Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Bold Tricks Karina Halle

The Faster They Live, the Harder They Fall . . .
Raised by con artists, Ellie Watt has a lot of crazy childhood memories-but none crazier than being scarred with acid by the demented crime boss Travis Raines. Now Ellie is a full-grown woman who lives for revenge, and Travis is a full-blown drug lord who kills for pleasure. The sadistic bastard has kidnapped her good friend Gus as well as her mother, whom he's been holding as prized possessions in his heavily guarded lair. And Ellie has only one chance in hell of getting them out alive-using two dangerous men who love her to death . . .

One is Camden McQueen, a talented tattoo artist who's made a permanent mark on Ellie's heart. The other is Javier Bernal, her fiery ex-lover who's busted more than a few heads in his time. From the crime-ridden streets of Mexico City to the predatory jungles of Honduras, this unlikely trio forms an uneasy alliance in the deadliest game of all-a gun-blazing battle to the finish that will pit enemy against enemy and lover against lover. And Ellie must choose the right man to trust . . . or die.

Lea says...

This if my first review for Stories and Swag, and actually my first solo blog review, and I could not think of a more perfect book for me to start with.

First, let me just say that I am a huge, huge Karina Halle fan. And by fan, I mean a massive junkie.

I found her “Experiment In Terror series a little over a year ago, and it is by far one of my favorites. I always buy her books immediately upon release, but I generally make myself wait to read them because I know that once it’s over, once I hit that final page, I will be missing the characters, feening for the next installment. It’s the kind of awesomeness you gotta ration out! Lucky for me, there has always been another hit of Halle right around the corner, of one variety or another.
Ms. Halle had yet to complete one of her series, until now!  “Bold Tricks” was the final piece of “The Artists Trilogy”. I am not going to lie; I am pretty depressed. No more Ellie…Camden…Gus…I will even miss Javier—sorry, but I pitched my tent in Camp Camden as soon as I read about the Clark Kent-glasses wearing tattoo artist.

However, I will set aside my fangirl gush-fest and mini meltdown in an attempt to give you a spoiler free review…unless you haven’t read the series so far. If that is the case, it’s not too late to turn back.

Bold Tricks picks up exactly where “Shooting Scars” left off; Ellie riding off into the night, sandwiched between Javier and Camden, after a crazy showdown with Travis and his cartel. The three reluctantly agree to work together to get her mother and Gus back, but still she worries that Javier has his own agenda even though he continues to offer up the chance for her to rule by his side.

“You know I’m doing all of this for you, my angel. I wouldn’t do this for anyone else, not ever.”—Javier Bernal

Man, how I love to hate Javier. After reading “On Every Street”, I was pissed, and over in Camp Camden I took out my marshmallows, ready to roast ‘em over Javier’s lying pants. But then in “Shooting Scars” he would show just a tiny vulnerability, like telling her that she had the power to break him, that just made me realize that with Javier, it really is just the nature of the beast.

Then there is Camden who is proving himself equally formidable—seriously, you should see what he can do with some non-dairy creamer—and who she had almost lost faith in due to her messy past. Faith, trust and loyalty had all been scarce in Ellie’s life.

Camden was mostly good to the core, yet the people closest to him seem to betray him at every turn. And the lengths he’s willing to go to for Ellie, even though he’s likely to lose everything, including her, are endless.  

“Both men had come for me. Both men had loved me. And both of them I had seriously underestimated.”—Ellie Watt

Torn between the two men bookending her love life, she must make grave decisions and do things that are far worse than any con she’s pulled to date.

All I can say is, Ellie goes full badass.

“I was getting Gus back. And I was going to make everyone pay.”—Ellie Watt

Will it be enough; will she get what she wants? Can she ever get back to her attempt at making a life for herself as a good person? Or will she further be forever scarred by the onslaught of events that continue to upend her world.

I honestly almost cheated for the first time ever and looked at the ending of the book. I wanted to read through it as fast as possible, find out who she would choose, if they would make it out alive. Yet at the same time, I wanted to savor the high of not-knowing, the anxiety that motivated me to slowly drink in every word all the way to bitter end.

This series has been a nail biting, hair-pulling trip. A roller coaster of one insane, dangerous predicament after another and the closing novel is no exception. With the ever-present witty banter and unpredictable actions of the characters, the intensely written, scorching hot and sometimes, primal sex scenes, and the action packed nerve-racking chases and shoot-outs, “Bold Tricks” definitely adds up to a ten for me.

Check out Karina’s other series: “Experiment In Terror” and “Devils”. The first is about two people hosting a Youtube show a la “Ghost Hunters” style (but much, much more authentic) and the other is about a female music journalist in the 70’s going on the scariest tour ever with one of her favorite rock bands. 

Twitter: @MetalBlonde

The daughter of a Norwegian Viking and a Finnish Moomin, Karina Halle grew up in Vancouver, Canada with trolls and eternal darkness on the brain. This soon turned into a love of all things that go bump in the night and a rather sadistic appreciation for freaking people out. Like many of the flawed characters she writes, Karina never knew where to find herself and has dabbled in acting, make-up artistry, film production, screenwriting, photography, travel writing and music journalism. She eventually found herself in the pages of the very novels she wrote (if only she had looked there to begin with).

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 splits her time between her apartment in downtown Vancouver and her sailboat, where a book and a bottle of wine are always at hand. She’s hard at work on her next novel.

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  1. I haven't read these yet. I actually won them last week! I can't wait to read them :)

  2. Loving the glasses and tattoos, so I'm definitely Team Camden! I am just starting Bold Tricks, but so far, Sins & Needles is my favorite! ;)

  3. Team Camden! Yes, I love tue glasses and tattoos, so sexy!

    Crystal Guidroz

  4. i Havent read these yet i was waiting for this one to come out i hate starting something then having to wait lol

  5. I haven't read this series yet, although I have them all (except this one) on my kindle. I'm going to be moving them to the front of my TBR list now!

  6. Which team, #TeamCamden or #TeamJavier do you ship? #teamcamden Which novel out of the three is your favorite?not read the series yet. Which is sexier: black, square hipster glasses or tattoos....or both?! both are sexy.

  7. Team Camden and tattoos. I haven't read any of the series yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

  8. Im not sure i havent read any of the books but id like to

  9. I'm not sure which team I belong to, since I've not yet read the books. Tattoos look super sexy on the right man, as do the glasses. Can't wait to read the books. michelle_willms@yahoo.com

  10. I haven't started the series yet so I' can't pick a team. I seen such rave reviews for these books and they have been on my fiending list for a while. Hipster glasses or tattoo?? Both can be very sexy. It all depends on whose wearing them and how they pull the off.