Wednesday, December 17, 2014


The Faster They Live, the Harder They Fall . . .

Raised by con artists, Ellie Watt has a lot of crazy childhood memories-but none crazier than being scarred with acid by the demented crime boss Travis Raines. Now Ellie is a full-grown woman who lives for revenge, and Travis is a full-blown drug lord who kills for pleasure. The sadistic bastard has kidnapped her good friend Gus as well as her mother, whom he's been holding as prized possessions in his heavily guarded lair. And Ellie has only one chance in hell of getting them out alive-using two dangerous men who love her to death . . . One is Camden McQueen, a talented tattoo artist who's made a permanent mark on Ellie's heart. The other is Javier Bernal, her fiery ex-lover who's busted more than a few heads in his time. From the crime-ridden streets of Mexico City to the predatory jungles of Honduras, this unlikely trio forms an uneasy alliance in the deadliest game of all-a gun-blazing battle to the finish that will pit enemy against enemy and lover against lover. And Ellie must choose the right man to trust . . . or die.

About Karina Halle:
Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and the USA Today Bestselling author of Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, and other wild and romantic reads. She lives in a 1920s farmhouse on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

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An Excerpt:
The motel room was a lot nicer than the one we stayed at before. Sort of a Best Western, middle-ground quality of place. No roaches on the floors, no geckos on the wall. Shit mattresses, I discovered as I pounded my fist on the bed, but I didn’t care.
Camden had just put the final box on my bed, Violetta sprawled out on hers in a state of drug-induced euphoria, when I noticed Javier lingering at the doorway.
“I’m going to be meeting Dom in about twenty minutes,” Javier said to me. “Is that enough time for you to get ready?”
I frowned and he quickly added, “You know he’ll want you there, if this is going to get anywhere. I figured you might want to shower and look nice.”
He rapped his fingers along the doorframe, his mouth opening as if to say something else, then he turned and walked off.
Camden eyed me. “I’m going with you.”
“You might be kind of drunk, Camden,” I told him, though the determination in his voice warmed me like the finest cognac.
“I’ve never felt better,” he said, enunciating each word. His eyes, my god they were still such a clear fucking blue, even in the pallid light of the hotel room. They bore into me with such startling clarity, sending shivers down my back like trailing fingertips. He would be coming with me.
I wished he’d be coming in me. A vision of us in this hotel room, alone, him nailing me to the bed, the headboard banging, slammed into my head.
“Are you okay with that?” he asked.
I suppressed the thought, the flare of heat between my legs, and smiled quickly. “Yes, of course.”
Meanwhile Violetta’s head flopped to the side, her arm still bound to her stiffly in the sling, and started snoring lightly. I motioned to her. “Do you think it’s safe to leave her here?”
He watched her for a few moments, blinking a few times, before saying, “I think she needs to sleep it off.” He went and sat down on my bed. “I’ll be here when you get out.”
I grabbed my bag of clothes I had brought out of the car and brought it into the bathroom. I had a quick shower, trying to rub off all the grim – both real and imagined – with the flimsy hotel soap, then picked through my clothes. Everything that had been in my trunk was musty and wrinkled, some even dirty. I had a packet of unopened (and decidedly unsexy) Hanes underwear, a bra, another pair of jeans, a pair of gladiator sandals that I thought were dressy enough, a pair of Timberland hiking boots, a plain white tee shirt, a couple of wife-beaters, a coral-colored blouse, a plaid shirt, and a light blue tank dress that went to the ground. I wasn’t exactly known for my fashion sense and even with the cherry blossoms covering the scars on my leg, bringing me beauty that I didn’t have before, I didn’t see myself branching out anytime soon. Dressing up in my old clothes for Javier hadn’t exactly helped either.
I slipped on the tank dress, opting to go commando for the evening, and put on the sandals. I looked at myself in the mirror. Once again, I felt like a different person was staring back at me. This me, this Ellie, was tired and hardened. I rubbed the residue mascara away from under my eyes and applied a new coat. My skin was brown from the sun now and I didn’t need much else.
When I came out of the bathroom, Camden straightened up on the bed. I felt strangely shy in front of him, especially as his eyes trailed up and down the length of me.
“Do I look okay?” I asked him, feeling the need to say something. “I mean, if you can see me, that is.”
He bit his lip and stared, a multitude of emotions flashing through his eyes, too fast for me to pick up on each individual one. I thought I saw lust in there – maybe that’s what I wanted to see.
When he still didn’t say anything, I walked over to the dresser where I had my clutch purse left over from the other night at Travis’s and rifled through it for my lip stuff. His silence at my back was a heavy weight, laden with too many uncertainties between us. It was eating at me, burning through me, rendering me with a lead heart. There were so many things I had to focus on, to worry about, fucking impossible things, and yet I needed him to tell me I looked beautiful. I needed him to tell me I was something to him.
I heard him get off the bed and walk toward me, that heaviness, that warmth that he brought with his bones, teased at my back. He stopped, close enough to touch me, and I was about to turn around, perhaps to do something foolish, when he crouched down.
“How is my art?”
His hands found my leg, one of them lifting the hem of my dress, the other slowly moving over the cherry blossom tattoo. I sucked in my breath, holding completely still, trying to contain my nerves that were firing wildly as his fingers ran along the ridges of the ink. He touched me gently over every vine, leaf and petal, until I had to supress a shaky moan that that tried to escape from my lips.
“It feels fine,” I said softly when I found my voice.
“It looks beautiful,” he said.
“I had a beautiful artist,” I told him. I turned at the waist and look down at him, my blue dress glowing in his tanned hand, his other one placed firmly around my calf, his strong fingers imparting heat that sunk deep. He was looking up at me, lips parted slightly.
I couldn’t take a second more of this.
I turned and dropped to the ground, my knees rubbing against his.
I grabbed his face, his rough stubble pressing into my palms, and kissed him.
There was surprise for a second, a hesitation, a pulse that refused to beat on. Then Camden kissed me back, his soft lips enveloping mine, his mouth opening to give me life. He put his hand behind my head, holding it there with power and control.

