Wednesday, February 22, 2017

REVIEW: Black Hearts by Karina Halle

For Vicente Bernal, truth is all he’s known. The son of an infamous drug lord, Vicente was born to help run the family business, which means he’s been raised on a throne of sordid pasts and dirty laundry, violence and pride. But when Vicente stumbles across someone he’s not supposed to know about – a woman from his father’s checkered past – he sets out to California to find her behind his father’s back.

What Vicente doesn’t expect to find in San Francisco is Violet McQueen, the woman’s twenty-year old daughter. Beautiful and edgy with a vulnerability he can’t resist, Violet tempts Vicente from afar and though he promised himself he’d stay away from her, curiosity and lust are powerful forces. Besides, Vicente has always gotten everything he wants – why shouldn’t he have Violet too?

Soon his wants turn into an obsession, one that sweeps Violet into his games as they fall madly, deeply in love with each other, the type of first love that can drive a person mad.

But it’s a love with tragic consequences.

Both the truth – and the lies – not only threaten to tear them apart, but threaten their very lives.

Someone has to pay for the sins of the fathers.

And they’ll be paying the price with their souls.

Black Hearts is a BRAND NEW STANDALONE DUET - the second book and conclusion, Dirty Souls, releases March 17th.

Published February 19th 2017
Source: Author; Purchased
Purchase a copy: Goodreads | Amazon


Shel: Were you guys as excited and surprised about this novel as I was? Was I the only one who didn't know until recently that this was something Karina Halle was working on? Maybe I was? I don't know...sometimes I get into my own bubble and don't keep up with all of my favorite authors like I should. So when I saw that this book was coming out and it involved Javier's son and Ellie's daughter I was 1 million percent excited and eager to revisit these characters. I never in a million years thoughts we'd get a shot at meeting up with Javier and Louisa and Camden and Ellie again much less have their kids involved as young adults. OMG.

Court: I squee'd hard core when you told me, girl. I didn't realize this was coming and when I did it was basically released so I was so EXCITED! The Artists Trilogy was how I conned (heh, get it) Shel into being as obsessed with Karina as I was and I am so glad. Then Dirty Angel and then these characters solidified themselves in all of their completely deranged, insane, holy calzone I die glory as some of the best characters we have ever had the pleasure to read. They're antiheroes...unreliable narrators...and just seriously an amazing group of people to get lost in the pages with. They do still have me terrified to travel to Mexico, but maybe someday I'll get over that. 

Shel: As you can imagine the minute this book hit my kindle I was all over it and it totally owned me. I couldn't put it down until I was finished. I have theories (some confirmed), questions (so many questions), and concerns (my heart is still racing!). As you can see from the synopsis (see above), Javier's son, Vicente, and Ellie's daughter, Violet, end up together for various reasons and the relationship that develops between them is dynamic (and hot..I should totally mention it's really sexy). It's also built on deception and truth and passion and other things that I can't quite describe--all adding up to something that I couldn't seem to tear my eyes away from and based on how it ended, I know that I'll be equally consumed when the second book comes out in a month.

Court: You can totally read this series without reading the others, in case you were wondering...but it is one intense thrill ride just like those series were. I do like knowing up front that this is a duet, so there is more to come. I haven't read something that had me quite so captivated in a bit, but somehow Karina Halle always is someone who can pull it out of me. I read this in one sitting, and COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! Ugh, it was so they meet is more of a slow burn than I was expecting and I liked that a lot. 

Shel: I have so many thoughts right now. Thoughts that are stumbling over themselves as I try to figure out how I feel about all of the characters involved and what their motivations and intentions are--but I suppose what I want to share with you now is that you should go into reading this novel as blind as you possibly can. I found that not knowing much made flipping each page that much more exciting. I had no idea what would happen next or why--and even though I feel like I have a little bit more of an understanding because of the ending, I still feel like I have a lot more to learn. 

Court: I was dying. A starving woman for more details, and I liked how we get each morsel of information as Violet does. I did appreciate our vast knowledge of this world so we do KNOW the things that Ellie and Camden experienced...and Violet knows something is up with her family, but she can't quite figure out what. That is a whole novel to be delved into in the next one just because that is oh my goodness, just messed up. These kids world is about to be flipped on it's head by a tornado. 

Shel: Here are my questions (and some might be spoiler-y so you may want to stop here if you want to take my advice and enjoy the novel from a place of ignorance about its goings on):

  • Who is following Violet? Does Parada know and isn't saying--I noticed he's left some details out of his reports? Is he setting up Javier and Vicente?
  • What will Vicente do? Will he be loyal to his place in the world, his family, or his new feelings towards Violet?
  • Will Violet embrace the darkness and strength she's acquiring--and what will that look like and mean?
  • What will Ellie and Camden do? And Ben? What about Ben (omg--I want his story so bad now!)
  • What the hell is Javier up to? And Louisa--she's too cunning, surely she's somehow involved?
  • How is this all going to end? Halle hasn't been kind to these characters in the past and I know she's capable of mass destruction (which is why I love her), so who is she going to destroy and will I make it out alive in the aftermath of her character destruction?
Shel: Karina Halle--you surprised me with this novel--not for any reason other than I wasn't expecting it to be written and now it's all I can think about. I cannot wait for the next one to come out and I can't help but hope Ben gets a book too. Unless you kill him off? Please don't kill him off. Court: ME TOO! DON'T KILL OFF ANY IMPORTANT CHARACTERS WITHOUT ANSWERS DANG IT! Okay, sorry for the yelling y'all! Haha. I am so very excited for the next one as well, and I will be waiting these luckily few shorts weeks with bated breath! 

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