Author: Karina Halle
Series: Dirty Angels #1
Publication: June 15th 2014 by Metal Blonde Books
Genre: Adult ~ Dark Contemporary Romance
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Cover Rating: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
From the USA Today Bestselling author of Love, in English and The Artists Trilogy, comes a dark romance about a good girl and a very, very bad man. It’s a deliciously twisted take on forbidden love, set among the drug cartels of hot, steamy Mexico and is not for the faint of heart. It contains explicit sex, violence, abuse, drug use, bad language and sexy Mexicans. You have been warned…
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.
Some men were born to create empires, some women were meant to be queen.
**Dirty Angels is the first standalone novel in the Dirty Angels Trilogy, in which all books feature or involve different characters. The character of Javier Bernal is from The Artists Trilogy, and while reading TAT is recommended if you want additional insight into this twisted character, it is not required.**
I've been wanting to read a Karina Halle book for such a long time. Shame on me for not reading one sooner! But in my opinion, if I had to start somewhere, Dirty Angels was a great book to do it with. I already know I'll be reading more books by her in the future.
Dirty Angels was a dark book. I consider myself being able to read books like this without being really surprised by it but at some scenes, like this one gory torture scene, even I flinched—which is great because not many books are able to do this to me. So I suggest people to really take the warning in the synopsis seriously. If you don't enjoy reading about heavy and dark topics like this book has, then it's not the right one for you. Be warned! But I gotta admit that I think, personally, some parts weren't dark enough. Maybe this makes me crazy but it's just the way I felt and that's why this book was close to perfection but not quite a full five star read. It was still a really awesome book, though!
I'm not familiar with Javier Bernal since this is a spin-off from The Artists Trilogy that I haven't read yet (but is high on my wishlist now). My first impression of him was: 'wow, he's ruthless.' But I liked him right away. Honestly, I think characters like him are way more interesting than any 'good' ones. He's a very complex man and I'm sure I have more to learn about him. I also didn't expect to like him as much as he did because he's the leader of a drug cartel. Most people would consider him a bad guy and in some ways he is. And yet... I couldn't help but rooting for him and Luisa.
Luisa was also very interesting to read about. I admire her very much for doing everything she can to look after her parents and making sure they have everything they need. Although, marrying Salvador Reyes was definitely not her best decision ever. But then again, it's not like she could say no to him. She was so strong and tough and never seemed to break even though she went through such hell, with getting raped and beaten everyday. She managed to hold on to a little piece of herself inside. I can only applaud the author for creating a strong character like that.
Javier and Luisa's relationship was... intriguing to say the least. It's definitely not your usual romance. No, it's so much more complex like that. Don't expect a lot of "I love you's", kind words and sweet love scenes. Instead of that you get carving in flesh, torture and rough sex. And damn it, if I didn't love every single part of it!
Dark with unexpected twists and captivating writing, Dirty Angels was great read that I couldn't help but be fascinated by. Karina Halle created interesting and complex characters and managed to really impress me with the level of suspense I was feeling while reading it. Four star worthy without a doubt!
"I want your name. I want it to say Javier. I will wear those scars proudly." And I will show the world that I survived it all, to the end.
"Don't become like Salvador, letting the people below you do your dirty work. Own up to the problems you created. Handle them yourself, like a man."
"You are my enigma," he said gruffly. "But I never leave anything unsolved."
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 the Waxman Leavell Literary Agency.