Review: Sins & Needles Blog Tour

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Sins & Needles Blog TourSins & Needles by Karina Halle
Series: The Artists Trilogy #2
Published by Author on January 24, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Thriller
Pages: 437
Format: eARC
Source: Author

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.

**WARNING** This book contains graphic language, sex and violence. Readers who are sensitive to sexual scenes, violence and a lot of cursing should refrain from reading this book.This is not YA or NA. 18 and above.

First Sentence: “This will be the last time.”

Giselle of Xpresso Reads expressly recommended Sins & Needles to me and suggested I see if there were any slots still open on the blog tour. Karina Halle was magnanimous enough to fit me in. Having heard only good things about Halle’s Experiment in Terror series, The Devil’s Metal, and Sins & Needles, I was almost entirely certain I wouldn’t regret shoe-horning my way into the blog tour. Thankfully, my instincts proved correct, or this would have been really awkward. Sins & Needles is a funny, sexy, dark start to a scintillating new series.

Ellie Watt’s parents were (probably still are, wherever they are) con artists, and they taught Ellie the lifestyle. Now in her twenties, she continues to make the bulk of her money this way, even though she keeps trying to go legit. Ellie makes a very compelling main character, deeply flawed and programmed into a number of very destructive behaviors. Even with new incentives to live an honest life, she finds the con hard to resist, because it’s so much easier and it’s what she’s used to doing. I really love that Halle showed what a far-reaching, nigh inescapable impact has on Ellie.

Part of the way Halle cleverly establishes Ellie’s character is through flashbacks. The flashbacks go back to high school, when Ellie first new Camden. In them and in Ellie’s other references to her past, she refers to herself as “the girl,” as though speaking of someone else. Ellie has lived under several identities in her life, and she feels a disconnection from her actual self; they allow her to escape and pretend to be someone new, someone over the past. In actuality, though, Ellie cannot truly escape the past until she faces it head-on and overcomes her fears and hang-ups.

Camden and Ellie’s past puts a really interesting spin on what might otherwise be an overly stereotypical romance. Sexy, daring, damaged Ellie and gorgeous, guitar-playing, hot-bod-having Camden were best friends for a while; in fact, they had no other friends. Ellie, beautiful though she is, was teased mercilessly for her odd walk, a side effect of the devastating scars she always keeps hidden. Camden was a goth, wearing full makeup with long hair and a huge black jacket, and was called Camden the Queen, a cruel play on his last name McQueen. There’s more to Camden and Ellie’s past than that, but I’ll leave it for you to find out for yourself. Suffice it to say that their past is complicated and adds complexities to their relationship, and also allows for a completely amazing thrift store date.

Much as I do like Camden and Ellie, and even like them together, I do feel that I could have bought into their relationship more strongly had they had a few more days together. The timeline moves very quickly, and I felt like they progressed a bit too quickly. The romance is good, but I think a slow burn would have had more impact, at least for me.

Now, I am not the kind of person who particularly cares for tattoos and piercings, largely because they both involve *gulps* needles *SHUDDERS*, but Halle does make them sound pretty damn sexy. I love the way Camden views the world and how he sees beauty, representing it in tattoos and other forms of art. Ellie’s music note tattoo is also really cool, though her motivations for getting it are less so.

Oh, also, I love the pop culture references throughout. I am such a sucker for a good pop culture reference. The band Calexico comes up a lot, and I’m actually listening to them as I write this. From what I hear, Halle does this quite a bit in her other books as well, so I am excited about that.

Sins & Needles made for a lovely respite from all the YA I read. If you’re looking for a sexy, darkly funny read, I highly recommend Halle’s newest work. The humor and sexiness remind me of the the Stephanie Plum series, only with more serious issues and character development, which is my way of saying that I think that Sins & Needles has a huge potential fanbase. Personally, I know I’ll be planning to read Shooting Scars, the next book in the trilogy, when it comes out, and perhaps some other Halle books in the meantime, schedule permitting.

Favorite Quote:

“‘So does that mean you’re neat and tidy, since you’re a woman?’
I scrunched up my face. ‘Are you kidding? I used to buy paper plates just so I wouldn’t have to do the dishes. My idea of vacuuming is borrowing someone’s dog for the day and having them eat all the crap from the floor.'”

