ARC Review: Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

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Release Date: Jan 10, 2017

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A teenage assassin kills with a single kiss until she is ordered to kill the one boy she loves. This commercial YA fantasy is romantic and addictive like– a poison kiss– and will thrill fans of Sarah J. Maas and Victoria Aveyard.

Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya a poison maiden is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

review

4/5 Stars 

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Random House Books for Young Readers

Poison’s Kiss is a sweeping and thrilling journey into rich Indian folklore. Full of mystery, intrigue, a reluctant assassin, and gods, Poison’s Kiss is an adventure that will leave you hungry for more. 

PROS: 

  • Poison’s Kiss is a blend of Northern and Southern Indian legends, with a twist. In this world, based on India, the gods of folklore are spoken of in whispers, they’re on coins, they’re known by the masses, but more of as a hazy bedtime story. As someone who knows very little of Indian lore besides the main stories related to religion, this was epic. It’s whimsical and dark. There’s a sinister and revered undercurrent that runs throughout the story that keeps you on edge for the unexpected. I loved that the culture was just present. It wasn’t knock-you-over-the-head, explanations all over the place. From the food, to the clothing, to the bustling markets and snake charmers. You become immersed fast and it will consume you. 
  • Visha kanya. Poison maidens. This takes the idea to a whole new level. The poison becomes a vicious and deadly part of the maiden’s body. A kiss that kills. The process, how the poison takes hold, the connection to snakes, everything is elaborate and terrifying and absolutely addictive. 
  • Marinda grew on me. At first, I wasn’t sold on her. She takes forever to figure things out, she is defiant, she puts herself in danger, she doesn’t think and rushes in. There’s nothing that drives me nuts worse than someone who doesn’t take a second to think. But Marinda is incredibly brave, compassionate, and will do anything for her brother, who is not even hers by blood, but he’s the only thing that helps her keep her humanity after so much death and destruction. The guilt consumes her. The toll of killing, knowing what the poison does, it breaks her despite the knowledge that she is doing something for the greater good. Marinda doesn’t want to be what she is, but she has no choice. The danger is so high and she knows the consequences of trying to escape her keeper. Marinda has a beautiful heart. She genuinely loves and gives that love to her brother, no matter how down she is. Scenes from her childhood and how she became a visha kanya are brutal and heartbreaking. 
  • Not all villains are wholly evil. The characters are complex. Their beliefs are deeply rooted and not everyone is what they seem. Gopal is a true villain. He’s sadistic, horrible, and the carnage he leaves behind, it’s the stuff of nightmares. Kadru, she’s super creepy, otherworldly, and vicious. Those snakes, chills. 
  • Devin’s charm is in how much he cares. It doesn’t matter that he’s hot, it’s his heart. The way he treats Mani is enough to make any girl fall for him. 

CONS:

  • I wish there would have been a more in-depth look at the various gods and how they featured in the culture at their height. The main character knows pretty much nothing about them because she was so sheltered, so that’s a big blank for the reader as well. A little more world building would have solidified each of these figures, their strengths, their weaknesses, and how they relate to the world as it is now. 
  • The romance was so-so. On one hand, I liked that it wasn’t so centered on the falling. On the other hand, I would have liked more build up. Near the end it feels rushed and clumsy. I mean the surge of emotion. Sure after everything they’ve been through emotions are off the charts, but it bordered on instalove because of how it’s slammed into the story at the end. There were some cute interactions before everything fell apart though.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Epic reading, 

Jordan

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Guest Post: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

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Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations. 

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves. 

There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5). Each book can be read as a standalone.

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Is it Writer’s Block… or?

This morning as I walked through the cold and foggy pre-dawn I was thinking about writer’s block.  This is a common thinking topic of mine since I have been led to believe that Writer’s Block is something to be terrified of – at least that’s what years of television, movies and the Internet have taught me.

I should probably mention that I have accomplished very little writing over the course of the past year or more.  I have been very busy and distracted, you see.  But does that count as Writer’s Block?  Not really, according to wisdom of television, movies and the Internet, but still I wonder.

My usual writing process involves thinking and imagining the flow of the story ahead of time, then sitting down to actually write it.  But what I have learned (I think) from my being so busy over the last 18 months is that I have no time to think and imagine.  And with no thinking or imagining ahead of time, I therefore don’t sit down and write.  I still WANT to be writing, but my normal process doesn’t seem to work in these busy circumstances.

