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).**
Oh holy hell. This is one of those books, that had real life not gotten in the way (stupid work) I would have finished in one or two sittings. I say one or two, because sometimes I needed a break. It was INTENSE to say the least.
Ellie & Camden were friends in high school, then had a few falling outs. When Ellie comes back to town, who does she run into but the now sexy Camden McQueen? And sexy he is. As I sit here and type this, 24 hours after finishing the book, I am drooling just thinking about him. I don’t know how Halle does it, but she writes her characters in such a way they become real. With real pasts, real feelings, real emotions. Which gives me real feelings of dread, stress, hope, fear, and love.
Sins & Needles made me feel things and imagine experiences I would never want to have in my own real life. It let me imagine being the bad girl, sleeping with the bad guys, living on the road, and having ties to nothing. There were times I felt like I was Ellie, or whatever name she was going by at the time, because of Halle’s talent of writing in the first person. I lost myself in the story. Which is precisely the reason I had to put it down and do other, normal things, like laundry. I was sucked so far into the story that Ellie’s pain was my own, and I am not afraid to say I am a giant wimp when it comes to pain.
If you read the same books I do, you have come across a description of a character, just before vomiting, or almost vomiting, that sounds something like this:
“My salivary glands were working overtime, and my mouth filled with the sickening-sweet taste …”
Ok, obviously I am not a write, the description is horrible. But you know what I am talking about? I never got that, until the end of this book. So much happens, so quickly, (and remember, I was Ellie) that I thought I was going to be sick. It was unreal.
But I don’t want you to think this whole book is about horrible things. There are some beautiful moments, and laugh-out loud moments too. Like the following:
I held it in my hands like it was a baby (and, just for reference, I hold babies like they are snakes).
ME TOO! I did a little, and very unattractive snort-laugh at that line. It was a really good thing I was home alone while reading (more about that in a minute). And Camden … he is the eternal optomist. And I love him for it.
“…I have to live with my mistakes but I don’t have to regret them. I regret my actions but I can’t regret the consequences. We all make our own path in life. Everyone we meet, everything we do, it changes us. It makes us who we are. And, if we’re lucky, we’re given the chance to make things right again.”
I *may* have choked up when I read that. Beautiful & true. It struck a chord with me I didn’t even know I had.
And, as mentioned earlier, I read the majority of this book home alone. I do not suggest you do the same. I needed a hug and a hot shower when I put this down. I felt drained and dirty. ALL BECAUSE OF A BOOK.
Don’t not read it because of how it made me feel. Read it because it made me feel those things so strongly.