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Alicia Wright Brewster

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Sins & Needles - Karina Halle Outside of the opening scene (which was a bit of a cheat since it was an action scene meant to draw the reader in but wasn't directly related to the plot), I found the first quarter of this book to be pretty boring.

Ellie travels home to see her uncle. We're introduced to her town. She goes to a coffee shop for a job, meets a boy, and goes on a date with the boy. Now we're about 27% of the way into the book and I'm IM-ing my co-blogger to tell her how boring it is.

At that point, I wasn't even attracted to the boy--Camden. He's initially described as wearing cargo shorts (not my style), and Iggy Pop T-shirt (I had to look that up), lips that are "thin and curved at the top," a full day's worth of stubble (I don't mind stubble, but in combo with the cargo shorts, I'm finding his style way too relaxed for my taste), and Dumbo ears. By themselves, the Dumbo ears could be cute and add character, but since the rest of the description didn't do it for me, the ears didn't add the character that I believe they were meant to.

Why am I going on and on about Camden not blowing me away with his sexiness? Well, a quarter of the way through the book, when I'm bored, I want to be blown away by the love interest--and I wasn't. Bummer. Granted, Camden's appearance grew on me throughout the book. Not every protagonist is going to like the kind of style that I like, but that made it harder for me to agree with Ellie's observations about how sexy Camden was.

Things got interesting when con-artist Ellie picked a mark and started working on her plan to acquire some more money. Plus, later on, her dangerous ex-boyfriend sent her on he run again. And through it all, Ellie and Camden dealt with some serious (and warranted) trust issues, stemming from how they'd treated each other in the past. In the end, I really came to root for them. And the sex scenes were great, so after the first one of those, I was much more invested int heir relationship.

An interesting aspect of this book was the regular flashbacks. On many occasions in the book, we'd return to Ellie's past to explore her high school relationship with Camden or her relationship with her dangerous ex-boyfriend. The flashbacks helped to fill in some holes about why all the trust issues and anger existed.

I didn't dislike the flashbacks. However, I was annoyed at what appeared to be a blatant withholding of information. Ellie, the POV character, had complete knowledge about her past but withheld things from the readers. It was like the mystery that was created was completely superficial. What happened to scar Ellie's leg? Why does Ellie feel guilty about her past with Camden? What happened with the ex-boyfriend? Where are Ellie's parents? Ellie knows all these things when the book opens, but the reader gets the information in bits and pieces. To me, it kind of seemed like a cheap trick to keep my interest. If Ellie's the POV character, I want to know what she knows. There's no real mystery here; there's just annoying information withholding.

In the end, despite the book's flaws, I rooted for Ellie and Camden. They were two scarred people in a dysfunctional relationship, and I wanted them to heal each other and find happiness.