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Paperback Details
  • 05/2016
  • 978-0692147627
  • 234 pages
  • $10.97
Ebook Details
  • 05/2016
  • B01G9CWFVO
  • 239 pages
  • $2.99
Alba Castillo
Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For?

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

Alba Castillo has always been gutsy. A self-proclaimed rebel, she flees her small village in Spain for adventure and new life in the States. But what she meets instead is the devil himself. After several failed relationships, the charming and charismatic Peter seems like a gift from Heaven. Until he isn’t. Cruel, controlling, and malicious, Peter will stop at nothing to win, even if it means destroying Alba, and her children, in the process. Left with nothing but her spirit, Alba faces the fight of her life as she struggles to break free from a man who wants her very soul. Malice Intent chronicles Alba’s descent into Hell with a man who decimates everything innocent and precious, including her health, family, and sanity. How does one escape pure evil?

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.50 out of 10


Plot: This well-constructed, well-paced memoir reads like a novel. Readers will be engaged from the very beginning.

Prose: The prose here is no-nonsense and effective. This allows for compelling storytelling that draws readers into the story.

Originality: The author of this book tells her story in a reliable, truthful way that feels fresh and original. She tells awful truths with such brutal honesty and empathy that readers will keep turning pages until the very end.

Character Development: The characters are beautifully developed. The author's voice is strong, full of truth, humility, anger, and empathy.

Date Submitted: July 13, 2018

Reviewed By Ankita Shukla for Readers’ Favorite

There is nothing worse than being alone. Is there? After reading the memoir of Alba Castillo, I know there is something way worse than being alone; being in a relationship and still feeling lonely, used, disrespected, and rejected wins the Oscar of being in the worst situation ever. The author has presented the unfiltered truth of her life in her autobiography Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For? Alba Castillo was born in a place where the future of women was predetermined by society; they were to get married and raise a family -- nothing less and nothing more. However, she rebelled against the norm and created her own destiny. Although writing her own destiny and all sounds extremely fascinating, her life remained anything but. She became a single parent very early in her life and the men with whom she considered herself to be in a relationship used her for their own selfish reasons. In her tendency to give people more chances than they deserve, she ended up losing everything she had. At the time when she was diagnosed with cancer, she found herself driving to and from her multiple appointments all alone even though she was in a years-long relationship with a man at the time. How can someone be in a committed relationship, living with their partner and yet remain a single parent? You will know the answer once you read this heart-breaking memoir.

Having read Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For, I know one thing with utmost certainty: Alba Castillo is a fighter. She is a mother who never allowed her monetary problems to become an obstacle in doing the right thing for her kids. Her circumstances did not permit her to grant each of their wishes, but despite everything standing in her way, she ensured that her kids got what's most important in life. It's tragically funny how love worked both in favor and against her. The love that she felt for her children kept her fighting and in survival mode at all times. At the same time, however, the love she felt towards her partner shattered her heart and destroyed her life. The author has no malice intent behind writing this book. The only thing that she expects to achieve by revealing every fact, no matter how dark, is to convey to readers is that it's best to wrap up an abusive relationship as soon as you notice a red flag. Do not be blind in love and try not to suffer in silence. The moment you realize that your partner is not respectful towards you or is manipulative or in any way abusive to you, head for the exit. 

Other than highlighting the impact of an abusive relationship on a person's heart, will, and life, the author has tried to inject faith in her readers. No matter how hard the circumstances are, if you have faith and determination, help will come and you will survive. When giving up is not an option, prepare your mind for a battle where losing is not an option. I have learned a lot from her life and her endless courage. Whether you are a fighter or a crybaby, you will definitely learn a lot from her life. I would encourage every reader to read Malice Intent with an open mind, celebrate the strong lady that Alba Castillo is, and quit suffering in an abusive relationship.

Reviewed By April for Goodreads

It’s hard to imagine anything tougher than losing your health, That in of itself would be a huge hurdle to overcome in life, but that is only a part of Alba Castillo’s jaw-dropping story. I read this book cover to cover in two nights, I was so riveted by everything she’d been through. I had tears more than once and got mad a few times too (Peter!!). She does such an amazing job of letting us into her world for a while and really letting us walk a mile in her shoes and in her head, through the good, the bad, and the really bad. So many people would have given up just dealing with a fraction of what Alba went through, but she perseveres through the darkest of imaginable times. This book, “Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For?” is an eye-opening and remarkable journey of courage and strength told by a remarkable person. I can see this memoir really helping others who are going through the same thing, or at least provide some understanding for others who are going through it on some level and is an emotional and inspiring tale of survival. I laughed, I cried, I smiled… and in the end I felt privileged for having been able to be a part of this unforgettable journey. Recommend for adults only due to subject matter.

