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Sins Duet #1

Black Hearts

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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.

295 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 19, 2017

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About the author

Karina Halle

140 books15.9k followers
Karina Halle is a screenwriter, a former music & travel journalist, and the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, & USA Today bestselling author of River of Shadows, The Royals Next Door, and Black Sunshine, as well as 70 other wild and romantic reads, ranging from light & sexy rom coms to horror/paranormal romance and dark fantasy. Needless to say, whatever genre you're into, she's probably written a romance for it.

When she's not traveling, she and her husband split their time between a possibly haunted 120 year-old house in Victoria, BC, their sailboat the Norfinn, and their condo in Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.authorkarinahalle.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 353 reviews
Profile Image for ✦❋Arianna✦❋.
790 reviews2,503 followers
February 21, 2017

4 Stars!!

I’ve read several books by this author and I’m a big fan of her stories, but my favorite ones are, without a doubt, her darker ones. She always manages to keep me at the edge of my seat with her dark and gritty stories, her intriguing heroes/anti-heroes and some interesting, captivating twists. 'Black Hearts', the first installment in Karina’s 'Sin Duet Series' is awesome, enthralling and sucked me in from the start. If you love dark-ish stories and you are looking for a great mix of action, suspense and steam, you must read this one ASAP.

“If Helen of Troy’s face could launch a thousand ships, Violet McQueen’s face could launch a thousand stories, all filled with lust, heartache, and death.”

Violet McQueen is a photography student in her second year at the Art Institute of San Francisco. She has a good, for the most part, relationship with her parents, but she has always felt that something was off with her family. When she discovers that she has been raised in a house of lies, Violet doesn’t know what to believe, but she definitely wants to find the truth about her parents and their pasts. Violet’s life is changed completely when she meets a gorgeous Hispanic man, named Vicente. He’s different from any other man she has met before - he’s sexy, confident and, for whatever reason, he seems interested to get to know her. She also feels safe with him.

"I’ve had a taste of the power, the glory, the respect, and the money. I’m not saying I don’t want it. But I want it my way. Not his.

Vicente Bernal is the prodigal son, the one who is supposed to take over when his father, ‘Chefe do Cartel de Sinaloa’ retires or commands him to do so. He grew up in the cartel and he has been trained for it. However, he doesn’t want to be the next in line. He knows what it means to have the power, the respect and the money and he wants all, but on his own terms.

Violet and Vicente’s connection is strong, but what happens when their relationship seems to have tragic consequences, when the truths and the lies between them and between their families threaten to tear them apart and also threaten their very lives?

“You’re everything I’ve ever needed,” he says through a lustful groan. He bites his lip, the corded muscles of his neck straining. “I was famished, starved, for you. For this.”

'Black Hearts' exceeded all my expectations. I really enjoyed this thrilling first installment. It’s addictive, fantastically written and, like any other dark book I’ve read by this author, kept me guessing until the end. For one reason or another, I was at the edge of my seat the entire time reading this novel and I totally loved it.

The story has everything to keep you entertained – suspense, action, steam, with some dark-ish elements that personally I loved. However, my favorite aspect was the suspense one, which was fantastically done. So, yeah, the story has some heart pounding, nail biting moments that I really enjoyed.

I liked Violet’s character. She’s sensitive, in a very endearing way and a little shy, at least in the beginning. She’s very intuitive, which I loved and I liked how Vicente opens her eyes on some things making her strong and bolder in the process.

“You’re mine, Violet,” I murmur roughly against her mouth, my fingers pressing into her cheekbones. “I don’t care how that sounds, but it’s all truth. You belong to me.”

Vincente, like his father, is charming, sexy as hell and ruthless. While he is cruel and he has been killing ever since he was just a boy, I enjoyed his character a lot. He is intriguing, desirable, yet so very manipulative and driven. I loved his dirty mouth and I loved how slowly, but surely, he introduces Violet to a new world of pleasure, pain and passion. The sex scenes between these two are off the charts hot!

This first installment is told in multiple POVs, which I enjoyed. The plot develops at a steady pace and, as the story unfolds, many questions arise regarding the relationships between certain characters . Needless to say, I’m dying to read the second installment.

All in all, 'Black Hearts' is another great tale by Karina Halle – intriguing, well written, with a well-developed plot and multi-layered characters.

“The Bernals aren’t good people. The McQueens aren’t either.”

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Profile Image for Candace.
1,176 reviews4,206 followers
April 19, 2017
Ever since reading 'On Every Street', I have been a huge fan of Karina Halle's work. Admittedly, I'm still a little bitter over the fact that Ellie and Javier didn't end up together. Being a "glass half full" kind of lady, I see this spin-off series as Ms. Halle's chance to give those of us on team Javi a little something. After all, if we can't have Javier and Ellie then we can at least have Vicente and Violet. (Take that Camden!)

If you haven't read 'The Artists Trilogy' followed by the 'Dirty Angels' series, I would do that before starting the 'Sins Duet'. You could probably read the 'Sins Duet' without having done so, but then you would be missing a lot of the backstory. Without understanding the history between these characters' families, you won't get the full impact of everything that transpires in this series. I would definitely recommend going back and reading those series before diving into this one. Don't worry though, they're fabulous!

If you haven't read those series, you may want to stop reading this review. It is highly likely that it will contain spoilers for the books in those series. Since this series is largely built upon the history laid out in those books, it would be difficult to review this book without discussing some of that background.

Taking place years after the end of 'Dirty Promises', Javier and Luisa's children are grown. Many more years have passed since Ellie left Javier behind to be captured by the authorities. Not being one to forget any affront, Javier has been biding his time.

Vicente's relationship with his father is somewhat strained. The son of a notorious drug lord, Vicente never had a childhood resembling anything that would be considered "normal". From a very young age, he was groomed to take over his father's cartel. While other kids were playing soccer, he was learning to be a cold-hearted killer. He has only known the father that is feared by the world and seems to have no emotions or weaknesses.

When Vicente stumbles upon a file on Ellie Watt/McQueen, his curiosity gets the best of him. He is determined to find this woman that managed to capture his fathers' heart, only to leave him the broken shell of a man that he knows now. With this seed planted in his mind, he sets out to San Francisco to find Ellie and make his father proud.

On the one hand, Vicente really detests his father. Yet, he yearns for his approval and affection. He has arrived at a stage in his life where he wants to challenge and usurp his father. Where Javier is considered, Vicente has a lot of mixed feelings.

Arriving in San Francisco, Vicente locates Ellie and her family. Immediately, he is drawn in by Ellie and Camden's daughter, Violet. He sets out to use her as a means to gain access to her family. Only, he ends up falling in love with the innocent, kind and beautiful young lady. She is the polar opposite of everything he has ever known. She is refreshing in a life of violence.

While Vicente is busy falling in love with Violet, Javier is working on his own plan for revenge. He sees Violet as a way to mold his son into the hardened man that he'll need to be to run the cartel. At the same time, Violet is an effective means to his long-awaited revenge on Ellie. Vicente never really had the freedom that he thought he had been granted, if only briefly.

This was a steamy and completely addicting story. I started this book and before I realized it, I was at the end. I was consumed by this story. Luckily, I waited until the second book was released so that I could start it immediately.

If you're a fan of 'The Artists Trilogy' and/or the 'Dirty Angels' series, I highly recommend this spin-off series. I love the characters, new and old, that have been introduced. If you haven't started this yet, I recommend going back to the beginning and taking it all in. This book, as well as each of it's predecessors, is fantastic! I highly recommend it! I cannot get enough of this story!

