Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Disarm by Karina Halle - ARC Review & Author Q&A

Set in a glittering world of wealth and prestige, New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle’s The Dumonts follows the lives and loves of three siblings who’ve inherited a dynasty—and a world of trouble. Olivier, Renaud, and Seraphine Dumont grew up in Europe’s high society, surrounded by the best money could buy. But when their father unexpectedly—and suspiciously—passes away, they’re suddenly in control of a vast fortune that others would kill for. Fueled by new romances, the siblings confront emerging family secrets in a seductive series about power, money, glamour, and revenge.

Seraphine Dumont seems to have it all: she’s gorgeous, brilliant, and part of one of France’s most illustrious dynasties. But underneath the facade, Seraphine struggles to hold it all together. Besides grieving her adoptive father’s suspicious and sudden death, she also shares a tenuous role in the family business with Blaise, her in-name-only cousin. As tumultuous as their history is, he may be the only member of the deceptive Dumont family she can trust. 

Seraphine is a temptation Blaise can’t resist. The torch he’s carried for years still burns. It’s his secret—a quiet obsession just out of reach. Until his brother demands that he spy on the increasingly cagey Seraphine, whom their father considers a dispensable Dumont outlier. But the more Blaise watches her and the closer he gets, the more he sees Seraphine may have every right to be suspicious. And she could be the next one in danger—from his own family. As blood runs hot and hearts give in, Seraphine and Blaise have only each other. But can their love survive the secrets they’re about to uncover? 

I loved the first in this series, and Seraphine and Blaise's story picks up pretty much right after the end of the first. 

There was a lot that was not resolved in Discretion.  The central relationship was, but there was a lot more than just the central relationship that was going on, and a lot of questions.  I thought this one was not only a great resolution to a lot of what was going on, but a fun romance in and of itself.

It's a little forbidden, but only a little and in the way that allows you to ignore the fact that they are sort of related, as she is adopted and he is more than a little estranged from his family...so, this is forbidden in name only.

I loved Seraphine and Blaise together.  I believed their connection and I was willing to believe they would be ok with risking the family not being happy with their relationship.  This helps a lot as Seraphine thinks that Blaise's father is responsible for her father's death, so being willing to date her own "cousin"?  Sure, no problem.

But, this was never really much of an issue for me, and I don't think it was meant to be more than a bit of information that made the relationship a little forbidden.

Overall, this book was a little grittier than you would usually expect from a romance, and I liked that about it, I liked that it felt dangerous and you never totally knew what was going to happen.  I really enjoyed the last 25% of the book, I liked the way their relationship evolved, and it felt like it would happen the way it did (or at least I think it did, I can't say I have ever been through anything like what they experienced) and I loved the way it developed their relationship.

I also liked the ending.  It was tied up nicely, but it was also realistic...again, I think.  I am not sure from personal experience, but I think, were I to experience what they did, I would react in the same way.

I enjoyed and recommend this title.

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Author Q&A

1. To start off, can you tell us a little about your main characters from Disarm. Seraphine and Blaise have quite a history (not to mention they share the same last name!)

Seraphine and Blaise Dumont are (gasp) cousins. But not to worry, they aren't blood-related. Seraphine is actually from India and was adopted by Ludovic Dumont when she was a young girl. Even though she was brought into the "nice" side of the family, she has always had trouble fitting in. Her looks, her accent, the fact that she was born poor and discarded like trash, gives her a very different perspective to life than her affluent family. This POV has colored her into the very outspoken, vibrant and feisty woman she is today - she is definitely one of my favorite female characters I've written.Blaise, of course, belongs to the bad side of the family, though there were hints in the first book, Discretion, that he's not as bad as you would think. In fact, he's a lot like Seraphine, a bit of an outcast and the black sheep of his family. As we read Disarm, we also discover the history that Blaise and Seraphine have together which sets up for the angst, tension and hate for each other that they have in the present day, especially as Seraphine thinks Blaise has something to do with her father's death.

2. They live in a world of privilege that most of us cannot fathom. What are the biggest pluses and some minuses of living with fabulous wealth?

The biggest plus is the material things: houses, cars, clothes, jets, vacations. You name it, they have it. You would also think a great deal of freedom comes with money too and it does but with that sort of wealth, it makes you go to great lengths to keep it. So that freedom still ties you to the wealth, in maintaining it and getting more of it. Of course, it breeds some pretty out of touch and unscrupulous characters, too, and you can never know who to trust when your world (and family) revolves around money instead of love.

3. What about Blaise makes him totally unique and different from all other book boyfriends?

The torch he has carried for Seraphine for so many years. This man is the epitome of yearning and pining for someone you can't have, more so than most book boyfriends you've come across (and I won't spoil exactly how but you'll find out in the book just how secretly devoted to his cousin he is). He's also an anti-hero, a man who has done some crooked stuff but still tries to do the right thing, even if it comes at the expense of his own family.

4. Seraphine has faced many difficulties during her life, but one of her toughest challenges is thinking Blaise abandoned her. How does she deal with this heartbreak?

She deals with it the way that Seraphine deals with any hardship—she tucks it away deep down inside and rises above it. She'll force herself to be strong - her pride is very powerful - and she'll trick herself into thinking she never cared about him to begin with. It's much easier to paint Blaise with a villainous brush, that way it doesn't hurt so much.

5. Extreme events are said to bring out a person's true character. What harrowing situations do Seraphine and Blaise get entangled in and what does this say about them?

There isn't anything more extreme than fighting for your life, and the two of them have had to do that in this book. Literally. But they willingly walked into those situations as a way to put an end to the tangled web they've been caught in. It says they would rather face it and fight than flee. This is especially true for Blaise, who, at the end of the book, choses to confront his loved ones face to face, even if it potentially means making some difficult choices.

6. What scene from the book do you think readers will enjoy the most and why?

Personally, I love the scene at the end, a nail-biting showdown between Blaise and his brother Pascal (and his father, too). That was a blast to write and read, I basically just watched it all unfold in my head and it had my heart pumping as if I was watching a movie. It's DELICIOUS. Romance-wise, I think the flashbacks are pretty special, particularly their first kiss in Italy. There was something about that scene that felt so real.

7. It is often said that writing is re-writing. What were some things that didn’t make it into the book that you were hoping to add?

Nothing. It's all in there, baby! If anything, scenes were added during edits.

8. What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?

I learned a lot about Muay Thai fighting moves haha.

9. What do you want readers to take away from reading this book?

That family isn't just through blood, and that sometimes in order to do the right thing and be your own person, you musn't be afraid to stand up to your family, even if it means tension or separation down the line.

10. Who is the next Dumont on your list to receive their own story?

The infamous Pascal. And believe me when I say, this villain's story will both wow and win people over. His book is even more thrilling and dramatic than Disarm and I can't wait for everyone to read it!

About the Author 

Karina Halle is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of The Pact, A Nordic King, Sins & Needles, and fifty other wild and romantic reads. A former travel writer and music journalist, she currently lives in a rain forest on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and adopted their pit bull. There they operate a bed-and-breakfast that’s perfect for writers’ retreats. In the winter, you can often find them in California or on their beloved island of Kauai, soaking.


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