Reviewed By Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite

Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For by Alba Castillo is a heartbreaking, inspirational memoir of her journey toward inner peace and happiness, the tale of a life punctuated by suffering and wonderful lessons. Born and raised in a typical Spanish family in the outskirts of Madrid, Alba dreams about traveling to England to study the English language. Her dream comes true as she moves to England and finally to the US, but by then life has already dealt her some of its unforgiving blows, including pregnancy at a young age and having to raise her daughter alone. Her moving narrative chronicles abuse from an addictive lover and the suffering caused to her and her three children by a selfish husband. Alba could have given up hope when, in the midst of harrowing vicissitudes, she is diagnosed with breast cancer, but even then, she finds the strength to live by redefining her purpose and embracing her path with equanimity.

Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For is a story that will appeal to many readers, one that is laced with many life lessons and powerful insights. Alba Castillo’s unwavering courage, her resilience, and her ability to transform her suffering into a life giving and enriching experience is, in itself, a powerful message of hope to her readers. Everyone has suffered in life, and the thought of imminent death can be challenging and frightening. But the author states that she doesn’t fear death. Perhaps she has been in the school of life and has learned that life is a long preparation for death. Her style is simple and ruthlessly honest. It takes a lot of courage to open one’s soul to the world, and Alba has more than that courage. In telling her story, she offers insights and lessons that will help millions of people.

Reviewed By Edith Wairimu for Readers’ Favorite

Intense and gut-wrenching, Alba Castillo’s memoir, Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For?, presents the experiences of a Spanish woman whose fight for survival is inspiring. At a young age, Alba was always a dreamer, quite restless and with a thrill for adventure. She dreamed of what life would be like beyond her small hometown of Santa Ynez, Spain. Her dream came true one day. She finally got the opportunity to leave her home behind and go to Madrid and then to London. But life there was not exactly what she had imagined and soon enough she was back to searching for a place to call home. Her life would turn out to be a journey in which she would have to battle domestic violence, drug addiction, four bouts of cancer, the loss of a daughter to a self-seeking man, and unfathomable emotional pain.

Malice Intent’s narrative is laced with many lessons and invaluable advice. Alba Castillo balances emotional provocation and the narration of scenes. She articulates the purpose of the book impressively. Along the way, Alba’s grit in the midst of her mistakes became the source of hope for me that, despite everything, she would still pull through. Malice Intent’s pace is steady and this is achieved by the compactness of the narrative. Alba’s perspective is also clearly expressed. Writing is free flowing, with a peek at the present covered in the epilogue. In the background, the story sheds light on the struggles of single parenthood, drug addiction, illness and the torment of domestic abuse.

Reviewed By Gisela Dixon for Readers’ Favorite

Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For? by Alba Castillo is an autobiography by Alba on her life from her childhood to present. In Malice Intent, Alba details her early years in the small town of Santa Ynez in Spain where everyone knew everyone and her family life there, her move out of town to study English, her life working various jobs in England and elsewhere, her marriages and children, her relationships with men which included abusive relationships, her long relationship and marriage with Peter and how it affected and caused family dysfunction, her long battle with cancer including a mastectomy, ongoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. and all of the financial hardships associated with this. Alba also writes about her experiences in court and the custody and upbringing of her children.

Although Malice Intent is definitely a story of struggle and strife, Alba writes very candidly and openly about her life, and provides a voice of hope and resilience throughout it all. At times, she is not afraid to admit her own failings or mistakes. The part about her relationships with men has been portrayed in a very real and authentic manner, and it seems as real and believable as if she were sitting across the room and telling it. One thing that comes across is how Alba always put her children as high priority and made sure they were as well taken care of as possible even during all of this. I appreciated this and feel it is so important for others in similar situations to at least make sure the children are protected from harm, sexual abuse or anything of that kind. This is well worth a read!

Reviewed By Hilary Hawkes for Readers’ Favorite

Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For? is Alba Castillo’s true account of her life and harrowing experiences of successive involvements with abusive partners. Alba’s father treated her mother badly and this experience became the root cause of her later unconscious tendency to choose men who turned out to be manipulative, belittling and cruel. Always capable and independent, Alba rejected her mother’s wishes for her to marry locally and devote herself to being a wife and mother. Determined to find her own way and make her own decisions, Alba moved away and worked hard to support herself – particularly once she became a mother to three children by three different fathers. The strain of enduring the abuse led her to alcoholism and drug addiction at one point. Her husband’s lies led to the court order that removed their daughter from her care. But Alba’s love and concern for the safety of her children and her determination to beat the cancer that tormented her physically and mentally drives her onwards with faith, a remarkable resourcefulness and willingness to overcome the chains of her past.