Profile Image for  A. .
1,161 reviews4,157 followers
August 3, 2020
4 stars

Another. Effing. CLIFFHANGER. But I’m not even mad. Bring on the next book.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Writing style: 5/5
Storyline: 4/5
Hero: 4/5
Heroine: 4/5
Secondary characters: 4/5
Hotness/chemistry: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Angst: 3.5/5
Darkness level: 4/5
Humor: 2/5
Depth of the book: 4/5
POV: multiple, 1st and 3rd person
Similar books: Dirty Angels series by Karina Halle, The Artists Trilogy by Karina Halle,
Monster in His Eyes series by J. M. Darhower; Evan Arden series by Shay Savage, In the Company of Killers series by J. A. Redmerski, Hitman series by Jessica Clare

Profile Image for Christy.
3,808 reviews32.3k followers
July 10, 2020
3.5 stars

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'The Bernals aren't good people. The McQueens aren't either.'

Fans of Halle's The Artists Trilogy and Dirty Angels trilogy rejoice! We have a book about Violet McQueen and Vicente Bernal!  For those of you who haven't read either of the trilogies, have no fear. This can 100% be read as a stand alone, though there is a second book coming out. When I first heard this book was being released, I was so flipping excited. Javier's son and Camden & Ellie's daughter... I couldn't wait to read it. Karina writes the best gritty and dark tales mixed with steamy scenes and the most delectable anti-heroes. Black Hearts was just what I was looking for. 

Violet McQueen is a student in one of San Francisco's art colleges. She's studying photography and she's passionate about her field. She still lives with her parents because, lets face it, San Fran is a crazy expensive city to stay in! It works for her- Violet's parents are hella cool. Her dad is a tattoo artist and her mom is an artist as well. What she is missing is a connection. And she finds that one day unexpectedly when a tall, dark, and handsome man walks into her life. 

Vicente Bernal is not visiting Violet's art school by coincidence. He's got his own reasons and plans. Vicente is a prodigy of sorts to his father, Javier. There are certain expectations that are cast upon him. Vicente has his own expectations and plans in mind. And for those plans to come to fruition, he needs Violet. What Vicente doesn't expect is to actually feel something for her... 

I absolutely loved Violet and Vicente together. They are such a forbidden couple and it works so well. It doesn't hurt that they have an intense sexual chemistry. Seriously these two burn the pages together. Vicente is a charming and smooth guy. Violet is likable and relatable.  I loved them as a couple. 

There is so much going on in this story besides the relationship of Vicente and Violet. There are lies, secrets, and truths uncovered on both sides of the families. I loved that this story kept me on my toes. It was unpredictable and highly entertaining. There was just enough action and suspense mixed with the romance and steam. Black Hearts is a captivating and unputdownable read. After that ending, I'm dying to know what happens next! I'm so grateful Karina isn't making us wait long! 

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Profile Image for Patty ~ Wrapped Up In Reading Book Blog.
1,260 reviews9,956 followers
February 21, 2017
*****4.5 STARS*****
{ARC Generously Provided by Author}

I was thoroughly fucked by Vicente.
Over and over and over again.
In a way I never imagined.
He made me step away from myself. He pulled me out of that prison. He opened my eyes to a reality I didn’t think I could be a part of.
He made my weaknesses my strengths.
He made it raw and beautiful.

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BLACK HEARTS is a spin-off of The Artist Trilogy and Dirty Angels series but can definitely be read as a standalone. The main characters in this story are the offspring of the characters from the Karina Halle’s previous two series. This one is filled with a ton action, suspense and hotter than heck STEAM!! I read ”On Every Street” and “Sins and Needles” and was definitely on TEAM CAM, but there’s a new man in town and he completely stole my heart. Get ready to meet the sexy bad ass Hero with an edgy dark side—Vicente Bernal!!

Vicente is in San Francisco on a supposed vacation but he has a secret agenda, find the woman who is the only person to ever one-up his father, Javier Bernal. His plan is to either capture and bring Ellie Watt back to his father as a prize or to pick her brain to hopefully reveal some of Javier’s secrets which would help him in taking over as head of their drug cartel. But when he lays eyes on Violet McQueen, all bets are off.

Violet is the daughter of Camden and Ellie. She is a very sensitive young woman who tends to keep her inner turmoil hidden from most of her loved ones. Vicente grasps at an opportunity to meet her when he follows Violet after she leaves her photography class at the university she attends. Pretending to be interested in signing up for her class, he is able to strike up a conversation with Violet. She is instantly intrigued by the sexy stranger and agrees to go out for coffee with him. Soon enough these two end up getting entangled in one seriously steamy affair.

Vicente gets Violet to step out of her comfort zone and take risks she normally would steer clear of. For the first time in her life, she is feeling exhilarated and also like she has a true connection with Vicente that she has never felt with anyone else before. While deeper feelings start to evolve between the two lovers, it would seem as though their relationship is doomed as there is no end to the list of people who are against their union.

The story ends with a cliffhanger but luckily for us, the conclusion is due out in May, so there’s not much of a wait. Get ready to fall in love with Karina Halle’s latest bad boy!!

BLACK HEARTS is currently available!

Amazon: bit.ly/BlackHearts

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Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,187 followers
February 23, 2017
4.5 stars!

“Didn’t your father ever teach you that love is what gets you killed?”

Just want to say first off, Black Hearts can be read without having read The Artists trilogy or the Dirty Angels trilogy. I myself (shamefully) have not read the Dirty Angels books or completed TAT and can honestly say I was able to read and enjoy this book just fine.

Black Hearts is the story of Violet McQueen, a young woman in her second year of photography school who is beginning to discover her family is not everything she thought it was. While uncovering secrets she meets a man named Vicente, who has a silver snaked tongue and is obviously interested in her.

But what Violet doesn’t know is Vicente is connected to her parents past, and he already knew who she was when they met. And Vicente finds himself doing something he never expected… falling in love with Violet.

“Everything I know is a lie.”

This was a riveting read from the very first page, I met these characters and I fell into their lives seamlessly. Violet is a character with a sensitive nature, and it makes her more intuitive than others. She knows Vicente isn’t all good, but she decides to overlook it because she’s attracted to him.

I loved reading Vicente, I’m not normally one for mafia alpha males, but Vicente is the exception! While he lives a harsh and ruthless life, there’s a part of him deep inside that is vulnerable and wants to connect.

My favorite part about this book was how it kept me guessing. Guessing at what would come next, how characters would react, and whether things would go as I predicted. A suspenseful read, I think this is a book all readers could enjoy.

“The Bernals aren’t good people. The McQueens aren’t either.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for ✰ Liz ✰ .
1,349 reviews1,264 followers
March 6, 2017
"Love is a funny thing. It can cause all our demons to go away."


Black Hearts is the first book in the Sins Duet. Anyone who has read The Artists Trilogy is going to want to pick up this bad boy right now! Javier is the KING, and now his son Vicente is ready to rise and take the throne. But does he have what it takes?
"Everything I know is a lie."
Violet McQueen has been living happily in a house of lies. Her parents have always showered her with love and given her the freedom to express herself. As a college student studying the art of photography, Violet has lived a sheltered life. When a stranger appears in her life at the same time that her family security begins to deteriorate, Violet's life is shifted off of its axis, and only Vicente can keep her anchored to the ground.

"...the prince can become the king."
Vicente has been groomed his entire life to take the reigns for his father. The Cartel requires a man of strength and undeniable fury to run the business. Vicente has decided to seek out Violet McQueen the daughter of his father's failed conquest. However, when Vicente sets his sights on Violet the plan quickly shifts into something much bigger. The connection between Vicente and Violet transforms from lust to love, and both are quickly shaken by their undeniable desire to be together. Vicente might be strong and ruthless as his father, but is he capable of holding on to Violet and surviving the wrath that is to come?

