Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster
Trade Paperback, Ebook & Audio Formats 400 pages
E-Galley provided by publisher via Net Galley for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as needed.
Their body art is hot. Their chemistry is even hotter.From her dark hair sweeping below her waist to her soft, sexy curves, Tenley Page intrigues tattoo artist Hayden Stryker in a way no one else ever has…especially when she asks him to ink a gorgeous, intricate design on her back. Yet for all her beauty, there is something darkly tragic and damaged about Tenley that Hayden is everything.
Covered in ink and steel, Hayden is everything Tenley has never dared to want, awakening a desire to explore more than the art adorning his stunning body. Trapped by a past that leaves her screaming from nightmares, Tenley sees Hayden as the perfect escape. Although he has secrets too, if they both keep themselves guarded perhaps their intense physical connection will remain only that.
But nothing, not even passion, can keep them safe from their pasts… – See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Clipped-Wings/Helena-Hunting/9781476764290#sthash.uyvyLsiS.dpuf
I read the prequel, CUPCAKES AND INK last week and HAD, HAD, HAD to read the next book in the series as soon as possible. I was on the fence about how the story would be fleshed out, but the characters were so damaged, so mysterious and tortured by their pasts. I am going to give away a copy of CUPCAKES AND INK for Kindle or Nook (US stores).
There are certain things I look for when I read a new book for review.
Complex characters who don’t fit a mold and who are changed by the experiences the author presents.
This book has those characters and they are more than the two love interests, Hayden and Tenley; even several of the secondary characters are fully sketched out and not just the same old characters we expect to be found in strip clubs, antique shops and tattoo studios. There are several villainous characters and they aren’t always from the expected quarters and not always behaving linearly. THey are drawn to various levels and some are a bit to type. But on the whole, Hunting gives me the feeling that she knows these people inside and out. They feel real, plausible, scarred, fallable. They are as much flesh and bone characters as I have ever read.
What do I mean when I say they are not stamped out of a mold: Well, Hayden, for example, could be that ex-coke-head who is always perfectly noble and never screws up. But he is not. He acts childish and immature, challenges the wrong characters and yet, I remained believing in his innate goodness.
Well, yeah, of course I want hot scenes (you see the header of the blog) and Hunting brings on the heat. She describes some stuff in detail so real you might wince just a little bit.
Tropes and themes:
Not their use or non-use, but rather the use of tropes that are over used or badly played.
Okay, while I still loved the book, an inability to forgive oneself from self-imposed is possibly the most visible theme in “new” adult I have read this year. Does no one get decent counseling. Sure survivor guilt is normal after tragedy. But where is this trend coming from? Is it a post 9/11 thing?
Another theme that is not usually used outside of stories about BDSM is the concept of overcoming emotional pain through physical pain. Interesting placement of that idea in a tattoo studio.
Story and characters coming together to engage me emotionally:
Hayden and Tenley both see themselves as monsters, blaming themselves for horrific events. They can only reveal part of their truths to each other out of fear. Hayden is a little more mature and has had help pulling himself somewhat from the deep and dark hole of grief. But Tenley’s most likely source of help is Hayden and she holds too much back. The person who should have helped her, well he is no help at all.
These two characters, if they could only open up to each other outside of the bedroom, well….
What I thought as I was reading was that these are two characters that see themselves as unforgiveable, unworthy, monstrous. But they are wearing masks that allow them to survive, and “pass” in the real world and these two characters are barreling towards each other with the chance of collision or near miss. Eh – it’s an imperfect analogy.
If you can’t tell, I was pretty caught up in these characters and there story. As is often the case, better communication would solve most of the characters’ issues.
I had a little trouble here. This is written in dual first person. Where I had issues was with the tense. I cannot tell when this is happening? Is it the characters’ immediate past, the recent past or their distant past. I kept having issues with this throughout.
Other than that the writer’s voice is sophisticated and the story is written with intelligence; and with the expectation of an intelligent audience.
With all the check marks in place and just a couple of question marks, this book gets my endorsement, my HIGHLY RECOMMEND bordering on MUST READ. Scroll down just a bit more for my giveaway of a Nook or Kindle copy of the prequel CUPCAKES AND INK.