Alba Castillo’s story is an admirably brave and honest account that draws attention to the plight of the abused and the incredibly difficult task they may have in breaking patterns of behavior that unconsciously draw them to yet more abusive relationships. Malice Intent is an eye-opener for many as it reveals the pain and frustration that accompanies the author’s reflections and regrets. Castillo states that she has written this book in order to help other victims to help themselves, and to realize that staying in an abusive relationship will harm and pass on effects to children with the danger that the cycle will be repeated again. The story shows that developing self-insight is so often not enough to escape such relationships; the author describes the co-dependency so well. 

Malice Intent is a well-written book that moves with detail, but at the same time a good pace, through the author’s life to date. People and situations are described with clarity - I began to feel I knew the various real life characters mentioned - and readers will be rooting for Alba and her children from the start. More than autobiographical, this book has an honesty, courage, empathy and vulnerability that make it an enlightenment and inspiration to others. Alba Castillo eventually learns to put herself and her loved ones first, to forgive herself for her mistakes and to never give up on making life better.

Reviewed By Janet Lane for Amazon

Sometimes life can become such a nightmare that we are unable to see past the hurt—or even reach out for help. This could be due to pride, fear of judgment or retaliation, or loss of friends or family. Whatever the reason, it isolates those who most need help.

In Malice Intent, Castillo shares her ordeals with surprising candor and detail. From the opening pages, we slide from the author's comparatively normal life into one of disappointment, despair and uncertainty as she dons the oppressive yoke of an undereducated, single mother--and one of an abused woman.

Her self-destructive tendency to choose abusive partners takes its toll, and Castillo falls into the traps of emotional paralysis, peace-at-any-price, and escape through drug abuse.

It’s a tale of deep suffering, seeming at times at mid-book like a rant of frustration and hopelessness. I would urge the reader to work through it, though, because her journey is revealing and courageous, and it serves as an aching reminder that as parents, we must be strong enough to remove our children from abusive environments, no matter how high the cost seems at the time.

Castillo’s contribution with this novel is to further our understanding of the signs of abuse. Her valiant fight to save her daughter should be a clear and constant reminder for us, as we observe our friends and neighbors, and for all the legal and social agencies to remain vigilant in their efforts to protect the children. The author understands her mistakes, and tries to send a message of hope to other women in similar predicaments.

Her book has a powerful message. I would recommend an addendum to the book of a list of agencies—and their contact information—so future victims can find it a little easier to locate help.

Reviewed By Jenna for Goodreads

Wow…. So be prepared to feel the feels with this one! Obviously from the description we know this is going to be a heavy book-- and it is, but in a strangely uplifting way. Yes, it’s sad… very much so. And what the author Alba Castillo has endured in her life is almost unbelievable, yet it is something that so many suffer from (illness and abuse), yet there is a stigma that prevents people from really being open and honest about it, which is a shame. It is really incredible to read all that she goes through in her life and all the ups and down and her journey and her process after her cancer and her relationship with Peter, including finding her way again, is nothing short of amazing. A candid look into the life of an incredible woman who refused to let the worst parts of her life define her, and “Malice Intent” will inspire others to do the same. A recommended read, and I’d like to thank the author for sharing her experience with us and shedding light on these important topics.

Reviewed By Karen *ReaderGirl* for Goodreads

"Malice Intent” isn’t exactly my typical reading fare to say the least, as I generally gravitate toward lighthearted romantic comedies. And while this wasn’t exactly ‘lighthearted” there was a wonderful and very moving story here. I was so intrigued reading this and learning about the author Alba Castillo, and how she endured her struggles, and her intense, frightening mental and physical battles. I thoroughly commend the author on writing this captivating book and sharing her experiences with abuse and illness with the rest of us. Ms. Castillo writes so eloquently and holds nothing back— it was like a friend telling me a story from the bottom of her heart, and it touched me in mine. It’s engaging and emotional without being melodramatic. Really liked the ending and the inspiring message that Ms. Castillo delivers here. Some minor editing things and could have done without the excessive use of italics throughout. But overall a very solid read that I highly recommended.

Reviewed By Lesley Jones for Readers’ Favorite

In Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For? by Alba Castillo, Alba always knew that she was the black sheep of her family, while growing up in the small village of Santa Ynez, close to Madrid. She always knew that her life would be different to those of her siblings, who dreamt of getting married and raising a family in the village. As soon as Alba turned 18 years old, she left for England and this is where her journey begins. Alba met her first husband in England and although happy, the union was short-lived. Alba wanted to feel that rush of love and excitement which she found in her next two relationships. However, the men were not all they seemed, and hidden beneath the charm was a dark side, that included physical and mental torture and rape. She found an escape route from the painful reality of her life through alcohol and cocaine. When she met Peter, Alba believed that he would be the one person to love her, but the happiness soon turned to psychological torture. Then she discovered she had cancer. Alba continued her battle to provide for her children, and always found a way to make their lives as normal as possible. She never expected that while she was fighting cancer, there would be a traumatic custody battle, and the shocking news that one of her children was being abused. This gripping true story will inspire you to be the strongest and best version of your self.

