Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1) by Karina Halle

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.

Type: Dark Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

Amazon All Romance Goodreads
Ahhh a nice gritty read about some truly fucked up people. Damn but I love books like that. Sins & Needles was quite the ride as Ellie--who's been grifting and on the run from her ex for years--decides to change her con artist ways and start fresh in her home town. Of course things are never as simple as that and another man from her past sends her life careening down a different path--one filled with all sorts of drama, revenge and danger. Gah! I love it!

The basic gist is that love can pretty much fuck you up and life is gloriously messy. Or at least it is for this set of individuals...

Ellie--a 'maybe trying to reform herself' con artist

Javier--the ex she's running from that's part of a drug cartel and hunting her and is just a touch obsessive and will shoot you dead and not blink twice over it

and Camden--an ex friend from her youth that she wronged, that's always loved her but wants revenge and that needs her help

So, yeah, they are all gloriously fucked up and so make you think 'lord, how do you manage to get yourself in these situations' Whew boy! Amazing what some lies and deceit can land you in. Their lives are a serious train wreck but I just couldn't look away as they all battled it out and wound up on a cross country chase.

As messed up as he was...I'm totally #TeamCamden. Dear Lord, I so wouldn't mind rubbing all over that man. -----> 6 feet of angry, tattooed, pierced and muscled bad boy. *thud* Okay, so some crazy popped out every once in a while with him as he and Ellie go on the run again but damn I loved his character. He's got his hands in all types of art--tattoo artist, painter, wood crafts, musician. And he's been in love with Ellie longer than they can remember but has some anger over how she treated him years earlier--rightfully so because damn she was a bitch. It really gave him a bit of a scary edge but in an almost good way? I loved when he was sweet but loved when he got down and nasty just as much.

Ellie though, man, she took me all over the place. She's really been quite the bitch in her life. She makes excuses and feels justified in pretty much everything she does because she had a hard childhood. And, for me, it makes her pretty unlikable a lot of the time. But you can almost see her changing and growing during the story which I really liked. Yeah, she still screws up and it's extremely slow going but by the end she won me over.
"I gotta be honest here. I'm starting to feel a bit like Cinderella or something."

"Well, I'm certainly not your Prince Charming," he said, gathering up the other dresses. His arms flexed beautifully against his black t-shirt.

"Thank god for that," I told him, feeling bold. "Prince Charming never had your body or your tattoos."

"Or my cock," he shot in, grinning wickedly.

I bit my lip as my eyes traveled to his crotch and back. "If he did, Cinderella definitely wouldn't have gone home at midnight."

"And how late are we staying out tonight?" he asked.
So far I'm really liking The Artists Trilogy. The writing's gritty and captivating. There's some action and danger and the characters are all pretty unpredictable in their insane predictability. Hmm, does that make sense? There are a couple spots in the writing that tripped me up but really it wasn't too bad and could have been due to being an ARC. Some surprises along the way and a killer ending have me antsy to see what happens next with Ellie, Camden and Javier....or whatever names they happen to be using at the time. If you like things a little dark and twisty with a side of crazy Sins & Needles is one not to miss.

Have you read Karina Halle? What did you think?
Do you like when your characters are just a little bit bad and have questionable morals?

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