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Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance; Dystopian; Post Apocalyptic)
Date Published: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline "Evie" Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they're still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can't do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can't totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it's not always clear who is on which side.

Poison Princess is the first book in The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole.  I will tell you now, this review won't do the book justice. There is so much I want to say, but I can't do it without giving things away. This book surprised me in many ways. It had things I usually don't like in books, but in this story... it all worked. I chose to read it out of curiosity, but I certainly didn't expect to love it. Boy, was I wrong! There is so much that went into the building of this world and the characters, and they were put together flawlessly. This author must have a truly amazing mind. Evie is an impressive character. She starts off like a little mouse, and then she really comes into her own. I don't want to give too much detail about her, because if you haven't read it yet, the less you know the better. I feel that way about the whole book actually. Jack can be such a jerk. He might even have moments where he's one of the biggest fictional jerks out there, almost to the point that I normally wouldn't like him... but I do like him.. a LOT. He makes the page smolder sometimes. Oh! But he made me sooo mad a time or two too. So, did Evie. They are both extremely stubborn! I never thought I'd like reading a written Cajun accent. I usually don't enjoy a written accent. I prefer to hear it in my head on my own, but Jack makes it work. It was so fitting. I loved it. Again, major props to the author. Many characters are based on tarot card characters. If I knew that before reading, I probably wouldn't have picked up this book. I hate tarot card stuff. I would have been missing out though. So, I'm glad I didn't know. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this review, there are many things in this book that I normally wouldn't have enjoyed in a typical book, but this book is so far from typical that it didn't even matter. I loved every minute of reading it!

I won Poison Princess from a giveaway through Wonderland's Reader. The opinions are my own.

In the space of a heartbeat, Jack had snagged my pack off my back, looped an arm around my waist—and hauled us both into the pool.
I broke the surface, sputtering, shoving water out of my face. “Have you lost your mind? Ugh! I am not skinny-dipping with you.”

In a scandalized tone, Jackson said, “Skinny-dipping? Evangeline and her dirty mind.” He glanced down. I could see he’d left on a pair of dark boxer briefs.

“Oh.” Had I sounded disappointed? “Still, I’m not all right with this. We should be—what do you call it?—watching our six.”

“So you do listen to me on occasion? Who’d-a thought . . . Look, I’m not goan to let anything happen to you. I’ll hear anyone coming in plenty of time.”
When I remained unconvinced, he said, “I told you, no one can get the drop on me. Doan you trust me?”

I didn’t have much of a choice. “You couldn’t have let me remove my boots?” I dragged them and my socks off, flinging them near his bow.
“You’re right. I should’ve let you strip.” Then he splashed me in the face.
I sputtered again, but he was grinning. Not a smirk—a real smile. As I gazed at his lips, I found my own curling in response.

I pointed behind him. “Oh, look!” Then I splashed the back of his head.
He faced me with his eyes wide. “Now you’ve done it! You mess with the bull . . .” He chased me around the shallow end until I was squealing with laughter.

Just before he caught me, I dunked under, swam around him and yanked back on his ankles. He couldn’t have known that in another lifetime, I’d been a terror in the pool.

He acted like I’d tripped him, sinking like a stone. Once he broke the surface, he looked surprised—and delighted—that I was messing around with him.

I’d never seen this playful, grinning side of Jackson before, had never seen him without his customary restlessness. I recognized then that I’d never witnessed him happy until now.

And, damn, it was a good look on him. “You’re smiling.”

“I should be.” His wet hair whipped over his cheeks. “Best day I’ve had in a long, long time.” He began edging me toward the side of the pool, and I let him. Streams of water slid down his broad chest and rock-hard torso.
I want to follow those streams with my lips. . . . Okay, so maybe Jackson wasn’t the only one strung tight. “Um, best day?” When my back met stone, he kept easing closer until I could feel the heat coming off his body. I had to crane my head up to meet his gaze.

