Thursday, 31 July 2014

Review: Karina Halle's "Dirty Angels (Dirty Angel # 1)."

4 Hearts Review: Karina Halle's "Dirty Angels (Dirty Angel # 1)."

Amazon UK:


**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***

Review: Surj Harvey

I love a book that has a warning attached to it ... it's almost like the author's taunting me, daring me to turn the first page. And for me, There's nothing quite like a story line that pulls me out of my comfort zone, that's a little bit left field, that doesn't follow convention, that makes me question my sanity. And "Dirty Angels" was a perfect example of just that. So the first opportunity I got... I one clicked of course!!! I mean honestly, Karina Halle had me the minute I read the following: 

This ain't no cupcake farting unicorn kind of book. 

"Dirty Angels" challenged me in so many ways. It had me questioning right from wrong, had me falling in love with characters whose actions were despicable and had me rooting for a relationship that (in real life) I would never in a million years have supported. Crazy right? Well, this author has it down to a T. She has this knack of writing forbidden romances that you cannot help but get all giddy over. She did it with "Love in English" and she's she's done it all over again with this one!!!

Fantasies were for young girls who had no idea how the real world worked. 

The synopsis for "Dirty Angels" summarized the story line perfectly, so I'm not going to go into any more detail. What I will say is, take heed of the warning. This book is not for the faint hearted. There's torture, there's mutilation, there's murder. What the author gives us is the world of the Mexican drug cartel in its rawest form, where loyalty, respect and your name means everything and love... well that's just a weakness that no one can afford to have!!! There is absolutely nothing romantic about this way of life. It's dark, ugly and brutal. It's even barbaric at times. You know you should stop reading because what's on the pages is stuff that nightmares are made of but you read on because the story line is addictive and you need to know the outcome. 

"Don't you know it turns me on when you fight back?" He whispered in my ear, his voice raged.

"Though it turns me on when you don't fight back, too. I guess you can't win."

So let me give you some advice before you throw yourself head first into this book:

1. Wear your big girl panties (no if's, no but's, no and's... just do it!!)

2. Make sure you stomach has reinforced iron cladding because some scenes will make you want to throw your ring up!!! 

3. Don't forget to don your mental armor. "Dirty Angels" will fuck with your head like there's no tomorrow! 

And no one will fuck with it more so than Javier Bernal. I'm a sucker for an anti hero, but Javier... well he took it to a whole new level. He was bad... as in really bad and he made no apologies for it.

“You must feel your soul is dirty then."

“Oh, my darling. No, I don’t even have a soul.” 

If this was reality, I'd think this man was one sick, twisted bastard who probably needed sectioning under the mental health act!!! I mean, some of the things he did... surely he had a screw loose somewhere ... right? Torture and murder were all in a days work for him and guilt was something that never figured into the equation. Did I like him? Initially, I wasn't sure but there was something about him, his charm maybe? Or maybe it was his wit? (yes this man could be funny!!!) What I did know was that he was an enigma and I wanted a good rummage inside that head of his so I could see the real 'him.' Well, I got my wish but that (unfortunately) would be my undoing. You see, I ended up handing Javier Bernal my heart on a silver platter, falling head of heels like you wouldn't believe!!!

Gah... why did I do that??? It was so wrong... but so freakin' right!!!! 

This was what I’d wanted to see all this time, just

a glimpse of the boy behind the man and the man behind the monster. 

And Luisa... this woman was so selfless, sacrificing her own happiness so that those she loved could have a better life... she never once questioned her decision. It was just the right thing to do. How was she to know she'd just made a deal with the devil himself. 

"I want to break you," I murmured against the blood. "I want to destroy you, ruin you.

But you would not break. You will not break. Why won't you?"

Despite this, despite the horrific hand of cards she was dealt, she was never a victim. Luisa was as strong as an ox, she was a fighter and she had a fire in her belly, the likes I'd never seen before. The fact that her character wasn't perfect made her all the more realistic and the poor choices she made all the more believable. I loved everything about this woman and was rooting for her every step of the way. 

Karina Halle did a brilliant job in writing Javier and Luisa's broken yet beautiful love story. What they shared was intense, powerful and definitely packed a punch. It was almost like I was actually there watching their worlds collide, the visual imagery so strong. Unlike "Love, in English" though, I wasn't transported to the beautiful Spanish countryside. Instead I found myself in the underbelly of Mexico, a fly on the wall, watching some of the most heinous acts being committed!!! 

After all, a kingdom was only as good as its ruler, 

and a king and queen could do more damage together than a king alone. 

"Dirty Angels" was a disturbing, twisted, violent, fucked up read that had my insides doing all sorts but that's what made it all the more brilliant. A book that makes you feel is never a bad thing. I would absolutely recommend you read this book and rated it 4 Hearts.

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