A quick and short listen that is background information for the Clipped Wings series and more specifically the characters of Tenley and Hayden, and how these two came to know one another. Helena Hunting has managed to create a short novella installment that manages to encourage new readers for her series, while simultaneously providing a nice tidbit to readers only familiar with the longer stories.
Hunting’s writing is smooth and descriptive, and she manages to completely differentiate both voices and points of view for Tenley and Hayden as she gives the floor to Tenley in the first half and Hayden in the second. There are differences that are both sex and age appropriate to the feel and sound of the characters, and letting us see a glimpse of the emotional turmoil that is integral to their lives at the moment.
Narration for Tenley is provided by Elizabeth Louise, who sounds exactly as one would expect from a mid-twenty-something Masters student. Louise manages to add a sense of tentative expectation and longing to her interactions with the man she watches in the Tattoo Parlor across from her apartment, and her hesitancy in getting too close or involved with her landlady who runs the street level secondhand shop, even as she is starting to share with her. There are more questions than answers from this piece: just why is Tenley so skittish and reserved and why is making new friends too much to deal with, but I will say that I am curious to see more.
The second half of the book is in Hayden’s point of view and is narrated to great effect by Jason Carpenter. Funny how the timbre and tone of his voice instantly bring an image of a larger, sturdy man: one that is always thinking on more than one level, with a good sense of not taking the little things to heart. His interactions with his partners at the tattoo shop, and the interaction with a walk-in client and her ‘bestie’ was comical, and I can see more than one tattoo artist not have the patience for the college freshman crowd. We get a taste of Hayden’s past issues with drugs and his current repetitious behaviors and patterns that are strongly hinting at OCD, but the more striking part of the story is his fascination with Tenley. While he finds her attractive, his musings as he both watches and fantasizes about her are presented with a sense of self-doubt or scorn, depending on the thought of the moment. Carpenter manages to add a touch of hesitancy and doubt to the thoughts of Hayden that enhance the emotional impact the author had established.
The dual narration worked very well for the layout of this story, and aside from some rather clumsily phrased sentences and a whole slew of “me me me” thoughts, the story felt appropriate and real, and it was enough to have me intrigued. Both of these characters have much to reveal and face, and the secondary characters that were introduced also show great promise for interactions and stories. I’m looking forward to the next in the series.
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 4 Story:4
Title: Cupcakes and Ink
Author: Helena Hunting
Series: Clipped Wings #0.5
Also in this series: Inked Armor
Narrator: Elizabeth Louise, Jason Carpenter
Published by: Pocket Star, SimonandSchuster.com/Audio
Source: Simon and Schuster Audio
Audio Length: 1 Hour: 7 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦Audible ♦Tantor Audio
Tenley Page is looking for a new start: a new city, a new apartment, a new life. Her plan is to keep to herself and stay focused. But leaving her past behind and starting over isn’t as easy as she thought. And neither is maintaining her solitude. As Tenley settles into her new surroundings, she finds herself drawn to Inked Armor, the tattoo studio across the street. But it’s the gorgeous, dark-haired tattoo artist who captures her interest. There’s something about his severe beauty that captivates her—and not just in her waking hours.
Covered in the ink he inscribes on other people’s skin, Hayden Stryker has made a career out of being a tattooist. He’s got his own business and a tight circle of friends. As far as he’s concerned, that’s all he needs. At least until his aunt, who owns the antiques and used book store across from his tattoo studio, hires a new employee. At first his intrigue is based on physical appeal; hot chick equals something nice to look at. But as he begins to catch glimpses of the fiery personality under the fragile, feminine exterior, his fascination with Tenley grows. Annoyed by his inability to control his fixation, Hayden decides the best way to cure him of the new obsession is to get to know the girl under her skittish façade.
But like the ink he wears as armor, Tenley has the ability to get under his skin and stay there.
A copy of this title was provided via Simon and Schuster Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.