Here's the summary from Goodreads: Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape. When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco? Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
What I Liked: 1) I'm starting to read more historical fiction, and I really enjoyed that aspect of it. The historical details were obviously well researched and added a lot to the story, without feeling like I was just inundated with info. 2) Falco. Ah, the rogue artist. This guy fit perfectly in the time period, and had just the right mix of attitude and charm to pull off the heartthrob of the story. And there was a lot of mystery surrounding him, so as much as I liked him, it was hard to decide whether or not I wanted Cass to trust him (or if I wanted to trust him). 3) The romance. Sneaking around Venice in the middle of the night? *swoon* That tugs at my heartstrings. But I'm a romantic to begin with. Maybe it doesn't sound so romantic to you. Also, some of the places they visit are utterly unromantic. But still. 4) The details. I already mentioned this once, but the details were all so vivid that it was definitely easy to find yourself swept up in the story. I particularly loved the details about Cass's clothes. I would have loved to live in this story for her dresses alone.
What I Didn't Like: Have you ever tried to put together a puzzle where it wasn't cut quite right, and the pieces didn't quite fit? There were some parts of Venom where I felt as if that was the case. Everything made sense, like you could see the clear picture, but it was just a little skewed. It's not a big complaint, just a few scenes that were jarring. It was also a long read for me, took almost a week and a half (and I usually get through books in two days). I don't know if it was because of the skewed plot, or if it was just a slower pace. But either way, it was kinda long for me.
Overall Thoughts: I definitely recommend Venom for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. The luscious details of this story will plant you firmly in Renaissance Italy, and the romance will keep you sighing for hours. Be prepared for a long read as you dive into it, and watch for those little events that might step out of the lines for a few minutes, but they'll get back on track soon enough. I for one am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series!
My Rating: 4 shots