Goodreads Summary: 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.Goodreads / Barnes and Noble
Genre: Adult, Romance
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Source: Purchased e-book
First Line: "This will be the last time."
Favorite Quote: "He was like a living, breathing painting on an all-male canvas."
This is going to be one of those horrible times when I waited way too long to write a decent review for something I finished days upon days ago. I'm already about halfway into the sequel to Sins & Needles, so I may even get things from the two mixed up. This is why I should write reviews immediately after finishing. Curse my laziness. Anyway, from what I remember I ended up really enjoying this. I should have been getting to other things because this is an e-book I can read whenever I want to, but I was in the mood for something darker and contemporary, so this was just what I needed. It engages your attention from the very beginning; I can't recall another story that opens up to the main character being suffocated with a pool stick by an angry dude who ordered a mail order bride.
Honestly, it is a bit difficult to feel sympathy for Ellie in the beginning. She lies, cons and cheats. She does have a few principles, but she has no problem stealing money and going from "paycheck" to "paycheck". Obviously I had some reservations about her as a character. I was especially irked towards her when she decides to go stay with her Uncle Jim and direct her life back on the straight and narrow - no more conning - but ends up saying "screw it" about three seconds into asking for an honest job application. Pretty much no effort was put into that whatsoever. There are periodic flashbacks sprinkled throughout the story, so as I got to know her some sadness for her life story eventually made an appearance. Basically her parents behaved the exact same way Ellie does currently, so that's what she grew up doing. I also questioned her for getting involved with Javier in the past, because the guy's not exactly a good example of high moral character. He's a drug lord. However, later on it's revealed that Ellie was with him for a certain reason, not just because of attraction at first (though that did come later).
Halle's writing has that addictive quality that I don't come across often enough lately. Her books seem to be on the short side, but they say exactly what needs to be said and honestly I couldn't tear through the whole thing fast enough. The main love interest of the story, Camden McQueen, is definitely worth mentioning. I don't normally go for the whole lots-and-lots of tattoos thing, but I built quite a lovely mental picture of him. He was so sweet in the beginning, and paired with the fact that he knew Ellie in high school, I was really rooting for the two of them as a couple. The chemistry between them was sexy and believable. I was surprised by the drastic change in their relationship about a third of the way into Sins & Needles, but not in a bad way. Things seemed to get much more intense between them from that point on. Almost immediately after Ellie mentioned her past relationship with Javier, I knew that he was going to enter back into her life at some point. I could just feel it; therefore I wasn't surprised when he finally found her. However, that particular aspect of predictability didn't bother me at all. I applauded Ellie for having some standards and leaving him when he cheated (though perhaps it wasn't the smartest idea to keep his car).
Halle ends the novel on a bit of a cliffhanger; actually, it's all pretty abrupt. I hear the ending of Shooting Stars is even worse, so I wanted to start it a little later on, when Bold Tricks was already out. However, like I mentioned before, I just had to immediately get the sequel because of the addictive-ness found here. I seriously wish The Artists Trilogy weren't just e-books - I'd love to have paperback copies. I've seen people switching over to Team Javier, and at this point I'm pretty baffled by that. And that's coming from someone who usually falls for the anti-hero if he's portrayed as a love interest. So I can only assume something happens later on that makes him more appealing. Sins & Needles was definitely worth picking up and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a quick read.
Books in this series:
0.5 On Every Street
1. Sins & Needles
2. Shooting Stars
3. Bold Tricks
Badass Book Reviews
Book Chick City