Thursday, 22 September 2016

Review: Sins & Needles by Karina Halle

Title: Sins & Needles
Series: The Artists Trilogy #1
Author: Karina Halle
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Pages: 338
Genres: Romance, Suspense

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.
A thoroughly enjoyable story about a con artist and a tattoo artist in the deserts of California and Nevada. I adore desert settings and it was just perfect as the backdrop, so exquisitely atmospheric. It was ridiculous. Many songs were mentioned throughout which actually provided a good playlist to listen to whilst reading to further set the tone. The story is quite dark and gritty. There is just something about the desert that suits tough childhoods and seedy realities.

The main character is the con artist, Ellie and she has just come back to the fictional town of Palm Valley, California where she spent the majority of her childhood. Ellie is running from her ex-boyfriend Javier who is a dangerous guy; she is certainly damaged by her upbringing and I am not sure what exactly motivates her. Her past and her life as a con artist was really interesting to read about but she is a bit of an enigma and I couldn't quite work her out. Hopefully her character will develop as the series goes on.

Camden, on the other hand, is the tattoo artist who is much more than what he seems. I loved the fact that he was an ugly duckling in high school and he certainly has a lot of hidden depths. I just know there is a lot more to his backstory than he admitted in this first book. My only complaint really about the Camden/Ellie situation was the steamy scenes. They were very graphic and robotic, I really wish that they were written with a bit more finesse. Saying that, this was no erotica - there was maybe two sex scenes in the entire book so not too bad really.

There was a couple of plot twists that surprised me and it ended on a huge cliffhanger; despite that, I didn't immediately feel the burning desire to pick up the next book in the series but I am definitely curious and will continue on with the series. I would highly recommend Sins & Needles to readers who want an edgy and adult romantic suspense set in the desert.

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