Monday, October 6, 2014

Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez 
Release Date - October 7, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  432 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Kiss Kill Vanish was entirely surprising. It's synopsis deems it a story of love, betrayal and murder. It is all those things, but in the most unexpected ways.  A novel that, while not what I was expecting, ended up being a pleasant surprise in the end.

Valentina is not the girl she used to be. When we meet her she's already had her entire world implode around her. A closet. A gun. A body. A moment that changes everything. The confusion spiraling through her thoughts, and actions feels incredibly authentic. Her back and forth on how she feels about her father, Emilio and herself felt dizzying but warranted. She's a girl who is struggling to have her heart, soul and brain make sense of something that is unfathomable. Every single part of her life is shown to be a lie. That kind of betrayal, and shift in perception, would be destabilizing in the worst way.

The synopsis may lead you to think this is a story of a crime family. It is. Very much so. However, at it's heart this is a story of a girl discovering that everything she thought she knew was a lie. Everything in her life gets shattered, and this is a story of how she picks up those pieces. The blending of action with real emotional elements served to create a novel that was both character and plot driven. These two components of the story worked together and impacted each other. This push and pull allowed for a tension that sneaks up on you while you're reading. You're on edge for most of the novel, but lured into a sense of security until that crashed down for both Valentina and the reader.

There are plenty of world shattering moments still awaiting Valentina as we begin this journey. These reveals add another realistic element to this novel. Plenty of them were ones I did not see coming. The element I appreciated the most was how, once everything clicked into place, how right it felt. There is no other way this story could have unraveled. No other way for the events to unfold. What happens is what is meant to happen. Not all authors, or stories, get this aspect right. There is a conviction in the way the story is told and Jessica Martinez threads this surety throughout the entire story.

Perhaps the most surprising part of all was the romance. It ends up going into places that I really didn't see coming. Valentina's relationship with Emilio is, obviously, complicated. How the romance starts and ends was, for me, one of the defining aspects of the story, and it really works.

The secondary characters, from Emilio, to Valentina's father, and many more, are just as developed, and just as important to the story as she is. Some of them we only get to know through Valentina's experiences and these are the ones that are most impressive because you do feel like you get to know them (or at least a version of them). It's Valentina who will be who readers remember however, and that is exactly how it should be.

While enjoyable, the ending, at least for me for me, didn't match the same urgency and tone as the rest of the novel. It felt too wrapped up. It doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the overall story, it was just the only thing that felt a little separate from the rest of the story.

An unflinchingly, achingly real portrayal of a girl who has had her entire life ripped out from under her. A suspenseful, emotional read that unravels at just the right pace.

Be sure to visit the others stops along the tour for interviews, guest posts, and more!

October 6th: Kathy (A Glass of Wine) - Review
October 7th: Kristie (Lost in Ever After) - Top 5
October 8th: Emilie (Emilie's Book World) - Review
October 9th: Christa (More Than Just Magic) - Review
October 10th: Giselle (BO-OK Nerd Canada) - Character Interview
October 13th: Shelly (Read. Sleep. Repeat) - Review
October 14th: Angel (Mermaid Vision Books) - Review
October 15th: Ciara (Lost at Midnight Reviews) - Interview
October 16th: Lynne (Words of Mystery) - Review
October 17th: Jess (Read My Breath Away) - Guest Post

Jessica Martinez is the author of young adult novels Virtuosity, The Space Between Us, The Vow, and Kiss Kill Vanish. She was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. As a child she played the violin, read books, and climbed trees incessantly. She went on to study English and music at Brigham Young University, and since then has been an English teacher, a symphony violinist, and a mother. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and three children.

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