by Karina Halle
Series: The Artist Trilogy #2
Published by Grand Central Publishing Release date : August 20th 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: The Publisher | Format: eBook
Purchase at: Amazon (Affiliate Link) • The Book Depository
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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.
Told in dual POV from Camden and Ellie.
I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I am a huge Karina Halle fan. The Experiment in Terror series is one of my all time favorites. While I didn’t enjoy Sins and Needles (The Artist Trilogy #1) as much as a LOT of others did or how I hoped I would, I still loved it. I was excited to see where Karina would take us next with Ellie, Camden and Javier. I have to admit, she really brought out the big guns in Shooting Scars.
The book starts right off where Sins and Needles left us. Ellie sacrificing herself for Camden and his family. We knew nothing good could possible come out in this situation but I had no IDEA what Javier was planning or what was going on. Ellie is thrust back into her old life, even her old HOME she shared with Javier, when he informs her of his plans. Meanwhile– since now we have Camden’s POV– we get to see how he is dealing with the fallout of the situation. Again, things are what they seem and he is desperate to find and get Ellie back.
Shooting Scars was intense. It was fast paced, action packed and kept me on my toes from the get go. As with book one, I had no clue where the story was going and new twists would pop up out of no where. It was really exhausting trying to figure out what Javier’s plans were and what was going to happen, but I loved it. I especially appreciated that we had Camden’s POV. We get to see what is going through his head and what he is dealing with. It isn’t the happiest of places to be either, since he is as emotional scarred and very complex as Ellie. There is a lot more to learn about Camden. His fears, insecurities and what really makes him HIM. But both him and Ellie are such well written damaged characters you can’t help but root for.
I have to admit, since I didn’t read On Every Street; a short story prequel novella that gets into the story of how Ellie and Javier met, I was at a slight disadvantage. Yet, I was able to use this to my advantage as well. See, I never saw the nitty-gritty details when it came to Ellie and Javier. He was always someone from her past, who betrayed her and who she has been running from for years. It was a lot easier to hate him, not trust him and honestly, get really pissy about what went down between the two. I didn’t see their relationship as most would have; two lovers that are angry, hurt, betrayed and still harboring feeling for each other. In turn, I was immune to his charms. There was one minute that I was started to sway but, it just didn’t happen. So, I am all kinds of iffy on that front. I am a huge Camden fan. So, to me, what happened between Ellie and Javier felt like a betrayal to Camden, regardless of the situation at hand. That being said; you can tell they have history. There is a lot of sexual tension and chemistry there; but I just didn’t feel it. Like I said, I am pretty sure this is because I didn’t read into their story and had I done that, I would see this situation in a whole new light.
Ellie has grown on me significantly . It’s hard to trust and care for the type of character that she is. I was probably one of the few that felt that her attempt at redemption was far too late in Sins and Needles, more like she was playing the martyr really well. I felt for her here though. The expectations and bribery from Javier weren’t an easy term to agree to and I felt her desperation and I could easily see why she was so torn. Her confidence is non-existent, so it was really easy for Javier to manipulate her. She felt alone, isolated and that where she was, was what she deserved and was meant to be.
I think Camden has changed A LOT. He seems harder, more intense. Crazier, if you will. He is desperate to find Ellie and bring her back. He had to do a lot of things he was not OK with and probably never would have before or had the situation not called for it. We see Gus too. Ellie’s “Friend” who has helped her on more than one occasion. There was a small WTFery moment regarding him at the end and I think they is a lot more to their story then we know. Or, if was mentioned before, I don’t remember. >.< As for Javier; well. He lives by his own moral code and I was shocked by the things he admitted to Ellie. Then again, he’s a drug lord for cryin out loud. Yet, I see the potential for me to hop on the bandwagon and become a fan. He is charming and he KNOWS THIS. He is driven by revenge and would stop at nothing to make his enemies pay. I know there is more to his character, since Karina does nothing half assed. He’s just as damaged, complex and layered with issues as everyone else.
Overall- I loved it. For me, this was so much better than Sins and Needles. Knowing Karina, the final book in the trilogy, Bold Tricks, is going to be epic. Intense and action packed, I highly recommend this series.