ARC Review: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Kiss Kill VanishGenres: Contemporary, Thriller, Young Adult
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Publisher Katherine Tegen Books
Source:  e-Arc from Edelweiss
Check out on GOODREADS

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.

review

Kiss Kill Vanish while fun, is actually a pretty weak novel overall. It’s entertaining and in spite of its length, a pretty quick read, yet it lacks a lot of things to make it more. More than just a fun quick read. It lacks good characterization and a strong believable plot.

The sad thing is that all of us who had buddy read this (Glass, Tanja and Emma) were majorly disappointed. We all had high expectations and while all of us gave it 3 stars after reading, once we got to discussing, we all kind of just exploded and ranted and it turned out, we had more bad things to say than good.

Instead of writing a review though, we wanted to go with discussion questions to help us organize our thoughts more. This will serve also as a way to reflect more on the discussion we had.

How did you feel about Valentina as a character?

Valentina was one of the most annoying characters I have ever encountered. She was confused about what she wanted and in all honesty, no matter what her situation was, I’d always think of her as a spoilt brat. She seemed to be not only very condescending and judgmental but also largely hypocritical. Plus, I really just couldn’t understand her. It made sense for her to run away within hours of experiencing a certain event, abandoning her family in the process, yet she found it hard to wrap her head around certain other things. She was such a messed-up character and worse, she never underwent any character development. At the end of the day, she was the same as she had been before. Not changed for the better or for the worse… and definitely not likeable.

Also, as someone who believed in justice, her character… really rubbed me the wrong way. She was a teenager and she needed to get off her high horse. SERIOUSLY. Her actions were childish and ugh I had to resist the urge to slap her in the face…. (I am not sure how that would be possible but still).

Was the plot well developed and believable?

NOT AT ALL. It was all over the place and not nearly as well developed as it could have been. Of course it was fun, books with the ‘on the run’ trope tend to be, but it wasn’t the least bit believable and that was what killed the book.  There were too many loop-holes and too many conveniences and not enough explanations. Plus, Valentina was a pretty sheltered female lead in spite of her circumstances and she always figured everything would work out. She never bothered to actually think things through or flesh out her plans properly. She jumped into things without thinking and that really bothered me.

On top of everything, the ending was rushed. We got to the juicy bits and then BAM it’s over.

Was the romance more than a plot device?

Nope. The romance in this book was a total plot device.  My feelings towards the love interest were pretty ‘eh’, too. It went from ‘omg please don’t tell me he’s the love interest’ to ‘awww how cute’ to ‘how pathetic’. This guy seemed to be too involved with a girl he knew almost nothing about. It was ridiculous. Plus, he did seem like her puppet: she would say jump and he’ll ask, “how high?” Some of his actions were clear indicators of that, but I cannot go into more detail without spoiling. Really, the only purpose his character served was to help the story progress and their romance was basically a plot device in my opinion. Well, it would be more appropriate to say Marcel’s character was a plot device. He didn’t really have any purpose aside from helping the story progress. He underwent one huge chunk of development, but now that I think back, I am not sure how believable that was, either. You cannot change overnight… even if it’s a result of a tragedy.

Describe Emilio in one word.

ZOMG (SEE TANJA.. I DID IT!)

To sum up?

Read this book if you’re not too concerned about the believability of some things and are just looking for something fun.

Check out Emma’s review for this book on Monday and Tanja and Glass’s review on Tuesday!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Romance
Climax
Overall: 2.5

 

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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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  1. says

    OKey-dokey. I MIGHT check it out so long it’s not tiresome- is it??? Because I really like mafia stories- especially YA mafia stories though I don’t come across them often. BUT explain Emilio! Don’t leave me hanging like thatttt!!! Except now I’m not sure if I want to check it out. Ughhh you make feel so conflicted. IS IT FUN ENOUGH TO WARRANT MY HOURS OF READING?
    Stuti recently posted…OblivionMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Definitely not tiresome, at least to me it wasn’t. I should say though, the mafia aspect wasn’t that strong .-. I will leave you hanging like that but when you encounter him you me join me in my ZOMGing.

