Review: Shooting Scars (#2, The Artist’s Trilogy) by Karina Halle

My Thoughts

More suspense. More drama. More Camden. More Javier.
What more do we need?!

This riveting sequel gave us a chilling, deeper insight into the minds of these three twisted souls, who took us on a ride through the dangerous streets of Mexico in search of redemption and revenge.

4halfstars

Synopsis

shooting scarsWhen 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 Review

“This, Ellie, this is a whole new game with a whole new set of promises. Now, what I need to know is… are you ready to play?”

Wow. It seems like every time I finish one of Karina Halle’s book from The Artist Trilogy my pulse is pumping rapidly, my heart is pounding and I feel a confusing combination of dread, excitement and despair swirling inside when I ponder what in the world will happen next. Because, if there’s one thing we’ve learned thus far is that if we fear it, it will likely happen.

This suspenseful sequel continues with the action-packed saga of three flawed individuals, three tortured souls whose lives are so dangerously intertwined. When I finished Sins & Needles, and was able to breathe again, a crushing feeling of despair overtook me. I was proud of the choice Ellie made, but I felt so sad for Camden. Ellie was once again thrown into the lion’s den, in the hands of a monster, her ex-love, Mexican bad boy Javier Bernal. And let me tell you he’s badder and more powerful than ever. He’s risen in the ranks and he’s got big plans for Ellie.

“I had given Camden a second chance at life, at love, at everything by taking a step backward with mine. I was Javier’s prisoner now, his six years of chasing after me having finally come to a close. I was trapped with a man who would either love me or kill me. There was no middle ground with Javier Bernal.”

Javier’s game of manipulation begins with Ellie, and while she’s held hostage by Javier, my heart completely shattered for Camden. My poor Camden…

“She left me in a cloud of dust, a swirl of crushed cherry blossoms that choked my heart.”

I don’t want to spoil a second of this book… SO MUCH HAPPENS!!! But I will tell you that Camden is consistently let down by everyone he cares about. And I think it’s this crushing disappointment that propels him to transform into someone harder with tougher skin and more street smarts, and now, perhaps more aptly prepared to be a real player in this game of manipulation and lies. He’s concerned, however, that he may lose himself and the goodness inside of him, in the process.

“It made me realize that in saving her, I might lose myself, lose any morals or convictions I once had. Camden McQueen might end up a stranger to even me when it was all said and done.”

Ellie is caught in between the memory of Camden and the her forced future with Javier as it becomes harder to resist falling into her old life.

“The thing was, I had been in love with him once. I’d been more than in love with him – it bordered on something between love and obsession, between Romeo and Juliet teenage dramatics and something real. But it was never real… What Javier and I shared was a deadly cocktail of intense hormones and lies.”

While Camden appeals to the goodness inside her, Javier seduces her dark side, enticing her to embrace the depravity that lives inside her. He plays a dangerous game, alluring her with all the tools in his deadly arsenal: love, lust, revenge and power. And despite everything she’s gone through and the love she feels for Camden, the old and familiar ways with Javier continue to have a grasp on her soul.

“He’s made me believe that I belong with him, with this kind of life, that this is the best that I can get.”

Javier Bernal is a study in contradiction. Sometimes I feel like he is just so undeniably bad, that there is nothing he can do to be redeemed. Other times, I feel that he really does love Ellie, in his own way, and perhaps, he can and will do some good in the end. I honestly don’t know, but will tell you that the things he is forcing Ellie to do made me so angry! He is willing to sacrifice Ellie to achieve the ultimate revenge, and doing it with the promise of power, love and forever.

“I’ll become like you.”
“My dear, you already are like me.
You always have been… Why do you think we work so well together? A soul needs it’s other half to truly live.”

I just love Karina Halle’s bold writing, how she continues to tell her story as the foundation continues to shift, never knowing exactly what will happen next. The books in this series have it all: romance, suspense, action and violence, making me feel everything from happiness and hope to fear and despair. As I mentioned earlier, so much happens in this book. The beginning part was sometimes a little slow as character development progressed, but it still sucked you in and the last 25% I was at the edge of my seat. I just can’t believe all the twists and turns the story takes and I have the feeling we are at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fully understanding all the deceit, connections and schemes. DYING. I am DYING for the next book! She again leaves us desperately wanting more. Bold Tricks, the last book in the trilogy will be out this October.

“Sometimes it’s better to deal with the pain than to mask it. It always comes back.”

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Team Camden Sticker Banner The Artists Trilogy Karina Halle

Reading Order & Links

There are 4 totals books in the series. The first is a novella, On Every Street, followed by Sins & Needles, Shooting Scars and lastly, Bold Tricks

           

sins and needles

 

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