Title: Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1)
Author: Karina Halle
Genre: Contemporary Romance,
Format: eBook from Author
Buy: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
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.
Sins & Needles created hype from the moment Karina announced she'll be writing a contemporary romance, then again when the cover was revealed, then again when the first few teasers were released, then again when the book was released, then again when reviews started rolling in, and the hype is still going on and on. I am thrilled I got to be part of it all as both Karina's Cover Artist and one of her Advance Readers.
Since I'm currently in a reading slump, I don't know if it's because of stress or my lack of time to read. But when I did get a chance to read, I was so glad it was to pick up Sins & Needles. It's one of those books that takes you from your boring reality into another reality that is dark, and gloomy just like a life with no ties, no friends, and no family you can trust, just an illusion of freedom and the faint haunting of your real name keeping you company in the darkest depths of your mind.
That's the best way to describe Ellie Watt without giving away too much. Ellie Watt is our kickbutt protagonist, she's a con-artist. And she's so unpredictable even her family (meaning her uncle) is wary. Though I felt a connection with her character and loved her bluntness and attitude. I somehow saw more of her weak side. She's lost, scared, lonely, in pain, and so many other things. But there's
something about Ellie, that makes you wish you could do something to help her.
Luckily for us, Camden McQueen, her old friend from highschool shows up, transformed from a goth into a hunky, geeky successful tattoo-artist. The moment they were reunited, you begin to feel the tension between them and it doesn't stop there. It continues on until the end of the book. Camden has his own set of ghosts and it's almost as bad as Ellie's.
Ellie is on the run from her criminal ex-boyfriend, and with that came the car chases, murder, kidnappings, fights, and a whole lot of other rich gang activities. It's frightening, but Ellie keeps it together, well almost. Ellie and Camden has one escape and that's each other. When they're together and being happy, it's almost like they're normal.
As for the writing style, I'm in awe at how flexible Karina's it is. One moment she's writing about running away and filming all the paranormal stuff that happens to people, the next she's writing about being on the road in a band tour bus and now, she's writing about being a con-artist on the run. Karina, I know you'll be reading this, and right now... I'm bowing down to your brilliance. You never cease to amaze your readers.
Overall, Sins & Needles is one roller coaster ride filled with plot twists, unpredictability and a whole lot of jaw dropping moments, including the giant cliffhanger at the ending. If I could, I would send this book to all big movie productions, in hopes that it'll be read and be turned into an awesome movie production. Talk about climbing ladders! I think Karina skipped a few steps because this book is by far one of the best contemporary romances I've ever read.