      IT IS fun enough. It’s like one of those mindless reads ya know?

  2. says

    Ugh…. I have this one and was pretty excited to read it because the synopsis sounded somewhat unique (and let’s be honest-the cover xD ) But the issue with realism and believability really gets me, as well as the romance. I would get hung up on all that so I think I’ll skip it. Great review though :D
    Alise recently posted…The Raven Cycle (re)Readathon Announcement + Sign UpMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      ahh the cover. It’s a pretty once.

      Hey, you might just end up liking it in spite of those issues :D for us they didn’t become a real issue until we got discussing so perhaps it might work out for you??

      Thanks Alise!!! :)

  3. says

    I didn’t’ realize you guys did a buddy read. It says a lot that neither of you liked it all that much. :( That sucks! I hate crappy buddy reads, although at least that way you have lots of people to rant and rave with about it so it isn’t all bad. ;)
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Review: Magnolia by Kristi CookMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      It does, doesn’t it? But yeah, at least we had each other.. it definitely made the buddy read a lot more fun :D

  4. says

    Aw, that summary looked so good too. That’s too bad that you guys didn’t enjoy it as much as you hoped. I understand you, under-developed characters are annoying and I have a sense that Valentina is a whiner. Thanks for your review.

  5. says

    Awww…I’m sorry this was such a letdown Rashika! :( It’s a shame that all 3 of you had a not-so-good experience with it! I can definitely see why though…when romance is used as a plot device and the story is unbelievable, that makes it a difficult read to begin with. And then take in to account an unlikeable heroine? Honestly, I’m impressed you all ended up enjoying it as much as you did – LOL! I’ll definitely pass on this one. Thanks for sharing though, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
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    • Rashika says

      It does but you know what’s weirder? All of us really liked this to a certain point and then it just went downhill :/

      I am too, in all honesty but there is something so incredibly addictive about this book and I couldn’t find it in me to completely dislike it…

      THANKS ZOE!! :)

  6. says

    I have been reading a lot of these mindless reads lately. They’re fun in the moment but they lack depth and compelling characters that I forget them within minutes. I also often have believability issues like you mention in action=packed books where the author concentrates on the thrill rather than making shit make sense you know. Valentina also sounds like she needs a kick in the rear!! “omg please don’t tell me he’s the love interest” lol never a good start! >.< I had this one on my TBR arc list but yeah it sounds like I need to lower my expectations some O_O
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Landline by Rainbow RowellMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Ouch. That does not sound fun. I mean mindless reads don’t completely suck, I enjoy reading them from time to time but if it becomes somewhat of a streak.. eek.

      She DOES need a good kick in the rear. Someone needs to kick her off her high horse.

      And this is not a spoiler but seriously, the dude was a drug addict and a complete douche at the beginning when we first met him. Totally gave me the creeps!

  7. Larissa says

    Ick. Valentina sounds like such a annoying character >.< She seems to lack depth, seems very vapid and inspid. It's like she's a combination of all of the negative character traits with nothing redeeming. Somebody who is judgmental yet hypocritical is the actual worst. Characters who also undergo literally zero character development also annoy me. I feel like reading about them is pointless because they're exactly the same person as they were in the beginning of the novel, no journey or reveal.

    On the run stories for me need to be realistic in regards to the portrayal of how dire the situation tends to be, it's definitely not a walk in the park. The conveniences in this story would drive me up the wall. They just seem frankly lazy and act as a neon sign: SUPER OBVIOUS PLOT DEVICE.

    … the romance was a plot device. That's a new one. It seems so utterly pointless for that when you could just add in more conveniences(;

    Lovely review Rashika! Though I do enjoy a mindless read every now and again, I feel as if this one would drive me insane with the main character and conveniences.

    • Rashika says

      I think you’ve pretty much nailed Valentina’s character :P She is annoying as hell and I really really just wanted to shake her.

      I actually don’t mind some conveniences because on the run stories can be pretty hard to make realistic but when the conveniences just pile on one after the other, it just really bothers me.

