Feb 24, 2013

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

Buy The Book:

 About The Author:

Contemporary Romance/ Mystery/ Adult

Summary on GOODREADS:

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 (The Artists Trilogy #0.5) (released in March 2013) and the sequel Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2) (released in May 2013). The third and final book in the series will also be released in 2013.***



“What happens to love when it turns to hate?”

Some books simply DESERVE to be reviewed, because of their awesomeness and I'm very happy to say that this is one of those books. I heard a lot about this author and her awesomeness even before this book and I*m here to confirm it. She is also the the author of "Experiment In Terror" Series which many of my friends on GR read and love and after reading this book I definitely plan to read them too. The minute I saw the cover and the title I knew that this will be my type of read and that I had to have it and then I read the summary and was immediately hyperventilating to get my hands on it. I don*t know what is it about me and these dark, hyper-emotional and heart-wrenching reads, I don*t have "daddy or mommy issues", but I just know that I crave them like ice-cream and they are my favorite "flavor". This book was just like that. From the very beginning it pulls you in her little fucked-up world and doesn*t let you leave until you  find out all her dirty, little secrets.

So let me introduce you a bit to the story :
The main character is a 26 year old woman called Ellie Watt. Immediately, at the beginning of the story we find out that Ellie isn*t an ordinary girlie-girl, especially when it comes to her "profession", because you see- Ellie is a con artist taught by her parents in her early age and she excels at it. She leads a very dangerous and adventurous life, picking out her rich "victims" online, stealing their money and moving from place to place, every time with a new name and a new face. Her lifestyle made her a lone wolf; she doesn*t have any real friends or boyfriend, because her life is based on lies and deceives and she never sticks around in one place long enough to lead a normal life. She doesn*t like the way she lives, in fact she hates it and both hates herself and especially her run-away and wanted parents for turning out the way she did, always thinking that her next fraud would be also her last one, just a little more money to steal and then she*ll quit and finally try to lead a normal life, but every time something unexpected comes up and blows up all her chances at it.

"I was used to running and always kept a spare life in the trunk. Spare clothes, spare driver’s licenses, spare Social Security Numbers, and a spare tire. As soon as I felt like I was a comfortable distance away, I’d pull into a motel under a new name. I’d change the plates on my car. Yes, Jose wasn’t the most inconspicuous of vehicles, but I was sentimental about the car. After all, it wasn’t even mine."

“Get a bunch of desperate men to fall in love with you. Tell them you’d love to meet them, fuck them, marry them, but you’re stuck in Russia and don’t have the funds to leave the country to do so. Get them to give you the funds. Close down your OK Cupid account. Simple as that.”

From the minute I started to read about and getting to know Ellie, I got this picture of her in my head  which stayed in my mind through the whole book, even though the author pictured her a bit different. In my fantasy world she took the face of this actress I really like- Shannyn Sossamon.

"I wasn’t ugly by any means. I had my mother’s Estonian features, which meant high cheekbones, heart-shaped lips, and dark, hooded eyes. But my beauty was always more of a “hey, I never actually realized how pretty you were.” If I was just standing in the corner of a room, your eyes would pass over me. I’d go unnoticed. And I liked that. If I was walking, well that was another story."

 “Why are you so afraid of me?” I asked him softly. I thought he’d look perplexed at the question but he only looked chagrined. “I’ve always been afraid of you, little Hellie. You’ve got something dark inside you, you always have. I don’t want to be around when it comes out.

I don*t know why, maybe because she is described like a girl whom you wouldn*t define as your typical beauty, but the girl that has that special something, a girl you look at for the first time and see a story in her eyes you wish you knew. That kind of girl was Ellie for me.
Me and her had a love and hate relationship. There were times when I really liked her, because no matter how broken and fucked-up she is, no matter her criminal life, after you hear her story, you understand and in a way justify everything she did, good or bad, but they were also times when her behavior and insecurities really frustrated me, especially when it comes to Camden and I didn*t feel bad for her at all when she, let*s say-got exactly what she deserved, but she won me over completely in the second half of the book and especially in the end. I simply have a big soft spot for these broken characters and always wish them to have their HEA no matter what.

So, at the beginning of the story Ellie finds herself again in a deep and life-endangering trouble and needs to disappear where none of the dangerous people would find her and what a better place to hide than the town she grew up and left many years ago. Going back to her town also means taking back her real identity, becoming Ellie Watt again, a person who none of the people she crossed ever got to know, a person who won*t be welcomed warmly by her once time neighbors.
Why is that, you ask? Well, the biggest reason for that are her parents who did smth really bad and had to escape from the town leaving her with her uncle and by doing that they marked her as a weird and unwanted child of criminals in everyone*s eyes. Unfortunately, as if that wasn*t enough, the event which lead to their disappearance also marked her in a different and for her much worse way- smth bad happened that day which left her legs covered in big scars and caused her limping.
You can imagine that she wasn*t the most popular girl in the school, actually the school was her own personal hell.

Already she’d earned the nicknames “Sir-Limps-A-Lot” (which didn’t make much sense considering her gender), “The Gimp,” and “Crippled Cow.”

