Big thanks to Karina Halle for including Reading In Winter on her Sins & Needles tour! Be sure to check her website for the tour schedule AND check out the guest post she did on Reading In Winter last Monday!
Ellie Watt is used to starting over. The daughter of a grifting team, Ellie spent her childhood being used as a pawn in her parents’ latest scam. Now she’s much older, wiser and ready to give her con artist life a rest. But returning to the dry desert town of Palm Valley, California means one more temptation than she bargained for – Camden McQueen. Once known as the high school weirdo, Camden is bigger and badder than the boy he used to be and a talented tattoo artist with his own thriving business. Ellie’s counting on Camden still being in love with her but what she’s not counting on is how easily unrequited love can turn into obsession over time. When Camden discovers Ellie’s plan to con him, he makes her a deal she doesn’t dare refuse, but her freedom comes with a price and it’s one that takes both Ellie and Camden down a dangerous road.
BIG thank you to Karina for sending me a copy of this book!
Holy fudgenuggets! This book was awesome! And did you notice the new curse word I picked up? ALL thanks to the lovely Karina Halle and her amazing books!
In case you have been living under a rock, I am a HUGE fan of Karina’s work, specifically her Experiment in Terror series. I love me some Perry and Dex action, whether they’re ghost hunting or doing, er, other things, so when I heard that Karina was writing another series with all new characters — characters who may live up to my love of Perry and Dex — I knew I had to be counted in. Of course, once I saw that gorgeous cover, I was instantly smitten.
Now, first things first, Ellie and Camden are not Perry and Dex — and that’s a good thing. I was happy to see that they had a whole different kind of chemistry going on between them, with each character being so uniquely different from any other character I’ve read in Karina’s writing. I absolutely adored them both — even when the crazy was happening. Ellie was a different kind of character, a con artist who seemed to be following in the footsteps of her con artist parents, but she’s also slightly damaged. Literally. An accident left her very cautious of her legs and it’s one thing that seems to really keep her grounded in her humanity — in her true self. Camden — who is absolutely gorgeous from the sounds of it — is a tattoo artist and a former friend of Ellie’s. I loved how they both knew each other in a different world and had to reaquaint themselves with one another in this new world, 7 years after they last saw one another.
But don’t let me lead you astray — while there is definitely a lot of romance going on (and Karina writes AMAZING romance), there is enough mystery to keep you reading straight through until you finish the book. Trust me. I picked up this book thinking that I wouldn’t get into it and that it would take me the entire weekend to read. I had been in a bit of a slump over the past few weeks and was just plain worried. Of course that was just silly of me because Karina Halle can get ANYONE out of a slump! I flew through this book in a mere 5 hours, only taking breaks to get more tea and to stoke the fire. It was THAT. GOOD.
The chemistry between Ellie and Camden is just so real — it’s not love at first sight and they’re both damaged in so many ways that there’s no way they can go the traditional route of a relationship. But they’re also both smart, and slightly uneasy with things, especially when both of their pasts seem to creep up to haunt them. It was interesting to see how they were both a little more cautious with one another because of how things went in their pasts. There’s a history between the two of them, so there’s much reason to tread gently.
At any rate, this book was completely wonderful. It was completely action packed and full of the Karina Halle charm that I’ve come to know and love. She has such a knack for writing stories that grab you in the first few pages, tie you up, and refuse to release you until you’ve reached the bitter end — or, in this case, a cliffhanger to the next book in the series. Will I be reading it? You bet I will be! If you’ve read and loved the Experiment in Terror series, you will, without a doubt, love this one as well. Highly recommended!
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.
Darkhouse is her first novel and the first one in the Experiment in Terror Series. Things only get better from here on in. (Bio and photo from Goodreads)
Connect with Karina:
Check out Karina’s books on GoodReads and read my reviews:
The Devil’s Metal (#1)