Dark Sacrifice (Dark Paradise #2) by Angie Sandro

I just love a book that forces me to look up the difference between “hoodoo” and “voodoo.”  (For the record, the short version is that voodoo is a religion of Caribbean origin, while hoodoo refers to magic practices of African origin.) And the hoodoo fun is certainly ramped up in this sequel to Dark Paradise (reviewed here).

SPOILER ALERT: This review contains some spoilers for Dark Paradise.

Dark Sacrifice Front Cover (Forever/Hachette)

Dark Sacrifice Front Cover (Forever Yours/Hachette)

THE PLOT: Again, the book is presented in first person present tense with alternating chapters narrated by Mala and Landry. When we left off at the end of book one, Mala was in a pysch ward and Landry was in jail. Landry is almost killed by a fellow inmate, and a demon from the other side hitches a ride back on Landry’s soul. After Mala and Landry are both released, they return to Mala’s house, along with various ghosts, to try to figure out the identity of the 4th murderer of Mala’s  mother. In the meantime, a revelation is made about Mala’s parentage, and we’re reminded again that in the world of Paradise Point, everything isn’t always what it seems. Is Landry’s father a murderer or a protector? What’s George (AKA Deputy Dawg, LOL) up to in all this? And then, Aunt Magnolia shows up to collect Mala and take her to New Orleans to become her hoodoo apprentice amidst great wealth and opulence. Is Mala ready to become the hoodoo queen of New Orleans?

MY TWO CENTS: I feel like this series is a New Adult version of, say, True Blood. There’s plenty of otherworldly wackiness with ghosts and zombies (but no vampires, thank you SO much!) But that rural mysticism seems so believable within the framework of the story. I loved how the action moved along and the characters developed. I loved all the New Orleans segments, and the nail-biting finale will keep you reading until the very end. (I was dead wrong about the identity of the fourth murderer, so I don’t think it was predictable at all.) Some plot points were wrapped up while others were left hanging. I can’t wait to see how everything wraps up in book 3, Dark Redemption.

BOTTOM LINE: Another strong entry in this series. If you like Gothic mystery and magic, and you’re wondering if this is a series worth becoming invested in…the answer is yes. Pick up Dark Paradise and dig in. If you read Dark Paradise and liked it, you’ll probably like this one even better.

TEACUP RATING: At least 4½ out of 5 teacups. Even though I’ve read the ebook ARCs, I may have to invest in a paperback set of the series for my library.

ON SALE DATE: The book will be available in trade paperback and ebook formats on August 5, 2014. (Check back here on that day for more information!)

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice

Heavens

The Heavens Rise Front Cover (Gallery Books, Simon & Schuster)

I had never read a Christopher Rice book before, but the description intrigued me. After reading this book, I’ll be likely to read more of his work.

THE PLOT: The story primarily follows two main characters: Marshall Ferriot, who is a violent maniac even before he obtains supernatural powers, and Ben Broyard, the gay best friend of Niquette (Nikki) Delongpre. Teenage Nikki and her parents go missing one night after Marshall sticks a snake in their car as revenge for Nikki’s rejection of him. Marshall had arranged for Nikki to believe her boyfriend, Anthem, was cheating on her, so he could move in. Nikki befriended Marshall, but turned him away when he made his move. But it was too late; they had both picked up an ancient parasite in the pool Nikki’s parents were having dug. The rest of the book is mostly a supernatural mystery: what really happened to Nikki and her parents eight years ago? How did Marshall really wind up in a coma, and how do people die violently near him? Ben, now a reporter and helped by recovering alcoholic Anthem, works to piece together the truth.

MY TWO CENTS: This book contained elements of two of my favorite horror books: Stephen King’s IT and Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour. (My sincerest apologies to Mr. Rice on pulling his mother into the conversation, but I can’t help the comparison when this book is set in New Orleans with a rich, unresponsive, wheelchair-bound main character who also has supernatural powers.) However, it’s not nearly as terrifying as either of those two books, which gave me nightmares in young adulthood!

BOTTOM LINE: This is a good book for Halloween week. It’s not overly scary, and the reader is carried along easily through the story. And really, isn’t New Orleans a great setting for a horror story? (Yes, I’ve been watching American Horror Story–Coven. ‘Tis the season.) I really liked the character of Ben as our hero, and Marshall was a totally deplorable villain.

TEACUP RATING: I give this book four teacups…I think I wanted a little more from the ending. However, I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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