I was torn about just where to post a review for this series. Hell, I didn’t even initially plan to review the series. I was going to just do Finding Kia. And I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it as my Any Day That Ends In YA post or Tongue Wagger or Weekend Pick Me Up… This series is an all around good read and Adam Chaves is tasty man meat and he rated high for Book Boyfriend Report too! These two book showed potential of covering all my review categories–and they gave me major feels. So they are getting group love in a full on series review. Gimme more, Madame Phoenix. Gimme more!
Kia Valentines is one of those girls that makes leaves little to no impression and most people pass right on by her without looking twice. She still doesn’t know how she lucked out and became best friends with beautiful Nessie Chaves. They are day and night and she is definitely the dumpy, forgetful night portion of the duo. Her status changes when she saves Class Queen Bitch Claudia DeLorenzo from being hit by a bus; and let’s face it, Claudia could only benefit from a tragic end. but from the moment she plays superhero on things pretty much get out of hand on her world as plain Jane is a memory.
Not only are the scales of reality badly off kilter at school, Kia meets Nessie’s brother for the first time and Adam is dreamboatly handsome and flirtatiously fixated on making her blush every pink and red of the crayola spectrum. Of course, in his presence she is a legless, graceless accident waiting to happen. She has managed to cause a workplace disaster, give herself a near concussion by means of a dinner table and almost take him out by means of skating with a telephone–all within her first two meetings of Mr. Babe-a-licious. Strangely, Adam shrugs off her near deadly predilection toward catastrophe with seemingly endearing fascination.
All is embarrassingly well. Almost?
At Nessie’s request for a vicarious thrill, Kia finds herself at one of Claudia DeLorenzo’s infamous masquerade parties. By an act of chance her partner for the night is Adam and for once she isn’t the klutzy, awkward girl he knows as his sisters BFF. She pretends she is beautiful, interesting and attractive and pulls it off with amazing success; by the end of the night Adam believes it and when the time comes to reveal the mysterious person behind the mask Kia has no other option but to bolt. Because if he knew that the stunning girl he kissed on a magical night is the same girl who can’t manage to walk on even ground she would be lucky if disappointment was the least of the things he felt.
This is a retelling of Cinderella and I love retold fairy tales when they are done well, which this one really is. The plot isn’t so terribly obvious and heavy handed that you are being clubbed over the head with the evil stepmother and stepsisters. A matter of fact, Kia has an incredible pair of moms and her life is pretty grand and she has amazing familial support. It’s the use of characters outside the family for evil persons that is refreshing, first as bully-ish classmates testing Kia’s backbone in book one and then in a book two as a pack mentality as a look at harsh societal shaming. This Cinderella is not the one you grew up with and although Kia is the forgotten princess and her prince has one enchanted night with her before they are sunk into obscurity the atmosphere is updated and Kia isn’t a victim who is saved, she is a survivor who believes in the strength of others.
The second book in the series, Revealing Kia, is a departure from the original fairy tale and I liked the seamless story arc from one part of the story to the second part. The characterization of all the characters remained stable from the end of the first and beginning of the second despite the climax of the first and the generally dim emotional landscape of the heroine and hero, making everyone in the stories more relatable.
Nessie’s character gets a great deal more attention in Revealing Kia and her behavior is rather distasteful. The entire book more or less is centered around Adam and Nessie’s family and the dynamic that shapes who they are. I was really confused for a good portion of the book as to who to believe regarding her true nature and the ultimate outcome for her as well as the culmination of the relationship of the Chaves parents, together, and them with Adam and Nessie. Where the first book dealt in large with the mystery girl and is all from Kia’s perspective, book two is alternating between Kia and Adam and looks at the breakdown of personal relationships.
I loved Touching Smoke. I loved Octavian’s Undoing. I loved Finding Kia and I loved Revealing Kia too. I think Airicka Phoenix is one of my favorite authors and you should make her one of yours. Octavian’s Undoing is a NA paranormal novel, Touching Smoke is a YA paranormal and the Lost Girl series is a contemporary YA series. Airicka Phoenix has a ton of books slated for the coming year. The Dare Trilogy, Gideon’s Promise (Second Son’s of Judgement book), Touching Fire (Second in the Touch Saga), When Night Falls, Winning Jewels, and Capture Me (Written as Morgana Phoenix).
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