"You're getting my cock so wet. Such a desperate little bird."
Told in dual POV, Black Hearts is sexy, complex, and action-packed. The draw to these characters is unique due to the history already established between Javier, Camden, and Ellie in the Artists Trilogy. I had high hopes for this spin-off duet, and Karina certainly delivered. Vicente and Violet's connection was rather fast and yet, the passion was intense, and the intimacy between them was authentic and believable. Violet is like a drug to Vicente and every time they come together I thought my Kindle was going to catch on fire. The writing is so descriptive that I felt as if I was experiencing every single moment with these characters. The combination of the picturesque setting, intriguing plot and my undeniable love for these characters make Black Hearts a must read!

Overall, Black Hearts is an absolute must read for any and all fans of The Artists Trilogy. Being swept back into the world of Javier, Ellie, and Camden through their children was quite a ride, and I am anxiously awaiting the conclusion of Vincente and Violet's tale. With Ms. Halle writing, I am certain it is going to be epic!

Black Hearts (Sins Duet, #1) by Karina HalleDirty Souls (Sins Duet, #2) by Karina Halle

*This was a BR with my girls LOYDA and CC! WAR is with us in spirit!


*ARC graciously provided in exchange for an honest review!

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Profile Image for ~♡AB♡~.
975 reviews664 followers
February 19, 2017
★★★★ 4.5 Stars ★★★★

Violet McQueen is a sensitive soul, but underneath lurk unfamiliar feelings that she can't quite put her finger on, until that is, she finds out that her parents have been lying to her since she was a little girl and her curiosity causes her to dig deeper.

When she meets a dark, handsome stranger, she feels like she has finally met someone who understands her, and not only does he make her feel special, but he teaches her to follow her instincts and be who she needs to be.

Vicente Bernal has been the next in line for the throne of his father's cartel since the day he was born, but he wants to make his mark, and rule by his terms. Before he succeeds his father, he sets out from Mexico to San Francisco to take the ultimate prize back to prove his worth, only he wasn't counting on finding a beautiful woman who speaks to his soul.

"I’ve had a taste of the power, the glory, the respect, and the money. I’m not saying I don’t want it. But I want it my way. Not his. And he knows it."

I absolutely love Halle's darker reads, I quite frankly can't get enough. I have been anticipating this book since the end of her last dark series back in 2015 and I can tell you that it did not disappoint; it was sexy, suspenseful, and thrilling - I cannot wait for the conclusion, I can tell without a doubt that it will be explosive!

"Why do you have rope with you?” He grins at me, coming over to one corner of the bed.
“It’s for tying up hostages, of course. No Mexican travels without it.” Thankfully I know he’s joking.
“Where’s the duct tape?”
“In my toiletry bag,” he says without missing a beat,"

Plus, I loved the humour that was littered throughout, Halle never fails to make me giggle.

Top rec for lovers of dark and sexy reads.

Black Hearts is a romantic suspense, and the first of a duet, told from dual POV. Dirty Souls is the concclusion

ARC gratefully received

Images featured in this review were created by me using stock images either purchased from deposit photo or from free stock sites.

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Profile Image for MELISSA *Mel Reader*.
1,345 reviews1,416 followers
March 17, 2017
5 Stars!

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Vicente Bernal grew up in Mexico as the prodigal son of a drug lord. He was raised to one day take over the cartel & had everything he wants in life except freedom. He grew up sheltered & often isolated for his safety in a world full of power, respect and money. He was born to follow in his fathers footsteps, & lost his innocence at a young age.

Vicente learns about a mystery woman from his fathers past & wants to learn more about the man his father used to be. He wanted proof that his father once had a soul. He convinces his parents to allow him to travel to America for the next couple months. He steps foot in San Francisco, California & feels like he can finally breathe.

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Vicente has a plan that goes off track when he meets the daughter of the woman he's come to see. He then wonders if the daughter could be his way to get close to the mother. The problem is he wasn't prepared for the beautiful, intriguing Violet McQueen. She's kind, sensitive, vulnerable & has an innocence about her. She also has a bit of an edge to her & there's something about her he's drawn to.

Violet McQueen meets a gorgeous, Hispanic man with amber eyes. He's absolutely stunning and she instantly wants him. He's sensual, sexy, & everything she isn't. He's strong, confident, and once he touches her, she's done for. She is addicted to him. He's wild, adventurous & sets her body on fire. He makes her feel alive & finally understood. She's completely consumed by him and in the moment when they're together.

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Violet soon starts to realize her parents aren't who she thinks they are. Things have seemed off lately & she begins to feel she was raised in a house of lies. The only person that she feels safe with is Vicente. He just gets her.

Violet was never part of the plan. Vicente is feeling things for her that scare him, and complicate everything. He was trained & raised to take over the family business & taught love is weakness, but he can't control how his heart feels every time he's with Violet. He considers Violet his & he has no plans of letting her go.

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-She's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. To stare at her from afar is one thing. To see her up close is another.

-She's learning what she wants. And what she wants is me.

-I'm angry. I'm so fucking angry that my heart feels something for her. That she's getting under my skin. That she's making me question who I am.

-The hold he has on me is only growing stronger. I can't get enough of him. He occupies my thoughts, my body, my heartbeat.

-Vicente's mouth against mine is a lungful of oxygen, his body a life raft.

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If you've read the Artist's Trilogy or the Dirty Angels series by Karina Halle you will be familiar with these characters, but this book is a spinoff & can totally be read as a stand alone. It's the children of Javier & Luisa Bernal and Camden & Ellie McQueen. Black Hearts is the first book in the duet. The second book Dirty Souls releases March 17th & will complete the story.

I LOVED this book! Like father like son, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Vicente is gorgeous, sinfully sexual & skilled in the bedroom, but also can be twisted like dear old dad. What I adored about Vicente that I felt made him stand out is his heart. I feel he will choose love in the end. This book had action, excitement and love, & was sexy as hell! I can't wait for the next book in the series! bit.ly/BlackHearts

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Profile Image for Alex is The Romance Fox.
1,461 reviews1,087 followers
April 13, 2017
After reading the last book by this author, Dirty Promises, which was the only one I have totally disliked by Karina Halle, I had extremely high hopes for Black Hearts, which is part of a duet and a spinoff of the other 3 Trilogies.

Well, to be honest - I more than disliked this book!!!!

I'm going to keep this short......why did I hate it!!

The main characters:

Vincent Bernal:
Javier Bernal's son. What a horrible creature. So, his life has been pretty so not amazing.....living as the son of a drug cartel boss has certainly not been easy! But seriously...is that reason enough for his cruelty, deviousness and disregard for human life! Did he not learn anything good from his mother and father??? Well, certainly not!! He kills the two men who his father sent to keep an eye on him in San Francisco, without batting an eyelid!! The lack of respect and the violence he displays towards Violet, the heroine's mother, is absolutely unacceptable. He has no compunction of lying, cheating and deceiving people.

Violet McQueen:
Ellie and Camden's daughter. Okay, she has reason to be angry at her parents for lying about their past but is it right for her to behave the way she does in retaliation. Forget the love they have shown her all her life...suddenly, she meets this guy and he becomes more important than her family??? She allows him to turn her against the very people who love her!!!

