Writing style: 6/10
Character building: 9/10
Steam factor: 9/10
My Opinionated Review
Sins & Needles is a refreshing contemporary romance with a darker twist and well, who doesn’t love a great con artist story?
I was meaning to pick up this book for a long time. After seeing all the good reviews on Goodreads, my expectations were quite high. I guess that was my mistake, I expected too much, therefore finding a few problems along the way was bound to happen. However, despite that, I truly enjoyed this book, the story was captivating and intense, characters – so wonderfully messed up, and the romance – hot.
Meet Ellie Watt, she is a con artist, a very interesting character, who carries a lot of anger and a lot of issues. She is a criminal, a con artist, but has her set of morals, making her a complex and likable character. Her portrayal was so wonderfully human, I loved that she was not that typical innocent girl/perfection. She makes stupid decisions, blames the world for her misbehaviour, is smart and conniving, and has an entertaining inner voice about all her hormonal swings. Her problematic persona really made her a great female lead. Moreover, her cons are catching up to her, her past is trying to find her, and a criminal thriller twist adds so much to the story, that it ceases to be just a contemporary romance, and becomes a steamy intense ride, filled with twists and secrets and bad decisions.
Now meet the love-interest Camden McQueen. Bullied for his Goth appearance in high school, he grows up to be a tattooed sex-god. His character was really well-crafted. I was never able to understand him completely, and that results in a great multi-dimensional character construction. He has his issues, has his charms, made mistakes in the past, is very talented and passionate, and most of all, he is a true match for Ellie. Their whole relationship is a blend of love and attraction and hate and revenge. So when he catches Ellie in the middle of her robbery, things get really complicated and interesting.
So their relationship was a very refreshing portrayal of romance. I used to be a huge fan of contemporary romance, but lately, the genre just makes me cringe. In this case, I was pleasantly surprised. The weren’t any cliques, misogynistic ideals and creepy declarations of love that usually comes in some form of a male owning a female. Both these people were doing what they wanted to do, giving in to passion, but actually plotting their own schemes. Ellie – a robbery, and Camden – catching Ellie in the act. And what actually made me really start liking their relationship was the fact that Camden does not take Ellie’s shit. He calls her a bitch when she really deserves it, but never steps over the line. And even if their relationship has some major problems, I believe that both these characters are on equal terms, without one being better or worse than the other. And having so much passionate sexy scenes did not hurt at all.
Somehow I seem to express only my love for the book. I really thought that it was great, but in the beginning, I guess I just kept expecting more. And although I have been thoroughly enjoying the story, I did not think that it was anything spectacular. The characters were great, their relationship started on interesting terms, and they have shared a complicated past. But I guess this classic formula just stopped doing anything for me.
Moreover, I really had a bit of a problem with the writing at first. The sentences seemed a bit clumsy at times, and I had issues with actually getting into the story. It might have been because I have read so many spectacularly written works beforehand, or I just wasn’t used to the writer’s voice, but it was a troubling factor for me. Later in the book, I got used to it and it ceased to be an issue.
Lastly, the switch between first and third person when writing ‘then’ and ‘now’ chapters annoyed me a little bit. It always gives me an impression of trying too hard.
With all that said, I thought that the story really picked up in the second half of the book. Although romance still existed, it ceased to be the main focus, and the complicated line between trust and betrayal and love and hate just made me care about the characters much more. The suspense and fear that Javier brought to the table really changed the pacing and the concept of the story, and my opinion of the book went from quite enjoying it to really really liking it. The book was filled with so much action and horror and passion in the end. I cannot wait to see where the story goes next.
So overall, it was a really enjoyable read. I am a bit confused about the following books. When it comes to the series, I usually enjoy the first book the least, since it takes me a long time to start caring about the characters. However, when it comes to contemporary romance, I don’t think I have ever read a sequel that I really enjoyed. But since it stopped being only a romance and now has much more danger and suspense to it, I have hopes for a thrilling ride.
- Calexico – Better and Better
- Dire Straits – Fade to Black
- John Paul White – Neon
- Radiohead – Last Flowers
- Nine Inch Nails – Only