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REVIEW: Dirty Little Lies by Julie Leto

Dear Ms. Leto

Dirty Little LiesIt was been debated whether you write to the market or write what is in your heart. I have always voted that I want writers to write what is in their hearts because it makes for a better read. Your heart, shows through in this story and the first one in the series: Dirty Little Secrets. You make the Latino life so colorful, so passionate that I want to be part of it (you do say in your story that Latino is a culture not a race).

The members of Titan Int’l, a security corporation, are hired to oversee security at a fundraising event. During the event, Congressman Bennett is shot and would have been killed had Marisela Morales not distracted the assassin. The assassin is carrying out a revenge hit for a murder that Bennett seems to have committed but gotten away with. After the shooting, Titan is hired by the Senator’s wife to stop the assassin.

Marisela Morales is a former street gang member. This is no Stephanie Plum who leaves her gun in the cookie jar. No, Marisela Morales fought her way out of the gang and pulled herself into a better life. Part of this is owed to Titan who employs Marisela. Titan is run by twins Brynn and Ian and employs various individuals including enigmatic Max who seems to get sexier with each word he does not say. Brynn, by virtue of being born first, is really the leader of Titan. But before Brynn came stateside to throw her weight around, Ian was in charge. Ian and Marisela have been dancing a tentative and flirtatious tango that hasn’t really gotten past the intro steps.

Ian isn’t the only man in Marisela’s life. Frankie, with whom Marisela ran with on the streets and to whom she lost her virginity, is her current partner at Titan. Marisela isn’t sure that Frankie is her future. She also isn’t sure that he is her Right Now but it’s hard to resist the moves that Frankie puts on her.

The plot moves quickly and the action scenes are well executed. I appreciated that you dealt with some deeper issues such as the rightness of revenge killings and Marisela’s own questionable morality. The assassin is a fully fleshed out character and I couldn’t help but sympathize with her, just as you wanted me to. I also liked how the women play such strong roles in this story from Marisela to Brynn to the assassin. I loved the Spanish phrases used as endearments and come ons and in sexual play. It really made for a fully developed experience.

While this story is focused on Marisela, we do get glimpses from Frankie and, on rare occasions, Ian. Max is a true mystery man which makes him all the more tantalizing to the reader. I am not a big fan of the multiple partner offerings, but it works for me because neither man to whom Marisela is attracted is perfect for her. That makes it believable for me that she would be uncertain of her own feelings.

In all, this is a great action read with steaming hot scenes and wonderful promise for the future. The characters are smoking hot (think Ranger but speaking Spanish). Your voice is fresh and modern in this book. I heard that if this doesn’t sell well that you may not be able to provide us readers with more episodes in the Marisela series. That would be a crying shame. B for you.

Best regards,


Note to Jolie and Bookseller Chick: I need you to start handselling these books so the series goes on. For those readers who want an immediate fix, Simonsays sells Dirty Little Lies as an ebook for under $3.89!!!

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Nicole
    Aug 09, 2006 @ 08:45:29

    I also bought this one from SimonsSays, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

    Oh, you spelled the heroine’s name wrong throughout the review. might want to change that. :-) She’s Marisela, not Marsiela.

  2. Jane
    Aug 09, 2006 @ 08:51:23

    oh, sheesh. What an embarassment. Thanks for the heads up Nicole.

  3. May
    Aug 09, 2006 @ 11:00:24

    I am jealous–granted I’m the idiot who turned down an offer of an ARC, partly because I was certain I’d not have time to read it, which as it turns out, is true.

    Have you read the first one, Dirty Little Secrets?

  4. Jane
    Aug 09, 2006 @ 11:13:40

    [quote comment="2856"]Have you read the first one, Dirty Little Secrets?[/quote]

    Yes, I did read the first one which I really liked and Jayne did too which is why I bought a couple other Leto books in the category format but I just don’t see the same author from the categories that I do in the Dirty series.

  5. May
    Aug 09, 2006 @ 11:35:42

    [quote comment="2857"][quote comment="2856"]Have you read the first one, Dirty Little Secrets?[/quote]

    Yes, I did read the first one which I really liked and Jayne did too which is why I bought a couple other Leto books in the category format but I just don’t see the same author from the categories that I do in the Dirty series.[/quote]
    I did the same thing, and got the same result.

    Aug 16, 2006 @ 08:33:27


    Thanks for the review!!! Only problem I have now is that I want to read it NOW!!!!!! I don’t know if i can wait until September! UGH!!!

    Thanks again for the great review

  7. Kim Smith
    Feb 19, 2008 @ 11:03:09

    Hi there…Thanks for the nice read, keep up the interesting posts..what a nice Tuesday

  8. Literary Segregation or Market Specialization? | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    May 08, 2008 @ 08:20:51

    […] Are Latina authors happy about the specialized market segmentation? Will Julie Leto’s great “Dirty” series be reprinted to be sold to the new Latina book club? So many questions. Tagged as: book-sales, […]

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