Title: Kiss Kill Vanish
Author: Jessica Martinez
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Hardcover, 432 Pages
Published October 2014
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Summary: 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.I bought a copy of this book off of BookOutlet because I was looking for something interesting to read and this summary automatically drew me in. Funny story - when the book arrived, it was bound backwards and also upside down, which I found really funny. Just some pictures for you:
So that gave me a good laugh. Let me also just say that I tweeted this problem to BookOutlet and they were super quick with their response and giving me store credit to solve the problem! I even ended up using the credit to get another book (currently on its way) free of charge, which is cool. :-)
Okay. So back to this book. I've always been really fascinated with any type of story involving any mafia or cartel. I'm not even sure why. So when I found out that this was what Kiss Kill Vanish was about, I was itching to get my hands on it. The best part was that Valentina had no idea what her father really did for a living to make so much money - she figured that he was just so wealthy from his love of buying and selling art. Little did she know, she was behind on a lot of stuff.
So the book starts off after Valentina witnesses something really, really terrible go down. (I won't spoil it for you guys and tell you because although you find out kind of in the beginning, the real explanations start to unravel as the book goes on.) So, long story short, horrified by what she has seen her father and her boyfriend do, she flees Miami - flees the entire country - and heads to Montreal for an escape so she can gather her thoughts. Repulsed by everything that she'd learned about her life, she refuses to use any money of her fathers or take anything of any real importance with her. So Valentina Cruz, former rich heiress, is living in a closet with a clock and a cot and a mandolin. She eventually finds work and struggles to come to terms with what happened while also trying to figure out what she could do to stop her father once and for all.
There were both parts of this book that I really enjoyed and parts that I didn't so much. I'm going to start with what I did like this time. I really liked Valentina's character. She had a good moral compass and made the decision to change things as soon as she found out what wrong things were really going on. Even when she was in Montreal, a freezing place that she'd never been to with absolutely no money, she didn't give up. She worked hard, earned money, found shelter and took care of herself to the absolute best of her ability. She even managed to find a few jobs while she was there. This was important because it demonstrates exactly what we weren't expected from a millionaire's daughter - when she fled, she didn't take much money with her. And when she was left with nothing, instead of wishing for that money back, she made her own. It was pretty inspiring, at least from a girl's perspective. Valentina was faced with some pretty difficult hardships that most (if not all) of us never had to endure, nor will we ever. And she did what she could and was smart about it and eventually got back to where she wanted to be, all the way in the end. (But I won't tell you how - read the book yourself!)
There were also a few things about this book that I wasn't so keen about, however. (There are some spoilers in this paragraph so skip to the nexct one if you haven't read this book yet!) For one, the whole thing with Marcel and Valentina. Yeah, I know that they had an adorable relationship towards the end, even if it was a little strange, but I didn't like it from the start. It was just so typical - Valentina gets sympathetic towards one boy, and then he dies, and then she falls for his brother. I don't know if Martinez expected that to be some sort of big plot twist, but it wasn't. It was expected so I didn't really think any of that stuff wowed me. Also, I didn't like when you found out about who Emilio really was. This isn't the first book that I've read where one of the people the main character begins to trust turns out to be some sort of law enforcement agent or undercover intel collector. For someone who doesn't read a lot, these plot twists may shock them like the author intended them to. But for someone who does read a lot, which I obviously do, the plot twists just seemed...overplayed. Like they happened, and instead of being shocked and awed, I felt disappointment, like Wow, that's it? That's what this whole thing has been building up to?
All in all, Kiss Kill Vanish was an interesting read that I enjoyed. Like I mentioned earlier, I've always been really fascinated by the whole cartel and mafia thing, so this book captured my interest from start to finish. There were parts that I really enjoyed and some aspects that I didn't, but overall I would recommend this book to anybody looking for a suspenseful, mysterious thriller. I would definitely also read more of Jessica Martinez's work in the future!