Sins & Needles by Karina Halle
Series: The Artists Trilogy #1
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: January 15, 2013
Format: eBook, 438 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
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Ellie Watt is used to starting over. The daughter of a grifting team, Ellie spent her childhood being used as a pawn in her parents' latest scam. Now she’s much older, wiser and ready to give her con artist life a rest. But returning to the dry desert town of Palm Valley, California means one more temptation than she bargained for – Camden McQueen. Once known as the high school weirdo, Camden is bigger and badder than the boy he used to be and a talented tattoo artist with his own thriving business. Ellie’s counting on Camden still being in love with her but what she’s not counting on is how easily unrequited love can turn into obsession over time. When Camden discovers Ellie’s plan to con him, he makes her a deal she doesn’t dare refuse, but her freedom comes with a price and it’s one that takes both Ellie and Camden down a dangerous road.
***The Artists Trilogy is a dark and sexy contemporary ride about three flawed individuals caught in a world where it's so easy to justify the bad things we do. This is a pure adult read (Not YA or NA).
It’s been well over a month since I finished this book and I still don’t even know how to write this review. My mind is still all over the place after this wild ride. Full confession: I just finished the third and final book in the series a couple days ago and I *still* can’t form coherent thoughts. When I think about this series, which I’m doing a lot because it rocked my world THAT much, all I can think is single words. Words like “wow,” “shit,” and “fuck.” Sometimes an “incredible” or even a “mind-blowing” will pop in there. But, mostly it’s profanity. Yep, this book… this series… is THAT good.
It’s difficult to pinpoint what I loved so much about this book because there are so many things that pop to mind immediately. First, it was completely unlike the books I generally read. I’m used to flawed characters, secrets, lies, manipulation, passion and redonkulously steamy sex scenes, but I don’t typically read books about drug cartels and *real* con artists. I’m accustomed to tattooed bad boys with hearts of gold (and not!) but nothing prepared me for Camden. This isn’t the first book with an unlikable main female character, but Ellie still stood out. Then there’s the writing. Good God, Karina Halle knows how to write a story. This book was intense, action-filled and passionate, but it also came with a fair amount of emotions I didn’t think I would be experiencing. By the end, I was as broken as the characters.
The characters were complex and layered and bucked the stereotypes. They were so complicated. Like I said, I didn’t love Ellie right away. I grew to love her over the course of the book however. She’s a con artist and she’s damn good at what she does. When she returns to her hometown and finds super successful Camden, her friend and crush from high school, she can’t help herself. She sees money and wants it. What begins as a huge con turns into so much more. Camden was so fucking sexy and sweet, I was furious with Ellie for trying to manipulate him. Their love seemed so real, I couldn’t understand why she would want to throw it away. I wanted to reach into the pages and shake her. But then, come to find out, Camden isn’t quite as perfect as I thought. They’re both harboring secrets and they were imperfectly perfect together.
If you’re like me and you’ve seen this book around, but put off reading it for some reason, don’t put it off anymore. I could kick myself for waiting so long to read it. Of course, I didn’t have to sweat out the wait between books because all three of them had been published by the time I started the series. That’s a huge bonus because, holy crap, I wanted to dive into the next book as soon as I finished this one.
Oh, and one more thing. Team Camden. Absolutely no question.