Tuesday, June 17, 2014

SPOTLIGHT & REVIEW: "Dirty Angels" by Karina Halle

Title: Dirty Angels
Author: Karina Halle
Release: June 15th by Metal Blonde Books

Purchase Links: 


**warning: this book contains situations which might be triggers for some people. Please see the bottom of this description to see if this is the kind of book that you'll love or piss you off**

For Luisa Chavez, a twenty-three year old former beauty queen, a better life has always been just out of her reach. Sure, she’s had men at her feet since she was a young teenager but she’s never had the one thing she’s craved – security. Having grown up in near poverty, her waitressing job in Cabo San Lucas can barely let her take care of herself, let alone her ailing parents. Every day is another unwanted advance, every day is a struggle to survive.

When Salvador Reyes, the depraved leader of a major Mexican cartel, takes an interest in her, Luisa is presented with an opportunity she can’t afford to pass up. She’ll become Salvador’s wife and exchange her freedom and body for a life of riches – riches she can bestow upon her deserving parents. But Luisa quickly finds out that even the finest wines and jewels can’t undo the ugliness in her marriage, nor the never-ending violence that threatens her every move.

Soon, Luisa is looking for an escape, a way out of the carefully controlled life she’s leading. She finally gets her wish in the worst way possible.

As it is, being the wife of Salvador makes her an ideal target for rival cartels and there’s one particular man who needs Luisa as part of his cartel’s expansion. One particular man whose quest for power has destroyed lives, slit throats and gotten him out of an American prison. One particular man who will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants.

That man is Javier Bernal. And he wants Luisa. He wants to take her, keep her, ruin her.

Unless she ruins him first.

***WARNING*** This book deals with drug cartels and as such it contains a lot of sex and violence and some violent sex. It can get pretty ugly, pretty dark and pretty crazy. There is drug use, abuse, a bit of torture and dubious consent. The hero is not a hero and the villains...well, they're even worse. If this sort of thing bothers you, PLEASE DO NOT READ IT. This ain't no cupcake farting unicorn kind of book. If you are even a bit squeamish about violence, brutality and rape, this is your warning to stay away from a book that you certainly will not like (and why read books that you know you won't like?)***

***While this is a spin-off of The Artists Trilogy, prior knowledge of the books is not needed. DIRTY ANGELS is the first in a trilogy, however each book can standalone and follows or introduces different characters***

My Review: 

5 Stars *****

I don’t think it is any secret that I am quite the fan of Karina Halle’s work. I enjoy tales of the grittier side of life. Stories where the good guy has a little bit of bad in him and the bad guy has a little bit of good in him. Human beings are rarely so cut and dry. Every scoundrel has love in his heart for someone and every hero has hate in his for someone right? Ms. Halle has an innate way of pulling affection from me for the one I fight hard to distain and I love every minute of it.

Luisa Chavez is beautiful and tormented. She was raised in a happy yet poor home where her parents worked hard to make sure she was always provided for. They loved her and she loved them fiercely. She had a bright future, winning pageants to acquire monies for college. Then her father fell ill and with her mother’s disability the responsibility to provide for her family fell solely on her shoulders. A responsibility she did not begrudge. She loved them and wanted to make sure they had all they needed and were happy. Even if she had to work for a disgusting and lecherous man to make a meager wage in order to do so. It was a joyless and bleak existence but she had her family and she was free. That is until she caught the interest of Salvador Reyes one of Mexico’s most notorious drug cartel leaders. He wanted her and no one ever says no to Sal. No one. While she loathed the thought of being married to the vile man she took solace in knowing her parents would have all the comforts and care they needed for the rest of their days. She had no idea the horrors that awaited her in her new life as Luisa Reyes. Sal’s cruelty and monstrous ways knew no bounds. Desperate to escape him she took her chance one day and fled only to end up in the arms of yet another devil.

Javier Bernal is the devil. He scratched, clawed and slithered his way up the ladder to become head of his own cartel. Full of ambition and drive he masterminds a plan to grow his empire but he needs something from Salvador Reyes. So he takes something of Sal’s and if he wants it back unharmed he will make a deal with Javi. It is almost too easy when the object of trade runs right out of Sal’s compound for his taking.  It’s a shame. Sal has a treasure in Luisa that he doesn’t appreciate. She is innocent, passionate, and loyal. All things that would make a great queen. Too bad she is a pawn that must be disposed of in one way or another. Javi must stay away from her. His track record with woman being what it is… he doesn’t want or need the distraction from his goal. Affection is weakness and he will never make that mistake again. Running a cartel sure is a sticky business. You never know who to trust… even your own men are a hairs breath away from putting a knife in your back. A man must be cunning, stealthy and precise at all times. Weakness or the appearance of it is something that you can not afford. But is having all the power worth it if you are all alone at the top?

Man oh man did I LOVE this book! Luisa was a surprising heroine. She was selfless which had a perception of weakness but was in actuality a strength. She drew from her love of her parents to make hard choices and to pull herself through the awful things she had to live through. Her love gave her power. Acceptance gave her power. She accepted her circumstances and worked with them rather than against them. So different from Ellie but so similar.  While Ellie started out bad with horrible parents Louisa was the flip side of the coin. She started out good and melded into the life she was dealt. Then we have Javier… Oh Javi… he is one of “those” characters. The ones who frustrate you to no end. You love and hate him so fiercely you can feel yourself being ripped in two as you read.  He is so power hungry and devious and yet through his love of his sisters and his strange code of “honor” (for lack of a better word) you can’t help but root for him to win. I was so torn between him and Cam in the Artist Trilogy I was literally Team hopping every other chapter. This book did not ease that struggle. He is ruthless and cunning and handsome and sexy and he takes what he wants and does not apologize for who or what he is and there is just something mesmerizing about that. So masculine and hot. Makes a woman want to be bad, really really bad.  I think I am going to take a trip to Mexico and see if I can find a little trouble ;) 

About the Author:

With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiance and rescue pup.

Karina is represented by Scott Waxman of the Waxman Leavell Literary Agency.

Author Links:

website: http://www.authorkarinahalle.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Karina-Halle/140649372629593
twitter username: MetalBlonde

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