The Plot:
I found the story a bit too unbelievable!!!!
I also could not believe that Violet, who is supposedly innocent and sheltered, suddenly allows a man she meets a day or two before, to blindfold, tie her and photograph her nude!!!! Really!!!!
And please...............Javier is still holding a grudge against Ellie for choosing Camden over him.........20 years ago!!!! Get a life!!! I really hated Javier in this story!! And his wife, Luiza......where is the gutsy woman I first met in Dirty Angels!!!

Okay, so I will probably read the next book, Dirty Souls, because I want to know where the author takes the story to............but honestly, I am just hoping that I am going to be pleasantly surprised by the story!!!

PS.........I know I am in the minority here about this book!!! So, let me just add.........it's me!!! I didn't get it...but don't let me stop you from making up your own mind to read it or not!!

But let me say.........do it at your own PERIL!!!!

The books that are linked to this one:

The Artists Trilogy

Prequel: On Every Street- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... *****
Book #1 : Sins & Needles - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... *****
Book #2: Shooting Stars- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... *****
Book #3: Bold Tricks- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... *****

Dirty Angels Trilogy

Book #1: Dirty Angels- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... ****
Book #2: Dirty Deeds- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... ***
Book #3: Dirty Promises- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... *
Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
794 reviews876 followers
February 19, 2017

Review @ Vanilla & Spice Books

“You’re everything I’ve ever needed,” he says through a lustful groan. He bites his lip, the corded muscles of his neck straining. “I was famished, starved, for you. For this.”

So...I have had The Artists Trilogy and Dirty Angels on my Kindle what seems like forever. Picture me hanging my head in shame for not having read them yet. I'll remedy that ASAP, because, let me tell you - this is the story of Javier and Louisa Bernal's son and Ellie and Camden McQueen's daughter.

Violet is a photography student in her second year. She lives with her parents in an upscale area in San Francisco, the Haight Ashbury district. For the longest time she has had the feeling that something doesn't mesh with her family. She can't pin it down but she knows it has something to do with her parents. An envelope she isn't supposed to open, containing an article she isn't supposed to read only deepens the feeling that Violet lives in a house of cards built on lies.

Vicente is the prince of one of Mexico's most influential drug cartels. He doesn't want to be his father's heir but it is ingrained in him. Although he doesn't even like his father a lot Vicente strives to impress him nonetheless. A plan to bring in the one person his father let go takes him to San Francisco. Going through the daughter to get to Ellie seems like a good idea but he didn't count on the effect she would have on him. He is enthralled, utterly obsessed with her, and soon his own lies and secrets start to haunt him.

I’ve never really felt possessive over a woman before. I’ve had my fun, I’ve moved on. But after just having a drink with Violet, watching her expressive dark eyes trying to take me in, to make sense of me, opening herself just enough, I was hit with this raw, hot need to make her mine. To have. To hold. To possess.

Violet's growth into herself is beauty. She is a little bit shy in the beginning. People tell her she is too sensitive but that trait actually gives her a heightened intuition. It's this gut feeling that has her on edge with her parents. With Vicente's help she develops a sense of self worth and even defiance. He helps her to live in the moment and to get out of her head.

And yet for all her softness and kindness and bleeding heart, I want to make her stronger, better. Something more like me.

Vicente's chapters give a lot of insight into the works of his mind, yet he is still an enigma to me. He is ruthless - like father like son - but there is an underlying yearning to connect with people. He is cruel and driven, he kills without remorse. Still, there is a softness to him you wouldn't expect. But let's not forget that he is the son and heir to a cold blooded drug lord. And still he didn't take his father's brilliant and manipulating mind into account.

There is a lot of dirty sex that will have you panting and/or changing your panties. Violet is adventurous and Vicente pulls out all the stops he has in his repertoire of seduction. Shhhh...this guy is SCORCHINGLY hot.

Black Hearts is an amazing start to a this duet. Karina Halle's writing is compelling as always. She builds in twists and surprises which keep you guessing until the end of this first installment. The characters are multilayered and colorful. We get multiple POVs which also include Ellie's and Javier's. This is a gripping and in parts dark tale and I am so looking forward to the conclusion of this little series - I am sure that Ms. Halle won't disappoint.

“There aren’t any other women, you know that. Just you. Only you.” I hate what those words do to me. Fill me with hope. Make my heart swell. We’re not even a couple and yet we’re acting like it. How scary it would be for all of this to stop, to fall apart. It’s so soon and yet I can’t bear to lose it.

Profile Image for Lo Bookfrantic.
766 reviews566 followers
March 1, 2017

Genre: Dark Romance
Type: Book 1 of 2 from Sins Duet
POV: First Person – Dual

“The Bernals aren’t good people. The McQueens aren’t either.”

Violet McQueen has been sheltered by her family and is now trying to find her way in life studying as a photographer. One day she meets a man that caught her attention. He was mysterious extremely hot and she found herself trusting him more than she should any other stranger.

“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.”

Vicente Bernal as the older son is required a lot by his father who is a drug lord at a cartel in Mexico. He wants answers about his father and will not stop until he finds what he is looking for. Vicente flies to California in hopes he could find answers to his questions. He did not foreseen finding a gorgeous girl that he so easy found possessive over. He also wanted the power and take over his father's empire but on his own terms.

"I’ve had a taste of the power, the glory, the respect, and the money. I’m not saying I don’t want it. But I want it my way. Not his."


I found this book extremely hot and there were so many steamy scenes it had me fanning myself. Violet was a little naïve but a total badass as well. I could understand the internal struggle she was going thru with trusting her family but losing trust due to lies and she found herself conflicted with her feelings towards doing what's right for her family and what she felt inside.

This book was a very fast pace read, it had a combination of suspense and mystery. So many questions had me pulling my hair I wanted to know what was going on and couldn't read fast enough. We do get to see characters from several other series thought and I wish I would have read those books now because I did found myself a little bit confused at times so I personally recommending reading prior series to get a more full understanding of this story.

I liked Violet and Vicente's chemistry however I kind of felt something was missing with them too I don't know if it was the secrecy on the story but I couldn't connect one hundred percent but the story itself was very intriguing. However; I am super excited for the next installment of this duet and can hardly wait to find out how this is going to end. Readers of mafia and dark romance will find this book appealing.

This was a F(BR) with CC & Liz



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Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,573 followers
February 20, 2017
5 Brilliant stars <3

"I'm afraid for a million reasons.And I know that he's the man who will take my fear away.By replacing it with another fear.A good fear.Anticipation."

This book was one of my most anticipated for two reasons!First of all because it's Karina's and she is one of my top favorite authors and secondly because it's about Vicente, Javier's son.So you can imagine my excitement when I started reading it!


And trust me this is another awesome story from Karina!!Karina delivers a brilliant ,compelling,dark,super hot,erotic and sensual story!


Vicente and Violet's romance was scorching hot,intense and passionate.These two have an amazing dynamic, they both found what each other needed most.I loved the mystery around the story and I'm so excited for the next book, I can't wait to see what Karina has in mind for us!

"I was famished,starved,for you.For this."


Profile Image for warhawke.
1,297 reviews1,953 followers
February 28, 2017
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Type: Book 1 of 2 from Sins Duet
POV: Shifting

Violet McQueen had a comfortable life. As a photography student, her passion was to see things from a different perspective, but when it came to her own family, it wasn't as easy. Finding out she had been living in a lie was a hard blow to her, but someone new in her life could help her forget and move on.

Vicente Bernal grew up surrounded by power and violence. As the son of one of the most respected and feared Cartel boss, he was groomed to take over the reign, but he rather carve his own path. Finding his father's secret past became his motivation for the future he envisioned. However with the history between their families, it could either make them stronger or completely break them apart.

