The second book that I have reviewed in this series, I have to admit that I found this a ‘guilty pleasure’ read: we all like a touch of dramatics when they aren’t our own, and Hunting provides several drama-filled scenes to keep readers amused, even as they are rolling their eyes. This is very solidly a New Adult title with all of the issues that fit well with the character’s ages: somewhat self-absorbed, immature, indecisive and still finding their pathways into adulthood.
Hayden and Tenley have an electric connection, yet can’t seem to get out of their own way and TALK about their issues before throwing them at each other and using their issues and pasts as great iron walls that serve to push them away. Despite their inability to communicate effectively on a regular basis, that doesn’t stop their magnetic attraction, nor their acting on their needs, repeatedly with some clever wordplay used to describe the action.
Hayden is a reformed “bad boy” although he was a few steps to the right side of truly ‘bad’ before his reformation: a former addict who uses his OCD as a coping mechanism and often focuses on his own series of repetitive gestures and actions to get through his day. A tattoo artist by trade, he uses those tattoos to keep people at arm’s length: they are more inclined to shy away from him, or ask about the ink – keeping his distance.
Tenley is running from everything she ever knew, and isn’t particularly good at it. While she did grow up significantly in this installment, she has these repeated moments of vacillation where she really needed a slap or seven to smarten up. Unfortunately, several of her ‘new and important issues’ were simply a rehash of something she has supposedly sorted earlier, and after the second redo without great progress – it got wearing. I was surprised with her desire to sort things out for herself and her future with Hayden though, and while I found some of her thoughts repetitive, I can see where the actions would feel real and possible.
Hunting writes a compelling story, even as she seemed to add several encounters in that didn’t seem to make sense at the time, or find a real resolution. There was plenty of scope for drama just with Hayden and Tenley alone – adding more people in who only served to cause difficulty without real solution just felt extraneous. Additionally, as in Cupcakes and Ink, there were some word choices that were not the best: incorrect at worst and pretentious at best, and they tended to turn a sentence into an unintelligible mess. Not all synonyms work or feel right in the context of a sentence, and it is always important to make the words feel natural for the world and setting you have created.
Narration in this story is provided by Elizabeth Louise and Jason Carpenter: you should know that the story is told in alternating POV, a chapter for Hayden, a chapter for Tenley: so very little interaction between the two characters is actually presented as a conversation USING the two narrators. Instead, each narrator takes complete control and responsibility for their half of the story: their presentation of all of the characters and conversations, and their choices. It works beautifully as both narrators present their characters with appropriate emotional intensity where required as well as not lose themselves in over-emulating other voices in their retelling. They become Hayden and Tenley, with all of their foibles and insecurities, their bluff and bluster and their hearts. Delivery is smooth and uncomplicated, with few errors or over-emoting that would present a less than stellar listen.
I’ve not read or listened to Clipped Wings, the first full-length book, and while there were some events that weren’t wholly clear, enough information was provided for a general understanding. Those who are fans of NA stories with the broken good girl meets broken bad boy trope will enjoy this story.
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 5 Story: 3
Title: Inked Armor
Author: Helena Hunting
Narrator: Elizabeth Louise, Jason Carpenter
Published by: Gallery Books, Simon and Schuster
Source: Simon and Schuster Audio
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 10 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦Audible ♦Tantor Audio ♦Direct from Publisher
In this follow-up to Clipped Wings, the emotional love story continues between Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.
In the wake of losing Tenley Page, tattooist Hayden Stryker's tumultuous past is haunting him. Plagued by nightmares about the murder of his parents, Hayden reaches out again to Tenley. Having run from the man she doesn't believe she deserves, Tenley finally lays her guilt to rest. Despite their intense physical attraction, Hayden and Tenley struggle to repair their fragile emotional connection. As Hayden gets closer to the truth, he must find a way to reconcile his guilt over his parents' death in order to keep the woman who finally cracked his armor, and found her way into his heart,
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.