Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published on: Book 1 (February 18, 2017), Book 2 (March 20, 2017)
Pages: Book 1 (314), Book 2 (300)
Rating: 3.5 STARS
Buy on Amazon:
Black Hearts (book 1)
Dirty Souls (book 2)
I was planning to write separated reviews for each of the books in this series, but I think it would not be fair to review a book without its conclusion, so I read them without skipping, thus, it made me understand the story as a whole.
What is the story about?
Violet McQueen is a daughter of Camden McQueen and Ellie McQueen who are the main characters in The Artists trilogy. Even though she had had a happy family and a quite normal, happy life, she has never felt that she belongs to anywhere and everyone does understand her. It changes when she meets a mysterious young man named Vicente Bernal. Beyond her understanding, she feels like he understands her, and quickly is drawn to him romantically.
Unknown by Violet, Vicente is a son of her parents’ rival in the past, Javier Bernal, who was the main character in Dirty Angels series. Their meeting is in fact not a coincidence. It is a part of his grand plan to discover his father’s past, find his weaknesses, and eventually, earn his respect. His plan then drastically changes when he finds himself attracted more to the daughter of his target than to the initial target.
“I once thought she was my weapon, now I realize she’s everything to me.”
Both of their feelings get stronger despite everything that happens and the things they discover about each other’s background and family’s past.
“I love you, my mirlo. I love you to the point of danger. Danger because where you go, I will go. Because I will do everything and anything to keep you with me. This isn’t the end of us There will never be an end of us. Ever.”
Unfortunately, things are not what they look like. The unfinished past of their families affects their new relationship and forces them to question everything they think they have had and are having. Will they survive this ugly reality and the hell that is waiting for them? Will both of their families finally have the closure each of them desperately seeks?
“You won’t break me. You won’t break her. But you will break this family in half. And that’s something that will never recover.”
What did I love?
This story was captivating, addicting, highly entertaining, and unpredictable. It kept me on my toes and hold me at the edge of my seat from the very first page to the end. The action, the suspense, and the romance were mixed together and skillfully written. I loved and enjoyed it the entire time. Each of point of views portrayed the angles that the author wanted readers to experience and they worked perfectly, which was a rare thing for me since I usually don’t enjoy having too many points of views in one story. Although they were complicated at times, they served the purpose of the whole story really well. My applause to Karina Halle!
What didn’t work for me? (Please, don’t read the following if you don’t want any spoilers)
Unfortunately, some things did take away my enjoyment of experiencing this story, and as much as it pains me to say this, they were a great deal. I didn’t connect with the heroine, Violet. She trusted and fell in love with him too fast. How could a girl who has a loving family and was living a normal life, despite her personal issues, could suddenly trust a stranger she just met and did whatever he pleased without questioning his motives? I did understand her disappointment toward her parents, however, her instant connection with Vicente was unrealistic.
Moreover, I could not connect with them as a couple. Their relationship was nothing but physical in my opinion. The whole drama did take over the romantic elements between the main characters which were the important thing as the story later progressed. The author failed to show the emotional connection and it took me away from the story at times—making me constantly questioning their feelings to each other.
Another thing that bothered me was how Javier Bernal was portrayed as a villain in the entire story. It felt like he was a completely different character here than he was in the previous books. This book ruined the image I had for him and made me question his relationship with his wife Luisa. I could see the author wanted to present him as a complicated character while still maintaining his character from the previous stories. However, it ended up ruining it and disconnecting me to him and Luisa as a couple. How could you believe their happily ever after in the previous books when he was still obsessed with her ex-lover in this story? His wife was suddenly nothing but his partner in crime and there was no real connection between them in this story aside from the twisted one the author was desperately trying to present.
On top of it, I could not comprehend why Javier had to have been waiting for twenty years to get his revenge on Ellie. It was ridiculous since he had built a beautiful life with his wife, Luisa, which he claimed the love of his life for almost twenty years. There was no reason why he could not move on. It was disappointing for me.
Overall, despite my issues, this was a good read. Those who are interested in romantic suspense and have not read the previous books yet—especially Javier and Luisa’s story—might find this story entertaining, which it is. However, the readers who have read the previous stories might feel otherwise.
Series reading order: