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Friday, 5 October 2012

Blog Tour: Venom by Fiona Paul (Review + Excerpt)

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Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1)Title: Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1)
Author: Fiona Paul
Release Date: October 30th 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Mystery, Romance
Publisher:  Philomel
Pages: 432 pages
Source: For review and blog tour 

Love, lust, murder, mayhem and high society converge in one thrilling debut.

Cassandra Caravello has everything a girl could desire: elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, invitations to the best parties, and a handsome, wealthy fiancĂ©—yet she longs for something more. Ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman—with a bloody X carved across her heart—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans, and killers. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a poor artist with a mischievous grin . . . and a habit of getting into trouble. Will Cassandra find the murderer before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancĂ© or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, romance, and mystery weave together in a novel that’s as seductive and stunning as the city of Venice itself.

When I first heard that VENOM is set in Renaissance Venice, I almost fell out of my chair. Dude, that's like my favourite time period and city everrrr. Obviously, I had to read this. Then I read the summary and all these words 'masquerade', 'beauty', 'secret societies', 'courtesans' and all that just made me drop the book I was reading and immediately dive into this one. I gotta say, that was the right thing to do. I loved this book and more.

All the characters were amazing and were given time by the author to each develop fully and by the end of this book, you'll feel like they're your family. I loved her aunt (bless her), and her maid Serena. I loved the baddies/enemies here. I fully get why they did what they did. Though I still think they're an asshole.

Cass was such a great main character. She's now a part of my ever growing Favourite Heroines list (you can view the whole list in my FAVES page!). She's intelligent, knows how to take care and handle herself, and she's not perfect. She has flaws. And I think I really appreciated her imperfections because it makes us readers feel more connected with her
and root for her all along.

Can I have my own artist boyfriend, please? Swoony sigh. Falco Falco Falco. Oh my goodness I want someone like him! Someone who draws me LOL And umm that drawing scene was like the best and my favourite out of the whole book! I wanted them to do it then and there! ;) Anyway back to Falco. There's so much about him that I didn't expect. First, I didn't expect him to be so developed and multi-layered. He's so charming, mischievous, confident and HOT. He's basically my book boyfriend. I wasn't expecting him to have such a massive part. And OMG guys THAT is a very good thing. I loved every page he was in. Seriously. I don't care if he's poor, I want to have his babies.

The forbidden romance between Cass and Falco was the best thing. I love forbidden romance and this one doesn't have anything to do with a vampire or a werewolf (so don't worry), this one is actually one that is realistic and kept true to the time period it was written it. The romance was SWOON-WORTHY. Falco and Cass are now one of my favourite ever YA couples. Oh, and yes there's a bit of a love triangle. You see, Cass is engaged to Luca, her childhood friend. Well, Luca, please just GO away. Thanks.

A lot of things happened in this book. Masquerade. Courtesans. Murderers. Prostitutes All of these things just happened to be my favourite - well, except the prostitutes. Y'all know me. If there's a masquerade ball, I'm THERE.  I think the only problem with this book was that I found it quite too long. And the pace was really slow aswell. I think they could have made this book into a 300+ pages instead of its 432.

I was really REALLY suspicious of all the characters actually. Which is a pretty good thing. And I didn't guess anything and was taken completely by surprise. This book has a lot of twists and turns and I really enjoyed that aspect. I think a lot of people will. 
The ending kinda made me all teary eyed (those who've read it should know what I'm talking about!) And nah, it's just me. It's not even a cliffhanger. But it's one where you're like 'I WANNA HAVE THE NEXT BOOK NOW. DAMMIT IT!' I really can't wait to see what will happen next. There's a lot of things left unanswered and the story was left open.  

VENOMOUS - A Secrets of the Eternal Rose short story (PART 3)

The year is 1600 and the streets of Venice, Italy are ripe with intrigue and danger. In this introduction to the world of Venom, eighteen-year-old Mariabella has recently elevated herself from the rank of common prostitute to the status of courtesan, a respected high-class escort for those men in Venetian society who can afford them. Mariabella steps out to attend a party on the arm of her powerful new patron, certain that the night will be filled with glamour, secrets, and adventure.

If you missed the last part of the story, check it out on The Compulsive Reader. [http://www.thecompulsivereader.com/2012/10/venom-blog-tour.html]

I refocus on the introductions, struggling to match each name and face. It is important for me to know who these people are so that I will properly greet them the next time we meet. Being proper—in some circumstances—is just one of my many responsibilities.
            A glint of metal catches my eye. One of the men, Don Zanotta, is wearing a silver ring with a red stone. As he lifts his wine glass to his lips, I see a six-petaled flower design engraved into it.
My own glass trembles in my fingers. I’ve seen that mark before, but I’m not sure where. The Devil’s mark… Could I have seen it on the old woman? I don’t remember that she was wearing jewelry.
            “Mariabella?” Joseph is looking at me curiously and I realize someone has asked me a question.
            “I’m sorry.” I think quickly. “I think this wine has already started to go to my head. What was that?”
            “I asked if you were enjoying the party,” Don Zanotta says. His hairline is receding, leaving behind a broad creased forehead. Though his voice sounds congenial, his lips are pinched in a way that makes it look like he’s just eaten a lemon.
            “Absolutely.” I dip into a shallow curtsy.
            Another man wanders over and claps Joseph on the back. The introductions continue. Afterward, Joseph releases me to mingle while he discusses a bit of business in one of the sitting rooms. I scan the portego, looking for a friendly face, for one of the courtesans I met at the last gathering I attended. But the women that I recognize either look through me or turn away from my gaze.
At the far doorway, well-dressed men wearing the golden medallions that mark them as members of the Senate stand in a cluster. They swill their wine as they laugh at each other’s jokes. In another hour, they’ll be drunk and spilling political secrets to anyone who cares to listen. A wiry man with a hawkish nose and foggy spectacles sits on a plush divan that’s been pushed up against the wall. A woman—a courtesan, most likely—stands next to him fanning her face and looking bored. He fumbles in a leather pouch and removes a handful of coins. She looks unimpressed. He adds to the pile and her eyebrows rise slightly. With the flick of her wrist, she snaps her fan closed and nods at the man. The two of them head toward the main staircase together.
Nervously, I smooth my skirts, fidgeting with the suede belt looped around my waist. I realize I am frowning and force my face to relax. Many of the women are dancing. I could always join in, but it’s easier to blend into the pattern with a partner.
            Doing my best to look confident—another of my responsibilities—I sip my wine as I walk the portego, pausing here to admire one of the decorative winged horses mounted on the wall, pausing there to toss a smile at a young senator who may or may not see me through the crowd. Suddenly it’s like I’m invisible. I fiddle with the lace trim of my neckline and realize it’s pulling loose near my left collarbone. My dress feels old in comparison to everyone else’s. You don’t belong here. I am adrift, a tiny fishing skiff on an angry sea. But I can’t show it. I won’t.
            Finally—blessedly—I’m rescued.
            “You look beautiful as always,” the voice says, close to my ear.
My mouth crooks into a smile.

For the next part of the story, visit Read, Breathe, Relax [http://www.readbreathere​lax.com/] on Monday, 10/8.


  1. Thanks Jana for the detailed and thoughtful review as well as being part of my blog tour :)

  2. Yaay I'm glad you loved this Jana! xD I'm even more excited to read Venom! And I can't wait to meet this Falco. ;)
    Awesome review!


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