Sins & Needles by Karina Halle (The Artists Trilogy #1)
January 25, 2013
Metal Blonde Books
Reviewed by Mandi
Thanks to the girls at Fiction Vixen for recommending this book. It’s a book that I don’t feel like I can do justice in this review. So much happens, there are so many twists and turns and secrets that I can’t reveal. So I’ll do a basic set-up and maybe ramble for a bit about how much I loved this book.
Ellie Watt grew up with con-artist parents. At one point, they made her help with pulling off a con and it went very bad. She ended up with severe scarring on her leg and a bad limp. This injury plus just being a teenager with criminal parents made her the laughing stock at school. There was one boy though who could understand her pain. Camden McQueen was also made fun of because he wore black lip stick and stuck out. They became friends, but the hurt inside Ellie was so much – the hurt to fit in just once, that she one day turns on, making fun of him, and this devastates Camden.
Now in present day, Ellie who is estranged from her parents and hates everything about him, has ironically taken up their lifestyle and has been pulling con after con, and has gotten herself into a bit of trouble. She flees back to her hometown to take refuge at her uncle’s house. He isn’t thrilled she is there, but tells her she can stay for a few days. By chance she runs into Camden – but this is a new Camden. Gone is the goth look, and here is the gorgeous, tattooed look. He actually owns a tattoo shop in town and they get to talking. One look at all of the cash in his register, and she decides to get a little friendlier with him, hoping to be able to sneak in and steal that cash she desperately needs and be on her way. As they start hanging out, she starts having feelings for him again, and thing escalate between them. But inside she is still a con artist, and goes in for the robbery. And the way Camden reacts – whoa.
At this point the book takes a big turn. I honestly thought the whole book would be Ellie falling in love with Camden and trying to decide if she should go through the with the theft. But at the 40 % mark things change. We learn new things about Camden. We learn new things about Ellie. Circumstances change and I became totally intrigued. From that point until the end of the book the action never lets up and I couldn’t put this book down.
There is definitely a romance that develops, but this does end in a cliffhanger. The author has stated that this will be a trilogy and book two comes out this May.
Some things that really stood out for me in this book:
– There are a few short chapters that go back to Ellie’s past, where we get to experience the pain of what happened to her and how her relationship with Camden started and ended. This is pivotal to the story and I’m glad the author included it.
– The pain Ellie experiences, both physically with her scarring and mentally with a messed up childhood and how she harbors such anger and refuses to let it go is well done. You believe that she would totally pull the con on Camden. Camden himself has pain too, but the author reveals it so slowly. You have no idea what kind of person he will turn into. The author takes chances with Camden’s behavior and it pays off really well.
– The book goes from what I thought would be a darker contemporary romance to more of a romantic suspense. The action is really packed in and made me fidget.
– My favorite thing about the book is how much pain these two are in and how they both continue to hurt the other because that is the only thing they know. Once they reach rock bottom, they have to learn to trust each other again (I’m not sure we are even there yet) and learn to let go of their past (definitely not there yet). I can’t wait to see how they will overcome this.
I anxiously await May to continue this story. I really like this author’s voice and found this book to be surprising and a well told story.
** $.99 on kindle through March first.