Early Review: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez
I had my doubts when I first picked up 'Kiss Kill Vanish', but soon enough, they faded away, allowing me to realize the sheer amount of beauty contained in the novel. The story picked up slowly in the beginning, and it wasn't easy to understand the main character, Valentina. Yes, I respected her for the fact that she was able to run away from a life of comfort and happiness after finding out where her family's money actually came from, but she had quirks that didn't fit her current life as a young teen without any money. For example, no matter how hungry she was, Valentina could never make herself eat white chocolate, and she often splurged on pastries. I don't blame her, everyone would get bored of eating a PB&J sandwich everyday, but, well, it made it seem like she wasn't serious about the whole runaway thing.
Thankfully, everything became better the further I read into the plot. Valentina became someone I could empathize with, and her actions were, funnily enough, more likable after the death of an acquaintance. And the romance was amazing. There are way too many slap-in-your-face insta-love stories out there, so to read one that developed slowly, just slightly below your line of sight (though I sensed it from the very beginning, because duh, I'm me) was a nice surprise, and it made for an excellent relationship. I also loved what the author did with one of the two love interests: his story was something I never would have guessed, and though I would have preferred a more punishing end to the man's story (trust me, he was eeeevil!), the novel provides readers with a satisfactory one that isn't too violent. That's not to say the main plot didn't have all those gory aspects though.
This is one of those books where the plot is so good that even I wouldn't care if there was no romance in the story. Illegal drug dealing is interesting enough without viewing it from the perspective of the dealer's daughter. Despite the fact that Valentina is away from the drug deals and the action for most of the story, we get the complete details of her story through flashbacks while she is living her life in poverty, and though there are the predictable parts, there are also parts that are near impossible to piece together into the truth. No one can be trusted, and it's up to Valentina to choose who to trust, pick a side, and take action. The entire time I was reading, I felt like I was actually in the story. The writing is amazing, and the little details sprinkled throughout the book makes it feel so realistic.
The ending, it was beautiful, as in there are no words for this, beautiful. In the novel, readers are exposed to the life and lies of Valentina Cruz, and there is almost no way this book could have been any better. Readers of crime and romance will definitely want to take a peek at this book, and more specifically, anyone who has read '100 Sideways Miles' and enjoyed it, this may be something you'll like. Honestly, even just thinking about this book right now has me close to tears; the novel is a laid-back, thrill ride that I'm so, so very sad is now over.
Book 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.
Source: Received a copy from Katherine Tegen Books for review.