My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Into a Million Pieces is a debut novel from Red Adept Publishing by Angela V. Cook. It plays up the paranormal by having the protagonist possess a unique gift - she's a succubus. But, so is her twin sister, Jade and the two are as different as life and death.
From the book profile:
Allison McKready is a succubus. So is her twin sister. But while Allison spends her summer break hiding in the library behind her Goth makeup, Jade fools around as often as she can. Allison can’t believe Jade would ignore their mother’s fatal example so recklessly, but concealing a cursed bloodline and its dangerous effects is far from Allison’s only problem. Mean girl Julie’s snob mob is determined to ruin her summer, and Aunt Sarah’s Bible thumping is getting louder. Only her new friend, Ren Fisher, offers safe haven from the chaos of her life.
When one of Jade’s risky dates leads to humiliation and sudden tragedy, Allison reels, and Ren catches her. But as her feelings for him grow, so does her fear that she’ll hurt him—or worse—in an unguarded moment. The choice is coming—love him or save him—but Allison might not live to make it. One way or another, the curse will have its due.
I wanted to love this book, and there were parts that I did, but my review ends up being more of a really, really like. I appreciated the idea of the succubus and I think the author does a good job in rooting the paranormal into the world of reality, but there were some plot holes for me. I felt the details of Allison were told too much; the old writing adage of show, not tell comes to mind here. Her personality and looks were extremely overt and as someone that works with high schoolers day in and day out (some quirky ones at that!), the development of the protagonist could have been stronger, because I really wanted to love her. Her obsession with portraying someone she was not kept me from getting to know her as a character. Her sister, while unlikeable for sure, was easier to connect with because the extreme pretense of pretend was missing.
With that said though, I think it was a unique story and interesting premise. Finding a way to allow a succubus to connect with others and not kill them takes creativity and ingenuity on behalf of the author.
Who I did love in the book was Ren, the main male character that falls for Allison despite her "back-off" act. He drew me in quickly. He was a nice guy, and I like the idea of an actual nice guy making an appearance in a young adult novel. He stands up for Allison in the face of typical mean girls, and shakes off the glares and stares when he chooses Allison over the usual crowd he's known for hanging with. I liked his charisma and I'd like to find out how he and Allison plan on making a go of this love they've found with her "condition." I think a sequel could be in the works on this story line.
Also, I did love the massive plot twist that I did not see coming mid-way through the book. Well done Ms. Cook! I would like to have known more about this though, maybe a bit of flashback on the aunt. I always wondered about her and her past as I read the book, her extreme devout focus to religion but inability to actually take care of the girls - conflicts with the biblical role of women. I needed more of her character to understand her motives.
All in all, I believe this a solid debut novel for Angela V. Cook and that we will see more work from her. Especially since we all want to know what happens to Allison and Ren :-)
Where can you get this fabulous read?
Here are the links where the book is available:
Million-Pieces-Angela-Cook- ebook/dp/B00S6IKRMO//tag= redadeppubl-20%22
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.
com/w/into-a-million-pieces- angela-v-cook/1121112490?ean= 2940149864270
books/details/Angela_V_Cook_ Into_a_Million_Pieces?id= g2JmBgAAQBAJ
For more about Angela V. Cook, visit her author page on RAP: http://redadeptpublishing.
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As a special treat today, Angela has consented to answer a question about writing the paranormal for me! I love it when authors take the time to write a little something extra for the readers because it helps us get to know them that much more. Enjoy!
Believing in the Impossible
I have a secret to share: I’m usually a contemporary girl. I have a very difficult time reading fantasy, and honestly, I probably couldn’t write it if my life depended on it. Any story I write has to take place in the “real world,” and I have to believe (and make the reader believe) that it could happen. I think that’s why I like the paranormal genre. It involves real people, living every-day lives, with real problems. The only difference is, there’s something a little… unnatural going on. I’ve been told by several people that while INTO A MILLION PIECES (IaMP) falls into the paranormal category, it has a strong contemporary feel to it, which I think is an awesome compliment. In my opinion, that’s how a good paranormal book should read.
With IaMP, I definitely had to get creative in order to sustain believability. I couldn’t use the mythical version of a succubus or draw upon folklore. From all outward appearances, Allison and Jade had to look and act like normal teenagers. They couldn’t have horns coming out of their heads or long, pointy tails. When they absorbed life energy from men, I had to come up with “logical” reasons to explain why the guys were left weak and tired. It was also important to me that Allison and Jade were portrayed as every-day, relatable teenagers, and that their relationships with the people around them came off genuine. I wanted their problems and conflicts to be about more than just the paranormal aspect. Yes, the curse is the underlying antagonist, but the problems, insecurities, and fears it causes are real.
Because I am typically a contemporary reader and writer, I think I was exceptionally hard on myself when it came to believability (I’m about as skeptical as they come). I had to convince myself that this story could be real, that it could happen. Many popular paranormal books (and TV shows) start off as believable, but then slowly lose it, which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with that, but with IAMP, believability is key from the first chapter all the way to the end. I want the reader to believe in the impossible.
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