DIRTY ANGELS SERIES by KARINA HALLE
**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**
Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
J&G : 4.5 Stars
‘Love didn’t build empires – it ruined them.’
Gitte: Don’t know about you, Jenny, I love Karina Halle’s writing and I really enjoyed Dirty Angels, it was flawless in its execution. The characters were intriguing and the storyline had me hooked.
“You must feel your soul is dirty then.”
“Oh, my darling. No, I don’t even have a soul.”
It was dark, gritty, filthy and violent. It’s definitely not for the faint- hearted but then again, that’s what had us gagging to read it wasn’t it? I actually felt as if I was there, the sights, the smells, the aggression and the passion. It was all there and I was right in the centre of it watching as the story played out.
Jenny: I certainly did love it G! I was eager to delve into this gritty, suspenseful, dark read by Karina Halle and meet the mysterious Javier. The synopsis wowed me and I knew I was in for a treat when my stomach is in knots at the prologue. Karina Halle certainly does have a talent for bringing her stories so vividly to life and this was no exception. It’s official…I’m addicted to this authors work!
“You sound happy.”
“You have no idea what happy likes like.”
Every gut churning, passionate, erotic and raw moment of this story was certainly experienced as if you were witnessing it first-hand. There were a couple of heart stopping moments that’s for sure!
Gitte: The character of Javier Bernal absolutely fascinated me, he was so intense, brutal, fucked up yet so bloody charming and addicting. I actually wish we hadn’t been told Dirty Angels could be read as a standalone and had read The Artist Trilogy first because his back story became an integral factor and in some respects the lack of it counteracted the emotion and understanding. I needed and wanted to know more! You agree don’t you, Jenny?
“Why do you want to break me so badly?”
“Because I want to destroy beautiful things before they can destroy me.”
Javier really was a narcissistic anti-hero, the lesser of the two evils, a man who found a way into your heart. Also, Dirty Angels is as unconventional as we can get for a love-story.
‘This was what I’d wanted to see….a glimpse of the boy behind the man and the man behind the monster.’
But…I fell in love….how could I not? Javier was one sexy knife wielding bastard wasn’t he?
Jenny: Oh I agree Gitte but first up, let me repeat his name…..Javier Bernal. Just the name send shivers down your spine. This ruggedly handsome, slightly psychotic, brutal, powerful and rousing man had me at hola. What is it about these dangerous and sexy men that have us falling at their feet? Stupid question! Javier was such an enigma and had me fixated throughout.
‘Real power comes in giving a woman pleasure. Real control is knowing you’ve taken that woman to another place, another plane of existence, and you’re the one who holds the key.’
This man could be such a ruthless ruler one minute, a passionate sex god the next yet have me giggling at his sarcastic and caustic wit a second later. He was definitely an anti-hero I fell head over heels for.
‘The saying goes, if you love something, let it go. I always thought it was better to just shoot the damn thing so they’d never go anywhere.’
I wholeheartedly agree with you about wishing I had read The Artists Trilogy before venturing into Devil’s Angels because I felt as if we only gleamed part of Javier’s story. I desperately needed to know more than the morsels we were afforded and felt disadvantaged, as if I was missing integral parts of Javier’s story preventing me form exploring the core of who Javier Bernal was and what brought him to that moment.
Gitte: Well, what can I say about Luisa Chavez, her behaviour and rationalising baffled me. I think where I struggled with this story was with her action that acted as the catalyst for the whole book. I didn’t understand it, I didn’t fully get it. Were things really that bad that the lengths to which she went was the only way out? Or was it just a case of, well it’s the quickest way to get what I want, sod the consequences, I’ll play martyr? I wasn’t convinced of this, didn’t think it was explored enough, so yeah I struggled a bit in the beginning with her.
“You are my enigma…But I never leave anything unsolved.”
Don’t get me wrong she’s an incredible character otherwise. She’s strong, her survival instinct was bang on despite the extremely hopeless situation. No matter how gruesome or ‘filthy’ her life gets, she has this angelic aura to her which came across strongly through Karina Halle’s writing.
Jenny: I agree Gitte. I did find it hard to connect with Luisa at the start of the story and I too couldn’t completely comprehend her way of thinking. It did feel as if her decision was made on the fly as a quick way out and I didn’t feel her needs at that time warranted the situation she eventually put herself in.
However, as the story progressed, the strength of this woman, her pure conviction in herself and the treatment she was forced to endure made me appreciate the growth of her character, I warmed to her by the end and did eventually respect her greatly.
“I will break you.”
“Then do your worst. And you will see that the worst has already been done.”
A strong, tenacious and beautiful woman with a vulnerability that captivated and awed Javier.
J&G: Karina Halle did it again. She delivered a well written, expressive, shocking, suspenseful, erotic and riveting story we couldn’t put down.
“I’m no angel.”
“No, you’re a queen.”
We loved this book and can understand all the 5 star reviews because they are absolutely warranted.Whilst this book is a spin-off of The Artist Trilogy series and as such, it is being marketed as a standalone, we felt as though we had missed out on an integral part of the story, as if a piece of the puzzle was missing. Our immense desire to know more about Javier’s background left us with many questions which we look forward to uncovering when we do venture into the Artist Trilogy series, however as this was a standalone we could only gleam the information provided within. It is for this reason it just fell short of the 5 stars for us. Dirty Angels is an absolute must read if you love your antiheroes, love a good knuckle biting story with plenty of filthy heat thrown in. A real winner for us! We really do need more Javier!
**ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review**
DIRTY DEEDS (Dirty Angels #2) coming in 2014
DIRTY PROMISES (Dirty Angels #3) to come