      I do think I’ve encountered romances that don’t serve any real purposes but I cannot remember.. but if you do end up reading this, you’ll know EXACTLY what I mean.

      Thank you, Larissa!!!! :)

    • Rashika says

      DUDE. I TOTALLY FEEL YOU. And don’t go in scared.. just go in expecting a mindless read and I am sure you’ll like this one! :D

  8. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) says

    Oh darn this sounds sound appealing AT ALL. I hate it when the romance is used as a plot device, and annoying characters are annoying. PLUS, unbelievable plot line. I do think I’ll be skipping this one.

    Thanks for the helpful review, Rashika! <33

    • Rashika says

      Annoying characters… *shakes fist at them*

      I hate it when romance is used as a plot device as well because in all honesty, perhaps you DONT NEED ONE! Don’t force it! At first it definitely seemed like it would turn out to be something I’d want to ship but it all went downhill *sigh*

      Thanks Mel!!! :)

    • Rashika says

      Tell me about it. -.- I love reading romances but if you don’t need one, you don’t need one. DONT FORCE IT. Although admittedly, at first it did seem like there would be more depth to it. It turns out there was no real purpose for their relationship *sigh*

      Thanks Pili!!!! :)

  9. laila campos says

    But i was looking forward to reading this. i have my ebook copy…well this sounds very discouraging…but i will take my chances and just read it for myself…teheeee!

  10. says

    Damn it. That doesn’t sound like a good romance.. and I need a good romance, lol :D So yes. Not a book for me this either.. sigh. But amazing review sweetie. <3 Thank you for sharing and being honest :)
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    • Rashika says

      Don’t we all? You may like it because Marcel is kind of cute but we all ended up.. not being the biggest fans of him .-. He just became a little.. pathetic :P

      Thanks Carina!!!! :)

  11. says

    LOL Girl you’ve got me in stitches!!! I’ll have to pay you back for avoiding to tell what we all know about Emilo’s character. Yeah, I’m off to write my review! But you did a great job with this review. As you know I totally agree and Valentina as a character is someone we will sadly remember. Not for long. let’s hope! Great review, hon! ;)
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    • Rashika says

      Emilio is an interesting one *scratches fake beard*.

      Valentina who? IDK WHO YOU’RE TALKIN ‘BOUT TANJA! :P

      Thanks Hon!!! :)

    • Rashika says

      Eh the book I read after this didn’t knock my socks off either *sigh* but I atm I am going through a ‘good read’ phase so I think that more than makes up for the failures of this one! :D

      And we’re glad to take one for the team :D

  12. says

    Great review ladies! I’ve been curious about the book so your review really interested me. I really don’t like the believablility of the romance, it kind of sounds like a was a matter of convenience you know? Valentina does sound like a really irritating character, and that’s the worst for putting you off a book I reckon. Lovely review Rashika!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker Review: Cheating both waysMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      If you ever end up reading this, it’ll make so much more sense and you’ll want to bang your head on a wall. Once we started ‘evaluating’ the romance we realized that nothing really happened and that lead to all sorts of interesting discoveries :P

      Thank you so much, Jeann!! :)

  13. says

    Ah, goshdarnit. I have this book up next to read! WHY. Well, at least it was entertaining, right? For such a long novel, it would be unbearable if it was boring. Still, I’m really disappointed that this wasn’t that good because I was really looking forward to it — it had such an interesting premise.

    I’m not liking the sound of Valentina at ALL. Annoying characters can be done in a way that makes them seem realistic, and not annoyingly so, but she just sounds… ugh. I hate it when characters are hypocritical, and what’s worse is that this character in particular doesn’t go through any kind of development whatsoever. Looks like there’s really no hope of liking her in the end either, huh? :(

    And nooooo, the plot, which I have to say was the best sounding part of the book, sucked as well?! I have to resist making all these disappointed groaning sounds the more I read through your review, lol. It’s just so frustrating! I guess I wouldn’t have minded if the plot was a leeetle underdeveloped, but being unbelievable is really out of the question. In whatever book, fantasy or contemporary or sci-fi, realisticism is one of the most important aspects — for me, at least.

