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).
This is the 1st book in the trilogy. It is followed by the novella On Every Street (released in March 2013) and the sequel Shooting Scars (released in May 2013). The third and final book in the series will also be released in 2013.***
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love tattoos so it was fun to read about a tattoo artist, the fact that he is schmexy and tattooed also helps! Sins & Needles tells us the story of Ellie Watt, a con artist/gypsy with a bad rep and a bad leg and Camden McQueen, awkward goth teen turned gorgeous tattoo artist. Ellie and Camden were two lost souls in high school that had bonded and formed a unique friendship. When peer pressure became more important than that friendship the two parted on bad terms, humiliating each other in more ways than one.
Years later, Ellie is on the run. She is hiding from her past and trying to start over again, hopefully with a clean slate.
“I’d give anything to be normal, to live a normal life, to be like everyone else.”
The last thing she expected upon her return home was running into Camden of all people. I thought it was sweet how they ran into each other, quite literally, at a coffee shop and that he remembered her after all those years. As they catch up, Ellie forms a plan to essentially rob Camden blind and then disappear for good. I could understand why she wanted to do it, I guess I was ok with where the plot was going…I mean this is who Karina Halle has built her up to be. But what would happen if she started to have feelings for him? He clearly still likes her and he is soooooo sweet. While talking about Ellie’s scars he tells her they are like art.
“Like an abstract painting. You can find art and beauty in everything, if you look hard enough. But your beauty is just staring you in the face.”
I enjoyed the way Ellie and Camden were with each other, old friends reuniting and having that relationship blossom into something else. I thought for sure that Ellie would change her mind. Oh no, not that girl….I wanted to wring her neck! I mean here is this guy that really cares for you and you are still planning to double cross him…I was pissed! Well, she gets caught and the gloves come off. I don’t want to give too much away (it’s so hard because I was sooooo angry at this point). Camden is not who I thought he was or could be. He plans to blackmail Ellie for her help. This begins the adventure of a life time for these two. Camden wants to disappear for ever, Ellie wants to start over, it should all be perfect.
When Ellie’s past love finds her the chase is on. It’s not as romantic as it seems. Javier is a scary, manipulative guy who means business and brings nothing but trouble. The situation forces Ellie and Camden to reevaluate their plan to run and their feelings for each other. Camden may say that he hates Ellie but I could tell it wasn’t true, his sweet side kept showing itself.
“You’re not bad Ellie. The world is bad and you’re just trying to survive in it.”
As they encounter danger and lies they need to figure out who they can trust and what they need to do. We are left with somewhat of a cliffhanger and now I cannot wait to read On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy #0.5) and Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2).
Karina Halle has given us a well written story. The way that she weaves her “then” and “now” sections into her chapters is perfect. She gives you the information that you need to now about their past to better understand what they are feeling in the present. Cleverly done for sure!
“I might end up loving this man, I thought as his lips caressed the skin of my throat. It would be so easy to do.“
Sins & Needles —> Amazon
On Every Street —> Amazon
Shooting Scars —> Amazon
Karina is represented by Scott Waxman of the Waxman Leavell Literary Agency
The daughter of a Norwegian Viking and a Finnish Moomin, Karina Halle grew up in Vancouver, Canada with trolls and eternal darkness on the brain. This soon turned into a love of all things that go bump in the night and a rather sadistic appreciation for freaking people out. Like many of the flawed characters she writes, Karina never knew where to find herself and has dabbled in acting, make-up artistry, film production, screenwriting, photography, travel writing and music journalism. She eventually found herself in the pages of the very novels she wrote (if only she had looked there to begin with).
Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiance and rescue pup.