Review: Dirty Angels (Dirty Angels #1) by Karina Halle

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Synopsis:

For Luisa Chavez, a twenty-three year old former beauty queen, a better life has always been just out of her reach. Sure, she’s had men at her feet since she was a young teenager but she’s never had the one thing she’s craved – security. Having grown up in near poverty, her waitressing job in Cabo San Lucas can barely let her take care of herself, let alone her ailing parents. Every day is another unwanted advance, every day is a struggle to survive.

When Salvador Reyes, the depraved leader of a major Mexican cartel, takes an interest in her, Luisa is presented with an opportunity she can’t afford to pass up. She’ll become Salvador’s wife and exchange her freedom and body for a life of riches – riches she can bestow upon her deserving parents. But Luisa quickly finds out that even the finest wines and jewels can’t undo the ugliness in her marriage, nor the never-ending violence that threatens her every move.

Soon, Luisa is looking for an escape, a way out of the carefully controlled life she’s leading. She finally gets her wish in the worst way possible.

As it is, being the wife of Salvador makes her an ideal target for rival cartels and there’s one particular man who needs Luisa as part of his cartel’s expansion. One particular man whose quest for power has destroyed lives, slit throats and gotten him out of an American prison. One particular man who will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants.

That man is Javier Bernal. And he wants Luisa. He wants to take her, keep her, ruin her.

Unless she ruins him first.

***WARNING*** This book deals with drug cartels and as such it contains a lot of sex and violence and some violent sex. It can get pretty ugly, pretty dark and pretty crazy. There is drug use, abuse, a bit of torture and dubious consent. The hero is not a hero and the villains...well, they're even worse. If this sort of thing bothers you, PLEASE DO NOT READ IT. This ain't no cupcake farting unicorn kind of book. If you are even a bit squeamish about violence, brutality and rape, this is your warning to stay away from a book that you certainly will not like (and why read books that you know you won't like?)***

***While this is a spin-off of The Artists Trilogy, prior knowledge of the books is not needed. DIRTY ANGELS is the first in a trilogy, however each book can standalone and follows or introduces different characters***

Review:

Dirty Angel was...just okay. I was expecting more from it if I am being honest. I was expecting a darker read with more intense things happening especially with that warning in the synopsis. Plus I may have enjoyed it more if I hadn't just read another book with a similar storyline, though not with the drug cartels, that I thought was way better. So this story was just meh. 

Luisa has always had good looks, but her life hasn't been the most stable. She has to work to support her family because apparently her mom who is blind, but otherwise healthy, can't do anything and her father can't work. So she is working at a diner and gets mixed up with Salvador Reyes, a leader of a cartel. He wants her because of her beauty and what he wants he gets. Luisa is agreeable at first, but quickly realizes everything isn't sunshine an roses. So she wants out, but how? 

Now this backstory was...not enough or too much for my tastes. Like there was a lot of the backstory, but it felt incomplete. So it felt like too much and not enough at the same time. I would have prefered more, to really see everything, or less and just give me a quick overview. 

After the backstory the story did pick up for me, but it still wans't amazing. Javier kidnapps Luisa becasue she is Salvador's, but it works out great for her. Now I know I was told these two fell in love, but I never saw it. Their whole push/pull relationship didn't work for me. I know Javier was hurt and whatever but it was just meh. I didn't see them fall in love, it wasn't that dark of a story, it was just okay. Not the worst but not the best either. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★

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