Javier Bernal has been my top BBF since I first read The Artists Trilogy, so anything that came after, I would be excited and scared. And now with his son getting the spotlight, it got me curious.

I had always thought that having power meant having freedom, but I’m not sure if that’s true.

Being his father's son, Vicente had the characteristics of what made Javi such a great character. He had the sexiness, the charm and the manipulative behavior - albeit only to a certain degree. But he also had something else that set them apart, which still to be proven as strength or a weakness.

She’s fragile but not weak, too much a part of the world and too much removed from it. A contradiction.

I find Violet to be annoying at times. She was ruled by her emotions and often acted irrationally/recklessly. However, she had something within and it would be interesting to see how she'll explore that next.

I won't say much about the story but it seems to be quite open and could go to either directions. On the surface, it looks like it's going to the direction I'd be happy with. I want to be surprised but without it making me unsatisfied lol!

The funny thing about hurting someone that’s hurt you is that it never feels as good as you think it will. Because the only ones who can hurt you are those you love, and they in turn are the only ones you can hurt.

Black Hearts is a story of ambition and aspiration between a couple and their rivaling families. This is the first book in the duet and I'm looking forward to see how it will end

Books in the series:
Black Hearts (Sins Duet, #1) by Karina Halle Dirty Souls (Sins Duet, #2) by Karina Halle

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Profile Image for Amy | Foxy Blogs.
1,406 reviews970 followers
January 12, 2022
YES!!! This book was everything I had hoped for when I found out the children of two of my favorite series were going to hook up for their own mayhem.

"I was raised in a house of lies." -Violet

Violet has grown up knowing something seemed off with her parents. She's always felt they were hiding their past from her and her brother. Her parents sheltered her from their sins by letting her believe lies about their past.

"Off to a new land. Where I am no longer Javier Bernal’s son. Where the prince can become the king."

Vicente is second in command to his dad's drug cartel. Vicente doesn't want to be in his dad's shadow. He wants to be his own man. He has also been sheltered but not in the same way as Violet. He knows his parents aren't good people. His shelter came in the form of bodyguards to protect to his life.

"The Bernals aren’t good people. The McQueens aren’t either. The sooner Violet knows this, realizes it, the better off she’ll be."

Through some snooping both Vi and Vicente find out info about their parents that leaves them trying to puzzle together the pieces. Vicente heads to America to learn more about the woman who beat his dad at the con game. What Vicente didn't expect was to fall for her daughter, Violet.

I love Ms. Halle's darker books. She's really in her element when she enters this world. While Vicente's book, BLACK HEARTS, so far, isn't as dark has his father's book, DIRTY ANGELS, it still has that underbelly of darkness in it. And the follow-up book sounds amazing. It looks to be a little grittier with what to come with this couple.

BLACK HEARTS is a duet series set in California & Mexico. Book 2, Dirty Souls, is scheduled to release in March 2017. This duet series can be read as a standalone series. If you want to find out about the parents of Violet & Vicente you can read their series: Artists Trilogy and Dirty Angels. Black Hearts and Dirty Souls are set 20 years in the future and our the children of the characters from Artists Trilogy and Dirty Angels.

edit made by the author

**Complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.**

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Profile Image for Jayme.
430 reviews438 followers
March 26, 2017
4,5 stars. There is no way to not want to read the next part after that. You will definitely like it if you enjoy dark hot romances.

About the plot: Violet McQueen felt her whole life, that things aren't quite what they seem in her family. She has a good life, but the secrets are hanging in their house like a dark cloud. When she meets Vicente in front of her school, not even suspected that their meeting is not accidental.

Vicente Bernal is a son of infamous cartel's king. He wants to take over from his father, but under his own terms. So when he finds the documents that can help him, he decides to go to California and check out the woman his father once had feelings for. But instead, he will find someone he didn't expect at all.

“Every moment I’m spending with her is another layer unwrapped, and another challenge lying in wait.”

My thoughts: Black Hearts is a dark and delicious romantic suspense with mysterious and thrilling storyline.

It wasn't easy to figure out. Many secrets and twists and you don't know how it supposed to work out. For a long time I did not know what to think about Vicente. Be ready for the savage anti-hero. He was ravishing and delicious, but his intentions are not always clean and clear. Definitely thanks to him, your dirty minds will enjoy wild, adventurous and scorching hot scenes. And lots of them!

“He’s all tobacco and leather and prickly cactus.
He’s steel and fire and the harsh sun of the desert.
He’s belts and ropes and ties.
He’s everything that I’m not.”

We have here a well-developed multiple POVs. And it was interesting to be able to read this story from many sides, but that also made the plot was developing too slowly sometimes.

This forbidden love story will not let you sleep until you reach the last page. It has connection to the earlier books, but you can safely read it as standalone. For instance, I never read this side of Karina, and perhaps this made it even more surprising reading. But I envy all those who have the time to read all these books. I think it's worth it, like really any other novel under Karina Halle 's pen.

ARC kindly provided for an honest review. Thank you!

Profile Image for AleJandra.
826 reviews413 followers
November 16, 2017
5 Mexican magic cock STARS

"If revenge is a dish best served cold, then this will be the fucking fest of the century."


2013 fue el año en que conocí a Karina Halle y sus obscuras historias. Fue el año en que me enamore de su raro estilo, nutrido de rock independiente, antagonistas y una prosa tan hermosa que te hace disfrutar una lectura llena de violencia y sufrimiento.

Este es el libro número 26 que leo de esta autora. Nunca perdí la esperanza de que Karina me daría una historia que me enamorara tanto como lo hizo On Every Street. Y lo logro con Black Hearts, estoy tan feliz, que quiero llorar de la alegría.


Empezare hablando de la portada, aunque no es tan trabajada como otras, igual te hipnotiza, cada pequeño detalle del tan bien elegido modelo, es perfecto. El cigarro, el ámbar de sus ojos, la barba, la expresión cínica. Bravo a quien quiera que haya echo esa hermosura de portada.

Ahora el título, Karina regresa a sus pequeños detalles que tanto me gustaban, al igual que la mayoría de sus primeros libros, este título viene de una canción. Que si no han escuchado esta canción, que esperan, clic aquí.


El plot principal de esta historia es “sencillo”, es el clásico Romeo y Julieta. Donde los hijos terminaran pagando por los pecados de los padres.
Pero cuando se trata de Karina Halle, narcotráfico y estafas, nada es sencillo.

El libro inicia con un Prefacio hermoso, un pequeño resumen de las series anteriores, es cortito y simplemente perfecto, me daban ganas de subrayar toda la página, y lo mejor es que inicia como si fuera un cuento de hadas.

"Once upon a time, a trouble young con artist fell in love with her mark, the drug lord with ties to the man who had ruined her life as a child. It did not end well."

Todo empieza con Vicente Bernal, y lo repito otra vez, BRAVO por que la autora rectifico el nombre del protagonista, la primera vez que utilizo Vincente casi aviento mi Kindle.

Vicente es hijo de uno de los Narcotraficantes m��s poderosos y sanguinarios de México, creció en medio de la violencia y corrupción que esto implica.

"I watched my father torture and kill a man when I was eleven years old. I learned how to shoot an AK at fourteen. I've been with him when he's put bullets in peoples heads. I've watched him make deals that I knew were based on lies."


Su padre quiere que él tome el mando del cartel, pero Vicente primero quiere vivir un poco y un día descubre algo sobre el pasado de su padre que le intriga y que quiere investigar. En su búsqueda por la verdad Vicente conoce a Violet, una hermosa chica con la que conecta inmediatamente.

"Violet McQueen's face could launch a thousand stories, all filled with lust, heartache, and death."


