Book Review: Shooting Scars by Karina Halle

Posted August 5, 2013 by Kara in book review, Kara / 14 Comments

Book Review: Shooting Scars by Karina HalleShooting Scars by Karina Halle
Series: The Artists Trilogy #2
Published by Grand Central Publishing on August 20th, 2013
Genres: romantic suspense
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon

The USA Today Bestseller!!
A Dangerous Kind of Love . . .
When Ellie Watt offered herself to her thuggish former lover Javier to save Camden's life, she never imagined the twisted game Javier had planned for her. Trapped by him and his entourage of killers, Ellie is forced to commit a dangerous, heinous crime-or Javier will kill Camden. Now ex-con artist Ellie must find a way to stay ahead of the game . . . before it destroys her and the only man she ever loved.
Camden McQueen can't forget Ellie Watt. Seeking revenge and pursued by the authorities for a crime he didn't commit, the talented tattoo artist does things he never thought himself capable of to save Ellie. As Camden straddles the line between love and retribution, he vows to do everything in his power to get her back. But if Camden unleashes his dark side, will Ellie still love him?

Full disclosure: This author is a very dear friend of mine. I copy edit for her. We’ve attended an author event and Disney World together. We text back and forth. I think she’s a bad-ass. You should know this. But I didn’t edit this book, and I feel I can review it objectively. So I have.

Up until the last ten pages of this book, Shooting Scars was a five star book for me. You know how rarely I give out that rating, and I almost did it here. So before I get critical, I LOVED this book. It’s unusual because it’s romance and I don’t normally read romance, but I know and love Karina’s writing so I make an exception for her. 

So why only four stars? Because the ending kind of annoyed me. Strangely enough, I was not all that frustrated by the end of Sins and Needles but this one really bothered me. There is absolutely no closure and you get no answers. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a cliffhanger, and yet it is. It’s also incredibly abrupt. This book has a breakneck pace and it continues up until the last page where it just ends. The ending came up really quickly and my brain did not have enough time to come to terms with that. Now, I know that I will probably one of the few that has an issue with that, but I have come to the conclusion that I hate endings like this. A book can leave me hanging, but I want a few answers. Leave me some loose threads, but don’t leave me hanging in the worst way. That being said, this is pretty much my only complaint. I think if you prepare yourself for the ending, it might be a perfect book for you.

My favorite thing about Karina Halle’s writing are her characters. They jump off the page and come to life. They are all flawed, human, and feel very, very real. You might hate Javier (and I do) but there are so many dimensions to him that you are left feeling conflicted more often than not. Same thing about Ellie. There are moments in Shooting Scars when she is very hard to like. But if you think about her past, her insecurities, most of it makes sense. Shooting Scars is an intense book and it’s also a thinking one because it makes you very aware of the human condition and the morality that goes in to decision making. People mess up. Good people, bad people, and all the people in between. None of the characters in this book are black or white. They are very, very grey. And that’s why I love them, and also why this book is incredibly intense and angsty in the best way.

Reading Shooting Scars was a very unique experience for me in that I was raving about the writing in my head for much of the book. The tone of the novel is conveyed in the writing all throughout and there is a feeling of foreboding and bad things to come from the very first word. I knew it was leading up to some seriously crazy stuff and a really scary finish. I cannot rave enough about the technical prowess of this author and that’s why I continue to be a huge fan and try to push her books on everyone I know. No one else writes like Karina Halle and her books are a unique experience that I cannot find with any other author. They have a strong romantic element, and yet the plot always ends up being so much more than that.

A story that is completely unrealistic becomes true to life in the hands of a skilled author like Karina Halle. Do I recommend this book? You bet I do.


14 responses to “Book Review: Shooting Scars by Karina Halle

  1. Thanks for the recommendation! Will keep all the negative points in mind. It sounds like an angst-y book. Not sure if I’m ready for another one like it.

    Great, fair review, Kara!

  2. Yay! I’m glad you liked it! And I’m happy to see that this is a very honest review — though now I’m nervous about the ending! I can’t wait to read this one. Karina is, and always will be, one of my favourites. 🙂

  3. Amy

    I am so glad that you loved this! I have been wanting to start this series. I have the first book, but haven’t had time to get to it yet. Fabulous review babe!!

  4. Hmm too bad about the ending of this one. I was a really big fan of the first book but I haven’t read that novella. Maybe I should get on it so I can be ready for when this one comes out. I hope Camden makes steak in this one…

  5. I love that you had that little disclosure and wrote that you went to Disney World together. I’m weird, I know, but when I saw that, I was like: yesss, Disney World does tend to do that to reviews, doesn’t it?

    Anyway! Shame that the ending wasn’t that satisfying. There are very few books that do that that don’t make me feel very frustrated rather than motivated to pick up the next book. At any rate, I think I’ve seen you talk about Karina’s writing before and how much you love it, and I really do love morally ambiguous situations/characters–give me something to think about!–so… agh! why, Kara? Why post this while I am trying very hard to stay on my book buying ban o.O?

    • LOL it does!

      The characters are SUPER morally ambiguous. It’s pretty freaking fantastic! You totally need to get your hands on a copy. And make sure you read the novella too!

  6. I’ve been holding off on picking up Sins & Needles, despite the hype, because of the cliffhanger. To see that readers STILL don’t get any answers is disappointing, so I think I’ll continue to wait till this whole series is out. I am glad to see this still has your seal of approval, though, Kara. Great review!(:

    • Well, they get some answers. The cliffhanger from the first book is answered. There was just an unhappy situation at the end involving one of my favorite characters and it broke my heart the way it ended. You should still read it though even if you wait because it is so good!

  7. Hahaha, “A story that is completely unrealistic” <- You crack me up, Kara. That’s definitely true. I was hoping this would go up on NG, since I have autoapproval with that pub, but I haven’t seen it. OH WELL.

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