So what has that taught me?

I think it’s taught me that sometimes you just have to sit down and write and see where it takes you.  You’ll know inside if it’s going somewhere good, or if it’s just blah, or if (god forbid) it completely derails and goes off the track into the woods (which is also a good place to go sometimes too, right?).

In essence, I have learned what the wisdom of television, movies and the Internet has said all along.  Just write.  No matter what.

And maybe when I am spending those early morning walks wondering if I have Writer’s Block or not, then maybe I should spend that luxury of time thinking and imagining instead.  Right?

Right.

I think.

authoriain-readingFacebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to http://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/

Adventurous reading, 

Jordan

 

Excerpt Reveal: Safe Bet by Monica Murphy

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Sydney Walker’s new job is perfect. As the live-in nanny to the most famous quarterback in the NFL and his beautiful wife, she couldn’t have it any better. Their kids are adorable. Her bosses are more than generous. Plus, there are hot football players at the house all the time. Life can’t get much better than this.

Until her life turns into an absolute nightmare. The media is abuzz with rumors that she and her boss Drew Callahan are having a torrid affair. Everyone knows the truth—except the public. So Drew’s wife Fable comes up with the perfect idea.

She creates a fake relationship between Sydney and one of the rookie players on Drew’s team. Wade Knox is forever indebted to Drew and Fable and readily agrees to the set up. Pretending to be in a romantic relationship with the hot nanny for a week—how hard can it be?

Crazy how it only takes one week for two people to fall head over heels in love…
(This mash-up new adult romance features characters from both the One Week Girlfriend series and The Rules series.) 

Excerpt

“Drew!” Fable calls, waving him over. “Come meet Sydney.”
He starts to head over there and when he sends me a look over his shoulder, I reluctantly follow him. I really don’t need to be involved in this scenario, but I just can’t tell him that, can I? It would be rude. And I’m never rude to Drew and Fable.
Ever.
“Sydney, this is my husband, Drew. Drew, this is Sydney Walker. She’s going to be our new nanny,” Fable says, sounding pleased. She looks over at her husband with a little wince. “I hope you don’t mind that I went ahead and hired her.”
“Of course I don’t mind. I trust your judgment.” Drew turns to greet Sydney. “Good to meet you,” he says as he gives Sydney a firm handshake. She’s staring up at him, her lips slightly parted, her eyes wide. Full on awestruck, which is typical. He’s a superstar. That’s how most people look at Drew when they first meet him.
“Hi,” she squeaks, her cheeks going pink as she releases Drew’s hand. Her gaze slips to mine, and then flitters away. But that one quick glance was like a sucker punch to my gut.
The nanny is beautiful.
I take a deep breath, shoving my hands in my jeans’ pockets so I won’t do something stupid—like try to grab her. She has pretty blue eyes and a full mouth that’s
made for kissing. Her curves are even lusher than I first realized. She has full hips and a tiny waist and shapely legs. But I can’t worry about pretty nannies right now. I have to concentrate on work.
It still blows my mind that I might play for the NFL. That football is my job. I’m a lucky son-of-a-bitch.
“Sydney, this is Wade Knox. He’s an old family friend,” Fable says, knocking me from my thoughts. I blink and look down to find Sydney smiling up at me, interest clearly showing in her gaze. Hmm. “Wade, this is Sydney.”
“Hey Sydney.” I shake her hand, electricity pulsing between us the moment our palms touch. She jerks her hand away from mine as if I burned her. Guess she felt it too.
Interesting.
“Nice to meet you,” she murmurs as she takes a step back. Like she needs the distance.
Even more interesting.
We make small talk for a few minutes before Fable takes Sydney back to the house, and the moment the door shuts behind them, Drew’s talking.
“The nanny’s cute,” he observes, his voice way too nonchalant.
“Uh huh.”
“She looked at you like she thought you were cute, too.”
I roll my eyes. He never says stuff like this, so what’s his deal? “Cute? What are you doing? Trying to play matchmaker?” I send him a pointed look. “Give me a break. I don’t need the distraction.”

 

Playful reading, 

Jordan