His grin turned smug as he said, “Got me a new bike, a jolie girl who’s sweet on me, and a mansion for us to live in.”

Then I realized that I had a very real problem—add it to my tab. Jackson Deveaux was nearly irresistible like this. “Sweet on you? Please.”

“I can tell.”


“You smell like honeysuckles when you’re liking ole Jack.”

Oh my God. Just as I’d been told, I did smell like flowers. No wonder everyone had kept complimenting me.

“When you’re mad,” he added, “you smell like roses. Excited? Sweet olive. I’m still figuring out the rest.”

Even as he continued to stun me with his insight, I muttered, “Th-that’s ridiculous.” How was I going to hide my secrets all the way to North Carolina?

“Is it?” He inched even closer.

“In any case, it’s not like you are sweet on me.”

“C’est vrai.” That’s true. “But I do know that it’s slim pickings out there.”

I glared, unable to tell if he was teasing. “Melt my heart, Cajun.”
He reached forward, clasping the edge of the pool on both sides of me, boxing me in.

“What are you doing?”

“Getting ready to kiss you for the first time.”

Heart stop. Form words, Evie. “Y-you told me something like that at my party, but I didn’t fare so well that night.”

“Me neither. God, I’d wanted me a taste of you.” His smoldering gray gaze was locked on my lips.

I wetted them, just as I had then.

“Do you know how many nights I’ve thought about almost kissing you? I remember every detail about you. I couldn’t tell if your eyes were blue or green. Your lips were so red—it was sexy, but I couldn’t decide if I liked it. ’Cause it wasn’t you, not really.”

That almost-kiss hadn’t been just a trick! He’d felt the same excitement and attraction that I had.

“Evangeline, you’re like . . . like a peekôn dans ma patte.”

A thorn in my paw. How appropriate. I guess that’s my nature, Jackson.

“And I can’t quite shake it, no.” His eyes were completely mesmerizing.
For the first time in months I wanted to draw—just to capture that look forever.

“Let’s take this off, cher.” When he reached for the hem of my soaked hoodie, I found myself raising my arms so he could pull it free, leaving me in my white cami.

Which was now see-through. I might as well have been wearing nothing.
When his gaze dipped, his lids went heavy and his Adam’s apple bobbed. In a hoarse voice, he said, “Mercy me.”

I’d never been looked at like this, had never been utterly certain that a boy was gazing at my body—while imagining how he wanted to touch it. My face and chest flushed with embarrassment.

Just when I was about to duck under, he said, “Non, you let me look.” His accent was getting thicker. “Waited a long time to see you like this.”
“But we’ve only been together a couple weeks.”

He grazed the backs of his fingers along my cheekbones, as if my face was made of delicate porcelain. “Uh-huh,” he murmured as he leaned down to gently press his lips to mine. His were so firm and warm. I could just taste the bite of whiskey.

He felt perfect . . . the kiss, right.

He parted his lips, coaxing me to do the same. Once I did, he leisurely stroked his tongue against mine . . . and again. Relaxed, wicked flicks.
Energy filled me, pleasure radiating. This was addictive—nothing meh about it.

Our tongues tangled, over and over, until I couldn’t stop a moan. I wanted more of him. I wanted this never to end. I needed more.
I was losing control; why wasn’t he? His kiss was sensual, but deliberate, as if he had all the time in the world.

As if he has something to prove?

Just when that thought arose in my foggy brain, he drew back with a cocky smirk. “There. Now that’s what I’m talking about.” He rubbed his thumb over my bottom lip. “You’re not laughing now, are you—”

“More.” I reached up, tunneling my fingers through his dark hair, clutching, dragging him back to me.

He rasped, “Evie?” just before our lips met again, our tongues. . . .
I ran my hands down his back, over his flexing muscles. I couldn’t stop touching him, couldn’t keep my body from moving against his. With each sweep of my palms, he deepened the kiss. So I did it again. And again.
Soon I was gasping and he was groaning. His hands cupped my waist, descending to my wriggling hips. He squeezed them, then reached for my ass, gripping me with splayed fingers, wrenching my body even closer to him. Was he shuddering against me?

