Monday, July 07, 2014

ARC REVIEW - KISS KILL VANISH by Jessica Martinez

Kiss Kill Vanish
by Jessica Martinez
Publisher - Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date - October 7th 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

Whilst this novel had great potential, with a refreshing plotline, of mystery, love and action, it unfortunately lacked in the follow through of all those elements that myself, Tanja & Glass, and Rashika found when we group read it and discussed it through. Our rating however, decreased the more we delved into the story and depth of the characters. 

At first the plotline was fairly simple, a young girl by the age of 17 (which we found out later in the novel, I'll discuss in detail later.) was a witness to shooting by none other than her boyfriend, Emilio by the hands of her father as well. So she ran, sold her belongings in order to survive in the last place she thought that they could find her... Montreal. However, her lack of ambition and energy really pulled the novel down the further we got into the novel. 

Rather than doing a full-length review, we decided to discuss the book using these questions as part of reviews.

How did you feel about Valentina as a character?

Valentina is probably the most annoying, irritating and a false character that I have ever had to read. At first she seemed like this genuine poor little girl who has been through a very traumatic experience. But to be honest she is brought up in a very rich and well known neighbourhood. She isn't called Valintina Cruz for a any reason, she's daddy's little girl until she witnesses who her family really are and what they really do. These words; 'Poor Little Girl' were used constantly through our discussion of the book and essentially that is what she is. 

What I never got was her attachment to this Medallion that her so called 'love of her life' taught her. She took it from Emilio when she left so she could play till her fingers burned and still be reminded of the love and beauty they once shared. But the fact remains that this event always went back to her, she had a tenancy to really over-exaggerate and whine about things which made me dislike her character even more. Valentina never really changed or progressed throughout the novel, I felt that her character was condensed of multiple personalities mixed together, there was no real sense of who she was as a person. 

Was the plot well developed and believable?

At first, the plot line started out with real potential, a girl ran way from a witnessing a horrific event, now living to survive. The beginning first saw the beauty in the landscape and in Martinez's writing as well. How Valentina wanted to see the beauty in everything after the ugly she had to endure. But then it slowly declined, again it was all driven by Valentina's problems when at times I wish there was more to it. I would have loved to know more about Lucien, the artist, or Marcel, his brother but also a somewhat romantic inclination towards Valentina. 

What it lacked was balance, there needed to be the thrill, the chase, Valentina's past and then love. There was too much, as if Martinez wanted to cram everything in. The ending itself ended rather swiftly, wrapped in a tight little bow not enough room for anything else. 

Was the romance more than a plot device?

Would I call it romance? Possibly. Would I say it my sort of romance, where it embeds itself neatly into context and leave you smiling to yourself, or in awe for the romantic gestures. No. For me it was 'meh' It sort of matched Valentina as a character, annoying. It lacked the spark or energy to thrive through the novel. What I felt was that there was a hint of insta-love throughout not just with Emilio but with Marcel as well. 

Although, Emilio, her first romance seemed beautiful round the edges when we look back, however, he seemed to me like a jerk if I'm honest. When you reach a certain point in the novel, (which I can't reveal without spoiling it) you can understand him a little. But for me its a little too late by then. Now Marcel, he was unexpected, and a misguided love interest, he, in comparison to Valentina certainly had some redeeming qualities. 

Describe Emilio in one word 

Egotistical 

To sum up...

Overall, it was potentially a good book, but for me needed a balance to restore some of the characters and the plot-line. I think this novel had a really good promise, but the follow-through wasn't what I expected at all, unfortunately. I feel a little bad about this review as this is my first book by this author, but without reading it with these lovely ladies, Rashika and Tanja & Glass, was really enjoyable to say the least!

Check out Rashika's review here and Tanja & Glass's review, here.

Rating - 2.5 (was originally 3 before discussing in depth)

14 comments:

  1. Great review, Emma. I don't even have to tell you that I agree with everything you wrote in your review.

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    1. Thank you Glass. Hehe I know! Thank you for doing the read-along with me, really enjoyed it!

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  2. Sounds like a somewhat frustrating read, which is a shame because it sounded so intriguing!

    Thanks for your honest thoughts :)

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    1. I know. I had the same impression of it when I first requested it. It had such potentail but there was no follow through. Which is such a shame. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  3. It seems rather sad that a book with so much potential ended up being so meh for you all! At least you could discuss it with each other!
    Thanks for the fantastic discussion review!

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    1. I know! It is a real shame. I really liked the premise of the book. Definitely. Really enjoyed having Glass, Tanja and Rashika with me. Thanks for stopping by Pili!

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  4. I totally agree with everything you've said. It seemed good at the start but later on it just turned into a mess. It was so amazing reading together with you girls and I cannot wait to do it again. Great review, Emma :)

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    1. Exactly. The whole book was so fragmented in the end that there wasn't a coherent plotline. I really enjoyed reading with you all it was amazing! Thanks Tanja! :)

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  5. Eh, I'm going to skip out on this one. I hate novels that really had a lot of potential and then fail to live up to that premises. I loooved this author's debut but her sophomore novel and this one seem to be receiving negative reviews, so I just don't think she's for me anymore. :/ Thanks for an honest review, Emma! :)

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    1. I'm understand completely where you are coming from. This was my first book by this author and I've heard so much about her debut. But clearly this wasn't for me. Thanks for stopping by Keertana! :)

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  6. She really did have a tendency to over-exaggerate things didn't she? and she had a tendency to make a lot of the issues about her when they actually weren't.

    It really was fun reading this along with you guys <3 and I am glad we could rant about Valentina's annoyingess together :)

    Fantastic review, Emma! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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    1. YES! Exactly. Even now it still frustrates me. Her character was just so annoying! Me too! I really enjoyed reading with you. Totally has a new meaning of reading as well. Yes. At least we weren't alone in her annoyingness. Thank you, Rashika! :)

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  7. I'm so sad because so far every single review I've read said that the main character, Valentina was such a horrible characters and the book didn't live up to its standards by far. It's a pity because I was really looking forward to this one. Nice review. :)

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    1. I'm sorry to say it didn't live up to me expectations and I hate when that happens especially such a negative review as this one. Thanks for stopping by Veronika! :)

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