My heart was an elevator car, the cable suddenly snapped, and I was freefalling and falling and falling as his lips and tongue and hot, wet mouth took away every inch of my resolve. The more he kissed me, the deeper and longer we found each other, the thirstier I got for him. I felt like if we stopped, I would die, empty on the inside and forever longing.

Our review, from way back...we really enjoyed it! 

I only recently began this series and I feel lucky that I didn't have to wait too long between books to see how the stories of Camden, Javier, and Ellie end. Lucky bitch. Hahaha. But really, I'm so glad you're on this KH bandwagon, yo.

We begin right were Shooting Scars ended...with no break in the action. Ellie is sitting in the Jeep between her two lovers trying to wrap her brain around how the fuck she got there and how the fuck she's going to manage to get out of there. I was kinda wondering the same thing myself.

Awkward. I think those moments right after everything went down at the end of Shooting Scars send Ellie into major mindfuck mode. She doesn't know which way is up, or how to trust Javier, or if Camden will trust her. And really...if she trusts herself. Even through everything that goes on in this book (and there is a lot of action!) I was glad to see KH put a lot of self reflection and self discovery in there for our favorite heroine. Team Ellie anyone?

As these three traverse the cities and wilds of Mexico, I felt myself holding my breath to see what crazy ass thing would happen next. I never knew who on Team Javier could be trusted; for every sketchy thing he did, he also seemed to have legitimately decent and even sometimes helpful ideas too. But Javier's past was just too much for me to overcome so even when I felt a smidge bad for him, I just never felt I could trust him. I found his motives questionable and honestly thought he was lying the entire time...and in retrospect, maybe he was lying through more of the 3 book series than I originally suspected.

Javier, Javier, Javier. He takes this book through several game changers and I think he is even more bipolar than I am. Or he's schizophrenic. As I am now done with my mental health class and I know these things. Right. Kidding. he misunderstood? I'm not sure. But I do know that there are a lot of Team Javier members out there. I'm personally not one of them, but this fucked up love triangle has a lot of chinks in its armor for a reason! 

Camden, on the other hand, I trusted implicitly. I knew he was hurting not only from the bullet to the shoulder but also by Ellie's betrayal. I kept hoping against hope that she would find a way to break through his hurt and make him understand why she did what she did. To his credit, no matter how pissed off he was, he stuck by Ellie and helped her, protected her, and was the friend she needed throughout. 

Camden is my love. I've loved him since Karina posted teaser pics of her idea of the perfect real life him before the first book came out(Um...why haven't I seen these??!!!I SERIOUSLY need to see these...). And I have loved him since he sort of dove down the rabbit hole to further destruction in the last installment. Poor guy cannot get a break. If I had a dollar for every time that Shelley texted "Poor Camden" to me during our reading of this book alone, I could seriously buy a lot of books. Poor Camden. Poor Ellie. Poor Javier. True story.

Ellie. One of my favorite badass heroines ever. I mean I know that she's got this good heart underneath her tough exterior...and I love that she's got it, but is it wrong that I also love how badass she is? In this novel, I think we saw more of the tender Ellie than we've seen before. It seems like her burning hatred and anger aren't her sole motivating factors and she's willing to see herself in the future as someone who can be good...if only Camden will help her get there.

The revenge she has held on to for so long was slipping away in the last book, only to come within her grasp with both hands in Shooting Scars. Is it enough for her? Maybe. Maybe not. The dynamics definitely change this time around, and Ellie while definitely bad ass...becomes even more multi-dimensional in my book! Again...Team Ellie, yes? 
Travis, Gus, and Ellie's mom make appearances on this journey of revenge and redemption. Explosions, chases, killing, gross insects, and bathroom sex do too! Haha. Karina Halle does not hold back and keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way to the end and I loved every second of it. This is a definite must read! Don't forget against a tree sex, down in the mud sex...and oh yeah...lots and lots of explosions and chases and emotion and cartels and badassery. Find out who gets the girl, and who gets even more than they bargained for in the process in the conclusion to this amazing series! (I'm even linking the whole series below, so no excuses!!)

Shelley: 5 Stars
Courtney: 5 Stars

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