Monday, March 27, 2017

Dirty Souls (Sins Duet #2) Review

Title:  Dirty Souls
Series:  Sins Duet
Author:  Karina Halle
Release Date:  March 20, 2017

My Rating:  2.5 Disappointing 's

FYI:  This is the conclusion of the Sins Duet.  You should read book 1, Black Hearts, prior to reading this. 

It is this reviewer's opinion that you should also read the Artists and Dirty Angels trilogies before Sins Duet as characters cross over series.

Violet McQueen has always been a sensitive soul. Troubled and misunderstood, she never realized her place in the world, nor her true potential…until she met Vicente Bernal.

From birth, Vicente Bernal has always known his place in the world – he’s been groomed to be a ruthless king. Yet for a man whose soul has become morally bankrupt, it’s only through Violet he’s realizing the worth of someone’s heart.

But at what cost?

With a deadly game set in motion taking them from the stark deserts of California to the steamy jungles of Mexico, Violet and Vicente’s forbidden relationship will be put to the test. Boundaries will be pushed, lines will be crossed and souls will get very, very dirty.

Because how do you choose between blood and love when both might get you killed?

I read Dirty Souls a week ago - the day it released.  I did so with trepidation, wary yet hopeful the author would not write this story at the expense of the anti-hero Javier and his "hea" in the series that led up to this spin-off.  For me, that's the ultimate sin an author can commit.  After completing this book, I had to take a step back, let my thoughts and emotions simmer, and decide how to rate this book and write an accurate, fair review.  It is not easy.

Dirty Souls is dark, gritty, raw, and explosive. . . and a bit "over the top".  Everything hits you in excess - the good, the bad, the ugly.  Want dirty, erotic sex?  You got it - again & again & again &....  I eventually started skimming those scenes.  (I know! A sin, right?!)  You want bad*ss, take no prisoners, don't give a d*mn about anyone anti-heroes?  Vincente (& others) blows everyone away.  You want a knock down, drag out, on-going gang buster shootout with a timeout for rough sex in the middle of it all?  Baby, it's in here ...along with car chases, explosions, torture, kidnapping.  For me, it just became too much overload - even for battling familes when one is connected to a drug cartel.

Lies, deceipt, betrayal - it's all here even between the so called hero & heroine.  I can handle all that - I love a good, dark, angst-filled read where you're kept wondering if the couple will make it until the very end.  But, I can't say I ever really connected with Vincente & Violet as a couple.  Their chemistry is certainly "sexual" & "explosive", but both characters failed to fully engage me in their plight.  I never felt that "on the edge of my seat" urgency over whether they'd make it.  That's a problem for me.

But, the ultimate sin for me when it comes to reading spin-off series is for the author to attempt to change my concept of an earlier character after they get their "hea" ending - be it good or bad.  If you've read the Artists and Dirty Angels Trilogy, then you know Javier's journey and how it impacts the characters in this book.  You know Javier is an anti-hero you either hate, despise, tolerate or love.  I rode out Javier's version of hell through all the books in both previous series and still - I came to love him.  I accepted the ending that the author envisioned and wrote for him and was okay with living with it.  And now, in Dirty Souls, I'm forced to see Javier at his worse, his lowest point again - and also I'm now left with a vision of him as a depraved, revengeful, broken, stupid old man.  That's not the Javier I was left with at the end of his series - not the Javier I know.  And the hint of his possible rise again in the Epilogue is not enough to undo the damage rendered in this book.  Characters can return in spin-off series and often do.  But in this reader's opinion, they should not be stripped of their previous "hea" (whatever it may be) - and my perception of their "hea" should not be altered. Sadly, it was in this book.

*I'll also note (but not reveal) what I see as a major discrepancy of a support character in this book.  

My Rating:  2.5 Disappointing 's . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx


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