Into a Million Pieces

Into a Million Pieces

Into a Million Pieces by Angela V. Cook (Young Adult Paranormal Romance)

Allison is a teenage succubus. She and her twin, Jade, are gorgeous high-schoolers with the power to literally suck the life force from men through sexual activity. Their mother killed their father, the man she loved, by having intercourse with him, and eventually committed suicide because of her inability to control her lethal passions. Now Allison and Jade must navigate the treacherous world brought upon them by the family curse that makes them incredibly desirable but dangerous.

Allison, who narrates the story, has chosen to make herself unapproachable at school by wearing goth outfits and perpetuating rumors about herself as a weirdo to be avoided. Jade, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoys the attention and the high she gets after kissing guys. The guys, meanwhile, suffer debilitating fatigue as their life energy is drained, and they have no idea that they risk death if they press Jade for more.

The first half or so of this book is interesting but somewhat slow. Allison is a real downer as she tries to rein Jade in, while Jade is just plain over the top. Allison’s growing interest in Ren, a nice guy she meets at the library, is fraught with angst while Jade is out to get whatever she can at whatever price. The aunt they live with, a succubus who uses religion to help her maintain her virginity, annoys the heck out of both of them as she does her best to convert them and save their souls.

Then, at about sixty percent into the book, everything takes an unexpected turn, and the pace picks up. Now the reader is full of questions, and a second revelation (not entirely unexpected) adds even more intrigue.

Unfortunately, the questions are answered pretty quickly without the tension that would have put various characters at risk and made solving the mystery a whole lot more fun. At the same time, enough is left hanging so that a sequel is necessary, stranding the reader who hoped for a tidy conclusion.

Bella gives Into a Million Pieces three stars. 3 stars

Potty-mouth Index: Moderate. Also some moderately explicit sex scenes.

Bella Reads and Reviews received a free copy from the author and her publisher with a request for an honest review.




Fall From Grace

Fall From Grace

Fall From Grace by J. Edward Ritchie (Fantasy)

Fall From Grace is a riveting fictional account of the heavenly schism that turns brother angels Michael and Satanail into arch enemies, destroys the peace and tranquility of heaven, and results in the emergence of Satan and the concept of eternal damnation.

Designated by the Creator as His Word and His Hand, respectively, Michael and Satanail are the most highly revered among the seven Seraphim — the highest order in the angelic hierarchy. In an environment free from discord, they have always maintained a good-natured rivalry built on mutual respect and brotherly love. But when the Creator reveals the existence of mankind only to Michael, Satanail is filled with resentment — an unfamiliar emotion he strives to contain. To make matters worse, Michael states that the Creator expects the angels to protect mankind from destroying itself. Satanail argues against such subservience, his anger boiling into rebellion and open defiance. Angels at all levels are forced to choose sides as a battle between good and evil commences.

J. Edward Ritchie has researched the religious and mythological lore of celestial beings to produce a fascinating, complex heavenly society populated by three-dimensional characters with strong personalities, unique capabilities, and credible emotions and motives. Satanail is a likeable individual, and his metamorphosis into Satan is not without internal conflict. The familiar archangels of my childhood — Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael — are among the seven Seraphim with dominion over seven regions of heaven, each contributing to the needs of the heavenly population known as the Host. Ritchie’s use of language is eloquent, in keeping with the nature of the story to be told, and he captured my interest from the very beginning. Battle scenes and other scenes do contain a fair amount of gory detail.

All in all, I found it to be a very satisfying book with a number of important messages, including this from Gabriel when Michael suffers from profound doubts about the decisions he has made: “I believe that we all have roles in this life. Maybe they’re not the ones we’d hoped for, maybe we even stray from them, but they’re ours to own. So we do it, because that’s what needs to be done. Those who can’t understand that will always be followers, never leaders.”

Grandma gives Fall From Grace five stars. 5 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews received a free copy from the author in return for an honest review.