Series: The Artists Trilogy (Book 1)
Author: Karina Halle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Sins and Needles.....the title says it all! It's one of those books you pick up because your crazy group of Goodreads friends can't stop gushing about how Awe-Some it is so you give it a try. Well little did I know what type of ride I was in for when I started. To say I was initially disappointed is an understatement. The book started out slow for me, and being the inpatient person that I am and because I have little tolerance for flashback scenes that tells the backstory, I almost gave up before things got good. Well I'm really glad I powered through because when things picked up in this book, they shot through the roof!
Ellie Watt is the daughter of grifter parents and spent most of her early childhood playing a role in her parent's grifting schemes .....that is until one of their cons doesn't end well and Ellie gets hurt. To keep Ellie safe....or really for more selfish reasons, Ellie's parents abandon her to her uncle in the small town of Palm Valley, California where she stays until she is 18 and blows town to run her own scams.
While going through the tragedy of middle and high school, Ellie meets and befriends Camden McQueen....not to be confused with Lighting McQueen from Cars hee hee. Camden is the son of the town's sheriff and also the town's "weirdo" who's also goth, loves black, wears black lipstick, and wears a black trench coat (yes even in the summer). Camden has a serious crush on Ellie and befriends her even though her parents left their stamp on the small town and thus left their mark on Ellie. The two remain semi-friends until Ellie makes a fool of Camden to get in with the "mean girls" in school. I know sounds like a cheesy YA book but it gets better.
The book picks up with Ellie returning home to Palm Valley after she has run out of money and cons, and for like the 815th time in her life, she has pledged to walk the straight and narrow. In addition, Ellie's been on the run for years from the man she gave her heart to but got it back broken so she did the only thing she knew to do.....steals a boatload of his cash and his favorite car before she runs. Thus Ellie has pledged to clean up her life, let go of the scams and try to settle down. Well that pledged only lasts for about 4.5 seconds after she meets the adult and beautiful version of Camden and discovers he is a successful owner of a tattoo parlor. Cue Ellie throwing her pledge out the window and formulating a con to take Camden's money....but not before she test drives the goods that is Camden and discovers the beauty of what could be.
What really worked for me in this book is Halle does not frak around and try to spoon feed you bull about how people raised on the wrong sides of the track can change, and that change is easy and then Voila they are a good person...really awe no! Real life for people raised on the wrong side of the tracks doesn't work out that way, and even though some make it to the end of the fraking rainbow it is a nasty ugly struggle that is often plagued with backslides and consistent walking a thin line before change happens. Halle paints the perfect picture of what it's really like and does justice to the reality of having been raised in a life of crime and the internal battles that ensue.
The other part of what worked for me in this book was both Camden and Ellie have internal scars put there by their parents. Each character in their own way have clear intentions of pretending those scars don't exist and that they are not ruled by the decisions and actions of their parents, but alas they are both flawed! Ellie's flawed both physically and mentally. One of the best scenes in the book is when Camden calls Ellie on her bull of punishing the world for mistakes made by her parents.
You think because of your leg and your scars that gives you a right to punish people? Rob people? Cheat, scam and steal? You think you can use that to justify what you do for a living?Sins and Needles took me on a emotional ride. It was gut wrenching, heartbreaking, confusing, and all out intense! The ending leaves you with a major cliff hanger surrounding circumstances where you have no idea whether the villain is really a villain, or if his intentions are good. The next installment Shooting Scars is already out, and I can't wait to see what happens. Halle is inventive so I'm sure she will weave a tangled web where I still won't have a clue whether I will remain team Camellie or if I'm jumping sides to root for the villain. My stomach hurts just thinking about it. The villain made a move that I'm not even sure he can come back from but I guess, we'll see.......
You're afraid to come to peace with your scars, because the minute you do, the minute you accept them, you have to let go of your anger. You have to let go of your quest. And then who would you be? ~Camden to Ellie Sins and Needles by Karina Halle
I'm giving this one a solid 5 notes and 4 flames. Laters Chickies!