No more control for either of us.

I loved his abandoned groans, loved that I could feel them because we were pressed so tight together. Just as he’d promised, we were breathing for each other—and still I couldn’t get enough.
For me, this was the game changer, a line in the sand. Life before our kiss; life after.

He wrapped his strong arms around me, hauling me up, crushing me against his solid chest. I dimly realized my feet weren’t touching the bottom of the pool any longer.

He broke away to kiss my neck, saying against my skin, “Tu me fais tourner la tête! Ton parfum sucré, tes secrets.” You drive me mad! Your sweet scent, your secrets.

Heated licks followed. “Ah, Evie, you taste as good as you smell.”
I breathed, “Jackson . . .”
He pulled back, letting me slip back down to stand on my own. His voice was raw as he said, “If you want me to kiss you again, you call me Jack.”

I couldn’t think. I made some sound of agreement.

“Say it.”

My head tilted back, and I whispered, “Jack.”

He cupped my face with his callused palms, so that I stared directly into his eyes. There was something possessive in his expression, something masculine and . . . older that I had absolutely no idea how to decipher—all I knew was that the intent look on his face made my heart race. “You said you wanted more?”

Of his kiss? “God, yes.”

He exhaled a pent-up breath. “Bien.” Then he lifted me again, cradling me in his arms. As he climbed the pool steps, he grazed his lips along my neck, keeping me in a haze of bliss. At my ear, he rasped, “T’chauffes mon sang comme personne d’autre.” You heat my blood like no other.

I quivered with delight, only vaguely wondering where he was taking me. And maybe why he’d swooped down to collect his jeans along with his ever-present bow—

My back met cushions. Gazebo? Reclining lounge chair for two?
Ah, more kisses! He licked my earlobe, making me cry out, my back arching. Was that my zipper?

I felt weightless for a moment, then cool air breezed over my damp legs, up to my panties.

He hissed in a breath. “Ma belle fille.” My beautiful girl. He followed me down, lying half on me, half on the chair.

When he fiddled with something in his jeans pocket, I murmured, “Jack?”

He raised himself over me with one straightened arm, flashing me that wolfish grin, so sexy he robbed me of thought. “I’m goan to take care of you, bébé.” He produced a condom in a wrapper, holding it between his white teeth as he rubbed one hot palm up my torso, rolling my cami higher.
He looked roguish and wicked and oh-dear-God-did-he-have-a-condom?

For me?

Read my reviews of the other books in this series!

Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series and the young adult Arcana Chronicles. She has also written five award-winning historical romances.

Since her first novel was released in 2003, Kresley has published twenty-two books with Simon & Schuster and has seen her releases translated into more than eighteen foreign languages. She has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings. Two of her favorite places to visit include the rain forests of Central America and the Queensland area of Australia.

Cole’s trademark action, sensuality, and humor are exemplified in her popular Immortals After Dark Series, which revolves around the Lore, a secret stratum of hundreds of immortal creatures--ranging from Vampires to Lykae, Furies to Shifters, and Fey to Valkyrie--that each have their strengths, weaknesses, and age old prejudices against the others. Though they secretly live among humans, they constantly war among themselves, which gives her a lot of material.

In 2007, Kresley won the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA award for best paranormal for her novel A Hunger Like No Other, and in January 2009, she became a #1 New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller with her sixth IAD installment, Kiss of a Demon King. In 2010, Kiss of a Demon King earned Kresley her second RITA award. 2011 brought Cole her second #1 NYT bestseller with Dreams of a Dark Warrior. In 2013, Kresley won a third RITA for Shadow's Claim and was inducted as only the 14th member of the RWA Hall of Fame.

She lives in Florida with her husband and far too many animals. She spends any free time traveling and enjoys all things related to boats and water.

To learn more about Kresley Cole and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

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