ARC Review: Black Hearts by Karina Halle

20 Feb 2017

Book Title: Black Hearts
Author: Karina Halle
Series: Sins Duet #1
Release Date: February 19th, 2017
Genres: Dark Romance
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.

It's been four years since I've read The Artists Trilogy by Karina Hale, so I must admit, many details of the background characters in this story are a bit fuzzy. But no worries, this duet can be read as a standalone. Conveniently, the bits and pieces I remembered of that series (which focuses on this heroine's parents), and also the Dirty Angels Trilogy (which focuses on this hero's parents) sucked me into this story all the more.

Vicente Bernal, son of Mexican drug cartel Javier Bernal, convinces his father a long past due trip to America is just what he needs. A little freedom, a lot of American women, and secretively a hunt for answers as to his father's past with a certain Ellie McQueen. It's only when Vicente meets the McQueen's daughter, photography student Violet McQueen, that his plans get a bit altered. Maybe she has the answers about their secretive past, and in the meantime, he gets to spend his freedom with a gorgeous American with hair the color of a blackbird- killing three birds with one stone...

Black Hearts brought me right back to those days of outlaw drug cartel where no life is sacred and love is a true weakness. Where everything in Violet's life as she's known it becomes unraveled in a house of lies. Who's friend and who's foe? Can she trust Vicente or her parents? Where danger seems to lurk in the shadows of her seemingly safe home city of San Francisco.

Once I started this book, I had a hard time putting it down. A trickle fed plot with a lethal dose of suspense and intrigue, Karina Hale has found quite her true niche in the darker, seedier genre of mafia/drug cartels where a love story is buried beneath the gritty violence and struggle for ultimate cartel control- to be the kingpin.

I cannot wait for the final installment of this duet, Dirty Souls, releasing March 17th, 2017.

Advanced review copy received by the author in exchange for my honest review.

With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU.

Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiancé and rescue pup.

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