This book is written with a brutal honesty that will make you ask the question, ‘Will this woman ever be given a break?’ I thought Alba described each event with such vividness that you felt you were living the experience with her. Although her life became one of emotional and mental abuse, she kept striving and pushing forward, even when all the odds were against her, and this is admirable. The section concerning her cancer treatment and the custody battle for her youngest daughter affected me the most. Throughout the book, Alba does not complain or wallow in self-pity, and that is why this book is so special. You will discover the strength of the human character, and when she had no one to turn to and nowhere to go, Alba always found a way to provide for her children. A true inspiration to us all. My favourite quote from the book is, ‘Life does not have to be complicated,’ which is very true. Highly recommended.

Reviewed By Marcella Gonzales for Goodreads

Okay, I was in no way prepared for how emotionally invested I’d get in this book… it has been a loooong time since that has happened to me. The author Alba Castillo doesn’t sugar-coat anything… and her story is much, much richer, powerful, and provocative for it. The writing is so authentic and clearly written from the heart, and we really feel transported to her extraordinary life from the first page to the last. Such an amazing read that took me by surprise in the sense that I thought it would be a real downer. And I’m not gonna lie – a good part of it kinda was… But reading about Ms. Castillo’s incredible life and her struggles, and the depths of her despair to watching her come (almost) full circle in the end… I was left with such a feeling of hope and peace… we will all suffer in some way in our lives and it is so helpful to see how others have dealt with it in a way that is gritty, raw, and real. A mesmerizing book, and one that will stay with me for a long time to come. Thank you for sharing this incredible story with us! Recommend for fans of nonfiction bio and memoirs.

Reviewed By Please Pass the Books for Goodreads

Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For? by Alba Castillo is the author's memoir surrounding a life that began in Spain, but took her through several different countries as she pursued a better life as a single mother, usually with results that were rarely better. Castillo was raised in an isolated environment that was, by most standards, rural and anomalous. She was unable to finish secondary/high school after being guilted out of going by her well-intended but overbearing mother, and eventually sought work abroad. Initially accepting employment as an au par, Castillo was forced into varied forms of slavery, but found refuge at the gym, eventually becoming a personal trainer. Her journey went via rocky paths that could crush the strongest of individuals (single motherhood, abandonment, immigration and legal issues, drugs and alcohol, abuse, just goes on and on), but she comes out ahead and is now ready to share her story with the world.

Malice Intent by Alba Castillo is a heartbreaking tale that ultimately details the resilience of women. I think a lot of times American immigration and refugee stories, particularly those told by single mothers and women seeking better opportunities on their own, don't get the recognition they deserve. The fact that Castillo survived odds that were stacked deeply against her on almost every front shows perseverance and fortitude in and of itself; but the fact that she did this as a single mother, without the legal benefits afforded to many in the states, and in the face of hardship - without English as a primary language - is almost miraculous. I'd recommend this story of everyday heroism to anyone looking for an inspiring read, and all the women out there in situations that feel beyond their control, who need to be reassured that there is a way out.

Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite

Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For? by Alba Castillo is the story of a woman who left her village for a better life, only to realize that life is often not what you want it to be. Alba left her family and village to move to England. After learning English, she soon moved to America and started a phase of her life that she never could have imagined in her wildest dreams. She met two men who changed her life drastically. One man introduced her to the world of alcoholism/drugs and the other introduced her to a world of pain and disappointments. It was all she could do to keep her family intact, but a new bomb was dropped on her. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, she is a warrior so she fought through several rounds of treatment, while at the same time working hard to keep her family intact. 

This is the story of a strong woman who had faith in herself and was tough enough to fight the world. This is a great read. It is truly inspiring how Alba was able to get up every day and not curl into a fetal position. She is a fighter and a strong writer. She did her story justice by writing it in such a powerful manner. You can feel the despair, emotions, and her happiness in her words. There is nothing you can find at fault here. She is a true heroine, and she happens to be a very talented writer. I seriously admire her.

Paperback Details
  • 05/2016
  • 978-0692147627
  • 234 pages
  • $10.97
Ebook Details
  • 05/2016
  • B01G9CWFVO
  • 239 pages
  • $2.99