Vicente es el personaje fuerte de la historia, pero Violet tiene mucho que aportar. Violet es una chica llena de capas, y cada que vamos descubriendo un poco de ella nos intrigamos por querer saber más y más. Ella tiene algo que se llama hipersensibilidad, y tiene este constante sentimiento de que su vida no es lo que parece, que sus padres no son lo que dicen. Y si ya leyeron los otros libros, sabrán que Violet está en lo correcto.

Disfrute muchísimo el desarrollo de la relación entre Violet y Vicente, es rápido, pero no es instandlove. Es intenso, muy muy intenso. Las escenas eróticas son exquisitas y depravadas en una forma deliciosa.

Vicente no es Javier, aunque si tienen muchas cosas en común.
Vicente me recordó mucho al Javier que conocimos en el libro On Every Street. No al Javier que vimos en este libro.

Si, Javier aparece en este libro, poco, solo un par de Capítulos, fue un deleite reencontrarme con él, su maldad, crueldad y locura no dejan de sorprenderme.

"Javier knows you have to break the boy to create the man. "


El personaje de Ellie no me agrado, no sorpresa dado que nunca ha sido mi personaje favorito.
"Camden has always been the good one. Ellie has always been the bad one. A wounden animal that can't stop biting back."


Excepto en una escena que tiene con Vicente. Que de hecho fue mi parte favorita de todo el libro, vimos que Vicente también tiene esa maldad tan latente, siendo hijo del Rey y Reyna de la corrupción era obvio que tendría. Igual fue un shock ver lo que le hizo a Ellie.

Camden y Luisa, están allí en la historia, pero solo eso, están y ya. Prácticamente ni se mueven.

Vicente tiene una hermana, Marisol, me encanto su nombre, pero no la vemos. Ojalá la veamos pronto.

Ben, el hermano de Violet, el si tiene un papel importante y creo que se tornara mucho más importante en el futuro, él es un peleador, y en la parte donde se entera de la verdad sobre su madre, pobre solo quería abrazarlo. PLIS KARINA QUEREMOS HISTORIA SOBRE BEN.

Al Final:

No tengo idea de qué carajo va a pasar. Tenemos a alguien siguiendo a Violet, que podría ser cualquiera. Podrían ser los italianos buscando a Ben, podrían ser viejos enemigos de Ellen. Pero sin duda lo que Javier planea es mucho peor y no dejo de desear que por fin va a cumplir su venganza contra Ellie.

Lo cual me lleva a pensar que las cosas en el segundo libro se van a poner muy feas y no quiero ni pensar lo que va a pasar. Tengo miedo de que se dé un enfrentamiento entre Vicente y Javier, no quiero que Vicente mate a Javier, pero tampoco quiero que Javier mate a Violet.

Lo que si me muero por ver es a Javier y Ellie juntos. OMG que va a pasar cuando estos dos se reencuentren.

En conclusión: Como Standalone, es un dark romance que se disfruta mucho. Si son fans de The Artist Trilogy y Dirty Angels, esta Duologia es la culminación de todos nuestros sueños. Larga vida a los Bernals, Larga vida a los McQueens Y LARGA VIDA A KARINA HALLE.


"The Bernals aren't good people. The McQueens aren't either."

Este libro es un STANDALONE, se puede leer solito y lo van a disfrutar. Pero si quieren la experiencia completa, tendrán que invertirle mucho tiempo, pero que vale cada minuto. Este es el orden para leer las otras series.
-On Every Street
-Sins & Needles
-Shooting Scars
-Bold Tricks
-Dirty Angels
-Dirty deeds
-Dirty Promises
Profile Image for CC.
1,060 reviews628 followers
March 6, 2017
4.5 Stars!


Violet McQueen is a photography student who always felt like all wasn’t what it seemed within her family. Having been labeled as a sensitive person, it was easy to feel self-conscience and she learned to distrust her instincts. It isn’t until she meets a mysterious man when all she’s been wondering about comes into question.

“Your not just rebellious, you’re part of the rebellion.”

Vicente Bernal is the second in command in his father's drug cartel. Determined to get his answers to the questions he seeks, Vicente heads to California in hopes of digging up a hidden past. With his own motivations, Vicente’s plan is straightforward until unforeseen circumstances begin modify his timeline and his target.

“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.”

When Vicente and Violet meet, it isn’t a coincidence because in their world, coincidences do not exist. However, despite their “chance” encounter, the pull between them is palpable and Vicente is prepared to use it to his advantage. But what he doesn’t expect is Violet’s honesty and willingness to share her vulnerability, as that can cause dire consequences in Vicente’s world.

“You need to be in the moment, with me. That’s all there needs to be. The world won’t disappear the moment you stop holding on to it.”


As they continue to get closer, Vicente’s sexual intensity and appearance of safety serves to offer an escape from Violet’s mind-spinning thoughts. While Violet isn’t inexperienced, Vicente introduces her to a new world where she enjoys being in the moment of pleasure mixed with some pain which leads to some hot scenes.

“I gulp for air and dig my heels into him, holding on tight as he slowly pushes deeper and deeper inside. My hands grab the back of his neck, feeing the strength in his straining muscles.”

Told in multiple POVs, the plot unfolds in a steady pace allowing the characters to build dimensionality. While Vicente is influenced by his upbringing, he is still very much his own individual character and is driven to prove such is the case. With Violet, she is also a product of her parents, but Violet sets herself apart in asserting her strength and also embracing her weaknesses. Adding to their experiences are the secrets that have been kept hidden over the years, but there those who wish to expose all for their own gain.

With the timeline occurring twenty years after the Artist's Trilogy and Dirty Angels series ends, the integration of well-known characters with the new generation feels seamless. Though it isn’t necessary to read the Artist's Trilogy or Dirty Angels before reading Black Hearts, those schooled in the history of the McQueens and the Bernals will probably have a richer experience. For me, being reacquainted with my king, Javier Bernal, is pure bliss and I’m very pleased as to how he relates to the storyline. As always, Karina Halle stays true to her characters and her ability to engage her readers at multiple levels prevails in her newest release.

Black Hearts is a story about how lies and deceit can protect and harm those you love. I highly recommend!!

Sins Duet:
Black Hearts Dirty Souls

*An ARC was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

*This was a (F)BR with Liz and Loyda!*

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Profile Image for TheCrazyWorldOfABookLover.
362 reviews862 followers
December 16, 2017
"Didn't your father ever teach you that love is what gets you killed?"


So I haven't read Karina Halle's Artist's Trilogy and Dirty Angels Series (which I understand Black Hearts is a spin off of). But after reading Black Hearts this is what I've gathered:

1. Vincente is the son of Javier - who runs a drug cartel in Mexico - and is next in line to take over. Vincente and Javier don't really get along and Vincente wants to separate himself from his father and his ways. He wants to be free to run the cartel as he pleases.

2. Violet is the daughter of Ellie and Camden. Ellie had a relationship with Javier in the past which apparently did not end well.

3. Vincente sets out to find Ellie once he discovers her past relationship with his father as a way to gain information and an advantage over him. This is when he meets Violet and is immediately attracted to her. He knows she can't know who he really is. He knows he should stay away from her. But as hard as he tries (and okay he doesn't try THAT hard) he just can't resist.

4. Vincente and Violet begin to date, even though she has no idea who he truly is, or how he's connected to her parents.

5. Vincente and Violet have a lot of hot sex.

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6. Vincente is fucking delicious and I must have something seriously wrong with me because all I kept wishing while I was reading this was that some drug cartel prince would come and corrupt me.

