Wednesday 12 March 2014

Review: Clipped Wings - Helena Hunting

UK Cover
Hayden Stryker is a devastatingly handsome tattoo artist. Covered in ink and steel, his artwork acts as armour while he attempts to move on from a world-shattering loss.

Twenty-one-year-old Tenley Page is new to town and battling demons of her own. When she meets Hayden, the chemistry between the two is instant and unlike anything they've ever experienced before.

After Hayden agrees to apply his art to Tenley's skin, the pair embark on an emotional and intense relationship that neither could have anticipated. But as Tenley's past threatens to destroy their fragile romance, Hayden must find a balance between his desire to protect her and his need to claim her as his.

Clipped Wings Series:
Cupcakes and Ink (Short Story)
Clipped Wings
Between the Cracks (Free Short Story)
Inked Armour
Cracks in the Armour (Short Story)

Visit Helena Hunting's website for more information

Having read the prequel short story Cupcakes and Ink I was looking forward to getting to know Tenley and Hayden better in Clipped Wings. It was obvious that both characters had dark things in their pasts that they were still struggling to cope with and I couldn't wait to get to know them better. I ended up really loving both of these characters, they are seriously damaged and working through major issues but I enjoyed seeing them slowly learn to trust each other and open up about their lives and their fears. The story is told from alternating points of view which really allows the reader to get inside their heads and understand what they've been through.

Tenley is the survivor of something so horrific it hurts to even imagine going through something similar. She lost everything she ever loved and it nearly broke her. She's a shell of her former self and has moved away from her home looking for a fresh start where nobody looks at her with sympathy because of what happened to her. She just wants to forget that the past ever happened but unfortunately it isn't that easy to run away from the memories and the nightmares have just come with her. At the start of the book she is completely lost and alone, she is terrified to get close to anyone and keeps herself hidden away from the world but with a little help from her boss Cassie she slowly starts to face the people again. She gradually builds a small circle of friends and although she is wary of Hayden he proves to be a very hard man to resist.

Hayden is Cassie's nephew and he is intrigued by Tenley the moment he meets her but it takes a long time and a lot of patience before she'll even have a conversation with him. Tenley is skittish and wary and he sees the hurt in her eyes which makes him want to do something to help her. Hayden has a secret past of his own, he was a bit of a wild child and he blames himself for something that happened to his family because of that. He went completely off the rails for a long time but has finally turned his life around and started to put himself back together. He now runs a successful tattoo studio with his two best friends and he's stopped partying like a lunatic and taking drugs. I admire Hayden a lot for the changes he'd made in his life, he realised that the path he was on was heading for disaster and he managed to step on the brakes and turn things around. It's not a secret that I have a bit of a thing for the tattooed bad boys so of course Hayden really appealed to me, especially since he's actually a very sweet and thoughtful guy and only bad in all the good ways!

I loved the fact that the relationship between the two of them develops so slowly, it was so much more realistic because of that - especially considering what they had both been through. These are two characters I actually enjoyed spending time with and I loved the descriptions of their various tattoos - I kind of wish the book came with pictures so I could actually see what the designs look like. I also think this book should come with a pack of cupcakes because trust me you'll be dying to eat some while you're reading it! Tenley and Hayden have fantastic chemistry and from the moment they meet you can tell their relationship is going to be explosive. It's a slow build between them but it's definitely worth the wait. These two messed up characters both see something in the other that gives them hope for the future, together they are stronger than they are alone so no matter how difficult things may get I have hope that they'll be able to work things out in the end.

Another thing I loved the side characters, there is a small core of people who work at the tattoo shop and they all take Tenley under their wings and encourage her to step out of her shell a bit more. I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Hayden and his friends, they had their arguments but in the end they always had each other's backs when things went wrong. I'm looking forward to seeing how things play out for all of them as the series continues and I really hope we get to see Chris find some happiness.

The one thing that I had a bit of an issue with was the amount of drama that seemed to be added just for effect. I thought that Tenley had more than enough to cope with from her past and that adding a pervert for a teacher and a creepy cop to the mix was just over the top and unrealistic. I just didn't feel that either of those two story lines were needed and they annoyed me enough to shake me out of the story. Sometimes it can be very easy to make a good story ridiculous by trying too hard to put additional drama in there and that's what I felt happened here. Considering how much I was loving the first two thirds of the book this could have been a five star read but it ended up losing points for that. In spite of that this is still a book that I would thoroughly recommend, I was completely addicted even when I was rolling my eyes towards the end and I didn't want to put it down. I'm so glad that we don't have to wait long for the next two books because the cliffhanger ending was a killer and I'm desperate to see what happens next.

Source: Received from Orion in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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US Cover
Paperback / Kindle

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