Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: Kiss Kill Vanish

Kiss Kill VanishAuthor Jessica Martinez
Series: Standalone
Released: October 7th 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Lenght: 432 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

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.

It’s no secret that Jessica Martinez’s debut novel, Virtuosity is one of my all-time favorite books. Carmen and Jeremy King had an amazing chemistry and they worked together so well. It’s been years, but I still remember their love so vividly. Then came Jessica’s sophomore novel, The Space Between Us. It too was memorable, but for entirely different reasons. I can still taste the disappointment, the feeling of being let down by an author I trusted. I didn’t even bother with The Vow, choosing to trust a few friends who didn’t think much of it. But Kiss Kill Vanish lured me in with its memorable title, gorgeous cover, and still, still, Jessica’s name on it. But was it worth it? No.

I’d love to say that it’s a matter of personal taste, and I suppose it always is to a certain extent. But a completely outlandish plot and a protagonist who refuses to think with her own head should bother just about anyone. The plot of Kiss Kill Vanish is so poorly thought-through, so full of plot holes and nonsensical details that it borders on being ridiculous.

Just days ago, I read a good book made infinitely better by its smart, resourceful heroine. With Kiss Kill Vanish it’s exactly the opposite: it’s a mediocre book made worse but the witless, thoughtless protagonist whose moral compass needs some serious recalibrating. With her selfishness, inconsistencies and complete and utter blindness to anything that might offend her delicate sensibilities, Valentina was absolutely infuriating.

Her thoughtlessness influenced every aspect of her life: her relationship with her father and her sisters, her romantic entanglements and even her superficial friendships with her roommate and employers. It was clear from the very beginning that her boyfriend Emilio was a dishonest, manipulative criminal, and yet the mere sound of his voice was enough to weaken Valentina’s resolve. She not only witnessed him murdering someone, but she suspected him of killing another person in cold blood, and yet she insisted on pretending that nothing was wrong.

Even the second romance was born mostly out of Valentina’s selfishness. The way she handled Emilio and Marcel showed that she was too immature to tie her own shoes, let alone handle adult relationships. I’ve seen reviewers compare her to Bella Swan, but I actually liked Bella, and there was nothing even remotely likeable about Valentina Cruz.

It needs to be said that Martinez's prose is gorgeous, and that her ability to string amazingly fluid sentenced together remains unchanged. But that alone isn't enough to justify reading this book. The plot and the final scenes combined with Valentina’s character made me realize that it’s time for Jessica Martinez and me to part ways. One wonderful book does not a career make, and while I’ll always adore Virtuosity, I doubt I’ll ever read another one of her books.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. *cries* i was counting on you being the only review that is actually positive but no such luck. I'm SO SAD that everyone is disliking this book and for good reason. I feel like valentina would infuriate me SO MUCH.. unfortunately I have an ARC of this from the publisher for review so I will be reading it.. have the lowest expectations now of it. Ridiculous plot? i can't handle that WITH an annoying protagonist who can't think for herself.. sigh. thanks for the great review Maja!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  2. I'm so so sorry to hear that you have been so disappointed not only by this book but also disillusioned with the author now.
    I was intrigued by this one but after a few reviews I had decided that it was not for me, and yours simply reinforced that. I guess that I will be checking Virtuosity though, since it sounds like a book worth reading!
    Thank you for your honest review Maja!

  3. I, oh, not good, I started of as a maybe, then it ends as a no, not the book for me

  4. A MC that witnesses her boyfriend murder someone and does nothing? So not for me! It's too bad that this one was such a disappointment too, Maja, as I remember reading your review for The Space Between Us, which is why I didn't bother read that one either. I loved Virtuosity but Martinez's most recent books seem like duds.

  5. SADNESS!! I think I'd be so frustrated reading this one. People who don't think for themselves drive me insane!! And, dang, I loved Virtuosity, which makes me so sad for this book (with it's awesome cover) and her others.

  6. Uh oh Maja! Valentina sounds hugely problematic, I struggle with selfish characters who don't think before they speak or act, so clearly I should steer well clear of her. It's such a shame too since Jessica is the author of one of your very favorite books, it's always extra disappointing to have a favorite author let you down a bit. Hope the next book she writes blows you away as Virtuosity did!

  7. Ack! I am so sorry this was such a huge disappointment. I almost downloaded this and now I am glad that I didn't. :(

  8. Yikes! I also loved Virtuosity and was so excited to read my ARC of this one. I guess I will proceed with caution. Thanks for the heads-up.
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  9. Oh it's sad that after a great book by the author you had some difficulties with this one. I confess it's the first time I hear about it but at the end I'll pass too.

  10. Wow! Valentina sounds like a piece of work. I can't stand a character who can't think for herself. And there's a love triangle too? I'm glad I didn't bother downloading this one. For once, I managed not to be lured by a pretty cover.
    Sorry this was such a disappointment, Maja. :(

  11. I completely agree with you. I read this a few months back and I really hated Valentina, she was so spoiled and totally without any common sense or logic that I don't know why I kept on reading. I haven't actually read any of her other books. But reading this first hasn't given me the best impression of the book. Such a shame, such potential. Wonderful review, Maja! :)

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  13. That character would totally bother me as well. I don't care for thoughtlessness and to have it throughout... no. Darn! I so need to pick up Virtuosity but I think I'll pass on this one.

  14. Huh. I'm sorry his book didn't work for you. I have it on my read pile, so I'm interested to see if I feel the same way that you do....

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  15. I'm actually happy to see that I'm not the only one who saw Valentina as an idiot. I mean her choices and behavior made me pull my hair out and some moments in the plot to scream. So yeah. Even though I'll have to read that other book by this author and give her another change :) Great review, Maja :)

  16. Aaww, I'm sorry to hear that this one fell short for you after the high wow factor of Virtuosity. Thanks for not sugarcoating this book's shortcomings though because as a potential reader it's good to be forewarned. Other than the top notch writing, it seems like this story failed to deliver on every front. Too bad.

  17. Sounds hard to connect to because of her all emcompassing selfishness

  18. Oh. Well I read the blurb which I rarely do but was drawn in by the cover, and then I saw your review and found myself definitely disappointed. This protagonist sounds like the worst person ever, and selfish, mediocre, witless girls are not the type I want to read about. I will certainly be avoiding this entirely!

  19. Just blah. I liked the blurb and was so heopful about this one. I am sorry you didnt like it. I havent read anything from this author but after this review I decided to not read this and instead read Virtuosity. I hope I love it as much as you did.


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