    Um, yeah, I don’t know if I should read this now. Don’t think I could take an immature MC, a lame storyline, and sucky romance all at the same time. I’m actually kind of surprised this wasn’t 1-star read for you, heh! I’ll probably look around for more reviews then decide if this is worth my time. Either way, thanks for such an informative review, Rashika!
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    • Rashika says

      Actually, the weird thing is that in spite of it’s length it never really felt long. The book does fly by and was pretty entertaining IMO even if it wasn’t likeable.

      She is not done in a realistic way, believe me. She could have been portrayed as a spoilt brat but she wasn’t. That was our interpretation of her annoying behavior. I am pretty sure she was supposed to be likeable but she just wasn’t. She was a whiner *shakes head*

      The plot didn’t suck it was just unbelievable. I am not even sure how to put it in words because in all honesty, it was fun to read, a guilty pleasure almost but there were too many holes and too many things that didn’t work for me and so while I enjoyed it, I don’t think it was a good plot. Do you know what I mean?? *sigh*

      I think you should still give it a shot if you were really looking forward to it because even if you don’t like it, you might enjoy it :D (that doesn’t make much sense does it? :P)

      THANKS MEGAN!! :)

  14. says

    PASS. I hate it when I rate a book after I finish reading it, but then I start the review, and suddenly . . . SO many problems. Life was much less complicated before I started blogging. Sometimes I miss the simplicity of being able to just read a book, like it, and not have to justify that like to anyone. BUT at the same time, I’m happier having compelling evidence for why I liked (or didn’t like) a book. Something about grass being greener . . . ? *snorts*

    Welp, at least you weren’t alone in your disappointment. BRs are awesome whether you like a book or not, but I think especially when you can commiserate over a shared letdown. So hooray! for that. But knowing ahead of time that this book has an awful MC, a crap plot, and romance as filler . . . yeah, no. But thanks for the heads-up, b/c this one was on my list. Great review, Rashika!

    As for what makes a believable “on the run” book, I need the know why they’re on the run and it needs to make sense, I need them to be smart about being on the run (not purchasing things with traceable credit cards, or making calls on their traceable cell phone, etc.), and . . . well, I guess that’s it basically. I don’t think that’s unreasonable ;)
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    • Rashika says

      YESSS. I KNOW. Sometimes I just want to take a long break and read for the hell of it instead of thinking of every little detail. Not sure I’ll ever be able to go back though because I’ll be tearing the book apart in my head anyway.

      BRs are pretty awesome! :D I mean all the lameness and being able to talk about shit and not worrying about spoilers :D

      Ooooo I don’t think you’d like this one then. It has tons of moments that make you go, REALLY YOU DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING? I am seriously curious as to whether or not the mc could actually be that stupid O_O. *shakes head*

      THANKS JESS!!! :)

  15. says

    What a bummer to have a mediocre book for a read-along. Sorry you ladies were so disappointed. I’m not surprised and I think I’d feel the same way about Valentina. I have a hard time liking a book if the main character acts like a spoiler brat in addition to being judgmental and condescending. And that’s without even thinking about an unbelievable plot. Hope your next read-along goes better. Great honest review, Rashika! :)
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    • Rashika says

      It is, isn’t it? We were all looking forward to this one too so it really sucked :/

      I think it’s more of a matter of how one sees her character because I am sure the author meant her to be likeable given her circumstances but she wasn’t. All of us felt like she was a complete hypocrite and in spite of her ‘troubles’, she remained a spoilt brat *sigh*

      Thanks so much, Rachel!!! :)

    • Rashika says

      Spoilt brats are really hard to like unless they are made to be unlikeable at first… I don’t think that was the case here though :P

      Thanks Henrietta!! :)

    • Rashika says

      That’s happened to me so many times too. I think I’ll love a book and then when I set down to write my feeling, so many things start popping up and I realize that I may have more negative things to say than I originally though I did. :/