Monday, October 21, 2013

Release Blitz w/ Giveaway, Excerpt & Review: Parallel Spirits (Carrier Spirits #1) by Cassia Leo


Blurb:

Book One in the Carrier Spirits new adult paranormal romance series from New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo.

After more than three centuries as a carrier spirit, Mara has finally found a willing host in eighteen-year-old Belinda. As a reward for Belinda's compliance, Mara sets out to help brokenhearted Belinda find love.

With the promise of a new body, Mara dares to hope her plan may work--until Mara and Belinda both fall for sweet and charming Conor. But Mara's feelings for Conor aren't her only obstacle.

A spirit with whom Mara shares a dark past is possessing Conor. Now a war is waging inside and outside Belinda's body and she quickly discovers what Mara has known for centuries:

Falling in love is just as dangerous as battling evil spirits.

Set in a California beach town, Parallel Spirits is a paranormal romance about the power of love, water, and hope.

*This title was previously released under another pen name. It has been revised and re-released.



Purchase Links:

Amazon , Barnes & Noble , iBooks

About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading. She believes in true love and happy endings, and that the most palpable regrets come from watching those two things slip away. Her favorite books and movies are the ones that challenge her mentally and leave her emotionally scarred. Her family has declared her a "method writer" because she gets "in character" while writing. She believes becoming the character is the only way to truly understand him or her. Her dream is to one day score a record deal based on her awesome shower singing skills.

P.S. There is no better song to sing in the shower than "Colors of the Wind."


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Excerpt from Chapter 5:

Belinda’s POV

We get to know each other more as we walk the three blocks to the beach. Conor has one older sister. His Cuban mother and French father are devout Catholics who attend church at least once a week and his cousin who was shipped to Japan was also his best friend. He’s graduating from St. Demetrius in two weeks, a couple of days before Frankie and I graduate, and he still hasn’t chosen among the four colleges he was accepted into.

We cross the beach parking lot and my eyes are locked on the sunset. The orange melts into red and pink and purple until my eyes reach the point right above my head where it all turns a dusky blue. We trample through the warm sand toward the water as I focus on pushing aside thoughts of the last time I went to the beach with Frankie. We pass a few sunbathers attempting to catch the last rays of sunlight. I wonder if the atmosphere of the beach at night will always make me sad.

Everything suddenly looks different—crisper. Like my brain just acquired high-definition technology.

I’m me again.

“It’s beautiful,” Conor says when we reach the water’s edge.

Tossing my sandals behind me, I swallow my trepidation and wade into the water until it’s lapping at the edge of my skirt. The water slides back as the wave retreats toward the sunset, pulling me with it. I take a few steps back to escape the inevitable force of the next wave and close my eyes as I lean my head back.

Tomorrow will be just a little bit easier.

I open my eyes and look over my shoulder, nodding toward the water for Conor to join me. He’s wearing jeans and a short-sleeve button-up shirt he probably got at one of the half-dozen surf shops sprinkled around Payne Bay. He hesitates for a moment before he kicks off his sneakers and wades in after me.

He takes my hand in his and I can feel the warm softness of his skin. I can smell the briny ocean as the mist seeps into my nostrils and stings my eyes. The water is cool and full of grit that scratches the skin on my ankles as the waves sway back and forth in an endless waltz.

I don’t know what to say so I don’t say anything. We stand in silence watching the sun bid Payne Bay a vibrant farewell. When the last ray of sunlight disappears behind the horizon, I begin to sense Conor staring at me.

That crawling sensation returns to my stomach as I turn to face him. He has that look in his eyes as he leans toward me. He glances at my lips then slowly closes his eyes. I close my eyes and wait.

Review:

While reading Cassia Leo's paranormal romance, Parallel Spirits, what intrigued me the most was the fact that I had no idea what would happen next. The plot is innovative and unpredictable, but most importantly, it's not something I've read a dozen times before. The human and spirit worlds collide in one narrative, creating a love story that has a contemporary feel, with the fantastical twist that spirits possessing unsuspecting people is a regular occurrence. Cassia Leo does a phenomenal job setting up the story, keeping me intrigued with scattered bits of information that I had to piece together to form a clearer idea of the story as a whole.

Of the five central characters, Mara and Belinda alternate as narrators. The narrative jumps through time, spanning Mara's lengthy spiritual timeline up to her present involvement with Belinda, or more specifically, Belinda's love life, which finds her torn between her longtime friend, Frankie and new love interest, Conor. Unlike your typical stress-inducing love triangle, Parallel Spirits adds another level of complication with the interference of the two carrier spirits. Unlike with Cassia Leo’s Shattered Hearts series, I had no clear favorite of the two possible love matches, although this was probably because I second-guessed each of their motives. The plot constantly kept me guessing until I couldn’t help reading more into every suspicious comment and action.

While I don’t typically read a lot of paranormal romances, I enjoyed Parallel Spirits because the concept of carrier spirits intermingling with the human race is an interesting and different concept, with the closest possible comparison being Stephenie Meyer’s The Host, and even then, the similarities are minor. It's almost like getting two stories in one because, while the central plot is the love triangle between Belinda, Frankie, and Conor, there is an equally important subplot involving Mara and Darius. I was so caught up in the drama unfolding between the aforementioned trio that it was an unexpected jolt every time Mara re-enters the picture.
As the narrative progresses, the paranormal elements become more prominent until every character is submerged in the world Leo has created. Aside from a bit of action towards the book’s end, Parallel Spirits devotes much of its space to further explaining the mythology of the carrier spirits. While I understood what was going on for the most part, I feel like this book would definitely benefit from a second reading, so that I could go back and pick up on all the clues that I initially missed. Even after all the setup provided by Parallel Spirits, there are still many questions left unanswered, including the cliffhanger ending, which made me all the more anxious to find out what happens in book two.
Rating: 4 Stars

5 comments:

  1. What a generous giveaway. Thanks for having it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just ordered Parallel Spirits for a friend for a going away gift. She has not seen it yet, but I know she is going to be thrilled This is her favorite genre. I am new to it, but want to keep reading to find all my favorite new authors.

    Thank you for the chance to be the recipient of your giveaway.

    Cynthia

    ReplyDelete