2/19/17

NEW REVIEW AND EXCERPT ALERT: BLACK HEARTS BY KARINA HALLE!

Title: Black Hearts
Series: Bk #1 in the duet
Author: Karina Halle
Release Date: 2/19/2017!
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SYNOPSIS:
From New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle comes a BRAND NEW standalone duet that will get your pulse racing.
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.
NOTE: BLACK HEARTS is BOOK ONE of the SINS DUET, with the sequel & conclusion, DIRTY SOULS, releasing on March 17, 2017.
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I'll preface by telling you that Black Hearts is 100% a standalone novel. (Well, sort of... it's the beginning of a duet. But you DO NOT need any backstory before you start reading.) Vicente Bernal and Violet McQueen take the reader on their journey of uncovering their family history and unearthing all the ways their parents were connected in another life. If you've never read a single book by Karina Halle before, you can start here without missing a thing because you'll come to know the truth right along with this new generation of characters. (But seriously though, who even are you if you haven't read her books yet?!)

If you've previously read The Artist's Trilogy and the Dirty Angels series, you're familiar with the twisted, violent nature of the world you're about to step back in to. If Black Hearts is your first Karina Halle book, I'll tell you that you're about to be absorbed into a world of treachery and lust where criminals fall in love and lie and betray and kill, where loyalties are tested and bullets speak louder than words. Either way, brace, because you're in for a brutally delicious little treat with Black Hearts, a darkly intoxicating story that bridges generations when the children of former lovers meet for their own story of love and betrayal.

I'm over the moon that Karina Halle has introduced us to these characters in such an unexpectedly brilliant way. I mean, is this really happening right now? In some sick twist of fate, could a Bernal and a Watt FINALLY find true love amidst lies and violence and secrets and betrayal? Is history repeating itself, or righting itself by uniting a violent, power hungry cartel leader with a strong, feisty young woman unknowingly brought into the fold of debauchery and deceit by the lies of her parents? I could die a happy death if this plays out the way I'm hoping. (Because Team Javier FOREVER!) But I know Karina Halle, she's done this to me before. I know nothing is certain. I know these characters are inherently bad. I know money and lust and power and greed always trump love. So what will come of these characters is anyone's guess. 

Despite the depravity and the despicable behavior in these pages, I found myself giggling hard in certain scenes. The first time Mama McQueen meets the man in her daughter's life was especially hilarious, a sudden, sharp reminder of what a versatile writer Karina Halle is. This book is peppered with humor, layered with unexpected eroticism, woven with violence and deceit, and charged with romance. It's a delicious, thrilling romantic storyline that will consume both seasoned Halle fans and brand new readers. This story will piece together history while simultaneously breaking trusts and breaking hearts. Black Hearts is a brilliantly complex web that will ensnare the reader whether you're privy to their history or not. No matter what you know, or think you know, Black Hearts is a fresh new, untold story that will satisfy every reader and leave you ravenous for more.

Jessica's Rating:

The fog is continuing to roll in, bringing a briny mist that you can taste. Only the tops of the bridge remain visible, the orange red seeming to glow against grey skies, while shadows of the structure come and go as the fog moves in.

Violet stares in quiet fascination, her dark eyes taking it in. I can see the fog reflected in them, giving her an eerie quality. She appears to be listening but whether it’s the fog horns, the chatter of the fishermen, the lapping waves, or the dull roar of the bridge traffic, I don’t know. Could be something else entirely.

I don’t want to break her concentration or bring her back from whatever world she’s in. I just stand beside her and let her be. If anything, it says a lot about her comfort level with me if she lets herself drift away.

After a few minutes, she slowly turns to me and blinks. “How long did you say you were going to be in San Francisco for?”

“I don’t know,” I say carefully. “It depends if I find what I’m looking for.”

“And what are you looking for?”

“A reason to stay.” I hold her gaze with mine. The sea breeze picks up a few strands of her hair, moving them across her face like a black veil. Without thinking, I reach over and brush them away, tucking them behind her ear.

I could kiss her. I should kiss her. The feel of her skin against my fingers ignites a million torches inside.

Then she looks away, uncomfortable, the silence between us changing.

I steer the subject onto her. “You said your mother is a famous photographer. Does she have a studio?”

She lets out a soft sigh, her eyes back on the bridge. “Yeah. In the mission district.”

“And you don’t want the same for yourself?”

She rubs her lips together in thought before looking down at her hands that hang over the side of the railing. “As I said, I don’t know what I want. I’m not sure I feel comfortable with the idea of having a studio. My mom does portraits of people. That’s not what I like to shoot.”

“Not a people person?”

A wry smile cracks her lips. “No. Not really. It’s too…intimate. My mom is great at it because people feel comfortable with her. She can…I don’t know, manipulate their feelings.”

Interesting. Very interesting.

People like my father.

“So they end up exposing pieces of themselves that they don’t see. I guess I have the same intuition as her but the one on one is too much for me. I prefer to work with nature. With this.” She gestures to the fog. “No one else really understands how beautiful this is to me.”

I look back at the fog, moving faster now. I wouldn’t call it beautiful. Moody. Dark, maybe. If anything, her beauty stands out more because of the bleakness around her.

“My goal is to take photos that show how I see the world. All the beauty in it. The world is such an ugly and beautiful place, horrible and hopeful. I want to show the light in all the dark places.” She pauses and gives me a sheepish look. “Sorry. I know that must have sounded hella pretentious.”

I slowly shake my head because she sounds anything but that. She sounds real. She sounds like something I want to shake loose from her, to let free and run wild.

“You’re not pretentious,” I tell her, my voice low. “Not even close.”

“That’s not what I hear.”

“What do you hear?” I move in closer to her, the distance between us just a few inches. She doesn’t back up. “What does the world tell you you are?”

I watch her swallow, take a moment. “Oh, you know. I’m too self-absorbed. Narcissistic. Pretentious. I live too much in my head, I’m too anti-social, too distant. I feel too much, care too much. My mother has always chided me for being too sensitive and then I was diagnosed with having hyper-sensitivity, so it turns out she was right. I am too sensitive. About everything. And there’s not a single thing I can do about it except know that when I experience reality, it’s not what everyone else experiences. For better or for worse.” She sighs. “Mainly for worse.”

I feel like this is something she doesn’t unload on many people. My instincts about her were right. She’s fragile but not weak, too much a part of the world and too much removed from it. A contradiction.

“I’m sorry,” she says, shooting me a glance. “I didn’t mean to blab away like that. I know you probably think I’m crazy now. Hell, I think I’m crazy half the time. I really wish I could just be like everyone else. To just…shut it all off.”

“You’re not crazy,” I tell her. “I’m just understanding you better.”

Her mouth quirks up into a dry smile. “I’m surprised you understand me at all. We’ve only just met.”

“True,” I tell her as I reach out and run my fingers along her jaw, tipping her chin up. “But I’m sure you of all people would know that sometimes you can connect with someone in ways you didn’t think you could. Or should.”

She barely nods, her eyes focused on mine, anticipation on her brow. I’m met with the overwhelming desire to protect and shield her which is extremely inconvenient, if not unwelcome, given the circumstances. One minute I need to fuck her, the next I need to protect her, and in the end, what I really need is to do the job I set out to do


Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.

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