"I want to ravage her, fuck her, screw her, keep doing this until all these feelings go away.
I'm angry. I'm so fucking angry that my heart feels something for her.
That she's getting under my skin.
That she's making me question who I am."

7. Vincente can get it. (Sorry had to throw that in there). Really though. That boy is YUM. And for those who don't know what "he can get it" means, let me clarify. It means I'd very much like for Vincente to put his hands ALL UP ON ME.

 photo G3_zpsjg45wez0.gif

"I want to devour her until there's nothing left. I want to make her scream and squirm and moan into oblivion. I want to be all there is for her."

I really enjoyed this read. I was hooked from start to finish and I can't wait to see how this concludes! I'm hoping the next book has a bit of action and gore (this installment had very little). And of course, more Vincente doing very very bad and naughty things.

A few minor things that kept me from rating this 5 stars:

-I wish we got a little MORE background information on the past of the parents. Since their past is what set this whole plot in motion, I would have liked to have gotten more info on what caused the drama and why Javier is so hellbent on revenge and Ellie is so petrified of him, or even what Vincente's true motives are. I'm still not clear on that. I know this is tied to the Artists and Dirty Angels series but it IS being marketed as a standalone. I realize it's a risk to mention things that were already brought up in those other series and come across as repetitive to those who have already read them. But for a new reader, I feel like it would have been nice to have a little more insight on what went down. But maybe we'll get that info in the next book?

-I kind of wish Vincente wasn't claiming to be in love after only two weeks of knowing Violet. To me that just seems a little quick. In lust? Okay. In love? Nah. Too soon.

-There were a few minor spelling and grammatical errors but nothing too bad.

Overall, I REALLY liked this book, loved the writing, and can't wait for book 2!!!

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Profile Image for Jay Crownover.
Author 105 books14.1k followers
March 6, 2017
this is pretty much the sexiest book I've read in forever. Karina at her best...and she's always great. read it!
Profile Image for ❥ KAT ❥ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books.
2,158 reviews7,544 followers
February 17, 2017
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BLACK HEARTS: This is spoken in ‘Multiple Perspectives’
(Elle & Violet -MOTHER/DAUGHTER)
(Vicente & Javier - FATHER/SON)

Someone has to pay for the sins of the fathers. And they’ll be paying the price with their souls.

At an early age Violet has always had an odd feeling that something is off about her parents, something doesn’t add up. Feeling that she was raised in a house shrouded in lies. Now at the age of twenty that feeling still lingers in her mind.

They say curiosity killed the cat, Violet's curiosity gets the best of her when she stumbles across an envelope, no forwarding address, inside is a newspaper clipping which screams more lies and coverups.

Vicente is next in line to take over his father's dynasty which he doesn’t want a bar of, but it’s in his blood, he’s been trained for this his whole life, his first kill was at the age of fourteen, from then on in he’s slowly been incorporated into that life.

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Now he’s on a mission headed right for California, a mission to find one woman. A woman going by the name Eden White, Ellie Watt but most recently Ellie McQueen. Unearthed papers reveal that she was the one that his father let get away. Now it’s Vicente’s mission in life to find her. He’s been granted two months leave but once those months are up he’s to return back home.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic Sometimes you have to hurt the ones you love to make them stronger, and while Javier would fight to the death to protect his son, he also knows he's the only one who can make Vicente the man he needs to be, even if it destroys both of them in the process.
- Javier

Slowly Vicente worms his way into Violet's life to the point where she can't imagine life without him, he's got his clutches in so deep it's going to take pliers to break them free.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This man is nothing short of a mystery to me, so many facets, so many sides, I never know which one I'm going to get.
- Violet

What Vincente didn't count on though was the hard, fast attraction they both felt towards each other. He's here because he's curious, getting close to Violet was never part of the plan, he's here on one mission only and that mission is Violet's mother Elle, his father's ex lover. This moves in lighting speed, one minute it seemed like they had just met, blink and they are having the most hottest sex I've read in a long time. Vincente isn't your typical bad boy, he's got the looks to prove it along with his alpha killer attitude. His deep dark secrets he's trying to hide, but secrets always have a way of coming out.

So many lies, one on top of the other. A pile of matchsticks about to go up in flames.

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This kept me on tenderhooks throughout, if my nails weren't short as it is they would've been bitten down to the quick. So many lies that like a puzzle bit by bit they get revealed. Someone is after Violet, someone standing in the shadows watching the house, to being followed, to a botched up kidnap, all sit on the edge of your seat anticipation.

This does end on a cliffy so be aware of that, but BOOK#2 isn't that far away.

* Teasers used in my review are off the authors Facebook Page *

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Profile Image for S.M. West.
Author 43 books1,062 followers
February 22, 2017
I was beyond thrilled when I learned that we were getting a story about the offspring from my two favourite series - TAT and DA - from this author!

TAT was my first read of Karina's and I feel in love with her. So, visiting Ellie and Camden, as well Javier - YES!!

And of course, Vicente and Violet were amazing! This story sucked me right in and never let go. With Vicente, Karina gave us just enough of Javi to love son like father, but also made him his own man. And damn, he was dark and sexy.

Violet on the other hand is made to believe she's too sensitive and can't handle a lot, but she's made of harder stuff. After all, she's the daughter of Ellie and Camden!

This is a raw, sexy and dangerous read with some dark moments. V & V together were hot.

I had a hunch about where things might be going and it paid off, but even with that I loved the way this story took you on a labyrinth of lies, deceit, sex, love and betrayal. I can't wait for the next book in this Duet. I want it now!

**ARC generously provided by author in exchange for an honest review.**

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Profile Image for Betül.
986 reviews238 followers
February 17, 2017
**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review**


"You're everything I've ever needed, I was famished, starved, for you. For this."

I love Karina Halle's books. The Dirty Angels Trilogy is one of my favorite dark romance series, so I was SUPER excited to get my hands on Black Hearts, which is focusing on Javier & Luisa's son Vicente. I was excited because I also wanted to see what my favorite villain Javier was up to. From the moment I saw the cover, I was in lust with Vicente. People who know me know that I love mafia/cartel romances. Even though the cartel didn't play that major role in this book (it was more in the background), Vicente showed a lot of ruthless characteristics. It was obvious he is like his dad, but in comparison to Javier he isn't completely heartless.

"Violet... your heart is safe with me. You know this now, your heart is safe, as is your mind and your soul and your body. I won't hurt you. I won't let anyone else, either."

There was an immediate attraction the moment Violet and Vicente met. Vicente has this whole smooth bad boy personality going on, which was very attractive. It is almost impossible to resist him. However I did like how Violet handled him. It wasn't insta-love and she didn't play hard to get. Even though there are secrets between them, they stay pretty really with each other, which I really appreciated. Their relationship grew organically and it felt real. I loved getting reunited with previous characters and seeing how they were living their lives. Especially Javier and Luisa, who I obsess about. Javier has turned even more ruthless than he already was. I still love him though.

Violet was shy and nervous, she was definitely unique. There were moments she acted like a teenager which I didn't like, but she did some growing up in this book. I do wish the characters were a bit older, because it sometimes felt as a New Adult book. I do want to mention that Violet was more than capable of handling difficult situations. Both Vicente and Violet's family have a mutual past, and there is bad blood between them. I loved the twist towards the end, I can't wait to see how everything will turn out.

"You're mine, Violet. I don't care how that sounds, but it's all truth. You belong to me."

