Review: Venom (and Giveaway!)

Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1)Orphaned at a young age, Cassandra Carvello grew up with her aunt and gets invited to the best parties, has access to the best tailors, and is engaged to a rich and titled man. But Cass doesn’t care about all that; instead she wants to escape all the social rules and experience life freely.

That all changes when she discovers the body of a brutally murdered woman in the graveyard behind her house. Then more murdered women start showing up in the canals of Venice, always mutilated in horrific ways. And then the Cass starts getting notes from the murderer, telling her she’s next.

With the help of a young and handsome artist, Falco, Cass tries to uncover who the murderer could be, before she or her friends end up as his next victim.But the murderer is closer than Cass ever thought, and stalks her every move, so that Cass is not only in danger of being murdered…but having her heart stolen too.

What I loved most about Venom was it’s unpredictability. At a certain point in the story (about more than halfway through), I thought I had it all figured out. I was a bit disappointed, because I thought it had been obvious. But then someone else seemed to be the murderer, as more and more clues popped up. And then Paul threw another wrench into the story, so that I was surprised by who the killer ended up being. Lots of twists and turns!

Venom takes place in the beautiful Venice, and I have to say, my mouth was drooling at all the beautiful descriptions Paul had filled her tale with. I’ve never been, but the descriptions were do vivid, it was like I was standing right there in the story with the Cass. What’s more, Venice isn’t just a beautiful backdrop on which the story is told, but plays a major role in the way the story unravels. When Cass thinks the murderer is stalking her house, she can’t just chase him down the street; he could be halfway down the canal in a boat.

The love story between Cass, the rich and titled lady, and Falco, the poor, mischievous artist, was a sweet one. At times, it seemed like it would follow the predictable YA route, but I was pleasantly to surprised as Falco seemed to have his own fair share of secrets and mysterious dealings. The appearance of Cass’ handsome and rich fiance also threw a wrench in the story, but not in a way you would expect.

After having her heart torn in two directions, the ending, again, seemed pretty obvious. In most YA novels, the protagonists end up doing what their lonely hearts desire, forget about everyone else. This is why I was surprised by Cass’ maturity by the end, and her understanding that she couldn’t just do what she wanted, without hurting others.

Venom had everything a good historical YA novel should have: a strong heroine, a gorgeous, historic backdrop, and two viable love interests. There’s also hints of there being more to the story than what meets to the eye, like Cass’ parents’ mysterious deaths, so I’m interested to see where the story goes next.

This is why I have ONE copy of a Venom ARC (advance reader copy) to give away to one of you! All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

This giveaway is only open to Canada. There are several ways to enter, but please remember that you actually have to do the thing it’s asking you to do. I will be checking all entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all those who enter!

Thanks for reading,


This ARC was provided to me by Penguin Group Canada/Razorbill Canada. The opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.

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  1. Haneen Ibrahim says:

    Wow! sounds like something I would like, I’ll definitely be checking it out. I really love it when a writer is soooo good in describing the world of his/her story that I feel I’m actually living there near the characters. huh! I wish had that…well…you know; in my writing? 😛
    what’s your rating by the way?

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