Deveraux Renard is the perfect boyfriend: perfectly handsome, perfectly charming… perfectly deadly. He has to be. Dev is immortal, but with a catch: Every year he has to make a new girl fall in love with him and kiss her at midnight on New Year’s Eve. That kiss renews his life for another year – and ends hers forever.
This year, Mariana “Saintly” Santos is the lucky girl. Of course she doesn’t know it. Saintly thinks New Year’s Eve is a chance to move beyond the tragedy of her brother’s death and focus on her first year of college. She doesn’t suspect her boyfriend’s secret – and he doesn’t suspect hers: Ever since her brother died, Saintly can see ghosts.
And one ghost in particular is dying to be seen. Twenty years ago, Jesse Hayden jumped off the campus clock tower because she was convinced that she’d never find true love. Now that she has met Saintly, she’s sure that she was wrong. She’s determined to save the only girl in the world who can see her, but can she get Saintly to trust her in time?
Trust the ghost girl and live. Trust the immortal boy and die. Saintly has until midnight to make her choice, and the clock is ticking.
Name: Kissing Midnight
Author: Laura Bradley Rede
**ARC provided by author in exchange for honest review.**
Kissing Midnight introduces you to the weird and crazy life (and mind) of Mariana “Saintly” Santos. Saintly is a girl who’s lost a lot in her life. Her brother’s death brought some crazy things into her life, which she wasn’t expecting, let alone wishing for. That’s until she meets Deveraux Renald. He’s charming, handsome and a little bit dangerous, but he manages to calm her when nothing else can. He’s all every girl would dream to have, but Mariana is the only one he wants to have, until midnight on New Year’s Eve, that is.
Dev is mysterious, extremely handsome and knows how to get girls to do what he asks… Oh and he’s immortal. So of course, he’s had a lot of time to master that trick. He’s been around, picking up girls to be with on New Year’s Eve for years and years, because that’s what he needs to do to stay alive. Find a girl, make her fall in love with him and get her to kiss him at midnight. The end of each year could mean staying alive or his death.
Then there’s Jesse. She’s a ghost dying to be seen so when she crosses paths with Saintly and she notices her… Her ghost life changes forever. She’s there for a reason and there’s also a reason why Saintly is the only one who can see her. So now she has to help her, no matter what she has to do to get Saintly to finally listen and believe her.
So that’s a little bit about the story. Now my thoughts on it.
I really liked it at first. When I read the synopsis it caught my attention right away. It seemed a bit different from the typical paranormal/romance story and I thought it had a lot of potential. And it hooked me from the start, I was really interested in the plot and the characters.
As the book went on, I started liking the main characters more and more (by this I mean Saintly and Dev). Saintly was a troubled girl, so she needed someone who truly believed in her, someone that would help her believe in herself. And Dev was that to her. Well, that’s what he seemed to be (the romantic part in me had high hopes for him). Dev acted like he truly cared for her, like he loved her but, as he said “looks can be deceiving…” and boy, was he right. So, first we had this highly sweet relationship between Saintly and Dev, which I have to admit, I really liked. She was finally having a happy ending… but everything that goes up, has to come down. So, Saintly discovers what’s really going on with Dev; Dev shows his true colors and that’s when you know for sure that there’s no going back with him.
So far, I was really pleased with the story. It was completely different because sure, there wasn’t the typical love story we’re all so used to. I didn’t mind that the guy was actually the bad guy, you know?
What I really didn’t understand (and that’s why I’m giving it 3 stars) was Saintly’s relationship with Jesse. I mean, yeah, I understood the basics of it. Jesse was there to help Saintly see how wrong she was seeing things and I understand how she felt about Saintly, that was fine with me. But once everything went down with Dev… the story had this twist which was kind of , I don’t know.. like random. Because, one second Saintly’s in love with Dev, the next she isn’t and the next she’s in love with someone else? Yeah, that made her lose all realistic features she had in her (at least for me). In all it’s fantasy, the relationships in the book sounded real. Like, sure.. you can fall for the bad guy, realize he actually wants to hurt you and dump his ass or realize how you really weren’t that much in love with him to begin with or whatever. But no, the revelation came out of nowhere that she was actually in love with someone else. I don’t know. I didn’t buy it. And the end.. well that actually killed it for me. If the relationships sounded unrealistic.. well the end was just unbelievable.
I have a very old-fashioned process. I still write all my first drafts out longhand because the words tend to flow better when I’m putting actual pen to paper. Then I revise extensively while typing it into the computer and pass that second draft on to my critique group. I revise again based on their feedback, and that third draft is what goes to my beta readers and, ultimately, my editor.
The idea for Dev’s character – a guy who is immortal, but only if he can get a new girl to fall in love with him every year – has been kicking around in my mind for years. I love fairy tales, so some of the darker aspects of Kissing Midnight were influenced by the story of Blue Beard, who murders his wives, and by the later version of the story, Mr. Fox. I’ve also always wanted to write a lesbian love story (I’m a lesbian and I’ve been together with the love of my life for the last twenty three years, so I had plenty of inspiration to draw from!) so that influenced parts of Kissing Midnight, too.
They’re fictional, but some of them are inspired by my friends in little ways. Delia is a bit like my good friend Liz, who was a theater major and who has always had guys wrapped around her little finger. Saintly is a bit like me, in that she’s a perfectionist and she has lived through losing someone close to her. (My mother died of cancer when I was around the same age Saintly is in the book.) Jesse reminds me of my partner Marcy in her willingness to rush in to danger to help a friend. Dev, for better or worse, is pure fiction!
There are so many authors I admire! This book was mainly influenced by Kendare Blake’s ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD and Maureen Johnson’s THE NAME OF THE STAR, two of my favorite ghost stories. I’m also a huge admirer of Laini Taylor’s THE DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. She shares my love of fairy tales and masquerade balls.
I’m currently working on DRIVEN, a futuristic dystopian inspired by Snow White. I’d also love to go back to my YA paranormal series The Darkride Chronicles because I have fun ideas for a novella set in that world. I always have about a million story ideas burning holes in my brain, so right now I’m just writing whatever excites me most!
About the author:
Laura Bradley Rede is a Writers of the Future Award winner for fantasy and science fiction and the author of Kissing Midnight, as well as the YA paranormal romance series, The Darkride Chronicles (Darkride and Crossfire). She lives in Minneapolis with her partner, their three children, three cats, and a small flock of city chickens.
Connect with Laura:
Laura is giving away a signed paperback of Kissing Midnight (open internationally!)plus a £10 Amazon giftcard. She is also offering 2 eBook sets of Kissing Midnight, Darkride, and Crossfire.
Darkride and Crossfire are the two books which make up her YA paranormal romance series, The Darkride Chronicles.