Stephanie Draven is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures-three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.
Stephanie has always been a storyteller. In elementary school, she channeled Scheherazade, weaving a series of stories to charm children into sitting with her each day at the lunch table. When she was a little older, Stephanie scared all the girls at her sleepovers with ghost stories.
She should have known she was born to hold an audience in her thrall, but Stephanie resisted her writerly urges and graduated from college with a B.A. in Government. Then she went to Law School, where she learned how to convincingly tell the tallest tales of all!
Poisoned Kisses, another book in Stephanie Draven's Mythica series, strikes an awesome balance between traditional steamy romance, the consequences and toll of war, and oh-by-the-way, a little Greek mythology thrown in.
Kyra, daughter of the war god Ares, is on a mission to destroy evil and that means Marco Kaisiris, an arms dealer who also happens to be a shape-shifting hydra. However, as is usual with Draven's writing there is much more to the story than boy meets girl and they fall in love. Both characters are superbly crafted. Kyra is a heroine with an attitude and Marco is a dark leading man with a past. While the both fall prey to the wild attraction that romance characters do, they do so against a backdrop of the serious issues of war that Draven is not afraid to tackle.
Draven's ability to weave a story that encompasses serious subject matter, Greek mythology and steamy romance makes her an author to watch! This book is really unlike any romance I've read before. (and there was even a bonus story included in the back!)
There something about Stephanie Draven's stories that stick with you and leave you wanting to know more, to read more. I had someone tell me that Poisoned Kisses was a must read and they were right. Greek mythology holds a new meaning when you read this book. Stephanie has a way of making it come alive to you.
She's now one of my "must have" authors and I can't wait for her new book to come out!
I review Nocturnes regularly at The Pen & Muse blog, and this is by far the best Nocturne I've ever read. Stephanie Draven handles the re-interpretation of mythology with consummate grace. So fluid and easy, it's hard to understand why I haven't read one of her books before. But this was truly a masterpiece. I saw another reviewer said, "if all romance novels were this good, the genre wouldn't have a bad name." I second that.
You don't need me to tell you what the book is about--you can read the blurb for yourself. Suffice to say, I read these books a lot. They all start to sound the same after awhile, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. But this book is different. It's hard to put my finger on exactly all the things that make it different, but here's my biggest praise:
This book is not only well-written and engaging with a killer plot, but it's smart. As a woman with three degrees and a lifetime of intellectualism, it was nice to have an author treat me like an intelligent adult reader. I actually felt like I'd learned something after finishing this book. But not in a preachy-high-horsey way. More like the way you scratch your head and think, how in the **** did she just do that? Masterful.
Typically, I don't say, "hey, you should buy this book" because you just never can account for taste. But I'm gonna go out on a limb and say, you should probably buy this. At least plunk down the three bucks and change for the e-version on Kindle. It's worth the three hours (or however long it takes you to read it.
POISONED KISSES is going in my keeper pile for good.
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Amazon Verified Purchase
I'm having a hard time writing a review of this book because I don't want to sound so over the top that this comes off as phony. I don't think I can escape it -- I *really* loved this book; Stephanie Draven knocked my socks off -- so here goes anyway...
The story grabbed me almost immediately and didn't let go until the last page, keeping me on my seat the whole way through. The writing is clean, tight, and strong, the author knew when the pacing needed to move and when to give a taste of a lull -- giving me only just a taste of getting my breath before turning the story and diving forward.
What I think I loved best about the story were that the characters leapt off the page. They were real and flawed. They didn't always do the right thing, and it never felt like the author's hand moving them to make the story work. It felt like I was right there with them the whole time, living their lives through them, not as a passive observer, but almost getting into their skin. What was the most amazing about the characterization, however, was that the characters didn't feel like they could have ANY other story any more than you or I could have any other life. They weren't a list of traits put together to work with the architecture of a crafted plot. It felt completely natural.
And the crowning touch of the author's genius was working with the theme of war in such a thought-provoking manner. There was nothing politically correct or after-school-special about her critique of war, and it wasn't danced in on puppets' strings so she could put herself on a soapbox, either.
This book represents the very best in romance writing. Strong characters. Tight story. Real subject matter. And a little bit of fantasy thrown in for fun. I am now a total Stephanie Draven fan and can't wait to read anything she or her alter-ego writes. May she have a long and illustrious career. I am hungry for more, so I hope she's a fast writer. :)
War creates more than chaos in this unique and gripping tale of passion and monsters, betrayal and redemption. A reader is going to find the Greek myths twisted and invigorated with a delicious twist sure to please in Poisoned Kisses.
Kyra comes from an ancient dysfunctional family. Her dad is Ares, the war god, and he's one determined man who intends to find the ultimate weapon of war. The only thing standing in his way is his daughter, a young woman, by his standards, who is capable of great things. If only she'd just quit trying to go soft on him and stop making his carefully laid plains go awry. That's one of the things I liked about Kyra. She's not afraid of her dad and she should be. She bucks the status quo of the millennium by not wanting to blow people up but to guide them and actually do good things. She's sort of stuck being dual natured and there is a lot of well developed internal angst because of it. She's soft on one side of her personality but the other she's clearly daddy's girl, especially when she gets mad. Another thing her background colors is her way of dealing with issues. She has this destiny which was foretold. She interprets the completion of it in one way, by using violence and it gets her a lot more than she bargained for. Her one action sets her on the road to self-discovery and emotional growth. She fights it because she can't trust it. And that itself is another issue - trust. To give and to earn it - it's a compelling element throughout the story.
To call Marco a tortured hero is an understatement. He gets betrayed by his government, his friend and a lover. They use him and they try to kill him. How's a guy supposed to have hope after all of that? And obviously, that trust issue is a huge chip on his shoulder.Read more ›