characters are not based on specific people. They are derived purely from my imagination, but I hope they come across as if they could be living their lives out in some alternate universe somewhere. They seem pretty real to me, but I’ve lived with them for four years.
6. I, personally, would compare Dark Paradise to the writing style of Gillian Flynn, but with a Cajun romantic twist. What authors/books inspire you most?
I read from a variety of genres. I’ll go with the authors who inspired my love of reading and writing. Stephen King, Dean R. Koontz, David Eddings, Raymond E. Feist, Arthur C. Clark, Toni Morrison, Alex Haley, James Patterson, J.K. Rowling, Jonathan Kellerman, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison… Okay, I’ll stop before I fill up the page.
7. Who is your favorite out of Mala’s two love interests? Landry or Greorge?
Landry and George each have their own special place in my heart. 🙂
8. Which was your favorite character to write?
I enjoyed writing dual point-of-views (POV). It felt like I was able to see Mala’s and Landry’s motivations a little bit better through the lens of the non- POV character. I really had fun writing scenes with Magnolia. That old witch scares me. *shudders*
9. Do you have any favorite books or authors?
See above. They’re all my favorites. Once I find an author whose work I enjoy, I’ll go back and read every book ever written by them.
10. What do you do when you are not writing?
I like to hang out with my husband and kids at the pool, bike ride, and marathon Korean Dramas.
About Angie Sandro:
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.
Two lucky winners will receive a complete set of The Beautiful Creatures Series and a print copy of Dark Paradise!