14 responses to “Review: Sins & Needles Blog Tour”

  1. Giselle says:

    Yay I’m so happy you liked it! Ellie is one of my fav protagonists ever she’s just so broken and real! I loved how she showed the flashbacks as a disconnection from herself I really thought it fit perfectly. And Camden makes some mean steaks! >.< Her EiT is good too I only read the first one but EVERYONE who has read the whole series say it gets pretty epic! So I can’t wait to finish it when I find time, too. I wish instead of sleeping, we could read and it would have the same effect!

    • Christina says:

      Ellie really is awesome, and she’s not the typical protag at all. She’s good at heart, but so used to being a kind of terrible person that she can’t follow her heart. It’s so sad, because you can see through to how she could have been if her parents hadn’t messed her up so thoroughly.

      Those steaks. I LOVED that he pouted at the steaks. Bahaha.

      I’ve heard that, and I have the first one on my Kindle (well, now my mom’s kindle). Maybe I’ll learn how to do that sometime. I could do so much with 6-10 more hours to read!

  2. I LOVE THE QUOTE you picked!! It’s one of my favorites too! I’m glad you liked it even though this is not your normal genre to read. Really well written review! I know this book like the back of my hand so it’s wonderful to see it from another perspective. πŸ˜€

    I love all the music references too. It helped me discover some bands I didn’t know.

    • Christina says:

      Ha, yes! I loved the snarky humor of Ellie’s. That’s part of what made her so much fun to read about. πŸ™‚

      Were all of the bands real bands (except Camden’s)?

  3. Now that all of my friends have read and liked it, I just _have_ to read it! Your review was really detailed and thought-out, and it certainly is encouraging to a reader who is straddling the fence on this one.

    I understand exactly what you mean about ::shudders:: needles… I have a few tattoos in mind if I’m ever brave enough, and I can imagine that this book might send me over the edge. Haha.

    Think I’ll bump this up in my R&R pile! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! <3

    • Christina says:

      Oh yay, I’m glad you’re going to read it. Though this gets a bit more romance novel than is typically my style, I really did like it a lot. I flew through the pages.

      I will never get a tattoo or a piercing. *shudders more*


  4. So happy you liked this one too! Don’t you want a steak? I want a steak all the damn time now and I don’t even eat it.

    I really liked how Ellie wasn’t your typical female character and that their romance had so many twists to it. I’m really curious to see where this one will go in the next one! Great review!

    • Christina says:

      You don’t eat steak? O_o I do want some steak. OM NOM NOM

      Yes, I loved the twist in the middle. I thought it might be coming, but it was still awesome. She went there!

  5. Audra says:

    I think I want to read this although I’m not sure I can do a novel in which our hero is named ‘Camden’. What guy in his 20s (I presume he’s twenty-ish) would be named Camden anyway?

  6. I actually own TWO of Halle’s books (jeez, is that woman prolific? She has a list of books a mile long on Goodreads!)but haven’t read either. I have GOT to start reading the books I OWN. Anyway…

    I DO like music themes and tatted up book boys, and lately I have been reading more adult fiction (still love my YA but it’s nice to read “grown up” books too) so I’m checking this one out soon. And I am definitely bumping up the two I do own already in my reading pile:)

    • Christina says:

      She is pretty prolific, but I’ve heard good things about all of them. *shrugs*

      I should be reading books I own too.

      Sounds like you really should read this. πŸ™‚

  7. Renae M. says:

    Oh yay, glad you liked this! I’m still pretty tentative with trying indie pubs because I have bad luck, but Halle is definitely a well-respected author in my corner of the blogging world. Though I must say that pop culture references are one of my pet peeves (yes I’m weird)β€”really get my goat no matter how relevant they are. We shall see, I suppose!

    • Christina says:

      Hmmm, I don’t know if this would be your thing. You might be better off with her horror books from what I can tell. I don’t know that romance is really your style.

      I’m sure your not the only one who doesn’t go for pop culture references. I’m just a total whore for them, or at least ones I’m familiar with.

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