Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2) by Karina Halle

Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2)
by Karina Halle
Release Date: 8/20/13
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance

Sometimes the right choice can be the deadliest.

When Ellie Watt made the ultimate sacrifice for Camden McQueen, she never thought it would be easy. But walking away with her ex-lover, Javier Bernal, in order to ensure Camden's safety has brought a whole new set of dangers. With Javier's plans for Ellie growing more secretive by the moment, Ellie must find a way to stay ahead of the game before her past swallows her whole.

Meanwhile, Camden's new life is short-lived. Fueled by revenge and pursued by authorities, he teams up with an unlikely partner in order to save Ellie. But as Camden toes the line between love and retribution, he realizes that in order to get back the woman he loves, he may have to lose himself in the process. He might just turn into the very man he's hunting.

My Rating: 5 Coffee Cups!!

 Let me start by saying I've been waiting somewhat patiently for 5 months for this. I read Sins & Needles in February and was like "Whoa". Yeah, just like that. Completely blown away. Fully invested in the story. Fully in love with Ellie and Camden. And then Karina Halle just had to go and write that damn novella On Every Street and I was, yet again, completely blown away. And completely and utterly confused. In Sins & Needles Javier was the ultimate bad guy. The evil, drug dealing kingpin who broke Ellie. And then you read On Every Street and you start to fall for their love story. Javier and Ellie. You think well maybe he really does love her. Maybe he's not as much of a psychopath as you originally thought. And you continue bouncing back and forth for 5 painstaking months (because, yes it does stay with you). You see little quote pics popping up with Camden and you're all "Yay Team Camden" and then you see one with a hot Gael Garcia-Bernal and you find yourself going all "Yay Team Javier".

When I saw Karina Halle at a signing in NYC she asked what team I was on and I pretty much whined my answer like a 5 year old. "I don't know!" I may have even pouted. She said that I will definitely know by the end of this book. So needless to say, when I got approved from Netgalley for an ARC of Shooting Scars I was ecstatic! My brain was exhausted and needed a resolution! Plus, this book was bound to be incredible. And I did a happy dance in my seat when I got the approval email. Legit. Happy dance.

 Shooting Scars picks up EXACTLY where Sins & Needles left off. Except this time is in dual POVs (yay!). Camden is left with his ex-wife and son after Ellie sacrificed herself to Javier to save them. They both go their separate ways in order to try to make some sort of life out of the cards they've been handed. Camden loves his son. He wants to be a part of his life, and if that has to happen with Sophia so be it. But honestly, Camden should so know better than to trust in anything but himself. When things don't work out anywhere near what he planned he decides to do exactly what his heart told him he should do in the first place. Go after Ellie. Get her away from Javier. So, he tracks down the only person he knows that could possibly help. The only person who Ellie actually trusts- Gus. Now you remember Gus from On Every Street? HE taught HER how to con. Gus is not very easily convinced, but he has a deep connection and love for Ellie and knows how Javier operates, especially when it comes to his obsession with Ellie, and decides to help Camden.

“Ellie has a good heart in her, hidden, but it’s in there, and you bring that out. You’re good for her and you’re good for each other. Don’t you forget that.” -Gus

Meanwhile, Ellie is being offered an opportunity decades in the making. A way to get her revenge against the man who scarred her inside and out- Travis. Javier no longer works with or for Travis. They have broken their alliance in a bloody, horrible way. Let's just say it has become personal for Javier. He has always promised to hurt anyone that hurts Ellie, and Travis is the catalyst of all of the hurts that Ellie has suffered in her life. He has his reasons for going after Travis, but knows Ellie well enough to know what triggers to push to get her on-board. The fact that it is actually a "choice" is merely an illusion. If she doesn't go along with his plan Javier will hurt Camden. It's hard to get a read on what Javier's true motives in everything actually is. In the beginning of Ellie's captivity, he is very hot and cold. You see glimpses of the old Javier who adored and protected and loved Ellie, but then you see the fact that he has undoubtedly changed. He's cold, more ruthless and even more calculating. You can't tell if he wants Ellie as revenge against her or because he is still, in his own twisted way, still in love with her and that reeks havoc on my bouncing heart and brain (which I'm quite sure was the plan).

"What Javier and I shared was a deadly cocktail of intense hormones and lies. True love doesn’t have a sick desperation to it, an undercurrent of doom." -Ellie

Camden, while looking for Ellie, has to become a person he never thought he would be. Do things he never imagined himself doing. This changes him. Makes him a little harder, a little tougher and a little bit more jaded. But he knows that this is the world that they are in and if he has any hopes of seeing Ellie again he has to pretty much lose a good chunk of his moral boundaries.

"It made me realize that in saving her, I might lose myself..."- Camden  

They're journeys run almost parallel to one another. They travel through Ellie's past in Mississippi and to the future of the story in Mexico. You are run through the gamut of emotions. You feel both Camden and Ellie's pain, their fears, their confusion, their hopelessness and their love.

There is no way for me to give you any kind of full re-cap of this book without truly spoiling it for you. I will just say I 1000% cannot wait to see how this trilogy ends, because the end of Shooting Scars throws you a curve ball that you wouldn't have ever predicted.

Buy it NOW!!

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