Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Release Day Launch, Giveaway & Review: Bold Tricks by Karina Halle

Arlene and I (Rachel), have been huge fans of The Artist Trilogy by Karina Halle, so we're thrilled to be part of the Release Day Launch Blitz for Bold Tricks, the last installment of the series.  As part of this post we're both reviewing this AMAZING story, and we have an exclusive excerpt as well.  The publisher has provided an AWESOME Giveaway: 1 Winner: iPad Mini with the complete series loaded or 5 Winners: Author Signed Paperback copy of the series.   So don't forget to scroll down and fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win! 

Bold Tricks (The Artist Trilogy #3) by Karina Halle
Publication Date: October 15, 2013 by Forever
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

About the Book:
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.

Arlene's Thoughts:
Wow! What an absolute rush!! This final installment of Sins & Needles was pure adrenaline pumping action from beginning to end. I’m a bit sad to see this series conclude, but Karina Halle spared no expense at making this series finale an epic showdown. Loved it to explosive pieces!!

In Bold Tricks, we pick up right where Shooting Scars left off. Javier, Ellie and Camden are trying to escape from Travis and his cartel. Ellie and Camden are on a quest to save Gus and her mother, while Javier is ready to pull out all the stops to take over Travis’s cartel and achieve the power and prestige his darkened soul seeks. With constant danger crossing their path at every turn, this unlikely trio of bad asses play a dangerous game of deceit where outsmarting and outwitting each other can mean the difference between life or death.

This entire novel played out like an action-filled movie. The scenes were explosive and vivid to such an extreme that the rush was constant from the first chapter to the last. There was not one moment of downtime and it just made the ending come that much quicker, which was bitter sweet. Halle sure knows how to end her series with both power and punch, which was exactly what I expected of her.

Because of my allegiance to Javier, I have to admit I wanted to see him get everything his dark heart desired. I really enjoyed watching his character unabashedly display his depravity. He was like a grenade that threatened constant danger who was able to detonate at any moment. He really added to the excitement of this novel. There were brief moments where he displayed his vulnerability, which at times had me wanted to just hug this twisted character, but overall he played the baddie to such a perfect extreme that I wanted some sort of reward for him at the end of the story. I won’t tell you how it ended up for him, but I will tell you he was pure bad ass.

Ellie was a character that some people had a hard time connecting with at the beginning, but if you journeyed with her through the entire series, many will find that she came full circle in her character development. She had to make some hard choices in this installment, and it was clear that the sacrifices she made broke her in small ways but never to the extreme where she was irreparable. I loved witnessing how far she was willing to go to prove she was redeemable.

If you don’t come to adore Camden, I’m thinking some sort of chip is missing. I’ll admit, I really liked him and he was attractive in a nerdy yet hard edge sort of way. He was never my first choice for coming out on top (no pun intended). However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying his bold moves and drool worthy performance. He was a perfect blend to this trio of destruction and I’m happy for how his story concluded.

Overall, this series had all the right elements to make it addicting and absolutely adrenaline pumping. Great series from beginning to end!         
5 Suns

Rachel's Thoughts:
Buckle up kiddies!! You are in for one hell of a ride! AMAZING!! Love this series, love this ending!  It was an action packed adrenaline rush! 

Bold Tricks picks up where we left off in Shooting Scars with Ellie, Camden, and Javier working together to get Gus, and maybe Ellie’s mother, back from the evil drug lord Travis.  Can we trust Javier to come through, especially now that Camden is in the picture?  Also, Ellie feels awful for giving in to self-doubt and Javier in the previous book. Ellie knows that she might have ruined any chance at future happiness with Camden and the uneasiness continues between them, but she’s unwilling to let go so easily.

How could I explain that my body got what it needed at the time but my heart was fooled?

I’m always nervous to read the final book in a series that I love for fear of disappointment.  It wasn’t necessary with Bold Tricks and I have to say I’m thrilled with how things played out.  Not only does the non-stop action and adventure keep you eagerly clicking through the pages, but all the relationship drama has you riveted as well. 
Let’s be honest, the romance was the sticking point for me and I was not disappointed!  Realistic feelings of hurt and betrayal, but also longing and lust between all three characters brought this story to life.  There were steamy, passionate scenes, and some surprising declarations from all three characters!

“You own my heart. Please let me have yours.”

“I love you,” he said, his voice gruff. “And I’ll have you. Keep you. Own you. You belong to me, only to me, from now on.”

We get to know the main characters a little better: their motivations, weaknesses, and strengths, and I have to say, I was drawn in, and fascinated by every one of them.  Ellie was frustrating to me in the first installment, but as I’ve got to know her, I understand where she’s coming from and have come to love her, mistakes and all.  Camden is just such a mix of contradictions: nerdy and sometimes unsure of himself one minute and then HOT-tattooed-up-sex-god in the next!! Oh my stars!  Javier, well that man just oozes dangerous charm, and the promise of a very naughty time!  Poor, poor, Ellie, I wish I had such decisions.

Karina Halle wrote a brilliant ending to an addictive and memorable series, and I’m a little sad to say goodbye! 

