Bold Tricks by Karina Halle
Genre: Contemporary/Romantic Suspense
Series: The Artists Trilogy #3
Publication Date: October 15th 2013
Page Count: 226
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice
Synopsis: 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 possession 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.
An Epic Conclusion
I have been torturing myself over this review for what seems like forever. How do I write about a book that affected me as deeply as Bold Tricks did? How can I possibly convey the sheer awesomeness of this trilogy? How do I inspire other readers to drop everything and run to their nearest online bookstore to grab a copy of these books?
The answer is simple: I can't. Nothing I write about this book will come anywhere close to achieving the perfection of Karina's own words. Because that's what Bold Tricks is, folks. Perfection. The perfect end to an unforgettable trilogy that will hold a special place in my heart (and on my favorites shelf) for many, many years to come.
But that doesn't really tell you anything, does it? You want to know about the book. That's why you're here, right? To read a review? So I guess I should start reviewing, huh? ;)
Karina doesn't waste any time getting Bold Tricks off the ground. The story picks up almost immediately where book 2 (Shooting Scars) left off, with Ellie, Javier and Camden forming a fragile and unlikely alliance. The plan seems simple. Track down Travis (aka Mr. Rat Bastard), save Gus and Ellie's mother, and get the heck out of Dodge. Preferably without getting killed in the process.
But this is a Karina novel, and we know what that means, don't we? Where Karina writes, complications, plot twists and mindeffery are sure to follow - and let me tell you, she's got a whole mine field of them planted in Bold Tricks! I was on edge the entire time, never knowing from one page to the next if I was safe, or if everything was going to blow up in my face. It was crazy-intense, and during a few crucial scenes, I had to force myself to put the book aside and take a break before a) I hyperventilated, b) I had a nervous breakdown, or c) my heart exploded. You may think I'm kidding. I'm not. I have the Facebook messages as proof of what a number this book did on me. It was insane.
In trademark Karina fashion, the action of the story flows seamlessly from one chapter to the next. Sometimes it's subtle and small, even intimate - a stolen moment in time that allows you and the characters to catch your breath - and just when you start to relax and get comfortable....WHAM! The bad guys come around the corner, bullets start flying, and just like that, you're right back into the thick of it, hanging on for dear life and hoping like hell you survive.
As I said, INSANE.
Whether you're Team Camden and Team Javier, you're going to walk away from this book still passionately in love with your respective boy. Both men play pivotal roles, and both have their moments in the sun, but this isn't their show. It never has been, really. That honor belongs to Ellie. After two and a half books, she has finally embraced who she is. The angel with dirty wings we met in Sins & Needles is still there, inside of her, but she's stronger now, fiercer in mind and spirit, and wow, does she rock this book! She rocks it hard.
About the romance. No, I am not going to tell you which guy Ellie ends up with, or if she ends up with anyone at all. Sorry, ain't happening. However, I will tell you that the choice Ellie makes is the right one for her. Let me repeat that. It's the right choice FOR HER. You don't have to agree with it. A good number of you probably won't. You may rant and rave, and some of you may even throw objects at walls. It's okay. I get it. The amazing thing about this series is how passionate its fans are, and if the outcome means that much to you, then Karina has done her job. She's made you care so much, it's personal, like this story is somehow yours. But if you've read these books and understand Ellie's character even a little bit, then you'll see why it has to end the way it does. This isn't about what you want or which guy you would pick - it's about Ellie. It's always been about Ellie. Her journey, her decisions, her mistakes, and ultimately, her happy ending. If you remember that while you are reading, then you will be able to appreciate just how beautiful and, yes, how utterly perfect Bold Tricks really is. It is the only way this trilogy could have ended, and I hope everyone can accept that.
The Artists Trilogy has been a gritty, sexy, action-filled, gut-wrenching and coronary-inducing ride from start to finish. I'm sad it's over, but I couldn't have asked for a better conclusion than the epic one Karina gave me. So, thank you, Karina. Just...thank you.
5 Stars ★★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
5 Stars ★★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Just for fun, here's my Bold Tricks playlist:
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 ill 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.
To celebrate the Bold Tricks release, the publisher is offering an absolutely, positively AMAZING giveaway for you!
One (1) winner will receive an iPad mini pre-loaded with all 3 Artist Trilogy boos (Sins & Needles, Shooting Scars, Bold Tricks) and the prequel novella, On Every Street.
Five (5) winners will receive a signed print Artist Trilogy prize pack!
You know you want one of those prizes! Heck, I want 'em! So go enter! :)