To her, there was nothing as humiliating as walking along the side of a road. People had no choice but to stare at her 
as she went past, and she could almost hear what they were all thinking. “I wonder what happened to her. Why does she walk so funny? Why is she wearing jeans when it’s one hundred degrees outside?” She could see their curious stares as they drove past, see them forming the judgements in their heads.

People made fun of her and her "disability" and imagine what that does to a young girl.
The only person who was always on her side and her only true friend was Camden McQueen, a young gothic kind with long, messy hair, black lipstick and eye-shadow or in other people*s eyes- another "weirdo" and an unavoidable bully material. It was a long time ago when I fell in love with a fictional character, but this guy totally won me over in spite of his "Dumbo ears", Gothic style and his dark and a bit aggressive side (yes- the fact that he later on turns to a hot and sexy tattoo artist/ rock band member definitely helps out ;D). I tried to find a picture that could come close to the way I imagined him, but it was impossible. I guess, nothing comes close to my wild imagination lol, but back to the story (P.S. So glad that the author didn*t describe him as another replica of our famous Ian Somerhalder like everyone else these days. I really think I would give up reading if she did.) So, Ellie and Camden  had it really bad in high school, always on the radar of the high-school bullies. My heart was breaking for them and the things they had to go through. I can*t stand bullies and feel sorry for the poor kids who have to deal with it every day in real life. It makes me angry when the "big boys" take it on the weaker ones. The only thing that made it easier for them two was their innocent and beautiful friendship which was starting to develop into smth more, until Ellie does smth and ruins it for good and things start to fall apart from that moment. 

 “You’re a bad person, Ellie,” he said without a trace of irony. She watched him carefully, like a trap ready to spring. “I’m not bad. The world is bad and I’m just trying to survive in it.” He smiled, both sad and self-righteous. “And that’s why I chose you,” he whispered, leaning in so close she had to flatten against the locker.

“Do you think because you can’t see my scars that they don’t exist? That’s the trouble with pain, Ellie. If you’re lucky, you can wear it for all the world to see. Most people have their pain deep inside, in places no one ever goes. Not until it’s too late.”
So Ellie is back in her town and it seems that nothing has changed- she still is and feels unwelcome, even her uncle is scared of her and wants her gone as soon as possible, but to do that Ellie needs money, so she could disappear for good and start somewhere fresh and clean and she needs it fast and the only job she knows will make it possible in such a short time is the one she promised herself she*ll quit. Things get even more complicated when she bumps in the one person she never thought will see again- Camden McQueen. She didin*t even recognize him at first, because he doesn*t exactly look as the gothic weirdo she remembers, actually he turned out quite well =)).
He is a changed man, both physically and mentally, has a small fortune in the bank and there are rumors about him gaining that money by working with some suspicious people and what*s weirdest is that he acts very friendly to Ellie, like nothing happened since the last time he saw her .
Ellie*s thoughts about Camden are mixed. He says and does things that completely blow her mind, but no matter what, she knows that she can*t stick around and is afraid to open herself to someone, because the last time she did-she got burned pretty bad.

And so there I was, standing outside the house of a guy who knew me when I was still redeemable. Someone who had known me and my parents. Knew exactly what I was and where I came from. Someone who was asking me out on a date to see his show. And I was thinking two things: one, I couldn’t afford to befriend anyone, let alone someone I wouldn’t mind seeing naked, and two,  how much cash could I take from him before I hated myself?
“I don’t want you to see.” Suddenly he was down on his knees, and though there were a few inches between us, he was closer than he’d ever been. “I don’t care, Ellie,” he said determinedly. I kept shaking my head, unable to form words, unable to tell him how I was feeling. I just wanted him to go away and leave me alone, let me get dressed in peace. I wanted to run. I wanted the darkness to swallow me whole. “You know how I feel about your scars. They only make you more beautiful,” he whispered, now stroking the side of my face. His eyes were searching mine, begging me to open up but the fear was so big and so damn real. “You’ve never seen my scars.” My voice was barely audible, even in my own head. “No, I haven’t. But I’ve seen what they’ve made you.”

And that*s just the beginning of this wonderful and captivating story.
Can Ellie finally let go of the pain and fears and open herself to someone?
Is Camden really so "innocent and forgiving" as he seems? What happens when your past and worse nightmares find you?

Now, for all of you wondering: was this book way-too-hot? - Let me assure you that it definitely was! I wouldn*t define it as erotica, this is one of those books were the story builds up to that special moment and I prefer these kind of reads, but boy, those rare, but explosive moments were smoking hot!!! The chemistry between Camden and Ellie was...hm...let*s just say it made me want to join a golf club which I considered one of the most boring sports in the world until this book (when you read the book, you*ll get it ;).) And I just loved the ending, even though I wanted to hunt the author to give me the sequel right away, because you see, lucky for us all- this is going to be a series and the author plans to publish 3 more books, all in this year, one of which would be a prequel to this story. Camden, baby, I*ll be waiting for you !!!
He glared up at me. “You’re so afraid, Ellie Watt. You’re afraid to show the world what you’re really like. 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?”


  1. Love this review , Iva!:)
    P.S. We miss you!:(

    1. Thanks Boss =D!!!
      Miss you guys too :*


We love comments, so feel free to write to us. We try to respond to every single one and to comment back on your blog, if you have one.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...