5 Suns

A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Exclusive Excerpt:

Ugh. Sharing a room with Javier would be a nightmare at this point, but Camden did have a point. I didn’t trust Javier and knew he was capable of screwing us over at the first opportunity. Staying in separate bedrooms this early in the game would be the perfect opportunity for him to up and leave us. Javier’s alliance only extended to his sister, not to Gus, and the fact that he was even agreeing to help us at all said a lot. Unfortunately, I didn’t know exactly what it said.
“I’m staying with you,” I quickly said to Javier. I didn’t bother putting on an act, smiling or acting coy. He’d see straight through me anyway. He always did.
He raised his brow. “Is that right, angel? And to what do I owe your angelic company?”
“Because you’re both the same,” Camden filled in. He stepped forward and quickly swiped a key out of Javier’s hand. “You’re meant for each other.” He took off for his room, his back straight and proud. My heart both lurched and ached at his words, how badly he was brushing me off, how I’ll he thought of me.
Javier was surprised and loving it. He turned to me, mouth slightly agape. “Wow. Something tells me he was trying to be insulting.”
I couldn’t even fake a smile. “Which one is our room?” I asked, feeling sick as the words came out.
He grinned at me, all snake, no conscience. “Whichever one I choose, angel. Have you got all your belongings?”
Normally I would have brought out everything from the trunk, but there were an awful lot of lives in there, an awful lot of stuff. With me keeping an eye on Javier all night, it was probably safe.
I shook my head. “It’s fine.”
He smiled again, especially as Camden shut the door to room number one.
“Let’s take numero tres, sí?” Javier asked. “More privacy.” He grabbed my hand and led me toward it, though there was nothing gentle or warm in his touch. Just like that, those days were over. I was back to dealing with the spurned Javier, the hunter and the sadist.
He opened the door and flicked on the lights. A few cockroaches skittered underneath the bed, and moths darted to the threadbare light fixture hanging from the ceiling. The room was as run-down as I’d ever seen, and for one twisted second I was glad I wasn’t sleeping there alone. In the next second, though, I was reminded that the company of insects was preferable to his.
He closed the door behind us and put his hand at my neck, holding me there, and leaned into my ear. “Do you want top or bottom?”
I stiffened for a moment then rammed my elbow back into his gut. “Fuck you.”
He let go of me and coughed loudly, still trying to smile. “You should be glad I’m giving you the option, angel.”
“You’re a sick pig.”
He straightened up and shrugged. “It’s what you liked until about, oh, twelve hours ago. Tell me, angel, what is it about that boy that makes you forget who you really are? Is it the tattoos, because you know I have those.” He quickly shed his linen shirt and stood bare-chested before me, the tattoo of his mother’s name on his inner arm. He turned around slowly, making sure I saw the large cross going down his spine. “Or is it those horrible glasses of his? You know, I can look like a fucking idiot if I really wanted to.”
I narrowed my eyes, keeping far away from him like wary prey. “He sees the good in me.”
He laughed. “The good. Of course. The good. So, is that why you’re spending the night with me? Because I looked into that boy’s eyes tonight and there was no good in there left for you.”
My gaze locked with his, a war without further words. His eyes shone yellow-green in the light, looking more inhuman by the moment. Deep in his insanity, he was making some sense. That’s what I hated most about Javier, that there was always a kernel of truth to his words, a truth that made you fall for the lies.
I sucked back my breath and nodded at the sagging bed. “You better get a good night’s sleep.” Then I grabbed one of the pillows and the top sheet and brought it over to the thin Mexican rug that ran along the foot of it.
“You’re serious?” he asked as I started making my bed on the floor.
“Good night,” I told him, lying down on top of the sheet. I didn’t trust the cleanliness of the floor and it was too hot to have a sheet on top of me anyway. I rolled over so I was facing away from him. He was still standing near the bed.
“Come now,” Javier said. “Sharing a bed with me isn’t that bad. You’ve been doing it for the last week. Is the inevitable sex too distracting?”
I ground my teeth together but didn’t say a word.
Suddenly he dropped to the ground on top of me, flipping me over so I was on my back, pinning both of my arms to the ground, his face just inches from mine. Wild strands of his hair partially obscured his feverish eyes.
“I’ll scream,” I said hoarsely, fear pulsing through my veins.
He grinned. “You know I love that.”

About the Author: 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.

Connect with the Karina Halle:

1  WINNER: iPad mini pre-loaded with all three digital Artist Trilogy books (SINS & NEEDELES, SHOOTING SCARS, & BOLD TRICKS) preloaded, and ON EVERY STREET novella included!

5 WINNER:signed print Artist Trilogy (SINS & NEEDLES, SHOOTING SCARS, BOLD TRICKS) prize pack!

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  1. I've been waiting for this book. After reading the first two and a half I can't wait to read this and see how it ends!

    1. I loved Sins and Needles best. I'm Team Camden, but I've loved Javier too. I think the glasses are sexier, but once again love both.

    2. I definitely think those geeky glasses are HOT, too, Kelsey! Team Camden here! Sorry, Arlene! :)

  2. Sins and needles is my favorite out of the two I've read. I've got the third book ready to go. When it comes to the guys, I'm #TeamCAMDEN. Tattoos are hot and so are black hipster glasses. I had a pair like them that everyone loved and people started getting the same kind. They do say imitation is the best form of flattery

  3. I loved Sins and Needles with Camden & of course tattoos are sexy.
    Thank you for an amazing giveaway!!

  4. I haven't read the series yet, but I have it on my TBR and am totally looking forward to it! I definitely say that both are sexy. What is better than a tatted up stud with glasses?! Lol. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

    1. Not much is better than a tatted up stud with glasses, Emi Lia! Hope you love the series as much as Arlene and I did when you pick it up. :)

  5. I'm Team Javier, and I loved Sins and Needles. Tattoos are hot, but hipster glasses, well, it depends haha

    1. You and Arlene can stick together, Jillyn. She's Team Javier as well! Dark and disturbing=dream man for Arlene, lol! :)