Karina Halle is one of my favorite authors. Like I mentioned in previous reviews, she can write in every genre she sets her mind to. I have read her Paranormal, Horror, Contemporary, Dark romance novels and loved them all. She did a phenomenal job with this book and she created very intriguing characters with an original plot. Her writing is beautiful and hooks a reader to the story. Also the sex scenes were scorching HOT! Vicente set my Kindle on fire. You definitely want to get to know this dark and sensual man.




PS: I didn't make the teaser, I got it from Karina's FB page ;)
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,727 reviews6,662 followers
March 30, 2017
Black Hearts is the first installment in Karina Halle's dark romance duology: Sins Duet. This duology is the second spin-off of Ms. Halle's The Artists Trilogy, and the romance features the children of The Artists Trilogy main characters. Confused? Let me lay it out for you...

The Artists Trilogy (published 2013)
#0.5-On Every Street
#1-Sins & Needles
#2-Shooting Scars
#3-Bold Tricks
Main characters: Ellie Watt, Camden McQueen, Javier Bernal

Dirty Angels Trilogy (Spin-off, published 2014-2015)
#1-Dirty Angels
#2-Dirty Deeds
#3-Dirty Promises
Main characters: Javier Bernal, Javier's sister Alana, and Javier's wife Luisa

Sins Duet (Spin-off, published 2017)
#1-Black Hearts
#2-Dirty Souls
Main characters: Violet McQueen (Ellie and Camden's daughter), Vicente Bernal (Javier and Luisa's son)

I was first introduced to the amazing Karina Halle when I read The Artists Trilogy in 2013. Spin-offs are sometimes eyeroll-worthy but not these ones. Reading a romance between these amazing characters' college-aged children in Black Hearts felt like a completely different experience and it worked. Ellie, Camden, and Javier all have significant roles in this book but it is clear that this duet does not belong to them...it belongs to the next generation of McQueens and Bernals and they can hold their own. Black Hearts is nostalgic, complex, mysterious, both innocent and ruthless, and sexy as hell with romance that pushes the envelope. It is not an open-and-closed story though. It ends on a "to be continued" but I didn't find it an over-the-top cliffhanger. Nevertheless, I am so excited to finish the story when the second part releases next week!

In my opinion, this duology can be read apart from the other related series as Ms. Halle provides enough pertinent information to allow everything to make sense. But...if you haven't read Ms. Halle's other stuff, I strongly encourage you to fit them all in to your already overflowing TBR list. The Artists Trilogy prompted me to put Karina Halle on my automatic one-click list and Black Hearts just confirms she should stay on there. Check it out!

My favorite quote:
“And all I wanted was just a little extra compassion. I just wanted people to be nice to me. Not because I deserved it. But because everyone does. And f@ck if it’s hard to find in this world. Empathy is rarer than diamonds.”

Oh the long-awaited return to Karina Halle's darker romance. Javier's son and Ellie'sdaughter. Freakin' explosive!! ...and this is just the start. Part 2 of this duolgy releases next week and I can't wait!!!

Full review to come.
Profile Image for Mg ♥ The Bookishmedialite.
1,160 reviews301 followers
February 23, 2017

4.5 STARS!!!

"The Bernals aren't good people. The McQueens aren't ether."

Two Families.
A son.
A daughter.

She was raised in a house of LIES.
He was born in a house of SIN.

He wanted to become a KING. She just wanted to be FREE.

In a tortured world, coincidences are just an explanation used by fools and liars, and Vicente Bernal is no fool. With a plan set to win his father's respect, Vicente sets out to California to find a woman from his father's past. A woman he thinks will help him to beat his father and take over the cartel. What he wasn't expecting to find there was shy, yet fascinating Violet McQueen, the woman's twenty-year-old daughter.

Getting closer to Violet was never part of the plan. She was supposed to be just a means to an end.

"She's collateral. she's a bargaining chip. She's an offering."

But curiosity killed the cat and soon enough, Vicente found himself throwing his plan out of the window.

"I'm angry. I'm so fucking angry that my heart feels something for her. That she's getting under my skin. That she's making me question who I am."

As they fall madly in love, other people are lurking in the shadows waiting for they chance to destroy them, because "sometimes you have to hurt the ones you love to make them stronger."

THIS BOOK!!! Dear Lawd.

First I have a confession. The first chapters were a little bit slow for me, the struggle was fucking real. I never thought of giving up because hello, Karina Halle, right? So I kept going even though I wasn't even feeling the characters. But then a tie was shoved in my face and I saw fireworks. It was fucking magic. The world was better.

After that, I was starving for every word. Every detail. And if the main characters breath, I'm pretty sure I would be starving for their breaths too.

Vincente Bernal. That MAN! I was a little afraid that he was going to be literally like his dad, which is not a bad thing since I love that motherfucker but it wasn't going to be fair for him.

I have no idea why I thought that shit.

He was everything I'm not and EVERYTHING I WANT!!!!.

I wish I could say all the disgusting things I want to do to him but I think I will keep those thoughts locked in my head. *Sighs*

Violet McQueen Ah!!! She literally went to nobody to prom queen!!!!!! I ended up loving the shit out of her. GIRL CRUSH, GIRL CRUSH, ALERT!!! She believed herself vulnerable, but the moment you got a look to her toughness, you fall in love.

Halle knows her darkness. Deliver fucked up readings is her thing. And I'm sure she enjoys to mess with our heads, but with Black Hearts she went a little lighter. I think she was just giving us a taste of whats to come. So you better buckled up and enjoy the ride to fuckery town.


Karina Halle knows just how to grab me but the throat and feed my dark soul. I have a mad love for her dark reads. With Black Hearts she has found the beauty of love in a world full of deception and woven a enthralling tale that's simultaneously dark, lush and enchanting, and it will definitely leave readers eager for MORE.

Profile Image for JAN.
1,136 reviews755 followers
February 20, 2017
I really liked Black Hearts!
Profile Image for Jen.
1,654 reviews993 followers
April 4, 2017
Karina Halle did it again!!! She created a masterpiece as far as I'm concerned! This time, instead of Ellie and Camden McQueen, or Javier Bernal and his woman....we get to meet their children....Well, grown up children!!! This book is about Vicente and Violet...

At first, I had a hard time picturing the kids being adult, so I was struggling with them being involved in sexy times, and in Vincente's case...violence...but I got over that real quick and got into this story full heartedly. I don't want to give anything away; but if you are a fan of the old series, then you must read this one. OMG! It will keep you on your toes! It is dark though, and like me, you will probably want to kill Vicente more than a few times as your reading this. I still am shaking my head at the nerve of him..I can't wait to dive into book two though!! Actually, I already have...and I'm dying to get back to it!!!

I highly recommend this duet...It is awesome and well worth the read!!
February 18, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,157 followers
March 18, 2017
DNF - 41%

Not rating this one because I did not finish it.

Each to their own and all that jazz, but I really struggle with New Adult Romance. In this case, my struggle was with the heroine.

I just don’t get it. I know reading can be an escape from the real world but I want to escape to a better place. I don’t mind angst and I can handle dark (within reason) but I have to have hope that each romance I step into is heading towards a better place. How can I do that when the heroine consciously (without the influence of alcohol and drugs) puts herself in danger. More times than not, she’s shaking in her shoes, so she already knows it’s a bad decision…but does it anyway.

I also had a wee bit of a problem with the hero...I can't believe anything that comes out of his mouth. Yes, we get his POV but I know where his thoughts started.

I know I'm going against the grain with this one, so don't go by my opinion alone. This was described as a standalone but I really felt at a disadvantage not knowing the characters and their history. Check out the other reviews because there is A LOT of love for Black Hearts.

For anyone interested, I wrote a post on my blog - Why I struggle with New Adult Romance - http://www.staceyissassy.com/random-r...
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