Sins & Needles by Karina Halle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My book resolution for the year was to read books outside my two usual genres of YA and fantasy, and that's how I ended up reading "Sins & Needles". It caught my eye because of the criminal aspects, to be honest. It's marketed as a romance, but there's a lot of crime, mystery, and suspense as well - to call it just a romance novel would be selling it short. I enjoyed "Sins & Needles" enough to finish it in one day, which is unusual for me outside of fantasy novels!
What I enjoyed most about this novel was the characterisation. I felt that I truly knew and understood the main characters' intentions, and nothing they did ever felt out of character. Ellie's backstory is intriguing and well-written, and even though she's kind of a b*tch most of the time, I still empathised with her. She makes some, frankly, terrible decisions - but we all do (hers just tend to be a touch more illegal)! Camden was a good character (mostly because he was beautiful), but Ellie wins the most in-depth and interesting character award for this book.
Ellie and Camden's romance was well-paced and believable. One of the reasons I often avoid romance novels is because the characters fall in love two pages in, which is so ridiculously unrealistic it's laughable. Although Ellie and Camden have history, they don't fall head over heels straight away. The reader is given time to appreciate their platonic relationship before we are thrown into romance territory, which I greatly appreciated. Also, the few sex scenes the novel had were hot! I really hope that continues into the next novel...
One issue I did have with "Sins & Needles" was that Camden's motivations (outside the romance) were a little meh. Nothing about that aspect of the plot felt particularly innovative. Javier and his thugs were okay, but I did not know enough about Javier to truly fear him - I have a feeling that comes in "Shooting Scars". But Ellie's plot line and history more than made up for the average-ness of Camden's and Javier's, in my opinion.
Overall, this was a different and interesting romance with action, suspense and a strong protagonist. I would recommend it to anyone who likes romance, but wants more to a plot than just the romance!
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